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    The Ways of the Sons of Winter
    Posted on Mon, March 15, 2004 by Farcluun
    wykthor writes "The monks of this prestige class are part of a small and descentralized order, whose goal is
    their personal view of the perfect body, trying to make it as close as possible as the incarnation of winter, of the cold and the mountain's icy wind. As a Son of Winter evolve in their lessons, they become gradually closer to their philosophy. Finally, when he/she reaches absolute mastery, it can no longer be considered a humanoid, rather a being whose relationship with cold and ice imposes respect even at a frost giant. In order to achieve all this, however, they must endure a very strict philosophy and undertake tests of admission that can easiliy kill unworthy candidates.

    The Ways of the Sons of Winter
    By: wykthor
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    Admission at the Order:

    The Sons of Winter refuse to give shelter to anyone who approaches them asking refuge from the cold, but they will accept a petitioner who wants to enter their ranks, even if he/she is not a monk. After all, the order's first test is to survive in cold exposure without any kind of protection. If a non-monk who had decided to join passes the test, the candidate is dismissed in the following day as he will fail in the tests of skill (i.e the monkish requirements for the prestige class). If he/she died in the first test, the winter proved the petitioner's weakness and foolishness for volunteering in something he/she was not up to. Please note that the Order accept females as readily as males. Although the Order was founded by a male, females can use freely the correct gender term, naming themselves as The Daughters of Winter, even if the official name is male. For ease of play, when it is addressed the term Son of Winter, it can also be attributed to a Daughter of Winter, unless the sentence refers specifically to a male body.

    The first step in admission to the order will also be the most important, before analysing the petitioner abilities. The severity of the test will depend on the conviction of the character and the initial evaluation of the Sons of Winter upon the petitioner. As the test can be extremely lethal, it would be wise for characters to think thrice and estimate their conditions of survival (i.e hit points, fortitude save) before presenting the request for joining. Its likely that in the end of this first test, the character will be unconscious (which does not mean failure) or dead. If the latter case, the candidate may be raised by a third party, with new petitions for joining will not only be accepted but also admired by the Sons of Winter due to the character's insistence. During the test, there will be no food or water (which won't make a difference on the mechanics unless the character was already starving), any kind of magic and supernatural resource will be forbidden, especially magic itens and spell use. Finally, the character will not be wearing any kind of protective clothing against cold (which does not means he/she must be naked), being fully exposed to the cold weather. The companions of the petitioner may not interfere, and rarely will be permitted to watch. Below are the two modes of the test, its choice up to the Sons of Winter.

    a) Icy Watch: The character is taken to a cold ravine in the sunrise, being instructed to sit and meditate until the next sunrise, without leaving this place. The Son of Winter who took the petitioner then leaves (but still watches in hiding) and will evaluates how the character will take the cold exposure and the desolation. In game terms, the character will be exposed and unprotected to continual cold weather, a condition that he/she must make each one of the 24 hours a Fortitude Save DC 15 +1 for each hour after the first. It's important to remember that a high wilderness lore/survival skill rank may confer a bonus to this roll. For each failed save, the candidate takes 1d6 of cold subdual/nonlethal damage. If the character falls to zero hp, he is unconscious but still needs to roll further saves, this time taking 1d6 of cold lethal damage. If the character takes lethal damage equals his hit points +10 (i.e comes to -10), he/she is dead. In this test, its common a character take 15d6, 18d6 or even the maximum of 24d6 of cold damage (part nonlethal, part lethal) if he/she failed enough saves. However, by the next sunrise, when the Son of Winter comes to check the applicant, if he's not dead, he passed the test and then is cured by the use of some healing potions the Son of Winter always brings on this occasion.

    b) Fury of the Ice: For the Sons of Winter, the placid ravine cannot match the challenge of the howling wrath of a blizzard. When these monks decide the petitioner needs or deserves a harder test, they wait until the right day (or night) until the weather conditions ensure the coming of a blizzard. Then, a senior member of the order takes the petitioner to an open area where the force of the blizzard will be fully felt. The canditate must stay alive, in unprotected clothes, during an unproclaimed timeset of 3 or 4 hours. The Son of Winter instructs the character to try to stand if he/she can, cross legged if that's not possible or laid down as last option. The Blizzard will cover 1d3 foot of snow in the ground, the conditions will be of severe cold the unprotected character. Instead of making a Fortitude save every hour, it needs to make every 10 minutes, with failure means the character takes 1d6 of nonlethal damage(lethal if already uncounscious). The DC begins at 15 +1 for each following 10 minutes after the first, going from DC 15 to 33 (if 3 hours) or 39 (if 4 hours). Again, there are great chances the character will be unconscious, if not dead. To make matters worse, the wind conditions vary between severe and windstorm (DMG 3.5 p.95). Each hour the candidate must make a Fortitude Save 15 or 18 (according to the wind strenght) to avoid his movements being checked or being knocked down. In the case of small sized petitioners and the force of a windstorm, they'll be chained in the arms and legs with heavy weights to avoid being blown away. However, such candidates take 1d4 points of lethal damage each hour they failed their saves against the winds, due to the strain of the chains on their bodies. The character must demonstrate maximum calmness and freedom of movement during the blizzard, under the gaze of the Son of Winter. In game terms, the petitioner must try to execute a serie of martial movements (Kata) while not being interrupted by the terrible weather. Every 10 minutes the character must make a Concentration check DC 15 (20 if failed the fortitude save against the wind) to realize the Kata sucessfully. In order to pass this test, the candidate must not only survive the cold but also show his discipline even the body is subject to assault. While the blizzard rages, it takes 5 successful concentration checks in order to avoid failure in the Fury of Ice (plus not dying in the cold, of course). If the character fails but still lives, he will be escorted back but won't be admitted, though he can try again. Those who successfully make 10 or more Kata, will be recognized for his mastery and will be eagerly acclaimed as a new initiate if he survives the test and fulfill the other requirements for the prestige class. So, the routine for this test is:

    - Each Hour: Fortitude save DC 15 (severe wind) or 18 (windstorm) or suffer the effects described in the DMG 3.5 p.96 (or DMG 3.0 p.87) and takes 1d4 lethal damage if the character is small sized and the wind strenght is a windstorm

    - Each 10 minutes: Fort save DC 15 +1 per each 10 minutes after the first
    Concentration check DC 15 (20 if failed the fortitude save vs the wind) to make a successful martial move serie (kata)

    A monk who proved his worthiness is invited to enter in the Order. Although the study of winter is a trademark between their members, it is possible to find reasons to climb down the mountains and even go adventure in warmer lands. A possible excuse could be the choice of a new, cold site for creating another monastery even if that means following a group of unbelievers looking for meaningless quests while the Son of Winter keeps searching for an appropriate place. However, the Son of Winter cannot do acts which result in a blasphemy against his philosophy. If that happens, its up to the DM decide if the monk can redeem himself after making a proper amend or if the sin was too great. In case of a failed redemption, the monk can't advance further in the prestige class.

    Below are a typical list of crimes against the Sons of Winter's philosophy:

    - Eating cooked food
    - Ingesting any kind of warm drinks (not only Brandy, Vodka but also non-alcoholics such as tea or coffee)
    - Laying next a fireplace, campfire or similar in order to warm himself
    - Accept a spell which protects against cold, no matter the consequences, even if that means enduring a white dragon's breath
    - Going in free will and finding satisfaction in entering a warmer place (sauna, hot springs, etc)
    - Charity is alien to the cold hearts of the Sons of winter. So is a sin being altruist and helping someone in need who is provedly weak and whose goals wont help the monk or the order. The adventuring companions of a Son should be seen as strong by him and any sign of weakness (not only physical or mental, but also actions that go against the monk philosophy) should be criticized. The Sons of Winter can respect someone who is able to defend his "flawed" point of view if this person is strong enough to resist the monk, either verbally or in combat. When this happens, the Son of Winter will keep thinking low of the character's point of view, but will belittle him no more. When accepting a quest, if that means helping someone, the monk will demand a compensation if the supplicant is seen as "weak". However, if this person demonstrated great strenght and resilience, he/she may even be helped by the monk without payment, the Son of Winter may even help cost free, if he is so inclined.

    Origin of the Northern Barbarians & Sons of Winter

    The Sons of Winter - Prestige Class


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    Re: The Ways of the Sons of Winter (Score: 1)
    by WightNight on Thu, March 25, 2004
    (User Info | Send a Message | Journal)
    Very nice write-up. I like the concept of these cold-hearted monks. :)

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