Its Arctic Week here at Necromancers of the Northwest, a weeklong celebration of the cold, awe inspiring isolation that is the remote frozen reaches. These places capture our imagination because, for most of us, they are far from what is a typical experience, and it is difficult to live there as such places are devoid of virtually everything humans need for a comfortable life. Never mind humans, though—very few things can live full time in the world’s coldest environments, and even in fantasy games that list doesn’t get much longer. This hostile environment, coupled with a lack of desirable resources, might lead one to ignore the frozen reaches altogether; after all, there’s nothing there, right?
But what if there was something there? Something horrible, trapped since the last ice age when the frozen wastes retreated from the mainland; something hungry that has been waiting and growing in power and appetite, eager to destroy life and remake the world in its twisted image? Enter the fyrskygge, a powerful incorporeal undead trapped in the frozen wastes, biding its time for the days when it can spread over the world again.
What at first appeared to be a shadow in the ice clearly becomes something more, as a seemingly endless wave of impossibly black shadow energy pours from the ice in a horrifying torrent. Dozens of red and white eyes blink from the inky substance, somehow as immaterial as the rest of it, with whispers of hatred and hunger resounding from within the creature’s horrible form without clear source.
FYRSKYGGE CR 23
CE Colossal undead (incorporeal)
Init +13; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +39
AC 17, touch 17, flat-footed 8 (+6 deflection, +9 Dex, -8 size)
hp 345 (30d8+210)
Fort +18, Ref +21, Will +21
Defensive Abilities incorporeal, meld into ice, undead traits; Immune cold; Weaknesses ice bound
Speed fly 40 ft. (perfect)
Melee incorporeal touch +31 (1d6 Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution damage plus freezing touch)
Space 30 ft.; Reach 30 ft.
Special Attacks black ice, create spawn, freezing touch, surge of darkness
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 20th; concentration +26)
At Will—control weather, snow shape, wall of ice
Str —, Dex 28, Con —, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 22
Base Atk +22; CMB +39; CMD 49
Feats Ability Focus (freezing touch), Alertness, Blind Fight, Combat Reflexes, Critical Focus, Dodge, Great Fortitude, Improved Critical, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Mobility, Skill Focus (Stealth), Spring Attack, Toughness
Skills Bluff +36, Intimidate +39, Perception +39, Sense Motive +4, Stealth +32
Environment cold deserts
Black Ice (Su): As a full-round action, the fyrskygge can infuse a patch of ice with negative energy turning it jet black. The targeted ice must be within 500 feet, and can be up to 30 feet in radius. Living creatures that begin their turn in contact with ice affected in this way suffer 5d6 points of negative energy damage. The target patch of ice also becomes extremely difficult to move across, with each 5-foot square of ice requiring 20 feet of movement. These effects last for 1 minute. The fyrskygge can use this ability at will, though it can only affect one patch of ice at a time.
Create Spawn (Ex): A creature whose Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution is reduced to 0 by the fyrskygge’s incorporeal touch attack dies and rises as a fyrskygge 1d2 minutes thereafter. Fyrskygges created in this way are under the control of the fyrskygge that killed them, and are destroyed if that fyrskygge is destroyed.
Freezing Touch (Ex): A creature that comes into direct physical contact with the fyrskygge, either by dealing damage with a natural attack, attempting to grapple the fyrskygge, or being touched by the fyrskygge, must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 33) or slowly start to freeze. The first time a creature is affected by this ability, she is slowed for 1d6 rounds and suffers 1d4 points of Strength damage. If the creature is affected by this ability a second time while under the influence of its initial effects instead becomes stunned for 1 round, and suffers 1d4 points of Dexterity damage. A creature affected a third time (while stunned) becomes paralyzed instead.
Ice Bound (Ex): A fyrskygge must remain within the ice at all times, able to emerge to the surface only for short periods, limiting its influence on the outside world. Normally, a fyrskygge must remain melded into ice (see the meld into ice ability), but it can make short forays into the world beyond the ice. As a full-round action once each day, the fyrskygge can exit the ice for a period of up to 1 minute. After this time, each round the fyrskygge remains outside the ice, it suffers 10d6 points of damage; this damage cannot be healed by any means until it returns to the ice.
Meld into Ice (Ex): A fyrskygge can meld into ice, not merely passing through it, but joining with it and infecting it with his dark presence. As a free action, a fyrskygge can choose to meld into ice. This works like the spell meld into stone, except that the fyrskygge melds into ice rather than stone, and the duration of the effect is permanent. Additionally, the fyrskygge cannot take actions to affect the outside world while melded in this way, nor can it be harmed directly. Destroying the ice that the fyrskygge is melded into, such as with a disintegrate spell or similar effect, deals 100 points of damage to the fyrskygge and forces it out of the ice, where it must either find a new piece of ice to rest in or suffer damage from its ice bound ability. Finally, while melded into the ice, the fyrskygge recovers 5 hit points per round.
Surge of Darkness (Su): A fyrskygge can lash out in a wild surge of dark energy, attacking multiple creatures within its reach. As a full-round action, the fyrskygge may make a single incorporeal touch attack against any number of foes within its reach. For each foe beyond the first, the fyrskygge suffers a -4 penalty on the attack roll.
A fyrskygge is remnant of a terror which was once known when the land was covered with ice, food was scarce, and death was common. In the days before warmth returned and freed the world from icy grips, this death and malice began to take form, a howling doom that reigned in the coldest and remotest places. This roving malice was bound to the ice from which it stalked and killed, laying claim to all in its path before dwelling hatefully and unknowably beneath the frozen sheets. As the world warmed, their habitat was destroyed and the hateful plague was stopped. Eventually, only a handful of fyrskygges remained, hiding away in the most isolated and frozen lands while other life emerged into the world.
Fyrskygges are extremely mysterious creatures, beholden to wrath and malice and embodying those who succumbed to frigid and frozen deaths. They display at least a human level of intelligence and seem to speak a primal form of Aklo with great skill; where they learned such a language or what use they have for it are questions currently left unanswered, as the terrors confine themselves to the icy shelves, emerging only briefly to feed and spread their horrible curse. Owing to the fact that they are trapped in the ice, it is difficult to know much about what the fyrskygge’s existence is like, though most scholars conclude that they must spend much of their time in a sleep-like state. This leads some to believe that the creatures commune with one another or other entities in dreams, or that they once were not trapped as they are now.