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In an early session, my DnD group fought a yeti with the help of some guards atop a frozen pond. We were level 1 at the time, so our options were limited, but it worked out. When the yeti was on its last legs, it smashed the ice underneath it, causing it to fall into the freezing pond, taking with him a wounded guard. My character jumped in to save the guard and made it to shore only after receiving multiple levels of exhaustion and almost freezing to death due to the rapid accrual of said exhaustion. I want to go back and get the carcass to potentially craft items or sell parts, but I'm having trouble fathoming how to do so without risking my poor, squishy, 25 ft walking speed Bard's life.

Animate dead works only on corpses Medium or Small humanoid, and the only other way I could see this being done would be blindly throwing in a weighted rope and fishing until my DM rolls a favorable result or gives in due to boredom and frustration.

Notable statistics for help in answering the question are as follows:

  • Lvl. 3
  • 18 STR
  • 14 CON
  • College of Creation Bard
  • Amphibious racial trait
  • Can't swim due to lore reasons
  • Effectively medium-sized
  • My DM did say that he rules that resistance to an element would carry over to its related weather condition, i.e. cold resistance helping with freezing weather, fire resistance helping with scorching heat.
  • My DM has also swapped to a different version of exhaustion as a result of the guard-saving kerfuffle. There are now 10 levels, 9 of which are non-lethal, with a gradual increase in negative modifiers (skill/save) and reduced movement speed, which should theoretically increase my boy's survivability.
  • As a result of my DM's Homebrewed Mizzium Apparatus, my Bard has effective access to all spells he has spell-slots for. Of note, he also has expertise in Performance to that end, so the consideration of what spells he has is much less bounded than usual.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you know how deep the "pond" is? That would affect possible solutions. \$\endgroup\$ May 2 at 20:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ To @DwayneTheVrock 's point, you've described the body of water as a pond and as a lake, and as frozen and with just ice on the surface. Additional answerers might appreciate clarity on the body of water. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    May 2 at 20:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Might help to know your spell list. Won‘t do you much good if we propose spells your bard has not picked. \$\endgroup\$ May 2 at 20:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NobodytheHobgoblin I'll take your word for it. Edited for clarity. \$\endgroup\$
    – J Thompson
    May 3 at 0:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @coppereyecat That is worth asking, yes. While I haven't confirmed it verbally, he's stated that he's willing to work out homebrew, and I've known him since 4th grade. He's also acknowledged that it would be worth something to get the yeti carcass. Even if it's not worth anything monetarily, I'd like to have it as a trophy for future reference. \$\endgroup\$
    – J Thompson
    May 3 at 20:07

2 Answers 2

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Consider Asking A Wizard

I say this somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but you haven't mentioned the other members of your party so I'll include non-bard spells in my answer. Spellcasters or not, your other party members may be able to help. Regardless of your party composition, paying for spells as a service is a possibility as mentioned in the Player's Handbook.

Finding The Yeti

The first challenge will be locating the yeti's body. Going out on the ice or in a boat and peering down is a start, but here are some spells that will aid the search:

  • Faerie fire - This is a bard-accessible spell that can be cast targeting the pond bottom (60 ft range, no sight required) to potentially highlight the body.
  • Find familiar - This would require a wizard, a warlock with the right invocation, or someone with the Ritual Caster feat. In the form of a quipper or octopus (darkvision), the familiar can search the pond bottom with the caster looking through its eyes up to 100 ft away.
  • Locate object - A 2nd level spell, but accessible to bards. Since the party all saw the yeti in combat, this will allow the caster to home right in on the body immediately.
  • Beast sense - Similar to find familiar, the caster can see through a willing beast's eyes as it searches to pod bottom. Animal friendship or speak with animals can help with aquiring a willing candidate.
  • Darkvision - This spell or natural darkvision could help with searching the water for the body.

Retrieving The Yeti

Once you've located the body, the next challenge is bringing it ashore. The water is freezing, and a Large waterlogged yeti is not a easy lift. Here's some spells that could help retrieve it:

  • Levitate - Assuming the body is under 500 lbs and the pond is no deeper than 60 ft, this is by far the best solution. Using find familar to gain sight (see above) the caster can simply levitate the body, then escort it from above until they reach shore.

To help with more mundane methods, some combination of the following could work:

  • Floating disk - Similar to levitate this has a limit of 500 lbs, but could work even if the pond were 100 ft deep. However, it still leaves the challenge of how to get the body onto the disk. Once it is though, they can be similarly escorted to shore.
  • Enhance ability - Bear's Endurance could help a brave diver withstand the cold.
  • Alter Self - Aquatic Adaption gives the caster a swim speed and underwater breathing.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Woah! Didn't expect that sudden bomb of a good idea. Levitate should work wonders for the situation at hand. Many thanks! I'll gather more details the next time my DnD group meets to see if that's viable, and I'm quite sure it is. \$\endgroup\$
    – J Thompson
    May 3 at 0:19
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Should be easy-peasy

Use a boat.

Use Animating Performance

Wait til you're 6th level.

Use Animating Performance. Tie a loop in a rope. Animate the rope. Hold on to the non-loop end. Tell it to go put the loop over the big white furry thing in the bottom of the water, pull the loop tight, then tug to let you know it's got it. Then you ought to be able to pull it to the surface, and the rest is just getting it to shore.

Okay, your DM's going to have to cooperate here. On the plus side, the Dancing Item is immune to exhaustion and it has darkvision. On the minus side, it's only 4 smart.

Your DM may tell you the rope's just not smart enough to loop itself around a big white furry thing.

No problem, but you're going to have to go in.

Animate the rope, tie it around you. Tell it, if I tug on you, take me back up and put me in the boat. Drop a weight on a rope down to where you think the yeti is. Pull yourself down and find the yeti. Tie a (different) rope to it. Tug the animated rope, go back up to the boat, pull the yeti to the surface.

The DM may tell you the rope doesn't have a swim speed.

Okay, tie the animated to the boat, put the loop around your upper body, then into the water you go. That way the rope's not swimming, it's just pulling you.

Also, tiny hut may be useful. If you cast it on the bottom of the pond.

Don't want to wait?

Going to be harder at 3rd level. Do the same thing with the weighted rope. Once you find the yeti, attach a net to it. Use Performance of Creation to create a buoy inside the net.

You can hopefully get back in the boat when you're cold and use something like prestidigitation to get warm (like warm your clothes or something). Or heat metal.

If at first you don't succeed . . . .

It make take multiple tries to come up with something that the DM will agree to.

Avoiding exhaustion

I tried to give you options to avoid exhaustion. Try not to stay in the water too long. You might need to find magical or mundane ways of staying warm in the water. Maybe smear lard on yourself before going in.

Locating the yeti

Maybe use speak with animals to talk to a fish. It's a stretch, but it might work.

Locate animals or plants might be helpful, but not directly, since the yeti is 1) not a beast, and 2) it's dead. Maybe you can find plants or animals to help in some way. Maybe a succulent water plant as a reward.

Locate object might locate the yeti. I think that's pretty legit. Just use it to find the nearest dead yeti and you should be set.

You might need help

Locating the dead yeti in the dark cold water and getting it out might be more than you're going to be able to do by yourself.

Get your fellow adventurers, find some friends, or hire them. Or perhaps just persuade them. Bards are good at that.

With multiple people you might be able to bring enough resources to bear to accomplish the task.

Hopefully the cold waters have preserved the yeti and it hasn't been eaten by something.

You can celebrate with yeti tartare, well aged. What's that? Oh, no thanks, I'll pass, really.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ These are very helpful options. The only issue I can see with the initial suggestions is that my DM might rule that the carcass has decomposed by the point I'm 5th level for Leomund's Tiny Hut or 6th level for Animating Performance. \$\endgroup\$
    – J Thompson
    May 3 at 0:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ Might be a stretch, if the pond has been consistently iced over then maybe the water's cold enough to prevent decomposition. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    May 3 at 7:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jack Unless its also so cold it can't maintain life its likely there are some lake dwellers seeing this yeti as a hefty meal. \$\endgroup\$ May 3 at 11:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Could be. But a "pond" is usually pretty small. I mean, shrug, who knows . . . really only the DM. Maybe it's completely fish food. Maybe there's nothing left but gnawed bones. Maybe it's preserved like a mammoth in permafrost. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    May 3 at 12:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for speak with animals. Talking should be a bard's go-to, unless they can solve a problem by singing! And that gives you the option to pretend to be a Disney princess. \$\endgroup\$
    – aantia
    May 3 at 13:40

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