I ran my party through the 4e adventure Winter of the Witch ending my third 5th edition campaign. Revenge of the Giants only got the party to level 15 and they wanted to get to 20 so capped the campaign with Winter of the Witch. The picture of the Winter Witch that goes with this adventure in Dungeon #162 captured my imagination back in 2009 so it was great to finally run Koliada as the epic level bad gal for my 5e campaign. Here is the 5e version of Koliada, the Winter Witch.
My party of four level 20s with two supporting NPCs (a ranger wolf animal companion and a “wood” golem built using a manual of golems – a modified iron golem) were victorious but two of the characters and one of the NPCs were out for the count (but not dead) and third was down to 1 hit point (barbarian triggered relentless rage) and a druid who went through 400+ hit points via wild shape.
N.B.: I created the mythic tag for essentially solo monsters like Koliada. Mythic means the creature has maximum hit points and mythic initiative.
KOLIADA, THE WINTER WITCH
Medium fey (mythic), chaotic evil
Armour Class 24 (fey gown, ring of protection +3)
Hit Points 712 (67d8 + 134), Bloodied: 335 (this number includes the benefit of fiendish vigour)
Speed 40 ft. (may levitate at will)
|16 (+3)||18 (+4)||14 (+2)||18 (+4)||20 (+5)||20 (+5)|
Saving Throws Dex +12, Con +10, Cha +13
Skills Deception +13, Perception +13, Persuasion +13, Stealth +12
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons that aren’t cold iron
Damage Immunities cold
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, exhaustion
Senses blindsight 10 ft., darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 20, she may also see in magical darkness and pierce any illusion or shapechanger within 30 feet.
Languages Common, Elvish, Giant, Sylvan and can read all languages and speak with all animals.
Challenge 26 (90,000 XP) Prof +3
Aura: Winter’s Chill. All enemies of Koliada that enter or start their turn within 25-feet of her take 10 cold damage and are slowed (as the spell but no save) until the end of their next turn.
Archfey. Koliada is an archfey and acts as patron to suitable warlock adherents. This includes the following traits:
- She has access to every warlock class feature related to the fey as well as access to every warlock spell. She uses her Innate Spellcasting trait to cast these spells and considers cantrips as At Will spells, and may cast level 1 to 5 spells 3 times a day each and 6th+ level spells 1/day. Her Innate Spellcasting trait only lists spells she is most likely to use during this battle. Her spells are always cast at the highest spell slot possible for the spell without it expending a higher slot (for example magic missile is a 1st level spell but Koliada casts it as a 9th level spell but it is still uses the “at will” spell slot).
- She has some non-warlock spells in her list of spells and some spells do not follow the above rules because she is a chaotic faerie.
- Koliada knows all warlock invocations. Where applicable the benefits have been included in the related ability or spell.
- Creatures within 10-foot cube centred on Koliada are charmed or frightened if they fail a DC 21 Wisdom saving throw. Once a character saves it is immune to this effect for 24-hours it otherwise functions as the charm person
- If Koliada is the target of a charm effect the charm is automatically redirected to the caster who must pass its own save DC or become charmed for 1 minute by Koliada.
- Koliada is not limited by the Concentration restriction of any warlock spell.
Innate Spellcasting. The Winter Witch’s innate spellcasting ability score is Charisma (save DC 21, +13 to hit with spell attacks). The Winter Witch can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components.
- At will: eldritch blast (300 ft, 1d10+5 x4 and also push the creature back 10 ft), fog cloud, magic missile (1d4+1 x 11 shards, force and cold damage), ray of frost (18 [4d8]), vicious mockery (4d4 psychic, WIS)
- 3/day each: chill metal (as heat metal, but does cold damage), freezing sphere (300, 60’ sphere, 45 [13d6]), blink* (11+ and Koliada vanishes, she can suppress this ability), hold monster (5 targets, WIS or paralysed), greater invisibility
- 1/day: cone of cold (49 [11d8], CON, 60ft cone), circle of death (14d6, CON, 60ft sphere), finger of death (CON, 7d8 + 30), feeblemind (4d6 psychic, INT or 1 CHA/INT), glibness*, power word stun *(<150 hp, CON to break), power word kill (<100 hp), foresight* (advantage on all d20 rolls, disadvantage on attackers)*, dominate person (WIS or total control), compulsion (WIS or use Move action as directed by Koliada), confusion (10 ft sphere, WIS), conjure elemental (ice elemental, treat as water but does ice damage), slow (6 creatures, 40-ft cube, WIS, or -2 to AC and Dex, no reaction, action or bonus and no more than 1 attack), polymorph (60 ft, WIS), bestow curse (Touch, WIS), bane (30 ft, CHA, 9 creatures -1d4 attack/saving throw)
* These spells have already been cast.
Legendary Resistance (3/day). If the Winter Witch fails a saving throw, she can choose to succeed instead.
Magic Weapons. The Winter Witch’s weapon attacks are magical and do an extra 7 (2d6) cold damage (included below).
Winter Step. The Winter Witch ignores difficult terrain caused by ice and snow. She can walk on vertical and horizontal surfaces that are covered by ice or snow.
I Refuse Banishment! When the Winter Witch is reduced to half her normal hit point total she gains a second initiative count. This second turn may use any of her normal combat Actions and Reactions but the number of Legendary Actions remains the same across the entire round.
Winter’s Mistress. Once per turn, Koliada deals an extra 35 (10d6) damage when she hits a target with a weapon attack and has advantage on the attack roll, or when the target is within 5 feet of an ally of Koliada that isn’t incapacitated and Koliada doesn’t have disadvantage on the attack roll. Koliada considers creatures encased in Koliada’s Ice as allies for the purposes of this trait.
Multiattack. The Winter Witch makes two attacks in any combination she likes, she may also cast a spell.
Sword of Black Ice (Pact Weapon). Melee Weapon Attack: +15 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 17 (3d6 + 7) cold damage plus 17 (3d6 + 7) poison damage. On a critical hit, the weapon does an additional 60 cold damage and the target is dazed on a failed DC 21 Constitution saving throw. Dazed creatures hit again become stunned (save ends).
Freezing Touch. Melee Weapon Attack: +12 vs Constitution, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 14 (2d6 + 7) cold damage plus 5 (1d10) ongoing cold damage. Any creature affected by the ongoing cold damage may make a save at the beginning of their turn to shake it off, further failed saves have secondary effects:
- First failed saving throw: The target is immobilised.
- Second failed saving throw: The target is stunned and takes an additional 5 (1d10) ongoing cold damage.
- Third failed saving throw: The target is encased in ice and grant’s Koliada a flanking bonus (see winter’s mistress). A character can continue to save vs DC 21 Constitution to break out at the start of their turn. Any application of magical heat grants the encased creature advantage on the save.
Ice Crown. Ranged Weapon Attack: +12 to hit, range 80/320ft., one target.
Hit: 13 (2d8 + 4) piercing damage plus 7 (2d6) cold damage. The target’s speed is reduced by 10 feet until the end of its next turn.
Wardancer (Recharge 5-6). The Winter Witch may teleport up to 40 feet and make a sword of black ice attack against all adjacent creatures. These attacks score a critical on a 16+.
Frozen Shards. When the Winter Witch is hit by a melee attack, she can strike her attacker with shards from her icy crown. The attacker takes 11 (2d10) piercing damage and 11 (2d10) cold damage, or half damage with a successful DC 21 Dexterity saving throw. She may then vanish in a puff of mist to turning invisible until the start of her next turn or until she attacks or casts a spell, and teleports up to 60 feet away (my players dubbed this effect the “invis-o-port”).
The Winter Witch can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. The Winter Witch regains spent legendary actions at the start of her turn.
- Move. Koliada may take a move action.
- Freezing Touch. Koliada makes a freezing touch attack.
- Ice Crown. The Winter Witch makes an ice crown attack.
- Snowblind. One target that the Winter Witch can see within 100 feet must succeed on a DC 17 Constitution saving throw or be blinded by swirling snow until the end of its next turn.
- Spellsinger (Variable). Koliada may use cast a cantrip (1 action) or use a 3/day spell (2 actions) or a 1/day spell (3 actions).
- Dark Delirium (2 Actions, 1/Day). Koliada plunges a creature into an illusory realm. Koliada chooses a creature that she can see within 60 feet of her. It must make a DC 21 Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, it is charmed or frightened by Koliada (her choice) for 1 minute or until her concentration is broken (as if she were concentrating on a spell). This effect ends early if the creature takes any damage. Until this illusion ends, the creature thinks it is lost in a misty realm, the appearance of which usually entails blizzards and other actic weather. The creature can see and hear only itself, Kolida, and the illusion. If a creature successfully resists dark delirium it immediately recharges.
WINTER WITCH’S LAIR
The ice castle of Winter’s Heart is the Winter Witch’s lair. Sunlight and moonlight flash through the delicate spires and translucent walls, seeing the palace agleam even in the deepest night. The castle reflects its mistress: beautiful, cold, and unforgivingly deadly.
On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), the Winter Witch takes a lair action to cause one of the following effects; the Winter Witch can’t use the same effect two rounds in a row:
- Koliada may modify Winter’s Heart terrain as she sees fit – raising or lowering pillars, sealing and creating crevasses etc. The exact effect is at the DM’s discretion, however, it should only be one feature per use (for example raising or lowering a single pillar).
- A wall of dense snow springs into existence within 120 feet of the Winter Witch. The wall is up to 60 feet long, 10 feet high, and 5 feet thick, and it blocks line of sight. When the wall appears, each creature in the wall’s area must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. A creature that fails the saving throw takes 18 (4d8) cold damage and is pushed 5 feet out of the wall’s space, on whichever side of the wall it chooses. A creature that touches the wall at any time takes the same damage. Each 10-foot section of the wall has AC 5, 15 hit points, vulnerability to fire damage, resistance to bludgeoning and piercing damage, and immunity to cold, poison, and psychic damage. The wall lasts until the Winter Witch uses this action again, or she dies.
- Icy wind and stinging snow swirls around the Winter Witch. All creatures that aren’t immune to cold damage and are not the Winter Witch’s allies have disadvantage when making saving throws against cold damage or cold-based effects while within 60 feet of the Winter Witch. This effect lasts until initiative count 20 on the following round.
- The snow and ice of the lair shimmer and gleam, catching the light and flashing it into the eyes of the Winter Witch’s foes. Attack rolls against the Winter Witch and her allies within the lair have disadvantage until initiative count 20 on the following round.
The region containing the Winter Witch’s lair is warped by the fey lady’s magic, which creates one or more of the following effects:
- Within 10 miles of the lair, snow and ice resist melting. Snow and ice can be melted only with prolonged contact with magical fire (or an equivalent nonmagical source of intense heat).
- The sky is overcast most of the time within 10 miles of the lair, and snowfall is common. The area is difficult terrain for Tiny, Small, and Medium creatures because of deep snow.
- Light snowfall or swirling powder blown by the wind lightly obscures the area within 5 miles of the lair. Creatures not native to arctic climates or allies of the Winter Witch have disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks.
If the Winter Witch dies, conditions in the area surrounding the lair return to normal over the course of 1d10 days.
Ring of protection +3, Ring of fire resistance (the Winter Witch is otherwise vulnerable to fire damage), The Sword of Black Ice (+3 rapier that does poison and cold damage).
This severe elf has pale, almost white skin and tightly braided raven black hair. Her gown is exquisite, fashioned of luminous blue fabric that catches light and shines from within. Lacy ice crystals accent the gown, and a snow-white mantle cascades from her shoulders. Icicles radiate in a crown like halo behind her head, drifting gracefully through the air.
Her Crystalline Majesty, Koliada of the Unseelie Court, is the cold-hearted Winter Witch, Snow Queen, Sister-Daughter of The Prince of Frost. The Winter Witch rules a northern kingdom in the Feywilde known as Frozen Reach. Perpetually shrouded in snow and ice, her domain is inhospitable to outsiders. She rules from Winter’s Heart, a castle of delicate spires carved entirely out of ice. The dwelling catches and reflects even the faintest glimmer of light, shining like a beacon and enticing travellers to risk the dangerous winter realm.
For context, she faced off against the party as described in the original 4e adventure (I even used the same battle map). She was supported by 2 Frost Giant Berserkers (slightly modified base frost giants) which replaced the two trolls in the original, 2 ghaeles of winter (CR 8 spell casters) and 3 eladrin blackguards (from volo’s guide) which replaced the quicklings. Evil non-drow elves I thought worked better thematically than the original quicklings. Here is the original battlemap (I hand waved the frostblight treant encounter – the three “T” on the map).