D&D 5e: Freeze Your Enemies Solid With The Fury Of The Frost Giants Feat

A half orc in plate armor is pierced by ice knife.

D&D 5e: Freeze Your Enemies Solid With The Fury Of The Frost Giants Feat

SOURCE: Glory of the Giants

Rating the Benefits of Fury of the Frost Giant

Benefit #1 – 

Increase your Strength, Constitution, or Wisdom score by 1, to a maximum of 20 

Half an ASI is a great way to even up odd ability scores and means the rest of the benefits are representative of half a feat. Consider this in mind as we move forwards

Benefit #2 – 

Gain resistance to cold damage

Cold damage is one that the party might frequently face, from both monsters and spell damage. A permanent damage resistance, especially if you’re playing a campaign where you regularly face enemies that deal this damage type, is excellent. 

Benefit #3 – 

After being hit with an attack that dealt damage to you by a creature within 30ft, spend a reaction to trigger a counterattack that deals 1d8 + proficiency damage, and sets speed to 0 on a failed Con save. 

This ability can be used an amount of times per day equal to your proficiency bonus. 

Reactionary damage plus status effects can be a strong ability that’s mirrored in several spell lists and class abilities. If this goes off, it can shut down the ability of many attackers to find more meaningful targets, or, when combined with other abilities, entirely remove an enemy’s ability to interact with the battlefield. 

A male goblin frozen in a block of ice

Mechanics and Requirements

Understanding How It Functions

The first thing to consider with Fury of the Frost Giant is its prerequisite; Strike of the Giants. To qualify for this feat, you must first take Strike of the Giants, and choose the Frost Strike ability:

Frost Strike – Once per turn, after you hit with a melee weapon attack or an attack with a thrown weapon, you can force the target to take 1d6 extra cold damage and take a Con save. If the save is failed, that creature’s speed is set to 0 until the start of your next turn. 

Overall, this variant of the Strike of the Giants is a solidly powerful effect, combining a good damage type with a condition that can seriously impact the target, provided of course that they fail the save. 

The main consideration here is isolation. Melee enemies with a speed set to 0 normally have very limited options against targets that are outside of their reach. That means you can slap an opponent, then walk away, confident in the knowledge that the rest of the party is safe from this threat, at least for a turn. 

Ideally, characters with this feat should be packing one or two thrown weapons at all times. Hurling an axe into the chest of the biggest melee brawler your party is facing, and locking them in place for a turn while you mop up the rest of an encounter, is a deceptively effective strategy. 

Again, though, this is reliant on the enemy failing that crucial save. Frost Strike is tied to Constitution, and the enemies that you’d likely want to use this on most tend to have at least a reasonable Con save. 

Finally, Frost Strike also has utility when it comes to edge cases like:

  • Pursuing fleeing enemies. Setting speed to 0 means no movement for an entire turn
  • Locking prone enemies on the ground. 0 movement means you can’t spend half to stand up again

Stat Increases 

The Fury of the Frost Giant feat grants half an ASI as part of its benefits, offering a +1 increase in Strength, Constitution, or Wisdom. 

Unlike many feats, the choice legitimately matters here, as the save DC of the Frigid Retaliation ability is directly tied to the bonus of the stat you choose to increase.

Cold Resistance

Any resistance in 5e literally halves the damage you take from that source, which translates to double the effective HP your character has. This means having a relevant resistance to the damage you’re taking is one of the best ways to skyrocket a character’s survivability. 

Cold damage is a common sight in 5e. Many spells deal cold damage, and there are an absolute ton of monsters with effects and abilities that also deal cold damage, typically things found in ocean or mountain biomes. 

A free resistance, on top of the rest of the features granted by this feat, is a great touch, especially considering it’s only available from half of the Giant-based feats in the book. 

Frigid Retaliation

The main ability provided by this feat, Frigid Retaliation, is a small burst of damage and immobilization effect, which is triggered as a reaction when taking damage from a creature within 30ft. 

The target has to make a Con save, with a DC equivalent to:

(8 + Proficiency bonus + Stat bonus increases by this feat.)

Failing that save means the creature takes 1d8 + proficiency bonus cold damage, and its speed is set to 0 until the end of its next turn. 

Passing the save means the ability fails, dealing no damage and applying no speed debuff. 

The times when this effect goes off are going to feel incredibly powerful. Many enemy types struggle to deal effective damage outside of their preferred ranges. Locking a beefy, brawling monster in place so that it can’t reach anyone prevents it from really doing anything

In the same way, holding an annoyingly mobile foe down for a turn so the party can get to grips with them is a huge boon. Plus, reactive, out-of-turn damage as an effect is always good.

Unfortunately, the ability is held back by two things

First, unless you’re specifically setting up situations to benefit, setting an enemy’s speed to 0 for a turn often doesn’t matter. Some illustrative examples:

  • An enemy hits you with a melee weapon attack. You set their speed to 0. They’re already in melee range with someone, ie you, so they can continue to attack
  • An enemy makes a ranged attack against you. You set their speed to 0, but they have a ranged attack, so they can continue to make offensive actions toward your party

This means when using Frigid Retaliation, you should look for opportunities to lock down your enemies in places where they only have bad options. An isolated enemy that can only attack the Barbarian with damage reduction is a great example of this. So is using cover and positioning to freeze a ranged enemy in place before relocating. 

Two, the ability requires a Constitution save. Typically, the type of enemy that this is most useful on; big strong creatures like ogres, beasts and aberrations, or hostile fighting men armed with stabby things, have a high Con score and a strong Con save. 

That’s unfortunate, as it means the things you’d most like to lock in place have the most chance of passing their save. And an enemy passing their save stops this ability from doing anything. The target doesn’t even take half damage, which is both expected and normal for abilities like this. 

Still, though, reactive damage is a very strong ability in D&D 5e, especially paired with status effects. All things combined, Frigid Retaliation is powerful, useful, and fun. 

Best of all, it’s an ability that’s always going to see use, no matter what you’re fighting, and many characters will regularly get to the end of the day having gone through all of their daily uses.  

Key Stats

As mentioned, part of the Fury of the Frost Giant feat is half an ASI in either Strength, Constitution, or Wisdom. 

This choice matters as the save DC for Frigid Retaliation is based on the stat bonus of the stat you raise here. If possible, always increase your highest combat-related stat. 

Ideal Characters for Fury of the Frost Giant

Top Classes

Fighter – The Fighter can be the tankiest class in the game, especially the Eldritch Knight, who can stack spell-based defenses atop their already high AC and HP totals. 

The Echo Knight is also great, adding space control to the ability to immobilize their enemies. While the Echo can’t trigger the Frigid Retaliation ability, it does synergize literally perfectly with every feat and race recommendation in this guide. 

Barbarian – Every Barbarian wants to be up in the enemy’s face, essentially forcing themselves to become a target, then dishing out damage in return. Both of these are things the class is naturally great at, and this feat only builds upon. 

On top of this, the Barbarian class boasts innate damage resistance when Raging, plus advantage on Strength checks if you want to shove enemies back or prone. Ancestral Guardian would be our subclass of choice, making the entire party extremely poor targets against the enemy that you choose to engage. 

Monk – One of the best uses for the Fury of the Frost Giant feat chain is the ability to immobilize an enemy, then send them prone to prevent them from moving at all, including standing up again. Monks have multiple ways of doing this, including the Open Hand subclass, as well as being able to Dodge as a bonus action to tank the inevitable repercussions. 

Hexblade Warlock – High AC, stacked up damage and defensive spell power, plus utility options from Invocations, are all exceptional for this most powerful of subclasses. The single thing that pushes the subclass over the edge when paired with this feat is Armor of Agathys, which further punishes enemies that hit you with another burst of cold damage. 

Race or Subrace Choices

Goliath – Proficiency in Athletics, plus an ability to directly reduce damage once per day, help you lock enemies down and keep them in place. Being literal giantkin is thematically appropriate as well. 

Warforged – Using this feat requires taking attacks, and triggering the speed 0 effect generally means an angry enemy has you square in their sights. Warforged are one of the naturally toughest races; stacking their innate AC bonus onto an already tanky class like the Fighter can make for an incredibly resilient character.

Tiefling/Dragonborn – Innate resistances are what we’re here for, adding further layers of elemental defense that stack with the cold resistance granted by the feat. Which of these options you choose depends on whether you want to supplement your martial prowess with extra spells per day, or additional blasts of elemental damage. 

Combos, Tactics, and Synergies

Complementary Feats

Sentinel – Enemies hit you, take damage in return, and have their speed set to 0. Enemies hit your allies, you spend a reaction to swing, active Frost Strike and set their speed to 0. There is no longer a good option when attacking you. This is just fantastic synergy. 

Heavy Armor Master – A character with the Fury of the Frost Giant feat wants to take hits. Heavy Armor Master adds flat damage reduction against non-magical attacks. Grab this early if possible, as it’s incredibly strong in the first few levels of the game. 

Mobile – Taking a different tack, the Mobile feat enables a character to move away from a creature that they’ve just attacked, without taking an opportunity attack or having to spend an action to Disengage. 

This means you swing once at an enemy that fails its save to Frigid Retaliation, then freely walk away, leaving them isolated until the end of their next turn. 

Spells that Synergize

Armor of Agathys – A solid chunk of temporary HP, plus reflective cold damage against every enemy that strikes you, works perfectly alongside what this feat does. 

Mind Sliver/Silvery Barbs – Both of these spells directly affect an enemy’s chances of making their save, ensuring that, when it matters, they fail. 

Strategies for Maximizing Fury of the Frost Giant Effectiveness

Speed, Prone, and You

Possibly the best use of this feat is stacking it on top of the prone condition. Here’s why:

  • An enemy that is prone makes attacks with disadvantage, and all melee attacks made against them are made with advantage
  • Standing up from prone costs half your movement. If your movement is 0, you cannot stand up from prone

These two points combine to create a situation where a creature can barely attack, where all attacks against them are significantly stronger, and there’s no way to prevent it until they successfully pass a save

Finding ways to easily apply the prone condition is key to increasing the power of this feat. Spells, abilities from classes like the Fighter and Monk, and even just using the basic Shove action, are ways to drop an enemy to the floor and start piling on the damage. 

No good targets

To trigger the Frigid Retaliation ability, your enemy first has to hit you. But given the choice between hitting a huge, burly Barbarian or their fragile spell-slinging friend, which one are monsters likely to choose?

So, counterintuitively, characters with this feat are generally going to want to make themselves into a target. 

The first, and probably easiest way of doing this is to fight enemies one on one. In 5e, and many tactical tabletop games, we tend to fight what’s in front of us. So find the foe that you want hitting your tanky character, and make sure that you’re squared up to them when combat starts. 

The second method is to use abilities to make your allies into poor targets. Feats like Sentinel allow you to swing when enemies target your allies, which is one way to convince them to stop doing that. Class abilities, like the already mentioned Ancestral Guardian Barbarian subclass, are another method, applying disadvantage on attacks and resistance to your allies against the target of your choice.    

Making sure your opponents can’t move

Both Frigid Retaliation and Frost Strike set an enemy’s speed to 0. So against an enemy that’s trying to murder you, you have two opportunities to force saves. One on your turn, after you hit with an attack, and once on the enemy’s turn, when they swing back at you. 

And while it’s not technically a part of this feat, it’s worth pointing out that Frost Strike is a once-per-turn effect, so out-of-turn attacks can be used to drop a second Frost Strike on enemies of your choice. Battlemaster maneuvers, the Sentinel feat, opportunity attacks, all of these can trigger another swing and another hit. 

Final Thoughts on Fury of the Frost Giant

Fury of the Frost Giants is … strange. 

A stat boost and permanent cold resistance are excellent, especially considering they’re almost incidental parts to this feat. 

Frigid Retaliation; a reaction that activates on taking damage, working basically the same as the Hellish Rebuke spell, is something that many characters, especially melee fighters, are definitely going to use. We can see many builds regularly burning through all their daily uses, especially for characters who haven’t got other ways to spend their reactions. 

On top of this, the effect, setting an enemy’s speed to 0, can utterly shut down a single large target if it goes off at the right time. 

But that’s a big if. The low damage, plus the fact the ability targets a save that’s strong for many enemy types and does a big zero if the save is passed, might mean a string of uses that literally result in nothing. When that happens, Frigid Retaliation is going to feel underwhelming at the table. 

Still, there’s a lot of power contained in this feat when it goes off, plus the Strike of the Giants feat that precedes it. Despite the flaws, Fury of the Frost Giants is a feat that we can see many builds seriously consider taking, and that’s the mark of a well-designed piece of content. 

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