Review – Rime of the Frostmaiden
|Artist||Kate Irwin (Art Director)|
|Publisher||Wizards of the Coast|
|Release Date||September 15, 2020|
Rime of the Frostmaiden is a Dungeons & Dragons adventure book set in the far North land of Icewind Dale. The overarching story involves finding out why Auril the Frostmaiden, the “divine embodiment of winter’s fury,” has decided to plunge Icewind Dale into a neverending winter. The citizens of Ten-Towns call it the “Everlasting Rime.” It has been going on for more than two years at the start of the adventure, and currently threatens not only civilization but the plants and animals in this frigid area North of the Spine of the World. Only by dealing with Auril and helping the near-frozen population of Icewind Dale can any adventurers hope to bring warmth and prosperity back to the land.
Rime is a D&D adventure, full of magical objects, beings, animals, tomes, and enemies.
Some encounters may be resolved peacefully, but eventually weapons will be unsheathed. Players will have many chances to fight foes both humanoid, animal, and otherworldly, if they stay long in Icewind Dale. The book itself doesn’t have much to object to but on occasion an enemy will be in possession of a severed body part, or have blood on their face or hands/paws.
In speaking about the inspiration for Rime of the Frostmaiden, Chris Perkins mentions R.A. Salvatore’s Drizzt novels, John Carpenter’s The Thing, the novella At the Mountains of Madness, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, and Ridley Scott’s Alien. If you recognized just one or two of those influences, you’d get the feeling for the ice-soaked terror that he’s trying to invoke in Rime. The only people who survive in this era of Icewind Dale are either hardy, foolhardy, or a little bit of both. The unyielding cold and the god invoking it are just one of the many dangers awaiting players: everything from frost giants to frozen druids, and hidden cities to undead hags and more can be found there. Oh and if just one player hums a song from Frozen I swear to Sarenrae they’re getting flattened by woolly mammoth.
Honestly…you probably shouldn’t get this book. Because if you get this book, you’re going to want to read it. And if you read it, you’re going to want to read all of it. And if you read all of it, you’re going to want to run a campaign there. And if you want to run a campaign there, you’re going to have to assemble some players. And if you…well, you get the point. Rime of the Frostmaiden is dripping with story and plot hooks and gorgeous art, all of which paint a great picture of fear and ice. When I cracked it open, I couldn’t put it down for two days. So many story possibilities, even if you just went with the ones contained in the book, that you could easily start at one and level your characters up to the 8-9 that it’s recommended you have before facing the Frostmaiden. And that’s not even considering the random encounters – everything from your starting town to what you might run into on a quick fishing trip for some Knucklehead Trout.
As I mentioned before, the art is amazing and does a great job of painting a picture of some of the amazing events around Icewind Dale. Magical creatures, beautiful auroras, bundled-up adventurers and more adorn the pages and beg to be described to a group huddled around a table (or online, as the case may be). You could probably sell a D&D artbook if it was filled with pictures like these. There are also many tables to roll on, and detailed town maps and descriptions that also let you know how friendly, comfortable, and what kind of services to expect in each town. There is also a few appendices in the back including trinkets, secrets, creatures, and magic.
I knew nothing about Icewind Dale or Rime of the Frostmaiden before opening this book, but now that I’m done reading it I badly want to get my dice out and try to rally some friends to dive into it. If you like D&D, or tabletop RPGs in general, you should check it out.
A review copy was provided by the publisher.
The Bottom Line
Icewind Dale has many secrets, stories, and quests to find. If you like D&D, or tabletop RPGs in general, you should check Rime of the Frostmaiden out.