Ancient Apparition: Frosty’s meaner cousin.
Ancient Apparition is classified as a ranged Intelligence hero whose roles are Support/Disabler/Nuker. Kaldr, the Ancient Apparition, is not necessarily a character. He is, according to his bio, “an image projected outside of time.” His purpose unknown, his final form incomprehensible; what we see now is just a glimpse of what Kaldr is.
Being an aspect of the cold, infinite void of what lasts beyond eternity, calling Kaldr “good” or “bad” seems kind of silly. Yes, he has a scary face and a scary voice, but is he really evil? Following the laws of time (and it’s end) with no real regard for what anyone else has to say in the matter puts our little snowman into lawful neutral. Neutral evil could also work, though I find this to be a pessimistic view of the apparition that comes before the end of eternity.
Now before we get started, let’s take a look at Ancient Apparition’s abilities.
Kaldr’s first ability is Cold Feet, a damage over time spell that culminates in a mean stun if the enemy doesn’t leave the range.
Next, Kaldr has Ice Vortex, an AoE spell that slows enemies and increases the damage they take from magic.
Kaldr’s third ability, Chilling Touch, buffs the apparition’s basic attack with increased range, damage, and a movement speed slow.
Finally, Kaldr’s ultimate ability is ice blast. The apparition sends out an ice shard that detonates on command, first exploding and dealing damage, then causing a hail storm to fall in an AoE which is larger the further the ice shard traveled. To top it off, if an enemy is hit by the traveling shard they cannot heal or otherwise regenerate health. If their HP is too low when this ice shard hits them, they turn into a solid block of ice and shatter. Stay cool, bird boy.
I’m going to be upfront and tell you that DnD 5e does not have perfect individual spells to create these effects, but with a few combos here and there you can achieve something quite close to Kaldr. Sadly, this is not the case when trying to pick a DnD race for our Ancient Apparition.
Obviously, Kaldr is an ice man. Sadly, there is no iceman race (and I doubt there ever will be). In fact, only one race even has cold resistance: Tritons. Fish people. When considering what race makes the best ice man, I actually found an Air Genasi to be the best pick. Some people may find this strange, until they realize that Water Genasi get resistance to acid damage and don’t know a single ice-themed spell. As a bonus, Air Genasi are described as sometimes possessing crystal-like protrusions from their skin. This is about as close as you’re going to get to an iceman race, sorry.
The class for Ancient Apparition is difficult due to the sheer number of options available. Kaldr gets his power from himself… he is a Warlock or a Cleric in that case? The answer is neither, because Kaldr doesn’t follow your rules. You’re going to want to go full on Sorcerer for this weakling magic-nuker for a variety of reasons.
The first reason for this is that Sorcerer’s have innate magic, so it works for Kaldr anyways.
The second reason for this is that, after looking through just about every spell book compendium in DnD 5e, I’ve determined that Sorcerer has the most ice-themed spells of any class.
Finally, the Sorcerous Origin we’ll be selecting aids any element-themed magic user. It doesn’t make ANY sense in the lore, but a white dragon Draconic Bloodline Sorcerer is about as good as you get. You could also choose silver.
What this bloodline will do for Ancient Apparition is very minor, in all honesty; but out of all subclasses it is the best fit. That’s right: DnD 5e has over 50 archetypes and not one of them fits an elemental Sorcerer better. At Sorcerer level 1 this bloodline does nothing more than make Kaldr a little more tanky, which helps given his d6 hit die, but Sorcerer in general gives us plenty of benefits.
At level 2 you can use Font of Magic to restore spell slots, but if you truly want to be the mana-hungry iceman that Kaldr is you’ll never do this. In fact, to be accurate to the DotA character, you should instead convert more spells into sorcerery points just because.
Sorcerer’s Metamagic is also a powerful ability that can help us achieve some of Ancient Apparition’s abilities. When you get this feature at Sorcerer level 3, you can only pick two Metamagics. This is our first opportunity to recreate some Ancient Apparition abilities, so we need to pick carefully. To best recreate Ancient Apparition’s ability Chilling Touch, I recommend taking Distant Spell and Empowered Spell as your first two Metamagics. This will give you a direct buff to spell range and a nice chance to deal more damage.
Level 6 is where the benefits start to appear for our Air Genasi Dragon Boy Who’s Actually Ice. Elemental Affinity gives us the ability to gain resistance to the elemental damage of your ancestry (cold damage, for us) and allows us to add our Charisma modifier to spells cast of that damage type. This works as an additional damage bonus like what is seen with Chilling Touch.
Honestly, after this there isn’t much more to what Sorcerer gives us. The level 14 and 18 benefits are completely worthless for creating Kaldr. Also, besides the two I’ve already mentioned, the next Metamagics you choose are really up to you. I do recommend Quicken Spell or Careful Spell. Speaking of spells, a huge part of this character build comes from spells, so let’s see what those look like for Ancient Apparition.
Sorcerer starts out with 4 cantrips, though only 3 are necessary for Kaldr. Frostbite deals low damage but puts disadvantage on the next weapon attack the damaged creature makes. This the first of many debuffs to come. Ray of Frost is better in terms of damage and also reduces the target’s movement speed, much like Chilling Touch or Ice Vortex in practicality. Finally, Chill Touch (not to be confused with Kaldr’s ability, Chilling Touch) doesn’t actually deal cold damage but does prevent HP regeneration on the target for a turn. This is the easiest way to get Ice Shard’s healing/regeneration prevention.
At early levels, you should pick up the spells Ice Knife and Snilloc’s Snowball Swarm. These spells don’t do much in terms of recreating abilities, but any ice-themed spell is worth getting for Ancient Apparition.
In the middle levels you’ll get access to Sleet Storm, which creates slippery ice in an area for a chance to make an enemy slip prone. Though it doesn’t deal damage, it still has the ability to break concentration on enemies. When you can cast 4th level spells at Sorcerer level 7, you can get Ice Storm. Unlike Sleet Storm Ice Storm deals damage (most of it cold damage) and also turns the area into difficult terrain, providing that Ice Vortex slow effect. Despite being so similar, Ice Storm doesn’t require concentration (and only lasts a round), so you can cast it with Sleet Storm. Personally, though, I think casting Slow alongside Ice Storm is the better option.
Once you get to later levels the spell Cone of Cold is an obvious pick. Not only is 8d8 cold damage not bad (especially when rerolling ones), but it also turns enemies killed by it into a frozen statue! How cool! The other spell I recommend for this is Investiture of Cold. The benefits from this spell are all over the place. Firstly, immunity to cold damage is right up Kaldr’s ally. You also have a difficult terrain aura around you, again mimicking Ice Vortex. Finally, you can use an action to make an icy blast attack that is capable of slowing targets. You could also choose the 8th level spell Abi-Dalzim’s Horrid Wilting, which is just really high damage.
Now: the nuke ultimate. This combo requires you have the Distant and Quickened Spell metamagics, as well as be at least level 11. First, you’re going to want to use Quickened Spell and cast Investiture of Ice on yourself as a bonus action. Then, using your action, cast Chill Touch or Ray of Frost. After this, close the gap on the enemy as best you can. From Investiture of Ice, use your action to create the icy blast. Then, use Quickened Spell to cast Cone of Cold as a bonus action. The attack action provided by Investiture of Ice is not a spell, so it can be used with a leveled spell cast as a bonus action.
This combo will, over the course of 2 turns, deal 3d8 cold or necrotic damage (depending on whether you cast Ray of Frost or Chill Touch), followed by 4d6 + 8d8 cold damage the next turn. This isn’t including rerolled ones (from Empowered Spell Metamagic) or your added Charisma modifier.
Draconic bloodline gives you enough armored defense so you probably wont need armor. You’ll be using cantrips to attack most the time, so don’t bother with anything other than an arcane focus.
At level 4, go ahead and pick up the Elemental Adept feat (choosing cold damage). Everything that it does is beneficial. Besides this, the feats you choose are up to you.
Obviously, Charisma should be your highest score. After that, choose Constitution or Dexterity, depending on whether or not you want to maintain spell concentration or just try not to get hit.
This review is shorter and simpler than the others I’ve released, but that’s a nice thing to have every so often. Sometimes, you just want to go and freeze stuff: and now you can! Let me know if I missed anything related to spells, combos, or whatever else. And as always, a new ice age dawns.