© Wizards of the Coast

Ice Elemental Guide 5e: Walking Icebergs

Large elemental (water/air) , neutral

Armor Class 15 (Natural Armor)

Hit Points 127 (15d10 + 45)

Speed 30 ft., swim 30 ft.

STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
18 (+4)9 (-1)17 (+3)6 (-2)10 (0)7 (-2)

Damage Vulnerabilities Fire, Thunder

Damage Resistances Acid; Piercing and Slashing from Nonmagical Attacks that aren’t Adamantine

Damage Immunities Cold, Poison

Condition Immunities Exhaustion, Paralyzed, Petrified, Poisoned, Unconscious

Senses Darkvision 60 ft., Passive Perception 10

Languages Aquan, Auran

Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)

Proficiency Bonus +3

Chilling. A creature that touches the elemental or hits it with a melee attack while within 5 feet of it takes 3 (1d6) cold damage, and if the creature doesn’t have resistance or immunity to cold damage, it has disadvantage on the next weapon attack roll it makes before the end of its next turn.

Ice Glide. The elemental can burrow through ice and snow using a special burrowing speed of 15 feet. While doing so, the elemental doesn’t disturb the material it moves through.

Dual Nature. The elemental counts as an elemental of both the water and air sub-types (primary water).

Actions

Multiattack. The elemental makes two Slam attacks.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8 + 4) bludgeoning damage plus 3 (1d6) cold damage.

Ice Breath (Recharge 4–6). The elemental releases a blast of freezing ice and snow in a 30-foot cone. Each creature in the area must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 18 (4d8) cold damage and its speed is reduced by 20 feet until the end of its next turn.

Source: D&D Unleashed

What Are Ice Elementals?

Ice Elementals are creatures made of ice and snow. They appear slightly humanoid in shape, with arms and a visible head, but their bodies are composed of snow and shards of crystalline ice. Ice Elements radiate cold and blast their enemies with frigid winds.  

Like other Elementals in DnD, Ice Elementals are the physical manifestations of the elements that compose the universe. These elements—air, earth, fire, and water—can be focused by magical power to harness the dim consciousnesses that exist within the forces of nature.

Wary of fire, Ice Elementals are most comfortable in extreme cold. Magical in nature, these monsters can be deadly in combat and make powerful allies for the Wizards and Druids known to summon them. Composed of water and air, the Ice Elemental is a hybrid of these two elements.

Where Do Ice Elementals Come From?

The world of DnD is composed of multiple planes of existence. These planes exist alongside each other in the multiverse. The multiverse contains all the worlds and planes of existence in the DnD universe, and then some.

Each element has its own plane. At the border of the Plane of Water and the Plane of Air, where mountains of ice rising from the Sea of Ice meet the frigid winds of the Mistral Reach, lies a region so cold that “even ice freezes.” 

The Plane of Ice—also known as Frostfell—is a seemingly never-ending glacier where the temperatures are unbelievably cold and ice covers every surface. This plane is home to all things cold, including Yetis, White Dragons, Ice Mephits, and Ice Elementals. 

On its home plane, the Ice Elemental is a shapeless life force, moving unconsciously along the icy terrain. These beings have little society, and even less culture.

Without magic to bind their life force, Elementals exist only as bodiless incarnations of the elements they are made of. Without this spark of magical life, the Elemental’s dim consciousness remains tied to the material element it inhabits.

Once summoned, Ice Elementals want nothing more than to return to the Plane of Ice. They resist the magic that binds them instinctively, seeking to escape it by any means necessary, including death. As a result, Ice Elementals will fight without regard for their own life.

Where Can Players Find Ice Elementals?

Composed of water and air, Ice Elements are usually found in cold weather climates. Originating from the Plane of Ice, Ice Elements are often summoned by a Wizard or Druid. Once its life force has been bound by magic, the Ice Elemental can prove a powerful ally.

Though some Elementals can be monstrous in size, most are humanoid in shape, between 8 and 16 feet tall. They can be found on glaciers, frigid mountain tops, frozen coastal beaches, or any region with ice and snow. As such, players journeying through wintry climates should be on the lookout for these terrors of the cold. 

How Should Players Fight Ice Elementals?

Ice Elementals make strong adversaries. Players are encouraged to use caution if attacked by these monsters, especially if the creature is accompanied by a Wizard or a Druid.

Ice Elementals are protected by thick Natural Armor, making them difficult to hit. And even if a player manages to hit them, Ice Elementals are resistant to most nonmagical attacks. 

As might be expected, Ice Elementals cannot be hurt by cold damage. They are also immune to poison and status effects including exhaustion, petrification, and paralysis. These Elementals can move through snow and ice without leaving a trace, burrowing at speeds of up to 15 feet per round.

With their Chilling ability, Ice Elementals deal 1d6 cold damage to any character that touches them. For this reason, it’s wise to use ranged attacks against Ice Elementals. Melee strikes at close range will leave players chilled to the bone. 

What’s worse, anyone hit by the Ice Elemental’s chilling cold will have disadvantage with weapon attacks until the end of the turn. Let’s hope the players find a ring of warmth before they run into any Ice Elementals. Having resistance to cold will prevent the creature from giving a player disadvantage.

So what happens if the party finds themselves stranded on a glacier, surrounded by nothing but ice, snow, and frigid winds? Such a location is the perfect habitat for the deadly Ice Elemental. Made of jagged ice and packed snow, the monster will likely unleash an Ice Breath attack, freezing the players in their tracks.

The Ice Elemental has two vulnerabilities: fire and thunder. If the players are capable of dealing fire or thunder damage, they will find themselves with the advantage.

Let’s hope someone is carrying a necklace of fireballs, otherwise the players might find themselves defenseless against a living ice sculpture with nothing better to do than turn them into popsicles. 

How Should a DM Run an Ice Elemental?

Ice Elementals have a low Intelligence score and a powerful will to return to the Plane of Ice. Faced with overwhelming odds, the Elemental may choose to stay and fight, as death will allow the creature to escape the material world.  

Elementals are known for their indiscriminate fighting tactics, and often appear to select targets at random. These monsters fight without regard for their own lives, using their Ice Breath action to deal as much damage as possible.

Ice Elementals get two slam attacks per turn, dealing cold damage with every successful strike. The Elemental doesn’t discriminate in choosing targets, striking anyone within its reach. 

The Ice Elementa’s Ice Breath reduces the enemy’s movement speed by 20 feet for a turn. The monster will likely use this to slow the movement speed of distant enemies or to prevent them from escaping its frozen wrath. 

Because these creatures are summoned spirits, they lack personality or culture. They only speak Aquan and Auran, the languages of the Plane of Water and the Plane of Air. It’s doubtful players will have much to talk about with these monsters.

If an Ice Elemental loses its summoner, it will likely head for the nearest snowbank or iceberg. These creatures don’t like being summoned in the first place and will stop at nothing to get back to their element.

An Ice Elemental might emerge from a frozen lake and surprise the party. Oftentimes Wizards will use Elementals as guardians to protect their most valuable possessions.

Ice Elementals resent being pulled from the Plane of Ice and tend to take their frustration out on others, causing massive destruction without much thought.

DM’s planning to run Ice Elementals should consider whether the party is capable of dealing fire damage. It might be a good idea to leave a scroll of burning hands nearby if the players are lacking in magic items or spells.

A Frozen End

The Ice Elemental is a terrifying and powerful monster, a perfect addition to a mid-level campaign set in a wintery landscape. Use Ice Elementals to diversify combat and keep players on their toes. 

Though the Ice Elemental is a dangerous enemy capable of freezing its foes, these creatures are weak to fire and thunder magic. It’s a good idea to keep these tactics in mind when fighting Ice Elementals, or else the players might find themselves in a frozen grave.

For those interested in staying on this plane of existence, the best plan is probably steering clear of these freezing spirits of bound wrath.