D&D Live 2020 marks the reveal of an all new Dungeons & Dragons campaign book, Icewind Dale Rime of the Frost Maiden. The book will be released on September 15th 2020.
Icewind Dale, an area to the far north of The Forgotten Realms, has been a part of D&D lore for decades and has appeared in various different media formats in that time. It is perhaps most famous for being the main setting for books four through six of The Legend of Drizzt (though these books were published first they are, canonically, the second trilogy in the series).
As it’s name suggests Icewind Dale is a harsh Tundra where few people manage to survive. Perhaps reflecting this sever environment, Rime of the Frost Maiden is a horror campaign. Unlike its predecessor Cruse of Strahd, this new book takes less inspiration from Gothic horror and more from modern horror, with head writer Chris Perkins citing ‘The Thing’ and ‘The Shining’ a great sources of inspiration.
The central theme that fuels this horror is secrets, those of the land, those of the NPCs and those of the players own characters. There is even a new aspect of character creation that lets each player roll for their characters own secret. These secrets are known only to the players and can range from being largely irrelevant to having catastrophic consequences over the course of the campaign.
The main hook of the campaign is that winter in Icewind Dale has not ended. Meaning the already treacherous land is even darker and colder than it usually is. This situation must be fixed, this is where the players come in. The campaign takes you through the frostbitten landscape as you face various dangers, danger which come from both monsters and even the environment itself.
To reflect these dangers Rime of the Frost Maiden contains a whole array of new monsters. Some of these monster are existing monsters with a frosty update, where as others are brand new. But don’t worry, not all of the new stat blocks are for purely tundra based foes, there are also monsters who you can easily but in other settings and terrains in your own campaigns. Any monsters who only appear once in the campaign will also have their stat blocks on the page where they are mention, this is so that it is easier for DMs to access them.
On top of these new monsters there are also new, more in depth rules for surviving in Icewind Dale. This includes rules for both blizzards and avalanches, as well as ice fishing for when the party can’t find another source of food. These mechanics add a new aspect to the campaign as players will be fighting against the elements too, it is just as easy to die to a snowstorm as it is to a particularly angry group of snowy owlbears. Another updated mechanic is that Goliath’s, a tall, part Giant, mountain dwelling playable race in D&D 5e, are now resistant to cold damage.
The book is written for level 1-12 characters, and those are the levels your character would gain if you were to run the campaign start to finish. However, after taking on community feed back, each of the chapters in Rime of the Frost Maiden can quite easily be run as its own self- contained campaign. There is even a section at the beginning of each chapter explaining how to run it.
Icewind Dale Rime of the Frost Maiden adds some cool new aspects, both thematically and mechanically, to D&D 5e. It also give an updated and in-depth look at a well loved area of the Forbidden Realms, much like how Curse of Strahd focused on the cursed land of Barovia. These new additions mean that not only does Rime of the Frost Maiden provide new adventures it also provides many new spring boards for DMs to go away and create their own D&D content. This could be a whole host of other adventures in Icewind Dale, or a new land that rifts off one of the monsters or societies contained within the book. Because, while without the books being published there would be no D&D, some of the most stunning content comes from the community themselves and the inspiring creations they make when using official D&D rules as a backbone.
For further information about Icewind Dale Rime of the Frost Maiden, as well as Dark Alliance, a new D&D videogame also set in Icewind Dale, then you can tune into D&D Live 2020: Roll w/Advantage in the official D&D Twitch Channel from 6pm BST on June 18th until midnight BST on June 20th.