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Saturday, October 17, 2020

Dungeons & Dragons - A Guide to Auril, the Frostmaiden

Auril is the main villain in Rime of the Frostmaiden, so I figure it might be handy to go through old products and see if we can dig up any lore that might help run her more effectively in our Icewind Dale campaigns.

As it turns out, she is mentioned in a lot of old products, but often, it's just a sentence or two. There's not a lot of lore - it's the same information repeated over and over, with new ideas scattered here and there.

There is a story about how she has teamed up with three other evil gods, but over the course of 5 editions, not much really happens with them. 

Pronunciation: Another thing that is fun to track while doing this guide is the pronunciation of Auril's name. If you look at page 12 in Rime of the Frostmaiden, you'll see that her name is pronounced "oh-reel." Was it always this way? Nope. 

New Information: The three things that stuck out to me while making this guide:

  • Legacy of the Crystal Shard has a ton of content that would be very useful to incorporate into Rime of the Frostmaiden.
  • Auril has a daughter named Nalkara, who can be summoned by Halaster the Mad Mage.
  • Auril might be The Queen of Air and Darkness.

Dragon Magazine #54 - Down to Earth Divinity

This article, by mighty Ed Greenwood, details about 20 Forgotten Realms deities. One of them is Auril. Here's her main traits:

  • Goddess of Cold
  • Neutral Evil
  • Demigoddess
  • Home Plane: Pandemonium

The Gods of Fury: She is connected to Talos, a storm god. "Talos is served by Auril, Umberless, and Malar. All four are known collectively as The Gods of Fury."

Spells: She can cast Frost Fingers (a spell from Dragon Magazine #33, which appears in 5e's Rime of the Frostmaiden), Ice Storm, and Otiluke's Freezing Sphere. 

Breath Weapon: She has an icy breath weapon that acts like a cone of cold spell. The breath also has the effect of a crystal brittle spell on all metal that it touches.

Alignment: All who worship her are netural evil.

"A worshiper of Auril would have ice and cold-related spells doubled in power, while spells related to the other elements would be half-strength."


Forgotten Realms Campaign Set Cyclopedia

The pronunciation guide in this says: (AWE-rill).  

We learn that Auril is a beautiful, blue-skinned maiden garbed in a mantle of white.

Rival: Chauntea, Neutral Good Goddess of Agriculture, is always at war with Auril and Talos.

Faiths & Avatars

We get some expanded lore: 

  • New Nicknames: Icedawn, the Cold Goddess, Lady Frostkiss
  • Alias: Saukuruk (among people of the Great Glacier)
  • Allies: Talos, Umberlee, Malar
  • Foes: Ar'ar (Amaunator), Moander, Sune, Chauntea, Shiallia, Uthgar.
  • Worshipers Alignment: Any neutral or evil.

Pronunciation is still AWE-ril.

Traits: Auril is a lvl 27 mage, lvl 20 fighter, and lvl 15 cleric. We also learn:

  • She is worshiped primarily out of fear.
  • She can call on the other gods of fury for aid, but only does so with Umberlee with any confidence. Malar despises her.
  • "She is a fickle, vain, and evil creature whose cold divine heart remains untouched by any hint of true love, noble feeling, or honor."
  • "...the flower of womanhood preserved forever in a slab of arctic ice..."

Avatars: She has 2 avatar forms:

Frostmaiden: The blue-skinned, white haired woman. She can cast spells that harm plants and animals, she can summon arctic creatures. 

The touch of her gown leaves a mark called the frost brand, a translucent mark that marks flesh, wood and stone alike. When you are next to her you must save each round or the frost brand mark, which does 2d8 damage.

She has a ice axe +3 frost brand.

Icedawn: "A silent, gliding apparition of icy hateur, an impassive figure in an ornate crown and hooked, spurred armor of opaque, light blue ice." She casts no spells. 

"Her appearance always costs the life of any Aurilian priests who are present, freezing them internally."

She drifts about, coating everything in her wake with a thick rime. Everything within 20 feet become frozen solid.  "All other living things must make a successful saving throw vs. death magic each round they are within 20 feet of her or die."

Icy Breath Manifestation: She can also manifest as icy breath accompanied by a cold, ruthless chuckling and a blue-white radiance.

Frost Eyes Manifestation: She appears as a blank-eyes face of frost with long, wind-whipped white hair that radiates intense cold.

"She slays with her life-chilling kiss" and confers boons by breathing them out of the face's mouth.

Servants: She indicates her favor/disfavor with water elementals, ice elementals, undead, winter wolves, frost giants, and other arctic creatures.

Followers: Specialty priests of Auril are called icepriestesses and icepriests. Most use the honorific: "Hand of Auril" or "Icebreath"

Formal titles:

  • Postulant
  • Votre
  • Icewind
  • Storm Sister/Storm BrotherFrosttouch
  • Lady/Lord Cold
  • Lady/Lord Deep Winter
  • Lady/Lord Cold Circle
  • High Hand of Ice

Priestesses of Auril are immune to natural cold, and need much less food.

Tasks: Auril charges her clergy to: "Cover all the lands with  ice. Quench fire wherever it is found. Let in the winds and the cold; cut downwind breaks and chop holes in walls and roofs that my breath may come in. Work darknesses to hide the cursed sun so that the chill I bring may slay.Take the life of an arctic creature only in great need, but slay all others at will. Make all Faerun fear me."

Holy Days: There are a few holidays and events related to Auril:

  • Midwinter Night: A festival of ice dancing that lasts all night.
  • The Embracing: A ritual to gain admittance into her clergy. You must run through a blizzard all night long dressed only in boots, a thin shift, and body paint. You'll either die from exposure or be rescued by her embrace.
  • The Coming Storm and the Last Storm: Howling ice storms summoned by the clergy bringing fierce weather down on a region.

The Cult of Frost seeks the ring of winter, which is found in Tomb of Annihilation. It is currently held by a Chosen of Auril named Artus Cimber.

The Frost Witches: "...who have recorded at least one tome of frost and cold magic in Auril's name and are reputed to know the location of the Codicil of White..."

Auril's Relationship with Talos: Their relationship is close and cordial. Talos's relationship with Umberlee is flirtatious and filled with rivalry.

Prayers from the Faithful

This is a really unique book. It's full of lore, items, and ideas relating to the gods of the Forgotten Realms.

The Silver Supplicant: A statuette that is always cold, and when it is dropped gives off a bell-like chord. It can be used as a source of spells and as a holy relic linked to Auril. The statue went missing and someone has been creating fakes.

The true statuette has 10 skirt ornaments and 10 spells relating to cold and ice can be learned from it.

Cold Cloaks: Wizards loyal to Auril.

Old Name of Auril: Alaphaer

Secret Spells: The statuette can be used to cast three spells when the command word is spoken: Heal, ice storm, and teleport without error. One the command word is spoken, the spell must be cast within 4 rounds, or else the statuette casts it on a random target.

3e Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting

Castle Perilous: This place is home to a cleric of Auril named Iyraclea, "The Mistress of the Great Glacier." She has been abducting young mages. "Few see her castle of sculpted ice and live to tell the tale."

Snowflowers: Edible plants that tumble about in icy winds.

Ice Worms: White-furred things as long as a man's arm that lives on meltwater or snowflowers.

Gerti Orelsdottr: A female frost giant, daughter of the frost giant jarl. She believes that the frost giants are the chosen people of Auril.

  • Favored Weapon: Icemaiden's Caress, a battleaxe made of ice

Uthgar, god of the Uthgardt, hates Auril for turning the Elk tribe away from his worship.

Faiths & Pantheons

Her name is still pronounced aw-rill.

  • Symbol: White snowflake on gray diamond with white border.
  • Home Plane: Fury's Heart.
  • Worshipers: Druids, elemental archons (air or water), frost giants, rangers.
  • "She remains untouched by any hint of true love, noble feeling, or honor."

A lot of this text is identical to the 2e description. They changed the test, though:

Test: Each of her clerics must force or persuade someone to pray to her, praising her for the "cold cleansing" she brings. The prayer must last as long as it takes for a piece of ice to melt in the hand of the supplicant.

Clergy are expected to slay at least one creature with cold each winter.

Auril is one of the Deities of Fury. Talos has eroded her power, so she has responded by making winter more fierce in the North.

Dragon Magazine #312 - Prayers of the Frostmaiden: The Spells of Auril

This article updates some spells from older editions.

Revelations of the Icedawn: A holy book of Auril, containing her prayers.

Dragon Magazine #367 - Realmslore: Hall of the Frostmaiden

 

This 4e article details a planar realm ruled by Auril. It also makes some eyebrow-raising claims that I'm not sure are canon.  

She's still awe-ril.

The Icedawn Syllabus: A treatise on Auril penned by Demetrius Whitefire of Sossal.

The Frostfell: The Frostfell is an area in the Astral Sea (the Astral Plane was called the Astral Sea in 4th edition) that is in Auril's control. "It is a land where raw, intangible belief meets raw, immutable reality." This realm contains a number of sub-realms:

Lairgmire, the Hallowfrost Plains: Snowy realm, home to mammoths, smilodons, etc. 

Shiverfang Gulch: Home to frost worms. 

Stromfar, the Frosthorn Peaks: Get a load of this: "Fey of the Shiverpine Forest revere Auril as the Queen of Air and Darkness, a malevolent faerie goddess banished from the Feywild at the dawn of time..."

Silverlight Aerie: Home to avariel (winged elves) who worship Auril.

Deargpool, the Everfrost Bay: This place is where the Sepulcher of the Sleeping One lies. The corpse of Sea King Ulutiu rests here for all eternity.

Winter Hall: It looks like an iceberg flipped on its end. This colossal ice mote is shrouded in fog and freezing rain. The throne room inside it was crafted from the beating heart of a primordial called Durbaagal.

Auril: "She appears as a haughty winged faerie of terrible, cold beauty, with bone-white skin and angular features; he mane of flowing black hair is adorned with an ornate crown of platinum and diamonds. "

  • No mortal realm is beyond Auril's influence.
  • Her palace is a trophy hall, displaying her countless victories.
  • She is one of the Three Furies, along with Malar and Umberlee. Talos was revealed to be Gruumsh (!) and was banished.
  • She has gained power by siphoning the faiths of Ulutiu, Aerdie Faenya, and Gruumsh.
  • She is in conflict with an ancient primordial called Akadi.
  • Her exarchs include: Iyraclea the Ice Queen, and Artus Cimber.
  • She embodies freedom and impulse?

Winter Hag: This article details a new type of hag. they are winter hags, who serve as handmaidens of Auril. We get very little description, mostly just a stat block.

Dungeon #170 - Monument of the Ancients

This adventure is set in Phlan. Elementals are plaguing the town.

The Alaphaer Run: A swift torrent flowing under 10 inches or more of packed ice. It is impossible cold, dealing massive cold damage. This river is blessed by Auril, and actually travels in an out of her Astral realm in the Deep wilds.

Legacy of the Crystal Shard

This adventure was released during the playtest days of 5th edition. It is set in Icewind Dale, and it involves the Ten-Towns and everything. I ran some of this in the game store when it came out, right before I started this blog.

This adventure involves the "black ice," known in Rime of the Frostmaiden as Chardalyn.

A Chosen of Auril, named Hedrun, has made a tower of black ice.

Hedrun: She was a member of the Elk Tribe, and became involved with the son of Mjenir, the shaman (the same shaman who appears in Rime of the Frostmaiden). Auril ended up freezing Olaf to death when Hedrun kissed him.

Mjenir had her banished. Hedrun became a Chosen of Auril. Her job is to collect the black ice and use it to augment Auril's power. Her abilities:

  • She freezes whatever she touches.
  • She can hurl icicles at distant foes.
  • She commands obedience from the beasts of the tundra.
  • She can create icy duplicates of herself while her real body slumbers in an icy coffin.

Auril Traits: We learn a few new things about Auril:

  • Auril grants her favor in response to prayers only capriciously.
  • Her followers are often females who have survived an encounter with extreme cold.
  • The idea of a cleric of Auril is almost entirely foreign.
  • Auril wants to be independent of the other Gods of Fury.

Bear Tribe: The Tribe of the Bear follows Auril, and made a temple in Evermelt, the old lair of Icingdeath.

Davrick Fain: A priest of Auril's who lives in Bremen. He travels Ten-Towns and spreads the word.

Dead in Thay

The villain in this adventure has captured the Chosen of various deities, and is siphoning their power. One of those Chosen who has been captured is the Chosen of Auril from Legacy of the Crystal Shard.

Hedrun Arnsfirth, Chosen of Auril: We learn what's happened to Hedrun since the events of Legacy of the Crystal Shard. If Hedrun was slain in Legacy of thee Crystal Shard, then she is now a wight. "She curses an oath to Auril and attacks characters, swearing vengeance on Ten Towns and the people of Icewind Dale."

5e Player's Handbook 

On page 294, there is a list of Forgotten Realms deities. Auril is right at the top.

  • Goddess of Winter
  • Neutral Evil
  • Domains: Nature, Tempest
  • Symbol: Six-pointed snowflake.

Dungeon of the Mad Mage 

I still haven't gone through this book. It broke me by page 50 - too much wall of text. I really need to take another stab at it.

On page 302 of this adventure, the throne room of the Mad Mage himself is detailed. There is a magic circle on the floor of this room, which can be used to summon an empyrean. Who is this empyrean? Check it out:

Nalkara the Empyrean: Nalkara is the neutral evil daughter of Auril, the god of winter, and Thrym, the god of the frost giants. 

She looks like a frost giant with crackling blue flames for hair. When she is happy, everything around her is bright and warm. When she's unhappy, her surroundings become dark and colder. 

In this adventure, it is stated that Nalkara owes Halaster a favor. Halaster orders her to kill the heroes. 

Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden

This adventure is about Auril, and how she has cast a spell on Icewind Dale known as the Everlasting Rime.

The Everlasting Rime: (pg 5) Just before midnight each night, Auril flies on a roc and casts a spell. This has been happening for over two years! The effects of the spell:

  • Creates an aurora that fades before dawn. 
  • Prevents the sun from rising the next day, no sunlight or warmth. 
  • Barricades the mountain pass with blizzards.
  • Churns the Sea of Moving Ice with blistering winds. 

Icewind Dale is "trapped in a different reality from the rest of the world, for though the sun never rises over the dale, it continues to rise everywhere else."

Each casting leaves Auril weakened. 

(pg 6) Auril is unhappy and craves isolation. "Auril's decision to live among mortals is explained in appendix C." Hmm.. seems like we better check that out, huh?

(pg 274) Auril the Frostmaiden: She is a neutral evil lesser god of cold indifference. She hoards beauty, trapping it in ice. Because the spell leaves her in a weakened state, she avoids contact with creatures that can harm her. She lurks on Solstice, a mist-shrouded island in the Sea of Moving Ice.

It does say that the gods stopped meddling in mortal affairs after The Sundering, but Auril could not stay away for long. 

She has three forms. To destroy her, "...heroes must reduce each of her forms to 0 hit points one after another." If at least one form hasn't been reduced to 0 hp, she can take a long rest to regain all her destroyed forms. 

  • Cold Crone (First Form pg 275): A 7-foot-tall biped with the head of an owl (the creature on the cover of the book). 
  • The Brittle Maiden (Second Form pg 276): 10-foot-tall woman made of ice and frost.
  • The Queen of Frozen Tears (Third Form pg 278): A 3-foot diameter ice diamond containing a divine spark (!). 
The Tenets of Aurils's Faith: On page 212, the core beliefs of Auril are discussed: Cruelty, Endurance, Isolation, Preservation.

Auril's Abode: She lives on an island in the Sea of Moving Ice.

Her fortress of Grimskalle is detailed. Those who serve the Frostmaiden can come here and take part in 4 magical tests to prove their loyalty to her.

Passing her tests might grant a creature the Blessing of the Frostmaiden:

  • Eyes become cold as ice.
  • Immunity to cold damage.
  • Can cast cone of cold once per day.

There is a Hall of the Four Winds which contain ice tablets that spell out Auril's core beliefs.

The Codicil of White is here, a book that contains rituals and ceremonies pertaining to Auril.

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