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15 September 2020

An Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden Supplement - Abominable Adventures



Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden hit the shelves on September 15, 2020. Wizards of the Coast’s summer 2020 adventure module encompasses the rise of a sinister threat around Faerun’s frozen northland civilization: Ten-Towns. Over the course of a Frostmaiden campaign, adventurers overcome burying blizzards, hunt a magical moose, and rid the snowy region of Auril the Frostmaiden and Goddess of Winter. Alongside the published module, a plethora of content creators have released and are continuing to release supplements to assist players and Dungeon Masters exploring Icewind Dale.

Abominable Adventures - An Encounter Guidebook in the Frozen Tundra is one such supplement.

Its creators kindly provided me with a review copy which I had a splendid time reading; outlined below is my review of it. This review includes a broad overview of the supplement, what I see as its best bit, and an area where it could be improved upon.

Before you make your decision on the buy, please take your time and read over everything herein.

Overview


Abominable Adventures is structured similarly to many encounter books before it, but the supplement includes a healthy variety of situations (12) with the right amount of structure. The encounters presented within are unique and open to interpretation, building on the three pillars lionized in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons: combat, social interaction, and exploration. DMs can easily use the encounters as written, flavor them for their own purposes, or simply take inspiration from them.

For example, the supplement includes an encounter in which the adventurers stumble upon a vicious combat between an adult white dragon and an adult silver dragon. While three approaches to the situation are provided, there exists a stellar framework for making the encounter your own. What begins as a brilliant fight-to-the-death in the icy wastes between two dragons may become a focal point of your Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden campaign. Besides, a white dragon could make a formidable foe and a silver dragon a trusted ally.

Most of the supplement is mechanically sound as well. The authors make note that the encounters are engineered for a party of five tier one (levels one to four) characters. Some of the fights, such as the dragon battle described above, rely on clever manipulation of the foes the characters might combat. For that particular encounter, both dragons are injured and unable to fly. In addition, an appropriate amount of treasure and treasure inspiration is provided as well. The rewards are flavorful: a silver dragon scale is a +1 shield; an ivory craftsman can make any common item out of the material; a flame tongue in a region of frozen darkness.

© Toly Kivshar.

The supplement’s layout is respectable. It replicates that of the book it seeks to be used alongside, showcasing light blues and snowy whites. The art is woven together with each page beautifully, each piece being relevant to the content it visualizes. The writing style mimics general WOTC releases as well, but the grammar and word choice within could use improvements. The supplement concludes with a welcome inclusion: an appendix of all the monsters used inside the book, including customized stat blocks for ice goblins, wounded dragons, and more.

I’d like to highlight two pieces of the supplement before stating my final opinion on it.

The Best Bit


After reading over the supplement, I can conclusively say the encounters are its best bit. From run-ins with maniacal creatures spouting gibberish and grand battles with wounded dragons, to polar bear races and starving killer whales, this read is filled-to-the-brim with great ideas. If you decide to run Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden, each of the encounters within will make excellent additions to that adventure, and if you are building a homebrew campaign in a frigid northland, they can just as easily be dropped into your own world. I am certain I will use the wounded dragon battle in an upcoming session, it is too awesome to not steal!

An Area to Improve


While the mechanical and narrative content is solid, the writing could use some assistance. Some of the boxed text does not flow well, there are punctuation errors scattered throughout, and the word choice can feel repetitive. Of course, this is D&D and the words inside a book merely provide inspiration for what one says at the table, but in a professional product, I expected excellent grammar. This can easily be fixed in future releases with an editor, and I cannot wait to see what the authors come up with for WOTC’s next massive adventure module.

Verdict


Overall, Abominable Adventures is a great companion to the new Icewind Dale book. The encounters within are inspired, providing unique opportunities for parties to fight, interact, and explore the icy reaches of the Forgotten Realms northern land, and its layout stands alongside Rime of the Frostmaiden itself. What it lacked was a careful editor’s eye, which does take away from the professional atmosphere of the supplement, but does not come close to ruining it.

I fully recommend picking up Abominable Adventures - An Encounter Guidebook in the Frozen Tundra to either use alongside Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden or your own icy adventures. It is well worth it.

Grab it on the DMsGuild right now if the supplement sounds intriguing, and let me know what you thought about it in the comments below.

Thanks to Alberto Camillo, Bryce Sheppard, and Daniel Rose for providing a complimentary copy of the supplement. It was an awesome read and an honor to review it.

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First piece of art credit: © Lekso Tiger.

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