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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

Nebulous

Legend
You've run some really intense dungeon delves and I think The Banewarrens would be a really interesting fit for your style. You could run an adventure introducing 1st level PCs to Ptolus that takes them up to 3rd level, then start them on The Banewarrens. Not that I'm trying to tell you what to do or anything. But that mix of dungeon delving and city intrigue is a great set up.
It's tempting! Dungeon delving and city intrigue is a great mix. I'm actually doing that now in a game, and it's been a blast so far.
 

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Nebulous

Legend
It says it's 6th to 10th level but I honestly think you could start it with 3rd or 4th level PCs for 5E.
yeah, it's only an issue of swapping stat blocks or DCs. I was thinking that the PCs are going to the Shadowfell eventually, and that could be a cool magical place, the Banewarrens, if I retrofit it.
 


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