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

Shardstone

Adventurer
Wish the people in this thread who are here just to tell us who don't like the adventure to "Get over it" would get over it themselves and go to another thread TBH. The discourse stops being fun when its people like Sword just telling us over and over and over and over again that we don't know how to play the game, don't know how to play or read D&D, and that we are wrong, bad, and incorrect for our views on this adventure. You too Oofta. Why are you here if just to repeatedly tell us that we are a bunch of mis-informed neanderthals?
 

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Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Delusions of persecution, oh noes! :oops: I'm kidding, but there are perfectly cromulent replies to this thread and topic that do not require the poster to agree with the OP. I don't, for example, and I explained how I handle similar issues. That said, sarcastic depreciation of people's skills is a bummer, I agree.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
The discourse stops being fun when its people like Sword just telling us over and over and over and over again that we don't know how to play the game, don't know how to play or read D&D....
I don’t believe I have said you don’t know how to play the game or that you don’t know how to play or read D&D... but thanks for making it personal.

If someone makes a statement like “This book is a waste of money because of X”... and then we challenge the assumptions of X and say the book isn’t a waste of money... I reckon we’re pretty much following the purpose of the thread.

Most of us have agreed that the extremely negative views of some of the earlier posters - that WOC is trash and incompetent - don’t represent the majority. We also accept that you can have a view of the product without having read it. I reckon Oofta, others and I have been pretty reasonable in our responses.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Just read the Revel’s End section. Prison run by the Lord’s Alliance. Due to magic, all interior spaces stay at 68 degrees Fahrenheit and are lit by continual light spells. Also, apparently you can get a ship here to take you out of Icewind Dale.

Surely the place is swarming with desperate refugees from the Ten Towns, right?

Nope. Business as usual and plenty of room. Upon request, the warden will put up the adventurers for up to two days rent free, meals included.

This is not me trying to pick things apart. There is stuff in this adventure that doesn’t, on a basic level, make sense.
I have not told my players. But I a rolling a d10 at the end of each month. That is the number of people leaving or dying in each town. Some are taking the Revel's End ship.
 

Azzy

Newtype
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.
Pre-Auril's Snowscapades, Icewind Dale could normally reach temperatures as low as -40℃. We also have to keep in mind that this the same setting in which the Anauroch Desert was created as the side-effect of a magical spat between the Netherese and the Phaerimm and unnaturally persists despite the surrounding environs. Also, the Icewind Dale area is strewn with the ostensibly non-magic substance black ice/chardalyn, the magical fallout of the destruction of an artifact and tends to be suffused with demonic magic (despite not being magical). It's also home to one of the fallen Netherese floating cities (and keep in mind the environmental side-effects of the Netherese magic. Then there was the time that Icewind Dale suffered from a demon-induced environmental disaster. So, with the area's history in mind, perhaps the flora and fauna have had enough exposed to weird magics that they've become unnaturally hardy and adaptive. Perhaps, also, Auril's temper tantrum is being tempered (yes, that was intentional) slightly by a subconscious rational thought about not wanting to destroy her worshipers (and thus the flora and fauna that they depend upon) in her Apokalyptischer Winter des Schicksals (sorry, more Google German).

Sure, this is pure apologia (as I'm trying to work more or less within the framework that we're given). However, I think that, within the context of the rest of the Forgotten Realms, this is one of the lesser eyebrow-raising and questionable occurrences to grace the setting (and that's before considering the Spell Plague and accompanying shenanigans that happened to the Realms during 4e). Of course, one's tolerance of Realmsian BS-ery may vary.
 
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Galandris

Adventurer
I don’t believe I have said you don’t know how to play the game or that you don’t know how to play or read D&D... but thanks for making it personal.

If someone makes a statement like “This book is a waste of money because of X”... and then we challenge the assumptions of X and say the book isn’t a waste of money... I reckon we’re pretty much following the purpose of the thread.

Yes. In a thread whose purpose is ranting about the problem of describing a "regular harsh winter" where "apocalyptic conditions" would feel better, countering that regular conditions are enough and that the premise wouldn't lead to apocalyptic conditions is a perfectly valid answer in my opinion.

Reducing the length and severity of the winter is a proposed solution, (basically aknowledging there was a problem, albeit easily fixed) with a very good outcome (it's consistent with 95% of the module so it will necessitate very little effort from the DM) and a very bad outcome (it's outside of the pitch of an horror-themed story as the result is just a regular adventure with a bad guy using a harsh winter as a tool staying in the background... as evidenced by the easiness to overcome the most common consequences of it, by wearing the free winter clothes provided to all starting characters).

On the other hand, saying "the problem isn't there in the first place and there was no two-years long sunless winter, just a worse than usual winter and the sun is just late reappearing after the regular two-month long night" or "my players or most players will gloss over it, yours should too" is not something that addresses the problem, it is either ignoring the problem or fixing it stealthily by changing the premise to fit the depicted adventure.

Those wishing to improve the module by exploring the consequences of a winter apocalypse (with true horror elements... "what if the sacrifices to Auril where rational things to do and actually saved lives? Would the character act to stop them?" "what about cannibalism, let's put some in the dale as obviously you wouldn't just bury hanged criminals when they are apparently 125,000 calories of free food [I learnt that reading this very forum] and could be put to use in really desperate times? what would the characters say?" "what are the priest doing? Are they creating food as much as they can to relieve the population and if they aren't... why?" Many path of improving the module by respecting the premise of the horror story open up if you acknowledge that there is a disconnect between the setup (two year of sunless winter) and the adventure module as written (a harsh winter).

I don't see how "just gloss over the problem and enjoy the adventure as written as apparently many have done judging by the online reviews" is MORE CREATIVE and therefore more useful to anyone than acknowledging the problem which allows reflection on how to introduce elements that could benefit some groups (even if it's not yours or the majority's group).

I agree that the problem with the tree surviving discussed upthread was minor, but if this discussion hadn't taken place, I for one would probably have stayed on my mind image of the Icewind Dale (pre-Auril's intervention) as mid-Northern Alberta, not Baffin Island-like, which changes description of the environment completely...
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
Yes. In a thread whose purpose is ranting about the problem of describing a "regular harsh winter" where "apocalyptic conditions" would feel better, countering that regular conditions are enough and that the premise wouldn't lead to apocalyptic conditions is a perfectly valid answer in my opinion.

Reducing the length and severity of the winter is a proposed solution, (basically aknowledging there was a problem, albeit easily fixed) with a very good outcome (it's consistent with 95% of the module so it will necessitate very little effort from the DM) and a very bad outcome (it's outside of the pitch of an horror-themed story as the result is just a regular adventure with a bad guy using a harsh winter as a tool staying in the background... as evidenced by the easiness to overcome the most common consequences of it, by wearing the free winter clothes provided to all starting characters).

On the other hand, saying "the problem isn't there in the first place and there was no two-years long sunless winter, just a worse than usual winter and the sun is just late reappearing after the regular two-month long night" or "my players or most players will gloss over it, yours should too" is not something that addresses the problem, it is either ignoring the problem or fixing it stealthily by changing the premise to fit the depicted adventure.

Those wishing to improve the module by exploring the consequences of a winter apocalypse (with true horror elements... "what if the sacrifices to Auril where rational things to do and actually saved lives? Would the character act to stop them?" "what about cannibalism, let's put some in the dale as obviously you wouldn't just bury hanged criminals when they are apparently 125,000 calories of free food [I learnt that reading this very forum] and could be put to use in really desperate times? what would the characters say?" "what are the priest doing? Are they creating food as much as they can to relieve the population and if they aren't... why?" Many path of improving the module by respecting the premise of the horror story open up if you acknowledge that there is a disconnect between the setup (two year of sunless winter) and the adventure module as written (a harsh winter).

I don't see how "just gloss over the problem and enjoy the adventure as written as apparently many have done judging by the online reviews" is MORE CREATIVE and therefore more useful to anyone than acknowledging the problem which allows reflection on how to introduce elements that could benefit some groups (even if it's not yours or the majority's group).

I agree that the problem with the tree surviving discussed upthread was minor, but if this discussion hadn't taken place, I for one would probably have stayed on my mind image of the Icewind Dale (pre-Auril's intervention) as mid-Northern Alberta, not Baffin Island-like, which changes description of the environment completely...
I don’t think it does describe a regular winter... I think it’s a society on social and logistical collapse. If you read back you’ll see that I made clear that I saw no problem fixing the question of two year winter... I even compiled a list of a dozen methods this could be done to make it clearer for groups to whom such things matter.

My discussion of the reviews was a direct response to the claim that the book wasn’t worth its $50 price tag because the writers chose not to elaborate about the tree husbandry in their already length tome. The ratings suggest this particular claim is extreme.

Im more than happy to discuss improving the book. Or adding extra horror elements, I suggested adding cannibalism myself. Such things would be best placed in a running Rime thread or Improving Rime. As I have said previously an “I’m going to rant about Rime” thread is always gonna get people’s backs up.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
It's not a competition. It doesn't need to be more or less anything, it's about DM preference. I prefer not to worry about small inconsistencies because in my experience they play out fine anyway. I usually run a play to find out style, so if the players want to find out they can, and how that might work will emerge out of the fiction. I don't run out huge amounts of background prep for the same reason. Other DMs might prefer to have this reasoned out in advance, but that's no more or less creative or useful or appropriate than my approach.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
If a poster is looking for a place where they can complain about something over some length of time alongside a bunch of other people that agree with them...

...I'd submit an open and public message board isn't the best place. Unless of course you choose to block every single other poster who doesn't agree with you. Which is fine of course... but you do that enough times and pretty soon you start to wonder why all the other threads seem awfully barren too when you've pretty much have blocked 85%of the other posters here.
 

Pre-Auril's Snowscapades, Icewind Dale could normally reach temperatures as low as 40℃. We also have to keep in mind that this the same setting in which the Anauroch Desert was created as the side-effect of a magical spat between the Netherese and the Phaerimm and unnaturally persists despite the surrounding environs. Also, the Icewind Dale area is strewn with the ostensibly non-magic substance black ice/chardalyn, the magical fallout of the destruction of an artifact and tends to be suffused with demonic magic (despite not being magical). It's also home to one of the fallen Netherese floating cities (and keep in mind the environmental side-effects of the Netherese magic. Then there was the time that Icewind Dale suffered from a demon-induced environmental disaster. So, with the area's history in mind, perhaps the flora and fauna have had enough exposed to weird magics that they've become unnaturally hardy and adaptive. Perhaps, also, Auril's temper tantrum is being tempered (yes, that was intentional) slightly by a subconscious rational thought about not wanting to destroy her worshipers (and thus the flora and fauna that they depend upon) in her Apokalyptischer Winter des Schicksals (sorry, more Google German).

Sure, this is pure apologia (as I'm trying to work more or less within the framework that we're given). However, I think that, within the context of the rest of the Forgotten Realms, this is one of the lesser eyebrow-raising and questionable occurrences to grace the setting (and that's before considering the Spell Plague and accompanying shenanigans that happened to the Realms during 4e). Of course, one's tolerance of Realmsian BS-ery may vary.
I presume you mean temperature of minus 40C?

That’s fine, that’d be like northern Russia, Canada, and Scandinavian countries. All of these countries expérience temperature reaching that low, but are far from an average temperature of -45C.

An average below -25C is rare for these countries even in the deepest months of winter. Nevermind an average of -45, which would assume regular spikes of -60C. With the wind factor, that could go down to an equivalent of -80 and worse, which is nearing the temperatures at the equator on Mars.

unless the -45C already include the wind? Anyhow. In itself the temperatures are appropriately apocalyptic; I’d had expected more migration from 24 months of it.

As for the wacky FR-apocalypse of the month; yeah, I’m right there with you...
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
That said, sarcastic depreciation of people's skills is a bummer, I agree.
Mod Note:

Agreed.

Folks, be KIND. Be respectful. Act as if the person you are talking to is actually more important than the point you are making about a luxury hobby product in which you pretend to be an elf. Because they are.

If you can't make your point stick without saying nasty things about the other person, your point sucks. So, prove your point is good by being a good person while you deliver it.
 

Reducing the length and severity of the winter is a proposed solution, (basically aknowledging there was a problem, albeit easily fixed) with a very good outcome (it's consistent with 95% of the module so it will necessitate very little effort from the DM) and a very bad outcome (it's outside of the pitch of an horror-themed story as the result is just a regular adventure with a bad guy using a harsh winter as a tool staying in the background... as evidenced by the easiness to overcome the most common consequences of it, by wearing the free winter clothes provided to all starting characters).

I don't agree that toning the premise down from having everything be terrible for a solid two years to everything grew terrible over two year's time would automatically ruin the horror elements. I'd see it more like "Two years ago we had a terrible growing season and the passes were open for but a short time. Winter came early and stayed late. Last year was worse! Harvest was early; pickings were meagre; passes were treacherous even in mid-summer. A lot of our usually-loaded stores never got filled, and now we're running out. And yet, spring looks like it's not even coming! Worse yet, even the sun seems to have forsaken us! It looks like it's further away all the time, rather than comin' back!"

(Que cannibalism)

On the other hand, saying "the problem isn't there in the first place and there was no two-years long sunless winter, just a worse than usual winter and the sun is just late reappearing after the regular two-month long night" or "my players or most players will gloss over it, yours should too" is not something that addresses the problem, it is either ignoring the problem or fixing it stealthily by changing the premise to fit the depicted adventure.

Early on in this discussion there was a lot of talk about how much work it would be to fix. It's perfectly fine for people to feel that way - I think it's well established that we're all different. For someone to say (like I probably did) "Naw, it's EASY!" does not take away from those who find it hard, but there is some hope that people who found the premise to be a barrier might be freed up to enjoy it by learning how others got past it.

I don't think anyone has meant to suggest that people weren't "allowed" to have a problem with the adventure as written. I'm pretty sure no one here would say that it's themostperfectthingIeverread. And there's nothing wrong with having a rant about the things you don't like about it. But it wouldn't be much of a discussion if everyone just said "Yeah! Hear hear! Down with it!" I'd think counter-arguments, meant constructively (which very nearly all have been) would be welcome.

(Note: I'm in no way suggesting that you, Galandris, do not welcome the discussion. I'm speaking in-general.)
 

Galandris

Adventurer
I don't agree that toning the premise down from having everything be terrible for a solid two years to everything grew terrible over two year's time would automatically ruin the horror elements. I'd see it more like "Two years ago we had a terrible growing season and the passes were open for but a short time. Winter came early and stayed late. Last year was worse! Harvest was early; pickings were meagre; passes were treacherous even in mid-summer. A lot of our usually-loaded stores never got filled, and now we're running out. And yet, spring looks like it's not even coming! Worse yet, even the sun seems to have forsaken us! It looks like it's further away all the time, rather than comin' back!"

Indeed, you could have a dire situation with an always-worsening situation. I found that most of the module lacked the worse elements of the theme. Which is perfectly in-line with a "mild situation" (like the Year without Summer of 1816 instead of say, the Great Famine of 1317?) and not a full-blown catastrophe of epic proportion. The horror elements you allude to are linked to the lack of hope of the population (which is a great thing to have) while I was referring to the next step of the situation. As it is now in the story, there is a legitimate concern, and the sacrifices to Auril are the main sign that the population is losing it. They are at the point where they accept a lottery to kill one of them to the godess in the hope she will be appeased. It is the sign that they think the situation is terrible, but we're speaking of the realms, where sacrificing to the gods isn't something special. For example, the sacrifice of warth and cattle should just be regular steps of worship (if you imagine FR worship like ancient greece worship), so they are just one step up*... So I am not saying it's ruining the horror element, I am just saying that it's more consisten with the "low horror level" of the module. And it's the solution I'd adopt if in session 0 the players said "OK, we wan't to kick a godess's ass in a nice setting and be the heroes who save all the desperate people of the dale" rather than "we want doom and gloom and be the one who will convince little Timmy that it's totally right for his mummy to be eaten by Yetis from an utilitarian point of view adopted by the Speakers".


(Que cannibalism)

Agreed, it would be better to have the character confronted to the first outbreak of cannibalism than have them start the adventure when it's a regular occurrence because (a) some PCs can be native of the dale, so they would certainly have reacted before (b) it's more frightening when it's a shocking act of desperation rather than the regular habit of one of the towns... I'd place the different town in different level of starvation however, as it would allow for increasing confrontation to the horror even if the adventure takes places over a short time span).



* Actually, the most worrying element in the depiction of sacrifice is that cattle sacrifice is performed not FIRST but, according to the book in "smaller towns that can't afford to give up people give up their food instead". So basically it's implied in the writing that Bryn Shander, Easthaven, and Targos chose to sacrifice "humanoids" first because it's convenient... it's probably unintended but it could be used in a darker rime to have these town absolutely and totally rig their lotteries to get rid of "unwanted humanoids". "He's from Luskan, all Luskanite are pirates, let's send him in the blizzard..."
 
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Indeed, you could have a dire situation with an always-worsening situation. I found that most of the module lacked the worse elements of the theme.

Yeah, I think being owned by Hasbro, a toy company, keeps a certain limit on D&D. Even when they want to do "horror", it's going to wind up more Scooby-Doo than the Exorcist (or whatever, I'm not much of a horror-buff). Combine the parent company with an honest desire to appeal to a wide base, and you'll get what we got.

(Good stuff, by the way, in your post. I like the idea of rigging the lotteries, etc.)
 

Azzy

Newtype
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.
The forrest areas, before Auril's Tantrum, were extremely limited. The Lonely Woods around Maer Dualdon and some (apparently) unnamed wooded are around Good Mead, on the north of Redwaters. The rest of it seems to be either beyond the tree line taiga and tundra complete with permafrost. I suppose there might be geothermal springs that keep those lakes and their immediate areas warm enough to support tree growth (if any actual consideration was given when these areas were originally created).
 


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?)

This really doesn't seem to be a defense of the module. "Yes, this idea is stupid. That is why I ignored it and decided they didn't mean it, because it was so stupid"

Under that logic, they could have written anything and it would still be a good adventure, we would just have to ignore all the parts that weren't good.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.

You seem to have missed the shift in this conversation.

We solved the "how do I fix this fluff text" in the OP. Seriously, they offered great solutions and over the first two pages we fairly well hammered out solutions on how to re-write the module.

The conversation then shifted, because a lot of posters took the position of "why are you talking about re-writing it, no one cares about these details, and you are stupid for complaining about them instead of just running the module as is, there is nothing to fix." And quite a few of us are still having the position of "We can fix it, but is it really good for the hobby and the perception of the modules that we need to fix it?"

And instead, over the last... I guess ten posts before the post I quoted? There have a been a slew of "why are you bothering to even care about these things. No one cares, stop complaining."

Which frankly is just dismissive. Obviously we care. If we didn't care, we wouldn't still be talking about it. I want WoTC to make the best products they can make. I don't believe this represents a limit of their skills.

If you do, and you are satisfied with it... great. You don't need to keep dismissing the rest of us.

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Wish the people in this thread who are here just to tell us who don't like the adventure to "Get over it" would get over it themselves and go to another thread TBH. The discourse stops being fun when its people like Sword just telling us over and over and over and over again that we don't know how to play the game, don't know how to play or read D&D, and that we are wrong, bad, and incorrect for our views on this adventure. You too Oofta. Why are you here if just to repeatedly tell us that we are a bunch of mis-informed neanderthals?

I find it telling I wrote my above post, before clicking to the next page and seeing yours.
 

This really doesn't seem to be a defense of the module. "Yes, this idea is stupid. That is why I ignored it and decided they didn't mean it, because it was so stupid"

Under that logic, they could have written anything and it would still be a good adventure, we would just have to ignore all the parts that weren't good.

That's kind of an extreme take on what I've said, and it takes a bit of a leap to get to your "under that logic". The adventure IS good (IMO, naturally) because of the sum of its many good parts. They absolutely could NOT have "written anything" and still have it be good. It has a bunch of small problems that are easily fixed. (Yet again, you can see them as big problems if you chose to, that's all fine, I just don't). Every adventure I have ever read has things that I don't like about it. That's not because they're all bad (some of them are bad), it's because it's not possible to write an adventure that will be all things to all people.

I personally agree that the idea that Icewind Dale has had no light and a -45 average temp for 2 years, as the module appears to say (yet while showing otherwise) is a bit too much for how I'd run it, but I also think that those sentences are a very minor detail in an otherwise very good book. (There's other things I'd change too, like the speed of travel by dogsled and just how dangerous falling into water might be, and yet those are also still minor things).

This is not to say that I don't think that it's possible still to make better D&D books than this one. I think it's one of the better ones, but of course, there's still plenty of room for improvement. I'd be surprised if the people who wrote it thought that it couldn't get any better.
 

Shardstone

Adventurer
The forrest areas, before Auril's Tantrum, were extremely limited. The Lonely Woods around Maer Dualdon and some (apparently) unnamed wooded are around Good Mead, on the north of Redwaters. The rest of it seems to be either beyond the tree line taiga and tundra complete with permafrost. I suppose there might be geothermal springs that keep those lakes and their immediate areas warm enough to support tree growth (if any actual consideration was given when these areas were originally created).
Calling it Auril's Tantrum is really dope and I'm taking that idea if I decide to run Frostmaiden still.
 

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