Sub-Zero is one of the most popular characters in Mortal Kombat, but can legendary cryomancer Earthrealm be introduced in Dungeons & Dragons?
With the continued popularity of Mortal combat, there has been increased interest in taking its host of beloved characters beyond the confines of the famous fighting game franchise. Since the first installment, Scorpion’s brutal and violent rival, Sub-Zero, has remained a series staple and fan favorite for its unique and bloody ice-themed offense.
Many fans have wondered exactly how well a character like Sub-Zero can translate into Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition. While the famous tabletop RPG couldn’t create an exact copy of the character, the modular nature under which Dungeons & Dragons 5th works could go a long way in bringing the Frosted Fighter to life around the gaming table.
Sub-Zero is a master of the Shotokan fighting style and a skilled Summoner of Ice, so his class will need to be something that can both spell cast and devastate up close. For this reason, Sub-Zero is better off as an Eldritch Knight fighter or as a sorcerer / monk multiclass. Multiclassification may allow for further customization, so for this guide the latter is the best option. However, this does mean that Sub-Zero will only unleash its true potential up to at least level four.
For Sub-Zero’s Sorcerous Origin, choose Giant Soul (With the Mark of Frost) from Unearthed Arcana to replicate his ice-weaving ability. For later Monk levels, choose Way of the Shadow for its monastic lore to better replicate its ability to set traps, set decoys, and confuse opponents.
Sub-Zero Race and Attributes
Being from Earthrealm, Sub-Zero is, for all intents and purposes, a human. Variant Human may work best in order to specialize and prioritize those stats and better present a man who has spent his life training what he does best. As a melee fighter, Sub-Zero should focus primarily on dexterity and wisdom to make the most of the Monk’s unarmoured defense for a higher armor class without armor. It will also help him do more damage with his unarmed strikes. Charisma shouldn’t be overlooked either (it shouldn’t be less than 13), as wizards use it as a primary stat to cast a lot of their spells. It’s also a great way to narratively convey a domineering presence through the Intimidate skill.
For the free Variant Human feat, choose War Caster as it allows Sub-Zero to gain an advantage on focus checks for spells, perform somatic components of spells without using his hands, and let him cast a spell. as an attack of opportunity, as opposed to a single weapon attack.
Track and field and acrobatics are also skills worth investing in, as Sub-Zero is known for its endurance and physical prowess. But don’t forget about Stealth, either. Athletics and Intimidation can be acquired through the Soldier background, while Acrobatics and Stealth can be acquired by starting as a level one Monk. Make sure you invest at least three levels in Monk to acquire the Shadow Path monastic lore before leveling up to Sorcerer.
Sub Zero starter gear
Monks start out relatively light, and being a melee fighter, Sub-Zero doesn’t need a starting weapon. Although, if needed, there is still a way to narratively convey both icy projectiles and swords conjured by the moisture frozen in the air. A shortsword or throwing stars will do. An Arcane Focus is also essential to allow Sub-Zero to cast spells without using any hardware components. Also, don’t forget the bare necessities of a traveling assassin. An Explorer Pack will always come in handy.
Choice of Sub-Zero playstyle and spells
When choosing spells, it is best to choose anything ice-themed or illusion-themed. Good examples of Cantrips are Chill Touch, Ray of Frost, and Minor Illusion. At later levels, spells like Chromatic Orb, False Life, Ice Knife, Mirror Image, and Misty Step can all come in handy. But don’t be afraid to get creative, think outside the box, and choose other spells that match the character’s theme. Remember, Sub-Zero also has access to Hold Person, Armor of Agathys, and Ray of Frost from Giant Soul Sorcerous Origin.
Sub-Zero almost always fights up close with punches and kicks. Combine this with a mix of his Way of the Shadow features to confuse opponents, Sorcerer’s ice-themed spells, and Monk’s Martial Arts to bring icy hell to his enemies. When role-playing, remember that Sub-Zero is a towering authority figure. Treat NPCs with the level of professionalism expected of a dreaded assassin, and use spells to entrap or deceive enemies. Sub-Zero is just as good at playing mind games with his opponents as he is at fighting them.
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