Winter is Coming II: Kharaste’s Lance of Ice

Editor’s Note: We’ve got a great post from Brandes Stoddard from Harbinger of Doom today, offering a brand new spell for D&DNext or, with some tweaks, any other edition of D&D. It’s really well done, and gives a great “Winter is Coming” vibe. I hope you enjoy.

This spell is intended for use in D&D Next, but with minor adjustments, it could be imported into other editions of D&D. The use of a Secret here is intended to model the fact that the spell is evoking a magic item into the caster’s hands. The spell’s duration obviously makes the core implementation of attunement an undesirable mechanic here.

Kharaste’s Lance of Ice

3rd-level evocation

Shouting an invocation of Kharaste, a long-dead figure of myth, you evoke into being an echo of the spear she once bore, and you are yourself endowed with a glimmer of her skill in battle.

Effect: You must have at least one hand free to cast this spell. Upon the spear’s creation, you may either hurl it immediately, or hold onto the spear and wield it as a melee weapon.

If thrown, you make your attack in the same turn that you cast. Make a magical attack against a single target, dealing 3d6 cold damage and 3d6 piercing damage. The target then rolls a Constitution saving throw; on a failure all adjacent creatures suffer 3d6 cold damage. If the saving throw is successful, adjacent creatures take no damage, but the initial target takes an additional 2d6 cold damage (having successfully “contained” the explosion of ice).

If retained in hand, you do not make an attack roll in the round that you cast the spell. In later rounds, however, you may make melee attacks with the weapon as if you are proficient in its use, and you gain an additional +2 bonus to attack rolls made with it (as you echo some of Kharaste’s skill). It is a +1 long spear that deals an additional 1d8 cold damage on every hit. It lasts for one minute or until released from the hand, either deliberately or through a successful disarm attempt. It cannot be thrown or given to another character.

Secret: If you learn Kharaste’s full name and the history of her battles with the Brood of Ghisteris, the evoked weapon gains an additional property: it deals an additional 2d8 piercing damage against creatures of the dragon type (possibly including Draconic-heritage sorcerers, at the DM’s discretion). This bonus damage applies to both the melee form and the thrown form of the lance.

Kharaste and the Brood of Ghisteris

Kharaste Svennasdottir was a frost giant spearmaiden in the distant past, during the fabled wars between the giants and dragonkind. She rose to command a great battle-host, thanks in part to the spear she fashioned for herself from the heart of the world’s largest glacier. She attuned herself very strongly to that spear, and in her hands its chill could daunt even the greatest of the white dragons, Ghisteris herself. Kharaste, her spear, and her many battles with dragonkind became an integral part of the wyrd of the world, and runes for each of them are carved into the World Tree (which is why the Wise may invoke them thus).

As is often the case in such tales, however, Kharaste fell victim to her personal wyrd; Ghisteris pronounced a death-curse against her, so potent that Kharaste could not defend herself against even the least of the surviving dragons of the brood. Refusing to grant Ghisteris the final victory, she shattered her spear into a million splinters of ice. She was herself so strongly attuned to the spear that she dissipated as well.

Yet this was a ruse; the fabric of the world may not so easily be unmade. Whenever her lance is invoked, her soul stirs in the Otherworld. When the last white dragon who bears Ghisteris’s blood has passed from this world, Kharaste will resume her battle with them in the Otherworld. Some part of this battle is all but certain to spill over into our world, from the land of the dead. At least one prophecy mentions “the spearmaiden’s rebirth” as the prelude to the Last Winter, in which the fires of life and hope are finally extinguished. There is, however, just as much text to support the idea that it is Kharaste who will defend the world from that bitter death and the vengeance of Ghisteris.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *