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B&G's Silver Edition of Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden - A Review

If you've been eyeing the various Beadle & Grimm's luxury editions of D&D 5E adventures and wondering if they're worth it—I have bad news for your budget. B&G's Silver Edition of Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden definitely adds to and enhances the latest D&D adventure.

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What's in the Box?

The Silver Edition of Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus came with actual metal coins to depict the currency in Avernus and other items that made perfect sense for that adventure, but I wasn't sure what they could do for ID:RotF considering how that adventure worked (see my comprehensive review here). The answer is both elegant in its simple logic and extremely well crafted.

B&G's Silver Edition of ID:RotF comes in an over-sized box that hearkens back to the old first and second edition box sets. However, this box set is heavy, as in weighing 9 pounds so it could be used for arm lift exercises. It's packed with material while leaving a little room for, say, a DM's notebook or such. B&G pads that space with a sheet of bubble wrap to make sure contents arrive in perfect condition, and individual components are shrink-wrapped for further protection.

First, you get the complete contents of ID:RotF but instead of a single hardcover book, it's divided into six softcover staple-spine books that have the same content and artwork as the original, but with wraparound covers. Because they're stapled instead of square bound, the six books can lay flat when open. I love hardcovers for reading and reference but when DMing, especially if you have a small table space, juggling a hardcover behind your DM screen can be awkward. This version is much more practical and shows off the art better. Switching from hardcover to a set of softcovers may seem counter intuitive, but it's a very practical detail.

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An Awesome Screen

Speaking of DM screens, I really like the one B&G designed for ID:RotF. Four-paneled with a vertical/tall profile instead of the horizontal profile the official D&D DM's screen uses, it allows for much-needed extra space. I prefer a vertical screen because it prevents tall players on either side of me from accidentally seeing things they shouldn't. More importantly, the design and extra space allows the ID:RotF screen to contain:
  • An overview map of Icewind Dale
  • The character guide from the book
  • The Ten Towns rumor chart for easy access
  • Condition details for Extreme Cold, Frigid Water, Slippery Ice, and Thin Ice
  • Charts for travel time between locations by foot and dogsled
  • The standard condition info for exhaustion, grappled, frightened, poison, etc.
Along with the DMs screen included in the D&D Essentials Kit, B&G's DMs screen is my favorite so far for 5th Edition. The B&G screen is much more durable and better designed, though.

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Maps & More

Old-school box sets usually contained maps and so does B&G's ID:RotF Silver Editionlots of maps. Icewind Dale gets a canvas paper, poster-size map on one side and the Ten Towns on the other. Battle maps for The Grove, Iriolartha's Study, the Grimskall Throne Room, and the Caves of Hunger are provided on the same heavy paper. Each of the Ten Towns also gets its own map on a single sheet of thick, 8.5x11-inch paper in case you want to focus on just one and the back of each is blank so players can make notes if wanted. It's a small detail but thoughtful.

One of the components I really like are the encounter cards. One side has art from the book of a creature or NPC and the other side has their stat block. One of the perks for running Scourge of the Sword Coast for Encounters during the D&D Next play-tests was a set of face cards for the NPCs. I've long complained that WotC should offer something similar for each adventure. Beadle & Grimm's provides it, but improved it by placing the stat blocks on the other side of the tent-folded sheets so you can hang them on your DM screen, allowing you to see the stats while the players see the art. My only quibble is that I might have printed those on card stock so they could stand up on their own, but that's an extremely minor detail since they're designed to hang on the screen.

Similarly, art from the book is printed on 48 half pages so you can show them at key times to illustrate what the characters are seeing. Along with the encounter cards, they help to set the mood and tone.

Pre-gens are provided that fit smoothly into the setting. They're not generic characters that could used anywhere. Four bonus encounters are also included that similarly tie into the original adventure well and extend the play options. One, Lliira's Night, is lighter in tone and features a tavern competition which could be used to provide a break from the horror and dark tone of ID:RotF.

Other small touches that make a difference include a scorecard for Auril's tests so progress is easier to track and a map and timetable to similarly track the Chardalyn dragon's activity. B&G even provide Goat Ball rules for the Wyrmdoom Crag Goliath's encounter.

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The Artifacts

Two sets of components, however, really help to showcase the immersive qualities Beadle & Grimm's provides and the luxury elements—handouts and artifacts.

The handouts are plentiful, not just a couple of notes. B&G provides handouts tied to situations in each of the Ten Towns, plus additional items like a copy of the Rime of the Frostmaiden, notices, and letters. One piece of pebbled paper looks like a piece of torn leather or bark with “help me” scratched onto it. Hand something like that to your players, and they'll love it.

The two “artifacts” are beautifully made. One is a wearable Chardalyn amulet necklace like those worn by the Black Swords and followers of Levistus. At 3.5-inches long, it's a striking design. The other is a Chardalyn dragon totem you can use while tracking the dragon's progress. The 3.5-inch diameter token is a lovely piece of metal work. While the entire Silver Edition is very well done, these two items are the ones that will probably be shown off the most.

Is It Worth It?

The quality and production values are very well done. When calculating how it fits into your budget, I wouldn't think of it as a $175 item though. If you were already considering buying ID:RotF but hadn't yet, deduct the cost of ID:RotF (which has a $49.99 MSRP, but is frequently found on sale) for a more accurate assessment of the cost since B&G provides the full book adventure.That provides a better sense of how much extra you're spending. A group could also chip into the price to make things easier for a favorite DM who is on a budget.

If you definitely plan on running ID:RotF (as opposed to just reading it), and you can swing the cost I do think it's worth it. Beadle & Grimm's handles so many details so well, gives the DM tools to experience for the players. I can't wait to see what B&G has planned for Candlekeep Mysteries.
 

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Beth Rimmels

Beth Rimmels


Dragonsbane

Proud Grognard
Ahh I see the overpriced bandwagon continues. Invisible Sun at $250 and Ptolus for $150 (looks to be amazing books, but come on) and now a $50 DnD book for $175! Seriously?!?
 

There's a platinum edition that actually sold out at $499? That's just crazy, how much could they have actually added thats quality to justify that price? Its probably hanging on Jim Ersay's wall next to Dave Gilmours "Black Strat".
 

Jeff Carpenter

Adventurer
I don't hate the idea of expensive components, playing aids, expanded content, and luxury add ons for adventures.

But when the adventure is just a so so middle of the road nothing special effort like RotFM then its kind of silly.

Its like speding a lot of money to add offroad accessories to your two wheel drive pickup. No matter how much you add you are missing the key component of offroad driving.
 

Paragon Lost

Terminally Lost
Ahh I see the overpriced bandwagon continues. Invisible Sun at $250 and Ptolus for $150 (looks to be amazing books, but come on) and now a $50 DnD book for $175! Seriously?!?

I don't feel that Invisible Sun or Ptolus are over priced for what they're offering, which really is a lot of material. I'll agree with you on the B&G being rather costly for what they're actually offering.
 

Gothstaff

Villager
As a former D&D collector, this sort of price gouging is what made me stop collecting everything and anything D&D.

On the bright side, it opened my eyes to just go for the essentials and stop obsessing over D&D memorabilia, but I can't help but feel WotC no longer caters for the original fan base.

I recall an article or podcast where someone from WotC mentioned that back in the 3.5e days, the people calling the shots (who drove the company to the ground by their greediness) were pushing for 1 book a month, causing a lot of stress to the writers and also low quality products (quantity over quality) that drove 3.5 to the ground.

I guess they learned from that mistake and now they are milking their quality products by licensing as opposed to trying to come up with more products faster, but still... this BIG D&D BRAND attitude doesn't feel D&Dish anymore
 
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I don't feel that Invisible Sun or Ptolus are over priced for what they're offering, which really is a lot of material. I'll agree with you on the B&G being rather costly for what they're actually offering.
Ive actually been on the fence the last few days about buying 5E Ptolus. Only reason I havent yet is that when I bought the 3.5 version I didnt use it. Beautiful of a book as it was, it was so big it was daunting. Conceivably you could run that and never need another setting ever again.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Ahh I see the overpriced bandwagon continues. Invisible Sun at $250 and Ptolus for $150 (looks to be amazing books, but come on) and now a $50 DnD book for $175! Seriously?!?
As a former D&D collector, this sort of price gouging is what made me stop collecting everything and anything D&D.

On the bright side, it opened my eyes to just go for the essentials and stop obsessing over D&D memorabilia, but I can't help but feel WotC no longer caters for the original fan base.

I recall an article or podcast where someone from WotC mentioned that back in the 3.5e days, the people calling the shots (who drove the company to the ground by their greediness) were pushing for 1 book a month, causing a lot of stress to the writers and also low quality products (quantity over quality) that drove 3.5 to the ground.

I guess they learned from that mistake and now they are milking their quality products by licensing as opposed to trying to come up with more products faster, but still... this BIG D&D BRAND attitude doesn't feel D&Dish anymore
Overpriced? Price gouging? Doesn't feel D&D?

Please.

It's expensive, sure. Outside of my budget, personally. But you get a lot of high-quality stuff in that box. Well worth the price, if you find these sorts of accessories and props useful and desirable. Do you need any of this stuff to run Rime of the Frostmaiden? Of course not, but they can certainly enhance the experience.

If this boxed set doesn't appeal to you, that's fine. The adventure is also available in hardcover, limited edition hardcover, and a variety of digital formats.

WotC and Beadle & Grimm's aren't worried about the kvetching over these sorts of luxury items, folks who want them, snap them up and they quickly go out of print. Folks who don't, pick up the hardcover at their FLGS or on Amazon. Win-win for everybody.
 

Paragon Lost

Terminally Lost
Ive actually been on the fence the last few days about buying 5E Ptolus. Only reason I havent yet is that when I bought the 3.5 version I didnt use it. Beautiful of a book as it was, it was so big it was daunting. Conceivably you could run that and never need another setting ever again.
Yep, basically if you're buying the new Ptolus setup you're purchasing a really solid long term campaign base that you can build upon and run for years. For me the Kickstarter was worth doing because that's one way to get the PDF's thrown in for free along with the all the previous 3.5 material if you wanted it.

I also was very interested in seeing how the Cypher system mechanics will play versus DnD 5e material for Ptolus. Because of that I went all in for both versions.
 

Yep, basically if you're buying the new Ptolus setup you're purchasing a really solid long term campaign base that you can build upon and run for years. For me the Kickstarter was worth doing because that's one way to get the PDF's thrown in for free along with the all the previous 3.5 material if you wanted it.

I also was very interested in seeing how the Cypher system mechanics will play versus DnD 5e material for Ptolus. Because of that I went all in for both versions.
Im just interested in the 5E version. Still regret selling my vinyl map most of all. Did they redo that this time too? Think that things going for $500+ nowadays.
 

Paragon Lost

Terminally Lost

JmanTheDM

Explorer
as the old guard gamers age, and waves of new fans enter the hobby, it seems pretty obvious that there is room to create fancy bling for a certain subset of player that can afford it, or for whatever reason likes the peacocking status symbols these items imply. Going to Gencon years past and there was a noticeable increase in what I would call to my friends "gamer jewelry". fancy dice that can cost a few hundred$, faux or real leather knick-knacks that are certainly NOT essential for gaming in any way. leather-bound limited edition books at 2x the normal book price. B&G sets. Good on them! truly. while this is not a product for me, much like a Lexus isn't either, I am certain that some of these innovators and producers of "luxury" items will see some of their great ideas percolate down to more main-stream SKU's for us common folk! :)

even if it doesn't, I think its awesome that the hobby is "healthy" enough to allow for the production of $500 boxed adventures and Rare Metal dice sets.

Cheers,
J.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
as the old guard gamers age, and waves of new fans enter the hobby, it seems pretty obvious that there is room to create fancy bling for a certain subset of player that can afford it, or for whatever reason likes the peacocking status symbols these items imply. Going to Gencon years past and there was a noticeable increase in what I would call to my friends "gamer jewelry". fancy dice that can cost a few hundred$, faux or real leather knick-knacks that are certainly NOT essential for gaming in any way. leather-bound limited edition books at 2x the normal book price. B&G sets. Good on them! truly. while this is not a product for me, much like a Lexus isn't either, I am certain that some of these innovators and producers of "luxury" items will see some of their great ideas percolate down to more main-stream SKU's for us common folk! :)

even if it doesn't, I think its awesome that the hobby is "healthy" enough to allow for the production of $500 boxed adventures and Rare Metal dice sets.

Cheers,
J.
Expensive or luxury RPG accessories certainly could be purchased as "peacocking" by gamer nerds who want to show off their wealth and/or love of the game.

Or . . . they could simply appreciate well made things and can afford to purchase them.

I'm certainly not going to judge somebody who picks up an expensive, custom, wooden "dice vault" to hold their gemstone dice in. I would certainly not judge someone who felt that a B&G boxed set would enhance their home tabletop game with the many well-made props and accessories found within.

I find the assertation that these products primarily appeal to those "peacocking" rather offensive.
 

Yep, they're offering two size of maps if I recall. Here's an update from the Kickstarter, scroll down for the pictures of the huge ass map. lol

Update 35: Dice, Maps, and Proofing: Ptolus Is Getting Close! · Ptolus: Monte Cook's City by the Spire
That seems about right. The one I had was probably either 5' x 4' or 4' x 3'. It was big. Honestly too big if you had a normal 4 person table. I was always afraid someone would drop their cigarette on it whenever we laid it out to look at it. We never used it in play but it was just cool to look at for the sake of art. Pretty sure I bought it after the book came out.
 

eyeheartawk

Works 60% of the time, every time
I find the assertation that these products primarily appeal to those "peacocking" rather offensive.

This you?

It's expensive, sure. Outside of my budget, personally.

So, the fact that some people think a gucci set of a mediocre D&D adventure - one that you are personally not interested in- is peacocking, is personally offensive to you?
 

Paragon Lost

Terminally Lost
That seems about right. The one I had was probably either 5' x 4' or 4' x 3'. It was big. Honestly too big if you had a normal 4 person table. I was always afraid someone would drop their cigarette on it whenever we laid it out to look at it. We never used it in play but it was just cool to look at for the sake of art. Pretty sure I bought it after the book came out.
Map's like that tend to go up on my game room wall, which makes it easier to use. Otherwise for the table itself they tend to be just too large. Even with a large table like mine which I can have nine plus the GM seated.
 

embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
$175 is too rich for even my blood.

Also, sorry but Goodman Games tapped me out with the pre-announcement from the other day.
 

dave2008

Legend
But when the adventure is just a so so middle of the road nothing special effort like RotFM then its kind of silly.
Well that is every published adventure. I am not talking about just 5e or WotC either, but literally every adventure I have ever looked at since 1e is pretty terrible IMO. If I had the spare change I would get something like this for the extras, not the adventure.
 


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