Posts Tagged ‘North Pole’

Author’s Note: The updated version of the monster below can now be found at the Free Game Resources page of World Builder Blog. Thank you for all your feedback and please keep it coming!

The South Pole has The Lingering Havoc, but the North Pole holds a terror which strikes from the deep. After all, Canus’ North Pole is merely a surface layer of frozen ocean with dark, cold waters swirling beneath. The Dungeons and Dragons fifth edition Exploration Age monster update continues with new statistics for the icebreaker shark. Gotta love October!

Like this, but bigger and more bones sticking out of its face.

The Frozen Terror

If you missed the first and second posts about icebreaker sharks, here’s their story. Icebreaker sharks are massive fish, a little larger than a great white, which prefer the cold, black ocean beneath the ice of the North Pole. They can sense vibrations in the ice above and stalk prey from below, waiting for them to move into an area where the ice is thin enough to break through. Other times the icebreaker shark prepares a killing ground in an area where prey is known to pass through by thinning the ice. The icebreaker shark has thick bony protrusions on its face and tail, which means it can shatter the dense surface of the North Pole and pull down victims into the freezing ocean, before they even realize they are being consumed.

Since the icebreaker shark can prepare its killing grounds, imagine walking through the arctic, suddenly being in a maze or trapped on a slow shrinking island of ice with a 30-foot hungry shark in the freezing depths below. If that doesn’t scare you, you’re probably someone pretty tough, like Vegas Lancaster.

Icebreaker sharks are often loners, but they have to mate, and gods help the person who walks onto the ice above two icebreakers creating life. Those sharks will have worked up an appetite doing their thing…

Statty Bo Batty

Statistics for the D&D 5e giant shark from the Basic rules.

Statistics for the D&D fifth edition giant shark from the Basic rules.

So we need to come up with some new statistics for the icebreaker shark to make it nice and terrifying. I started with the giant shark statistics in the Monster Manual and Basic D&D DM rules. It’s the baddest shark available, however it is not challenging enough for my needs to just do a reskin. The icebreaker shark is a loner meant for encounters in the harsh terrain of Glacius and the South Pole in Canus, where there are creatures a little tougher than the giant shark. So I’m giving its stats a little boost and increases its hit points and damage output. I think a challenge rating of 8 is a good place for this creature, which puts it on par with the frost giant and tyrannosaurus rex. In fact, let’s take a look at the tyrannosaurus stats.

Tyrannosaurus rex statistics from Basic D&D.

Tyrannosaurus rex statistics from Basic D&D.

Nice! So I have an idea of where hit points and damage should be for an equivalent monster. After essentially smashing the giant shark and tyrannosaurus together, I went back to the old statistics for the original icebreaker shark, and took the Ice Smash and Weaken Ice abilities and slapped those onto my awesome dinosaur shark. I also gave the icebreaker shark a little multiattack action, since its tail is almost as dangerous as its head.

I think the most terrifying thing about the icebreaker shark, or any shark for that matter, is that you fight it on its own terms in the water. Most of us are clumsy, slow, and at a huge disadvantage in the ocean blue. Add freezing temperatures to that and things become dire. So part of the icebreaker shark’s terror is the environment which comes with it.

Icebreaker Shark

Huge beast, unaligned

Armor Class 14 (natural armor)

Hit Points 162 (13d12 + 78)

Speed 0 ft., swim 50 ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
25 (+7) 12 (+1) 23 (+6) 2 (-4) 10 (+0) 9 (-1)

Skills Perception +3

Damage Resistances cold

Senses blindsight 60 ft., passive Perception 13

Languages –

Challenge 8 (3,900 XP)


Blood Frenzy. The icebreaker shark has advantage on melee attack rolls against any creature that doesn’t have all its hit points.

Water Breathing. The icebreaker shark can only breathe underwater.

Actions

Multiattack. The icebreaker shark can make a bite and a tail attack, make a bite attack and use Ice Smash, or make a bite an attack and use Weaken Ice.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5ft., one creature. Hit: 33 (4d12 + 7) piercing damage. If the target is a Medium or smaller creature it is grappled (escaped DC 17). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained, and the icebreaker shark cannot bite another target.

Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10ft., one creature. Hit: 25 (4d8 + 7) bludgeoning damage.

Ice Smash. The icebreaker shark can destroy a 15-foot cube of ice within 10 feet, possibly creating a hole through which the shark can attack. Any creatures standing on the affected ice must succeed on a DC 17 Dexterity saving throw or fall through the ice. Any creature who succeeds on the save ends up in an unoccupied space adjacent to the smashed ice.

When the icebreaker shark uses this ability on a cube of ice adjacent to any weakened ice (see below) the weakened ice is also smashed. Any weakened adjacent to the smashed weakened ice is also smashed, and so on for any touching patches of weakened ice.

Weaken Ice. The icebreaker shark can weaken a 15-foot cube of ice within 10 feet. This ice counts as weakened for the purpose of its Ice Smash ability.

So there you have it. Are you terrified of this creature? DMs, would you use it in your game? Players do you want to fight one? Let me know what you think!!!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends, share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

This month’s RPG Blog Carnival theme is a great one – “What’s in the hole?” This theme is both oddly specific and wonderfully broad. Metaphorically, the inside of a hole could be any place unknown! I’ve already written a few posts about the blank spots in the world of Exploration Age and how some people in the world want to adventure for profit, power, knowledge, or the sake of discovery itself. All those blank spots in Verda, Glacius, the Poles, The Damned Lands, and The Underdark are really just big holes. Heck even portals are holes to other planes.

What’s down there?

Too bad I already tackled a lot of these topics before this theme was brought to my attention. Dang! So I decided to go less metaphorical and more literal with this one. What’s in the hole in Exploration Age? An enormous, hungry shark.

Remember the Icebreaker Shark?

Remember me?

Some of you may remember my post on Glacius and the Poles. It was there that I introduced the world to the icebreaker shark. A man-eating, cold water fish with bony protrusions on its head and tail used to break the frozen layer of ocean beneath the feet of unsuspecting prey. Its finely tuned senses allow the shark to feel vibrations of prey moving on the ice above. This allows the shark to weaken areas of the frozen ocean and prepare a killing ground into which unsuspecting victims will walk.

Thus the icebreaker shark of the North Pole has options. It can wait until the moment is right and then break the ice beneath the feet of its prey or it can prepare a trap and when a potential meal arrives break pieces of the frozen ocean around its victims, trapping them in a maze or on an island of ice. Big meals don’t come around for the shark often, so when it can it eats its fill, knowing the next big meal could be a month or longer away in the frozen polar climate.

The icebreaker shark eats mostly seals, polar bears, fish, and any other arctic life which crosses its path. They are solitary hunters, but do meet once every Winter beneath the ice to spawn. A typical icebreaker shark can is 20 – 30 feet long and weigh 2,000 – 3,000lbs. They are characterized not just by their enormous size, but by the bony growths on their faces and tails, which resemble that of Ankylosauruses. These growths are what the creature uses to smash through the ice and prepare it’s killing grounds.

If one listens very carefully, the smashing and ice cracking of the shark can be heard, but often this sound means it is too late for those hearing it. The howling winds of the North Pole often drown out these warnings for all but those with the keenest hearing.

Icebreaker sharks have been known to migrate South as far as Glacius, though such sightings are rare.

As far as holes and the RPG Blog Carnival theme go, icebreaker sharks make their own. Sometimes you don’t chose to go down the hole, rather the hole swallows you instead.

Game Statistics

Dude is RIDING a shark. RIDING A SHARK.

Here’s what I’m thinking the game statistics for the icebreaker shark will be. The math is subject to change with the release of the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual.

The icebreaker shark is tough and clever. It believes in ambushing its prey in a prepared killing ground. Should its prey manage to get away, the icebreaker shark will stalk it for days or sometimes even weeks on end, waiting beneath the ice for its victims to drop their guard. It is rare to encounter more than one of these beasts at a time, unless an unfortunate victim unwittingly passed over their spawning grounds in the Winter. Woe to any who make this mistake, for they will find themselves the main course in a shark banquet.

Icebreaker Shark

Huge beast

Armor Class 17

Hit Points 158 (16d10 + 70)

Speed 0 ft., swim 60 ft.

Senses blindsight 60ft., darkvision 100 ft., tremorsense 100 ft.

Str 29 (+9)

Dex 14 (+2)

Con 20 (+5)

Int 2 (-4)

Wis 12 (+1)

Cha 4 (-3)

Alignment Unaligned

Languages

Traits

Aquatic: The icebreaker shark can breathe only while underwater, and being underwater imposes no penalty on its attack rolls or ability checks.

Actions

Multiattack: The icebreaker shark can make a bite and a tail attack, a bite and an ice smash attack, a tail and an ice smash attack, or two weaken ice attacks.

Melee Attack – Bite: +11 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 36 (6d8 + 9) piercing damage. If the target is Medium or smaller, it must succeed on a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw or be swallowed by the icebreaker shark.

A swallowed creature takes 21 (6d6) bludgeoning damage and 21 (6d6) acid damage at the start of each of the icebreaker shark’s turns until is escapes. A swallowed creature is blinded and restrained, but it can use its action to cut its way free by dealing 50 slashing or piercing damage to the gizzard (AC 15). A creature that frees itself falls prone (or more likely finds itself afloat in the ocean) in an unoccupied space within 5 feet of the icebreaker shark.

An icebreaker shark can swallow up to four medium or small creatures, and 16 tiny creatures at once.

Melee Attack – Tail: +11 to hit, reach 15 ft., one creature. Hit: 27 (4d8 + 9) bludgeoning damage and the creature is knocked prone.

Ice Smash: The icebreaker shark can smash adjacent ice in a 15-foot cube, creating a hole through which the shark can attack. Any creatures standing on the ice must succeed on a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw or fall through the ice. Any creature who succeeds on the save ends up in an unoccupied space adjacent to the smashed ice.

When the icebreaker shark uses this ability on a cube of ice adjacent to any weakened ice (see below) the weakened ice is also smashed. Any weakened adjacent to the smashed weakened ice is also smashed, and so on for any touching patches of weakened ice.

Weaken Ice: The icebreaker shark can weaken adjacent ice in a 15-foot cube. This ice counts as weakened for the purpose of its Ice Smash ability.

So that’s the icebreaker shark and it’s what’s in the hole. Does it sound terrifying? Would you use it in your game? Did I get the mechanics right? Let me know!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

You ever look at the North Pole and ask yourself, “Why in the Hell would Santa want to live there?” The answer is simple – his operation is so confidential he went to the one place no one could find him. Even if you know exactly where his operation is, good luck braving the elements to get there. I feel bad for the person who has to deliver all those letters to him. Seriously, a man with the power to see us at all times of the day should have an email address.

Exploration Age has blank spots on the map beyond The Damned Lands and Verda. The harsh environments of Glacius and the North and South Poles of Canus have kept even the toughest explorers at bay.

Glacius

Map of Glacius

Map of Glacius

Just North of Findalay lies a continent about the size of Parian covered in snow and ice. Glacius is one-third frozen ocean, one-third snow-covered plains, and one-third mysterious ice-covered mountain range with the occasional volcano and aberrant ruin thrown-in.

The snow plains of Glacius are a near constant blizzard, but thanks to the Society of Seekers and The Explorers’ Guild most of the area has been mapped. For those with the stomach for it, the snow plains offer some of the most spectacular sights in all of Canus. Rare beasts, a strange aberrant ruin full of mysterious labs, and bizarre weather phenomena make Glacius unlike any other place on the planet. All of these rarities are not as strange as the seemingly abandoned tunnels dug into the frozen snow. Where exactly the tunnels lead and what their purpose was is up for debate, as no expedition deep into the tunnels has ever come back.

Glacius’ frozen ocean is the most dangerous place to get rich quick. Frozen within the ice is gold dust. Ice-breaking ships manned by all-or-nothing crews make their way through the sea, trying to find the best places to saw out blocks of ice flecked with gold. These blocks are melted aboard the ship and the gold is then harvested. Of course, the frozen ocean has many of its own hazards such as weather, thin ice, hidden icebergs, polar bears, krakens, ice pirates, and more. Boats can get stuck inside the frozen ocean if they venture too far into the ice and the sea freezes their path behind them. In this case the crew can starve and freeze or abandon ship and try to survive out on the ice – a miserable existence. Perhaps the most frightening hazard upon the frozen ocean is The Undead Miner Army. Sailors tell tales of a greedy legion of wights who met their fate mining gold on the ice. These undead are always looking to increase their ranks and horde of gold by attacking the crews of the living. There may be truth to these rumors, since destroyed mining ships have been found with all their gold removed and not a single corpse ever in the bloodstained area.

Imagine… a legion of this guy!

The Ice Ranges of Glacius are the unmapped area of the continent. The ice-covered mountains have peaks higher than 20,000 feet. As a result, no one has ever ventured beyond the outer-most mountains so what occurs within the Ice Ranges remains a mystery. Occasionally a white dragon can be seen flying toward the mountains and those with keen ears can hear thunderous booms erupting from the inner peaks through the howling blizzard winds.

Two active volcanoes live in Glacius. Mt. Steam sits on an island in the frozen ocean. Some sailors claim to have seen a massive red dragon coming from or going to Mt. Steam, but those rumors have never been corroborated. The other volcano, Mt. Hyrias sits on Glacius’ coast and seems to constantly spew ash and lava into the sea. Mad soothsayers claim that the aberrants buried a weapon beneath this lava flow long ago and are soon going to return to use it and cover Canus in ash and fire.

The Poles

If Glacius is remote and dangerous than Canus’ poles are the hardest-earned suicide mission Exploration Age has to offer. Barely explored, and less often survived, few know what the poles have to offer. To some that is a reason to stay away, but for others the challenge has become a draw. The Society of Seekers and The Explorers’ Guild have a bit of an unofficial race going between them. The Society has an independent pet project of exploring the South Pole while The Guild is exploring the North. Both are hoping to prove their superiority over the other by filling in the blank spots of their pole’s map first.

While both poles are cold, icy masses of frozen ocean with treacherous terrain and more dangerous weather, each does have its own unique hazards. The North Pole’s winds are stronger than any other on Canus. Whirlwinds of snow and ice can kick up at any moment, or gusts of wind could blow so strong that a traveler without ice cleats may be lifted off of the surface of the frozen ocean and carried into the air. Flying is not an option on the North Pole for any but the most powerful creatures.

Below the surface of the North Pole swim predatory creatures known as ice-breaker sharks. These crafty beings use the bony growths upon their heads to weaken the ice in a given area then surprise their prey by either breaking through the weak spot or allowing their target to fall through it before attacking. Either way ice breaker sharks can sense footsteps through the ice from up to a mile away and will begin preparing a hunting ground with plenty of these weak spots. They often allow their prey to travel far into the hunting grounds before attacking so they can surround the victims with weak spots, giving no option for easy escape.

Who wants to snuggle?

The South Pole is just as deadly as the North Pole. Winds are not as fierce, however the snow falls so heavily here it forms massive dunes that are treacherous to climb. The snow is uneven and could collapse at any moment, burying a traveler. As if the snow and weather weren’t enough, earthquakes constantly shake The South Pole, threatening to level and reform new snow dunes constantly, not to mention bury and knock adventurers off their feet. But the worst of the worst hazards in The South Pole is The Lingering Havoc.

No one is sure of The Havoc’s origin. Some say it is an ancient remnant of aberrant societies, some say it migrated from The Damned Lands or mysterious parts of Verda, and others believe there is a darker force somewhere deep within the South Pole controlling the force. Few have seen The Lingering Havoc and lived to tell of it. Those who have their minds permanently warped. Yet all those who describe The Havoc have a similar story to tell. Either coming out of the snowy depths or rising through the broken ice, a massive creature, more than 500 feet tall by many accounts. The Lingering Havoc is a hulking mass of bones and corpses of various humanoids, animals, and monsters that have somehow formed together into one colossal engine of destruction.

Other than their ongoing competition, why would The Society of Seekers and The Explorers’ Guild continue to risk it all over two seemingly worthless hunks of ice? Because there could be profit, adventure, glory, and discovery to be found over the next snow dune. Aberrant ruins that have yet to be picked over, a new race of intelligent beings, portals to other worlds, and more endless possibilities live in the minds of adventurers and PCs. It’s my promise to deliver on those expectations, provided they survive the harsh cold… and the ice breaker sharks… and The Lingering Havoc… you get the idea.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!