It's been said that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself..." but that guy had never been to Icewind Dale.
Because in Icewind Dale, there's actually quite a lot of fear: the cold, the people, the isolation, blizzards, the cold, the Frostmaiden, avalanches, secrets...did we mention the cold?
Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden is a book that explores the isolation of being in a desolate place; where everyone has an agenda and the land itself is trying to get you.
Trust no one.
It's an appropriate warning since the adventure found inspiration both in John Carpenter's The Thing and the classic X-Files episode Ice.
Players will go from level 1 to 11, battling a hostile environment, and searching for clues to the endless night.
Why won't winter end?
That's what the players need to find out. They'll explore Ten-Towns, the largest cluster of settlements in Icewind Dale, and the environment around it. It's like a frontier town where the folk are cold to strangers, but treat friends warmly, almost like family.
One of the things that makes Rime of the Frostmaiden different, is that the environment is a supporting player in the adventure.
It introduces new rules on dealing with hazards such as being caught in a blizzard or trying to outrun an avalanche, amongst others. Even if you didn't want to run Rime of the Frostmaiden cover to cover, the enhanced environmental hazards could heat up your home games and introduce new and exciting challenges for your players.
With isolation being such an important thematic part of the adventure, Rime of the Frostmaiden is an adventure that cries out for an enhanced play experience. Play by candlelight, with some spooky music to enhance the paranoia players feel; couple that with all of them possessing a secret, and your game is ripe for intrigue.
Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden is a great addition to the canon of D&D adventures.
It's unique in that it's trying to add a horror element to your games, but of course use that at your discretion, based on the players you have at your table.
From an organization perspective, the adventure is much improved, as each chapter contains a brief description of what follows. "Players should do this, they should level up approximately this many times."
Centralizing this type of information makes it easier for DMs to run their games and comes from the feedback stemming out of the extensive playtesting that is a hallmark of the Fifth Edition game.
Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden is an adventure that will reward the type of players who scroll through the PHB in advance of an adventure and load up on all sorts of adventuring gear 'just in case.' "What do you mean I don't need two shovels, four ten foot poles, and some rope? I could make a dog sled out of that if I needed to!"
Adventure might be a dish best served cold, but it's also served up by Rime of the Frostmaiden.
The adventure is in stores now, with the alternate art cover by Hydro74 available exclusively in game stores.
All photos are copyright Wizards of the coast except where indicated
A copy of Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden was provided for review.