Environment Book Series
Frostburn focuses on taiga and tundra environments as well as supernaturally cold planes. On the crunch side, it adds a bunch of ice themed abilities.
Mechanically it is notorious for introducing the Shivering Touch spell, which does 3d6 (~10.5) points of dexterity damage that stacks with itself for a third level spell. This spell is absolutely bonkers since enemies rarely have that high a dexterity score, and even ones that do will rarely survive multiple hits from it.
Frostburn is home to the following player races:
- Dwarf subrace: Glacier Dwarf
- Elf subrace: Snow Elf
- Gnome subrace: Ice Gnome
- Halfling subrace: Tundra Halfling
It's also home to the following monsters:
- Branta: A large, horse-like tundra herbivore with twin nose horns.
- Chilblain: An icy aberration vaguely resembling a scorpion made of ice.
- Dire Animals: Dire Polar Bear, Gylptodon, Megaloceros, Smilodon, Woolly Mammoth, Zeuglodon
- Domovoi: A small, brownie-like fey that inhabits humanoid homes to share their hearths. Taken from a Russian house sprite. Also a PC race.
- Dwarf, Glacier
- Dwarf, Midgard: A magical branch of the dwarf family tree, basically a more "mythically accurate" version of the Nordic dwarf. No PC stats are given, but their main abilities are the ability to lay a powerful Curse once per year, and to shapeshift into a single specific Small animal, and they are typed as Native Outsider rather than humanoid.
- Elemental Weird: Ice Weird, Snow Weird
- Entombed: An undead creature created from somebody killed by magical cold attack, encasing them in a protective shell of ice.
- Frost Folk: A human offshoot who struck a bargain with a dark entity of the cold, granting them protection against the cold and the ability to use it as a weapon. Also a PC race.
- Genie, Qorrashi: A icy brach of the genie family, believed to be an arctic branch of the djinn family.
- Frostfell Ghost: A unique template for arctic ghosts.
- Frost Giant: Three new statblocks based on the iconic icy giant vikings of D&D.
- Goblin, Snow: A variant goblin adapted for life in the arctic. Also a PC race.
- Golem, Ice
- Ice Beast: A magical construct consisting of an ice sculpture of an ordinary monster animated by magic.
- Ice Toad: A species of giant toad magically adapted to life in the arctic, imbued with the ability to radiate lethal cold.
- Icegaunt: A sapient undead that arises from the freeze-dried corpses of those who died in the arctic. Essentially the Ice Mummy as its own creature.
- Malasynep: An aberration that resembles a prehistoric, carnivorous whale, but one able to swim through ice and snow as well as water.
- Marzanna: A unique strain of hag native to the Frostfell.
- Orc, Snow Shaman: An orc spellcaster native to the Frostfell.
- Pudding, White: An arctic-adapted version of the Black Pudding.
- Raven, Giant
- Rimefire Eidolon: A bizarre fey created from the remnants of the frostfell goddess Hleid, resembling a chunk of ice radiating freezing blue fire that walks about on many tentacles.
- Rusalka: A nymph-like aquatic fey, the spirit of frostfell rivers, lakes and streams. Basically an arctic dryad, but for water rather than trees.
- Shivhad: An enormous aberration that resembles a nightmarish, hydra-like mishmash of arctic king grab and a nest of lampreys.
- Snowcloak: A two-headed, manta ray-like aberration.
- Spider, Snow: Assorted arctic-adapted giant spiders.
- Spirit Animals: Nature spirits of animals, what did you think they were?
- Tlalusk: A bizarre, six-legged, horned, tusked, alien-looking tundra herbivore.
- Urskan: A race of armor-wearing warlike humanoid polar bears.
- Vodyanoi: A male aquatic fey that inhabits the rivers and lakes of the frostfell.
- Winterspawn: Powerful undead wrriors that wield weapons of enchanted ice and which can employ freezing magic against their foes.
- Animal, Arctic: Caribou, Arctic Fox, Sea Otter, Penguin, Seal, Walrus
Sandstorm focuses on badlands, desert, and wastelands. Unlike Frostburn, there's not that much fire or extraplanar material. On the crunch side, the book adds a bunch of sand based stuff and heat themed abilities that focus on impeding and exhausting enemies instead of just making them burn. Refreshingly, Sandstorm doesn't focus much on the pseudo-Egyptian pyramids that seem to dominate "desert" adventures.
Sandstorm is home to the following new PC races:
It's also home to the following new monsters:
- Ashen Husk: Undead created from those who died of thirst in the desert.
- Ashworm: Desert-dwelling cousin of the purple worm.
- Camelopardel: A magical hybrid of giraffe and panther, a benevolent creature that can be thought of as the desert unicorn.
- Chekryan: Mutated, psionic descendants of giant desert scorpions.
- Crawling Apocalypse: Gargantuan undead sand-swimming mummified octopuses, created as weapons of war in an ancient war.
- Crucian: Armor-plated desert-dwelling humanoids. Also a PC race.
- Cursed Cold One (Gelun): Cursed undead that require so much warmth that only the heat of the desert day gives them respite from being frozen solid in blocks of ice.
- Desert Devil (Araton): A strain of devil surrounded by a perpetual personal sandstorm that constantly flays them to the bone, with only their regeneration keeping them alive.
- Dinosaur: Protoceratops
- Diprotodon: A giant marsupial, and a distant ancestor/cousin of the wombat.
- Dire Animal: Dire Hippo, Dire Jackal, Dire Puma, Dire Tortoise, Dire Vulture
- Dragon, Sand: Adapted into 4e as the Brown Dragon.
- Dry Lich: A desert-spreading clerical or druidic lich variant.
- Dune Hag: A hag native to the deserts, a cousin of the more well-known Annis Hag.
- Dunewinder: Giant predatory armor-plated worms, believed to be desert-dwelling cousins of the remorhaz.
- Dustblight: Grotesque humanoid aberrations that feel on blood.
- Dustform Creature: Unique construct/undead hybrids created from the dust of long-decomposed creatures.
- Dust Twister: A desert-dwelling elemental of sand and wind, said to be the spawn of a jann and an air elemental.
- Forlorn Husk: Another undead monster created from those who died of thirst whilst lost in the desert.
- Giant Banded Lizard: An enormous predatory lizard. Basically an adaptation of the titular B-movie monster from "The Giant Gila Monster".
- Half-Janni: A template representing the hybrid offspring of mortals with the desert-dwelling lesser genies known as jann.
- Ironthorn: A predatory tree that feeds by impaling creatrues on its myriad lethal thorns.
- Lycanthrope, Werecrocodile
- Marruspawn: Jackal-like humanoids created by the long-extinct culture/race known as the Marru, who used fleshcrafting to engineer living weapons to fight the bloody internecine wars that ultimately destroyed them.
- Mephit: Glass, Sulfur
- Mirage Mullah: Fey guardians of desert oases, renown for their cruelty.
- Ooze: Brine, Lava
- Porcupine Cactus: Cacti that explode in deadly showers of seeds and thorns when disturbed.
- Saguaro Sentinel: The treant of the desert, an enormous and sapient self-propelled cactus.
- Sand Golem
- Sand Hunter: Bizarre magical beasts that resemble a hybrid of lizard and jackal, with each pack having a shared group consciousness.
- Scarab Swarm, Death: A swarm of undead, flesh-eating scarab beetles.
- Scorpion Swarm
- Sphinx: Canisphinx, Crocosphinx, Saurosphinx, Threskisphinx
- Thunderbird: An enormous bird with elemental control over storms.
- Troll, Wasteland
- Tumbling Mound: A desert-dwelling variant of the Shambling Mound, seemingly made up of dried brush (or "tumbleweed").
- Waste Crawler (Anhydrut): An Inevitable resembling a cross between a scorpion and a flame-throwing tank that exists to keep mages from destroying the deserts.
- Animals: Camel (Dromedary, Two-Humped, War), Hippopotamus, Horned Lizard, Jackal, Serval (Savannah Wildcat), Vulture
- Vermin: Brine Swimmer, Giant Ant Lion, Giant Termite
Stormwrack focuses on aquatic adventures, be they lake, sea, river, ocean or the plane of water. The part most people care about however is the ship-based stuff, with rules for alternate types of ships and naval combat.
Stormwrack is home to the following new PC races:
- Dwarf subrace: Seacliff
- Gnome subrace: Wavecraft
- Half-Elf subrace: Half-Aquatic Elf
- Halfling subrace: Shoal
- Aquatic Elf
And to the following new monsters:
- Amphibious Creature Template
- Anguillian: Aquatic aberrations that resemble vaguely humanoid abyssal eels.
- Blackskate: A vaguely manta ray-like undead crafted from the amalgamated detritus of the ocean floor.
- Caller from the Deeps: A monstrous and malevolent elemental from the blackest depths of the ocean that exists to consume life and light, using hypnotic melodies to entice its prey.
- Crab, Monstrous
- Dinosaur: Archelon, Ichthyosaur, Mosasaur, Plesiosaur
- Dire Animal: Dire Barracuda, Dire Eel
- Elf, Aquatic
- Golem, Coral
- Hammerclaw: Giant lobsters that can generate deadly sonic bolts.
- Hippocampus: Sea-dwelling magical beasts that resemble a horse version of a merfolk; fin-hoofed horse from the waist up, giant fish from the waist down.
- Leech, Giant
- Nereid: Nymphlike water elemental fey, sort of a dryad of the seas.
- Ramfish: A giant fish with huge horns, which it uses to headbutt things to death.
- Scyllan: A bizarre fiend resembling a giant mixture of human and octopus.
- Seawolf: An aquatic version of the werewolf.
- Sisiutl: Strange aquatic creatures that look like a two-headed giant sea snake - but with a human face at the conjunction of the two necks. Can shapeshift into self-propelled war canoes.
- Swarm: Jellyfish, Leech, Piranha
- Uchuulon (Slime Chuul): The result of an illithid trying to cerebromorphize a chuul.
- Yugoloth, Echinoloth: An aquatic yugoloth that consists of little more than a maw on legs surrounded by hooked tentacles.
- Animal: Albatross, Barracuda, Eel, Otter, Sea Lion (as in the pinniped, not the mer-lion), Seal, Snapping Turtle, Stingray
- Water-Adapted Vermin & Animals: General Rules, Monstrous Diving Spider, Sea Snake
Cityscape focuses on urban adventures. It includes how to distinguish cities from each other, locations within cities, who lives in cities, and how the surrounding area effects a city as well as what to do on an "adventure" in the city. On the mechanical end, there's intrigue focused spells and character options.
- Siege Golem
- Cesspit Ooze
- Ripper (a repugnant aberration akin to a monstrous, vaguely humanoid insect that feeds on urban humanoids)
- Sepulchral Thief (a new template for a special kind of undead rogue)
- Pest Swarm (urban animals conglomerated into a deadly swarm)
- Zeitgeist (a fey embodiment of a city's soul)
The most notorious crunch is the Primary Contact feat, which gives a free skill rank even if would put above the maximum for your level. This is the lone early entry method in 3E that allows bypassing skill requirements, even if it only reduces them by 1. Since it has to come at a feat level and only advances one skill, it's limited in use to classes that require specific number of skill point (generally 7 or 10) in one skill or in a build that somehow gains a general bonus feat the things you can actually do with it are somewhat limited. It's more flexible when retraining rules or the (far cheeseier) embrace/shun the darkness loop are abused to allow it to be taken at any level.
Dungeonscape focuses on subterranean adventures, including those in stereotypical dungeons. There is also advice to building better dungeons.
Uniquely, Dungeonscape has no new PC races and only two new monsters - both of them recreations of obscure old-school beasties; the Ascomoid (a giant killer puffball fungus) and the Rot Grub Swarm. It does have five new templates for monsters (Acidborn, Dungeonbred, Guardian, and Hivenest for general monsters, and Sentry Ooze for slimes). It also a new standard class in the Factotum.