Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Koliada, The Winter Witch for D&D 5

Back in June of 2009 D&D 4th edition was still on the shelves and Dungeon #162 was available for download.  Inside was an Epic level adventure by Stephen Radney-MacFarland called "Winter of the Witch". It featured the machinations of the so-called Winter Witch, the minor Archfey Koliada and her plans to freeze the world.    From the adventure:

"In this epic adventure, the Winter Witch—a legendary archfey—has launched a campaign to send eternal winter cascading over large portions of the world. After a summons to Winterhaven, the characters find a land locked in ice, and an old ally in need of aid. A trek to find a artifact known as the Sun’s Sliver ensues, the only force potent enough to defeat the Winter Witch and banish her from the mortal world once more. An adventure for 22nd-level PCs."

While not totally an original plot, it was still fun, well executed and had a lot things going for it.  But mostly it had Koliada who grabbed my attention from the start.  It also started me thinking about witches of winter.  In particular, why are there so many. Louhi, Elsa and the Snow Queen), Jadis, all the Jadwiga winter witches from Pathfinder and so on.  Notably almost all of these are also royalty, if not outright queens.

This also got me thinking about the War of the Witch Queens campaign I want to do next.  So good job +Stephen Radney-MacFarland! Your character from 7 years ago has inspired me quite a lot.

Recently I have been thinking about D&D 4e conversions.  Both to 5e and to BECMI specifically.  5e, because it is the D&D of the day now and D&D 5 makes a lot of allusions to past versions.  For example the Prince of Frost, Koliada's father/brother/lover/patron appears both in the Dungeon #162 adventure and as a potential Warlock patron in D&D5.

For D&D 4 to 5 conversions (and I'll talk about BECMI ones later)  I opt not to use a 1 to 1 correspondence.  Instead, I convert on a 2/3's basis;  Take the D&D4 character and times it's level by 2/3rds.   WotC still has her stats up, she is a 26th level solo skirmisher.  A lot about her though says Warlock, in particular a fey-pact Warlock Hexblade from the 4e era.

Conversion in this case is going to be more concept driven than finding correspondences with powers.  In fact for a 26th level warlock she is missing a number of spells and powers.  To be fair, the adventure never says that is what she is; just my translation.

So in 5e terms what is she?  Well. I think I made a solid case for her to be a warlock. Her powers come from her patron, the Prince of Frost (Fey Patron). She has a magical sword she can summon (Pact of the Blade) and she has a number of ice based powers.  Now she could use some more oomph, she is the main antagonist afterall, so I buffed her up with some feats.  Let's have a look.
26th level in D&D4 translates, roughly to 17.3333 level, or 17th level in D&D5. She also has some really high ability scores too. I am scaling those back a bit as well.

Koliada, The Winter Witch
Warlock 17, Eladrin Female, CE
Background: Noble

Strength 16 (+3)
Dexterity 20 (+5)
Constitution 19 (+4)
Intelligence 17 (+3)
Wisdom 15 (+2)*
Charisma 20 (+5)*

Proficiency Bonus: +6
Proficient skills: Arcana, History, Intimidation, Persuasion
Saves: Wisdom, Charisma

AC: 24 (studded leather +4, Ring of Protection +3)
HP: 165 (HD d8)
Speed: 30'

Sword of Blackice, "Rimefang" +11, 2d8

Fey Patron Warlock, Pact of the Blade
Patron: Prince of Frost

Feats: Elemental Adept (cold), Magic Initiate (Sorcerer), Keen Mind, Spell Sniper

Powers: Fey Presence, Misty Step, Beguiling Defenses, Dark Delirium

Invocations: Agonizing Blast, Eldritch Sight, One with the Shadows, Thirsting Blade, Sign of Ill Omen, Lifedrinker, Witch Sight

Spells Known
Cantrips: Eldritch Blast, Chill Touch, Blade Ward, Mage Hand, Ray of Frost (MI), True Strike (MI), Ice Bolt (SS)
1st level: Faerie Fire, Sleep, Fog Cloud (MI)
2nd level: Calm Emotion, Phantasmal Force
3rd level: Blink, Fear
4th level: Dominate Beast, Greater Invisibility
5th level (current casting): Dominate Person, Hold Monster, Scrying, Seeming
6th level: Conjure Fey
7th level: Finger of Death
8th level: Power Word Stun
9th level: Power Word Kill

Languages: Common, Sylvan, Draconic, Primodial, Abyssal

All in all, a nice build.

I am ignoring her Unique Kill quality about only being killed via a bolt of sunlight from the artifact Sun's Sliver. 

Have to try her out now against my players!


Pun Isaac said...

I remember the original adventure (though I never played it). This is a really cool write-up, Tim.

solomani said...

I just finished running my characters through a 5e conversion of Revenge of the Giants that ended with the characters at level 16 and they want to continue on to 20. They had so much with the conversion that I am looking at other 4e epic adventures to convert for the final four levels. This is at the top of my list. Thanks for the conversion though will likely amp her up to 20+

solomani said...

I created my own version and used her to cap off my 5e campaign as the "end boss" for my level 20 characters. Here is the conversion I used:

She made for an epic end to my campaign.

solomani said...

I created my own version and used her to cap off my 5e campaign as the "end boss" for my level 20 characters. Here is the conversion I used:

She made for an epic end to my campaign.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

That is very cool. Thanks for sharing that.