A Frosty Tuesday in Toril as D&D Unveils its latest AdventureSeptember 15, 2020
Today, Dungeons & Dragons unveiled Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden (Rime), it’s latest hardcover adventure.
Set in the frozen wasteland of Icewind Dale (famous for the adventures of Drizzt Do’Urden and the companions of the Hall) Rime of the Frostmaiden explores the elements (puns are free) of horror, isolation, and fear.
This review does not contain story spoilers, but it does include some information new gameplay elements (spells etc)
What is Rime of the Frostmaiden?
Winter is extra cold and doesn’t seem to be ending; somebody should do something about that.
Centered around the frontier settlement of Ten-Towns, Rime explores Icewind Dale and and all the surrounding locations that make it unique.
It will become immediately clear to players that the developers added lots of rules on environment, and environmental challenges because, as Chris Perkins said: “Icewind Dale is out to get you.”
The book includes new rules on being trapped in blizzards, or how to outrun an avalanche. It focuses on already existing rules for extreme cold and high altitude and builds on them further. In Rime, more than other adventures, the environment itself is a danger to overcome.
Without giving any story away, Rime does include a bunch of new stuff.
The goliath race has seen some tweaks, including resistance to cold damage and adaptation to high altitudes. “I realized that if they grew up at the tops of mountains, they need a way to survive cold temperatures,” said Jeremy Crawford. Starting with Rime, all playable goliaths will begin these new features.
Rime also includes one of the largest expansions of monsters in any D&D supplement. After all, there are only so many cold-themed monsters that already exist.
Some monsters were created from scratch, others were reskinned to be more appropriate for the setting. With almost 50 pages of new monster content and statblocks included as an appendix to Rime, there’s lots of new foes to encounter.
There are new magic items (of course), which are thematically appropriate for the setting, and a legendary scroll that could make for an interesting evening (or month depending on how its used.)
Rime also includes three new wizard spells including Frost Fingers, a first level evocation spell which is similar to burning hands except it deals cold damage; Create Magen, which allows you to create a magical servant (described in the new creatures section); and Blade of Disaster, which allows a wizard to create a planar rift and use it as a weapon.
Inspired by stories like John Carpenter’s The Thing, and classic The X-Files episode “Ice,” the adventure also introduces secrets for each character. When, and how, a character’s secret is up to them, but the secrets may have a strong influence on the game.
Secrets are like an added background that will have a small, but meaningful, impact on Rime games.
Should you buy it
There are a lot of cool elements in Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden
It’s a unique adventure because there is such a heavy emphasis on environment; players who scroll through the Players Handbook grabbing crowbars, pitons, and the like, will find their preparation rewarding in the hostile terrain of Icewind Dale.
It’s definitely a fun adventure, particularly if your DM leans heavily into the themes of isolation and paranoia.
It is an adventure, though, so it’s likely best purchased by those thinking they will DM it for a group of their friends. For potential DMs, you won’t regret including it in your collection.
Even if you don’t plan on running the adventure straight through, the new rules for the environmental dangers would level up your games by taking players to snowy environs and challenge them in a new way. It would be a cool way to enhance your home games, as well.
The art inside is incredible. It feels like this is feedback in every review, but it seems like the art team at Dungeons & Dragons outdoes themselves with every new book…
The vastness of Icewind Dale; the oppressive isolation; the cold. All are very well illustrated throughout the adventure.
If you have no intention of DMing RIme there are a few new spells and the updated goliath race, which are good, but the added monsters and story won’t do much for you games. It’s a great supplement, but it may not be a must purchase for you. Definitely find a great DM to run it for you, though.
The only question left to ask is this: will you challenge the Frostmaiden’s endless night? Or will you freeze up and let Icewind Dale suffer her wrath?
All images copyright Wizards of the Coast except where indicated
A copy of the Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden was provided for review