Celebrate the Holidays with D&D in Winter's Splendor

If getting your whole group together to play during December is a challenge, a holiday one-shot might be a perfect solution, and the official D&D Adventurer's League module Winter's Splendor by Ashley Warren is a great option. Even better, if you're running Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, it's a good side adventure any time of the year.

Set during a Midwinter gala in Waterdeep's Sea Ward, Winter's Splendor intersects nicely with Waterdeep: Dragon Heist but can also be used as a one-shot adventure for any Dungeons & Dragons' group. Even if you run a homebrew campaign, simply reset the adventure in any wealthy family's mansion during a holiday season.

The Cassalanter family has graciously opened their home to the public for a special performance by Aasimar opera singer Aria Cavatina. Unfortunately the holiday festivities are ruined when a tiny fiend attacks her during the performance, forcing the players to investigate.

The main adventure is broken into three episodes that take two to four hours to play. The DM can integrate one or both of the bonus objective side plots to expand the story if desired. Regardless of which villain you select for Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, Winter's Splendor can easily be integrated. Some of the NPCs are straight from Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and the ones original to the Winter's Splendor can be used in a Dragon Heist campaign.

Winter's Splendor is designed for a nice mix of investigation, combat and role-playing so it should please most group styles. It's not a heavy handed holiday adventure that includes Santa Claus or Jack Frost. Instead the holiday flavor is directly tied to Waterdeep's Christmas counterpart, Midwinter. You can, of course, dress it up with whatever real-world holiday trappings that you'd like if that suits your play style.

The adventure comes with maps of the Cassalanter estate by Dyson Logos. While the story is straight forward, I've become a fan of adventure flowcharts so needed or not, their addition is welcome. Similarly, it provides stat blocks for all of the monsters referenced, which is always a nice touch. It allows the DM to travel lightly instead of hauling their Monster Manual. I'm glad they included the Wooden Girl fairy tale that is mentioned in the story, and the reference to a NPC from far beyond Waterdeep could be a fun hook for a future adventure.

As a trivia note, Aria Cavatina is inspired by a real person. Kelli Butler, who is known as @TheOperaGeek on Twitter, served as the basis for the Aasimar singer.

As much I love holiday music, movies, etc. I'm hard to please when it comes to holiday-themed adventures. Winter's Splendor walks the line very nicely by fitting in well with the established Waterdeep adventures while being flexible enough to be adapted to homebrew and other settings (for example, if Oerth is your campaign world, just reset it in the city of Greyhawk and so forth). While adventures that include, say, Santa Claus, etc. can be fun, too many just end up being over the top and ridiculous.

Winter's Splendor is a good adventure whether you use it by itself to fill a slot or tie it to Waterdeep: Dragon Heist. Regardless, I'll keep an eye out for future adventures by Warren. You can purchase it from DriveThruRPG for $4.99.

This article was contributed by Beth Rimmels (brimmels) as part of EN World's Columnist (ENWC) program. If you enjoy the daily news and articles from EN World, please consider contributing to our Patreon!!

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Beth Rimmels

Beth Rimmels


Thanks for the heads-up. I was looking for a one-shot to run over the Christmas holidays and this may well be ideal.

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