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5E A brief rant about Rime of the Frost Maiden, farming, logistics, and ecology

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
If it doesn't matter to you, but it does to me and others, then why do you keep repeatedly telling us how to feel? Why do you feel such an earnest need to tell people that their issues with the adventure are smalltime and don't matter? What are you gaining from demeaning our point of view so much?
Quote me where I’ve done any of that, please.
 

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Remathilis

Legend
If it bothers you, tweak it. "Last summer the sun barely came up, not nearly enough to melt all the snow. This year spring isn't coming and the days aren't getting longer." Done.

So no, it's not a big deal IMHO since it took all of 30 seconds to think of something that makes more sense if you want.
You know, it's funny. I bought a brand new car recently. Drove off the dealer's lot and I noticed that the bulbs in the headlamps didn't light! Now, it was daytime so I wasn't a danger, so I drove to my local Autozone, looked up my new car's bulb type, bought two bulbs and went and installed them right there in the parking lot. Easy, fast, and relatively cheap as far as car issues go. But I really couldn't shake the feeling that it wasn't something the dealership should have checked before they sold me the car...
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I think there's a fundamental difference of approach*. It's WOTC's fault that the mod isn't perfect vs nothing is perfect so while I like the basic premise here are suggestions on how to change the 2-4 sentences in question.

Obviously I'm in the latter camp. Same as how I don't need or want detailed rules on how to resolve all exploration or social situations, I accept that any game with the scope and depth of D&D is going to need tweaking. It takes minimal effort.

Could WOTC have "fixed" this? I guess. Maybe it was just a minor oversight, the equivalent of a typo. Maybe they just didn't think it through and like most fantasy (or fiction writers in general) get things wrong now and then. But it doesn't matter, because I accept that nothing is perfect, nor can it be, nor can they write a mod that will please everyone.

The core concept seems solid, probably more so than a lot of mods that have been written over the decades. I guess I accept that as much as I'd like perfection, it's never going to happen. So rather than complain endlessly about how they should fix it I'd rather talk about how I can fix it. Which come to think of it is the dichotomy I see about a whole lot of discussions around here.

*Well, there are a few who say "WOTC sucks at writing mods and this is proof" but I'll ignore them.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Scraps of meanness? I've been responding to you ....is that how you are describing your own posts? I am not understanding you, I'm afraid.

You can, of course .....I have a post all about constructive criticism, just a few posts, above.

Fiction is about suspension of disbelief. If your disbelief can't even get you across the threshold....there isn't that much more to talk about.

The module at it's heart is not about what the NPC's do, but what the players do.
Winter's Fury is unleashed...players...en media res..what do you do?
The Chard Dragon will be unleashed....what do the players do?
Nobody is going to live unless Auril is dealt with...what do the players do?
There is a really cool Lost City...what do the players do?
It is constructive criticism to point out that the premise is flawed and could use a bit of in-text work to fix. There's a ton of good suggestions in this thread for many different takes, even. However, you're setting up an argument here that it doesn't matter what the story premise is, it only matters what the characters do after that. There's a lot of truth that the adventure is really going to be what the players make of it, but absolving the adventure text of any requirements by placing the onus on the players isn't how it actually works. The adventure sets up situations and the players react, true, but it's not in a vacuum -- the setup directly influences the player action. You can point to suspension of disbelief, but this isn't something to expect, it's something to facilitate. You have to do the work so that the suspension is easier, not just expect suspension to anything you put out and then blame the players for failing to suspend.

And here that's the crux of the issue -- the premise setup is such that it doesn't facilitate suspension of disbelief. What I mean by that is that the premise situation lacks explanation that allows it to fit with the experience or knowledge of some people. It actively fights against that experience and knowledge. Fantasy is allow about doing this, though, but that's where facilitation comes in -- you have to provide a reason for this violation of expectation and understanding. It's not hard, fantasy does it all the time, but it's also not done here. The depth of winter has lasted 2 years, with no direct sun, but life isn't apocalyptic -- it's surprisingly normal. Not completely normal, but surprisingly so -- taverns are full, populations aren't crashing, there's still living flora and fauna that isn't water based, and so on. This needs some kind of explanation, or a change to the premise, to assist those that have experience or knowledge that this is a profoundly odd occurrence. And, this lack of facilitation to suspend disbelief can be a problem for some to get into the adventure and have the fun of finding out what the PCs do.

Now, people can do their own work to fix this, absolutely, but that's not a defense of the text. It's an expectation of our hobby that we are expected to fix problems like this on our own rather than expect the writer of the adventure to do it. And, in some cases, this is absolutely true -- if my table has certain uncommon or special considerations I need to do the work myself to adapt. Also, if I have a non-standard table in some ways (larger or smaller than the average party, different class compositions, etc.) then that's also special to my table and I should expect to do that work. Essentially, if it's something at my table in how I play the game, then I should expect to have to do the work. This is absolutely true. However, I shouldn't also be expected to fix issues with the core premise of a module when that issue is apparent to anyone recalling high school geography or happens to live north (or south) of about 50 degrees latitude.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to address that argument that this problem only really applies to modern sensibilities about just in time food. That's not at all true. If anything, just in time food would make this problem easier to deal with, as the logistical network that allows that would also immediately notice the disruption and react due to the interconnectedness that such a logistical network requires, making sure food arrived despite the costs. No, the argument against the adventure's premise, as far as I've seen, has never once been based on a modern food distribution assumption in any post except those knocking down this strawman. Instead, historically, food stores for the winter where limited, both in kind and quality, such that even a late spring or a poor harvest could cause malnutrition. People didn't stockpile against a year long famine anywhere, ever. They didn't stockpile against even a bad year. If you can afford to store a year's worth of food, and do so continuously (replacing the rot and loss to vermin), then you can easily afford twice your population. Now, if a situation is expected occasionally, that changes things, but a two year long winter with no direct sunlight is NOT that condition (and the adventure says this), so the expectation that people have stored that much food against an such an unforeseeable outcome isn't relying on modern food distribution sensibilities, it's looking directly at how food storage up until that has worked for the entirety of human existence. It stops at modern food distribution, it's not based on it.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
It is constructive criticism to point out that the premise is flawed and could use a bit of in-text work to fix. There's a ton of good suggestions in this thread for many different takes, even. However, you're setting up an argument here that it doesn't matter what the story premise is, it only matters what the characters do after that. There's a lot of truth that the adventure is really going to be what the players make of it, but absolving the adventure text of any requirements by placing the onus on the players isn't how it actually works. The adventure sets up situations and the players react, true, but it's not in a vacuum -- the setup directly influences the player action. You can point to suspension of disbelief, but this isn't something to expect, it's something to facilitate. You have to do the work so that the suspension is easier, not just expect suspension to anything you put out and then blame the players for failing to suspend.

And here that's the crux of the issue -- the premise setup is such that it doesn't facilitate suspension of disbelief. What I mean by that is that the premise situation lacks explanation that allows it to fit with the experience or knowledge of some people. It actively fights against that experience and knowledge. Fantasy is allow about doing this, though, but that's where facilitation comes in -- you have to provide a reason for this violation of expectation and understanding. It's not hard, fantasy does it all the time, but it's also not done here. The depth of winter has lasted 2 years, with no direct sun, but life isn't apocalyptic -- it's surprisingly normal. Not completely normal, but surprisingly so -- taverns are full, populations aren't crashing, there's still living flora and fauna that isn't water based, and so on. This needs some kind of explanation, or a change to the premise, to assist those that have experience or knowledge that this is a profoundly odd occurrence. And, this lack of facilitation to suspend disbelief can be a problem for some to get into the adventure and have the fun of finding out what the PCs do.

Now, people can do their own work to fix this, absolutely, but that's not a defense of the text. It's an expectation of our hobby that we are expected to fix problems like this on our own rather than expect the writer of the adventure to do it. And, in some cases, this is absolutely true -- if my table has certain uncommon or special considerations I need to do the work myself to adapt. Also, if I have a non-standard table in some ways (larger or smaller than the average party, different class compositions, etc.) then that's also special to my table and I should expect to do that work. Essentially, if it's something at my table in how I play the game, then I should expect to have to do the work. This is absolutely true. However, I shouldn't also be expected to fix issues with the core premise of a module when that issue is apparent to anyone recalling high school geography or happens to live north (or south) of about 50 degrees latitude.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to address that argument that this problem only really applies to modern sensibilities about just in time food. That's not at all true. If anything, just in time food would make this problem easier to deal with, as the logistical network that allows that would also immediately notice the disruption and react due to the interconnectedness that such a logistical network requires, making sure food arrived despite the costs. No, the argument against the adventure's premise, as far as I've seen, has never once been based on a modern food distribution assumption in any post except those knocking down this strawman. Instead, historically, food stores for the winter where limited, both in kind and quality, such that even a late spring or a poor harvest could cause malnutrition. People didn't stockpile against a year long famine anywhere, ever. They didn't stockpile against even a bad year. If you can afford to store a year's worth of food, and do so continuously (replacing the rot and loss to vermin), then you can easily afford twice your population. Now, if a situation is expected occasionally, that changes things, but a two year long winter with no direct sunlight is NOT that condition (and the adventure says this), so the expectation that people have stored that much food against an such an unforeseeable outcome isn't relying on modern food distribution sensibilities, it's looking directly at how food storage up until that has worked for the entirety of human existence. It stops at modern food distribution, it's not based on it.
This is going round in circles now. I think you’re grossly underestimating the human race’s ability to survive. If you read accounts of the famines in China and what people survived on, tenaciously for a lot longer than 3-6 months then I think you would be less dogmatic about this.

The OPs description is completely out of context. Very selective quoting. “Just another gruesome day” is followed by “howling wind, bitter cold and foul temper” which is anything but normal. ”Taverns are abuzz”... with talk of townsfolk being murdered. This is never described as some pastoral normal start to a campaign.

You say it’s impossible to look past the two years of winter. I say the whole Game of Thrones premise is that winter can last a lot longer than that... and indeed it has. If you are in a camp that says Game of Thrones as a premise is impossible to look past then I suspect you aren’t part of the mass market target audience WOC looks for. Perhaps your tastes run a bit niche? There’s nothing wrong with that, except where you expect mass market publications to cater to you tastes.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I think there's a fundamental difference of approach*. It's WOTC's fault that the mod isn't perfect vs nothing is perfect so while I like the basic premise here are suggestions on how to change the 2-4 sentences in question.

Obviously I'm in the latter camp. Same as how I don't need or want detailed rules on how to resolve all exploration or social situations, I accept that any game with the scope and depth of D&D is going to need tweaking. It takes minimal effort.

Could WOTC have "fixed" this? I guess. Maybe it was just a minor oversight, the equivalent of a typo. Maybe they just didn't think it through and like most fantasy (or fiction writers in general) get things wrong now and then. But it doesn't matter, because I accept that nothing is perfect, nor can it be, nor can they write a mod that will please everyone.

The core concept seems solid, probably more so than a lot of mods that have been written over the decades. I guess I accept that as much as I'd like perfection, it's never going to happen. So rather than complain endlessly about how they should fix it I'd rather talk about how I can fix it. Which come to think of it is the dichotomy I see about a whole lot of discussions around here.

*Well, there are a few who say "WOTC sucks at writing mods and this is proof" but I'll ignore them.
No, it's not this either/or. It's not expecting everything is perfect. It's looking at the part of the selling point premise -- the first thing you get about the situation and why it needs heroes -- and saying that it doesn't pass the smell test. Now, after that, it's entirely true that there's a number of people that aren't bothered by the smell, and some that are, but this isn't about adventure perfection, it's about asking why one of the core premises for the adventure is presented without any facilitation for suspension of disbelief when, as shown by this thread, it would have been simple to do.

As I've said a number of times, I see how these things happen because I've done these things. Luckily, most of mine got caught in review, but my program had to learn how to look for these things -- they don't just stop happening because we regret them. So, I get how it happens, and I don't expect perfection, and, for goodness sakes, the sales figures for WotC aren't really motivation to undertake a review of their review process, but that doesn't reduce or remove the validity of this criticism. The two year long deep winter is a poorly presented and unexplained premise that has caused some to have trouble with their enjoyment and suspension of disbelief. How many? Don't know, ENW is hardly representative of the wider hobby. I have to think that anyone that lives in the North of the globe (and a few places in the South) would at least scratch their heads before doing their own work to justify it, but that need to justify or explain away how one of the core premises of the adventure just to align with experience is a problem -- this is precisely the work the writers are supposed to be doing!

I don't need perfection, far from it. I would like the writers to do the basic job of presenting a core premise that hangs together rather than immediately make me question it because it violates my experience and knowledge and doesn't even try to justify that. This is the main job of a fantasy writer -- to violate your experience and then give you a reason to suspend disbelief. We have the violation, where's the reason? It's been advanced that it's to play an adventure, and that's laudable, but I can play lots of adventures -- why is this one special or different enough that I should do extra work to suspend the disbelief? This is where just a little bit of extra work on the premise could go a long way. That's not perfection, though.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
You know, it's funny. I bought a brand new car recently. Drove off the dealer's lot and I noticed that the bulbs in the headlamps didn't light! Now, it was daytime so I wasn't a danger, so I drove to my local Autozone, looked up my new car's bulb type, bought two bulbs and went and installed them right there in the parking lot. Easy, fast, and relatively cheap as far as car issues go. But I really couldn't shake the feeling that it wasn't something the dealership should have checked before they sold me the car...
Headlights working is binary, yes or no. There is no judgement call as to whether they work sufficiently or not.

Now if you asked with a large a roomy interior and the interior wasn’t roomy enough for you then that is a more reasonable analogy.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Headlights working is binary, yes or no. There is no judgement call as to whether they work sufficiently or not.

Now if you asked with a large a roomy interior and the interior wasn’t roomy enough for you then that is a more reasonable analogy.
I was aiming for something that is "easy to fix myself" angle vs subjective/objective (a roomy interior is not a quick stop to the part shop). Perhaps if I had said the lights were too dim for my liking?
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
This is going round in circles now. I think you’re grossly underestimating the human race’s ability to survive. If you read accounts of the famines in China and what people survived on, tenaciously for a lot longer than 3-6 months then I think you would be less dogmatic about this.
I am not. China is actually one of my source points -- it's got one of the longest recorded histories and periodically suffers famine with great regularity. Nothing in the historical records of China, which are depressing, remotely gets to what the adventure presents: two years of deep winter, no sun, and people in the taverns drinking mead. There's some scattered human sacrifice, and a few offerings to the gods, but largely things are at the end of a poor harvest with a late spring -- hungry but not desperate. The only desperation in the module is that we're told things are desperate -- the actual module doesn't do anything to reinforce this.

If it were true that people could survive this kind of treatment because humans are just that tenacious, Antarctica would be peopled.
The OPs description is completely out of context. Very selective quoting. “Just another gruesome day” is followed by “howling wind, bitter cold and foul temper” which is anything but normal. ”Taverns are abuzz”... with talk of townsfolk being murdered. This is never described as some pastoral normal start to a campaign.

You say it’s impossible to look past the two years of winter. I say the whole Game of Thrones premise is that winter can last a lot longer than that... and indeed it has. If you are in a camp that says Game of Thrones as a premise is impossible to look past then I suspect you aren’t part of the mass market target audience WOC looks for. Perhaps your tastes run a bit niche? There’s nothing wrong with that, except where you expect mass market publications to cater to you tastes.
Pointing to another bad premise because it's popular is exactly what I said it was last time -- things aren't true because their popular. And, GoT described the winter as people don't live in the cold places anymore because they starve and die. It's not something that people go, eh, we'll get through that, it's presented as an existential crisis for the north. The mere threat of which is used to say things could be worse, do better. WotC brought that winter, but then largely ignored the impacts of it. That they were serving two masters is clear -- they wanted a gazetteer of the Dales but also wanted an adventure. As such, they lay out the premise that it's two years of winter but then present the Dales as they normally are but sprinkle in a few adventure hooks related to the long winter. They do both -- have the winter and not have the winter. I see how it happened, and the conflicting needs, but it leaves a situation where we're talking about an existential crisis AND mostly normal life at the same time. As this thread has shown, there's some easy work that could fix this, but, well, we didn't get it. And that's a valid criticism that isn't defeated by "but people like Game of Thrones and it referenced a long winter, too!"
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
No, it's not this either/or. It's not expecting everything is perfect. It's looking at the part of the selling point premise -- the first thing you get about the situation and why it needs heroes -- and saying that it doesn't pass the smell test. Now, after that, it's entirely true that there's a number of people that aren't bothered by the smell, and some that are, but this isn't about adventure perfection, it's about asking why one of the core premises for the adventure is presented without any facilitation for suspension of disbelief when, as shown by this thread, it would have been simple to do.

As I've said a number of times, I see how these things happen because I've done these things. Luckily, most of mine got caught in review, but my program had to learn how to look for these things -- they don't just stop happening because we regret them. So, I get how it happens, and I don't expect perfection, and, for goodness sakes, the sales figures for WotC aren't really motivation to undertake a review of their review process, but that doesn't reduce or remove the validity of this criticism. The two year long deep winter is a poorly presented and unexplained premise that has caused some to have trouble with their enjoyment and suspension of disbelief. How many? Don't know, ENW is hardly representative of the wider hobby. I have to think that anyone that lives in the North of the globe (and a few places in the South) would at least scratch their heads before doing their own work to justify it, but that need to justify or explain away how one of the core premises of the adventure just to align with experience is a problem -- this is precisely the work the writers are supposed to be doing!

I don't need perfection, far from it. I would like the writers to do the basic job of presenting a core premise that hangs together rather than immediately make me question it because it violates my experience and knowledge and doesn't even try to justify that. This is the main job of a fantasy writer -- to violate your experience and then give you a reason to suspend disbelief. We have the violation, where's the reason? It's been advanced that it's to play an adventure, and that's laudable, but I can play lots of adventures -- why is this one special or different enough that I should do extra work to suspend the disbelief? This is where just a little bit of extra work on the premise could go a long way. That's not perfection, though.

So you want a mod customized to your personal tastes, preferences and theories of realism. You want them to never make different assumptions and judgement calls than you would ... except you don't ... but you do.

Anyway, this is going nowhere. Have a good one.
 

Wasteland Knight

Adventurer
I was aiming for something that is "easy to fix myself" angle vs subjective/objective (a roomy interior is not a quick stop to the part shop). Perhaps if I had said the lights were too dim for my liking?
Your analogy was good. But ultimately it will be futile.

The detractors of RofFM are basing their negative reaction on objective points. There is certainly a subjective component to how much something concerns anybobevperdonnover another, but I have snd gave seen many objective shortcomings in this WOTC product.

The advocates however seem to be operating from a position of pure subjrctive emotion. They like WOTC, ergo they like RotFM snd you should top it you’re wrong.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
So you want a mod customized to your personal tastes, preferences and theories of realism. You want them to never make different assumptions and judgement calls than you would ... except you don't ... but you do.

Anyway, this is going nowhere. Have a good one.
YES! Exactly! I want a mod so customized to my personal tastes that one of the core premises gets a bit more explanation! I'm 100% excited and glad that we've made this connection and are on the same page! WotC must please me by adding a few sentences to the core premise!
 

jasper

Rotten DM
My point is simple. There's a lot of bluster and accusations of he mod being worthless by people who have not even read nor played it.
It's 2-4 sentences. If it bothers you, change it. Done. It's a molehill, not a mountain.
One sentence.
Adventure League Dm.
Can't change it.
Rats that was 3 sentences. I can't count.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
One sentence.
Adventure League Dm.
Can't change it.
Rats that was 3 sentences. I can't count.

It's two sentences that go into no real detail that you are not expected to read verbatim. Besides, I've had plenty of public play DM's make minor tweaks to fluff, I've done it myself. Haven't been arrested by the AL police yet.
 

Your analogy was good. But ultimately it will be futile.

The detractors of RofFM are basing their negative reaction on objective points. There is certainly a subjective component to how much something concerns anybobevperdonnover another, but I have snd gave seen many objective shortcomings in this WOTC product.

The advocates however seem to be operating from a position of pure subjrctive emotion. They like WOTC, ergo they like RotFM snd you should top it you’re wrong.
Quite a few things have been blown out of proportions in this thread, including the perception that “negative reaction to the premise = adventure is bad and worthless“. Or “I like WOTC therefore RotFM cannot be flawed.“

it isn’t even the whole premise that is called to be flawed; as Oofta said, turn the “apocalyptic winter dial” down a few notches and you’re there. The idea is things are going south (err, north?) in Icewind Dale and heroes are needed.

But people pointing out that the state of things described in the intro doesn’t match our experience (or perception of experience) of a full-on two-year deep winter do have a point IMO, and the perceived incoherence is off-putting.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Ok people lets take @Oofta at his word. 2 -4 sentences to FIX the adventure.
Page 22. Cold Open paragraphs. Add at end.
"It been 2 years without sun. After the first month of adventuring by the party, roll a d10 and reduce the population of each town by that. This due to people leaving, or dying of starvation."
Page 11 In Blizzards paragraphs. Add
"Blizzards cause very extreme cold effects. Even cold weather gear does not help. The party will need a tent to survive. See Extreme Cold."
 

jasper

Rotten DM
It's two sentences that go into no real detail that you are not expected to read verbatim. Besides, I've had plenty of public play DM's make minor tweaks to fluff, I've done it myself. Haven't been arrested by the AL police yet.
I would phone the Adventure League police and narc on you but. I would have to narc on myself. As to tweaks read my write ups of Season 10.
 


MGibster

Legend
i am so glad i always alter the coinage system in official settings ( would be silver for FR)

The "paid 5g for rumors" made me cringe.
Translated to modern RL this would be like: "You give the drunkard that tells you that there might be a crocodile in the sewer 1000$ for sharing his insights ."

With the way PCs accumulate coins and gems with such frequency, I tend to view adventurers as ballers who roll into town with money to burn making it rain wherever they roam. But this is just my response to the ridiculously way gold is undervalued in the game. In my first 5E campaign I flat out told the PCs there were two economies: regular and adventurer. A regular person doesn't pay 50 gold for a draft horse but the PCs do because they're adventurers. Of course, the fact that adventurers spend so freely makes them very popular wherever they go.
 

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