A chorus of roars echoes throughout the valley. Your blood turns to ice as you stand there petrified. Soon after, an audible crash and crunch sound comes from behind you. You turn to see your ally’s body lying in the snow, limp, crushed below a boulder. The frost giant everlasting one has found you.
Since it’s Christmas Eve today I felt obligated to choose a wintry or festive creature. I couldn’t find something festive that I wanted to showcase today, so I opted to skirt the line and roll with this icy behemoth.
Volo’s Guide to Monsters (VGtM) is one of my favorite supplement books in D&D 5e because it takes quite a few of the Monster Manual (MM) and upgrades them significantly. Some examples of this are the tanarukk or the flind.
Think of a frost giant everlasting one as a frost giant that hit the gym, got some new clothes, and partook in a religious ceremony that involves eating an entire troll alive. You know, the normal routine for someone post-breakup. Seriously though, this thing is an absolute powerhouse and I love it.
Frost Giant Everlasting One Lore
The frozen wasteland that frost giants tend to inhabit can make for a hellish and difficult life. Food and supplies are scarce. Out of desperation, some frost giants will turn to Vaprak in search of more power and strength to make their lives a bit easier.
Interestingly, Vaprak is traditionally a god of ogres and trolls, but he is a god of strength. Giants have other gods like Annam who they revere.
Vaprak loves to screw with the frost giants who worship him out of desperation. He’ll taunt them with dreams of glory and success, but then soon after, he will send them cannibalistic nightmares. The frost giants that double-down on these dreams and come to enjoy them are chosen by Vaprak to receive a gift.
This gift is a troll servant of Vaprak who travels to the chosen frost giant and offers up their body to the giant. The frost giant must then immediately consume the troll in Vaprak’s name, bones and all. Few frost giants can finish a meal of this size, but those that do receive Vaprak’s Blessing.
Vaprak’s Blessing is to turn the giant into a frost giant everlasting one. They gain the regenerative abilities of a troll and the brute strength and rage of an ogre. With these newfound abilities, the frost giant everlasting one can quickly rise to the top of the food chain in their society. And fend off any would-be challengers for the rest of their natural life.
However, if the everlasting one fails to continue to praise Vaprak and serve him their regenerative abilities will take a turn for the worse. They’ll still heal, but their skin may become discolored, scars will be visible, and extra limbs or heads may grow. In most cases, this results in the frost giant everlasting one being exiled or killed by their clan.
Frost Giant Everlasting One Stats and Abilities
You can find the frost giant everlasting one statblock on page 148 of VGtM.
AC: 15 (patchwork armor)
HP: 189 (14d12 + 98)
Speed: 40 ft.
STR: 25 (+7)
DEX: 9 (-1)
CON: 24 (+7)
INT: 9 (-1)
WIS: 10 (-0) – Fun fact, this is the only time I’ve seen 0 referred to as (-0) and not (+0).
CHA: 12 (+1)
The frost giant everlasting one has a pretty solid statblock. For starters, their Strength and Constitution are their two primary ability scores. Both of these stats have a +7 modifier which is absolutely ridiculous in the best way. They are absolute powerhouses and can take a ton of damage.
This, of course, means that their HP is pretty solid. Their AC is a bit on the low-end, but they have a few resistances and immunities that more than make up for it in addition to their large health pool.
Their speed and size also help them a bit in the survivability game. They’re 10 ft. faster than the average PC and they have a 10 ft. reach with their melee weapons.
Flavor-wise, the transformation into an everlasting one leaves their Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma at their original frost giant values. I thought this was a very nice touch. Outside of Charisma, these abilities are all pretty mediocre, but that’s the price you pay for having a +7 modifier in your two primary ability scores.
Resistances, Immunities, Saves, and Skills
Saving Throws: STR +11, CON +11, WIS +4
Skills: Athletics +11, Perception +4
Damage Immunities: cold
Senses: darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 14
CR: 12 (8,400 XP)
While the frost giant everlasting one’s Wisdom isn’t anything to write home about, its +4 to Wisdom saving throws is a welcomed benefit. Spells such as Hold Monster could prove to be damning for a frost giant everlasting one, so having a bonus to these types of saving throws is awesome.
Interestingly, an everlasting one loses the Charisma Saving Throw bonus but gains a Strength Saving Throw bonus. This is actually a bit of a nerf since this makes them more susceptible to charm spells and other forms of crowd control that uses Charisma Saving Throws. Strength isn’t nearly as common of a saving throw.
That being said, a +11 to Constitution Saving Throws is enormous. Especially considering how common of a Saving Throw ability Constitution is.
The cold damage immunity is another carry-over from their frost giant origin. It’s also a fairly common damage type so that makes this a valuable immunity to have.
Darkvision is, as always, a great benefit. A passive Perception of 14 is also fairly solid, plus frost giant everlasting ones can have some other benefits to Perception checks.
Generally, giants only speak and read in Giant. This can give them some great mechanical benefits as creatures. The party will have to include someone to translate their pleas to Giant, otherwise, they’ll fall upon empty ears. It’s difficult to form an alliance or call for a cease-fire in the midst of a battle when both sides have no shared language to communicate with.
Abilities and Traits
Extra Heads. The giant has a 25 percent (1d4) chance of having more than one head. If it has more than one, it has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks and on saving throws against being blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, stunned, or knocked unconscious.
Regeneration. The giant regains 10 hit points at the start of its turn. If the giant takes acid or fire damage, this trait doesn’t function at the start of its next turn. The giant dies only if it starts its turn with 0 hit points and doesn’t regenerate.
Vaprak’s Rage (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest). As a bonus action, the giant can enter a rage at the start of its turn. The rage lasts for 1 minute or until the giant is incapacitated. While raging, the giant gains the following benefits:
- The giant has advantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throws.
- When it makes a melee weapon attack, the giant gains a +4 bonus to the damage roll.
- The giant has resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.
Extra Heads is an interesting ability and can potentially make the frost giant everlasting one much more powerful. Gaining advantage on Perception checks is great for picking out potential ambushes, but the real value comes from the advantage on all of those crowd control conditions.
That being said, there’s only a 25% chance of a frost giant everlasting one having more than one head. Or, in terms of the official lore, it’s because of their punishment from Vaprak for not continuing to serve him.
To gain this trait, you could roll 1d4, justify it narratively, or simply use it as a way to scale up the frost giant everlasting one’s statblock naturally. At the end of the day, the creature doesn’t rely on this trait to be powerful or even viable. Including Extra Heads is a great way to create a solid creature of a boss fight.
Regeneration works the same way as the troll’s regeneration trait. This makes sense as it’s part of the Blessing of Vaprak which bestows troll features and abilities onto a frost giant. It’s a solid survivability trait, but the downside is that 2 common damage types can completely shut it down.
Vaprak’s Rage is essentially a reflavored version of the barbarian’s Rage feature albeit with only 1 use per Short or Long Rest and +4 to damage. In most cases, one use is sufficient as your creatures tend to last one encounter before dying or retreating. The creature also doesn’t have to deal or take damage to maintain this rage, they maintain it for 1 minute unless they are incapacitated.
One thing to note is that Vaprak’s Rage doesn’t seem to impact maintaining concentration spells or spellcasting. This doesn’t really matter since the frost giant everlasting one can’t cast spells. This could be a game-changer if a homebrew version was a spellcaster or a homebrew creature was given the Vaprak’s Rage trait.
Multiattack. The giant makes two attacks with its greataxe.
Greataxe. Melee Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, reach 10ft., one target. Hit: 26 (3d12 + 7) slashing damage, or 30 (3d12 +11) slashing damage while raging.
Rock. Ranged Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, range 60/240 ft., one target. Hit: 29 (4d10 + 7) bludgeoning damage.
The frost giant everlasting one deals some decent damage for a CR 12 creature. However, they really rely on using Vaprak’s Rage and maintaining it throughout combat to get solid and reliable damage. The +4 damage raises their average damage with their Greataxe by roughly 15% which is a significant amount.
Rock doesn’t benefit from Vaprak’s Rage, and can’t be used as part of the Multiattack action, but it has a solid range of 60 ft. and up to 240 ft. at disadvantage. Rock also deals an average of 29 bludgeoning damage which isn’t half bad.
That being said, Rock should only be used as a gap-closer. The frost giant everlasting one needs to be in melee range to deal their best damage output and reliably maintain Vaprak’s Rage.
Frost Giant Everlasting One Strengths
There is no reason for the frost giant everlasting one to not be using Vaprak’s Rage. They do not need to take or deal damage to maintain it, they just have to avoid being incapacitated. That being said, with a Constitution Saving Throw bonus of +11 it’s going to be difficult to incapacitate this creature.
While Vaprak’s Rage is active, the giant gets resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage in addition to their cold damage immunity. These are some of the most common damage types in the game making all 4 of these resistances and immunities extremely valuable. In a sense, it almost doubles the creature’s HP.
Extra Heads can also help a frost giant everlasting one avoid incapacitation since it gives advantage on both the stunned and unconscious conditions. Not to mention the many other conditions that this trait helps the giant protect itself from.
If your frost giant everlasting one is intended to be a boss fight, I’d highly suggest giving them Extra Heads just to ensure that their Vaprak’s Rage can be maintained. Especially if the party has at least one Monk. Stunning Strike is brutal.
Regeneration is very obviously worth noting here as healing is a great survivability tool and survivability is a part of a creature’s defense. 10 hp is just under 5% of the frost giant everlasting one’s maximum hit points so it’s a fairly significant amount of healing per round.
D12s are the highest damage die that you’ll see in D&D 5e. They’re also the damage die with the highest variance in their results. While 2d6 will effectively give you the same results with a slightly higher average, they still fall short in terms of dealing the maximum amount of damage.
This can, of course, be a negative attribute, but with a +11 modifier to their damage, the frost giant everlasting one has a scary “floor” of 14 damage per swing of their greataxe. This is a low price to pay for a creature with a maximum hit of 47 slashing damage with each of their two Greataxe attacks per round.
If somehow your dice ring true you could deal 94 slashing damage in a single round, not including an opportunity attack. This type of damage could absolutely down a PC in a single round. It’s unlikely that your monstrosity will deal its maximum damage, but it’s not unlikely that they’ll deal higher than their average of 60 damage per round.
While you can make the case that they’re just as likely to deal the minimum amount of damage or below-average damage this is less of an issue in my opinion. Having this type of high-risk, high-reward damage output is generally more of a boon for a character than it is a detriment.
Frost Giant Everlasting One Weaknesses
It’s true that the frost giant everlasting ones have an above-average movement speed of 40 ft., and that they do have a ranged option. However, Rock is far from their ideal attack option. Any spell or ability that can halve the giant’s movement speed or further slow them makes them considerably less threatening.
For starters, while they are forced to use their ranged attack they can’t benefit from the +4 damage bonus from Vaprak’s Rage. They’ll deal an average of 1 less damage per attack than if they had used their Greataxe while enraged.
They also can only make 1 Rock attack as an action as opposed to 2 Greataxe attacks by using the Multiattack action. This means that they’ll deal an average of 29 damage per turn instead of 60. Basically, you’ll be dealing less than half of your average damage per round if you can only use your ranged attack.
A Dexterity modifier of -1 is, while only slightly below average, detrimental to any creature or character in 5e. Dexterity is arguably one of the best ability scores if not the best ability score in D&D 5e.
So many mechanics include Dexterity. Your AC (while not wearing heavy armor), Initiative Bonus, a grapple escape, and of course, it’s an extremely common Saving Throw Ability.
For starters, I did mention that 15 AC at CR 12 isn’t the greatest, though the frost giant everlasting one’s HP, resistances, and immunities make up for this. Since they wear patchwork armor, they would’ve benefitted from a higher Dexterity score.
Having a -1 to your initiative rolls is typically not ideal as a creature. While the party may not want to always go first creatures controlled by the DM heavily favor high initiative rolls. Going first or near the top of the turn, order ensures that you’ll be able to get into a good position to strike the party and strut your stuff.
Going last for a creature can mean that the party has already crowd controlled you into oblivion, or kill them before they get a shot at wreaking havoc. Thankfully the frost giant everlasting one is a hardy creature so it’s unlikely that they’ll be downed before their first turn, but it’s still not ideal for them to have a negative initiative bonus.
Spells like Fireball require dexterity saves to avoid some sizeable damage. Having a -1 to each of these Dexterity Saving Throws makes it less likely that you’ll make the high Spell Saves that the party’s spellcasters will be slinging at you. You can only hide behind your health pool for so long before these spells drop you.
How to Play a Frost Giant Everlasting One
Crush Your Enemies
The frost giant became an everlasting one because they do not back down from a fight. They dream of blood and glory. They will crush their enemies or die trying. Cowardice and backing down from a fight would be sacrilege.
There would have to be an extraordinary reason for a frost giant everlasting one to back down from a fight. The party could convince them to join forces with the promise of glory, but it would have to be a pretty damn exceptional reason for the frost giant to back down from engaging the party.
Frost giant everlasting ones live to fight. They took risks and sought out unnatural power to become an everlasting one for this reason. Violence comes before all else.
They will also make it a point to absolutely destroy their enemies. This is not only a viable tactic to ensure that revenge is not taken upon them, but more importantly, it’s a show of strength.
Break their Front-line
In many of my Monster Mondays, I talk about how a creature may want to find ways to avoid or bypass the party’s front-line characters. The frost giant everlasting one is not a smart creature. They’re not super wise either. They’re simply average in these attributes.
What they are though, are cocky creatures that have been granted otherworldly strength. They are the rulers of their people because they’ve been able to crush every adversary they’ve faced.
A frost giant everlasting one will not back down or avoid a fight with a well-armored foe to charge towards the enemy back-line. They’ll keep hacking and crushing their way through the party’s armored wall until they break it down. Mages are cowards, archers are cowards, they’ll deal with them later.
For a Christmas-themed Monster Monday I chose a bloodthirsty frost giant that is granted unnatural strength by cannibalizing a troll. Maybe I don’t grasp the meaning of Christmas, but it’s still a wintry-themed frost giant. I get some points for that, right?
Jokes aside, this is a seriously solid creature. Its offensive capabilities are purely average, but they make up for that with their impeccable defenses. These are huge health sponges with some extremely great damage resistances and immunities. They also have some amazing Saving Throw bonuses.
A frost giant everlasting one can make an excellent boss monster if you give them their Extra Heads feature. Honestly, you don’t even need to add lair actions or legendary actions to make them a formidable foe considering the fact that they’re more powerful than their given CR in my opinion.
In general, I find that the MM frost giants are powerful creatures. The upgraded versions in VGtM are absolutely no exception to this rule as far as I can tell. They are powerful, brutal creatures with some great lore.