MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEARS DA Fam!!!
Things have been so… busy as of late, that I almost forgot to post this one. It’s the newest Rifter 64, published by Palladiumbooks and is the final cover for the 30th anniversary of celebration of the RPG Palladium Fantasy.
An arctic scene of a Hunting party of Ice Bearmen that have suffered an avalanche caused by a Frost Giant passing, and the commotion has unearthed a Winterserpent dragon to sort things out.
The Ice Bearmen and Winter Serpent were contributions that Kevin Siembieda, Matthew Clements and myself worked on to produce new official cannon source material for the Fantasy RPG.
Penciled on a Strathmore 14 X 17 Bristle board Smooth surface, with a Zebra M-301 pencil with 0.5 lead.
Painted in PS CS3 with an Adesso Cybertablet M14
Inspired by & tribute to the late-Great Frank Frazetta!!!
New Fantasy Species info below: Enjoy!!!!
Lords of the Icy North, winter serpents are immensely powerful and exceedingly rare dragons brimming with elemental energy. Scholars of the more learned races have identified them as cousins of Ice Dragons, a separate species with an even closer relationship the elemental forces of water and ice. Natural born warlocks, they are found almost exclusively in the northern reaches of the continent where cold temperatures, blizzards, heavy snowfall and ice seas are the norm.
In the southern, more temperate reaches of the Palladium world, winter Serpents are almost unheard of. During winter, they sometimes venture down out of their northern habitat, searching for items to fill up their reassure hoards, seeking out old allies and enemies or simply enjoying their travels before rising temperatures make most of the world too uncomfortably hot again. One might linger for a summer, making its lair atop a snow capped mountain or in an alpine lake, but they are sure to retreat back to the Great Northern wilderness, Northern Hinterlands or the Land of the Damned the next time the season change.
Like Ice Dragons, Winter Serpents occupy an almost mythological place of reverence amongst northern races, like Wolfen and, in particular, the Ice Bearmen, whom see them as a living link to the great Winter Spirit that brings about the blessed change of seasons. Winterserpents reward their followers with enchantments, amulets, fine pieces of ivory and even the occasional lesser rune weapon or powerful magic item from their collections. Unlike past times, when a Winterserpent might try to insinuate itself into Wolfen politics or interfere with human kingdoms like Bizantium, most Winterserpents live reclusive lives amongst their natural element and prefer the adulation of the ice Bearmen to the uncertain mix of jealousy, fear, awe and respect that they receive from most other humanoid species. These favored worshippers and protectors, Winterserpents will bestow gifts of magic weapons, usually large swords, axes, daggers, harpoons and spears.
Size: 25-40 feet tall (7.6 to 12 m) on average, up to 80 feet (24 m) long when full grown and half that for a hatchling. Weight: 24 -30 tons.
Natural Abilities: Nightvision 200 feet (61 m), Excellent vision, breath without air/underwater indefinitely, see the invisible, The dragon is invisible while underwater at a distance of more than 15 feet (4.6 m), bio regeneration, impervious to cold, metamorphosis as will, teleport self, dimensional teleport, and all other dimensional powers, spells and knowledge common to most –true- dragons.
Aspect of Ice: Conducting the elemental powers of water through its body, a Winterserpent can temporarily become a creature of living ice. While in this form the dragon’s armor increases and the dragon’s transparency can vary as solid ice. While in Ice form, the Winterserpent is buoyant like ice and unable to swim beneath the surface of the water, but can crawl along ice shelves to stalk quarry or lie in ambush or to avoid detection.
Icewater Breath Attack: The Winterserpent’s breath weapon is actually spray of water that freezes on contact. The dragon can leave a trail of slick ice behind it, encrust ships and or their sails and buildings or armored opponents, or distract opponents with frozen armor and impending hypothermia.
Form of the Bear: At will, Winterserpents can take on the appearance and size of ether an Ice Bearman, traditional Bearman (with streaks of gray and white in its fur), an ordinary polar bear, or a giant northern Polar Bear (10-12 (3 to 3.6 m) feet tall at the shoulders and 20-25 feet (6-7.6 m) long. They use the Bearman form to walk among their chosen people – or other humanoids – and assume the appearance of the giant bear to travel to the surface of the land, battle supernatural creatures and occasionally hibernate.
Magic: Water Elemental magic based on age, often favoring ice spells, plus all spells and 1-4 higher level spells for Winterserpents of 20th level or higher.
Psionics: An adult Winterserpent has all the Sensitive and Physical psi-powers.
Average lifespan: 6,000 years, but some have lived as long as 10,000.
ICE BEARMEN – (aka Winter Bearmen, White Bearmen and Dragon Bearmen)
Far to the North in the Palladium continent, Rangers, woodsmen and whalers telltales of Bearmen who feast upon raw flesh and blubber, swim like creatures of the sea and have coats of stark white fur. Isolated on the edge of the world, living in remote villages and temporary camps out on seasonal ice shelves, these Ice Bearmen are not a myth, but a rare and transient reclusive people with a tribal society based upon bravery, hunting, fishing and whaling. Ice Bearmen seldom travel beyond the harsh lands of snow and Ice that they call come, coming down from the mountains and into the lowlands only in the winter when the Great Northern Wilderness is covered in deep snow. Ice Bearmen consider most other humanoid species as weaklings. They respect only the strongest and bravest of individuals, and all people, regardless of race, are called “Greenwalkers,” a term that is not just descriptive but a derogatory reference that, to Ice Bearmen, is synonymous with soft, weak, -civilized- people.
Ice Bearmen migrate with the snow and seldom see the green grass and laves of spring, summer and autumn for they are creatures of winter, snow and ice who live hard, play hard and fight harder. Even the Wolfen are regarded as Greenwalkers and considered soft, and the conniving Coyles are despised as tricksters and lazy cowards. Only their brown Bearmen cousins, the ferocious (if minuscule by comparison) Kankoran and Ice Giants are considered to be equals or worthy adversaries and allies.
Like their more widely dispersed, brown coated cousins, Ice Bearmen are few in number. Most of the year they follow the frozen ice pack that extends from the coast in northern regions, tracking seals, arctic wildlife and fishing to feed themselves. Small hunting parties and lone individuals regularly pursue herds of elk or mammoth for hundreds of miles across the Great Northern Wilderness. They use their incredible swimming skills as well as kayaks made from skin, wood and whalebone to hunt and bring in seals, walrus and whales. Most are proficient with harpoons, spears, hooks and lines. Very resourceful, Ice Bearmen will make incredible jewelry out of bone, tusks and walrus or mammoth ivory, as well as decorative items or weapons handles. Ivory is as close to a currency as they have, a precious substance that can be traded for food, shelter, clothing or safe passage. Intact tusks and large bones are particularly valuable, necessary for constructing sod and animal hide shelters and used in the largest weapons and artistic carvings.
Ice Bearmen worship nature and the land itself, as well as the Winter Serpent, whom they portray as an ethereal, white dragon of incredible size and power. Some Wolfen priests who have studied the Ice Bearmen believe this “Winter Serpent” might be Kym-nark-mar, one of the deity dragons praised by the followers of Dragonwright. However, anyone who has encountered the Ice Bearmen knows that, while they may have little to no contact with outside religions, they definitely pray and sacrifice to Ice dragons, particularly the Winterserpents who lord over the ice shelves and frozen seas that the Ice Bearmen call home. Ice Bearmen have their own strong religious beliefs rejecting the traditional northern deities and gods. Tribes of Ice Bearmen bring sacrificial prisoners and captured loot the lairs of their dragon idols. They have no need for gold, silver or the metal armor used by humans and Wolfen, and gladly offer up such trinket sin return for the dragons’ favor. That favor is often an enchanted weapon that can be sued against a tribe’s enemies. Likewise, whenever the Ice Bearmen encounters a Winter Serpent, Ice Dragon, or sometimes other types of dragons, under attack or in distress, they rush to its aid.
Size: Height: 10-12 feet tall (3 to 3.6 m); Weight: 1,200-1,500 pounds (540 to 675 kg).
Allies: “Normal” Bearmen are seen as close cousins. Kankoran are one of the few species Ice Bearmen respect, some even referring to them as “Little Brothers.” Wolfen frontiersmen, Drakin and Faerie Folk are tolerated. They have a special affinity for fellow creatures of the north like Ice Pixies and Frost Giants, and worship Ice Dragons and Winter Serpents as living manifestations of the Winter Serpent.
Enemies: Ice Bearmen are hostile towards virtually all outsiders, especially humans, Coyles, Bug Bears, Harpies, demons and monstrous creatures like Winter Storm Ice demons.
OCC Types: Most tend to be Rangers or Fighters equivalent to the Mercenary Warrior. Ice Bearmen have no interest in learning magic, seeing it as the realm of the gods and creatures like dragons, but adore magic weapons and simple magic items, especially magical ice weapons.
Natural Abilities: Nightvision (30.5 m/100 feet), superior sense of smell and hearing, Recognize poison, track by scent or hear/seismic sense quarry under ice or snow. Ice Bearmen are extremely adept in the water and can hold their breath for up to 4-8 minutes and can swim up to 200 hundred miles (320 km) without resting. Consume Raw meat and Resistance to Cold making them virtually impervious to hyporthermia, frostbite and cold magical attacks only do half damage.
Languages: Most speak Wolfen as other Bearmen, but Ice Bearmen are fluent in their own ancestral language that is exclusive o their own subspecies. Some speak Dragonese and an even smaller percent speak Giantese or Faerie.
Note: Like their more southern cousins, Ice Bearmen shun suits of armor. Not only does heavy armor restrict movement, but it also makes swimming dangerous or impossible. They will wear pieces of armor made of bone, hides and treated wood, but have a natural disdain for metal, expect when it comes to weapons. Ice Bearmen may wear armlets, vambraces, wristbands, gauntlets, gloves, belts and similar equipment, but it is rare to see one even in partial metal armor.