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Frozen Hellwater (Relic)

posted Thursday, April 10th 2008 by Jonathan Drain
Game MaterialMagic Items & GearThird EditionWondrous Items

This magic item originally appeared 17 Relics by The Le Press. A relic is a powerful magic item which once formed part of the body or belongings of some great figure. See Seventeen Relics for special rules on relics.

Trapped for centuries inside a glacier, the powerful water genie Zannaber plotted his revenge on the world until vile powers colluded to free him in the form of a chilling creature of dark ice. Rampaging across the world, he was eventually stopped by knights of a god of burning vengeance, whereupon his body was cut into a hundred pieces, melted down, stored in jars and scattered across the world to prevent him from returning.

One jar of this Frozen Hellwater can be used as a powerful grenade-like weapon, similar to alchemist’s fire or holy water. When a full jar of water touches a creature, it takes 5d6 cold damage and must make a successful Fortitude save (DC 20) or be permanently frozen over with rime. A frozen creature is unconscious and thus cannot take any actions (not even mental ones). A break enchantment, heal, miracle or wish is required to restore the creature to normal.

Any amount of water removed from the jar immediately freezes within one round, and the remaining water in the jar loses its ability to freeze victims solid. Frozen Hellwater gives off an evil aura when detect evil is used.

Moderate transmutation; CL 11th; Price 3,300gp; Weight 1 lbs.


  1. Darkfire

    April 10th, 2008

    Sorry Jon, but that seems over-powered for the price.

    Let’s break it down:
    1. 5d6 cold damage.

    This is roughly equivalent to a 5th level caster’s Shocking Grasp with the benefit of increasing a melee touch attack to a ranged one. As a single use, use activated item this would be in itself worth 250gp although you’d probably want to add something for the added range. Definitely no more than double the price as it’s 3d6 short of Scorching Ray (2nd level) at 5th level. Lets say 300-350gp.

    2. DC20 Fort save to negate perpetual unconsciousness which requires, at best, a 4th level spell (if you happen to have a Bard on call otherwise 5th level) to undo.

    The effect is roughly equivalent to a save or die spell such as Phantasmal Killer (4th level) which requires the 5th level Raise Dead to undo and has a similar dual saving roll (Will save + Fort save vs touch attack + Fort save) but the DC seems a tad on the high side (CL 11th => 6th level spell => Int/Wis/Cha 16 => DC10 + 6 + 3 = 19). Additionally, the effect is untyped unlike P.K. which is both a mind-affecting and a fear effect. The only disadvantage over P.K. is the range: ~close with increment penalties vs medium. This is more than balanced by the lack of typing.

    Anyway, comparisons aside, basing this effect purely on CL 11th, 6th level spell, single use, use activated item this in itself gives a price of 3,300gp.

    Costing (assuming multiple different abilities):
    3,300 + ((300 to 350) × 1.5) = 3,750 to 3,825gp

    I’d be tempted to round that up to 4,000gp.

    I’d also recommend typing it as a cold effect and giving bonuses on the saving throws for those with resistances to cold (+1 for every 5 points resistance sounds reasonable) and those with immunity to cold being (*GASP*) immune. The effect should also be fatal to creatures which are vulnerable to cold (i.e. Fire subtypes). Additionally, the DC should come down one or increasing the CL to 13th, the base spell level to 7th and raising the price accordingly to ~5,000gp.

    Good to see a single-use artifact for a change although I’d expect such a thing to be a ‘random’ find rather than an actual objective (“All that effort for something we can only use once?”) or loot from a confrontation with a major antagonist (who, given its potential in combat, would use it on the PCs). Unless of course said person were stockpiling it in an effort to resurrect the genie or to hold the world to ransom and fulfill their dreams of becoming a Bond villain…

  2. Zaratustra

    April 14th, 2008

    Of course, if the players find a jar of liquid in a stash, they’re more likely to drink it…

  3. Jonathan Drain

    April 14th, 2008

    If they drink from a jar that’s covered in frost despite being held at room temperature for a century, it’s their own fault.

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