log in or register to remove this ad

 

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

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
What about the survival of the animal life? Is it legitimate to criticize the adventure regarding this?
Which makes me wonder how it could have been that cold that long with the sea still doing fine. Feels like non-freezing relative warmth of the one should be doing something with the cold of the air or vice-versa.

Anyway, at some point further north where it's iced in during a usual winter, it reminds me of the baluga whale/polar bear seen in the BBC's Blue Planet. Lot of dead whales who ran out of air holes up there when they finally iced over with no though. And probably a lot of dead bears.

 

log in or register to remove this ad

Which makes me wonder how it could have been that cold that long with the sea still doing fine. Feels like non-freezing relative warmth of the one should be doing something with the cold of the air or vice-versa.
While I agree that they got pretty heavy-handed with a 2-year long winter with averaging temperatures of -45C (I’m going by earlier posts here, is that correct?), there is a point where one needs to accept that a magical winter can ignore the geological and meteorological forces that cause temperature to drop or temperate. So while I raise an eyebrow at some of that apoca-winter’s immediate concequences (or lack thereof) I don’t question how it can happen.

As far as I’m concerned, Auril could create an eternal winter in the middle of a Sahara-like desert and I’d buy it. Magic is, after all, the very definition of what goes against t established order of nature.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
While I agree that they got pretty heavy-handed with a 2-year long winter with averaging temperatures of -45C (I’m going by earlier posts here, is that correct?), there is a point where one needs to accept that a magical winter can ignore the geological and meteorological forces that cause temperature to drop or temperate. So while I raise an eyebrow at some of that apoca-winter’s immediate concequences (or lack thereof) I don’t question how it can happen.

As far as I’m concerned, Auril could create an eternal winter in the middle of a Sahara-like desert and I’d buy it. Magic is, after all, the very definition of what goes against t established order of nature.
Yup, no problems with the cause of the winter -- "A god did it" is pretty much a tried and true explanation for lots of stuff.
 

Galandris

Adventurer
Oh, and where does the mod say it's been total darkness for 2 solid years? Auril has been f'ing with the weather for a couple of years, but does not say how gradual the changes have been. That, and it's not complete pitch black even as the story starts, it's still twilight.

It is explicitely said that her spell prevents the sun from raising above the horizon. While the effect on temperature can be gradual, the effect on illumination is not: her spell is explicitely stated to produce 20h of night and only 4h of twilight around noon. While it is not explicitely written that she's been casting her spell for two years, it is the most natural reading.

In the very first page of the adventure, it is explained that she's casting her spell to prevent the sun to rise, which locks IWD into an eternal winter with no sunlight to melt the snow. The absence of the sun is said to be the cause of the lowering of the temperature. It would be strange for the consequence to start appearing before the cause. She is also said to be exhausted by the casting of her spell and can just cause blizzard to block the mountain passes and create bad winds at sea: she is not said to take any other action to cause a drop in temperature or prolong winter than preventing the sun from rising.

In the Entertainer background, it is suggested a character could have settled in Icewind Dales three years ago, and "Since then, Auril the Frostmaiden has cast an evil spell over the dale, preventing you from returning home". She is not said to have taken various actions preventing the character from returning home and recently has started to cast a spell... In the Guild Artisan background, the shop was doing well until Auril "cast her evil spell to banish the sun" and now, businesses are suffering. I'd surmise they are suffering because the sun-banishing spell has caused harsh conditions and disrupted logistics, not because the winter was very bad for two years and business was OK but it's just the recent lack of light in the day that disrupted trade?

The opening read-alound mentions that "This land has not felt the warmth of the sun in over two years. In fact, the sun no longer appears above the mountains, not even in what should be the height of summer. In this frozen tundra, darkness and bitter cold reign as king and queen. Most Dale residents blame Auril. The shimmering aurora that weaves across the sky each night is said to be her doing -- a potent spell to keep the sun at bay". The residents also seem to think Auril blocking the sun is the cause of the harsh winter, not just a more recent development. I have seen nothing in the adventure supporting the idea that the sun-blocking spell is just a recent development amid the two-years long winter.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
It is explicitely said that her spell prevents the sun from raising above the horizon. While the effect on temperature can be gradual, the effect on illumination is not: her spell is explicitely stated to produce 20h of night and only 4h of twilight around noon. While it is not explicitely written that she's been casting her spell for two years, it is the most natural reading.

In the very first page of the adventure, it is explained that she's casting her spell to prevent the sun to rise, which locks IWD into an eternal winter with no sunlight to melt the snow. The absence of the sun is said to be the cause of the lowering of the temperature. It would be strange for the consequence to start appearing before the cause. She is also said to be exhausted by the casting of her spell and can just cause blizzard to block the mountain passes and create bad winds at sea: she is not said to take any other action to cause a drop in temperature or prolong winter than preventing the sun from rising.

In the Entertainer background, it is suggested a character could have settled in Icewind Dales three years ago, and "Since then, Auril the Frostmaiden has cast an evil spell over the dale, preventing you from returning home". She is not said to have taken various actions preventing the character from returning home and recently has started to cast a spell... In the Guild Artisan background, the shop was doing well until Auril "cast her evil spell to banish the sun" and now, businesses are suffering. I'd surmise they are suffering because the sun-banishing spell has caused harsh conditions and disrupted logistics, not because the winter was very bad for two years and business was OK but it's just the recent lack of light in the day that disrupted trade?

The opening read-alound mentions that "This land has not felt the warmth of the sun in over two years. In fact, the sun no longer appears above the mountains, not even in what should be the height of summer. In this frozen tundra, darkness and bitter cold reign as king and queen. Most Dale residents blame Auril. The shimmering aurora that weaves across the sky each night is said to be her doing -- a potent spell to keep the sun at bay". The residents also seem to think Auril blocking the sun is the cause of the harsh winter, not just a more recent development. I have seen nothing in the adventure supporting the idea that the sun-blocking spell is just a recent development amid the two-years long winter.
The bolded part is a pretty clear statement. You'd have to bring out quite a few metaphor horses to drag that into the vicinity of the darkness being a recent thing.
 

The bolded part is a pretty clear statement. You'd have to bring out quite a few metaphor horses to drag that into the vicinity of the darkness being a recent thing.

A few lines of text here-and-there in the adventure tells us that Winterpocolypse has lasted two years. Everything else in the adventure implies that it has not. Personally, I chose to go with the parts that make it not stupid as opposed to focussing on the parts that make it yes-stupid.

I mean, I can't even get my head around how a spell would stop the sun from rising in an isolated part of the world, but the rest of the world is fine. (Really powerful illusion, maybe?)

I've never once in 35 years used an adventure without spotting something that I thought was stupid and ignoring it. I didn't even consciously notice this one until I got involved in this discussion (so quick was I to ignore anything that tried to tell me that it was Full Dark Winter for Two Whole Years).

Like some people here have mentioned, that was probably the result of multiple hands creating this book for multiple purposes. It's an Icewind Dale Gazeteer and a Horror-Inspired Adventure, but clearly there's some tape still showing from where it got pasted together. (And it seems they had some push-back, or back-and-forth on just how much horror to include).

It's a little clunky, to be sure, but as far as Adventures go, all said, I still maintain that this one has some really great bits. Above average, in the very least.
 


briggart

Explorer
And yet, most of the older characters The Game of Thrones have experienced winter lasting several years! They survived.

yes I agree different muscles get used in TT but at the same time fiction will always lead our expectations of RPG. Every TTRPG is derivative from some form of literature or media
Catching up on the thread so apologies if this has already been mentioned. Year long winters are a fact of nature in GoT. People have known about this for generations, and use the year long summers to prepare for that. People in IWD have always experienced 'normal' length seasons and now are suddenly facing a 2-year long winter. It's like driving in an area where there are gas station every 10Km or so, you have stopping for a fill-up with still 20Km of fuel left in the tank only to be told that they are out of gas and so it's every station within 100Km, and no one knows when the refueling truck is coming.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
Catching up on the thread so apologies if this has already been mentioned. Year long winters are a fact of nature in GoT. People have known about this for generations, and use the year long summers to prepare for that. People in IWD have always experienced 'normal' length seasons and now are suddenly facing a 2-year long winter. It's like driving in an area where there are gas station every 10Km or so, you have stopping for a fill-up with still 20Km of fuel left in the tank only to be told that they are out of gas and so it's every station within 100Km, and no one knows when the refueling truck is coming.
It’s a good point regarding human starvation.

I used it more to justify a fictional world where not all plant, tree and animal life is destroyed.
 

Galandris

Adventurer
A few lines of text here-and-there in the adventure tells us that Winterpocolypse has lasted two years. Everything else in the adventure implies that it has not. Personally, I chose to go with the parts that make it not stupid as opposed to focussing on the parts that make it yes-stupid.

I don't think participants in this thread have been arguing that the error is impossible to correct. I understand the debate to be more along the line of "it's infuriating that in a commercial products glaring and easily to correct errors slip through" vs "the product wouldn't be improved if these errors were fixed, so stop complaining as it's easy to correct". I'd add that if a problem which makes the setup stupid (to quote your own word) is easy to correct, it's even more a reason to be irritated that the problem stayed in the final version.
I mean, I can't even get my head around how a spell would stop the sun from rising in an isolated part of the world, but the rest of the world is fine. (Really powerful illusion, maybe?)

IMHO, that's the part where suspension of disbelief kicks in: one has to accept the supernatural elements of the story to make it work. We are told that Auril does that, and that's magic, so it works [and yes, I'd say the easiest way would be to cover the dale in a dome of light-reflecting illusion if we were to discuss that). On the other hand, if the module doesn't provide explanations for a few things like "where has the food for wild animal come from during the past two years ?", you can't suspend disbelief at the magical or supernatural explanation, since there is no explanation. Suspension of disbelief isn't acception of internal inconsistency. I guess few would have a problem with magic user being drafted into mass producing food to ease the situation for the starved population, as suspension of disbelief requires that the audience to accept the supernatural elements of the story for it to work, if it was a situation described in the book. It is not, however, so we don't have anything to suspend disbelief about...

I've never once in 35 years used an adventure without spotting something that I thought was stupid and ignoring it. I didn't even consciously notice this one until I got involved in this discussion (so quick was I to ignore anything that tried to tell me that it was Full Dark Winter for Two Whole Years).

Like some people here have mentioned, that was probably the result of multiple hands creating this book for multiple purposes. It's an Icewind Dale Gazeteer and a Horror-Inspired Adventure, but clearly there's some tape still showing from where it got pasted together. (And it seems they had some push-back, or back-and-forth on just how much horror to include).

Yes, that's certainly the crux of the problem. The products sits between two extremes. In a sidebar they warn that people might be inconfortable with certain themes. But the adventure downplays so much of the "horror elements" that I don't find anything to be worried about (except maybe the human sacrifices, but in a game where killing people is the expect standard behaviour to solve problem, I'd say it's much less shocking).

The question of "how to solve the situation where the writer couldn't decide between a grim and gritty adventure and a Dale sourcebook?" can be either solved, as you did, by removing the elements that makes the adventure yes-silly, so you have a shorter winter, a minimal loss of light, and a legitimate worry that the Ten-Town won't survive if spring doesn't occur soon, which is a great adventure setup but minimally horror-themed or you could accept the premise of two years under the evil grasp of Auril, and rewrite many parts to take it to its logical conclusion (downplaying it only as to allow for a few survivor here and there, so there are still NPCs to interact with...) It is extremely stimulating (and as a DM I'd probably just do that, provided the group I play with is OK with a real grim story) but it requires more work to adhere to the "horror story" of the initial pitch.


With regard to tree surviving or not, the question is "how many trees were there in the first place ?" Initially, I was envisioning a forest-covered area in the dale, like a Canadian forest or a taiga. Reading the module, I developed a diferent vision: even when it's business as usual, there are hints at much less trees than that. There are very few trees on the IWD map, and I think we should read it as "a few small trees and shrubs where there is a tree picture, nothing where there is none". We're explicitely told that IWD has few trees, and 7 out of 10 of the Ten-Towns rely on whale oil for heating because wood is too precious to burn. Even the inuit way of life in the tundra let them have access to wood for camp fires... so the regular situation seems to be one of a much harsher conditions even before Auril's involvement, with only a few shrubs and the occasional dwarf tree.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I live on Baffin Island, which has a predominantly Inuit population. There are no trees here for campfires, no wood at all occurs naturally. Traditional heating in winter here is done via an oil fueled lamp. Other Inuit populations elsewhere have access to wood, but the ones in the high arctic do not. It takes less than you'd think to heat a small insulated room like an iglu, especially when people are dressed for the weather.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
When it comes to this topic there are things we know, things we know, things we don't know and how to deal with it.

We don't know
  • What the effect would be on plant life that goes dormant for the winter. Unlike hibernating mammals (really?) plants don't have much if any metabolic activity while dormant. Seeds can be dormant for at least 2,000 years(1).
  • Whether or not the current situation is indeed exactly what's been happening for 2 years. We know the sun doesn't rise now, but has it always been that bad or did it just not rise very far last year? AFAIK the mod doesn't specify.
We know
  • Auril has cursed the land and is plunging it into never ending winter.
  • Some of the text may be somewhat contradictory (I haven't read it).
  • Populated areas have survived years of failed crops, sometimes multiple years of failed crops. I would assume that the same regional effects are going to be affecting wildlife as well.
How to deal with it
  • Throw the book out (if you've even read it) because it's total BS. A book based on fantasy fiction should be scientifically accurate (without studies or facts to back up what the science would be).
  • Endlessly, repeatedly post about how awful it is that a mod like this gets published. If you do offer advice state it in terms of "They should have included these options".
or
  • Admit you have no clue when it comes to the impact of an extended winter this bad because it's never happened in recorded history, and no, you are not an expert on the topic.
  • Accept that the mod has perceived flaws. Maybe they should have included some options, but they did not so acknowledge that complaining will not change a thing.
  • Offer advice on how to adjust it to be more enjoyable while still giving the same feeling of "if this is not fixed soon we're all doomed".
What's funny is that I did a quick google for reviews. I stopped after 3 because the conclusions were similar. "Rime of the Frostmaiden is well worth the trouble." "It’s a book I’ll definitely be using in future campaigns." "The first half of Rime of the Frost Maiden is good, and the second half is great. But the final exploration of Ythryn is spectacular."

Not a single mention of the "glaring immersion breaking issue" of how long the winter has lasted. Almost like it's something people won't notice, will gloss over, or just accept it because it's a fantasy world. Where have I seen someone say that before? Oh, right, I did a long time ago. :unsure:
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Yep. Every adventure is a book of ideas. Ideas that can be used to create a story for your players to go through and experience. And to be ultimately useful for as many DMs as possible, it's going to give as many ideas that are thematically linked or narratively linked or mechanically linked as possible... knowing full well that every DM prioritizes each of things differently. Some bits will be fully embraced, some will be thrown away as garbage. Some ideas will make a DM says "That is AWESOME! I can't wait to use this and play this!" and some ideas will make the same DM say "Ugh! Who thought this was necessary? This is stupid!"

And every single idea in the book will be found on both sides of the list just based on the sheer number of DMs.

I mean heck... even something as simple as boxed text will bring out the stalwarts saying "Thank god they included this!!! Why doesn't every module have this?!? I have a busy life, I don't want to have to scour the text in the section to know what does and doesn't need to be revealed!" And it will also bring out the haters that will say about the exact same boxed text "Why the hell do they keep including this stuff?!? It's always written horribly, all stilted and showy, and it doesn't in any way serve the story I'M telling to my players! Let ME decide what is important to reveal, don't force it on me! Why can't the adventure writers understand this yet?!? They've been doing this for 40 years!!!"

Now... take these attitudes and multiply them by the several thousand other ideas found in every book and we now know how it is literally impossible to write something that everybody is going to find useful in the exact same format that the book presents it in. It never has happened, it's not going to happen, and if your go-to response is "I'm paying them $50 for this! It should happen, gosh-darn it!!!", you need to get a bit of a reality check.

Considering that these adventure books are not novels to be read cover to cover and have these intricately detailed plots that makes complete sense like an Agatha Christie mystery... but instead are merely the repository of a HUGE bunch of (hopefully) thematically compelling ideas that are meant to invigorate and inspire DMs in designing the stories they wish to tell in whatever manner they wish to tell them... thinking a cohesive, narrative whole is at all important or useful to the most amount of people is missing the forest for the 2-years-in-darkness trees.
 
Last edited:

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
  • Whether or not the current situation is indeed exactly what's been happening for 2 years. We know the sun doesn't rise now, but has it always been that bad or did it just not rise very far last year? AFAIK the mod doesn't specify.

In fact, it explicitly DOES say that she effectively switched the sun off summarily, not gradually.

"Each night before midnight, Auril takes to the sky on the back of a white roc and weaves her spell, which manifests as a shimmering curtain of light—a beautiful aurora that illuminates the night sky and fades before dawn. This powerful magic prevents the next day’s sun from rising above the horizon, turning midday into twilight and trapping Icewind Dale in winter’s dark embrace, with no sunlight or warmth to melt the snow and ice."

"Ferocious blizzards make the mountain pass through the Spine of the World exceedingly treacherous, and this land has not felt the warmth of the sun in over two years."

You should probably read the book before you set about telling people how wrong their critiques are.

Seriously, why the compulsion to leap to the defense of something you haven't actually read? Aren't you concerned that you may not, you know, know what you're talking about?
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Considering that these adventure books are not novels to be read cover to cover and have these intricately detailed plots that makes complete sense like an Agatha Christie mystery... but instead are merely the repository of a HUGE bunch of (hopefully) thematically compelling ideas that are meant to invigorate and inspire DMs in designing the stories they wish to tell in whatever manner they wish to tell them... thinking a cohesive, narrative whole is at all important or useful to the most amount of people is missing the forest for the 2-years-in-darkness trees.

The thing is, I'm very capable of coming up with cool and fun locations, ideas, are characters for one-off adventures, or loose, episodic campaign.

What I find more challenging is creating a sweeping, cohesive narrative that spans a campaign ranging from levels 1-10 or 1-12. So yes, above all, that is in fact what I'm hoping for when I buy a campaign book. I want the overarching, broad-strokes story to be there, hold together, and make sense. I'm happy to alter areas, characters, and encounters as I see fit. But I want the bones of the story to be solid. That above all is what I want for $50.

I can make a cool ice dungeon or magical prison or haunted shipwreck by myself. I can make a disturbing vampire gnoll or a comical gnome mindflayer or an obnoxious ghost wizard.What I'm looking for are the solid narrative threads that tie them together.

What I see when I read this book is a lot of talented writers doing some really strong detail work, and a real lack of a big-picture guiding hand or editor doing the work of weaving it all together coherently and consistently. For some DMs, that may be great. Maybe they have the opposite of my issue - they can make up their own campaign-spanning story (or they don't really even want one), but they're looking to cannibalize individual side-quests, characters, and encounters - this is a good, even GREAT book for that.
 
Last edited:

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Anyone who wants to get all tangled up based on a single line of fluff text is probably having less fun than me. I never worry about crap like this, I can change it or tell the story slightly differently if I want to, or I can treat like the text of a story where the description has some dramatic license baked in. If the players care about the question they can play to find out and we can find out how the 10 towns survived winter's embrace together.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
First you ask for scientific evidence that trees would die in cold and dark for two years. When you're pointed to evidence that trees die off at much higher temps if denied a growing season, you make a strange argument that implies tree lines don't shift, sometimes suddenly, with local climate changes. Now you're complaining that the discussion is about how trees live in cold temps. The goal posts are shifting so fast here that I'm dizzy.
I think you may be looking at something different to me. I read the links - they appear to make it clear that strong woody plants can survive. Then again, I say “who cares”... enjoy some Willing Suspension of Disbelief.

544 ratings on amazon of which 86% give 5 stars and 10% give 4 stars. Average 4.8 out of 5. It’s clear that the general population doesn’t share the disparaging views of detractors in this thread. The votes speak for themselves about how well this book has been received.

Its the same people, saying the same stuff now. Time to let this thread wander off into the blizzard alone?
 
Last edited:

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
In fact, it explicitly DOES say that she effectively switched the sun off summarily, not gradually.

"Each night before midnight, Auril takes to the sky on the back of a white roc and weaves her spell, which manifests as a shimmering curtain of light—a beautiful aurora that illuminates the night sky and fades before dawn. This powerful magic prevents the next day’s sun from rising above the horizon, turning midday into twilight and trapping Icewind Dale in winter’s dark embrace, with no sunlight or warmth to melt the snow and ice."

"Ferocious blizzards make the mountain pass through the Spine of the World exceedingly treacherous, and this land has not felt the warmth of the sun in over two years."

You should probably read the book before you set about telling people how wrong their critiques are.

Seriously, why the compulsion to leap to the defense of something you haven't actually read? Aren't you concerned that you may not, you know, know what you're talking about?
Short version: instead of looking at the mod as a whole, I'm going to continue to harp on one thing with laser like focus on a couple of lines of fluff that I disagree with.

As far as my posts I'll repeat. I think giving opinions and advice on how to increase the enjoyment of our hobby (even if a mod has two lines of fluff I find problematic) is useful. Endlessly complaining about something I will never change is not.
 
Last edited:

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Short version: instead of looking at the mod as a whole, I'm going to continue to harp on one thing with laser like focus with a couple of lines of fluff that I disagree with.
You did read the title of the thread and the original post, right? ;-)
 


Halloween Horror For 5E

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top