D&D’s Rime of the Frostmaiden Looks Scary Good

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Last week brought us the annual Dungeons & Dragons livestream that fans of the game have come to look forward to each year. Three days of star-studded live games later, we’ve got a hot new announcement to talk about! Er, metaphorically hot, that is--the book itself, an adventure module called Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden, will be focusing on Faerun’s frigid northern reaches.

Icewind Dale is a familiar name to long-time fans of the Forgotten Realms. It is perhaps best known as the setting of R. A. Salvatore’s The Crystal Shard, the novel that debuted the famous drow ranger Drizzt Do’Urden. Before now, though, it hasn’t been heavily featured in D&D’s Fifth Edition.

I’m of two minds regarding the use of Icewind Dale as the setting for this adventure. On the one hand, I know it’s a locale with a lot of history in the D&D community, and I respect that. It apparently also ties into the upcoming video game Dark Alliance, which seems to have played a large part in its selection. However, I confess I’m getting a bit tired of all of 5e’s adventures taking place in Faerun. When will we get some adventures in the other released settings, like Eberron? The Forgotten Realms are great, don’t get me wrong, but so are the other worlds of D&D, and I think we could stand to see a bit more diversity in our adventures.

Still, while I might be a bit miffed at the Realms taking center stage again, I can’t deny that what we know of this book so far has me very excited. That’s due in large part to the fact that Rime of the Frostmaiden is going to be a horror story, and I love a good horror story.

There’s a lot of precedent for setting scary stories in arctic areas; noted cosmic horror writer H. P. Lovecraft did so more than once, as have countless others. However, there’s one tale in particular that served as inspiration for the book, according to creator Chris Perkins: John Carpenter’s 1982 monster movie masterpiece The Thing.

As soon as I saw The Thing mentioned, I was sold. My all-time favorite horror film, being used as the basis for an adventure book? Count me in.

Perkins describes the story as one of isolation and madness, capitalizing on the remoteness of the icy tundra. It’s also a game about secrets, paranoia, and distrust-- all important elements borrowed from The Thing. Though plot details beyond that are scarce, what little we know makes this adventure sound absolutely chilling.

Another exciting (and possibly terrifying) aspect of the new book: it will apparently have more new monsters in its appendices than any adventure yet published in 5e. That’s big for a couple of reasons. First off, I’m a monster guy--I just love seeing weird new creatures get added to the game. In fact, since I don’t often run premade adventures myself, new monsters are one of the main reasons I buy modules like this. Second… well, just think about it: a horror-focused adventure that’s offering more monsters than ever before? Sounds to me like we’re in for some scary stuff!

Though Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden won’t be out until September 15, I’m already very excited for it. With frightening new monsters and a plot inspired by one of the best horror films ever, it’s going to make for great reading--especially as summer ends and the weather starts to turn colder.

More articles and reviews by Ethan McIntyre can be found at rollwithit.blog.