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

Eltab

Hero
Now I'm going to have to find my Public Library's copy of Frostburn. IIRC there is a sliding scale of (1) temperature wind &c and (2) cold-weather gear / spells that determine your CON Save DC vs exposure to cold.
 

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Jumped out at me. FWIW, that one's on your DM. As written, you can definitely leave the dungeon.

I was told that we couldn't leave until level 3 of the Dungeon. We never made it past level two (DM and everyone else got bored and moved to something else)

Can you leave before then?

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Okay so my view is that this mod was most likely not written to be just a mod. Like was said above it is also a gazzater.
However it also must tow a line. I think WoTC bit off a big scary post apocalyptic story then could not chew it... so it ended up swallowing a light hearted kinda bad story.

I noticed this as well in my skimming. There was a lot... hesitance about how dark the story could get. But they also included human sacrifice. It was like they were too nervous to commit to the tone they wanted.

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The problem with this lone of thought, though, is it's not implicit that it's two years of deep winter or that the current conditions are the same as when Auril's Everlasting Gobstoppers Winter started rather than the final culmination of Auril's.prolonged magical workings. I think that the most infuriating part of this conversation is the assumption that this nuclear divine winter just "switched on" at full strength one day rather than a slow, creeping onset of an ever-increasingly winter hellscape. Sure, you can read it that way if you're so inclined but I haven't seen anywhere where it is outright stated to be so. It comes down to a case of: do you want to interpret this in a manner that is ridiculously unrealistic or in a manner that is just fantasy unrealistic?

We really aren't given a lot of other options though.

For example, while it could easily have been getting colder and no one noticed, it wouldn't have gotten darker the same way. People would have noticed that.


But, as far as I can find, no one in the entire adventure talks about knowing things were going to be bad when the days kept getting shorter and shorter over the course of the year. That would have been an easy thing to put in, if the problem was a slow, creeping change over the course of the last two years.
 

MikalC

Explorer
I think maybe the

no, it’s just different priorities from what you prefer. Nothing to do with quality.

I am personally glad that they don’t worry about stuff like this.
Yeah who gives a damn about consistency and quality in a product I’m spending my hard earned money on 🙄
 


Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
The problem with this lone of thought, though, is it's not implicit that it's two years of deep winter or that the current conditions are the same as when Auril's Everlasting Gobstoppers Winter started rather than the final culmination of Auril's.prolonged magical workings. I think that the most infuriating part of this conversation is the assumption that this nuclear divine winter just "switched on" at full strength one day rather than a slow, creeping onset of an ever-increasingly winter hellscape. Sure, you can read it that way if you're so inclined but I haven't seen anywhere where it is outright stated to be so. It comes down to a case of: do you want to interpret this in a manner that is ridiculously unrealistic or in a manner that is just fantasy unrealistic?
True, and a best reading would be that it's not a sudden onset. I don't think I've argued for sudden onset anywhere. What is said, though is that the winter has lasted for two years. That's not a cold spring, summer, or fall, that's explicitly winter, for two years. Whether or not the sunlight issue has been two years or not, that kind of prolonged cold -- staying in winter temps -- is deadly by itself. So, in the end, to my point, it doesn't really matter if it was a slow onset two years ago, the issue has been winter temperatures and presumably light levels (which can be better than no sunlight, but aren't great) for two years. Honestly, if they had actually said that it's been a slow slide and it's now stuck recently in deep winter, that would have done a huge amount of work towards my criticisms. They didn't, and I shouldn't have to squint and come up with creative readings to save it, either.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Its so weird to see people talk about preference as if it’s an objective matter of quality.

It isn’t.
Happening? In this thread? I'm not sure where you were headed with this, but if it was to say that people claiming preference is objective isn't happening in this thread, I completely agree. Not sure why you felt the need to say that, but, sure, okay, 100%.

People in this thread are actually pointing to specific things and discussion how those things can play out at reasonable tables, and why that might be a problem, which is neither preference nor claiming preference is objective, it's pointing to actual problems that can and, going with the OP, do occur. That you don't have that problem is great! Happy to hear it! It's also, in no way, an actual rebuttal to the criticism.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Just out of interest, why are you expending so much energy criticising a product you have no intention of buying?

I mean... I have no intention of getting my nose pierced... but I don’t go on an open assault on tattoo parlours?
When I first engaged, I had not yet decided to not buy. But my current decision to not buy doesn't mean that I don't have valid criticisms or that I should just shut up about it. Others can find value in my criticisms, which are, ultimately, pretty darned mild as these things go. I haven't maligned WotC, or the product at large, but kept to specific issues I see with how it's put together -- issues that have gone directly to my decision that I'll be skipping this one.

As for your tattoo example -- this is a poor example. The counterpart to this would be complaining about WotC even if you never, ever purchase or engage with any of their products. And, even then, depending on your criticism it can still be valid. Being a consumer, or a purchaser of a specific product or service, is not required to have good or valid criticism. I'm not on Twitter, should I not be able to complain about it at all, despite the fact that Twitter influences my life indirectly? Same here. I've investigated Frostmaiden -- I've read the excerpts printed online, I've read numerous synopses by those that have purchased the product, and I've participated in discussion. None of the premises I've based my opinions on have been refuted -- what I'm complaining about it actually in the book. That it, and other complaints I haven't presented in full because they are much more preference based, have led me to not purchase has absolutely no impact on the validity of my criticisms.

Further, you have mostly not been addressing my criticisms but instead attacking the validity of even being able to make them. You do so again, here. You're not actually trying to defend the product by showing how the criticism doesn't apply or can be mitigated but instead by trying to argue that I shouldn't be able to criticize the work at all, or, if I do, no one should listen because I'm not a purchaser. I continue to respond, in part, because I find that line of attack to be worth contesting.

But, to answer your question, I provide my criticism because others have before me. I've found good, reasoned criticism, even that I disagree with, to be some of the most enlightening aspects of examining my hobby. Had people been silent with criticism on a product they've chosen to not purchase, then my experience would have been lesser. So, providing good criticism is, to me, a valuable thing to do. Note that I've been very supportive of WotC, and understanding of how the issues I'm criticizing can happen, but I'm also of the opinion that if others never hear this criticism, they my purchase and be disappointed. Whereas, now, they may still purchase, but having been informed of possible potholes, now have a much better experience. This is my goal. What is your goal in preventing criticism?
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
Ovinmancer said:
None of the premises I've based my opinions on have been refuted -- what I'm complaining about it actually in the book. That it, and other complaints I haven't presented in full because they are much more preference based, have led me to not purchase has absolutely no impact on the validity of my criticisms.

I think if you read back you’ll see people have responded to your specific criticisms.

Chief of which is the lack of full sunlight. Can I ask where your evidence is that coniferous trees and plant roots buried beneath snow with 4 hours polar twilight a day will die completely within 2 years... not just be dormant? I have posted links to articles demonstrating life can survive for 3-6 months. Is it just your assumptions or do you have actual evidence beyond your own opinion.

[Edited for correct quote]
 
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Coroc

Hero
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.
yea that might be because of the armadas of clerics and druids providing the population with free food, lighting and heating like some guys above suggested.
Maybe they also have free internet in tentowns, aka: Need a sending spell theres a cleric for that.
All of that makes your plain iron rations and lantern oil expensive as f*** of course, all of that stuff needs to be handcrafted now, even the ladders which are coming in so handy if no ten foot pole is around.
Because who needs a ladder? Wizards and other casters are so frequent now in the realm there surely is one around to cast levitate for you if you need your roof fixed :p
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
I was told that we couldn't leave until level 3 of the Dungeon. We never made it past level two (DM and everyone else got bored and moved to something else)

Can you leave before then?
Same way you got in, through the Yawning Portal. You pay a 1 gold piece toll and they lower the elevator.
 

Shardstone

Adventurer
I think if you read back you’ll see people have responded to your specific criticisms.

Chief of which is the lack of full sunlight. Can I ask where your evidence is that coniferous trees and plant roots buried beneath snow with 4 hours polar twilight a day will die completely within 2 years... not just be dormant? I have posted links to articles demonstrating life can survive for 3-6 months. Is it just your assumptions or do you have actual evidence beyond your own opinion.
In places above 80 latitude, where polar night lasts for months at a time, there aren't really trees. The few plants that are there are able to survive in dormancy, as are the plants and trees around 75 latitude, due to saving up energy from the previous sunlit months.

Here's a link for Polar Ecology, which Icewind Dale would have become after a full year in winter. Polar ecology - Wikipedia
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
In places above 80 latitude, where polar night lasts for months at a time, there aren't really trees. The few plants that are there are able to survive in dormancy, as are the plants and trees around 75 latitude, due to saving up energy from the previous sunlit months.

Here's a link for Polar Ecology, which Icewind Dale would have become after a full year in winter. Polar ecology - Wikipedia

I'd never explicitly thought about a tree line due to latitude before. Thanks for.the link! More at Tree line - Wikipedia
 

DnD Warlord

Explorer
I think if you read back you’ll see people have responded to your specific criticisms.

Chief of which is the lack of full sunlight. Can I ask where your evidence is that coniferous trees and plant roots buried beneath snow with 4 hours polar twilight a day will die completely within 2 years... not just be dormant? I have posted links to articles demonstrating life can survive for 3-6 months. Is it just your assumptions or do you have actual evidence beyond your own opinion.
I never said any of what you quoted
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I'd never explicitly thought about a tree line due to latitude before. Thanks for.the link! More at Tree line - Wikipedia
Tree lines are usually not light restricted, but temperature. Average summer temps need to be above 5-6 C for even very cold hearty trees. This is actually the theory behind using tree growth rings to try to determine past temperature. The issue with that is that temperature isn't the only factor in tree growth (especially in the varieties of strip-bark trees common at treelines) so the temperature signal is very, very messy resulting in bad resolutions due to error bars. Still, direct observations have pegged the average temp needing to be in the above range.

Light isn't the limit for tree lines because we're talking summertime temps, and summer in the Arctic (or Antarctic) is full of sunlight. On mountains, sunlight is also usually very plentiful during the growing season.

As for @TheSword's question to find scientific study showing trees can't survive -59C average temps with no sunlight if blanketed in snow for two years, it's a fool's errand: that kind of condition doesn't exist anywhere and isn't of much scientific interest because it doesn't exist. I mean, we're talking burying a tree in snow at the South Pole to achieve these conditions, just to confirm that, yep, it dies. We know it dies because trees, even evergreen cold hearty trees, die without sunlight in much less time, and no tree lives at that average year-long temp. The knowledge about plants and light comes, in part, from the Norse, who would shelter evergreens in caves during the winter for up to six months. These would die if left in the cave much more than six months, and temps in the caves, while cold, were far milder than deep winter temps, so it was the light levels that did it.

I'm still struggling with the argument that normal trees should be expected to live with no light and brutal, arctic cold all the time for two years. The cold does in trees at much milder temps even when there's light. Taking away the tree's ability to create food for two years seems a no brainer as to the result, but here we are.
 

Shardstone

Adventurer
For people who think that the trees not dying doesn't matter:

Imagine if the trees WERE dying. What does that do to the TenTowners? What new pressures does that create? How do the druids react to the fact that their goddess is actually killing the world, not sustaining it?

OR FLIP THE SCRIPT!

Go MORE IN DETAIL about the druids. Talk about how they are keeping the trees alive, and indeed the entire ecosystem alive. Make it an adventure! The Frozen Heart of the Boreal Forest or something like that where the players need to convince the terrifying, primal druids that if they don't actually turn against the Frostmaiden, nothing they do will be able to actually save their forest in these conditions.

Then you have the chance to overcome the horror and turn it into a weapon against the duegar or the Frostmaiden; alternatively, the players could fail, and the horror gets worse!

These are the off the cuff in 20 seconds thoughts I had after thinking about what the module could have been like if it didn't decide to handwave this problem. These kinds of cool adventure seeds and ideas spawn only from logically applying the impossible (eternal winter) to the possible (trees would die) and seeing what kind of cool fantasy stories emerge.

This is what I expect when I spend $50 on an adventure. Not what I got. BTW I did buy Frostmaiden, pre-ordered actually, since a lot of people are saying that not buying the module means you can't critique it.
 



TheSword

Legend
Supporter
Tree lines are usually not light restricted, but temperature. Average summer temps need to be above 5-6 C for even very cold hearty trees. This is actually the theory behind using tree growth rings to try to determine past temperature. The issue with that is that temperature isn't the only factor in tree growth (especially in the varieties of strip-bark trees common at treelines) so the temperature signal is very, very messy resulting in bad resolutions due to error bars. Still, direct observations have pegged the average temp needing to be in the above range.

Light isn't the limit for tree lines because we're talking summertime temps, and summer in the Arctic (or Antarctic) is full of sunlight. On mountains, sunlight is also usually very plentiful during the growing season.

As for @TheSword's question to find scientific study showing trees can't survive -59C average temps with no sunlight if blanketed in snow for two years, it's a fool's errand: that kind of condition doesn't exist anywhere and isn't of much scientific interest because it doesn't exist. I mean, we're talking burying a tree in snow at the South Pole to achieve these conditions, just to confirm that, yep, it dies. We know it dies because trees, even evergreen cold hearty trees, die without sunlight in much less time, and no tree lives at that average year-long temp. The knowledge about plants and light comes, in part, from the Norse, who would shelter evergreens in caves during the winter for up to six months. These would die if left in the cave much more than six months, and temps in the caves, while cold, were far milder than deep winter temps, so it was the light levels that did it.

I'm still struggling with the argument that normal trees should be expected to live with no light and brutal, arctic cold all the time for two years. The cold does in trees at much milder temps even when there's light. Taking away the tree's ability to create food for two years seems a no brainer as to the result, but here we are.
What you’re missing here is the fact that in such situations trees would never grow in the first place. So your claim they would die is purely based on your assumptions. You’re claiming they would all die, however the reality is that you have no evidence for that.

No one is claiming the trees are thriving... just that they’re still there.
 

Shardstone

Adventurer
What you’re missing here is the fact that in such situations trees would never grow in the first place. So your claim they would die is purely based on your assumptions. You’re claiming they would all die, however the reality is that you have no evidence for that.

No one is claiming the trees are thriving... just that they’re still there.
What?
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Tree lines are usually not light restricted, but temperature. Average summer temps need to be above 5-6 C for even very cold hearty trees. This is actually the theory behind using tree growth rings to try to determine past temperature. The issue with that is that temperature isn't the only factor in tree growth (especially in the varieties of strip-bark trees common at treelines) so the temperature signal is very, very messy resulting in bad resolutions due to error bars. Still, direct observations have pegged the average temp needing to be in the above range.

All those trees everywhere in Rankin/Bass Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer movie got me. (I mean, I knew there wasn't solid land... but somehow the trees didn't phase me).
 

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