View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next New Race: Snow Witches (PEACH)

Steel Mirror
2016-12-13, 02:19 AM
My next attempt in my ongoing project to make monster-inspired races are based on a Japanese legend known as the Yuki-Onna (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuki-onna), with some influence from the sidhe of Irish mythology. (Hence the name sidhe-yuki, incidentally, because I didn't want their name to mean "snow women")

I didn't have an incredibly strong guiding idea for how I wanted this race to turn out. I like what came out of the process, but I have no idea if it will seem cohesive or in any way interesting to someone looking at it with fresh eyes, so I welcome comments, as always. They are a reclusive race who live in the high mountains but are nonetheless refined and elegant, though not all of the stories about them leading travelers into an icy and untimely death are completely false. Mechanically I was trying to make them decent wizards, eldritch knights, and arcane tricksters, while still keeping the door open for other classes that can make use of their racial features.

As usual I've separated fluff (which is largely specific to my own campaign world, though I think it's easy enough to generalize most of it) and crunch into separate spoilers so that you can look at mechanics without wading through the other stuff if you so desire.

Thanks for looking!


https://s27.postimg.org/ndcgnbb1f/yuki_onna_the_snow_spirit_by_takeda11_d3iivrk60.jp g
Artist Credit: Takeda11 (http://takeda11.deviantart.com/) on deviantart http://takeda11.deviantart.com/art/Yuki-Onna-the-Snow-Spirit-212512592

”Come this way, sir,” said the beautiful young woman standing just off the path. Her marble-white skin blended into the snow, and despite the freezing winds she was barefoot and dressed in an elegant silk robe. “I know a shortcut through the forest. Come with me, and warm your weary bones next to the fire.”

“Begone, ice witch!” cried the merchant as he bent against a fresh flurry of snow. “I’ve heard tales of your tricks! I’ll not be led to my death by a treacherous ghost!”

“You must be so tired. Won’t you come with me? Won’t you come in out of the cold?” Her voice was lovely, but she spoke in an unchanging monotone that made it subtly wrong. Her placid expression never changed, not when she spoke, nor when he yelled at her. The merchant turned once more into the wind and trudged on, intent on ignoring her pleas.

It took hours, but he made it around the glade of frozen trees and finally stumbled into his destination, a cheery inn perched at the midpoint of the mountain pass. He shook snow from his coat and stamped his boots as he came through the door, suddenly enveloped by the welcoming golden light of a merrily crackling fire.

“Well don’t you look like ten miles of bad road,” said the innkeeper, a smiling dwarven matron who was polishing the bar. Standing next to her was the pale woman from before, looking somehow even more otherworldly in the middle of an otherwise normal inn than she had walking unprotected through the storm outside.

The merchant leveled a shaky finger at her, stuttering in disbelief and horror. “The ice witch! Sh-she’s come back for me!”

The innkeeper let out a booming laugh. “Witch? That’s just Saki! She works here! I had her out in the storm looking for stragglers, but you're the last one to get here. Probably because yeh took the long way 'round!”

Saki spoke in the same monotone as before, hands folded demurely across her stomach. This time the merchant thought he could detect a tiny hint of apology in her voice. “People are always afraid. I tried to welcome him. I must still not be being friendly enough.”

“Don’t mind him Saki, he’s just a big baby. Now, you finish stomping your boots so you don’t foul up my floors, and Saki will fetch you some hot tea. She prepared some after she got back through the forest path so it would be ready and waiting for yeh. I’ll get you sorted with a room, and maybe next time you’ll know not to believe everything the village folk say to gullible tourists!”

Shiyuki are denizens of the frozen mountains, attractive in a sharp-edged fashion that recalls the extreme landscapes which they call home. They are hardy and clever by necessity, and possess a natural inscrutability that fuels tales of ghostly, emotionless tricksters. They have an appreciation for elegance and craft beautiful art in that few outsiders have ever seen, though that is slowly changing. Once almost completely isolated, more and more youngsters leave their snowy peaks each year in order to experience life among the warm bloods, and their kind is no longer completely unknown in the towns and metropolitan mixing pots of the lands below.

Anatomy of a Snow Man
Shiyuki aren’t just denizens of the cold. Winter is a part of their very being. A shiyuki is cold to the touch, their body the temperature of a cool forest stream, and their skin is the color of fresh snow. They have dark hair and eyes which are a single color, usually solid white or black, with no iris or pupil.

Shiyuki are comfortable in the cold and wear loose, thin garments in all but the coldest weather. On the other hand, they find temperatures in less frigid lands to be very uncomfortable. What warm bloods find a pleasant day is a sweltering sauna to a shiyuki, and a truly hot day often drives them to seek shelter wherever they can, unable to risk too much activity for fear of exhaustion and heat stroke.

When a winter is especially barren or a shiyuki is afflicted with a serious illness, they are capable of entering a state of hibernation. While in hibernation their bodily functions are all but suspended, and they do not require sustenance. They also do not age, and their bodies’ ability to fight off poison and infection are enhanced. A shiyuki in hibernation can be roused as though from a deep slumber, or they emerge naturally after a predetermined amount of time elapses. Tales of shiyuki hibernating for years or decades are indeed based on real occurrences, though a shiyuki must have great confidence indeed in her caretakers to entrust them with her care and protection for such a long period of time.

Shiyuki live in small family clans, with a score or so related individuals living together in an ancestral mansion or homestead. Each clan oversees a distinct territory, and their home mountains are thus divided into a patchwork of enclaves. All shiyuki on a mountain are ruled by a queen, and each queen further owes fealty to an empress who lives beneath a massive glacier far in the north. Shiyuki do not often speak of such things to outsiders.

In times past, the shiyuki valued their isolation and drove off any who wandered into their lands, often with deadly results. Tales of bewitching women and striking men beckoning travellers to their deaths in the snow are popular even today. Because their territories are so frigid and dangerous, hostilities between them and warm bloods were usually impractical, and they existed instead as something between a ghost story and a natural hazard to those living in surrounding lands.

Recently shiyuki society has begun to defrost somewhat, and relations between them and the kingdoms have been improving for decades. Shiyuki adventurers may be motivated by curiosity, or a desire to bring the energy and advancements of the dynamic lower lands back to their own relatively static and traditionalist people

A curious consequence of their cold metabolism is that shiyuki prefer chilled meals, and rarely cook food at all (tea is a different story-they adore the beverage and will reluctantly build fires in order to properly prepare it). Despite this they have elaborate traditions around preparing food involving combining wild herbs and berries with other ingredients, typically thin slices of raw meat or pickled vegetables. Some members of other races have developed a taste for this esoteric and delicate cuisine, and shiyuki chefs are currently in great demand in the trendier corners of them realm.

Whispers of a Frozen God
Every race and religion has its origin myth, but the shiyuki’s is notable for not casting the birth of their people as a positive thing. Rather, they believe that they were created by an evil god named Ithaqua to spread death and winter across the world.

According to the story, Ithaqua took the bodies of people who had perished in blizzards and avalanches, froze their souls back into their frigid bodies, and bade them serve him. Eventually the shiyuki rebelled against their insane creator and imprisoned him beneath a massive glacier, and ever since they have stood a long vigil in the cold to ensure that he never escapes.

The traditional standoffishness and isolation of the shiyuki is often attributed to this story, as some shiyuki believe that the presence of outsiders endangers the rites and taboos which keep Ithaqua imprisoned. A few still believe this and argue to return to the old ways, while some secretive groups of shiyuki have done even worse and have begun to worship the old mad god which once gave their people life.

Shiyuki Names
Male Names: Arlan, Caird, Dain, Haru, Herne, Hiro, Kenta, Lyr, Sora
Female Names: Airi, Alara, Briya, Faye, Hanae, Hina, Lea, Mizore, Tanya
Clan Names: Nagato
Shiyuki Traits
Shiyuki are enigmatic, but beneath their icy exteriors they can be surpassingly loyal and sincere.

Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution and Intelligence scores increase by 2.
Age. Thanks to their slow metabolisms, shiyuki live much longer than humans. They reach adulthood by 40 and can live to be 200, though by hibernating for extended periods they can effectively extend their span of years by decades or centuries.
Alignment. Shiyuki are accustomed to living life at a glacial pace, and so tend strongly towards neutrality. Some isolated cults, however, have rededicated themselves to their ancestral god, and these are almost invariably evil.
Size. Shiyuki are tall, ranging from 5 and a half to 7 feet tall. Your size is medium.
Speed. Your walking speed is 30 feet.
Winter Person. You have resistance to cold damage. You’re also naturally adapted to high altitude, as described in chapter 5 of the DMG.
Hibernation. You regain all of your spent Hit Dice at the end of each of your long rests. You do not age or require sustenance while hibernating, and if you choose to spend an entire 24 hour period in in this state you gain advantage on Constitution saves against poison and disease.
Icy Demeanor. You gain advantage whenever you make a Charisma (Deception) check to conceal your emotional state, or to mislead by omission and ambiguous phrasing (but not outright lies).
Light Step. You leave no tracks in snow and ice, and you travel at your normal speed in any difficult terrain.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Giant, and can speak Yeti.

Sariel Vailo
2016-12-22, 11:07 AM
can i call it the yuki ona when i use it and as a final idea if they are addapted to this climate do they have the natural athletics or lift things as though size larger thing. just some strange questions. also is their a racial archetypal class, as well as myabe a subrace

Sariel Vailo
2016-12-22, 11:10 AM
or snow witch in japanese (Yuki no majo)

2016-12-22, 11:17 AM
I just wanted to say, Steel Mirror, I'm a huge fan of your work. This is really nice and the balance looks spot on. :smallbiggrin:

Sariel Vailo
2016-12-22, 11:51 AM
hey ninja prawn aka nail wna hear a funny idea princess snow witch

Sariel Vailo
2016-12-22, 11:55 AM
in tye fluff it says something about unerring beauty. so maybe throw a plus one to charisma ill ad that and subtract strength maybe 1

2016-12-22, 12:23 PM
Mm, 'Snow Witch Princess' is good, but I raise you one Snow Witch Winter Witch (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=20505579&postcount=1)! :smalltongue:

Though to be honest, Elsa is a sorcerer, so...

Steel Mirror
2016-12-22, 02:09 PM
I just wanted to say, Steel Mirror, I'm a huge fan of your work. This is really nice and the balance looks spot on. :smallbiggrin:
Thank you so much! Balance is always hard. I'm glad you're enjoying the stuff though, and I have some more stuff in my backlog which I'll be putting up after the holidays.

can i call it the yuki ona when i use it and as a final idea if they are addapted to this climate do they have the natural athletics or lift things as though size larger thing. just some strange questions. also is their a racial archetypal class, as well as myabe a subrace
Call them whatever you like, mix them up and modify them and use them how you wish! I put this stuff out there to see what people think and hear from people who know the system better than I do, but also so that anyone can use them however they want.

They don't have the natural athlete thing or anything like that; they're a lot less physically imposing than, for example, the goliaths, despite sharing some of their mountain adaptations.

I didn't really have any ideas for separate subraces, so I stuck with keeping them as a single one. I've got a few more races in the pipeline which I'm messing around with though, and some of them have several subraces, so I'm stretching my subrace making muscles there. :smallbiggrin:

2016-12-22, 02:19 PM
I might drop the Con bonus to +1. It's got a good deal of useful other racial traits, so compare it to the Mountain Dorf, the only other +2/+2 race. But it's certainly not broken.

2016-12-22, 02:22 PM
Do you follow a guide to balance your races?

Steel Mirror
2016-12-22, 06:57 PM
I might drop the Con bonus to +1. It's got a good deal of useful other racial traits, so compare it to the Mountain Dorf, the only other +2/+2 race. But it's certainly not broken.
Yeah I was eyeing the Mountain Dwarf pretty carefully as I made these guys, and I thought I sort of matched it up.

Poison Resistance/Cold Adaptation
Dwarven Proficiencies+Tool Prof/Icy Demeanor?
Armor Prof+Not Slowed by Armor/Light Step

Obviously there's not a good 1 for 1 comparison to be made between the races, but I sort of felt that it was about on par. Maybe the Shiyuki are a bit broader and have more noticeable abilities.

Do you follow a guide to balance your races?
I pretty much just compare them to what's already out, like above. :smallbiggrin: That's part of why I've been putting off doing any more of these, I don't have Volo's yet, and I figure it will give me some more points of comparison!

2016-12-22, 07:11 PM
I really like this race, nice work, it looks really interesting

2016-12-22, 10:18 PM
I did not notice this did not have Darkvision. With that in mind, it's probably okay.

Good work!

2016-12-22, 11:12 PM
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand another race I have to bookmark down! My only finaglement resides with languages. I am somewhat up in the air on agreeing with giant, or recommending primordial. Campaign specifics probably would factor the most in such a toss-up.

Yeti part is fine though. Not like the weren will complain! :smallbiggrin: