As expected, at last night’s D&D Live Roll W/ Advantage, Wizards of the Coast announced the next official hardback is set in Icewind Dale and is called Rime of the Frostmaiden.
The book is an adventure, which will take characters from level one to level 12, but also a setting that introduces new players to the frozen north of the Forgotten Realms. This is part of the fantasy world first made popular by R.A. Salvatore’s The Icewind Dale Trilogy.
It’s a horror and will cost you up to $500 to buy.
That’s to say, the Beadle & Grimm’s produced Platinum Edition will cost $499 and come with a custom DM screen, full-scale battle maps, exclusive encounter cards, in-world handouts, high-quality wearables (do they mean t-shirts?) and have original artwork.
Out of your price range? The rest of us will be looking at paying $50/£40 from Amazon, installing it via our virtual tabletop of choice or hunting it down at a local gaming store. The book is 320 pages long, with a poster map and will have an alternative in-store purchase cover variant.
However, even with the $500 price tag being reserved for the superfans, Rime of the Frostmaiden is still a horror. Jeremy Crawford explained that John Carpenter’s The Thing was an inspiration for the game.
[…] I think it would be good prep work for our DMs to go watch that film to really get into the mood for the wintry horror of this story.”
In The Thing, scientists at an Antarctica station have to deal with a terrifying and shape-shifting alien menace while also trying to cope with the nearly as alien environment of the extreme cold.
Shape-shifting, the ability to assume many forms, is something that the Frostmaiden herself will do in this setting. There will be more than one stat-block for the lesser god so that DMs have the relevant stats depending on the form the Frostmaiden is in when characters encounter her.
Wizards of the Coast open their call to action for the book by highlighting how different it is from traditional D&D.
Experience D&D in a way that you’ve never seen before with Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden […]
Chris Perkins, D&D’s principal designer, introduced the setting on the live stream by calling it a horror that will deal with issues of isolation, paranoia and secrecy.
A potentially controversial element of Rime of the Frostmaiden was mentioned during a preview event on Monday that Geek Native wasn’t invited to. Charlie Hall of Polygon was and reports that characters created for Rime of the Frostmaiden will all have secrets. Hall writes;
In fact, each new character created for this adventure will be given a random secret known only to them. They are free to reveal it to the rest of the party — and the Dungeon Master — at the time of their choosing.
So does that mean characters will have unapproved backgrounds? That’s to say, unapproved by the DM. How could it be? The DM hadn’t heard about it before but now needs to integrate it into the game?
Paranoia achieved. I can’t imagine many better ways to create a sense of unease in a DM than knowing each one of your players as a WotC-approved but unknown to you surprise that will directly impact the game you’re trying to run.
No doubt, if I’m not the only one who thinks like this, and if Polygon’s coverage comes true, then we will likely hear more about the surprises of the Frostmaiden.
Did you watch day one of D&D Live 2020? What were your highlights?