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04-20-2011, 02:14 AM
Originally posted on Wednesday 04-20-2011 02:12 AM at koboldquarterly.com (http://www.koboldquarterly.com)

http://www.koboldquarterly.com/k/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Snow-crystals-200x300.png (http://www.koboldquarterly.com/k/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Snow-crystals.png)

To celebrate the release of Open Design’s Northlands: Roleplaying in Winter’s Chill (http://www.koboldquarterly.com/kqstore/index.php?main_page=advanced_search_result&search_in_description=1&keyword=Northlands+Axe), Chris Harris and*Dan Voyce bring you the frostveil.

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They took the sled dogs first, one by one, and later the seal-skinner set to guard them. We’d hear a confused, muffled cry in the wind and then we’d find them—a raven harvest cold and stiff on the ice. Next time, we hid ourselves and watched, and saw them floating through the air like paper jellyfish or a wizard’s kite: what at first appeared to be a wisp of blowing snow failed to disperse, coalescing into a billowing, snowflake sail that moved with graceful and sinister purpose. The “cloak of death” our skraeling guide called it.

“The north wind blows andthe blizzard-ship billows its sail of snow-stars.”So say the Northmen, and it’s why they always set the door of their tents and snow-shelters facing downwind of the prevailing breeze. It’s fear of the frostveil: the silently gliding, beautiful killer of the polar desert.

Whipped through the air by snowstorms, resembling a spider’s web dangling with delicate ice crystals, frostveils are actually a semi-sentient algae adapted to the merciless cold of the uttermost north. Their net-like body and trailing tail of transparent, membranous fibres are connected by flat nodes shaped like overlarge snowflakes, each a handspan or more in width. They act as miniature sails to carry the all but weightless frostveil aloft on the wind in search of prey…

Gossamer tendrils of connective tissue stream nearly invisible behind and between the flying snowflakes, ready to grab and tangle any warm-blooded creature it detects. Each star-like node contains crude sensory organs able to detect warmth as meager as a living creature’s breath and steer the gliding web toward it. Dragged in by swiftly contracting tendrils, the frostveil draws its body together, enveloping the source of heat, spreading out to cover every inch of its surface. Once attached, the frostveil clings tenaciously to its victim, draining their body heat—and often asphyxiating them in the process—while secreting psychotropic spores to quieten the target, and covering itself in acidic enzymes to prevent outside interference and aid digestion of its prey.

A frostveil grows rapidly after feeding on a human-sized or larger victim. After several days, it divides into two new creatures, each ready to be carried aloft when the next wind brushes by.

Frostveil (CR 5)

XP 1,600
N Medium plant
Init +9; Senses blindsight 120 ft., all-round vision; Perception +4


DEFENSE
AC 15, touch 15, flat-footed 10 (+5 Dex)
hp 17 (7d8



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