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5E Running Rime of the Frost Maiden

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
But, that's just it -- they don't even have to drop everything. Let's say they're running through Chap 1. They have the two starting quests and the quest for the town their in. That's 2nd level and a good bit towards 3rd. Unless they're running around Ten Towns collecting lots of town quests, when they hit third they'll probably only have one Chap 1 quest on the docket, possibly two, which aren't enough for reaching 4th level. At that point, they are not abandoning anything at all to go after the rumor -- it's teed up and next on the docket!

Regarding the two "starting quests" - and admittedly the designers could have made this considerably clearer - they are not meant to be completed first, only GIVEN first.

The main purpose of the starting quests is to prompt the adventurers to move from town to town, accruing and completing other Tier 1 quests. In fact, only when the DM decides that it's about time to move on from town-hopping and low-level questing should the starter quest (or quests - honestly there is no reason not to give them both although the book says one or the other) meet their resolution.

In other words, the people complaining that the serial killer is too tough for a level one party are correct, but they shouldn't be facing him at level one. In fact, the adventurers should not find him until they are close to the end of Chapter 1. So adventurers will likely reach level 3 or 4 en route to completing their starting quest(s).

So the idea is yes, we've heard there might be a crashed spaceship or whatever out there, but dammit Jim we've still got a serial killer on the loose right here in River City so those aliens are just gonna need to cool their jets for a bit.

The people complaining that the serial killer quest is lame because there is no investigation involved...have a point.
 
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Shardstone

Adventurer
Regarding the two "starting quests" - and admittedly the designers could have made this considerably clearer - they are not meant to be completed first, only GIVEN first.

The main purpose of the starting quests to prompt the adventurers to move from town to town, accruing and completing other Tier 1 quests. In fact, only when the DM decides that it's about time to move on from town-hopping and low-level questing should the starter quest (or quests - honestly there is no reason not to give them both although the book says one or the other) meet their resolution.

In other words, the people complaining that the serial killer is too tough for a level one party are correct - in fact, the adventurers should not find him until they are close to the end of Chapter 1. So adventurers will likely reach level 3 or 4 en route to completing their starting quest(s).
The fact that you admit that this could have been made considerably clearer proves that this module can be better, which is kind of the whole conceit of this argument - that Rime of the Frostmaiden could have been BETTER.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Where does RotFM state that a GM needs to be experienced before they run the adventure? Show me the exact text where it says this please.
Considering that products/adventures for new/inexperienced DMs are explicitly titled as such: "Starter's Set" "Essentials Kit", etc, it can be inferred that products of this heft and length do assume the DM should be experienced. If this adventure wasn't intended primarily for experienced/knowledgeable DMs, then it would have been titled in a way that lets inexperienced DMs know they can run it as well, just like the other products that are explicitly titled that way.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Considering that products/adventures for new/inexperienced DMs are explicitly titled as such: "Starter's Set" "Essentials Kit", etc, it can be inferred that products of this heft and length do assume the DM should be experienced. If this adventure wasn't intended primarily for experienced/knowledgeable DMs, then it would have been titled in a way that lets inexperienced DMs know they can run it as well, just like the other products that are explicitly titled that way.
I think that offering a complete adventure path, but only assuming your customers understand that it's 1) not actually complete, but assembly and additional materials needed and b) not for beginners, is a poor way to treat your customers and can lead to disappointed purchasers. There's absolutely nothing wrong with 1 and b above, but it's very much not clearly advertised. Unless I've learned my lesson already (which might take multiple product purchases) or I've been forewarned by other hobbyists, there's absolutely nothing in the product description that tells you this.

As someone who has had a lot of experience dealing with customers dissatisfied with their hobby purchase because they didn't read or care about the clear labels on the package that say it's a kit you have to build, not even putting on a label leaves me baffled as to why this is an accepted state of affairs. "Because it's been that way," is an even poorer excuse for continuing to do so.
 

Shardstone

Adventurer
Considering that products/adventures for new/inexperienced DMs are explicitly titled as such: "Starter's Set" "Essentials Kit", etc, it can be inferred that products of this heft and length do assume the DM should be experienced. If this adventure wasn't intended primarily for experienced/knowledgeable DMs, then it would have been titled in a way that lets inexperienced DMs know they can run it as well, just like the other products that are explicitly titled that way.
Week argument, WotC's marketing in all channels never once mentions that any adventure is explicitly not beginner-friendly, and in fact just tells you to buy this new adventure without regards to your DM experience. Any further argument that doesn't expressly show or actually lead to this logical influence should stop being posted; let's not make things up.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Regarding the two "starting quests" - and admittedly the designers could have made this considerably clearer - they are not meant to be completed first, only GIVEN first.

The main purpose of the starting quests is to prompt the adventurers to move from town to town, accruing and completing other Tier 1 quests. In fact, only when the DM decides that it's about time to move on from town-hopping and low-level questing should the starter quest (or quests - honestly there is no reason not to give them both although the book says one or the other) meet their resolution.

In other words, the people complaining that the serial killer is too tough for a level one party are correct, but they shouldn't be facing him at level one. In fact, the adventurers should not find him until they are close to the end of Chapter 1. So adventurers will likely reach level 3 or 4 en route to completing their starting quest(s).

The people complaining that the serial killer quest is lame because there is no investigation involved...have a point.
Right, but the progression through those quests means that if you're giving out the Chap 2 rumors at level 3, the party mostly likely only has a one or two of those quests still in the queue. That you get them isn't in question, but that you really only have a few at a time, so the fact that you need to complete, what, 4 more to get from level 3 to 4 means that, on average, unless you're holding the rumors till the end of level 3 there's lots of room to have that rumor be the next up in the queue before you get to 4th level (much less 7th). This means that, functionally, you're not providing these rumors at level 3, but maybe at the very tail end of 3, and then you're being careful as to which you're handing out because some are geared for 7th level characters. But, the text just says that you do Chap 2 starting a 4th (a good summation, and clear) and then also that 3rd level players are hearing rumors (ie, getting plot hooks) of these quests. This is poor advice, and easily corrected, and there's more than enough Ten Town adventures to actually wait until 4th to provide the new plot hooks and not have it seem jarring at all.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Right, but the progression through those quests means that if you're giving out the Chap 2 rumors at level 3, the party mostly likely only has a one or two of those quests still in the queue. That you get them isn't in question, but that you really only have a few at a time, so the fact that you need to complete, what, 4 more to get from level 3 to 4 means that, on average, unless you're holding the rumors till the end of level 3 there's lots of room to have that rumor be the next up in the queue before you get to 4th level (much less 7th). This means that, functionally, you're not providing these rumors at level 3, but maybe at the very tail end of 3, and then you're being careful as to which you're handing out because some are geared for 7th level characters. But, the text just says that you do Chap 2 starting a 4th (a good summation, and clear) and then also that 3rd level players are hearing rumors (ie, getting plot hooks) of these quests. This is poor advice, and easily corrected, and there's more than enough Ten Town adventures to actually wait until 4th to provide the new plot hooks and not have it seem jarring at all.

Sure. The suggestion that players hear about the Chapter 2 quests when they're level 3 is needlessly messy and should have been cut in editing, especially because there's a chance they may already feel overwhelmed by the amount of quests on offer in Chapter 1.

But honestly, many of the Chapter 2 quests are survivable for a level 3 party anyway, so it's not a huge issue.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
The fact that you admit that this could have been made considerably clearer proves that this module can be better, which is kind of the whole conceit of this argument - that Rime of the Frostmaiden could have been BETTER.
I'm not claiming otherwise.

There are very valid criticisms to be a made about this adventure, and some people are twisting themselves into knots trying to defend it against any and every criticism (which people do with every WotC adventure).

There are also some people being quite over the top in decrying and magnifying the adventure's faults (which people also do with every WotC adventure).

In my opinion, it's a very good adventure with some clear problems, and you can look silly both by claiming that those problems aren't there, and also by claiming it's terrible or unplayable.
 
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Sacrosanct

Legend
Week argument, WotC's marketing in all channels never once mentions that any adventure is explicitly not beginner-friendly, and in fact just tells you to buy this new adventure without regards to your DM experience. Any further argument that doesn't expressly show or actually lead to this logical influence should stop being posted; let's not make things up.

No, not a week (sic) argument. It's a valid argument, and one used for literally everything else in the world. Any product marketed to the overall demographic is going to assume competency with that system. Anything meant for beginners will explicitly say it's for beginners. And that is a good thing. Most gamers are not beginners, so using up valuable text space for every product to hand walk beginners through the adventure that don't apply to most of the people running it would be a bad thing. Wasted space. Wasted effort. Wasted cost.

Does every cookbook/coding/handyperson manual need to explicitly say it's not for beginners if it's not, or can you assume that since there are books that say "for beginners", we can assume that a book not saying that is in fact not for beginners, but for everyone else?

Does every tool need to explicitly say it's not for beginners if it's not, or can you assume that since there are tools that say "for beginners", we can assume that a tool not saying that is in fact not for beginners, but for everyone else and assumes you should have a level of competency with it?
 
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Sacrosanct

Legend
Right, but the progression through those quests means that if you're giving out the Chap 2 rumors at level 3, the party mostly likely only has a one or two of those quests still in the queue. That you get them isn't in question, but that you really only have a few at a time, so the fact that you need to complete, what, 4 more to get from level 3 to 4 means that, on average, unless you're holding the rumors till the end of level 3 there's lots of room to have that rumor be the next up in the queue before you get to 4th level (much less 7th). This means that, functionally, you're not providing these rumors at level 3, but maybe at the very tail end of 3, and then you're being careful as to which you're handing out because some are geared for 7th level characters. But, the text just says that you do Chap 2 starting a 4th (a good summation, and clear) and then also that 3rd level players are hearing rumors (ie, getting plot hooks) of these quests. This is poor advice, and easily corrected, and there's more than enough Ten Town adventures to actually wait until 4th to provide the new plot hooks and not have it seem jarring at all.

PCs hearing rumors before they are high enough level to address the scenario isn't poor advice. It's reasonable and realistic. Rumors don't care what level the party is. They are information held by NPCs in a living world, regardless of what the PCs are doing. The game assumes some level of competency from the DM, and that DMs know their players and can make adjustments to your table if you feel it's needed.

You're essentially arguing that the adventure is written badly because you as the DM can't manage to adjust the game to your players' preferences if they deviate from the expected norm of play (no adventure EVER has withheld rumors of plot hooks if the party wasn't immediately ready to take on that scenario).
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
AND because you have a firm grasp of what do the NPC want, you can really improvised and run them well without having to fear that you are "going to ruin the plot". The plot develops organically.
Yep - that was the light bulb moment for me. The world is living already in your brain - you don't need to attempt a mind meld with a WotC designer :)
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Yep - that was the light bulb moment for me. The world is living already in your brain - you don't need to attempt a mind meld with a WotC designer :)

I used to fear when the players did something completely unexpected. I wasn't ready! It has so many consequences!!

Now I look forward to it. That's the magic. That's the creative exchange. If it's your own material, you can pivot on a dime! If you are on an adventure path... it's harder
 

Azzy

Newtype
I don't think that's a good thing. Being conditioned as a customer to expect that the product means you'll have to work to fix it is like buying Ikea furniture but having to source your own wood and hardware for parts of the build, and in others having to figure out how to put it together without a page of instruction.
As a model builder, I'd say it's more like putting together a Revell, Monogram, or AMT/MPC kit... Nah, even that's too extreme! 😓
 
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Scott Christian

Adventurer
Um, does it say that they should be discouraged from following up on these rumors until they reach 4th level? I mean, maybe I have weird players, but they tend to follow up pretty quickly on rumors that interest them, which, given this reading, would put me in a situation to decide to alter the encounters to be appropriate, fast track the milestone leveling, or invent stalls to prevent pursuing the rumors, all of which distort play. I suppose it's possible that the normal group of players do not attempt to follow up on rumors for a bit, but I find that unlikely. Which then means that the reading you're both advocating can often lead to distorting play experiences. I'd rather assume it was an unintended type than intentional design.
If you are that much of a literalist, then you are right. But we are talking about a game. A game that uses imagination. Throw in a quest as they head to chapter 2. Or just level them after they catch some trout. Is that so difficult to do? No offense, but you act like the book is scripture. And that is the part that gets me - you know it isn't.
As has been pointed out. There are many that will run this, with no alteration, and have a blast.
There are some that will run it and then start improving halfway through and make up their own thing.
There are some that will tailor it to their party. Some will do a lot of prep. Some will do a little.
Then there are some that will use just a quest, adventure hook, NPC, creature or setting and place it in their campaign.

People can do ALL OF THAT from one book. Yet you claim it's not a finished product and it could be better.

So how do you make this better? What specific points about the adventure causes you so much work that it needs to be change? Because an inconsistency (that really isn't even there) can be corrected by the most minor less than one minute on the fly adjustment. But is there a major inconsistency that causes the book to be not worth buying? I am curious.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
If you are that much of a literalist, then you are right. But we are talking about a game. A game that uses imagination. Throw in a quest as they head to chapter 2. Or just level them after they catch some trout. Is that so difficult to do? No offense, but you act like the book is scripture. And that is the part that gets me - you know it isn't.
As has been pointed out. There are many that will run this, with no alteration, and have a blast.
Firstly, a game that uses imagination is not very good defense -- it's essentially agreeing that there are things that have to be imagined around to make sense. I argue that you can both have a good imagination AND have the adventure not provide too many points you have to imagine your way around. I'd rather points you imagine with.

Secondly, sure, I know that the book isn't scripture and I haven't made any argument that it is so. It's obvious you can change it -- part of my arguments with others is that this expectation that you have to change it is a poor one, but that's premised on change being something that happens. So, yeah, of course it's not scripture. This isn't an argument that it could be better and have fewer points where you have to change it to make it work or make sense.

Finally, the argument that some people will run it with no alteration and have a blast in no way makes my criticism invalid or lesser. It's an appeal to popularity, essentially, in that you're claiming that this will be popular in a certain way so the argument there are valid criticism fails. Popularity has nothing to do with valid criticism. And, I seriously doubt "many" will run it unaltered and have a blast. I mean, there's already the argument that it's obvious that WotC adventures are for experienced GMs because they require so much additional work! I don't think that's a good thing, either, but I can't really argue that it's how it currently is.
There are some that will run it and then start improving halfway through and make up their own thing.
There are some that will tailor it to their party. Some will do a lot of prep. Some will do a little.
Then there are some that will use just a quest, adventure hook, NPC, creature or setting and place it in their campaign.

People can do ALL OF THAT from one book. Yet you claim it's not a finished product and it could be better.

So how do you make this better? What specific points about the adventure causes you so much work that it needs to be change? Because an inconsistency (that really isn't even there) can be corrected by the most minor less than one minute on the fly adjustment. But is there a major inconsistency that causes the book to be not worth buying? I am curious.
Well, for one, I have never said it's not a finished product. It clearly is finished -- it was published. And, I've been very clear that I understand how the issues I'm criticizing happen -- I've been on the other side of a production deadline and know that review/edit is a trade-off process. None of that invalidates my criticism that you should do the work to make sure the premise holds water against a high school education and that the adventure flow is such that it helps GMs, not cause the problems they have to work around. I like WotC. I think they do a pretty good job. I also think that their adventures are their weakest products, by and large, and that the quality of them is spotty. And, I can point to the thriving aftermarket for "fixing XYZ" products, threads, and blogs for this clearly being an issue. That many of those fixing threads/posts/products tend to identify the same pain points is also a true statement.

I've already said my piece on how it could be better, but a quick recap is to address the two year long, no sun winter conditions with something, anything, that explains how that's not already most people dead or left. It offend my high school learning, and absent any attempt to even lampshade it, it harms my suspension of disbelief enough on the "why do you need heroes" axis. The pacing through Chapter 1 is spotty -- I don't like run around quests to get you acquainted with towns when the rest of the adventure is largely going to ignore this after the large mechanical thing. And, the throughline to Chapter 2 is rough -- this could have been smoothed out, but it's hard to do with what's actually in the adventure. I'd have much preferred to see the harder questions be tied into the worsening conditions more tightly, but it's far too late for that. So, yeah, the failure here for me is the failure to deliver on the promise of a brutal winter caused by a vengeful god. Sure, you have to go fight some things and find the thing to thwart the god, but the winter part is really just a weak background instead of a main character. The "why do I need to stop this winter if two years hasn't been that big of a deal?" question kinda derails the thing for me. Can I fix this? Absolutely, I can, and I've both proposed that solution AND liked many other provided solutions. But, and here's the thing for me, after I did that I'd still have an adventure that doesn't really care that much about that premise. The cold and weather events in this adventure are pretty tame, and I want ferocious. So, sure, I can address the initial problem with the premise, but I can't really fix the rest without a heavy rewrite, and I'm not going to purchase that when I can just do my own version. Which I'll tee up for after my current campaign, because I really like the idea of a frozen adventure.
 

Scott Christian

Adventurer
Firstly, a game that uses imagination is not very good defense -- it's essentially agreeing that there are things that have to be imagined around to make sense. I argue that you can both have a good imagination AND have the adventure not provide too many points you have to imagine your way around. I'd rather points you imagine with.

Secondly, sure, I know that the book isn't scripture and I haven't made any argument that it is so. It's obvious you can change it -- part of my arguments with others is that this expectation that you have to change it is a poor one, but that's premised on change being something that happens. So, yeah, of course it's not scripture. This isn't an argument that it could be better and have fewer points where you have to change it to make it work or make sense.

Finally, the argument that some people will run it with no alteration and have a blast in no way makes my criticism invalid or lesser. It's an appeal to popularity, essentially, in that you're claiming that this will be popular in a certain way so the argument there are valid criticism fails. Popularity has nothing to do with valid criticism. And, I seriously doubt "many" will run it unaltered and have a blast. I mean, there's already the argument that it's obvious that WotC adventures are for experienced GMs because they require so much additional work! I don't think that's a good thing, either, but I can't really argue that it's how it currently is.

Well, for one, I have never said it's not a finished product. It clearly is finished -- it was published. And, I've been very clear that I understand how the issues I'm criticizing happen -- I've been on the other side of a production deadline and know that review/edit is a trade-off process. None of that invalidates my criticism that you should do the work to make sure the premise holds water against a high school education and that the adventure flow is such that it helps GMs, not cause the problems they have to work around. I like WotC. I think they do a pretty good job. I also think that their adventures are their weakest products, by and large, and that the quality of them is spotty. And, I can point to the thriving aftermarket for "fixing XYZ" products, threads, and blogs for this clearly being an issue. That many of those fixing threads/posts/products tend to identify the same pain points is also a true statement.

I've already said my piece on how it could be better, but a quick recap is to address the two year long, no sun winter conditions with something, anything, that explains how that's not already most people dead or left. It offend my high school learning, and absent any attempt to even lampshade it, it harms my suspension of disbelief enough on the "why do you need heroes" axis. The pacing through Chapter 1 is spotty -- I don't like run around quests to get you acquainted with towns when the rest of the adventure is largely going to ignore this after the large mechanical thing. And, the throughline to Chapter 2 is rough -- this could have been smoothed out, but it's hard to do with what's actually in the adventure. I'd have much preferred to see the harder questions be tied into the worsening conditions more tightly, but it's far too late for that. So, yeah, the failure here for me is the failure to deliver on the promise of a brutal winter caused by a vengeful god. Sure, you have to go fight some things and find the thing to thwart the god, but the winter part is really just a weak background instead of a main character. The "why do I need to stop this winter if two years hasn't been that big of a deal?" question kinda derails the thing for me. Can I fix this? Absolutely, I can, and I've both proposed that solution AND liked many other provided solutions. But, and here's the thing for me, after I did that I'd still have an adventure that doesn't really care that much about that premise. The cold and weather events in this adventure are pretty tame, and I want ferocious. So, sure, I can address the initial problem with the premise, but I can't really fix the rest without a heavy rewrite, and I'm not going to purchase that when I can just do my own version. Which I'll tee up for after my current campaign, because I really like the idea of a frozen adventure.
That is part of the point, your criticisms don't make sense. And all the arguments I make DO MAKE SENSE. They are in direct contradiction to your argument.
You can say your argument does not apply to this or that, but originally it was that the adventure is not good because (fill in the blank)...
And that is the point. It is good. And they did a good job. And on top of that, they did a good job with DM's that fall in different modes. Seems good to me.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
That is part of the point, your criticisms don't make sense. And all the arguments I make DO MAKE SENSE. They are in direct contradiction to your argument.
You can say your argument does not apply to this or that, but originally it was that the adventure is not good because (fill in the blank)...
And that is the point. It is good. And they did a good job. And on top of that, they did a good job with DM's that fall in different modes. Seems good to me.
"If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither on your side, pound the table."

You're just making assertions, here, not presenting supported arguments. You can say my criticisms don't make sense, but it's apparent they do to some in this thread alone, so that's unsupported. You can say your arguments do make sense, but that's just an empty claim -- the better approach is to make sensible arguments and let them do the talking. You end with what is really just an appeal to popularity (ie, people like it so your criticism is wrong!) that's further premised on a guess on your part, that people might like the book overall but have some of the same issues I've presented here. That's entirely possible -- I like CoS very much despite having some very pointed criticism on certain parts.

Overall, you thinking the adventure is good is something I'm happy to hear. I'm not disappointed when people like things I have criticisms of -- I'm quite often someone who both likes a thing and can criticize it. Heck, The Last Jedi is a good example of a movie I actually enjoy but can also mount some very pointed criticism for it. So, now, you liking a thing, or many others liking a thing, doesn't invalidate my criticisms. And, most certainly, you just stating my criticisms don't make sense without even any attempt to address the merits of them doesn't make them invalid.
 

Galandris

Adventurer
EDIT: Just noticed a weird character change from LotCS -> Rime. In the former, there's a priestess named Mithann who worships "the Morninglord". The text hints that she worships Lathander rather than Amaunator. She doesn't get a mention in Storm King's Thunder, but she reappears in Rime, renamed "Mishann" and reframed as a hardline devotee of Amaunator who "doesn't like it" when people think Amaunator and Lathander are the same deity.

Proposal : Mishann is so infuriated at the confusion that she killed her sister Mithann for embracing the worship of Lathander instead of the one true Morninglord and set things right by taking over her shrine. People in Bryn Shanders didn't care... therefore Lathander, which is post-sundering a separate entity, withdrew his blessing from the Dale, giving Auril free reign over it and not disrupting her spell. Amaunator isn't opposing Auril in this situation because he thinks that the ultimate outcome of Auril will lead to the rise of the Netherese city. As he was majorly worshipped in Netheril time, it's not a stretch to imagine that Iriolarthas was an Amaunator wosphipper himself, and that the god values his follower's restoration to its former glory more than the few thousands petty lives of the Dale (Amaunator isn't a good deity after all).

A useful subplot in Darker Rime (that's how I envision I will run it, with several idea to make it more gritty and despair-filled, I might post more ideas at some point...) could be that the charactes are legitimately wondering why no superior being has taken an interest in the sun not waking for two years and discover this (unearthing old stories, finding the congealed body of Mithann...) and finally put Mishann to trial. She is no longer there in SKT because she's been hanged during the events of Rime. Continuity is restored.

Sylvanus druids have all stopped worshipping him and embraced Auril's cult and for some reason are awakening beasts day in and day out. At first, they were concerned about the sun not rising (hey, who wouldn't???) but their asked for divine guidance and Sylvanus told them not to interfere, because he's allied with Lathander and was convinced by him not to intervene directly in his retribution against the Dale. So the local druid understood that Auril was somehow doing Sylvanus's will and started taking action that would please the Frostmaiden and help wildlife by giving it more intelligence. Inquiring characters could certainly find clues of what happened by investigating the shrine in Easthaven and maybe travelling to Kuldahar as was suggested upthread?

I'd totally see Ilmater trying to send a devout follower to investigate and bring support to the poor souls in the Dale...
 
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Scott Christian

Adventurer
"If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither on your side, pound the table."
I like this. (y)
You're just making assertions, here, not presenting supported arguments. You can say my criticisms don't make sense, but it's apparent they do to some in this thread alone, so that's unsupported. You can say your arguments do make sense, but that's just an empty claim -- the better approach is to make sensible arguments and let them do the talking. You end with what is really just an appeal to popularity (ie, people like it so your criticism is wrong!) that's further premised on a guess on your part, that people might like the book overall but have some of the same issues I've presented here. That's entirely possible -- I like CoS very much despite having some very pointed criticism on certain parts.
To be fair, I asked all on this forum that had such an immersion breaking criticism to bring it to the table. The ones early on that did, were solved with logical explanations after seconds of thought, and not just by me. So I asked for more. You were kind enough to point out your thoughts. Thanks. But, all of your thoughts (which is what I was getting at) are just personal preferences. Here are your examples:
a quick recap is to address the two year long, no sun winter conditions with something, anything, that explains how that's not already most people dead or left. It offend my high school learning, and absent any attempt to even lampshade it, it harms my suspension of disbelief enough on the "why do you need heroes" axis.
They do address this. Numerous times. They have imports. They have magic. They have trout. I mean, I fail to see what you want. Do you want an export/import list? It could be made in a few minutes. Are you just upset because they have had two years of winter and everyone isn't dead or gone? A little flex of the imagination should provide more than enough reasoning as to how they survived. I mean, the Underdark has never seen the sun, yet they have entire kingdoms.
If it is science you are complaining about, then think of all the other areas in FR or any other campaign that fall out of line with science. If it is the lack of grit and just the always near death lack of writing inside the towns, then that is a preference.
The pacing through Chapter 1 is spotty -- I don't like run around quests to get you acquainted with towns when the rest of the adventure is largely going to ignore this after the large mechanical thing.
This is another preference. You don't like run around town quests. I really don't even understand what that means, but it is an obvious preference. Preferences, like "I wish there would have been more action in Last Jedi," are not criticisms.
And, the throughline to Chapter 2 is rough -- this could have been smoothed out, but it's hard to do with what's actually in the adventure.
This could be a criticism. It can also be a preference. As has been pointed out earlier, they left it open. If they would have railroaded, they would have heard the opposite. And when looked at it that way, it is definitely a preference.
I'd have much preferred to see the harder questions be tied into the worsening conditions more tightly, but it's far too late for that. So, yeah, the failure here for me is the failure to deliver on the promise of a brutal winter caused by a vengeful god. Sure, you have to go fight some things and find the thing to thwart the god, but the winter part is really just a weak background instead of a main character. The "why do I need to stop this winter if two years hasn't been that big of a deal?" question kinda derails the thing for me.
The conditions are worsening. I mean, when you read chapter one, do you not get the sense that people are miserable? That they want their old lives back? People in these situations can and do find other things to focus on, but it takes a minimal amount of effort from the DM, and could probably just be improvised, to paint the towns a little more bleakly. There are other DM's that want it a little more lighthearted. You want it more survivalist. That is fine, but it is a preference. And it is a preference that can be fixed by a fifteen minute writing session prior to the PC's rolling into town.
Can I fix this? Absolutely, I can, and I've both proposed that solution AND liked many other provided solutions. But, and here's the thing for me, after I did that I'd still have an adventure that doesn't really care that much about that premise. The cold and weather events in this adventure are pretty tame, and I want ferocious.
Preference. But I would like to hear your opinion on this. They have several rules on how the environment affects PC's. I mean, extreme cold has the characters rolling a con save every hour! Doing anything when exhausted is brutal. Fighting with several layers of exhaustion is terrifying. In combat, limited movement and ice can mess up the best laid battle plans. And falling through the ice into water. Depending on your DM style, this could TPK an entire group.
But again, you wanting it "ferocious" is a preference, not a criticism. I mean, I wanted Tomb of Annihilation to be unbeatable. Meaning, the group always loses. But that is a preference, not a criticism.

I get what you are saying, and I have no doubt you could rework this to your group's preference. And I have no doubt it would be very well done too. You sound like you have a great sense of internal logic, and that can sometimes crash the prewritten adventures companies publish. I too have had the same experience. But, what I have come to understand is that my internal logic and need for things to align more correctly are really just preferences for my playstyle. Heck, I can't stand the fact that terrain means so little in D&D. The wizard just floats down a cliff, negative 100 degrees and Leomund's Tiny Hut is nice and warm, massive waves become no problem with Walk on Water, and a grizzly bear is laughed at by two new noob adventurers who have never had a fight. But, those are all my preferences, not valid criticisms of the game.

What I am trying to say is you are valid. You are correct. But in the end, it is preference, not criticism.
 

uzirath

Adventurer
I unexpectedly ended up running some episodes from Rime of the Frostmaiden while up at my cabin for a long weekend with another family who we've "bubbled" with. We had a two-day stretch of mixed rain and snow up in northern Minnesota where we decided that some off-the-cuff RPG time was the perfect way to spend the time by the fire. I had zero time to prep but had brought the book to finish reading and had a folder of character sheets and plenty of dice. That's enough for some gaming!

Full disclosure: I ran this using the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game ruleset (GURPS under the hood) because that's the system we all knew best. Normally I would spend a bit of time prepping ahead of time to make sure that encounters were balanced and thinking through how various D&D elements should work in DFRPG. With this one, though, I just opened the book and winged it completely, swapping GURPS skills in for various checks. My sense was that this would have played similarly in 5e, though some minor details would have differed.

The party of five included a human cleric, human knight (≈ST fighter), elf druid, catfolk swashbuckler (≈DX fighter), and faerie dragon wizard.

The backstory was that the group had convinced some whalers to head further north than they usually did, dropping the PCs off on the coast of Icewind Dale. We left open why they were heading north (could have been they were running from something or just in search of adventure). On the ship, they heard rumors about the unnaturally long winter and soon got to see the darkness and Auril's aurora for themselves.

I narrated the journey to Bremen because I wanted to get into the meat of the scenario. They spotted some threats that they were able to avoid and the biggest challenge was managing the cold. Fortunately, they had good winter clothing and some useful spells. They arrived in Bremen tired and cold, eager to upgrade their winter provisions with snowshoes, a tent, and fur bedrolls. The town was suitably depressing, and the group got lodgings with Cora Mulphoon and gathered some additional background information from her.

They rested for a night and then headed out in the morning to explore the town more fully. Fun roleplaying encounter with Grynsk Berylbore and Tali. The party agreed to go fishing and look for the monster of the lake. Because the faerie dragon is light and can fly, they opted for a single boat and convinced Berylbore to let them use the undamaged vessel. They dodged two of three ice floes and caught three of four knucklehead trout before they first encountered the beast. It tried to capsize their boat, but they made their group check. They immediately attacked the creature, but everyone missed, so it dove back into the deeps.

They continued fishing for a few more hours and then, on their way back to Bremen, they encountered it again. This time it splashed water into the boat. The druid was ready and used her speak with animals ability (a power that she purchased) to say hello. To everyone's surprise, it responded in the common tongue. A lengthy conversation ensued, with a number of very favorable reaction checks. They ended up learning about the frost druid.

[At this point, I accidentally departed from the adventure text. It seemed to me to make sense that Ravisin would meet with the plesiosaurus regularly to gather intelligence, reaffirm its mission to frighten the humans, and engage in a faux ritual of "continued awakening." I thought this was somewhere in the text, but upon rereading it later, I saw that I made it up.]

The party was very curious about all of this and managed to convince the beast that they were also servants of Auril and were hoping to join Ravisin in her quest to bring wintery misery to the region. After a critical success on their persuasion check, the beast agreed to meet them in two days' time to take them to the next rendezvous.

The party returned to shore, sold the fish to the dwarf, and gave Tali a notebook filled with druidic details. There were some more roleplaying encounters in town and the party managed to purchase some additional winter gear. Two days later, they met with the dwarf again but were only able to use the damaged boat. They smashed into some ice and got tail-slapped by a knucklehead trout, but then they met the plesiosaurus and followed it across the late. I placed the rendezvous north of Lonelywood along the forested coast, in a rocky cove.

Ravisin, being no fool, stays on the bluff above, keeping an eye out on the approach. When she saw the boat, she immediately cast fog cloud to obscure the area. As an invisible voice in the fog, she admonished the plesiosaurus for betraying the Frostmaiden's trust. The beast pled the party's case, at which point Ravisin asked the PCs to speak for themselves. They played up the fact that they were servants of the Auril, summoned from far away lands. Ravisin found this interesting but didn't trust them. She demanded a test of their loyalty. She told them to row north to Lonelywood and befriend the speaker. They should accept lodging in the attic. They would receive further instructions in the evening. The party agreed and proceeded north.

There was some fun roleplaying with fisherfolk along the docks in Lonelywood and the party quickly became aware of the threat of the white moose. They proceeded to the speaker's house and were charmed by Nimsy Huddle's warmth. They spent the day sharing stories with her, helping around the house, and playing with the kids. (They were pretty psyched to have an elf, catfolk, and faerie dragon in their house!) The party ingratiated themselves so well that Nimsy invited them to have dinner with the family. It was a meager meal, of course, but cheerful. Until, at last, Nimsy brought up the moose and asked if the party could help. They immediately agreed.

Shortly after heading up to the attic for bed, they heard a scratching on the window. Opening it, a squirrel came in and delivered a message: "The Frostmaiden demands that you burn this house down tonight with all who dwell within. In twelve hours, enter the forest to be rewarded."

The group spent quite some time debating this instruction. They wanted to fake join the cult so that they could track down Auril and put an end to things, but they couldn't bring themselves to murder a family of adorable halflings. Ultimately, the swashbuckler (their best sneaky type) stayed at the inn to start a fire in the basement and then rescue the family. They weren't sure if this would work, but it might. Meanwhile, the rest of the party decided to forego sleeping and hunt for the moose immediately, in hopes that it might be connected with the druid. The swashbuckler would wait eight hours before starting the fire.

After about three hours (and one wrong moose), the party spotted the fox and hare. The druid convinced the fox to take them to the lair of the white moose. Another two hours later and they came upon the hidden tomb. They charged right in, encountering the moose inside. After a furious battle, they vanquished the beast and began exploring. [Note that I think it is kinda silly that Ravisin waits in her dead-end room for the party to come for her. The magical door does provide some protection, but without an escape route, she is cornered. If I run this again, I'll either have her come out to join the moose battle (hopefully with surprise) or add a secret passage or something to make it more interesting.]

The party found the two doors but couldn't immediately figure out how to open them. The faerie dragon cast detect magic which revealed the enchantment on the mirror. After some thought, they went back outside and investigated the moondial. Eventually, they figured out what needed to happen and tried various techniques to shine the moonbeam on the right spot. They eventually settled on a mirror (that the cleric carried) to deflect the beam to the right spot.

The faerie dragon attuned herself to the mirror and attempted to see Ravisin. They recognized the style of architecture of the tomb immediately and decided that she must be hidden behind one of the other two doors.

We ended here, sadly, but hope to wrap things up in another week or two.

———

Overall, we had a ton of fun. As you can see, we started with the adventure as written and then quickly went in new directions. (That's the fun of it!) The module provided plenty of material to support this, and the setting was evocative. I'm looking forward to jumping back in soon. (I'm glad I get time to prep for the battle with the druid.)
 

Halloween Horror For 5E

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