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5E Previews of Rime of the Frostmaiden

IGN has posted a preview of Rime of the Frostmaiden, including some preview pages (I've put one below). They will also be posting more previews tomorrow!

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Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
The point of a sandbox is that you give the players plenty of options and they do what they want, from one session to the next. The minute you tell them they can do whatever they want but they’ll only level if they find treasure or kill monsters, that’s the minute you get a treasure- or monster-hunting game (possibly with sandbox elements) rather than a real sandbox.

So what is the "milestone" that you dangle out in front of them? Can you unpack how you do it a bit more?

And to address your point specifically - I give out xp for every encounter that is "resolved". It can be resolved in a whole variety of ways, including avoiding it and accessing whatever may have been beyond it.
 

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pukunui

Hero
So time travel to -343 DR? That's a campaign twist...
Yep. Six months prior to Ythryn's fall and a full four years prior to Netheril's demise.

This is interesting: "To run a campaign set in this earlier time frame, you will need to delve into earlier products tied to the Forgotten Realms to get the lay of the land circa -343 DR."
 
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Greg Benage

Adventurer
So what is the "milestone" that you dangle out in front of them? Can you unpack how you do it a bit more?

Sessions. If we want to level up every five sessions, that's what we do. If we want faster leveling on the front end of the campaign and slower on the back end, we do that (the opposite is probably better). You just decouple the leveling pace from in-game incentives. There's nothing else to unpack.

This does require that the players actually want to do things, but I think that's something you need anyway. If I were running a campaign and realized that players were only doing stuff to level up, I'd see that as a broken game and talk to them about how to fix it.
 

pukunui

Hero
All the WotC 5e FR adventures have one.
I'm trying to remember where they all are ...

*Lost Mine of Phandelver: Is there an obelisk in this adventure? It's been so long since I last ran it that I can't remember.

*Tyranny of Dragons: I can only think of the three pairs of portal stones outside the hunting lodge in Hoard. Can't think of anything else.

*Princes of the Apocalypse: Nothing springs to mind immediately.

*Out of the Abyss: There's an obelisk in the Whorlstone Tunnels area of Gracklstugh (the only bit of the adventure that makes any reference to Alice in Wonderland).

*Curse of Strahd: There are both the old megaliths near the hags' windmill (which the book specifically states were erected by the valley's original inhabitants and bear carvings depicting a city in different seasons) and the ring of standing stones, also erected by the valley's original inhabitants, near the ruins of Berez. These have a very druidic feel to them (especially considering they beef up a druid's Wild Shape feature when it is activated within the ring).

*Storm King's Thunder: There's the Nightstone, which always made me think more of the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey than these mysterious obelisks. Don't think there's anything else.

*Tales from the Yawning Portal: Given that these are all older edition adventures, I don't think there's an obelisk in any of these adventures.

*Tomb of Annihilation: There's the obelisk outside of the eponymous tomb, but I thought it was put there by Acererak.

*Waterdeep - Dragon Heist: I don't think this adventure has one, does it?

*Waterdeep - Dungeon of the Mad Mage: I haven't read through this whole book, so I don't know where the obelisk is.

*Ghosts of Saltmarsh: As TftYP above.

*Baldur's Gate - Descent into Avernus: As WDotMM above.

*Icewind Dale - Rime of the Frostmaiden: The obelisk is in the fallen Netherese city of Ythryn.


Am I missing any?
 

Parmandur

Legend
I'm trying to remember where they all are ...

*Lost Mine of Phandelver: Is there an obelisk in this adventure? It's been so long since I last ran it that I can't remember.

*Tyranny of Dragons: I can only think of the three pairs of portal stones outside the hunting lodge in Hoard. Can't think of anything else.

*Princes of the Apocalypse: Nothing springs to mind immediately.

*Out of the Abyss: There's an obelisk in the Whorlstone Tunnels area of Gracklstugh (the only bit of the adventure that makes any reference to Alice in Wonderland).

*Curse of Strahd: There are both the old megaliths near the hags' windmill (which the book specifically states were erected by the valley's original inhabitants and bear carvings depicting a city in different seasons) and the ring of standing stones, also erected by the valley's original inhabitants, near the ruins of Berez. These have a very druidic feel to them (especially considering they beef up a druid's Wild Shape feature when it is activated within the ring).

*Storm King's Thunder: There's the Nightstone, which always made me think more of the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey than these mysterious obelisks. Don't think there's anything else.

*Tales from the Yawning Portal: Given that these are all older edition adventures, I don't think there's an obelisk in any of these adventures.

*Tomb of Annihilation: There's the obelisk outside of the eponymous tomb, but I thought it was put there by Acererak.

*Waterdeep - Dragon Heist: I don't think this adventure has one, does it?

*Waterdeep - Dungeon of the Mad Mage: I haven't read through this whole book, so I don't know where the obelisk is.

*Ghosts of Saltmarsh: As TftYP above.

*Baldur's Gate - Descent into Avernus: As WDotMM above.

*Icewind Dale - Rime of the Frostmaiden: The obelisk is in the fallen Netherese city of Ythryn.


Am I missing any?

- Prince's of the Apocalypse: Chapter 4, in the Temple of the Black Earth and Temple of Howling Hatred

- Dungeon of the Mad Mage: Level 1 and Level 22

- Explorer's Guide to Wildemount: in the lost magic city stuck in the ice of Eiselcross...

- Descent into Avernus: there's one in Avernus, with a Demon trapped inside.
 

pukunui

Hero
- Prince's of the Apocalypse: Chapter 4, in the Temple of the Black Earth and Temple of Howling Hatred

- Dungeon of the Mad Mage: Level 1 and Level 22

- Explorer's Guide to Wildemount: in the lost magic city stuck in the ice of Eiselcross...

- Descent into Avernus: there's one in Avernus, with a Demon trapped inside.
I've dug a little deeper. There is nothing described as an "obelisk" in the Tyranny of Dragons modules. There are just those old standing stones outside the hunting lodge that can be used as portals. None of them are black, but they obviously contain magic due to the portals.

The one in the black earth temple in PotA seems to be the key one in that module. I don't think the ones in the howling hatred temple are related.

The one on level 22 of the Mad Mage looks to me to be the key one there.

Curse of Strahd doesn't have anything that matches the black obelisks elsewhere. Just all those old megaliths.

The one outside the tomb in Tomb of Annihilation isn't described as being black, but it is an obelisk, and it radiates magic. It could possibly have been there already, and Acererak just co-opted it for his purposes.

The Nightstone in SKT is described as being a megalith rather than an obelisk.

There are no megaliths or obelisks of any kind in Dragon Heist.

I've just looked at Descent into Avernus, and yes, there's a very obviously magical obelisk in the "Path of the Demons" section. Given what we now know about these obelisks, I'm not entirely sure what the point of having one in Avernus is. How does time work on Avernus? Can you send the hells back in time?

In conclusion, I think it's fair to say that many / most of the official 5e adventures have one, but saying that they "all" do might be a bit of a stretch.
 



Parmandur

Legend
I've dug a little deeper. There is nothing described as an "obelisk" in the Tyranny of Dragons modules. There are just those old standing stones outside the hunting lodge that can be used as portals. None of them are black, but they obviously contain magic due to the portals.

The one in the black earth temple in PotA seems to be the key one in that module. I don't think the ones in the howling hatred temple are related.

The one on level 22 of the Mad Mage looks to me to be the key one there.

Curse of Strahd doesn't have anything that matches the black obelisks elsewhere. Just all those old megaliths.

The one outside the tomb in Tomb of Annihilation isn't described as being black, but it is an obelisk, and it radiates magic. It could possibly have been there already, and Acererak just co-opted it for his purposes.

The Nightstone in SKT is described as being a megalith rather than an obelisk.

There are no megaliths or obelisks of any kind in Dragon Heist.

I've just looked at Descent into Avernus, and yes, there's a very obviously magical obelisk in the "Path of the Demons" section. Given what we now know about these obelisks, I'm not entirely sure what the point of having one in Avernus is. How does time work on Avernus? Can you send the hells back in time?

In conclusion, I think it's fair to say that many / most of the official 5e adventures have one, but saying that they "all" do might be a bit of a stretch.

Yes, "all" is a slight exaggeration, but it is a recurring motif of the Sword Coast Cycle (just coined that, you're welcome) since at least Prince's of the Apocalypse. Now there is some explanation given for it, maybe they'll go further with it, but it may be intended primarily as a hook for DMs to build epic level material of their own.

IIRC, and I'm fairly certain, Perkins actually called out the megaliths in Curse of Strahd as being an Easter Egg reference to Jeremy Crawford's home campaign (where Perkins is a player), because in Crawford's personal homebrew campaign world the original homeworld of Barovia and Strahd is the one his players adventure in. Of course, that opens up the possibility that Vecna and the Weavers are also be an extended nod to Crawford's homebrew, which is classic D&D designer shenanigans frankly.
 

Parmandur

Legend
As long as they don't give us Anauroch as a stand-in for Athas ... (like how they gave us Ravnica instead of Sigil).

Not sure why people see Ravnica and Sigil as being in competition somehow. They are not megacities, but they are very different. Sigil is a Planar crossroads, whereas Ravnica is not (anymore than Waterdeep, at any rate). The factions are nothing alike. The nature of the urban environment is totally different.
 

pukunui

Hero
IIRC, and I'm fairly certain, Perkins actually called out the megaliths in Curse of Strahd as being an Easter Egg reference to Jeremy Crawford's home campaign (where Perkins is a player), because in Crawford's personal homebrew campaign world the original homeworld of Barovia and Strahd is the one his players adventure in. Of course, that opens up the possibility that Vecna and the Weavers are also be an extended nod to Crawford's homebrew, which is classic D&D designer shenanigans frankly.
Yeah, I remembered there being talk from the designers about those megaliths at the time of Curse of Strahd's release, but I couldn't remember if it had to do with Jeremy's home game or if it was a reference to the repeated obelisk motif. Maybe it was both. It's possible it's all connected somehow!

Not sure why people see Ravnica and Sigil as being in competition somehow. They are not megacities, but they are very different. Sigil is a Planar crossroads, whereas Ravnica is not (anymore than Waterdeep, at any rate). The factions are nothing alike. The nature of the urban environment is totally different.
I think it's mostly just the "megacity with factions" element, plus the fact that lots of people were hoping for a Sigil / Planescape book, and they feel that the existence of Ravnica covering the "megacity with factions" theme means we won't get a product dedicated to Sigil specifically since WotC has said they want each setting to have its own niche.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Yeah, I remembered there being talk from the designers about those megaliths at the time of Curse of Strahd's release, but I couldn't remember if it had to do with Jeremy's home game or if it was a reference to the repeated obelisk motif. Maybe it was both. It's possible it's all connected somehow!

I think it's mostly just the "megacity with factions" element, plus the fact that lots of people were hoping for a Sigil / Planescape book, and they feel that the existence of Ravnica covering the "megacity with factions" theme means we won't get a product dedicated to Sigil specifically since WotC has said they want each setting to have its own niche.

Sigil's niche is "City of Gates," an interdimensional crossroads where Devils and Modrons negotiate in seedy back alleys. Ravnica was studiously non-Planar in nature, curiously so given the Magic story in general. Eberron heavily focused on Sharon, which is also a steampunkish megacity with factions.

I love the idea of a timey-wimey Anauroch desert AP, I hope they explore these wild themes more.
 


CoS and GoS aren't set in the Forgotten Realms, so I might not expect them to have obelisks. However, there is a connection to Vecna mentioned in RotFM.

I think there is one, not in the Essentials Kit itself, but in one of the downloadable modules that come with it. I can't remember which one though.
 

pukunui

Hero
CoS and GoS aren't set in the Forgotten Realms, so I might not expect them to have obelisks.
No, but I feel like CoS is around when they first started talking about obelisks, and that at least some of the megaliths in that adventure are meant to be related to all the others. But I could be misremembering and it may just have been talk of the megaliths relating to Jeremy's home campaign, as was mentioned above.
 

Bitbrain

Black Lives Matter
As long as they don't give us Anauroch as a stand-in for Athas ... (like how they gave us Ravnica instead of Sigil).

Given how they are using adventures to detail specific areas of Faerun, I doubt they will do that.

Honestly, an adventure involving time travel and a magic-blighted desert sounds really easy to convert into Dark Sun, if you ask me.
 

Wow, that would be!

Maybe they are setting up for a future Anauroch adventure, half in the present and half in the past in Netheril, via one of these obelisks...
There is a lack of high level adventure paths. Connecting the obelisks, Time Travel and the fall of Netheril would be suitably epic for a high tier adventure - WotC's own Avengers!
 



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