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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

How to Run Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden


Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden is a huge book. Chapter 1 is about 100 pages long, and the story is not linear. It can definitely feel overwhelming.

I am going to try to help you make sense of this thing. I read the whole book, I wrote a guide to it, and I've run many published campaign/adventure paths from beginning to end.  Hopefully I can help you launch and maintain a successful game even if this is your very first time being a Dungeon Master.

I put a .pdf version of this article in my guide on the DMs Guild. It's pay what you want!

Advice For New Dungeon Masters

If you are new to being a Dungeon Master, there's a few general things to keep in mind.

Picking Players: Picking your players is extremely important. One "bad" player can ruin the whole thing. The bane of D&D, in my opinion, is selfishness. This is a team activity. Really, you're all working together to create a movie or a TV show that occurs in your imagination. The players get to be the stars. You're the director.

If you have a player who does something that is ruining the experience for others, you have to talk about it with them. If they can't adjust, they need to go or they will ruin it for everyone. I've seen it happen many times. Remember, someone can still be your friend even if playing D&D with them doesn't work out.

Errors: Don't worry too much about making mistakes. You're new! DMs who have been playing for 30 years make mistakes every single time they run a game. There's just too much going on for anyone to manage without slowing the game to a crawl. 

Versus Mode: It's not you vs. the players. You're a referee, to a degree. You will be fine-tuning the difficulty as you go. It's OK if some encounters are easy. Players generally love it when it's easy. They'll get bored if it is always easy, though.

Read the Book: If you're going to run Rime of the Frostmaiden, then you're going to need to read the book. I know. It's huge. Once you know what the full story is and where everything is going, it's going to be so much easier to roll with all of the wacky stuff your players might do.

Again, I wrote a full guide to try to help you run this adventure without having to read every single room entry. The guide is essentially a huge outline of DM notes.

You Can Change Whatever You Want: Nothing is stopping you from changing the story however you see fit. You're not doing it "wrong" if you modify this book. If you want, just use some of the new monsters and magic items and make your own adventure, it doesn't matter.

That said, running this "by the book" is fun because you'll meet other people in life who have played it and you can compare notes. This adventure in particular has a few insane outcomes at the end. Some groups might go back in time. Others might summon the tarrasque!

What Do I Do?

So, how does this work? You read the book, and then you have yourself some work to do. I'm going to give you a somewhat abbreviated version of the most important things you'll need to tackle in this campaign from beginning to end.

Draw Secrets: Check out page 14. Each of the characters should have a secret. You can do like the book says and randomly hand them out, or maybe work with each player and see what fits best and what appeals to them.

Pick a Starting Town: Choose which town from Chapter 1 that you want to start in. I went with Bremen, because I like the "Lake Monster"scenario there.

Pick an Introductory Adventure: There's two of them. Cold-Hearted Killer (pg 22) and Nature Spirits (pg 25). Both of these adventures involve a quest where the heroes need to travel to other towns searching for something. The idea is that, as the heroes are searching Ten-Towns to complete the intro quest, they will pick up and complete the side-quests in each town. The group will have a few side quests under their belt before they actually finish the introductory adventure.

This brings us to our first wrinkle. What if your players ignore the side quests and are intent on finishing the intro first? Be ready for that. The bad guy in Cold-Hearted Killer is challenging and if the group is first level when they find him, they're in big trouble if they try to fight him.

Quick Overview

Here's a broad look at the basic idea/flow of this adventure.

Going Town-to-Town: Chapter 1 is all about exploring the towns. It is very open and you'll need to have a handle on a few things:

  • Know the Towns: At the very least, read up on the settlements closest to your starting town.
  • Figuring Out Travel Distances: (see "Overland Travel" pg 11) There's a scale on the map. The group will probably have snowshoes, so they'll travel 1 mile every two hours.
  • Sprinkling in Random Encounters: When the group travels through the "wilderness", use the chart on pg 105 as a guideline. I'd pick some out in advance and drop them in when the time feels right. You might also want to warn your group before you start that not everything in this adventure is scaled to their level. They may need to run or make friends sometimes, if possible.

Gaining Levels: Check out "Character Advancement" on page 18. The group hits level 2 as soon as they complete 1 quest. Once they do 3 more, they hit level 3. Then they do 5 quests to hit level 4. Once they're 4th level, they no longer gain levels from completing the chapter 1 quests. 

Note: I am a bit confused as to whether the group is meant to 5 total quests, or 9. If I am mistaken, that means the group hits level 2 after one quest, hits level 3 after 2 more quests are complete, and then hits level 4 after 3 more quests are finished. 

Chapter Two: Once the heroes hit level 4, they're meant to do some of the chapter 2 adventures. Like chapter 1, this is a collection of adventures for the group to "stumble on" through the towns.

One problem I have here is that I really like a lot of the chapter 2 adventures. I kind of want to run most of them! Check out page 101. It says the group gains a level after spending 2-3 sessions exploring Icewind Dale. 

I plan on running a lot of the chapter 2 stuff, but I'm wary that the group might get frustrated that they aren't leveling fast enough. The problem is that Chapters 3 and 4 want the group to be no higher then 6th level. So we're squeezing a ton of content into levels 4 and 5.

This is a case where I'd plan all the stuff I want to run, but monitor player reactions as we play and see if they are OK or if they feel like it's slowing down too much and no story progression is being made.

Linking Quests: Take a look at page 103. These are the set-ups for the adventures later in chapter 2. Most are linked to a specific town. You might want to plan ahead. If you want to run the Black Cabin, then the group should be in Bryn Shander.

I mean, you can always change it. You could put the Black Cabin anywhere you want! But, if you want to keep things the way they are in the book, a little planning is needed.

Random Encounters: As this book goes on, the heroes will find themselves making many, many expeditions out in the snow. You can use the guidelines on page 105 to see how frequent the random encounters are. 

Getting to Chapter 3: Once the heroes find the map to Sunblight in the Easthaven Ferry (see "The Chardalyn Caper" on page 68), that's their cue to move on. 

The Choice in Chapters 3 and 4: Once the group gets to Sunblight, they will see the chardalyn dragon take off and fly to Ten-Towns. They have a fateful choice to make:

  1. Chase the dragon.
  2. Go inside Sunblight and deal with the duergar.

If the heroes don't chase the dragon, some or all of Ten-Towns will be destroyed.

Catching Up with the Dragon: In my guide, I discuss at length the issues with going all the way back to Ten-Towns while the dragon is wreaking havoc. I made a handy travel/time chart and everything. The way I figure it, no matter what the group does (unless they can fly or teleport somehow), Dougan's Hole, Good Mead, and Easthaven will be destroyed. Probably more towns, too.

Sunblight: Sunblight is a large complex, a pretty straightforward dungeon. The group can team up with Grandolpha and her many duergar and overthrow Xardorok if they like. 

Meeting Vellynne: The most important thing is that the group meets Vellynne whenever they decide to leave Sunblight. She will help them deal with the chardalyn dragon, and then she hopes they will help her obtain the Codicil of White from Grimskalle (see "Vellynne's Quest" on page 194).

The Codicil: This book (detailed on page 317) is really important. It contains the actual Rime of the Frostmaiden, a poem that can open the passage to the lost Netherese city of Ythryn. The problem is that this book is on the island that Auril herself lives on.

Facing the Frostmaiden: The heroes go to Auril's island. You're going to be in a weird spot here. Auril is the villain who has put Icewind Dale into constant night/twilight for 2 years. She is sort of, pretty much, the big bad guy of this whole book. 

Yet she appears in chapter 5, and there are two more chapters that follow. If the group kills Auril (to do so, they have to destroy all three of  her forms) or her roc, the rime is lifted. 

That might make the last two chapters feel like "extra credit." I mean... the time of darkness is over. Mission accomplished! 

It is sort of left up to you how you want to handle this. There are notes in the book for Auril showing up in Ythryn in the final chapter (see "Auril's Wrath" on page 260). 

The ythryn mythallar in chapter 7 can end the darkness that plagues Icewind Dale. 

My instinct says that the best bet is to set it up so the group defeats one or two of Auril's three forms at Grimskalle, and then she flees. The group grabs the codicil, and they continue on to Ythryn so they can find and use the mythallar to end the rime.

That said, the book seems to work under the idea that Auril's three forms were defeated in chapter 3. From that point on, her curse is very slowly being lifted. See "Ending the Everlasting Rime" on pg 213. "It takes awhile for Icewind Dale to return to its natural climate, but life becomes a bit easier as the frigid temperatures rise to a bearable cold."

The Glacier: The heroes have the rime, the poem that can open a passage to the lost city of Ythryn. The group goes to the Reghed Glacier with Vellynne, they read the rime as the Elk Tribe holds off the Auril-sympathetic Tiger Tribe, and a huge crack opens in the glacier - a passage to a dungeon inside. 

This crack leads to the Caves of Hunger. The gimmick with this dungeon is that there is a gnoll vampire named Tekeli-li who strikes at the group, then flees, over and over. Hit and run tactics. 

The Necropolis: Once the group has passed through the caves, they arrive at the Necropolis of Ythryn, presumably with Vellynne. The heroes will likely be unaware that one of Vellynne's rivals, Avarice, will follow with her crew of evil tieflings.

Auril may show up too.

Obtaining the Mythallar: Here's how this works. There is a force field blocking the heroes from getting both to the mythallar and the main tower of the city, where some really cool treasure is (and it's also the home to Iriolarthus, the demilich).

To get that force field open, the adventurers must find inscriptions in eight towers (each devoted to a school of wizardly magic). Using the inscriptions, they learn how to bypass the field and enter the fortress.

Once the Field is Down: The group can walk right up to the mythallar and finally let the sun shine on Icewind Dale. 

How Ythryn Fell: The group will learn how the floating city of Ythryn fell in the first place. If the group tampers with the obelisk that caused the problem, they could find themselves back in time. 

Bad Guys: We're at the end! The heroes will have a lot of antagonists to deal with:

  • Iriolarthus the Demilich: Ythryn is his home.
  • Vellynne: She's an ally, but she does want some of that treasure - all the best stuff, actually.
  • Avarice: She sets up her team in a tower and is intent on looting the city.
  • Auril: If Auril is still alive, she shows up with a bunch of snow golems and hunts down the heroes.

Planning Out Your Campaign

Now what I want to do is to show how you can prepare the adventure. As I read the book, I took notes on what I wanted to use and what I wanted to foreshadow. I want the group to feel things coming, and have everything make sense. I want the world to feel "alive."

So let's go through my plan to run this. I'll list the scenarios I want to use and the things that happen along the way. 

Hopefully this will help you see how you can take the "tools" this adventure provides you to create your vision of how this story unfolds.

Just a Plan: Please keep in mind that players always do things that you don't expect, so it is very likely they will veer "off course." That's one of the hardest parts of being a DM - rolling with the curveballs. Having to pull quality gaming out of thin air is very difficult. That's why it pays to be prepared. The more familiar with the material that you are, the easier it will be to roll with the punches.

Picking Secrets: You might want to have a "session zero" where everyone makes characters. They'll also need to draw their secrets. You could do this via text so the other players don't have any clues as to what the secrets are.

If I were going to PICK the secrets to hand out, I would take:

  • Escaped Prisoner: Because I like the "Id Ascendant" plot.
  • Littlest Yeti: Because it is amusing.
  • Midwinter Child: Because it directly ties into Auril, and I like the idea that Auril isn't necessarily a villain that is beyond redemption in some way.
  • Reghed Heir: Because the Tiger Tribe is actually pretty involved in the story.
  • Reincarnation: I just think it's fun.

Do They Know Each Other: Another important thing you should talk to your players about: Do the characters know each other? Or are they going to meet at the beginning?

Travel: Keep the travel chart in mind ("Overland Travel" pg 11). It takes 2 hours to travel just one mile by foot with snowshoes. Axe Beaks are definitely going to be mounts that the group will want to have.

Starting Town: One other extremely important thing we need to do is to pick a starting town. I want to pick the town based on the quest adventure I like the most. Our first few sessions need to be good to make sure the campaign doesn't crash and burn right away.

Sample Campaign Plan

Now I'm going to show you my plan for running this campaign. I've read through the book, now I'm going to drop in all the clues, hooks, and NPCs to create what will hopefully be a fun, "full" experience where it feels like what the characters are doing is all building to something big.

I'm to break this outline up by character level.


I think we should start this whole campaign off in Bremen (pg 27), because that's where one of my favorite chapter 1 adventures is located. 

Note: I may have put TOO MANY chapter one quests in here. Just throw some in the garbage if it feels too slow for you.

(pg 22) Cold Open: For the introductory adventure, I think we should use "Cold-Hearted Killer" (pg 22). The idea here is that the heroes will be searching Ten-Towns for a serial killer, and stumbling on the various quests along the way.

The heroes are in Bremen, and have been called to meet with Hlin Trollbane at the Five-Tavern Center. He gives them their quest. The group will basically get their quest, walk outside, and march right into the hook of the "Lake Monster" quest.

(pg 28) Bremen - Lake Monster: I'd like to change the intro to this scenario slightly. Let's have it where Brynsk Berylbore just tried to scam another group of adventurers into catching fish in monster-infested waters. This group of adventurers are the doomed heroes from "Mountain Climb" on pg 87:

  • Mokingo Growling Bear Akannathi: A male goliath.
  • Perilou Fishfinger: (acolyte MM pg 342) Female halfling follower of Yondalla.
  • Astrix: Female tiefling who mumbles and swears.

This group of heroes is on their way to Targos and are put off by the whole scam. They'll gladly let our heroes deal with it. They are on axe beaks and once they interact with the party, they ride off. 

Hopefully the group takes the hook and deals with the awakened plesiosaurus. Once they do, boom, they're level 2.

Clue: Once the group completes the quest and gets their scroll of animal friendship, they catch word that Torg's was last seen headed to Targos.

Axe Beak Propaganda: As the group is about to leave Bremen, an NPC tries to sell them some axe beaks (50 gp each). The NPC says, "I'm sure you're aware that sled dogs spend as much time resting as they do pulling sleds! These axe beaks, they cost less to feed and they're much faster. Plus, when times are lean.. they're delicious. By the gods, just a little gravy... so tender..." This hungry salesperson can't fight off the hunger forever! The heroes need some axe beak mounts sooner or later.

We should try to make it clear early on that axe beaks are a good choice for mounts. In chapter 5, time is of the essence! Check out "Dogsleds" on page 20. Sled dogs have to take a short rest after one single hour of travel! 

Axe beaks have a speed of 50 and have no such restriction. If the group has sled dogs in chapter 5, then they might be moving so slow that the chardalyn dragon will wipe out pretty much everything.


Travel From Bremen to Targos: Looks like 2.5 miles. That's 5 hours by snowshoe. The group will have to cross the frozen Shaengarne River.

Encounter: While crossing the frozen river on the way to Targos, have the group stumble on a battle. A wounded duergar is fighting a chardalyn berserker (the duergar wants the chardalyn to bring back to Xardorok to be added to the chardalyn dragon). Give the group the chance to do something. Both creatures might just end up fighting on cracked ice and plunging into the frigid water, drowning.

The point of this is just to show off chardalyn, and hint that the duergar want all the chardalyn they can find.

Arrival at Targos: The group can check in at the Luskan Arms, maybe hear a rumor that the other adventuring party went off on a quest. Asking around about Torg's, people have seen Torg's caravan around but aren't sure where they are at this moment. 

Then... the group sees a sled dog running through the street. This is the hook to Mountain Climb, one of my favorite chapter 1 adventures.

(pg 87) Targos - Mountain Climb: The heroes are hired to go find Garret, who guided the adventurers to Kelvin's Cairn.

The Journey: The group can take the road to Termalaine, takes 4 hours. They could stay at The Eastside (pg 93) if they want. Then the trip to Kelvin's Cairn looks to be about 10 miles. 20 hours by snowshoe!  

Arveiaturace: As the group heads to the mountain, a blizzard hits (see pg 10). Run Arveiaturace (pg 105). This is not meant to be a battle, obviously, just an introduction to this unique dragon. We can have it where she's just eaten a polar bear and isn't hungry. 

At Kelvin's Cairn, the adventurers deal with goats, an avalanche, yetis, and find that 2 of the 3 adventurers are dead! They can save Perilou and Garret, though. 

The heroes return to Targos where Garret is reunited with Keegan and score some sweet scrimshaw art. Keegan can also note that he is certain that Torg's has gone to Bryn Shander. 

Travel from Bremen to Bryn Shander: It takes 5 hours on the road to get from Bremen to Bryn Shander.

When the group arrives, they can get a room at The Northlook (pg 33).

(pg 34) Bryn Shander: As the group searches Bryn Shander for Sephek, they are approached by three frost-bitten dwarves (the hook to "Foaming Mugs"). Yes, looks like the group is headed back to Kelvin's Cairn! Before the group heads out... 

Avarice: I don't want to use the Caer-Konig location, but Avarice herself is important to the adventure. So let's use her here. While in The Northlook, Avarice approaches the adventurers (she has Black Sword cultists at a table nearby in case things go sideways). She asks the heroes a few things:

  • What do you know about Netheril?
  • Have you heard anything about a city trapped in ice?
  • Have you seen a woman - an old wizard who trembles, usually had kobold zombies with her?

Avarice offers to pay the group handsomely for information. In fact, let's have her give the group 50 gp and a scroll of knock. That spell comes in handy many, many times in this adventure. She'll send her agent (a gargoyle, either Gurgle or Gargle) to check in with them periodically. 

Goblins: From there, the heroes set out into the snow for the "Foaming Mugs" quest, going through the blizzard and eventually catching up with the goblins. The "cart" is a sort of rolling fort, it's pretty cool IMO.

Goliaths? Maybe during the final battle a goliath party (pg 109) from Wyrmdoom Crag shows up to help the heroes. After the goblins are dealt with, a game of Rolling Boulders ensues.

Return to Bryn Shander: Back in Bryn Shander, someone claims they saw a dead body in Torg's caravan. The frozen corpse of a male half-elf in his thirties with a stab wound in his chest. The body was being stuffed into a sack (see pg 24).

Journey to Easthaven: Takes 7.5 hours by road.

(pg 63) Easthaven - Toil and Trouble: I think that you should hav eDzaan being burned right as the heroes enter Easthaven ("Toil and Trouble" pg 62).

An NPC either in the crowd watching the burning, or perhaps a patron of The Wet Trout will appear shaken. The citizen will tell the heroes: "I've seen that wizard before. He was here with a white-skinned lady with horns, and an older woman. They were all wizards, I'm sure. They got into a disagreement and I thought the spells would start flying. But they didn't get into a spell duel. They just went their separate ways. It seemed to me like they were on some kind of mission or quest, but I've got no idea what that would be. Do you think they're here to save Icewind Dale?"

The citizen witnessed the incident described on page 268, where the Arcane Brotherhood decided not to work together to find Ythryn.

Cauldron Caves: From there, the group can search for the missing fishers, find Cauldron Caves, and deal with the hag within.

Herd of Beasts (pg 110): On the way back to Easthaven, have the group spot a massive herd of Elk, who are being hunted by a few members of the Elk Tribe. Mjenir the shaman is among them (Mjenir will offer to help the heroes open the glacier on pg 215). 

Let's have Mjenir tell the heroes: "I've seen you before, in visions! Ten-Towns will burn soon, and then the spark in Icewind Dale will be snuffed out for all eternity. I am certain that you are the only ones who can save us from the eternal night. I will do everything I can to aid you, but you must beware. The Frostmaiden is thrice as powerful as the strongest mortal!"


Return to Easthaven: The heroes return and spot Torrga Icevein's Caravan (see pg 24). From the caravan they can track Sephek, who is looking for his next victim at  The Wet Trout (pg 60). The heroes can at last finish off the introductory quest.

Celebrating: The citizens might celebrate with the heroes, only to become depressed - there's no more booze. Apparently something has stopped the delivery of alcohol from Good Mead. The citizens will beg, literally beg, the heroes to go to Good Mead and fix whatever the problem is. 

Travel from Easthaven to Good Mead: 4.5 miles on the road.

(pg 73) Good Mead - The Mead Must Flow: As soon as the heroes arrive at the town, the despondent citizens approach them. They are leaderless! Their Speaker has been killed (see pg 72).

The Dead Speaker's Body: Good Mead is the second town on the dragon's flight path in chapter 5. Good Mead is very likely to be destroyed. Let's foreshadow that a bit. If the group goes to the Shrine of the Flaming Sword (pg73), a lone citizen is mourning the loss of Speaker Kendrick Rielsbarrow, lighting candles. The citizen says quietly: "I had a dream last night that Icewind Dale went completely dark. No twilight, no stars, nothing. All of us snuffed out, just like our poor Speaker. Is that what is going to happen? Has Tempus left us? Do the gods even care?"

The Mead Must Flow: Hopefully the adventurers try to help the poor people of Good Mead ("The Mead Must Flow" pg 73). They find the verbeeg lair. When the group gets to V7., let's stick in the half-eaten corpse of a duergar who has five shards of chardalyn. The duergar infiltrated this place using its power to become invisible, found some chardalyn, but was sniffed out by the polar bear and killed. We're putting this here just to foreshadow the duergar storyline.

As the heroes leave the lair, presumably successful, Gargle, Avarice's gargoyle, flies down and lands in front of the the heroes, kneeling respectfully. It holds a scroll with a question: "Have you seen the wizard? Heard anything about a lost city?" It expects the heroes to write a response on the scroll. The gargoyle offers them a pouch with 50 gold in it as a reward. How handy that an axe beak costs 50 gp, right? What a coincidence.

Helping Good Mead Recover: The people will love the heroes, and might try to get them involved in the "New Town Speaker" business on page 78. While this takes place, a friendly brother and sister from Dougan's Hole show up asking about booze. Their Speaker gave them money for a barrel and everything, plus a bunch of delicious fish.

While there, the citizens of Dougan's Hole will talk about how talking wolves are probably going to try to take what they have and they ask for "Stealth Tips" from the heroes to get their cargo back to town safely. Most people in Good Mead roll their eyes at the story, but it's true - awakened winter wolves really are extorting the people of Dougan's Hole.

Journey from Good Mead to Dougan's Hole: 6 miles.

(pg 53) Dougan's Hole: There is a good chance that Dougan's Hole is doomed in chapter 5. I think it's fun to play with this a little:

Ominous: Have a citizen confide in a hero: "I can't shake the feeling that we're all doomed. Something bad is going to happen here, so I'm getting the hell out, and so should you."

Misty Eyes: Parents pause to watch their children playing - poking a dead hare with a stick. The parents say: "You know, Dougan's Hole ain't such a bad place. In fact, I'd say it's a good place for kids to grow up in. We don't have much, but we've got everything we'll ever need."

Explosives: Old Merle is stacking barrels of oil right next to his little shack. He writes "Cawshun - Flame Abble" on them. If someone points out that it might not be a great idea to put explosive barrels right next to his house, he'll say: "Well shoot, pally, they ain't gonna be here fur long! Plus, I like the dang smell of it."

Obviously, when the dragon breathes on this pile of barrels poor Merle is going to be exploded like few creatures have ever been exploded before. 

(pg 53) Holed Up: Two kids are missing. The group can speak with the winter wolves at the edge of town. They try to convince the characters to go to the Icy Lodge. There, the heroes can free the kids and deal with Nosru, the awakened mammoth.

On the way back to Dougan's Hole: The heroes hear Arveiaturace nearby. She killed a polar bear, but knocked it into a cave and she can't reach it. If the group goes in and retrieves the bear for her, she eats it and claims that her master thinks they would make fine apprentices.

Somewhere in here, have Arveiaturace mention a strange treasure she wanted to add to her hoard but couldn't - the psi-crystal (in the mine on M12. page 99). It grants you the power of telepathy. Her "master" wants it. It is in the gem mine near Termalaine. She can't get at it without going to war with the miners (the dragon is unaware that kobolds have overtaken the mine).

Journey to Termalaine: This is a bit of a tough one, as far as "directing" the group goes. I want them to go all the way from Dougan's Hole to Termalaine, which means either they trudge through the snow for what looks to be about 11 miles, or they take the road and pass through Good Mead, Easthaven, Bryn Shander on the way to Termalaine.

If the group has somewhat befriended the dragon, then she could "escort" them there through the snow, which might provide additional incentive. Heck, maybe the group could fight alongside her against the wandering frost giant (pg 109).

(pg 94) Termalaine: Have the group meet an NPC in The Blue Clam - an old adventurer haunted by a mistake she made long ago. She was plundering a dungeon with her party, and they accidentally thawed out a number of monsters - one of which was an umber hulk. The hulk fled by digging a tunnel in the wall. They could have pursued it, but they figured it could be dealt with later. The hulk ended up tunneling back to town and killed a number of citizens, including the hero's own brother.

She felt responsible. She should have dealt with the threat right away, but honestly she was more focused on the promise of magic items. She fled to Ten-Towns and now her days are full of booze and regret.

The point of this is to plant an idea in the group's mind - when the chardalyn dragon flies out of Xardorok's fortress, they should stop what they're doing and go after it.

(pg 94) A Beautiful Mine: The group hears from a boy that the mine has been overtaken by monsters. Speaker Oarus can give them the details. The group can head to the mines, which is a fun multi-level dungeon, and deal with them.

When the group first nears the psi crystal, have it flare up for a moment. A light washes over the heroes. For just a moment, they can see into each other's minds and sense a surprising secret in a comrade's mind - but it's immediately lost. 

Each has been touched by the crystal, and later on, they'll all be hearing the deep speech beacon that will draw them to the rashed nautiloid.

On the Way Out: I think we should set up the idea that the Tiger Tribe (pg 306) are bad guys. Their leader, Queen Bjornhild, worships the Frostmaiden, and her tribe will actually try to kill the heroes when they go to open the glacier (see pg 215). We can use the "Humans" encounter on pg 111. An ambush, perhaps, doesn't have to be deadly, we just want to impress on the group that the Tiger Tribe are vicious opponents.

The Crystal: Remember that if a character attunes to the psi-crystal, they'll start hearing the deep speech telepathic signal (pg 133)

The Gargoyle: Avarice's Gargoyle delivers a message to the group. There is apparently an elven tomb near Lonelywood. It is entirely possible that this place could lead to a lost city of fabulous riches. She urges the group to check it out and will reward them. She warns that they should be wary - her wizardly rivals are likely also looking for it.

Journey From Termalaine to Lonelywood: 1-2 hours.

(pg 80) Lonelywood: Once the group arrives, they learn about a white moose attacking loggers ("The White Moose" pg 81. This quest leads to the Elven Tomb, and while there is no passage to Ythryn, the group might make friends with a mummy, which is not too shabby.

Meeting Vellynne: On the way back from the tomb, the group will notice a large, white dome amongst some green pine trees. A snowy owl is perched on a tree branch. This is a leomund's tiny hut (PH pg 255) and inside is Vellynne Harpell (pg 274) and her kobolds. The owl is her familiar. Remember, Vellynne and the kobolds can see out of the dome perfectly fine.

Vellynne will try to befriend the heroes (she is meant to travel with them when they go to Ythryn). She will ask them what they know about Netheril and will try and find out if they've seen a wizard with a magic orb - the professor orb that Nass Lantomir stole from her.

Overall we want to give the impression that Vellynne is nicer and more trustworthy than Avarice.

She tells the group that there is apparently a whale with a magic boat on its back that can be used to search the Sea of Moving Ice. She feels certain that this whale could be a valuable source of information on both the lost city and ending the Everlasting Rime. She also thinks the whale can help her find her professor orb (she's right, sort of. The orb is on Auril's island). She asks the heroes to go to Bryn Shander with her to find out more.

Journey from Lonelywood to Bryn Shander: The group can take the road back to Termalaine, which is 1-2 hours. Then they can take the road most of the way to Bryn Shander and then cut across the snow (6 hours).

Ice Troll: Let's have an ice troll attack during the journey. Vellynne and her kobolds can help out, buffering the difficulty. After the fight, Vellynne can offer the group the ice troll's heart, explaining the uses of an ice troll heart (detailed on pg 294):

  • The heart can only be damaged by fire.
  • For the first 24 hours, the heart has magical properties.
  • If you eat it, you can regenerate like a troll for a time.
  • If you bury it in the ground, it summons a blizzard.


Bryn Shander: The heroes arrive at Bryn Shander and quickly learn that this whale actually exists! via the whale oil merchant in the  Whale Oil Quest (pg 103). The group can't help but notice that  Vellynne's tremors have gotten worse. She is in no shape to make this trip. She needs to keep her kobolds with her in case one of her rivals arrives in town. 

(pg 114) Angajuk's Bell: On the way to Angajuk's bell, the party is attacked by a Coldlight Walker (pg 107).

The Dragon: When the group arrives at Angjuk's bell, Arveiaturace is there eating some fishers. She is still hungry, and wants to eat the whale if and when it surfaces. She asks the group to summon the whale with the bell. The group can convince Arveiaturace that the whale is a friend, but the dragon is still hungry. If the heroes use the fishing equipment of the dead fishers, they can catch fish for knucklehead trout (see "Fishing for Knucklehead Trout" on pg 11). Let's say that the fishers were using nets, so that the heroes catch a big pile of fish using the same rules as catching a single fish.

Return to Bryn Shander: Vellynne has fallen ill, but will want to hear all about Angajuk. She is being tended to by Copper Knobberknocker, a gnome acolyte of Lathander (see "Provisions for Macreadus" pg 103. He will ask the group to take provisions to his friend, offering free healing to those who complete the quest and return.  

(pg 116) Black Cabin: This one is pretty wild. Macreadus is dead! And he's in the Ethereal Plane. He was building a device that he hoped would end the Everlasting the Rime. The heroes can try to finish the job!

(pg 103) Zero Rum Quest: This quest is supposed to be found in Bremen, but let's say that the Tavernkeepers of Five Tavern Center in Bremen sent an NPC to Bryn Shander to find someone who can help them. The NPC will of course remember the heroes for defeating the Lake Monster way back at the beginning. 

(pg 127) Dark Duchess: The group can take Angajuk to the ship. On the ship - there is no rum. It turns out that this is a lair belonging to Arveiaturace! The heroes can deal with the kobolds and the ice troll.

The group can befriend Arveiaturace by adding to her hoard, rather than taking from it. She will then fly to another wrecked ship and bring back 5 barrels of Moon Mountain Ale (from the Moon Mountain Brewery detailed in Dragon Magazine #299).

Return to Bryn Shander: When the heroes get back to Bryn Shander, they find that Vellynne is gone. Vellynne saw that Avarice was in town and decided to get out and go resume her search for the professor orb.

Avarice has heard that the group met with Vellynne and she wants to know everything. She wants to know if Vellynne knows about Jarlmoot... She akss the group to go with her to Bremen. She thinks she might have found the key to ending the Everlasting Rime.

Journey from Bryn Shander to Bremen: 2 hours to targos, 2 more to Bryn Shander.

Bremen: I'd like to change up Yselm's Way (pg 137) and replace Yselm Bloodfang with Avarice. Avarice isn't an agent of Auril, and she won't necessarily betray the adventurers. She'll just accompany them to Jarlmoot and hope that they will do the work for her - possibly pulling a disappearing act on them and then making up a story about why she bailed on them once everything is safe. 

As they explore Jarlmoot, the heroes hear the psychic beacon more and more. It almost gets to the point of ruining their short and long rests. Something is pulling them to an area south of Dougan's Hole...


Journey from Bremen to Dougan's Hole: 1-2 hours to Targos, then 1-2 hours to Bryn Shander, then 6 hours to Good Mead, and 4 hours to Dougan's Hole.

Dougan's Hole - (pg 103) Distress Signal: You could use the NPCs on page 103 to direcct the group to the nautiloid, but I prefer a more direct approach. I want to avoid having the entire adventure consisting of NPCs handing out quests when possible. 

Journey from Dougan's Hole to Id Ascendant: Looks like it is about 14 miles through the snow. The group should be able to avoid mountains, but who knows, you might want to have "Mountain Travel"(pg 11) rules handy.

(pg 132) Id Ascendant: As the group nears the nautiloid, they will spot an eerie glow. After the group explores the ship, they may have to deal with the bulette ("Bulette Proof" pg 137). 

The Yeti Hunter: Once the group returns to Dougan's Hole, they can meet Mylbor Tafferac the NPC from "Hunt for the Red Yeti." He'll tell the heroes about the yeti and ask them to come to Easthaven and maybe he'll teach them a thing or two about yeti hunting.He's hunting a legendary Red Yeti...

Dougan's Hole to Easthaven: Trip to Good Mead takes 2-4 hours, Trip from Good Mead to Easthaven takes 4.5 hours.

Easthaven - (pg 104) Hunt for the Red Yeti: When the group returns to Easthaven, have them walk by the area where Dzaan burned. We just want to remind them of that incident, seeing how they are about to meet his clone. 

At the Wet Trout, Mylbor Tafferac challenges the group to find the Red Yeti. The patrons get into it. If the group does find and kill the Red Yeti, let's have Nynetra give the heroes a bottle of Elverquisst (the drink that the professor orb knows so much about).

(pg 145) Lost Spire of Netheril: While hunting for the Red Yeti, the adventurers stumble upon a 20-foot-high spur of rock and a tunnel in the snow. This tunnel is the entrance to the lost spire. In the spire, they'll meet Dzaan's clone, who will try and get the group to go to the rune chamber so that he can become real. 

Remember that at the end, some bugbears might show up ("Bugbear Incursion" pg 152). You could switch this out for some Tiger Tribe members, or some chardalyn berserkers.

(pg 103) Dragon Bone Stew: Once the heroes have rested in Easthaven, Dannika Graysteel will ask them to go to Wyrmdoom Crag to fetch some white dragon bones. 

Journey Toward Wyrmdoom Crag: This is a long trip! Looks like 30 miles or so, and it will include "Mountain Travel" (pg 11). What I want to do here is to wedge in the Cave of the Berserkers, which is near Wyrmdoom.

So, let's say that the group is on their way to Wyrmdoom Crag, and they are attacked...

(pg 107) Chardalyn Berserkers: A band of berserkers attack the heroes. One of them is wearing the Frostmaiden's Ring. If the ring is taken, all creatures within 100 feet of it are engulfed in swirling snow and are teleported to the icy path that leads to the Cave of the Berserkers (pg 124).

(pg 124) Cave of the Berserkers: Don't forget the main gimmick of this place - there is a magic font that prevents the berserkers from dropping below one hit point!

Let's put the remains of some duergar in room Q6. They tried to invade this place and steal the chardalyn, but were found and killed by the nigh-invincible berserkers. We're doing this to reinforce the idea that the duergar are after the chardalyn.

Once the group deals with the cave, they can get their bearings and realize they're not too far from Wyrmdoom Crag. 

(pg 166) Wyrmdoom Crag: At the crag, the group could, in theory, befriend the goliaths. The dragon bones they seek are right there at the entrance, where chwingas lurk, ready to be a nuisance.

Return to Easthaven: When the group returns, have Rinaldo at the White Lady Inn conducting a small string ensemble. They are playing "The Dark Between the Stars" (the song that the group might conduct on page 257). 

I would describe the song as the musical equivalent of the feeling of falling into a vast pit of darkness. Heroes trained in Performance might get advantage when it comes time to conduct this piece in Ythryn.

(pg 68) The Chardalyn Caper: Once the group has rested, the duergar steal the chardalyn from the town hall. The group can track them back to the Easthaven Ferry, where they find a map leading to Sunblight.


From here on out, you can just run it by the book. Everything's been foreshadowed and now it is time to pay it off. One note about the battle with the chardalyn dragon:

If the group has befriended her, I think it might be cool to have Arveiaturace fly in during a dramatic moment and help the group finish off the dragon. We could do a scene where the chardalyn dragon knocks the wizard off Arveiaturace's back, and a character who has been exceptionally kind to her can climb on and fly around on the white dragon's back. Maybe Arveiaturace will even dimly realize that her "master" has been dead for a long time and that she should let him rest.


Keep in mind that a campaign is a tough thing to complete. You'll need to get a group of players that can consistently meet on a regular schedule. When things start to feel like they're dragging, do whatever you have to do to fix it. Hand wave stuff, turn a journey into a montage, have a battle end due to a freak accident, whatever.

The whole point, really, is to have fun. Don't beat yourself up or spend time comparing yourself to other DMs. Every DM has their own style, like a director of a movie. Play to your strengths and hide your weaknesses.

Thanks for reading, and good luck!

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

A Guide to Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden

This guide to Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden will help you get a handle on the adventure in a short amount of time. I have tried to boil it down to the essential information, give you page numbers for stuff, and attempt to identify potential pitfalls that you'll need to be aware of when running this adventure.


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Podcast Analysis

Two D&D designers - Teos Abadia and Shawn Merwin, are going through the book page by page discussing things DMs might want to watch out for. I am finding it very useful.

My Other Icewind Dale Articles

 I made a .pdf version of this guide that you can get on the DMs Guild. It's pay what you want!

Short Adventure Summary

  1. Auril (an evil lesser god) has cast Icewind Dale into eternal night using a spell called The Everlasting Rime
  2. The heroes must obtain a tome called The Codicil of White from her lair, and use it to open a path to a necropolis.
  3. In the necropolis is an item called the Ythrys Mythallar, which can end The Everlasting Rime.

Longer Adventure Summary (character level expectations included)

  1. Chapter 1 (levels 1-4): The group completes quests in Ten-Towns. 
  2. Chapter 2 (level 4): The heroes venture out to the fringes of Icewind Dale to handle various threats.
  3. Chapter 3 (level 4-5): The duergar threat is dealt with.
  4. Chapter 4 (level 6): The chardalyn dragon attacks the towns. Vellyne Harpell, a necromancer, clues the group in on some things.
  5. Chapter 5 (level 7): Velynne and the adventures go to Solstice to obtain the Codicil of White. 
  6. Chapter 6 (level 8): Using the codicil, the group can access the Caves of Hunger, which lead to the necropolis and the mythallar.
  7. Chapter 7 (level 9+): An albino tiefling villain who wants the treasures of the necropolis for herself faces off against the heroes. 

How Long Does Your Group Take to Gain a Level?

You should think about when you want the group to level up. How many sessions should it take to hit the next level? Right off the bat, the group has 12 substantial scenarios to play through in Chapter 1. Once the characters hit level 3, they'll also have a huge pile of "tall tales" from chapter 2 to explore.  

When the heroes hit level 4 they can move on to chapter 3! 

It looks to me like there is a massive surplus of low-level adventure material in this book, so I think you should pick out the ones you like best and move forward.

Before You Start: Things to Do and to Keep in Mind

Darkness: This entire adventure takes place in dim light (from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M.) or darkness (the rest of the time).

Free Stuff: All characters start with a free set of cold winter gear (detailed on pg 20).

Secrets: Each character starts with a random secret (pg 14).

Knowledge: The characters start knowing everything in the "Icewind Dale Knowledge" section on pg 22.

Terrain Rules: The snowy environment obviously will come up quite a bit, so I suggest that you bookmark both page 10 of this book and page 110 of the DMG, where the "extreme cold""slippery ice" and "thin ice" rules can be found.

Alignment Shift: Check with your players and see how they feel about forced alignment changes. Would they be OK if magic changed their character's alignment? (This could occur if a character obtains a chardalyn amulet, see page 39).

Greed: A lot of the quests in chapter one offer no reward. If your group has a mercenary mindset, you might want to bump up the rewards a bit.

Marching Order: You might want to ask, in general, what the group's marching order is (who's first, who's last, single file? etc). This will be important when avalanches and ambushes hit. 

Save or Die: Warn your group that there is at least one instance in this adventure where, if you fail a saving throw, you die (the river on page 96). Picking up the summer star on page 118 is also pretty much instant death, although there is a fun "out" to that situation.

There are Encounters With Too-Powerful Creatures: There are a few instances where the heroes might have to deal with a monster that is way too powerful for them to handle in a fight (such as the frost giant on page 109, Arveiaturace on page 131, and Gromin'gorn on page 140).

Goliath Characters: If a player wants to make a goliath, definitely read pg 291 and the information on pages 161-169. There are two clans, the Akannathi from Skytower Shelter (who tame griffons, see pg 163) and the Thuunlakalaga from Wyrmdoom Crag, and they don't get along.

Foreshadow the Duergar: Chapters 3 and 4 deal with the duergar plot (they're hoarding evil metal called chardalyn and building a dragon with it). The duergar appear in a few sections of chapter 1:

  • 6 duergar are lurking in Caer-Dineval (pg 38).
  • There are duergar in Kelvin's Cairn (pg 47).
  • Duergar lurk on the Easthaven Ferry (pg 68). There is a map here that shows the location of  Sunblight, the fortress detailed in chapter 3.

If you don't use them, you might want to whip up a random encounter where the heroes find a dead duergar in the snow clutching a shard of chardalyn, or come upon a duergar fighting a chardalyn berserker.

The Knock Spell: Just want to mention that the spell knock (PH pg 254) comes in handy over and over again in this adventure.

Ghostly Possession: There is a chance a character might get possessed by a ghost ("Nass Lantomir's Ghost" pg 200). Some players might not like the idea of their character being taken over and being forced to either roleplay this or basically be an NPC, so definitely think about this a bit before running it.

Keeping Secrets: It would be handy if at least one character secret is kept all the way until the group gets to Ythryn. Uttering a secret is part of the ritual that the group needs to get into the Spire of Iriolarthus ("Rite of the Arcane Octad" pg 234).

Time Travel: Do you want time travel in your game? Check out Y21. on page 255 and "Year of the Chilled Marrow" on page 262 and think about how you want to handle it.

Worst Fears: If you want to plan way, way ahead, ask your players to tell you their character's worst fear. It will manifest as a phantasmal killer on pg 255 near the Tower of Illusion.

** For right now, I'm going to combine information from different sections so we can have everything in one convenient clump. **

Welcome to the Far North

The Everlasting Rime: (pg 5) Just before midnight each night, Auril flies on a roc and casts a spell. This has been happening for over two years! The effects of the spell:

  • Creates an aurora that fades before dawn. 
  • Prevents the sun from rising the next day, no sunlight or warmth. 
  • Barricades the mountain pass with blizzards.
  • Churns the Sea of Moving Ice with blistering winds. 

Icewind Dale is "trapped in a different reality from the rest of the world, for though the sun never rises over the dale, it continues to rise everywhere else."

Each casting leaves Auril weakened. 

(pg 6) Auril is unhappy and craves isolation. "Auril's decision to live among mortals is explained in appendix C." Hmm.. seems like we better check that out, huh?

(pg 274) Auril the Frostmaiden: She is a neutral evil lesser god of cold indifference. She hoards beauty, trapping it in ice. Because the spell leaves her in a weakened state, she avoids contact with creatures that can harm her. She lurks on Solstice, a mist-shrouded island in the Sea of Moving Ice.

It does say that the gods stopped meddling in mortal affairs after The Sundering, but Auril could not stay away for long. 

She has three forms. To destroy her, "...heroes must reduce each of her forms to 0 hit points one after another." If at least one form hasn't been reduced to 0 hp, she can take a long rest to regain all her destroyed forms. 

  • Cold Crone (First Form pg 275): A 7-foot-tall biped with the head of an owl (the creature on the cover of the book). 
  • The Brittle Maiden (Second Form pg 276): 10-foot-tall woman made of ice and frost.
  • The Queen of Frozen Tears (Third Form pg 278): A 3-foot diameter ice diamond containing a divine spark (!). 

The Tenets of Aurils's Faith: On page 212, the core beliefs of Auril are discussed: Cruelty, Endurance, Isolation, Preservation.

Allies of the Frostmaiden: A number of creatures in Icewind Dale worship and serve Auril.

  • Sephek Kaltro, the serial killer on page 23, is possessed by a winter spirit that is loyal to Auril. 
  • Nymetra Myskyn (pg 59) is a white dragonborn who runs a tavern in Easthaven. She openly worships Auril and considers the rime to be a test for the people of Ten-Towns.
  • Ravisin (detailed on page 85) is a frost druid who is awakening animals (including a plesiosaurus and a white moose), and causing problems. Her twin sister was killed and she is hellbent on revenge.
  • Yselm Bloodfang (pg 103) is a frost druid who will attempt to lead the heroes to their doom at the Jarlmoot.
  • The Chardalyn Berserkers in the Cave of the Berserkers (pg 126) have been gifted with a brazier that makes it impossible for them to be slain in their lair.  
  • The Tiger Tribe (pg 306) is led by Queen Bjornhild Solvigsdottir (pg 306), who wants to become the chosen of Auril. This tribe preys on the weaker Elk and Bear Tribes.
  • Faash, Gildreban, and Siovakis (pg 212) are frost druids who passed Auril's tests and want to study the Codicil. They can open the Vault on page 212.
  • If Auril goes to Ythryn, she brings along 3 frost giant skeletons (pg 289), 6 snow golems (pg 308), and 6 winter wolves (MM pg 340).

Xardorok Sunblight: (pg 5) A duergar who is trying to enslave the people of Ten Towns. His duergar search for a special type of crystal called chardalyn. Once they have enough, they are going to build a chardalyn dragon (stats on pg 281) to attack the towns!

(pg 6) Xardorok is a warlock who thinks his patron is Deep Duerra (she is described in a sidebar on page 182). In truth, Asmodeus himself is guiding him. 

Xardorok has two sons: Durth and Nildar. They lead teams that search for chardalyn crystals.

Chardalyn is ideal material to make wands, staffs, and other magic items. Prolonged contact with it can cause madness. "A chardalyn object suffused with the magic of the Upper Planes is considered a consecrated object, while a chardalyn object suffused with the magic of the Lower Planes is considered a a desecrated object.

(pg 171) Xardorok is extremely paranoid and doesn't even trust his own sons. He currently is wooing a duergar from Gracklstugh named Grandolpha. He gave her a chardalyn pseudodragon as a gift, but she doesn't like him and is secretly plotting to overthrow him.

(pg 287) Posing as Deep Duerra, Asmodeus is trying to guide Xardorok into taking over Icewind Dale. In the past, Xardorok has killed a number of his past wives and children for plotting against him. Xardorok wears a chardalyn crown, a chardalyn gauntlet, and a chardalyn suit of chain mail.

(pg 182) Xardorok has captured a mind flayer and chained it to a statue of Deep Duerra.

(pg 183-184) Xardorok is unaware that his advisor Klondorn is actually a magically disguised barbed devil who serves Asmodeus.

(pg 185) Xardorok's black chardalyn gauntlet can open the entrance to the treasure vault.

The Arcane Brotherhood

(pg 5) Four wizards who are searching for a lost city buried under the Reghed Glacier. The city once floated in the air, but fell from the sky nearly 2,000 years ago. "It is Icewind Dale's greatest secret - a necropolis of Netherese wizards and the magic they left behind."

(pg 6) The four wizards are like Wild West gunslingers. 

Netherese Necropolis: Once known as the city of Ythryn, the necropolis now contains all sorts of fun stuff, including:

  • A Netherese demi-lich
  • A Ythryn mythallar (pg 316) that can send the city back into the air and free Icewind Dale from the Everlasting Rime.

The Codicil of White: In the Auril's Everlasting Rime section on page 6, it says: "Anyone who hopes to reach the Netherese city buried in the ice must first visit Auril's island and obtain the Codicil of  White, a book compiled by the Frostmaiden's most ardent followers."

This book has a magical incantation written as a poem (the handout is on page 319). This poem can crack the Reghed Glacier and open a path to the Necropolis.

Members: These wizards have come here to find the Necropolis. Three of them were working together, but they had a falling out and each is on their own.

Avarice (pg 269): A tiefling albino. She is first encountered in the basement of Caer-Dineval (pg 45). She is loosely allied with the Broken Sword. Her patron, the arch-devil Levistus, has told her that the adventurers might be the key to helping her find the necropolis.

(pg 259) Once the group opens the entrance to Ythryn, Avarice follows them with her retinue. She attempts to take Ythryn for herself. She sets up in Skydock Spire (pg 258).

Dzaan (pg 269): The first time the party encounters this guy, he is being burned at the stake (pg 63). There's art of it and everything. He has a simulacrum in the Lost Spire of Netheril (pg 145), who is unaware that Dzaan is dead. There is a room in the spire that can make the simulacrum into a real being.

Velynne Harpell: (pg 187) She catches up to the group as they exit Sunblight and offers to help them fight the dragon. She secretly wants them to help her find the Codicil of White. She may end up accompanying the group to the caves of hunger and to Ythryn. Once there, she will very much want certain items for herself, with the Incantations of Iriolarthus (pg 317) at the top of her list.

Nass Lantomir: (pg 200) Nass stole Velynne's professor orb, and then took a ship to Auril's Island. The ship crashed. Nass swam to shore but died of frostbite. If anyone disturbs her frozen body, her ghost will attempt to possess a character.

(The "fifth member") Vaelish Gant: Incarcerated at Revel's End (pg 154). He has a lot of information on Netheril and the other members of the Brotherhood that he is willing to share.

Wilderness Travel

Most of this info is very concise and I can't really trim it down much further. A few notes:

Avalanches (pg 10): You should definitely have an avalanche hit while the heroes are in the middle of an encounter. The one tricky part to this is figuring out when the avalanche stops. I guess it just goes off in a single round or two. 

Later, in the Mountain Travel entry on page 11, it suggests have an avalanche start 2d6 x 100 feet above the characters (the avalanche travels a total of 600 feet per round).

Fishing for Knucklehead Trout (pg 11): The stats for the trout are on page 295.

Illumination (pg 11): This whole adventure occurs in dim light (from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M.) or night time conditions.

Dim Light: Also called shadows, creates a lightly obscured area. In a lightly obscured area, such as dim light, patchy fog, or moderate foliage, creatures have disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight. 

Character Secrets

These are really great. The details of the secrets are split between pages 14 and 264. Let's go through each one and I'll point out which ones have strong links to the adventure.

  • Alagondar Scion: Assassin MM pg 343.
  • Doppelganger: There are a few other doppelgangers in the adventure, most of them evil loners and cads.
  • Drizzt Fan: There is another Drizzt Fan in Easthaven. Whoever it is wrote half a novel about Drizzt ("Lost in Lavender Orbs. area T15., pg 71).
  • Elusive Paramour: Invisible stalker MM pg 192. 
  • Escaped Prisoner: Greater restoration PH pg 246.
  • Littlest Yeti: Yeti MM pg 305, Yeti Tyke pg 313
  • Midwinter Child: Auril is predisposed to like this character. The character won't need to pass the tests to gain the Blessing on page 213.
  • Old Flame: Good Choices include Trovus, the drunk dragonborn who runs Caer-Konig (pg 46) or Prudence Takwold the Zhentarim Spy (pg 67) who works as a clerk in thr Easthaven Town Hall.
  • Orc Stone: Orc War Chief MM pg 246
  • Owlbear Whisperer: Owlbear MM pg 249
  • Pirate Cannibal: The Dark Duchess has become the lair of Arveiaturace, a white dragon (pg 127)
  • Reghed Heir: Tribe info starts on page 304. Comes into play on pg 210 ("Test of Isolation").
  • Reincarnation: Reincarnate PH pg 271
  • Ring Hunter: Knucklehead Trout pg 295
  • Runaway Author: Bearded devil MM pg 70
  • Slaad Host: Slaad tadpole MM pg 276. The adventure suggests letting the tadpole burst out during dinner with a duergar on pg 177 and about a million times in chapter 6. My question is: where did the red slaad come from/go? 
  • Spy: Spy MM pg 349


We have ourselves a gigantic chapter here. 80 pages! You get to pick how this starts, using either Cold-Hearted Killer or Nature Spirits. Pick one of the towns to start in.

Gaining Levels:

  • The group hits 2nd level after completing the initial quest.
  • Complete three other quests to hit level 3. 
  • Complete five more quests to hit level 4.

Sled Dog: Wolf MM pg 341

Axe Beak: MM pg 317

Sacrifices to Auril

The towns have begun trying to appease Auril in different ways.

  • Bryn Shander/Easthaven/Targos: On the New Moon, on random person is sent to the Tundra to die.
  • Smaller towns leave food on racks about a mile away from the settlement.
  • The smallest towns forsake warmth for a night. No fires lit between dusk and dawn. Lighting a fire leads to a savage beating.

(pg 22) Cold-Hearted Killer (Introductory Adventure #1)

The General Idea: The group is hired to find a serial killer named Sephek Kaltro. The concept is that the group searches some towns, stumbling on to the chapter 1 side quests along the way. Fighting Sephek at level 1 is very deadly. The idea is that, by the time the heroes track him down, they're level 2 or 3.

Hlin Trollbane: Dwarf bounty hunter (veteran MM pg 350)

Will pay the heroes 100 gp total to find out if he's guilty and if so, deal with him without involving the authorities.

Victims: All killed with an ice dagger

  • Halfling trapper in Easthaven
  • Human shipbuilder in Targos
  • Dwarf glassblower in Bryn Shander

Sephek Kaltro: The suspect. Stats on pg 23.

  • Works for Torg's, a small traveling merchant company
  • Bodyguard of Torrga Icevein
  • Seemingly immune to cold. He actually has regeneration if in below zero temperature!
  • On page 24, it is explained that he is possessed by an evil winter spirit loyal to Auril.

Finding Torg's: The heroes can ask around town. Charisma (Investigation) Check DC 17. Success: Someone will sell the character Torg's travel plans for 5 gp. You pick the town they're in next.  

This seems a little wobbly, especially if you're a group new to D&D. What if they fail the check? You might want to just have Hlin give the group Torg's schedule. 

Torrga Icevein: Bandit captain (MM pg 344). Has 4 bandit (MM pg 343) employees

Caravan: Pulled by 6 sled dogs.

Items for Sale: All of this stuff is stolen, sold at twice the normal price in the PH: Cut wood, flint and tinder, flasks of whale oil, blankets, furs, rations, bottles of wine, casks of cheap ale, fake medicines, vials of poison. 

Poison: The book says it's a mild poison used for killing vermin. If you want, you could use Assassin’s Blood (Ingested): CON sv DC 10. Fail: 6 (1d12) poison damage and is Poisoned for 24 hours. Success: the creature takes half damage and isn’t Poisoned.

Dead Body: On one sled is the frozen corpse of a half-elf, killed just like the serial killers victims. The corpse is being brought to Luskan to collect a 125 gp bounty.

Catching Sephek: How the killer is caught is left to you. It says he stalks his next victim or goes to a tavern drinking and carousing and then goes to sleep in a random barn.

He can magically summon an ice longsword and ice dagger. He is killing people who are avoiding being part of the lotteries which sacrifice a random person to Auril.

So, it could go like this:

  1. Sephek lurks outside the house of a government official.
  2. A nervous citizen shows up, looks around to make sure nobody's watching, then goes inside.
  3. Sephek watches from the window as the citizen pays a bribe to ensure that they and their loved ones aren't included in the lottery.
  4. The citizen leaves the house. Sephek summons an ice blade and stalks the citizen - killing them unless the adventurers intervene.
  5. When Sephek dies, a winter spirit exits his body through his mouth and eye and drifts up into the night sky.

(pg 25) Nature Spirits (Introductory Adventure #2)

This one is a whimsical intro involving searching and roleplaying. If you have a group that is into combat, this scenario might not tickle their fancy. 

Dannika Graysteel: Acolyte (MM pg 342). She thinks that a chwinga might be able to improve the climate issue in Icewind Dale. She gives the group 25 gp and a lantern of tracking (pg 314). The lantern burns bright green when a chwinga is within 300 feet. 

  • Note: Dannika appears again on page 104, asking the group to acquire some white dragon bones.

Potential Problem: The adventure says that the group can go to other settlements. There's a 25% chance it is there. The problem that I see here is that you the DM will need to be familiar with all ten settlements right off the bat in the very first session.

And then... the group is going to scour a settlement, wondering where the chwinga is, and it's just not there. This could potentially lead to frustration and boredom.

You might want to change this up. You can say Dannika has heard of chwinga sightings ("a tiny figure riding a fox throughout town") in a particular settlement, and direct the group there. 

Once the lantern detects a chwinga:

  1. The heroes find Elva (pg 26), who says trickster spirits have been messing with her. 
  2. DC 10 Investigation check reveals tracks. 
  3. Following the tracks brings the group to three chwingas (pg 282), who are pretending to eat pinecones.
  4. The group can befriend them, and one will willingly accompany them.

After 10 days, the chwinga will bestow a charm on one character. There's a great list of charms on page 283. My favorite is definitely the Charm of the Traveler's Haven, which allows you to cast Leomund's Tiny Hut (PH pg 255).

Note About Quests: I decided to list NPCs and info from the quests in chapter 2 in these town entries so you can have all the info in one place. Some of these quests aren't meant to be undertaken until the characters are 3rd or 4th level. 

(pg 27) Bremen

Leader: Dorbulgruf Shalescar (commoner MM pg 344) Twice in the past month, he wandered off and had no memory of how he ended up by the shores of the Shaengrane.

(Inn) Buried Treasures: (Innkeeper) Cora Mulphoon: Treats guests like royalty. Her son got hold of some black ice and took off with some tieflings (He's at Caer-Dineval pg 38).

(Taverns) Five-Tavern Center: All five taverns or old and shabby. Names: Stones, Even Keel, the River's Mouth, the Grumpy Moose, and the Black-Bearded Brother. 

  • (pg 103) The owners will hire the heroes to check out a pirate ship (see pages 103 and 127). 
  • (pg 115) Five whale hunters (led by a man named Jendren Uruth) are staying at the Black-Bearded Brother. They plan to go to Angajuk's Bell (pg 114) to try to poison the whale.

(pg 28) Lake Monster

Let's boil this mother down to the bare bones:

  1. Grynsk (commoner MM pg 344) tries to get the heroes to go fishing for him.
  2. Tali (scout MM pg 349) steps in and explains that there is a monster in the lake. Tali asks the group to find out more about the monster.
  3. Steer: The group must steer their rowboats around d4+1 ice floes. WIS check DC 14. Fail: boat takes 1d6 bludgeoning dmg. 
  4. Each hour of searching, roll on the Lake Events table.  
  5. Once the group gets the monster result, roll on the Plesiosaurus Behavior table.
  6. Plesiosaurus stats MM pg 80.

The Truth: It turns out that the plesiosaurus is awakened (has intelligence and can speak) by an agent of Auril's named Ravisin (who is detailed on page 85 - she is angry that hunters killed her twin sister). The plesiosaurus was ordered to attack. It does so only because it doesn't want to lose its newly-gained intelligence.

(pg 32) Bryn Shander

Leader: Duvessa Shane (noble MM pg 348)

  • (pg 104) Duvessa knows that Vaelish Gant is incarcerated in Revel's End. She asks the group to go and see what they can learn about the Arcane Brotherhood's activities in Icewind Dale (see pages 104 and 154).

(Smithy) Blackiron Blades: Quality of work is "uninspired." Run by Garn the Hammerer (commoner MM pg 344) and his sister Elza (commoner MM pg 344).

(Shrine) House of the Morninglord: Devoted to Amaunator. Mishann (priest MM pg 348) wants to see the sun again. She sees Lathander as a usurper. 

  • (pg 103) Copper Knobberknocker is a gnome acolyte of Lathander who will ask the group to check on his friend Macreadus. See pages 103 and 116. On page 121, it explains that Copper left Macreadus because Macreadus was obsessed with building a device called the Summer Star. There's a long letter copper wrote and everything.

(Inn/tavern) The Northlook: Rowdy and dangerous. Run by Scramsax (veteran MM pg 350), kind to adventurers down on their luck. Ol' Bitey is a trout mounted on the wall that will try to bite those that come close and will sing a rhyme. 

(pg 103-104) Peace Out: A goblin messenger from Karkolohk was captured. The message it carried was a request for peace with the goblins. The group is hired to check it out (see pages 103 and 140).

(pg 103) Whale Oil Acquisition: A whale oil merchant named Helka Jaggerath will hire the heroes to be her bodyguards on a trip to the Sea of Moving Ice.

(pgs 224-225) Remorhaz Eggs: Maybe heave meet someone selling a remorhaz egg, or someone interested in buying them. They're worth 500 gp each! The group will have a chance to acquire remorhaz eggs in the caves of hunger.

(pg 265) Harper Spy: There is a Harper spy here posing as a beggar. Her name is Beldora.

(pg 34) Foaming Mugs

  1. A yeti attacked some dwarves, forcing them to abandon their sled full of precious ingots. The heroes are hired to go get the sled.
  2. A blizzard hits as the group treks toward the sled.
  3. After the blizzard subsides, they come upon the corpse of a dwarf slain by the yeti (his severed head is in the yeti lair on page 91). The group finds tracks. Someone has taken the sled!
  4. Catching up to the sled, it turns out the goblins have stolen it and are trying to bring it to Karkolohk (pg 140)
  5. Make sure to check out the art of this scenario. The "sled" is like a little fort, very cool.

Stat Notes:

  • Izobal, Goblin Boss (MM pg 166) Might set fire to the sled if things go bad.
  • 6 goblins (MM pg 166)
  • 2 polar bears (MM pg 334) They are tethered to the sled and will attack anyone, including the goblins. If freed, the bears won't attack the person who freed them.
  • 2 potions of animal friendship (DMG pg 187)

(pg 37) Caer-Dineval

There is no ferry here any more, meaning the fortress can't get deliveries from Good Mead. The taverns have run dry!

Leader: Speaker Crannoc Siever (commoner MM pg 344) Has apparently taken ill and is bedridden.

(Home of the Speaker) The Caer: A keep that was once overtaken by orcs, but was subsequently reclaimed by adventurers.

(Closed Inn) Dinev's Rest: Hiding here are 6 duergar (MM pg 122) waiting for the chardalyn dragon to attack the town - this occurs in chapter 4.

(Tavern) The Uphill Climb: All they have is chowder! The proprietor Roark (commoner MM pg 344) steers the group toward the Caer, as he suspects that something bad is happening with the Speaker and the Black Swords.

(pg 38) Black Swords

A few things should happen in this one:

  1. Talk to the Soothsayer: The group should talk with The Soothsayer in C13. She will give them vital information about Xardorok.
  2. Meet Avarice: The group will interact with Avarice, one of the four wizards searching for the Ythrys Necropolis. Avarice has been told by Levistus himself not to antagonize the heroes.

Agents of Levistus have secretly taken over. They keep the speaker alive just in case he needs to make a public appearance. Avarice is not a member of the Black Swords, she was told to come here by Levistus as she searches for the Necropolis.

Levistus himself actually telepathically speaks with these agents. He wants the adventurers to join up with his Black Swords.

Chardalyn Amulets: Each of these bad guys has a special amulet. If a character has one, there's a chance it will change their alignment to Lawful Evil! This might cause some real life issues, as some players feel a forced alignment change can "ruin" their character. 

Choice: The group will have a choice to make. Become allies with the cult? Or Wipe them out?

  • Allies: The heroes are given the northeast tower to stay in. Avarice's gargoyles watch them.
  • Enemies: The Speaker lets the group stay here whenever they like. 

Approaching the Gate: The guards won't let the group in. The heroes will have to be clever... or attack. If so, they'll face 12 cultists (MM pg 345) and 2 cult fanatics (MM pg 345).

Caer Locations

C1. Main Gate: "Speaker Crannoc is too sick to entertain guests." The doors can be opened through a system of wheels in area C6.

C2. Snowy Courtyard: There's an outhouse and lots of doors.

C3. Kennel and Sled Storage: The dogs bark loudly when anyone gets within 10 feet of the kennel.

  • 6 friendly sled dogs (wolf MM pg 341)
  • Alassar Sulmander: the stable boy. He could help the group navigate the Caer.

C4. Guard Towers: Lower level has 3 guards (cultist MM pg 345)

C5. Armory: 8 longbows, 400 arrows, 6 flasks of alchemist's fire.

C6. Gatehouse: The gate can be opened from here. Two cult fanatics (MM pg 345) stay here:

  • Huarwhar Mulphoon: Son of Cora, from page 27. 
  • Fel Suparra: A tiefling, Huarwhar's mentor.

C7. Great Hall: A servant is collecting dishes.

  • Mere: 14 year old tiefling. Fears Kadroth, knows the albino is in C22.

C8. Speaker's Den: Where the speaker met with guests.

  • Thoob: Sadistic klutz (cultist MM pg 345), serves Kadroth. Bullies others.

C9. Speaker's Office: Kadroth lurks in here, staring at the fireplace.

  • Kadroth: Has convinced others that Levistus favors him, but in truth Levistus despises him. He has a ring of keys that open every door in the castle.

C10. Servant's Quarters: Mere sleeps here.

C11. Kitchen: 2 goats (MM pg 330) are in a kennel. The cook is working.

  • Karou Salafan: Commoner MM pg 344. Keeps his head down, knows 50 ways to cook a trout.

C12. Kadroth's Bedchamber: A large mirror covers one wall. His black cat (MM pg 320), Touche, is here.

C13. Soothsayer's Room: An old dwarf sits in a rocking chair.

  • Hethyl Arkoran: Cruel and blunt. She can see glimpses of the future.She knows she will drop dead right after she gives the group the pile of information listed on pg 43.

C14 Speaker's Bedchamber: Royal bedchamber.

  • Yajath: Cultist MM pg 345. Guards the speaker. 

C15. Old Library: An old, burned room.

C16. Under the Castle: A secret passage to C17.

C17. Cold Storage: 4 corpses - cultists who were slain by the speaker's guards during the hostile takeover.

C18. West Cistern: A partially-flooded tunnel, bodies float in the water. There's a usable rowboat. 12 bodies total - guards killed during the hostile takeover.

C19. Storage: Just a rat (MM pg 335) chewing on grain.

C20. Shrine to Levistus: Pillar of ice with a humanoid figure trapped inside it (it's actually a mannequin that resembles Levistus). A patch of brown mold (DMG pg 105) keeps this room cold.

C21. Avarice's Quarters: Avarice is here, writing in her book. Levistus has told her told her not to antagonize the heroes because they can help her find Ythryn, so she tries to get them to leave.

  • Avarice: Page 269
  • Skelm: Her raven (MM pg 335) familiar.
  • Staff of Frost: (DMG pg 202) Cone of Cold (PH pg 224), Fog Cloud (PH pg 243), Ice Storm (PH pg 252), Wall of Ice (PH pg 285)

Avarice is one of the big villains of this adventure. Let's take a look at her info on page 268.

  • Tiefling: She is a cruel tiefling, obsessed with magic items, sees other wizards as a threat. 
  • Soul: She traded her soul to Levistus. He guides her and communicates with her. 
  • Arcane: Member of the Arcane Brotherhood. Thinks plundering Ythryn will make her famous.
  • Rivals: There are three other wizards from the Arcane Brotherhood also trying to find Ythryn. They are not working together.
  • Gargoyles: She has two gargoyle (MM pg 140) allies that she communicates with via Rary's Telepathic Bond (PH pg 270).
  • Spellbook: White leather with her personal sigil on it. 
  • Icy Doom: When she dies, her corpse freezes for 9 days. Can't be thawed, animated, raised, etc.

C22. Iron Lever: Lever controls the slab that seals C23. When the slab opens, the servants will try to escape. They might try to ambush the first character to come in to C24.

C23. East Cistern: More water, no corpses. From here you can get to C24, where the prisoners are.

C24. Prisoners: 5 servants being held captive. They will try to escape when they hear the slab open. 

Servants (Commoners MM pg 344):

  • Lanthis: Notary and scribe, 64 years old.
  • Elprekt: Butler, 55 years old.
  • Mylbara: Translator, wife of Elprekt.
  • Tam: Housemaid/mute petty thief.
  • Dassir: Dogkeeper, shy.

(pg 46) Caer-Konig

 Leader: Trovus (veteran MM pg 350), a dragonborn who patrols the town at night while slightly drunk.

  • (pg 103) Trovus will pay the heroes 10 gp per gnoll head. See pages 103 and 121.

(Tavern) Hook, Line, and Sinker: Run by "Glen", a guy who gives a free half-pint of ale to everyone who comes in.

(Adventuring Outfitter) Frozenfar Expeditions: Run by Atenas Swift (scout MM pg 349), who is getting old. Aided by Jarthra Farzassh (scout MM pg 349), who works as a wilderness guide.

(Inn) The Northern Light: Used to have a magic lantern (it could emit light of different colors) hanging outside, but it was stolen. Two bickering sisters run this place (commoners MM pg 344): Allie (young and "lithe"), and Corrie ("stout and scowling").

(pg 47) The Unseen

It goes like this: 

  1. Thief: Trovus is looking for a thief. He enlists the aid of the characters. He doesn't know that the thief is a duergar named Nildar who is searching the town for chardalyn.
  2. Investigate: Trovus takes the heroes to The Northern Light, where Allie says she thinks this is the doing of dwarves lurking in nearby Kelvin's Cairn.
  3. Find the Lair: Make a Wisdom (survival) group check DC 15 each hour to find it. Fail once: Try again in an hour. Fail twice: random encounter (see pg 105).
  4. Might Be Spotted: If the group is loud or carrying light as they approach, they will be spotted by the two duergar guards at 01. and 03. 

The Outpost

** Remember that if the duergar are aware of intruders, they will already be enlarged: Large size, double damage dice, and makes STR Checks/STR saves with advantage. **

01. Bunker: I guess the only way into this place is via the interior tunnel, or a character could look in an arrow slit and cast misty step. Brojk, duergar MM pg 122.

02. Main Keep: Open the doors = DC 12 Athletics check. 

  • 2 goats (MM pg 330)
  • 1 ogre zombie (MM pg 316) in a cage.
  • Pit: 30 feet deep (3d6 falling dmg)
  • Well: Connects to exterior frozen waterway. Icy well walls make it impossible to climb without gear or magic.

03. Overlook: Bend bars: Athletics Check DC 20. Only small creatures can fit through! Urthild, duergar MM pg 122.

04. Armory: Some weapons, along with 2 suits of dwarf-sized scale mail (AC 14).

05. Chokepoint: If the group is noisy, Nildar from 06. will pull a lever to trigger a trap. The idea here is to isolate one character in the adjoining room and possibly catch a second hero in the spikes.

06. Commander's Quarters: Nildar, duergar MM pg 122. Items:

  • Color-changing lantern
  • 3 shards of chardalyn (pg 6). Arcana Check: Contains no magic, is ideal for making items.
  • Letter to his brother about meeting near Easthaven.
  • Coin Purse containing 24 gp and 17 sp.

07. Spore Servants: The cells open and the creatures inside attack. Here's the modified stat block:

"Spore Servant": AC 12 HP 11 Attack: +3 to hit, d8+1 dmg

  • Speed 20 Blindsight 30 feet
  • STR 13 DEX 11 CON 12 INT 8 WIS 11 CHA 8 
  • Pack Tactics: Adv to hit a creature that is within 5 feet of an ally.

08. Duergar Quarters: Ruvik and Skorn, 2 sleeping duergar (MM pg 122). Tools, daggers, 73 sp and a potion of healing (DMG pg 187).

(pg 53) Dougan's Hole

Leader: Speaker Edgra Durmoot (scout MM pg 349)

(Triangle of Megaliths) Twenty Stones of Thruun: 19 stones form a triangle, one stone sits in the center. Nobody knows who built this, or what it is for.  Might be linked to a creature named Thruun. 

Foreshadowing Note: In chapter 4, a chardalyn dragon attacks Ten-Towns. Its first target: Dougan's Hole. You might want to have the people be extra nice and memorable, so that the party will care that Dougan's Hole is in trouble/destroyed later on.

Holed Up

One problem I see with this scenario is that the low level heroes may want absolutely nothing to do with a frost giant. So maybe have the wolves mention Garagai by name but don't mention what he is. Also, be aware that the mammoth is very powerful and could be too tough for the heroes to actually fight.

  1. Hostages: Two kids, Sil and Finn, are being held hostage by winter wolves, who are led by an awakened mammoth named Norsu.
  2. Wolves: The wolves meet with the heroes outside of town, and try to con the group into thinking a frost giant not only took the kids, but is also abusing the wolves and they need help. 
  3. Journey: On the way to the lair, the group might encounter a blizzard (pg 10) and encounter d6+1 wolves (which won't attack if the winter wolves are with the party.
  4. Wait Outside: The wolves won't go into the lodge. Don't forget that there is a tunnel out here that leads into L8. The interior of the tunnel is coated in thrym, which is worth 250 gp.

L1. Exterior: Remember that this place is built for a giant. The squares on the map are ten feet. The ceiling is 30 feet high.

L2. Flensing Chamber: Frozen whale corpse. There's a chest encased in ice that contains a scrimshaw goat worth 25gp.

L3. Caged Townsfolk: This is where Silja and Finn (commoners MM pg 344) are being kept. Bending the bars is Athletics Check DC 15, picking the lock is DEX check DC 15. The cage door squeaks, which will alert the mammoth.

L4. Entrance Corridor: Sneaking requires a Stealth check DC 15. Failure alerts the mammoth.

L5. Garagai's Icy Tomb: Nosru the awakened mammoth (MM pg 332) is here, mourning the death of its frost giant master. This creature is probably too tough for the group to fight (it does 25 damage on a single hit). Befriend it: Deception DC 12. Vow to avenge Garagai: Persuasion DC 12. 

  • Garagai's Remains: Frozen, hacked-up frost giant corpse.
  • Throne: A creature who sits on it can summon a blizzard, which takes 1 minute to form.

L6. War Room: Three icewind kobolds (pg 296) are in here. They just killed a chwinga.

L7. Garagai's Bedroll: Just a big fur bedroll.

L8. Whale Oil Storage: 5 barrels of whale oil worth 50 gp total. The tunnel has residue called thrym worth 250 gp.

Reward: Hilda, mother of the kids, gives the group boots of the winterlands (DMG pg 156). Gives resistance to cold dmg, you ignore difficult terrain when it's ice or snow, and you can tolerate temperatures up to -50 degrees without any penalty.

(pg 59) Easthaven

Leader: Speaker Danneth Waylan, a humble fellow.

(Ferry) Easthaven Ferry: The ferry is trapped in ice and isn't operational. Duergar are lurking here. If the heroes go check it out, Durth Sunblight (Duergar mind master pg 286) is there, but will shrink and flee if he hears the creaking of footsteps on the deck. 30 minutes later, his three flunkies Klaska, Ossyl, and Zublorr (duergar MM pg 122) arrive.

(Tavern) The Wet Trout: A rowdy place run by a chaotic neutral white dragonborn named Nymetra Myskyn (berserker MM pg 344) who actually worships Auril, in a friendly sort of way.

  • Scython: This tiefling (bandit captain MM pg 344) owns the ferry that's out of commission. The group can learn about the ferry and hear rumors (listed on pg 18).

(Inn) The White Lady Inn: A musty old inn owned by Bartaban (commoner MM pg 344).

Rinaldo: This bard likes to tell customers the tragic tale of the White Lady, an entity that haunts Lac Dinneshere. He wants to do a seance to contact her:

  • The seance takes place in a back room of the inn. Read the flavor text on page 61.
  • Make a group check: Persuasion DC 12. Fail: The White Lady manifests and attacks (specter/poltergeist MM pg 279)
  • Success: She will answer 3 questions by writing up to 5 words on the frosty window. She basically points the group toward certain quests - the ferry, the hag, and the Broken Sword group in Caer-Dineval.

The Moarskulls: A fisher named Nabira Moarskull was recently killed (see page 123 and 124). She had a magic item - a hook of fisher's delight (page 314). It is possible that the group will find it in Cackling Chasm (pg 121) and bring it back to Nabira's grand daughter Ahmi ("real adventure hook" pg 124).

Toil and Trouble

** You might want to make it crystal clear that the wizard is burning right at the start. There's a good chance some players will try to rescue him if you leave any space at all for them to do so, and this guy is meant to die here. **

  1. Shining Wizard: Dzaan, one of the 4 Arcane Brotherhood people, is burned at the stake because he killed some adventurers. It is noted on page 270 that Dzaan killed anyone who knew about the Lost Spire of Netheril, and even though he was magically disguised, he was identified and caught while getting supplies in Easthaven.
  2. Quest Hook: Captain Arlaggath (veteran MM pg 350) asks the party to look for four fishers who went missing by Lac Dinneshere. She can reward them with some of Dzaan's stuff: a spell scroll of fireball (PH pg 241) OR a gray bag of tricks (DMG pg 154).
  3. Finding the Boat: The group finds the boat and tracks leading to the cave. Two harpies (MM pg 181) attack.
  4. Finding the Cave: The caves are a whole dungeon coated in slippery ice (DMG pg 110): Difficult terrain, when you first move on it in a given turn, you must make an Acrobatics check DC 10 or fall prone.

Cauldron Caves

U1. Cave Mouths: There are 4 cave entrances. The tracks lead to the southernmost tunnel, U7.

U2. Dire Wolf Den: This is the home of a starved dire wolf (MM pg 321). It cannot be befriended.

U3. Cave Drawings: History check DC 15: These drawings depict frost giants drowning themselves in a hot spring.

U4. Moaning Cavern: 3 pillars containing mineral deposits.

U5 Icy Bridge: Acrobatics check DC 10. Fail: Fall 20 feet (2d6 dmg) and prone on the frozen river.

U6. Old Camp: A journal of a dwarf. These caves are sacred to frost giants, and he heard a granny cackle in this place.

U7. Waterfall: The frozen waterfall can be climbed with an Athletics check DC 10. Fail: It crocks open and a water weird (MM pg 299) emerges. There is some equipment behind the waterfall.

U8 Sacred Spring: Frozen solid. Way down in the ice, there's four dead frost giants.

U9. Ossuary: There's fresh blood in here, along with a frost giant skeleton (pg 289) partially encased in ice (once animated, it needs two rounds to free itself). It animates when it takes damage or someone enters the area.

U10. Cauldron of Plenty: Maud (sea hag MM pg 179) and her will o'wisp (MM pg 301) are here, chopping up the dead fishers. If reduced to 9 hp or less, she tries to bargain with the heroes. She'll give them the cauldron, and direct them toward a chest full of gold. The chest contains 600 gp, as well as 4 crawling claws (MM pg 44).

  • Cauldron of Plenty (pg 314). 

The cauldron is a big deal in Ten-Towns. People are starving. Anyone who catches wind of it may come knocking.

(pg 67) Town Hall Capers

The Cauldron Caper: This scenario involves the group selling the cauldron to the speaker of Easthaven and assumes that the heroes let the town watch over the cauldron while the speaker spends a day or two getting the money to buy it together. I think lots of groups will refuse to part with the cauldron until the money is in their hands. You might want to just have this theft occur shortly after the deal is done.

The speaker offers to buy the cauldron for 2,500 gp (he'll pay up to 5,000 gp).

As the speaker is getting the money together, the Zhentarim from Targos step in and take the speaker hostage at the town hall, demanding that the cauldron be handed over.Basically, the bad guys lock the speaker and his guards in T18 (pick lock = DEX check DC 15). They strap the cauldron to the axe beak and head to Targos. Their tracks vanish in d4 hours.  

The group shows up at Town Hall to complete the deal, and hear shouts from the trapped speaker. Track bad guys, catch up either in the snow or they find Prudence in Luskan Arms in Targos - the cauldron is in the hands of Targos's speaker and he won't give it up.

  • Prudence Takwold (spy MM pg 349) a spy for the Zhentarim.
  • Flying Snake (MM pg 322), used to deliver messages.
  • 3 thugs (MM pg 350), take speaker hostage.
  • Axe Beak (MM pg 317), will be used to pull the cauldron to Targos.

The Chardalyn Caper: This one is... well, the duergar (who lurk in the frozen ferry) steal chardalyn from T6. and the characters probably won't even be around for it. The bad guys take the chardalyn to their fortress, which the heroes aren't meant to go to until chapter 3. I guess you should run this as the very last encounter before the heroes hit 4th level.

Easthaven Town Hall: Most of this place is mundane, with a few exceptions:

T6. Chardalyn Figurehead: There is a chardalyn figurehead of a demon with a woman tied to it! 

  • History Check DC 20: This figurehead depicts a pit fiend named Errtu
  • Touch it: CHA save DC 13, gain a flaw that makes you paranoid that people are secretly in a cult of Auril.
  • Lady: It's the White Lady (ghost MM pg 147). She attacks if the group gets within 5 feet.

T14. Town Library: Dzaan's spellbook is in here. Contents are hidden by illusory script (PH pg 252) for first 5 days after his death. Piles of spells listed on page 71.

T15. Office and Storage Space: A half-finished romance novel: "Lost in Lavender Orbs."

T17. Jailers' Room: 4 guards (tribal warriors MM pg 350). 

(pg 72) Good Mead

Leader: None! The speaker is dead. Two people are interested in becoming the new speaker: Shandar Froth (a dwarf being blackmailed by the Zhentarim) and Olivessa Untapoor (reluctant, descendent of the town's founders.

(Honey wine purveyor) Mead Hall: Has a large space devoted to bee husbandry.

(Shrine of Tempus) Shrine of the Flaming Sword: Vacant, except for the dead body of Speaker Kendrick Rielsbarrow, who was stabbed three times in the chest.

The Mead Must Flow

Note: Keep in mind that each stolen cask of wine weighs 200 pounds! The citizens might point this out to the group when discussing retrieving them.

  1. Verbeeg: Two days ago, a verbeeg stole three casks of honey mead and killed the town speaker. The people ask the heroes to deal with it and get back the mead if possible.
  2. Bodies: Fef Moryn, a trapper (scout pg 349) emerges from the forest. He found dead members of the militia who went looking for the verbeeg. He also caught a live fox (pg 288), and will sell it to the group for 1 gold.
  3. Following Fef's Trail: They find the remains of the militia and large (ogre) footprints that lead away.
  4. Chwinga: The group encounters a chwinga that will befriend the fox and want to keep it as a mount. The chwinga will reward one hero with a charm of animal conjuring (DMG pg 228) which lets you cast conjure animals (PH pg 225) 3 times.

Verbeeg Lair

What's a Verbeeg? Check out page 311. They are gangly giants, bandits who have a fondness for animals. Smarter than ogres (INT 11).

The Scenario: Keep in mind that once the group exits the cave, another verbeeg shows up. Whether or not the group kills the verbeeg in the cave matters. The villagers won't be happy if any verbeegs are left alive.

V1. Three Entrances: The (ogre) tracks lead into the cave that leads to V3.

V2. Main Entrance: Mammoth bones.

V3. Firelit Cave: If the group makes noise, both the ogre (MM pg 237) and the verbeeg marauder (pg 311) show up. The cave bear (it actually uses polar bear stats, MM pg 334) shows up 3 rounds later.

  • Pushing into Fire: The verbeeg might try to shove a character into the fire: Opposed Athletics (the verbeeg has +6) vs the character's Athletics or Acrobatics. Verbeeg wins: Knock prone or push  the character5 feet away. 10 fire dmg, catches fire, taking 3 fire dmg at the start of each turn (put fire out = an action).
  • Verbeeg's Pets:7 Goats and 6 sheep can be taken hostage to stop the verbeeg from attacking. Intimadation Check DC 10. 
  • Crates and Barrels: Crate of straw, crate of torches, barrels of salt and pepper.
  • Cooking For Forty Humans: The meat that is cooking is the remains of Artin Glanhig, a dwarf lumberjack.

V4. Refuse Pit: 20 feet deep.

V5. Stolen Mead Casks: The ogre (MM pg 237) is asleep. Stealth check DC 8 to avoid waking him. There are 6 hanging baskets, one of which has the verbeeg's meager treasure hoard of 72 silver and some mundane equipment.

  • Honey Mead: One cask of mead is empty. The other two are here.

V6. Frozen Stream: Can see the light of the fire up ahead.

V7. Cave Bear's Lair: The bear is asleep (Stealth DC 14 to avoid waking it). It uses polar bear stats (MM pg 334). Will try to flee if dropped to 20 HP. 

  • Statue/Frozen Pool: There's a statue of Silvanus in the ice. When not frozen, the water grants a greater restoration (PH pg 246) effect one time to those who drink it

V8. Burial Niches: 12 of them, containing bones of ancient humans.

V9. Duhg is Here: Duhg the verbeeg marauder (pg 311) is sharpening a stone knife.

V10. Ancient Tomb: Moving the block requires a combined STR of 50. The body of the chief has a pearl of power (DMG pg 184) and a +1 wand of the war mage (DMG pg 212), but both are cursed. You have phantasmal nightmares and you don't gain benefits from a long rest until you return the items or someone casts remove curse (PH pg 271).

Affairs of the Heart

Once the group exits the cave, another verbeeg marauder (pg 311) has arrived for a "romantic encounter." She has brought shards of metal to impress Duhg. 

New Town Speaker

Olivessa tries to get a character to run for town speaker. Shandar becomes alarmed and goes to Targos for advice. This leads to a staged scenario where 8 (Zhentarim) thugs (MM pg 350) storm the mead hall, but Shandar and his logger buddies fight them off. Shandar's approval rating goes through the roof and not even the electoral college can save our poor character.

(pg 79) Lonelywood

Leader: Speaker Nimsy Huddle (commoner MM pg 344) a halfling who lets people crash in her attic.

(Shop) The Happy Scrimshander: Sells tools, inks, and wax. Iriskree Harrowhil (assassin MM pg 343)is a doughty spinster.

(Tavern) The Lucky Liar: Fishers and woodcutters hang out here and tell tall tales. Danae Xotal (spy MM pg 349) is secretly an agent of Szass Tam.

(Closed Inn) Ramshackle: Currently stores lumber. Character can buy it and restore it if they like. Sounds like a downtime activity.

The White Moose

A white moose is attacking loggers. Speaker Huddle asks the heroes to handle it, offering 100 gp as a reward. She will offer to give the heroes the closed inn, Ramshackle, as a reward if necessary.

Tracking: Each hour, make a Survival check DC 15. Success: roll a d6. On a 6, the tracks lead to the elven tomb. Otherwise, tracks lead to an ordinary moose (goat MM pg 330). For every 3 hours, roll on the forest encounters table:

  • Banshee: This lone banshee (MM pg 23) has a bow that makes ranged spell attacks.
  • Brown Bear: Brown bear (MM pg 319) in search of tasty food.
  • Chwinga: Chwinga pg 282.
  • Fox & Hare: Fox (pg 288) hunting a Hare (pg 294). Roll a d6. Even number: fox catches the hare. Odd number: Hare escapes.
  • Wolf Pack: 1d4+4 wolves (MM pg 341). If 3 are slain, the rest flee.

Finding the Elven Tomb: If the group lurks here for an hour, the white moose (pg 82) shows up, sniffs the air, and leaves.

E1. Elf Statues: These statues are the source of a magical misdirection effect that keeps aberrations, fiends, giants, humanoids, and undead from finding the place. Tipping the statues over ends this effect.

E2. Barrow Entrance: Stone door can be opened only from the inside.

E3. Marble Gazebo: When a pine cone, a twig, a feather, and a severed hand are placed in the brazier, a silver flame appears and burns for a tenday. This allows you to open the sarcophagus at E4.

E4. Sarcophagus and Crystal Pillars: If the group got the fire going at E3, they can open the sarcophagus and get themselves a mummy (MM pg 228) named Sahnar. Once Sahnar is reduced to 0 hit points, it crumbles to dust.

E5. Moon Dial: Moonlight can light up the inscriptions on this thing, depending on what phase the moon is in. A moonbeam (PH pg 261) spell is supremely useful here. A crumbled wall provides access to E6.

E6. Barrow: 3 statues of elves facing east, all sorts of animals sleeping, and possibly the white moose (pg 82), who attacks.

E7. Mirror of the Full Moon: The light from the moon dial causes the mirror to act like a crystal ball (DMG pg 159), which allows you to cast scrying (PH pg 273). Mirror is held to the wall with sovereign glue (DMG pg 200).

E8. First Tomb of the Half-Moon: Sarcophagus with an elf corpse in it.

E9. Second Tomb of the Half-Moon: Ravision is here and will attack. Her little shrub buddy wants no part of this. In the sarcophagus is the remains of Ravisin's twin sister - Ravisin blames the people of Ten-Towns for her death. She was killed by hunters from Lonelywood.

  • Frost Druid (pg 289)
  • Awakened Shrub (MM pg 317)
  • Potion of Resistance (Radiant) (DMG pg 188)
  • Potion of Vitality (DMG pg 188)

(pg 86) Targos

Leader: Speaker Naerth Maxildanarr (spy MM pg 349) a Zhentarim agent looking to control trade in Icewind Dale.

(Inn/Speaker's Home) The Luskan Arms: Rat-infested inn. The owner, Owenn Tarsenel (commoner MM pg 344), is depressed due to the Everlasting Rime. The Speaker lives in one of the guest rroms, where he keeps three flying snakes (MM pg 322).

(Tavern) Three Flags Sailing: A woman known as "Ma" or Ethen Yarbroul (commoner MM pg 344) runs this place.

(General Store) Triglio: Justin Hunrae (commoner MM pg 344) is the proprietor. He sells all sorts of gear.

Mountain Climb 

A guy named Garrett led some adventurers on an expedition to Kelvin's Cairn, and only the dog came back. Garrett's husband asks the heroes to find him. He can only reward them with his art (which is detailed on page 92).

The Adventurers:

  • Mokingo Growling Bear Akannathi: A male goliath. He has been killed by a yeti.
  • Perilou Fishfinger: (acolyte MM pg 342) Female halfling follower of Yondalla. She is still alive in the yeti cave.
  • Astrix: Female tiefling who mumbles and swears. She froze to death on the path past the yeti cave.

The dog can help the group find the base camp, or they can try a group survival check DC 15 every 5 hours until they succeed. 

Base Camp: The other 5 sled dogs are still here. 

Ascending the Path: ASK FOR THE MARCHING ORDER. This will matter once the avalanche hits. The group will have a few encounters:

  • Goats: 4 mountain goats (pg 304) who only turn hostile if the group attacks them.
  • Avalanche: See pg 10. It acts on init counts 10 and 0. STR save DC 15, d10 bludgeoning dmg and prone.
  • Fallen Climber: It's Garrett! He's a scout (MM pg 349) with 6 HP left and one level of exhaustion (disadvantage on ability checks). He explains that a yeti attack him and his group. The group are further up the path. As he talks, two crag cats (pg 285) pounce on random characters.
  • Perilous Climb: 3 group Athletics checks DC 10. Fail: waste an hour making no progress, gain one level of exhaustion (PH pg 291).

Frozen Cave

F1. Chasm: This room has a sheet of ice covering a hole. You can shatter the ice )AC 13 HP 30), causing anyone standing on it to make a DEX save DC 16 or fall 80 feet and take 28 dmg.

F2. Trophies: The goliath's bones are strewn here. There are 7 frozen severed heads in niches. One head belongs to Oobuk (pg 34). Another belongs to Barthoom (pg 92), a dwarf who died further up the path where Astrix's remains are. You might also want to place the head of a scholer named Janth here as well (he's the ghost possessing the body of a kobold on page 99)

F3. Yeti Den: Perilou is still alive (she has 3 levels of exhaustion, PH pg 291). A yeti tyke (pg 313) is trying to play with her as a yeti (MM pg 305).

Leaving the Cave: As the heroes leave, another yeti (MM pg 305) shows up, carrying a goat.

Ruined Camp: Further up the trail, the group can find Astrix - dead and frozen solid. There's also a body with blue boots. Astrix has loot:

  • Potion of Invisibility (DMG pg 188)
  • Spellbook

(pg 93) Termalaine

Leader: Oarus Masthew (scout MM pg 349, although on page 95 it says he's a veteran MM pg 350) bright, but has enemies in town.

(Dockside Tavern) The Blue Clam: Scrimshaw hangs on the walls. VernonBrahg (commoner MM pg 344) is the owner and chef.

(Inn) The Eastside: Rooms are conntected by underground passages. Innkeeper Maria Peskryk (commoner MM pg 344) is a willoey teenager who tends to her bedridden father, Clyde. She wears a ring of warmth (DMG pg 193) and has a big backstory involving a song and a woman battered by wind.

A Beautiful Mine

The heroes can learn from a boy named Darmo that the mine has been closed due to monsters, and there's a 50 gp reward to anyone who clears it out. The heroes can bump into Speaker Oarus Masthew to learn more.

Making Friends: The kobolds in the mine aren't necessarily evil, they just need a place to stay. It is entirely possible for the group to bring them to Termalaine, where they prove themselves to be valuable workers.

Approaching the Mine: There's a sign that has charcoal writing: "Kobolds Only."

M1. Tool Room: Survival Check DC 13 reveals reptilian tracks leading to M2., M3., and M4.

M2. Gem Deposits: Spend an hour with a pick in here, then roll on the Mining Discoveries table on pg 96.

M3. River Cavern: 2 giant rats (MM pg 327). Fall in river: DEX save DC 10 or be swept away and dropped to your doom! Instant death, yikes. If you look at M5., there are two icewind kobolds cliging to the underside of the walkway, so maybe something could be done with that.

M4. Processing Room: There's a small dog figurine worth 10 gp.

M5. Underdark Shaft, Level 1: Two icewind kobolds (page 296) are hanging on the underside of the walkway, making a trap.

M6. Bucket Lift: The bucket has a crank in it that can lower you down to M7. The bucket fits one Medium or 2 Small creatures.

M7. Bucket Lift Landing: Survival Check DC 10 reveals more tracks leading to both tunnels.

M8. Grell Landing: The grell (MM pg 172) is hovering in here, hidden (perception DC 16 to spot). It wants to attack loners.

M9. Hungry Kobolds: 2 icewind kobolds (pg 296) about to eat a dead rat.

M10 Underdark Shaft, Level 3: The sloping tunnel leads back to the hole of doom. You have to cross it via a rope and bucket! Just 5 damage will destroy the rope and send you hurtling to an Underdark-y demise.

M11. Kobold Tunnels: So we have 3 icewind kobolds (pg 296) in here. One of them, named Trex, is possessed by a ghost (MM pg 147) named Janth. Trex holds a satchel cose - if the satchel is destroyed, the ghost is laid to rest.

Art by Claudio Pozas

M12. Fossilized Skull and Psi Crystals: Arcana Check DC 16: It's a mind flayer skull. The shard lodged in it is a psi crystal (pg 315). One cool thing about the crystal is that the higher your INT score is, the brighter it glows. Attuning to it causes indefinite madness (roll on the table on DMG pg 260). While attuned, the character can hear the distress signal from the ship on pg 132.

M13. Geode Workplace: Spend an hour mining away, get yourself a magnificent geode worth 10 gp.

The kobolds can be captured and brought to town. The kobolds actually would be willing to work in town, and prove themselves to be worthy citizens. 

** If the group gets a psi crystal, it is possible that the mind flayers from page 132 will find them. They have a device that can detect psi crystals within 5 miles. They need the psi crystal to power their nautiloid. **

(pg 101) Chapter 2 - Icewind Dale

Once the group hits 3rd level, they will start to hear "tall tales" (isted on page 102) that the group can investigate if they want.They gain levels under certain conditions, listed on page 101. Once they hit 7th level, they don't level by going through this stuff any more. 

Icewind Dale Quests 

These are mini-scenarios that link the party to sections further in this chapter.

Whale Oil Acquisition: Helka Jaggerath (commoner MM pg 344) will hire the heroes as bodyguards for her trip to Angaruk's Bell. The group can meet the awakened sperm whale. Helka will buy casks of whale oil.

Provisions for Macreadus: Copper Knobberknocker, an acolyte of Lathander, asks the group to check on his friend Macreadus (leads to pg 116).

Gnoll Heads: Trovus, the speaker of Caer-Konig, will pay 10 gp per gnoll head )leads to pg 121).

Zero Rum: The owners of the Five Tavern Center in Bremen hire the characters to check out a pirate ship and see if it has rum on it (leads the party to pg 127).

Distress Signal: Four psychically sensitive citizens pay the heroes 250 gp to check out a distress signal. The citizens:

  • Yedda Starsprit: Paranoid trapper with exotropia (eyes both point outward... the opposite of crossed eyes)
  • Nars Belrun: A shipwright from Targos who compains a lot.
  • Telvaster Hangingbell: A man who fled his noble family in Neverwinter.
  • Kaska Long: A mystery writer.

Yselm's Way: Yselm Bloodfang (frost druid pg 289) is secretly an agent of Auril. Auril asked her to lead the heroes to their doom. Yselm hires the group to the Jarlmoot (pg 137). She will turn against them if they overcome the challenges posed by Reggaryarva with the aid of a winter wolf (MM pg 340).

Peace Out: A goblin messenger from Karkolohk was captured. The message it carried was a request for peace with the goblins. The group is hired to check it out (see page 140). 

Hunt for the Red Yeti: Mylhor Tafferac (gladiator MM pg 346) bets the group that he can find and kill the legendary Red Yeti before they can. The group's search for the yeti brings them to the Lost Spire of Netheril (pg 145).

Wolf Tribe Cannibals: Aluka, werewolf (MM pg 211) warns the heroes that the wolf tribe has turned to cannibalism and she asks the group to stop them. The tribe captured a halfling named Honeybee Littlebucket and will eat her soon (see page 152).

Behind Bars: Duvessa Shane hire the group to go to Revel's End, where Vaelish Gant is incaracerarted, and see if they can find out what the Arcane Brotherhood is up to in Icewind Dale (see page 154).

A Goliath Problem: Kwan the Monolith Akannathi (goliath warrior pg 292) asks the group to unite the goliaths (see pg 161). Figurine of wondrous power (DMG pg 170).

Dragon Bone Stew: Dannika Graysteel (the scholar from the "Nature Spirits" starting adventure hires the group to collect some white dragon bones (which leads to page 166).

(pg 105) Wilderness Encounters

These are scaled for characters of levels 4-6.

The book suggests running one or two random encounters in each session. When you're ready to run a random encounter, roll two d20's. The first d20 is for the random wilderness encoutner table on pg 105. The second d20 is the "blizzard die". Add 1 to the result and, if it is higher than the encounter die, a blizzard (see page 10) hits d4 hours before the random encounter occurs.

Arveiaturace: She is an ancient white dragon (MM pg 100). She has a dead wizard named Meltharond strapped to her back that she talks to as if he were still alive. 

If the group encounters her during a blizzard, she is buried under the snow. Her dead wizard buddy is sticking out of the snow.

Awakened Beast: Frost druids (pg 289) are running around, awakening animals:

  • Polar Bear (MM pg 334)
  • Fox (pg 288)
  • Hare (pg 294)
  • Owl (MM pg 333)
  • Reindeer (MM pg 322) elk with glow in the dark antlers.
  • Saber-toothed tiger (MM pg 336)
  • Wolf (MM pg 341)

Battlehammer Dwarves: 1d6+2 of them (scout MM pg 349). They are indifferent to the heroes, and either have trout or rock samples.

Chardalyn Berserkers: 1d4+1 chardalyn berserkers (pg 280). One is wearing a ring with Auril's symbol on it. If the ring is removed, all creatures within 100 feet vanish, teleported to area Q1. in the Cave of the Berserkers (pg 124).

Chwinga: (pg 282) You pick whether it's sane or insane. A sane chwinga is just a little scamp. An insane chwinga tries to give a character a poison berry (1 dmg, CON sv DC 8 or poisoned for one hour). Poisoned: Disadvantage on Attack rolls and Ability Checks.

Then the insane chwinga tries to steal stuff: Sleight of Hand (+5) vs. the character's passive perception.

Coldlight Walker: The group can see the light of a coldlight walker (pg 284) from far away. The adventurers might hear the Frostmaiden whispering in the wind.

Crag Cats: 1d4 crag cats (pg 285) try to sneak up on the group. One Stealth check (+7) vs. each charactrer's passive perception. Characters who lose are surprised. Surprise: Can’t move or take an action on your first turn of the combat, and you can’t take a Reaction until that turn ends.

Frost Druid and Friends: The frost druid (pg 289) approaches in the form of an animal and attacks. It has a fried:

  • Awakened Tree (MM pg 317)
  • Awakened Mountain Goat (pg 304)
  • Awakened Reindeer: (MM pg 322) elk with glow in the dark antlers.
  • Awakened Walrus (pg 312)

Frost Giant Riding a Mammoth: Frost giant (MM pg 155) and mammoth (MM pg 332). It has a spear that does 25 dmg. Those who speak Giant can try and talk it into leaving them alone through a variety of ways detailed on pg 109.

Gnolls: 1d4+3 gnolls (MM pg 163). They come from the Cackling Chasm (pg 121).

Goliath Party: 4 goliath warriors (pg 292). Wyrmdoom goliaths might challenge the heroes to an athletic contest. 

  • Tug of War: It comes down to combined STR scores. The goliaths have a total of 72!
  • Hand Standing: Athletics group check DC 10. Each team repeats the check until one group fails.
  • Shrub Pulling: One member from each team makes an Athletics Check DC 20. First success wins (tie = highest roll wins).
  • Boulder Roll: Group Athletics checks DC 15. Each success brings the boulder 10 feet closer to finish line (50 feet total).

Goliath Werebear: (pg 293) It is friendly and helpful. It might ask the characters to go to the Cave of the Berserkers (pg 124) and wipe them out.

Herd of Beasts:

  • 3d6 killer whales (MM pg 331)
  • 6d6 seals (pg 308)
  • 4d6 walruses (pg 312)
  • 4d6 elk (MM pg 322)
  • 3d6 mammoths (MM pg 332)
  • 3d6 reindeer (MM pg 322) elk with glow in the dark antlers.

Humans: Some of them have friendly advice listed on page 111.

  • Tundra: 1d6+4 Reghed nomads (tribal warrior MM pg 350) or Ten-Towns trappers (scouts MM pg 349)
  • Sea of Moving Ice: 1d6+4 hunters (tribal warriors MM pg 350) in a canoe, hunting.

Ice Troll: Ice Troll (page 295)

Icewind Kobolds: 2d4 Icewind kobolds looking for a white dragon to worship or searching for food and shelter.

Orcs of the Many-Arrows Tribe: The orcs are looking for food and can be talked out of attacking the group.

  • Orc War Chief (MM pg 246)
  • Orc Eye of Gruumsh (MM pg 247)
  • 6 Orcs (MM pg 246)
  • Half-ogre (MM pg 238)

Perytons: They start out high in the air (need a passive perception of 13+ to not be surprised). 2 perytons (MM pg 251) looking for food and a heart. Can tear out a heart from a fdead character with an action.

Snowy Owlbear: The owlbear (MM pg 249) is hunting and can only be befriended by someone with the Owlbear Whisperer secret.

Yeti: They like to hide under the snow, giving them advantage on their Stealth check for surprise.

  • 1d4 Yeti: MM pg 305
  • 1 Abominable Yeti: MM pg 306
  • 1 Yeti Tyke: Page 313

(pg 113) Places of Interest

(pg 114) Angajuk's Bell

Angajuk is an awakened sperm whale (pg 309) with a boat on its back. If you go to a certain arch, you can summon the whale. 

A1. Frozen Pier: Walking on the ice is safe.

A2. Stone Cabin: Once the home of Anga, the frost druid who awakened the whale.

A3. Bell: Ringing the bell attracts 3 giant vultures (MM pg 329). Angajuk arrives 30 minutes later.

  • The Boat: Can hold up to 8 Medium creatures. When the whale submerges, a magic bubble appears around the boat. Nothing can pass through it from the outside and it can't be dispelled.

A4. Hole in the Ice: When summoned, this is where the whale rises up.

Earning Angajuk's Trust:

  • Feed it an Octopus: Octopus MM pg 333
  • Feed One of its Dolphin Friends (Animal Handling DC 10)
  • Fend Off Hunters (see Whale Hunt below)

Whale Hunt: 5 thugs (led by a hunter named Jendren Uruth) are going to pou oil into the hole, hoping to posion the whale. The whale avoids the area. They'll wait here for 3 days, and then try to use a character as bait.

(pg 116) Black Cabin 

A priest of Lathander named Macreadus tried to build a device to end the Rime. The device blew up and killed him. Now he's a weird entity in the Ethereal Plane

Macreadus is likely a reference to RJ Macready, the character Kurt Russel plays in John Carpenter's The Thing

Approaching the Cabin: This run-down place is on stilts and partially dangling over the edge of a ridge.

B1. Outhouse: Discarded notes and blueprints.

B2. Wooden Walkway: The walkway by B4 collapses if more than 150 pounds are on it. DEX save DC 10. Success: Fall 20 feet into snow, taking 1 dmg. Fail: Plunge into the gorge, taking 49 dmg.

B3. Workshop: Frost covers everything. Harmless squirrels live here. 

B4. Main Room: Remember, when a chrater picks up the summer star, things get real.

Weak Floor: More than 150 pounds means DEX save DC 15. Fail: fall and take 49 dmg. Success: Hold onto edge, xan pull self up with Athletics check DC 10. Fail by 5+ means you fall.

Charred Book: Can make out part of the title "ether".

Skeleton and Treasure: Charred remains of a human. Amulet of health (DMG pg 150).

Communication: Remember, Macreadus can communicate with the group through writing messages, moving things around, etc (detailed on pages 116-117).

Summer Star: 6 inch gyroscope. Pick it up: it glows. If not dropped, 10-foot-radius sphere: CON sv DC 17, 90 radiant dmg, half on save. Remember, if they die, they become spirits with Macreadus in the Border Ethereal. 

If Everybody Dies: A werebear (pg 293) shows up (there are details on the werebear in a small sidebar at the bottom of page 119). The group can communicate from the Border Ethereal using the guidelines on page 116.

Fixing the Summer Star:

  • Identify the Item: Arcana check DC 18 (advantage on the check if they have blueprints from B6): The device is supposed to control the weather. 
  • Analyze the Problem: Insight Check DC 15 reveals it has a design flaw. It needs another ring attached to it.
  • Fix the Design Flaw (takes a few hours): Make a new ring by using smith's tools. Incribe runes (Arcana DC 15). Modify device with smith's tools or tinker's tools. 
  • Activate the Item: Attune to it. Then use an action to cast control weather (PH pg 228). The device ceases to be magical.

Once the Summer Star is Used: Macreadus can rest. Anyone who died in the last 24 hours is brought back to life at full health. They also gain the Blessing of the Morninglord (Gain 10 temporary hit points each day at dawn). 

  • Frostmaiden's Revenge: On page 121, it explains that the Frostmaiden sends a coldlight walker (MM pg 284) and 3 ice mephits (MM pg 215) to kill the heroes. 

B5. Sweetberry Summer Wine: 4 barrels of wine! It's frozen. 

B6. Laboratory: There's a dead homunculus (MM pg 188). It's name was "Blare", likely a reference to the late Wilford Brimley's character in John Carpenter's The Thing. 

  • Blueprints: Anyone proficient with Arcana can see that these are designs for a magic weather device.

B7. Abandoned Bedroom: Unfit for habitation.

B8. Macreadus's Bedroom: The note that Copper, Macreadus's former assistant, wrote for him.

(pg 121) Cackling Chasm 

The starving gnolls here are fed up with their leader, Chyzka. They want to turn against him, but they fear him. If the characters come in here and kill Chyzka, the gnolls will let them leave safely. 

Approaching the Chasm: Steps lead down into Z2.

Z1. Cave Mouth: Stack of skulls with the symbol of Yeenoghu on them.

Z2. Feasting Cave: If the group is noisy, the 4 gnolls (MM pg 163) from Z3. will check it out. There's a pouch under some broken bones with a bit of money and a trinket (pg 263).

Z3. Shrine to Yeenoghu: 4 gnolls (MM pg 163)

Z4. Frozen Rift: Loud noises can be heard throughout the rift. 

  • Falling: If you look at the map, you can see that a falling character might land 30 feet below (3d6 dmg), 100 feet below (10d6 dmg), or 200 feet below (20d6 dmg).

Z5. Chyzka's Cave: Chyzka, gnoll fang of Yeenoghu (MM pg 163). There's some money and a hook of fisher's delight (page 314).

Z6. Sleeping Cave: At night there's 12 gnolls (MM pg 163), during the day there are 6.

Z7. Storeroom: Empty containers.

Z8. Caged Berserker: Chardalyn berserker (pg 280) has 60 HP left. Will attack anyone he can reach.

Leaving the Chasm: As the party leaves, 6 gnolls might be returning (20% chance they caught food - crag cat or mountain goat).

(pg 124) Cave of the Berserkers

These berserkers serve the Frostmaiden. Right now, there's 2 white dragon wyrmlings and one berserker inside. As the group leaves, 3 more berserkers show up.

** Remember, as long as the blue flame burns in Q5., they can't be killed in the lair. **

Q1. Icy Path: Falling off: 20 foot drop (2d6 dmg). There is a little tunnel down there that leads to Q4. The problem is that both of the wyrmlings (MM pg 102) are in Q4!

Q2. Bear's Head: I don't really know why the heroes would want to damage the portico out here. But if they make noise, the wyrmlings (MM pg 102) will attack, one coming from behind.

Q3. Eggshells in Cells: Examine the shells: Nature Check DC 13, they are white dragon eggs that hatched about 3 years ago. Noise will attract the wyrmlings (MM pg 102) from Q4.

Q4. Waste Chute: Gelym and Tyzar, the white dragon wyrmlings (MM pg 102) are resting here. Climb up the chute: Athletics check DC 15. There is some loot in here, including money, a spyglass, and a spell scroll of knock (PH pg 254).

Q5. Frostmaiden's Fire: As long as this brazier burns, the chardalyn berserkers can't drop below 1 HP!

  • Stone Brazier: 3 feet high, can't be moved or damaged.
  • Magical Blue Flame: Can't be smothered or put out with water. Contact: 10 cold dmg.
  • Detect Magic (PH pg 231): Reveals an aura of abjuration.
  • Dispel Magic (PH pg 231): Snuffs it out for 1 hour. 
  • Stone Shape (PH pg 278): Puts out fire for good. 

Q6. Slaughterhouse: A chardalyn berserker (pg 280) is in here butchering an owlbear.

Q7. Meat Storage: 80 pounds of fresh meat, worth 5 sp per pound.

Q8. Living Quarters: 4 sleeping pallets.

Returning Berserkers: As the group leaves and is on the causeway, 3 chardalyn berserkers (pg 280) return with a slain peryton.

(pg 127) Dark Duchess

The group can explore the ship and find the dragon's iced-over hoard. The dragon might show up. If so, a verbeeg named Tinjong could arrive and help the heroes escape.

Approaching the Ship: The heroes will hear noises when they get close (the ice troll is trying to get at some kobolds trapped in a cabin).

D1. Main Deck: Examine Marks: Survival check DC 12: A single enormous creature did the damage. Succeed by 5+: Marks were made by a dragon.

  • Door: The door to d8 is covered in thick ice. Takes 1 hour to break through (and 2 hours if the group tries to melt it). Noise will alert the ice troll (pg 295) in D9.

D2. Forecastle: More marks.

D3. Aftcastle: Ice coats the captain's wheel.

D4. Surgeon's Cabin: 3 vials of antitoxin, a healer's kit, and a vial of holy water.

D5. First Mate's Cabin: Frost-covered bed.

D6. Chart Room: A map of the Sword Coast and a map of Icewind Dale.

D7. Storage: Barrels contain mundane equipment.

D8. Captain's Cabin: A dead pirate holding a chest.

  • The Captain: History Check DC 15: Captain Rudolph Bluemoon was a member of a faction in Luskan that engages in piracy. He was a cruel and cunning individual with many enemies. 
  • Corpse: In the captain's jacket pocket is a key that unlocks the chest.
  • Journal: Final entry thals about a white dragon circling the ship. 
  • Chest: Takes 10 minutes to scrape off ice and frost. contains money, 2 bracelets, and a gray bag of tricks (DMG pg 154).

D9. Hold: The ice troll (pg 295) is in here trying to get into D12.

  • Frozen Dead Creature: A crag cat killed by the dragon's breath weapon.

Treasure buried under ice. Each layer of ice takes 1 hour to get through:

  • First Layer: Money and pearls.
  • Second Layer: Art objects and a scrimshaw figurine of an archer that acts as a spell scroll of remove curse (PH pg 271).
  • Third Layer: Gems, a driftglobe (DMG pg 166), and a quiver of Ehlonna (DMG pg 189)
  • Fourth Layer: Big bowl, 7 garnets, mithral armor (DMG pg 182), "wand of orcus" (DMG pg 227) and continual flame (PH pg 227).

D10. Galley: The goat is alive, the kobolds (MM pg 330) use it as a pack animal.

D11. Rum Storage: Put the pieces together: One-Eyed Jax rum. I think that's a Jarlaxle reference.

D12. Water Storage: Smash the door with a STR check DC 20. 4 icewind kobolds (pg 296) hide behind the barrels. They worship Arveiaturace and do her bidding.

Arveiaturace Arrives: There is a 20% chance per hour that the ancient white dragon (MM pg 100) shows up. She will check on her hoard and, if the heroes hide, she flies off to find something to eat.

Tinjong the Verbeeg: If the group gets into trouble, Tinjong the verbeeg longstrider (page 311 will show up and cast fog cloud (PH pg 243). She lives in a nearby cave with a chwinga. If a character plays music for the chwinga, it will give them a charm (page 283).

(pg 133) Id Ascendant

 The mind flayer ship has crashed and they need  apsi crystal to get it flying again. If they can't find one, they'll blow their ship up and make themselves at home in Icewind Dale. 

  • Co-Captain Vorryn Q'uuol: (gnome ceremorph pg 303) Exasperated, dry sense of humor.
  • Co-Captain Dredavex Sinfiz: (gnome ceremorph pg 303) Industrious, tells crude jokes
  • Crew: Rin, Rix, and Zglarrd (squidlings pg 303) have blind hunger for brains, reasoning and emotional control of toddlers.Communicate telepathically with short, simple words.

Let's take a look at these new mind flayer variants from page 302-303 of this book. 

Gnome Ceremorph

  • "Ceremorphosis can go awry when an illithid tadpole is implanted in the brain of a gnome... The mind flayer remains gnome-sized and is called a gnome ceremorph."
  • It has a laser pistol in its stat block. 
  • It has mind blast and extract brain like a regular mind flayer.


  • "A deformed mind flayer with weak, spindly limbs and over-sized tentacles. It relies on levitation to keep its body aloft and uses its tentacles like legs, to propel it along..."
  • Very weak! AC 8 HP 10, +0 to hit.
  • They have "mind tickle", a very weak mind blast that does 2 psychic dmg. It does still stun enemies, though, which allows it to extract brain (doing 27 points of dmg). 

Telepathic Distress Signal: A creature attuned to the psi crystal and certain telepathic NPCs (listed on page 103) can hear the signal. The broadcast is in Deep Speech. This beacon can be shut off in area N7. on page 136 through a variety of means.

The Crash Site: The ship has tentacles covered in mucus.

Approaching the Nautiloid: 2 carrion crawlers (MM pg 37), Vorryn's pets, lurk here.

Nautiloid Features: Organic, tilted slightly, 20 foot ceilings, Is warm inside (50 degrees Fahrenheit) and.. uh.. direct quote:

"Each interior door aboard the ship is a fleshy sphincter that opens when a creature that has telepathy approaches within 5 feet of it, then quickly closes behind the creature and its companions to keep the heat in. A door must otherwise be pried or tickled open, which requires an action."

N1. Forward Deck: Open doors Athletics check DC 14. The ballistas don't work.

N2. Cargo Hold: The flesh golem will attack. Sounds of battle will draw Dredavex (gnome ceremorph pg 303) here.

  • 3 Gnome Squidlings (page 303)
  • Flesh Golem (MM pg 169)
  • 2 Barrels of Lubricant
  • 2 Barrels of a Pink Slurry (brains)
  • Crate of Machine Parts
  • Crate of Weapons: 6 laser rifles (DMG pg 269) 3d8 radiant dmg, two-handed. Figuring out Alien Technology chart DMG pg 268 INT check, you want a 15+ result.
  • 3 Crates: That the squidlings live in.

N3. Cryogenic Stasis Pods: Non-functional until the power core is fixed.

N4. Battle Deck: To use the ballista, make an Arcana check DC 15. If it fails by 5+, one random creature takes 9 slashing dmg. I guess it is a normal ballista? 

  • Ballista: (DMG pg 255) +6 to hit, rg 120/480, 16 piercing dmg. 1 action to load, 1 action to aim, 1 action to fire.

N5. Maintenance: Dredavex (gnome ceremorph pg 303) is trying to fix the life support system. Help him: Arcana Check DC 25. Success: It runs for another 24 hours. 

  • Laser Pistol: (DMG pg 268) 3d6 radiant dmg, rg 40/120
  • Psi Crystal Detector: Small black box, emits clicking noises when within 5 miles of a psi crystal.

N6. Propulsion Room: This is where the psi crystal can be placed to power the ship.

N7. Bridge: Vorryn (gnome ceremorph pg 303) is communing with the liquified consciousness of the ship.

  • Laser Pistol: (DMG pg 268) 3d6 radiant dmg, rg 40/120
  • Pacifier Rod: Action: Any creature within 30 feet with an INT of 3 or lower must make a CON save DC 13 or be incapacitated. 25% chance the rod breaks each use.
  • Helm: Can only be used by mind flayers. Any non-illithid that tries to use it must make a CON save DC 17 or be stunned for 10 minutes.
  • Self Destruct: The co-captains can each touch an orb at the same time to cause a 60-second self destruct sequence. Any caught within 60 feet of the ship takes 70 force dmg.

N8. Observation Deck: Deck is covered in frost.

N9. Captains' Quarters: There are 5 gizmos in here that defend the room from intruders. At the start of each turn, a random creature in the room must make a DEX save DC 16 or take 4 radiant dmg. The gizmos can be torn from the wall or destroed easily.

  • Crystal Sphere: A broken cryogenic pod.
  • Worktable: There are two magic items among this junk. Rooting through it causes 50% chance of a discharge to all within 5 fet. DEX save DC 17 or 4 lightning dmg.
  • Metal Monocle (eyes of seeing DMG pg 168).
  • Slimy Coif (helm of telepathy DMG pg 174).

Bulette Proof: As the group leaves, a bulette (MM pg 34) attacks. It starts 120 feet away from the group.

(pg 137) Jarlmoot

7 empty giant-sized stone thrones covered in a sheet of ice. Under a full moon, the apparitions of dead frost giant jarls appear and reminisce about their glorious past. 

J1. Ring of Thrones: The apparitions will not interact with the party. First the apparitions summon a frost giant skeleton (pg 289), then 2 invisible stalkers (MM pg 192). As a reward, one throne hovers, revealing a hidden stair that leads to J2.

  • Ring Effect: While in this area, creatures are vulnerable to cold damage (except those with resistance/immunity to cold). 
  • Detect Magic (PH pg 231): Reveals aura of necromancy.

J2. Hall of Braziers: The group can get to J5 (push open with an Athletics check DC 15), but to get to J3 they need to solve this puzzle. They need to burn the correct items in the braziers to get the door to J3 open.

J3. Curved Tunnel: Doors to J4. can be opened with an Athletics check DC 15.

J4. Turn the Gold Key: A 6 foot tall chest with a key in the lock. Using the key opens a one-way portal to J1. If you go through, a swarm of ravens (MM pg 339) attacks you.

  • In the Chest: The chest can be opened with the silver key from J5, a knock spell (PH pg 254), or a DEX check DC 20 w/ thieves tools. Inside is a horn of blasting (DMG pg 174) and 6 animated battleaxes (flying sword MM pg 20). 

J5. Chamber of Chests: The ceiling is 25 feet high. There's 4 chests, and five keys (four iron, one silver) hanging from the ceiling 25 feet up. 

  • Chests: 6 feet tall each. knock spell (PH pg 254) or DEX check DC 15 w/ thieves tools opens. The chests contain items to burn in the braziers in J2.
  • Silver Key: This is for the chest in J4. 

Leaving Jarlmoot: A frost giant (MM pg 155) named Gromin'gorn is heading to the Jarlmoot and will be hostile to the heroes, especially if she sees the horn of blasting. She wields a chain with an anvil on it that does 25 damage

(pg 140) Karkolohk

Secret of Chief Yarb-Gnock: A gnome named Spellix Romwod (pg 144) is pretending to be a goblin chief named Yarb-Gnock. He runs this goblin tribe, but they are starting to suspect he is not what he seems. He wants to escape. 

  • The Crate: The goblins found a metallic, egg-shaped crate (it fell from the nautiloid) and Yarb-Gnock is obsessed with figuring out how to open it.

Karkolohk Overview: The fort is always under repairs due to weather and experiments gone wrong.

Goblin Mindset: Visitors are not welcome here.

Gnome Diplomacy: If the group has come here through the "Peace Out" quest (pg 103), then Yarb-Gnock will meet with the heroes and either:

  1. Give them a message to deliver to the council at Bryn Shander.
  2. Try to leave with the group to go to Bryn Shander (in which case, the goblins will get confused and attack).

K1. Watchtower: There are three of these, each containing 4 goblins (MM pg 166). The ramparts give them half cover (+2 to AC and DEX saves).

  • Sneak Past/Climb Ladder Undetected: Stealth Check DC 9.

K2. Main Gate: The boxed text indicates there are 4 goblins on top, but then below that it says there are 6 total. Goblins (MM pg 166). Sneaking up close is a DC 9 Stealth check. 

  • Open Gate: Use an action to reach through and try to pick the icy padlock DEX check DC 20.

K3. Courtyard: There are 2 wooden bridges overhead. One is 30 feet up, the other is 50 feet up and broken.

  • Snubsuk: A goblin (MM pg 166) who rides a worg (MM pg 341). If conflict breaks out, he will fall off his worg and flee.
  • Archers: Remember that there are two archer platforms (K4) with a good view of this area. Each has 2 goblins (MM pg 166). The range is 80/320, so they can hit characters from far away here.

K4. Archer Platforms: Each has 2 goblins (MM pg 166) and two wolves (MM pg 341).

K5. Main Battle Platform: The shield guardian (MM pg 271) is inert (the control amulet is missing). The ropes and pulleys can be used to make it look like it is animate. The goblins aren't scared by it.

K6. Healers' Huts: Each is home to a goblin (MM pg 166) with a healer's kit and a mountain goat (pg 304).

  • Manafek: In the easternmost hut is a healer who tells fortunes via raven's blood. She knows Yarb-Gnock is a fraud and is planning to blackmail him.

K7. Walk of Doom: Goblins being punished are brought here to either throw themselves off or be stabbed to death.

  • Collapse: If more than 200 pounds are put on this walkway, it collapses. DEX sv DC 16. Success: leap to safety and fall prone. Fail: Fall 150 feet, taking 52 dmg.

K8. Goblin Huts: 1 adult goblin (MM pg 166), 1d6 children.

K9. Main Keep Foyer: 4 goblins (MM pg 166). They can bar the door, making it impossibe to get in without a siege weapon.

K10. Guard Barracks: Furs and hammocks.

K11. Dining Room: There's a goblin (MM pg 166) behind a door, watching via a peephole. Getting through the door Athletics check DC 22.

K12. Chief's Quarters: The door has 3 deadbolts. Bash the door in with an Athletics check DC 15. It takes him a minute to put on his disguise, so the group might learn his secret. Spellix will share his secret with the heroes and ask for help in escaping.

  • Egg-Shaped Crate: 3 feet tall, weighs 250 pounds. the crate has a keypad that opens it. Knock spell (PH pg 254) will open it. Inside is a gibbering mouther (MM pg 157).

K13. Treasury: Empty!

(pg 145) Lost Spire of Netheril

As the heroes explore this place, 6 bugbears (MM pg 33) looking for food, as detailed on page 152.

Dzaan Info (pg 269-270): Was a red wizard.

  • Adventurers he had hired found the Lost Spire.
  • Dzaan made the spire his base, and had the adventurers killed.
  • Dzaan got burned to death (pg 63) in Easthaven. 
  • Dzaan's simulacrum (simulacrum spell PH pg 276) is waiting in the spire, unaware Dzaan is dead. It can't regain spells it has cast. 
  • He has a bodyguard: Krintass, a Thayan wight (MM pg 300). 
  • There is a room in the spire that can make the simulacrum into a real person.

Not-so-Dead Wizard of Thay: The simulacrum needs a "life spark" to activate room P16. It will try to get a character to go there.

Approaching the Spire: History check DC 15: It was a building shaped by magic.

Slippery Entrance: Remember, this tunnel was dug out by the shield guardian centuries ago. Athletics check DC 15 or slide down to P1 (no dmg).

Lost Spire Overview: All rooms are upside down, all rooms lit with continual flame (PH pg 227) which emits no heat and still points to the "ceiling" (floor, now),

P1. Upside-Down Entrance: Upside-down statues depict wizards.

P2. Upside-Down Corridor: One end is choked with rubble.

P3. Upside-Down Library: There's a tunnel to P6. Books with useful info:

P4. Upside-Down Workshop: Search wreckage: find a key to the chest in P5.

P5. Upside-Down Potion Storage: Metal ches bolted to the ceiling (12 feet up). Pick lock: DEX check w/ thieves tools DC 15 

  • Chest: 4 potions of resistance (DMG pg 188) (acid, cold, fire, force). Catch a falling potion: DEX sv DC 10.

P6. Upside-Down Laboratory: There's a tunnel to P3. and P11. Identifying the carapace: Nature check DC 20. It's a thri-kreen (MM pg 288).

P7. Upside-Down Apprentices' Study: Books:

  • Ajamar's Guide to the Phantastic: Clever uses of illusion spells.
  • The Unfettered Mind: It's all about existing as a disembodied brain (see brain in a jar pg 279).

P8. Upside-Down Reading Room: Permanent silence spell (PH pg 275). Dispel DC 18.

P9. Collapsed Staircase: Unusable. Corpse has a missing ring finger.

P10. Rubble-filled Spiral Stairway: Impassable.

P11. Upside-Down Laboratory: If the group makes noise, the simulacrum and the wight will hear from P12. Searching the mess turns up a brass key (for the chest in P15) and a scroll of invisibility (PH pg 254).

P12. Snow and Shadow: Dzaan's simulacrum (pg 270) and Krintaas the wight (MM pg 300). Dzaan greets the heroes and explains the situation. He offers to give them the shield guardian amulet which can control the shield guardian on pg 143) if they'll help him become a flesh-and-blood creature. 


  • Lost Scrolls of Sabreyl: Written in Elvish, describes a sun elf teaching cloud giants magic.
  • From Shadow, Substance: Speculates on ways to make an illusion real.
  • Here Lies the King: Novel about an illusionist using magic to rule a kingdom.
  • Ventatost: Theories on a city thst disintegrated.

P13. Upside-Down Shrine: If you touch the symbol on the upside-down altar, it conjures forth a potion (which falls and must be caught DEX sv DC 10). Whoever drinks the potion gains the ability to use the minor illusion (PH pg 260) cantrip at will.

P14. Upside-Down Refectory: Basilisk (MM pg 24). There is a mirror in P15. that the group can use to reflects its gaze.

P15. Upside-Down Bedchamber: Will-o-wisp (MM pg 301). Once reduced to half HP, it will turn invisible and harass the group as they explore further.

  • Invisible Chest: Pick Lock with disadvantage DC 17. There's a spellbook inside that disintegrates right away. The chest itself is worth 100 gp.

P16. Upside-Down Rune Chamber: Illusory creature or object must stand under the disk. Living creature must touch the illusion. Roll on the effect table (pg 151). Black pudding (MM pg 241).

Dzaan Lives: If the simulacrum becomes real, it thanks the group and resumes the search for Ythryn. First, though, it needs a spellbook. He asks the adventurers to find and kill his rivals: Avarice, Nass, and Vellynne.

Bugbear Incursion: As the group explors the Spire, 6 hungry bugbears (MM pg 33) arrive and search for food.

(pg 152) Reghed Tribe Camp

These camps move locations every 10-20 days. All 4 tribes are part of Auril's "tests" (see pages 208-211). I'll put some notes here to help you foreshadow the tests.

It says we should look at the Reghed Nomads section on pg 305:

Reghed Nomads

There are four tribes, all "children of the Reghed Glacier." They follow herds of reindeer.

Tribe of the Bear: Many members were cast out after being corrupted by chardalyn, and are now chardalyn berserkers (pg 280). 

  • King Gunvald Halraggson (pg 305): Big and strong, his last 3 wives all died. He doesn't know that the shaman, Ulkora, has poisoned them because she wants the King for herself. 

Test of Cruelty (pg 209): The group will eventually teleport here and find that the tribe is starving. The shaman has convinced King Gunvald to kill and eat for of the eldest members of the tribe. He asks the heroes to kill them. 

Tribe of the Elk: Tolerant of outsiders. This tribe ultimately is meant to protect the heroes from the Tiger Tribe when the group is about to open the passage to Ythryn (see "Elk and Tiger" on pg 215).

  • King Jarund Elkhardt (pg 305): He is 50 and has no heirs. He and his shaman, Mjenir, think that Auril needs to be slain in her home to end the Rime, but he thinks his clan isn't strong enough to do it alone.

Test of Endurance (pg 209): This test involves the adventurers traveling with the Elk Tribe through a magical blizzard in which functions as an anti-magic field (PH pg 213). 

Mjenir's Vision (pg 215): Mjenir the shaman has a vision that the group will need the aid of the Elk Tribe as they head to the glacier to use the Rime. He is correct. The Tiger Tribe will attackt he group (see pg 216).

Tribe of the Tiger: Preys on the weaker Bear and Elk tribes. This tribe is ultimately meant to try to kill the heroes when they go to open the passage to Ythryn (see "Elk and Tiger" on pg 215).

  • Queen Bjornhild Solvigsdottir (pg 306): Is a follower of the Frostmaiden and wants to become the chosen of Auril. Grava is her pet saber-toothed tiger (MM pg 336).

Test of Isolation (pg 210): Queen Bjornhild wants the party to watch her camp while her whole tribe goes to destroy the Elk Tribe. The adventurers wait 6 days, and may become magically lost during that time.

Tiger Tribe Ambush (pg 216): Once the group acquires the Rime, Bjornhild is furious and attacks the heroes as they make their way to the glacier.

Tribe of the Wolf: Small tribe that is dying out. They're bringing in outsiders and goblinoids to fill their ranks.

Test of Preservation (pgs 210-211): The Wolf Tribe has killed everyone in a clan who stood in the way of Isarr Kronenstrom's rise to becoming king of the Wolf Tribe. The heroes need to rescue the lone survivor - a kid named Aerix Vokoth.

Approaching a Camp: 6 tribal warriors (MM pg 350) walk the perimeter. Sneak in: Stealth DC 10. Guards capture rather than kill.

Camp Roster:

  • Chieftan: 1 in 6 chance it's the tribe's king or queen. Otherwise, gladiator (MM pg 346).
  • Great Warrior: Gladiator (MM pg 346). Codyguard/spouse of chieftan. 
  • Shaman: Druid (MM pg 346). Wears a mask.
  • 36 Hunters and Warriors: Tribal warriors (MM pg 350). Half are asleep.
  • 24 Noncombatants: Kids and elders. Half are asleep.
  • 36 Sled Dogs: Wolf (MM pg 341)

Hunting Parties: 1d6+4 tribal warriors (MM pg 350). 2-4 parties are gone. One returns every 2d4 hours.

General Layout: Tents in the center house the important people.

Chieftan's Tent: Has a table and lamps.

Shaman's Tent:

  • 1d4 potions of healing (DMG pg 187)
  • Spell scroll of lesser restoration (PH pg 255)

Life in a Reghed Camp: Somber and subdued. Share stories.

(pg 154) Revel's End 

Run by the Lords' Alliance, this prison houses criminals (many of which are captured spies) who have lengthy sentences.

Involving the Characters: Vaelish Gant is imprisoned here. He was one of the villains in Legacy of the Crystal Shard.

Prison Features: The exterior doors are arcane locked (PH pg 215), the interior is magically heated, lighting vs continual flame (PH pg 227), 75 guards (veterans MM pg 350).

Prisoners: They each have a number. They wear a hoodless robe without pockets, leather slippers, cloth undergarments. Outside of their cells, they weat manacles on their wrists and ankles.

Approaching the Prison: It's on a cliff. there's a crane and scaffold.

Guards on Watch: There are four guards towers, each with 3 guards (veterans MM pg 350). Perception +2.

Getting Inside: The group might come here to seek shelter or meet with a prisoner. If so:

  • 3 guards watch them (veterans MM pg 350)
  • Weapons are confiscated.
  • Each character is searched for concealed weapons (hide a weapon with a Sleight of Hand DC 13).
  • Animals aren't allowed. they are kept in R5.

High Alert: The light turns red and all the guards gain the effects of a see invisibility (PH pg 274) spell.

R1. Pier: Ships dock here. There is a 10% chance that the Ravenous (see pgs 197-198) is docked here, offloading supplies and 1d4 convicts in shackles.

R2. Elevator: Wooden scaffold, takes one minute.

R3. Guard Room: 3 guards (veterans MM pg 350) play cards.

R4. Hospital: 12 beds, 20 healer's kits.

R5. Stables: Animals are kept here.

R6. Mess Hall: Employees eat here every 4 hours.

R7. Councilors' Quarters: 10 rooms for the Absolution Council (parole committee). 3 members are here:

  • Councilor Voss Anderson: Lawyerly, rational, from Neverwinter.
  • Councilor Jil Torbo: Halfling, hates her job, from Baldur's Gate.
  • Councilor Kriv Norixius: Silver dragonborn, has no compassion for criminals, from Daggerford.

R8. Kitchen and Side Rooms: 6 cooks.

R9. Guard Towers: 3 guards (veterans pg 350). Hatch is arcane locked (PH pg 215).

R10. Armory: Mundane weapons. Guarded by a spectator (MM pg 30).

R11. Courtyards: Prisoners are allowed out here when the weather isn't too bad.

R12. Meeting Room: Hatch is arcane locked (PH pg 215).

R13. Storeroom: Supplies for 6 months.

R14. Privy: 12 waste buckets, cleaned daily.

R15: Hexagon: Allows access to out rooms.

R16: Panopticon: Dimly lit at night.

R17. Cells: Permanent antimagic fields. Cell holds 1-2 prisoners.

  • Prisoners: There are 4d12 prisoners here total.There is a list of sample prisoners on page 158. Vaelish Gant is prisoner 237.

R18. Surveillance Hub: 7 guards (veterans MM pg 350). There's a magic console here that allows you to open and close cell doors, control the brightness of the lights, and speak through a loudspeaker.

R19. Guard Barracks: 50 guards (veterans MM pg 350).

R20. Hall of Absolution: This is where parole hearings are held. Prisoners get them once per year.

R21. Warden's Quarters: Wooden chest (Marta has the key) can be picked with a DEX check DC 20. Inside is gold, a Harper pin, and a wand of binding (DMG pg 209).

  • Warden Marta Marthannis: Human mage (MM pg 347), secretly a Harper. The spirit of a dwarf named Vlax Brawnanvil inhabits her body, and takes control of her for an hour or two each day. The spirit speaks only Dwarvish and likes to drink. She could get rid of him by making a trip to Gauntlgrym, but she likes him.

R22. Warden's Office: Files on prisoners and financial ledgers. Pick locks on cabinets/drawers: DEX check DC 10.

R23. Tower Roof: No guards. A wooden drawbridge is used as an airship dock.

Prisoner 237: Vaelish Gant: He got thrown in here after he tried to set up a protection racket in Ten-Towns. He has a lot of information about Netheril and the 4 roaming members of the Arcane Brotherhood that he'll share (see pg 161).

(pg 161) Skytower Shelter

Skytower goliaths don't like strangers and are known to tame griffons. It says we should look at the goliath info on page 292:

Spine of the World Goliaths: The two clans have a long-standing feud and don't get along at all:

  • Skytower Shelter is home to the Akannathi clan.
  • Wyrmdoom is home to the Thuunlakanaga clan.

Origins of the Beef: On pae 162, the chief of Skytower claims that the Wyrmdoom goliaths killed one of his griffons. This incident involved a goliath youth who was injured by a griffon (that youth grew up to become Chieftan Ogolai Orcsplitter Thuunlakalaka, as described on pages 168-169).

Into the Mountains: Mountain Travel pg 11. Need to make a Survival Check DC 15 each hour. Fail means you have to backtrack, it's a whole thing.

S1. Stone Causeway: 6 griffons (MM pg 174) circle overhead. They alert the goliaths if they spot intruders.

S2. Barricade and Chieftan: If the group doesn't have a goliath, the party is told to leave (the chief says they can come in if they bring him the white cloak of Ogolai, chieftan of Wyrmdoom Crag). If the party tries to fight their way in, 9 more goliath warriors (pg 291) from S9. show up and the 6 griffons (MM pg 174) jump in, too.

  • Arn Rockfist Akannathi: The chief! Goliath warrior (pg 291)
  • 5 goliath warriors (pg 291)

S3. Overlook: 5 goliath warriors (pg 291)

S4. Chieftan's Cave: Harad is sleeping, Kaniaka is sitting by the fire. If they cure Kaniaka's blindness, she will push for peace with Wyrmdoom Crag.

  • Harad Cloudstrider Annakathi: goliath warrior pg 291. The chief's husband.
  • Kaniaka Stormcrow Akannathi: The chief's mother. She is blind. 
  • Crag Cat pg 285. Protects Kaniaka.

S5. Shrine of Mind and Spirit: Pray near the runestone for one hour, gain +d6 to a WIS or CHA check. Can't gain another die for 10 days.

S6. Griffons' Cave: A griffon mother is resting. A goliath holds her griffon spawn protectively, warning the group to come no closer. If a fight breaks out, Rahi can call on two more griffons (MM pg 174) for aid. Characters can befriend the youngling with an Animal Handling check DC 15.

  • Rahi Skydreamer Akannathi: Goliath Warrior (pg 291). Caretaker of the griffons. 
  • Griffon Mother: MM pg 174.

S7. Shrine of Strength and Honor: Pray near the runestone for one hour, gain +d6 to a STR check or a roll to hit. Can't gain another die for 10 days.

S8. Passage of Carvings: The carvings depict their history: Taming griffons, orc wars, skirmishes with Wyrmdoom.

S9. Feasting Cave: 9 goliath warriors (pg 291). Two are having a test of strength, holding rocks aloft. Each minute, they make a STR check and the DC goes up by 5.

S10. Communal Cave: 3 young goliaths. Trasure includes money, gems, a gold birdcage, and a potion of gaseous form (DMG pg 187).

Ending the Goliath Feud: To do this, the group must first cure Kaniaka's blindness and heal the wounded aarakocra at Wyrmdoom. Then the chiefs will meet on neutral ground. 

Using the Griffons: On page 198, it says that if the heroes have made peace betweent he goliath tribes, that they can convince the goliaths to let them use the griffons to fly to Auril's islands

(pg 166) Wyrmdoom Crag

Long ago, these goliaths killed a white dragon named Stygiarus. Its bones are still here.

Goat-Ball: It's like dodgeball, except each person stands on platform, such  as a tree stump.

Into the Mountains: Mountain Travel pg 11. Need to make a Survival Check DC 15 each hour. Fail means you have to backtrack, it's a whole thing.

Overview: Friendly goliaths.

  • Missing Goliath: While here, the group might learn that one hunter named Kapanuk Talltree Thuunlakalaga went missing. He was captured by the duergar and is currently in the prison on page 182.

W1. Approach: 4 chwingas (pg 282) lurk in the bones. If a character indulges their fascination for 3 days, they will gain a charm (pg 283).

  1. Chwinga 1: Likes small characters, tries to ride around on them.
  2. Chwinga 2: Likes beards, tries to comb them with a pinecone.
  3. Chwinga 3: Likes whistling.
  4. Chwinga 4: Likes people who chew with their mouths open.

W2. Goat-Ball Court: The heroes might get challenged to a game of goat-ball against 4 goliath warriors (pg 291).

W3. Weaponsmith: An anvil, javelins and axes are here, along with the weaponsmith.

  • Wayani Highhunter Thuunlakalaga: Goliath warrior (pg 291), learned how to smith from a dwarf.

W4. The Crawl: Goliaths making ceremonial dolls for a ritual. They'll try to crawl through the tunnel, overcome a couple saving throws that induce terror, and then come out the other end as adults.

  • Demelok Nightwalker Thuunlakalaga: Noncombatant adult.
  • 3 Goliath Warriors: (pg 291)youths

W5. Main Hall: The group can meet the chieftain of Wyrmdoom here. They can also learn about a missing goliath named Kapanuk, who is in area X28 on page 182.

  • Ogolai Orcsplitter Thuunlakalaga: She is resolving a dispute between two youths. She wears a cloak of rotection (DMG pg 159). She is afraid of griffons.
  • 8 Goliath Warriors (pg 291)
  • 6 goliath children

W6. Private Caves: A wounded aarakocra is being tended to by Aruk Thundercaller Thuunkalakaga. If the heroes magically heal the aarkocra's wing, they will earn the respect of the goliaths.

  • Sikki-kree: Aarakocra (MM pg 12) Got caught in a blizzard, has a broken wing (requires 10 HP of magical healing to be mended).
  • Aruk Thundercaller Thuunkalakaga: Does not have magical healing.
  • Treasure: Coins, gems, elemental gem (DMG pg 167).

W7. Feasting Cave: 9 goliath warriors cooking and wrestling.

(pg 171) Chapter 3: Sunblight

Once the group finds out about the duergar hoarding chardalyn, they may go to Sunblight (once they find the map on the easthaven ferry on pg 68) to deal witht he problem. While making their way through this fortress, they will realize that the duergar have already made their charddalyn dragon and sent it to Ten-Towns.

Speaker's Quest: If necessary, you can have one of the town speakers can ask the group to go to Sunblight.

Xardorok's Paranoia: Xardorok is wary of traitors in his midst. He doesn't trust his sons, and has everyone spying on each other.

The Muzgardt Conspiracy: Xardorok is trying to woo Grandolpha, a duergar from Gracklstugh. She isn't into him, and is quietly trying to overthrow him.

Finding the Fortress: Right when the heroes arrive, the chardalyn dragon (pg 281) emerges from the fortress (exiting via the ice gate in area X13. pg 178) and flies toward Ten-Towns. It is 300 feet away and will ignore the adventurers. 

Should the Group Leave? The adventure gives the group a fateful decision. Should they pursue the dragon and stop it? Or should they attack the fortress?

In my opinion, they should leave. Check out "Dragon Flight Times" on page 188 and then add in the hours it takes for the dragon to destroy each town. The dragon will wipe out ALL OF TEN-TOWNS in 55.5 hours! It will take the group at least 11 hours just to get back to the nearest town. That means if the group takes one 8-hour rest, most of Ten-Towns is gone. 

This place is huge. If the heroes intend on fighting their way through it, they will almost certainly need at least one long rest. Frankly, chapter 4 is really cool and it would suck if the group misses out on it.

Xardorok's Fortress: Smoky Haze: All areas are lightly obscured (disadvantage on Perception checks), taking a long rest in the haze means you regain 1 fewer Hit Die than normal.

Where is Xardorok? There's a chart on page 173 that determines his location. It's kind of tough to figure out where to put him. I'd say either have him be in X26. Barking orders to the clean-up crew, or put him in the torture chamber where he's trying to make Nefrun admit she's a traitor, when in truth she's done nothing wrong.

  • Note: When describing Xardorok, try to make sure to mention his black chardalyn gauntlet. The group will need this item to open the treasure vault on pg 185.

The Ice Gate: I found this a little confusing. Check out the map on page 175. On the ice gate level, see those two squares in the middle with clouds in them? That's the ice gate. This is how the chardalyn dragon exited the fortress: It was built in X25, flew up the shaft in X 26, flew past the area in X9, and out through the open ice gate at the top.

X1. Entrance: The door is barred from the inside, and then there's a lowered portcullis (both are opened via levers in X6, which the group could access through the arrow slit to their right). To the right in X6, an invisible duergar (MM pg 122) named Dreck (he is described in X6 on pg 176) is right there behind an arrow slit, watching. The duergar is loyal to Grandolpha, so it is hoping the group has come to kill Xardorok.

X2. Vestibule: A duegar guard is watching through an arrow slit (3/4 cover: +5 to AC and DEX saves). If she spots the heroes, she shouts in Undercommon, alerting the 8 duergar (MM pg 122) who take 1 minute before confronting the adventurers. 

  • Note: It says there are 9 duergar, but in X3 it says there are 8, plus the one who spotted the heroes.

X3. Upper Barracks: 8 duergar (MM pg 122). Perception check DC 15 spots a secret door that leads to X4.

X4. Xardorok's War Room: There is a map of ten towns. If the heroes pull a lever, a mini of a chardalyn dragon flies over ten towns in a specific route.

  • Dragon Mini: It's made of chardalyn. Holding it for more than one hour causes the wielder to roll on the indefinite madness chart (DMG pg 260).

X5. Xardorok's Quarters: An iron trunk is bolted to the floor. In the closet is a statue/shrine.

  • Statue: In a closet is a chardalyn statuette of Deep Duerra. Touch it: WIS save DC 16, take 18 psychic dmg on a save, half on success. Under the statue is a key to the iron trunk.
  • Iron Trunk: Pick it: DEX check DC 20 or a knock spell (PH pg 254).lots of valuable things, obsidian sandals worth 250 gp, etc. Also, a scroll with a sequence of numbers written in Dwarvish. These are the combinations for the chests in X37.

X6. Guard Post: Dreck (MM pg 122) is here, invisible. The group might see his exhaled breath. The lever opens the doors in X1. The winch opens the portcullis.

  • Elevator: This elevator can take the group down to X13 or X22.

X7. Office of the Captain of the Guard: Empty. The captain is a prisoner in X34.

X8. Private Dining Hall: Grandolpha invites the heroes to join her in a meal (a cooked intellect devourer MM pg 191). It is possible that the slaad tadpole will pop out of a character with the Slaad Host secret here.

  • Grandolpha Muzgardt (pg 176): She can give the characters a lot of info. If the group attacks her, she tries to flee.
  • 3 Duergar (MM pg 122): Cooks who are loyal to Grandolpha.
  • Pseudodragon (MM pg 254): Made of chardalyn. This is a gift given to her by Xardorok.

X9. Portcullis: An iron lever opens it. The shaft drops to X26. and climbs to doors made of ice.

X10. Durth's Quarters: If he had to flee the Easthaven Ferry, Durth (duergar MM pg 122) with his buddy, a mimic (MM pg 220).

X11. Nildar's Quarters: Depending on if you ran The Unseen (pg 47), Nildar (duergar MM pg 122) might be here with his ogre zombie (MM pg 316).

X12. Training Room: Touch a suit of armor, all four animate and attack (animated armor (MM pg 19). They can't leave this room.

  • Elevator: Goes down to X15. and X30.

X13. Western Gear Room: 2 duergar (MM pg 122) and 2 duergar hammerers (pg 286). One of the two ice gate doors can be opened and closed by levers here. 

  • Elevator: Goes down to X6. and X22.

X14. Workshop: 2 invisible duergar (MM pg 122). They are building more duergar hammerers.

X15. Eastern Gear Room: 1 duergar (MM pg 122). The other ice gate door can be opened and closed here.

X16. Northwest Cavern: 4 duergar (MM pg 122) and an umber hulk (MM pg 292) with a sack over its head. The duergar will turn invisible and remove the sack, allowing the umber hulk to attack.

X17. Duergar Mines: 3 rust monsters (MM pg 262).

X18. Guarded Corridor: 4 duergar (MM pg 122) with heavy crossbows (+2 to hit, 5 dmg). 2 duergar are on each side. Arrow slits give three quarters cover: +5 to AC and DEX saves.

X19. Chardalyn Throne: The throne is made of chardalyn. Some quaggoths who serve Xardorok are harvesting myconid spores so that they can turn dead quaggoths into spore servants. If a combat breaks out in here, the four duergar from X18. and the four quaggoths from X20. come in to help.

  • Xardorok Sunblight (pg 287).
  • Myconid Sovereign (MM pg 232).
  • Quaggoth Thonot (MM pg 256).
  • 4 Quaggoth Spore Servants (MM pg 230). Each has a jar of spores.

X20. Quaggoth Den: 4 quaggoths (MM pg 256) gnawing on bones.

X21. Treacherous Guards: 2 duergar (MM pg 122) who are secretly loyal to Grandolpha. They'll let the heroes pass through here.

X22. Western Elevator: Elevator can go up to X6. and down to X13.

X23. Outer Gate: Padlock can be picked with a DEX check DC 20.

X24-X26. Forge: The duergar are cleaning up now that the dragon has been unleashed. If a fight breaks out, the 3 duergar hammerers (pg 286) from X29. will come to help.

  • X24. Forge: Touch it: 10 fire dmg. If you peer through vents, you can see a beating heart in the forge. Arcana check DC 15: It's a red dragon heart. Destroying the heart shuts downt he forge. AC 13 HP 27 vulnearble to cold, immune to lightning/psychic.
  • X25. Assembly Platform: Has a five foot high crawlspace.
  • X26. Vertical Shaft: At the bottom is a basket containing dozens of pieces of chardalyn. The shaft goes up 200 feet, passing X9, up to the ice gate on the "Ice Gate Level" map on page 175.


  • Xardorok Sunblight (pg 287) He might be here directing clean-up.
  • Thontara: Duergar (MM pg 122) forewoman. She has a horn/loudspeaker and a key to the gate at X23.
  • 6 Quaggoths (MM pg 256).
  • Guards: There are 3 duergar (MM pg 122) guards at the top of each of the four towers. One guard on each tower is loyal to Grandolpha.

X27. Giant Lizard Pens: 6 giant lizards (MM pg 326) in cages.

X28. Dungeon: 3 duergar hammerers (pg 286). There are two prisoners here:

  • Pekoe Quint: Scrawny human trapper (actually a doppelganger MM pg 82), says he's from Dougan's Hole. In truth, he was caught trying to infiltrate the fortress.
  • Kapanuk Talltree Thuunlakalaga: A goliath warrior (pg 291). He was separated by his fellow hunters during a blizzard and captured. The duergar were hoping he'd have useful info on Ten-Towns, but he doesn't. If the group returns him to Wyrmdoom Krag, they'll have a big feast.

X29. Deep Duerra's Temple: 7-foot-tall statue of Deep Duerra with a mostly harmless, mutilated mind flayer (MM pg 222) chained to it. The mind flayer, named F'yorl, can share some information. Duergar hate mind flayers because the duergar race was once enslaved by them.

  • Secret Door: WIS check DC 15 to spot. Leads to X34.

X30. Eastern Elevator: Duergar hammerer (pg 286). Elevator goes up to X6. and X13.

X31. Devil in Disguise: Xardorok's advisor is in here working on some tablets.

  • Klondorn: Duergar priest and Xardorok's adviser. Klondorn is actually a barbed devil (MM pg 70). Wearing a hat of disguise (DMG pg 173). He's chiseling a tablet, writing in infernal, basically explaining the whole scheme - Asmodeus is pretending to be Deep Duerra in order to get Xardorok to take over Icewind Dale. 

X32. Trapped Hall: Enter or start turn: DEX save DC 15, 18 lightning dmg, half on save. Can't be disabled except by using the lever in X36.

X33. Lower Barracks: 15 duergar total, 10 of which are loyal to Grandolpha. There are three kegs of Darklake Stout, which is a drink that appeared on page 56 of Out of the Abyss.

X34. Torture Chamber: Nefrun, the captain of the guard, is being tortured in here. She's suspected of being a traitor, but in truth she is not. She thinks that Klondorn, Xardorok's adviser, is the true traitor.

  • Nefrun (duergar MM pg 122)
  • 2 Duergar Mindmasters (pg 286)
  • Iron Sarcophagi: If you get stuck in one of these, you take 11 piercing dmg per round. Escape: STR check DC 20.
  • Secret Door: Perception check DC 15. Leads to X29.

X35. Guest Quarters: This is where Grandolpha stays. 5 kegs of Darklake Stout.

X36. Duergar Hammerers: 2 duergar hammerers (MM pg 286). There's a stone lever in here that can shut off the trap in X32. To open the vault, the group should use Xardok's black chardalyn gauntlet. 

  • Iron Portcullis: The group can see into the treasure vault, but if they force the portcullis open, the treasure alcoves are sealed off. Using the gauntlet is the "correct" way to access the vault. Of course, a knock spell (PH pg 254) works, too.

X37. Treasure Vault: In each alcove, there is an iron chest. Each has a combination lock (the group might have found the correct combinations in room X5.) Knock spell (PH pg 254) will open them. Pick Lock: DEX check DC 20.

  • Chest 1: 12 gourds of fire lichen liquor worth 10 gp each.
  • Chest 2: 350 gp and a gold drow mask worth 750 gp.
  • Chest 3: Silver chalice worth 250 gp.
  • Chest 4: Wand of web (pg 212).
  • Chest 5: A piwafwi!! Acts as a cloak of elvenkind (DMG pg 158) but loses its power if exposed to sunlight for 1 hour (not a problem in this adventure). If you're bored, you can read about one of my finest D&D joke moments that involved a piwafwi.
  • Chest 6: Amber headdress worth 2,500 gp.
  • Chest 7: 2 foot tall statue of Demogorgon. Look at its eyes: CHA save DC 14 or short-term madness (DMG pg 259).
  • Chest 8: Svirfneblin skeleton with yellow mold (DMG pg 105) all in 10 foot cube CON save DC 15 or take 11 poison dmg and are poisoned for one minute, taking 5 poison at the start of each turn (repea the save at the end of each turn).

Fortress Fallout: The dragon doesn't return until it has destroyed Ten-Towns. If Grandolpha survives and Xardorok dies, she has his sons killed and she takes over the fortress.

(pg 187) Chapter 4: Destruction's Light

I just want to reiterate that James Haeck wrote a tremendous article about running this chapter right here.

I'm going to reorganize this a bit, working under the assumption that your group tries to defend the towns.

The chardalyn dragon attacks Ten-Towns. Because this can play out a million different ways, this chapter is something of a broad overview. Weirdest of all - it's possible that your group won't even deal with this situation at all. Ten-Towns will just burn and the dragon will return to Sunblight.

The Dragon's Behavior: The basic idea here is that the dragon attacks a town. If it takes 30 damage from the heroes, it immediately heads to the next town. We are given the order in which it attacks each town.

Chasing the Dragon: Having the advantage of flying, the dragon is much faster than the characters. The group just can't keep up with the dragon, and that makes this chapter a bit difficult to figure out and plan for. 

The travel chart on page 11 doesn't seem to account for the fact that sled dogs need a short rest every hour (see "dogsleds" pg 20). I've got two solutions for you to consider:

  1. Just ignore the sled dogs resting rule
  2. Make sure the group has axe beak mounts. They have a speed of 50 and do not have any specific rest or food requirements.

Return to Ten-Towns: As the group leaves Sunblight, they run into a woman with three sleds. It is Velynne Harpell, on the Arcane Brotherhood wizards.

Velynne Harpell (pg 273): She's from a famous family in the town of Longsaddle.

  • Trait: She has a nervous disorder that manifests as trembling. She can cast spells unimpeded. 
  • Stolen Item: She had a professor orb (pg 315) named "Professor Skant". It was stolen by Nass Lantomir. She wants it back before resuming the search for Ythryn.
  • Owl (MM pg 333) familiar.
  • 6 icewind kobold zombies (pg 296) two per sled.
  • 6 sled dogs (wolf MM pg 341)

Vellyne has heard of the group and was trying to track them down. She wants them to obtain the Codicil of White for her. She will help them fight the dragon.

She suggests going to Bryn Shander, which is a lonnngggg trip (20 hours, if you travel at 1 mile per hour). Along the way, they're likely to spot the smoldering ruins of Dougan's Hole.

Dragon Scourge: How long it takes to get to a town really matters in this chapter, so I'm going to make a handy little chart that will show who gets where when.

Check out page 11, which shows how effective different methods of travel are.

  • Dogsled: 1 mile per hour (make sure to read "dogsleds" on page 20 - the dogs need a short rest every hour or two!).
  • On foot, with snowshoes: 1/2 mile per hour
  • On foot, without snowshoes: 1/4 mile per hour.

Now we'll go through the Ten-Towns listing and see how long it takes to get from one town to the next.

We'll list the dragon's time first, then the various methods the characters can use.  Then we'll show how long the dragon takes to destroy a given town. 

Note about Dog Sleds on This Chart: In this chart, when I say "Dog Sled", I am assuming that you are either ignoring the dogsled short rest rule, or the group is acutally using axe beaks. And when I write "On Foot," I assume snowshoes are being used.

From what I can tell, it will take the heroes at least 11 hours just to get back to Dougan's Hole, so the dragon will have destroyed 3 towns right away.

  • Sunblight to Dougan's Hole: Dragon: 2 hours | On Foot: 22 hours | Dog Sled: 11 hours
  • Time Spent Destroying Town: 30 minutes
  • Dougan's Hole to Good Mead: Dragon: 30 minutes | On Foot: 4 hours | Dog Sled: 2 hours
  • Time Spent Destroying Town: 1 hour 
  • Good Mead to Easthaven: Dragon: 1.5 hours | On Foot: 4.5 hours | Dog Sled: 2.25 hours
  • Time Spent Destroying Town: 8 hours 
  • Easthaven to Caer-Dineval: Dragon: 1 hour | On Foot: 6 hours | Dog Sled: 3 hours
  • Time Spent Destroying Town: 1 hour
  • Caer-Dineval to Caer-Konig: Dragon: 1 hour | On Foot: 2 hours | Dog Sled: 1 hour
  • Time Spent Destroying Town: 1.5 hours 
  • Caer-Konig to Termalaine: Dragon: 2 hours | On Foot: 8 hours? | Dog Sled: 4 hours?
  • Time Spent Destroying Town: 6 hours 
  • ---Note: Once the dragon leaves Termalaine, the weather changes (see page 191)---
  • Termalaine to LonelywoodDragon: 30 minutes | On Foot: 2 hours | Dog Sled: 1 hour
  • Time Spent Destroying Town: 2 hours
  • Lonelywood to BremenDragon: 30 minutes | On Foot: 8 hours | Dog Sled: 4 hours
  • Time Spent Destroying Town: 2 hours 
  • Bremen to Targos: Dragon: 30 minutes | On Foot: 2 hours | Dog Sled: 1 hour
  • Time Spent Destroying Town: 8 hours
  • Targos to Bryn Shander: Dragon: 30 minutes | On Foot: 2 hours | Dog Sled: 1 hour
  • Time Spent Destroying Town: 12 hours 
  • Bryn Shander to Sunblight: Dragon: 3.5 hours | On Foot: 30 hours | Dog Sled: 15 hours

Advantages of Flying: A few of these entries might look jarring at first glance. The dragon can get from Easthaven to Caer-Dineval in an hour but it takes the heroes at least a few hours? Check out the map. The dragon can just fly over Lac Dinneshere, but the adventurers need to go all the way around. Same with Lonelywood to Bremen. The dragon can just fly over Maer Dualdon.

  • Easthaven to Caer-Konig: I assumed the group would hug the coast rather than following the road and shaved some time off.

Disadvantages of Sled Dogs: Get ready for a bummer. Check out "Dogsleds" on page 20. "Sled dogs must take a short rest after pulling a sled for one hour; otherwise they gain one level of exhaustion.

Look at the effects of exhaustion on PH pg 291:

  1. Level 1: Disadvantage on skill checks.
  2. Level 2: Speed halved.

Welp! That is a huge problem. Once the speed is halved, you might as well just walk. I found a solution...

Get Yourself an Axe Beak: The travel notes don't include axe beak mounts. Let's see if we can figure this out. Wolf speed is 40 feet (sled dogs use wolf stats). Axe beak speed is 50 feet! There is no info on axe beaks getting exhausted, so the solution here is for the group to be riding axe beaks.

Traveling in the Snow: The overland travel times on page 11 are specifically for rough, snowy tundra. To calculate travel times, I used the overland travel chart on page 11 and eyeballed the scale on the map. 

The dragon flies from Caer-Konig to Termalaine. The quickest way for the heroes to pursue is to cross the snow and pass through the dwarven valley. That looks like 11 miles on the map. So, since a dogsled goes 1 mile per hour, it will take 11 hours to get there.

Getting From Sunblight to Dougan's Hole: I am having a hard time figuring out how long it takes to get from Sunblight to Dougan's Hole (or wherever the heroes want to go to fend off the dragon). 

Look at page 172: "To get to Xardorok's fortress, the characters need to negotiate the Spine of the World. Use the rules in the "Mountain Travel" section (see page 11) to simulate the perils of getting around the peaks."

So let's go to page 11. Mountain Travel: "At the end of each hour, the character or NPC leading the expedition must make a DC 15 Wisdom (Survival) check. On a successful check, the hero's journey was not hinder by weather or terrain. On a failed check, the party comes to an impasse or backtrack, which costs an extra hour of travel. If the check fails by 5 or more, the party is caught in an avalanche...."

Eyeballing the map, it looks like an 11 hour trip from Sunblight to Dougan's Hole. Let's be nice and say that only two of those hours are mountain travel.

That means that when the group gets to Dougan's Hole, the dragon just finished destroying Easthaven.

Towns are Going to be Destroyed: It looks like there is no way that the group can catch up to the dragon until maybe while it is destroying Termalaine. That means that Dougan's Hole, Good Mead, Easthaven, Caer-Dineval, and Caer-Konig are going to get destroyed no matter what. 

Survivors: Most people who flee the attack head to Bryn Shander.

Target 1: Dougan's Hole: 25 people die. Every building destroyed (stones untouched).

Target 2: Good Mead: 25 people die. All buildings except Mead Hall destroyed.

Target 3: Easthaven: (Dragon takes 10 dmg) 250 people die. Destroys half the buildings. Town Hall and ferry are spared. 6 duergar kill Speaker Waylen. 

Target 4: Caer-Dineval: Everyone outside the castle dies. All buildings except castle, Uphill Climb and Dinev's Rest are destroyed. The 6 duergar at Dinev's Rest aid the dragon.

Target 5: Caer-Konig: 50 people die. All buildings destroyed. Most NPCs die. Trovus lives because he is passed out drunk in a snowbank.

Target 6: Termalaine: (Dragon takes 5 dmg) 20 citizens and the entire militia die. All buildings destroyed. Some citizens hide in mines, but duergar collapse the mines, killing 30. 

Target 7: Lonelywood: Everyone fled before the dragon showed up. All buildings destroyed. 

Target 8: Bremen: (Dragon takes 5 dmg) 100 people die, including Speaker Shalescar. All buildings destroyed.

Target 9: Targos: (Dragon takes 15 dmg) 500 people die. All buildings destroyed. The Speaker leaves his people to die, hiding out in a Zhentarim safehouse in Bryn Shander.

Target 10: Bryn Shander: (Dragon takes 10 dmg, then 5 per hour for 6 hours) The population is reduced to 300 total by the end, Scramsax dies, as does the speaker of Dougan's Hole. Some buildings are destroyed, including Blackiron Blades and the House of the Morninglord.

Showdown: First off, let's look at the chardalyn dragon stat block on pages 280-281.

  • Fly Speed: 90 feet.
  • Resistant to nonmagical weapons, making it very difficult for the people of Ten-Towns to do much damage to it. 
  • Deals double damage to objects and structures!
  • Charm Aura: When you get within 30 feet of it, make a WIS save DC 16 or be charmed by it for one minute (repeat the save each turn). The dragon can force the charmed victim to attack others.
  • Radiant Breath: 120-foot line.

The characters' best chance is to pick a settlement and to wait for the dragon to get there. 

  • Strategy: The dragon strafes from the air, using its breath weapon, and then it soars out of missile range until its breath weapon recharges.
  • Damage Threshold: Once the characters deal 30 damage to it, the dragon flies to the next settlement (or, if in Bryn Shander, it flies back to Sunblight for repairs). 
  • Repairs: It heals d6 HP per hour while being repaired.

Weather Conditions: The weather is clear until the dragon destroys Termalaine. Then a winter storm engulfs Ten-Towns. The dragon ignores these effects.

  • Strong Wind: (DMG pg 110) Disadvantage on ranged weapon attacks, disadvantage on Perception checks, makes flying by non-magical means impossible (the dragon ignores this effect).
  • Heavy Precipitation: (DMG pg 110) Disadvantage on Perception checks that rely on sight or hearing, everything lightly obscured

Velynne: She's got plot immunity!

  • Can't drop below 1 HP. Uses vampiric touch (PH pg 285) in a pinch.
  • Uses her wand of magic missiles (DMG pg 211), has 7 charges. For each charge used, one missile is launched (doing d6+1).

Other Things Characters Can Do: During the attack, all sorts of stuff can happen:

  • Building Collapse: d4+1 commoners (MM pg 344) are unconscious or wounded. Pull person out of wreckage: Athletics check DC 14. 
  • Enlarged Duergar: Duergar (MM pg 122) 
  • Invisible Duergar: Duergar (MM pg 122) The snow betrays its presence. 
  • Malevolent Townsfolk: d4+2 commoners (MM pg 344) have been corrupted by the dragon's aura. They attack a character. Roll a d6 on the end of their turns - on a 6, they snap out of it.
  • Thieves: 2 thugs (MM pg 350) beating up an old lady (commoner MM pg 344) and trying to take her food. 
  • Trapped Beast: A panicked animal is tied to a post (axe beak MM pg 317).
  • Walking Wounded: Wounded member of militia with just 1 HP left (tribal warrior MM pg 350). 1-in-20 chance it is a doppelganger (MM pg 82) who tries to betray/rob savior when possible.

Vellyne's Quest: Once the dragon is dealt with, Velynne will try to recruit the heroes to help her find Ythryn. She will point out that the mythallar will likely be able to end the Rime of the Frostmaiden. She explains that they first need to find two objects:

  1. The Codicil: Can open a passage to Ythryn. It is held in a frost giant fortress.
  2. Professor Skant: Velynne's professor orb was stolen from her. The group needs to find the thief - Nass Lantomir.

The group should be level 7 by the end of this chapter.

(pg 197) Chapter 5: Auril's Abode

Quick Way to End the Rime: Kill Iskra, Auril's roc (MM pg 260).

Getting to the Island: There are three options:

  1. Via Angajuk and the Sperm Whale: Angajuk the Sperm Whale (pg 114). The whale will take three days to get to the island, showing the heroes some sights along the way
  2. Via Ship from Revel's End: Pay 1,000 gp for a ride on the Ravenous with Captain Sharlasta Stormsword (bandit captain MM pg 344) and her 20 scallywags (bandits MM pg 343). Takes 5 days to find the island. Ship map DMG pg 314.
  3. Via Griffons: They won't take Vellynne's kobolds. 

Within One Mile of the Island: The fog is so thick within a mile of the island that it blinds you (heavily obscured). Once you get within 200 feet, it thins out so it is just lightly obscured (disadvantage on Perception checks).

Preparing for Arrival: The group should arrive at I1. If they are on griffons and get near Grimskalle, the roc (MM pg 260) will attack and eat the griffons.

Regional Effects: Having resistance/immunity to cold dmg make you immune to the first two:

  • Extreme Cold (DMG pg 110) DC is 15 rather than 10. Each hour, make the save or gain 1 lvl of exhaustion.
  • Healing: When within 1 mile of the island, if you spend a Hit Die to regain HP, you only gain HP equal to your Con mod.
  • Fog: Lightly obscued (disadvantage on Perception checks) when within 200 feet or on the island, heavily obscured (Blinded!) within a mile of the island.

I1. Ruined Dock: The dock is giant-sized, Athletics check DC 15 to climb to the top. At the end on the dock is a path that leads to Grimskalle.

  • Sopo: Ice mephit (MM pg 215) speaks Aquan and Auran. It is malicious and tries to lead the group to various shipwrecks. It can't help but cackle at the misfortune of others. Sopo might also lead the group to the yeti caves on pg 202.

I2. Shipwrecks: Frigid Water pg 11: Can be immersed in frigid water for minutes equal to your CON score. Each additional minute: CON save DC 10. Fail = 1 lvl of exhaustion.

Shipwreck Discoveries:

  1. In this ship's hold is a frost giant skeleton (pg 289).
  2. 20 ghouls (MM pg 148) total. It starts as 4 ghouls, but then 4 more come up each round after.
  3. 2 giant sharks (MM pg 328) in the ship's hold. 
  4. 5 merrow (MM pg 219) guard jewelry and gold.
  5. The home of 3 sea hags (MM pg 179). Cauldron has coins, a statuette, and a potion of water breathing (DMG pg 188).
  6. A friendly awakened walrus (pg 312) with a potion of resistance (cold) (DMG pg 188) tied around its neck.
  7. 1d6 giant oysters, each with a 10% chance of containing a white pearl 2,500 gp.
  8. Giant chest full of gold and a +2 trident (d6+2 piercing dmg, rg 20/40).

I3. Nass Lantomir's Ghost: Nass is dead and frozen. Her arm is sticking out of the snow, holding the professor orb (pg 315). If her frozen body is disturbed, her ghost (special stats on pg 272) will try to possess a character.

  • Zellenor: Nass's weasel (MM pg 340) familiar.If the ghost is destroyed, the weasel ceases to exist.
  • Treasure: In addition to the orb, Nass also has a spellbook (described on page 273).

The Professor Orb: Professor Skant! He talks a lot and assumes humanoids are 'dunderheads'.

  • Alignment: Lawful Good
  • INT 18 WIS 11 CHA 9
  • Can see and hear out to 60 feet.
  • Speaks and reads Common, Draconic, Elvish, and Loross (the dead language of Netheril).
  • Casts mage hand (PH pg 256) at will , uses this only to transport itself around.

Has 4 areas of expertise:

  1. The History of Netheril (see pg 232)
  2. Vampires! Check out my Guide to Vampires.
  3. Rituals pertaining to the creation of Elverquisst (elf liquor). Check out my Great List of Food and Drinks.
  4. The Tarrasque! Check out my Guide to the Tarrasque.

I4. Ice Statues: If the group damages any of there, 2 things happen:

  1. Auril appears. CON save DC 20. Fail: Gain vulnerability to cold dmg for 24 hours. Those with resistance/immunity to cold dmg are immune to this effect.
  2. Korgrah, the abominable yeti (MM pg 306) begins to hunt the heroes.

I5. Yeti Caves: Seven small caves, each containing a yeti (MM pg 305). If all 7 yetis are slain, Korgrah the abominable yeti (MM pg 306) awakens, "explodes from an ice-covered cyst", and hunts the characters.

I6. Garden of Death: Those who have died on the island are here trapped in ice sculuptures. An ice troll (pg 294) is gnawing on a corpse.

(pg 203) Grimskalle

Stairs are difficult terrain. "Each step is 4 feet higher than the one below it..."

Features: The interior is giant-sized (ceiling is 30 feet), the floor has a 2-foot deep blanket of mist, It's totally dark, and the doors are 25 feet tall (open: Athletics check DC 20).

G1. Entrance: Word in dwarvish carved above the doors: "Grimskalle."

G2. Guard Room: Wrecked.

G3. Frost Giant Warden: This old frost giant feller is in bad shape!

  • Ertgard: Withered old frost giant (MM pg 155) deaf, can't see farther than 20 feet, no reactions.
  • Treasure Pile: Coins, art objects, and an alchemy jug (DMG pg 150).

G4. Ruined Kitchen: Barrels and casks.

G5. Feast Hall: 1 tusk bugle works.

G6. Perched Mephits: 6 ice mephits (MM pg 215). They observe the characters and don't attack unless provoked.

  • Stairs to G10: Slippery: DEX save DC 10 or fall prone. Fail by 5+: Tumble 10 feet down, taking 3 dmg.

G7. Throne Room: Dangling above the heroes are 7 icy piercers (MM pg 252). They are immune to cold dmg and deal 10 dmg + 10 cold dmg.

G8. Queen's Bedchamber: Auril lurks here in her first form (pg 275). She can not be surprised. To defeat her, you must destroy all three of her forms in order. 

Don't forget, she has lair actons (pg 275):

  • She knows the health and locations of all creatures on the island.
  • She can instantly teleport to any location on the island.
  • She can telepathically communicate with any number of creatures on the island for as long as she concentrates or until she uses another lair action. 

G9. Crowned Rooftop: Iskra the roc (MM pg 260) lives up here. She might grab a character and fly away, dropping them in the water (20d6 dmg). She's got treasure in her nest:

  • A silver dragon egg! Hatches in 3d10 days (silver dragon wyrmling MM pg 118).
  • Gold, art objects, and a spell scroll of mass cure wounds (PH pg 258).

G10. Ice Rink: The floor is slippery: Acrobatics check DC 10 or fall prone. The stairs to G6.  are difficult terrain. Acrobatics check DC 10 or fall prone. Fail by 5+: fall 10 feet and take 3 dmg.

  • Ukuma: An awakened giant walrus (pg 312). Friendly, will share information.

G11. Tomb Entrance: Runes in Dwarvish spell out a rhyme.

G12. Skeletal Guards: 2 frost giant skeletons (pg 289).

G13. Vassavicken's Tomb: A dead frost giant in a block of ice. If the characters chip away and try to remove the corpse, cloud of magical energy fills the room. CON save DC 16, 44 cold dmg on fail, half on save. 

  • Door to G14: Stuck! Athletics DC 25 to open.

G14. Vassavicken's Axe: Leaning against the wall. It shrinks to fit the wielder. Berserker axe (DMG pg 155).

G15. Tests of the Frostmaiden: There are four of these rooms - one for each test. When the door is opened, the group is teleported to the corresponding test. 

How the heroes do in the tests determine if they can open the vault at G20.

G16. Tests of Cruelty: The heroes appear in the Bear Tribe camp. Having no food, the shaman has convinced King Gunvald to select 4 elder members of the tribe to kill and eat. The group fails the test if they refuse to kill the ders, defend the elders, or do nothing. She wants some kind of cruelty to take place.

  • King Gunvald Halraggson (pg 305)
  • Tribal Warriors (MM pg 350)
  • Gladiator (MM pg 346)

End: After one hour, the adventurers are teleported back to G16.

G17. Test of Endurance: In this test, the party must accompany the Elk Tribe on a 14-hour journey through a magic blizzard (it acts as an anti-magic field PH pg 213).

For the first 8 hours, no big deal.

At the end of each hour after that, each character must make a CON save DC 10 +1 for each additional hour. Fail: Gain 1 level of exhaustion (PH pg 291). 

  • King Jarund Elkhardt (pg 305)
  • Tribal Warriors (MM pg 350)
  • Gladiator (MM pg 346)

End: Any party member who completes the journey with four or fewer levels of exhaustion passes the test. 

G18. Test of Isolation: The heroes are meant to watch the Tiger Tribecamp while everyone leaves to attack the Wolf Tribe. 6 days pass. Every 24 hours, the characters must make a Survival group check DC 10+2 for each day after the first. Fail: The party member who rolled the lowest become magically lost.

Lost characters return in a daze once the 6 days end, having gained an indefinite madness (DMG pg 260)

  • Queen Bjornhild Solvigsdottir (pg 306)
  • Tribal Warriors (MM pg 350)
  • Gladiator (MM pg 346)

End: Failure only occurs if you die or prevent Bjornhild from launching her raid.

G19. Test of Preservation: An entire clan is being wiped out by the Wolf Tribe. One survivoe is hiding in a tent - Aerix Vokototh, a 9-year-old. Once the group clears out 6 giant vultures (MM pg 329), Isaar Kronenstrom (pg 307) circles the camp and then starts searching the tents.

End: Killing Isaar before he kills Aerix passes the test. If Aerix dies, noone passes. Sneaking away won't work because Isaar will track them.

G20. Entrance to the Vault: The door can only be opened by 1 or a group of people who passed each of the four tests.

  • If the Group Failed: Three frost druids (pg 289) arrive and open the doors. They want to study the Codicil.

G21. Hall of the Four Winds: 4 ice tablets spell out Auril's core beliefs. Shattering a tablet releases an invisible stalker (MM pg 192).

G22. Chamber of the Codicil: Velynne wants this book for the new spell inside. Studying it for 10 minutes reveals the poem (see pg 319) which will open the passage to Ythryn.

The Codicil of White (pg 317): A primer on the worship of Auril. Contains rituals and ceremonies.

  • When it is in your possession, you gain resistance to cold damage.
  • Contains the wizard spell frost fingers (pg 318)

G23. Auril's Blessing: When a character who has either passed all 4 tests or has the Midwinter Child secret, Auril contacts them via telepathy and offers her blessing.

Receive Auril's Blessing: CON sv DC 21. Fail: Become petrified (an ice statue). Succeed: Gain the blessing of the Frostmaiden (described on pg 213. Cone of cold PH pg 224)

Fall of Grimskalle: Death Howl causes the upper 2 levels to collapse. Characters have one minute to escape before they are crushed to death.

Ending the Everlasting Rime: Destroy all 3 of Auril's forms or slay the roc will end the rime. Auril will brood in her fortress, but she won't be a threat again for "years, decades, or centuries." 

Level Up: The group should hit level 8 at this point.

(pg 215) Chapter 6: Caves of Hunger

Race to the Glacier: The roup now has the actual poem called the "Rime of the Frostmaiden." Now they need to travel to the Reghed Glacier and open the passage to Ythryn.

Elk and Tiger: As the group gets within a few miles of the glacier, the Elk Tribe approaches them. They think that the Auril-firnedly Tiger Tribe is coming to kill the group, and wants to help defend them.

Basically, the Elk Tribe will hold off the Tiger Tribe while the group while the Elk Tribe feds off the villains. The Elk Tribe actually wins, killing all but Queen Bjornhild (who interprets the loss as Auril intending to kill them herself).

Elk Tribe

  • 10 Tribal Warriors (MM pg 350)
  • Mjenir: Druid (MM pg 346)
  • Hengar Aesnvaard: Gladiator (MM pg 346)

When the group reaches the glacial wall, the Tiger Tribe indeed attacks.

  • Queen Bjornhild Solvigsdottir (pg 306)
  • Grava: Saber-toothed tiger (MM pg 336)
  • 20 Tribal Warriors (MM pg 350)

Opening the Way: Someone needs to read the Rime aloud (Rime is on pg 319). This opens a passage to the Caves of Hunger. 

  • The Passage: The area where the group opens the passage is described on page 218, H1. The opening is 30 feet wide. The Elk Tribe volunteers to guard the area.

The Fate of the Elk Tribe: As the group explores the caves, Avarice shows up with 20 cultists, 2 gargoyles, goats, you name it. She kills all of the Elk Tribe and will wait for the group to clear out the caves, then follow through.

(pg 216) Into the Caves of Hunger

Features: Made of ice, Ceilings 30 feet, total darkness, echo-y atmosphere gives advantage of Perception checks. Climbing ice slides requires crampons/climbing gear.

Psychic Hauntings: Certain rooms will require a roll on the Psychic Hauntings chart on pg 217.

Tekeli-Li: The idea here is that this gnoll vampire (pg 290) will attack the group, then retreat and recover. If it takes 20 dmg, it turns to mist and recovers elsewhere. 

  • The only Random encounter in the dungeon. The vampire's cackling can be heard now and then.
  • Professor Skant can share the weaknesses of this vampire with the group.
  • The chart on pg 217 shows possible locations for it.

H1. Into the Glacier: The passage is 100 feet tall, 30 feet wide and 20 feet deep.

H2. Crashed Skycoach: A wrecked Netherese skycoach with four headless ancinent corpses. Contains a safe (Pick DEX check DC 20) containing a bag of holding (DMG pg 153) and a ring of the ram (DMG pg 193).

  • Professor Orb: The orb will be excited, as it is an authority on all things Netheril.
  • Noise: If the group makes noise, the 4 flameskulls (MM pg 134) in H3 head here, cackling.
  • Tunnel to H5: Slippery: Athletics DC 15. Fail: take 2d6 bludgeoning dmg and fall prone.

H3. Flameskulls: 4 flameskulls (MM pg 134) attack immediately.

H4. Kobold Vampire Spawn: The kobold vampire spawn (pg 297) flees to H5. right away. 

H5. Icicle Drop: There are seven ice mephits (MM pg 215) among the icicles (passive Perception 13+ spot them). They attack by breaking off icicles: DEX sv DC 12,  Fail: 7 piercing dmg. 

  • Tekeli-li might attack (pg 290)

H6. Ruined Tower: Taking a short rest in this tower allows a spellcaster to regain a spell slot of 3rd lvl or lower. 

  • Corpse: Has a holy symbol of Mystryl.

H7. Rubble-Strewn Gate: Empty. Tekeli-li (pg 290) might attack in its Large hyena form.

H8. Arcane Eye Activation: You can press the eye on the slab to cast aracne eye (PH pg 214) one time. The spell lasts for an hour. This can be used to scout out the entire dungeon!

H9. Golem Head: The head can communicate only by flashing its eye lights.

H10. Toppled Spire: Roll on the psychic haunting table (pg 217). 

  • Spire: In the attic of the spire are two potions of superior healing (heals 8d4+8) (DMG pg 187)
  • Tunnel: Sliding down the chute drops you into a warm pool in H24. where a remorhaz (MM pg 258) lurks.

H11. Den of Shadows: 12 shadows (MM pg 269) attack, but avoid anyone who presents the holy symbol of Mystryl (found in rooms H6 and H12).

  • Tekeli-li might attack (pg 290)

H12. The Curse of Hunger: Once you enter this cave, you feel extremely hungry. If you don't eat within 1 minute, make a CON save DC 15. Fail means you gain one lvl of exhaustion (PH pg 291). Repeast the save each hour. Once you succeed, the you shake off the hunger (though any exhaustion remains).

  • Frozen Corpse: Has a holy symbol of Mystryl.

H13. Icicle-Filled Cave: The icicles are harmless. Can hear yipping from H17.

H14. Ice Sculpture: Mundane kobold-esque sculptures made by the kobold vampire spawn who lurk in H17.

H15. Drakareth's Doom: In life, Drakareth was a Netherese mage who betrayed the survivorsof Ythryn and stole some of their treasure. He died here and became a wraith (MM pg 302).

The stolen treasure is behind 3 walls of ice: AC 13, HP 18, vul: fire, imm: cold,/poison/psychic.

  • Mantle of Spell Resistance (DMG pg 180)
  • 6 leather spellbooks (now illegible)
  • Cracked crystal ball (useless)
  • Staff of Charming (DMG pg 201) (attune to it, gain the flaw on pg 223).

H16. Ice Cave: Roll on the psychic haunting table (pg 217). At your discretion, if a character has a slaad tadpole, it pops out here.

H17. Den of the Vampire Spawn: Clinging to the walls, 5 kobold vampire spawn (pg 297) jump at the first character to enter.

  • Tunnel to H19: Has the stench of death.

H18. Snow Golems: 6 mounds of snow turn into snow golems (pg 308). They won't/can't leave H18.

H19. Den of Death: The floor is slippery: difficult terrain, moving requires a Acrobatics check DC 10 or fall prone.

  • Tekeli-li might attack (pg 290) from the northern-most side cave.
  • Tunnel to H20/H21: Has the stench of death. 

H20. Ice Crypt: This is the pillar of ice that the gnoll vampire was trapped in.

H21. Frozen Frost Giant: Frozen in the ice is the corpse of a frost giant. Yes, the city of Ythryn fell on him. The lfie and times of this giant are detailed in are H30. on page 226. This giant was a chosen of Thrym.

H22. Borehole: Roll on the psychic haunting table (pg 217). Ice slide goes to H23.

H23. Remorhaz Nest: 15-foot deep pool with two young remorhazes (MM pg 258).

  • 6 Unhatched Remorhaz Eggs: Worth 500 gp each in Bryn Shander. 
  • Tekeli-li (might be here in mist form) might attack (pg 290).

H24. Remorhaz Mother: Two large pools, each 15-feet deep. 

  • Pool 1: Remorhaz (MM pg 258) and 8 eggs (worth 500 gp each).
  • Pool 2: A young remorhaz (MM pg 258).

H25. Empty Side Caves: Roll on the psychic haunting table (pg 217).

H26. Egg-Shaped Cave: Roll on the psychic haunting table (pg 217). Ice slide goes to H36.

H27. West Observation Platform: Two drow are hiding behind the statues and will attack. A drow mage may hear the battle from H28 and come to help.

  • Meldirn and Tlaknar: Drow elite warriors (MM pg 128)
  • Yilsebek (drow mage MM pg 129)
  • Shadow Demon (MM pg 64)

H28. Drow Outpost: Yilsebek the drow mage (MM pg 129) is hoping to mount an expedition into Ythryn.

  • Thermal Cube (pg 316)
  • Symbol of House Dalambra
  • Spellbook (see pg 226)
  • Half a bottle of Elverquisst, Professor Skant's favorite drink. 

Note: These drow went to area Y1. on pg 234. They killed a tomb tapper, which turned to stone when it died.

H29. East Observation Platform: 10 of the icicles overhead are piercers (MM pg 252) that do 10 piercing dmg and 10 cold dmg.

H30. Vlagomir's Spark: Huge spear belonging to the poor frost giant in H21. If a fighter, barbarian, monk or ranger touches it, they gain the epic Supernatural Gift described on page 227.

H31. Thing in the Ice: Wall: AC 13, HP 50, vul: fire imm: cold/poison/psycvhic

Any creature coming within 20 feet of the wall dominate monster (PH pg 235) INT sv DC 15 Fail: stand there and stare for 1 hour. After the hour, INT save DC 15, take 44 psychic or half on a success. Gain a Long-Term Madness (Roll on the table on DMG pg 260)

H32. Mirrored Cavern: Ranged attack rolls have disadvantage due to the mirrors. 

  • Tekeli-li might attack (pg 290) with frightening cackle first, then sickening gaze.

H33. Watcher in the Walls: There is a mummy (MM pg 228) wearing a golden mask behind a sheet of ice. The mummy is not hostile, it's a lore keeper. If freed, goes to H39.

H34. City Debris: Roll on the psychic haunting table (pg 217). The stone is pieces of Ythryn.

H35. Mysterious Cube: This 8 foot cube is actually a spitting mimic (pg 302).

H36. Frozen Grove: This is where Tekeli-li will have the final battle with the group.

Hathowyn: A lonely dryad (MM pg 121) who keeps the pear trees alive. Tekeli-li isn't aware that the dryad exists. She tries to charm a character to kee them here forever. 

Tekeli-li (pg 290)

The purple pears that grow on the trees offer magical effects, including:

  • Druidcraft (PH pg 236)
  • Vicious Mockery (PH pg 285)
  • Invisibility (PH pg 254)
  • Sending (PH pg 274)
  • Cure Wounds (PH pg 230)
  • Lightning Bolt (PH pg 255)
  • Faerie Fire (PH pg 239)
  • Lesser Restoration (PH pg 255) 
  • Greater Restoration  (PH pg 246)

H37. Weird Insights: These 4 nothics (MM pg 236) aren't hostile. They know a lot about what is going on in Ythryn now. You need to make an Insight check DC 12 to understand them.

H38. Ice Caves: Roll on the psychic haunting table (pg 217).

H39. Passage to Ythryn: Tunnel of ice goes for a mile. Leads to Ythryn.

Avarice Follows: Avarice follows the group at a distance (see pg 259).

Tekeli-li Escapes: If the vampire survives this hole thing, it leaves and heads to Ten-Towns.

Level Up: The group hits 9th level.

(pg 231) Doom of Ythryn

Iriolarthus the Demilich

  • Has no means of communication.
  • Unaware of how much time has passed. Thinks the Netheril Empire still exists.
  • Assumes that the characters are rescuers. 
  • If it finds out that the group is here to loot the place, it tries to destroy them.
  • The party can make a Deception group check DC 13 to convince the demilich that they belong here. 
  • The phylactery of Iriolarthus is lost,buried under the rubble of Ythryn.
  • Iriolarthus can only use Lair Actions inside the spire (Y19. pg 247)

The Fall of Ythryn: Iriolarthus had found an obelisk and brought it to Ythryn to study. When they experimented on it, the magic of the obelisk shut down the mythallar and caused the city to fall out of the sky.

As the city collapsed, Iriolarthus tried to escape to a demiplane, but the magical surge forced him back into Ythryn and transformed the demiplane into a living demiplane (pg 299).

(pg 232) Necropolis of Ythryn

Avarice: Make sure to check out page 259, especially the notes on Avarice. She shows up 12 hours after the group does. She and her crew take over Skydock Spire (Y28. pg 258). 

Whent the heroes explore a new building, there is a 20% chance that Avarice's minions are there.

Also, if Auril is still alive, she shows up after one day (see pg 260).

Random Encounters: Each hour, roll on the chart on page 233:

  • Tomb Tapper (pg 310)
  • 1d3 Living Bigby's Hands (pg 298)
  • 2d4 Cult Fanatics (MM pg 345) (if Avarice is present)
  • 1d3 Spitting Mimics (pg 302)
  • 1d3 Coldlight Walkers (pg 284) if Auril is in Ythryn
  • 1d4+1 gargoyles (MM pg 140)
  • Frost Giant Skeleton (pg 289) and 1d3 winter wolves (pg 340) if Auril is present
  • 1d4+1 demos magen (pg 300) and 1d4 hypnos magen (pg 301)
  • 1d6 Nothics (MM pg 236)
  • Iriolarthus the Demilich (MM pg 48) and 1d3 Nothics (MM pg 236)

Arcane Blight: Once you spend 12 hours in the necropolis: CON save DC 15. Fail, gain an arcane blight. Effects:

  • Slowly begin to transform into a nothic (MM pg 236).
  • Hallucinations, paranoia.
  • Flaw: "I don't trust anyone."
  • Finish a Long Rest: CON save DC 15. Success: the DC for future saves drops by 1d6 points (once reduced to 0, the effect ends). Fail 3 times: become a nothic (MM pg 236). 
  • Greater restoration (PH pg 246) can remove the blight from a creature. 

Rite of the Arcane Octad: To get the mythallar, the group will need to access the Spire of Iriolarthus. To do so, the heroes will need to go to the 8 arcane towers and learn this ritual.

Here is the list of steps alongside where these steps can be learned:

  1. Step 1: Nether Oak Wand (Y4. Tower of Abjuration pg 239)
  2. Step 2: Summon a Flame (Y7. Tower of Conjuration pg 240)
  3. Step 3: Speak a Secret (Y15. Observatory pg 244)
  4. Step 4: Compel someone to tell you a secret. (Y24. Tower of Enchantment pg 256)
  5. Step 5: Quench the Flame (Y20. Tower of Evocation pg 254)
  6. Step 6: Mask Your Appearance (Y22. Tower of Illusion pg 255)
  7. Step 7: Draw a Circle on the Ground (Y18. Tower of Necromancy pgs 246-247)
  8. Step 8: Stand in the Circle (Y26. Tower of Transmutation pg 257)

Exploring the Ruins: Exploring 200 feet takes 5 minutes. When the group checks out a location on the map with no number, roll on the Ythryn Treasures chart on pg 234 (driftglobe DMG pg 166)

Y1. Ice Causeway: The statue is a dead tomb tapper (pg 310), slain by the drow from the previous chapter.

Y2. Wizard Spires: 12 are still intact. These towers are like the Lost Spire of Netheril (pg 145) from chapter 2, except they're not upside-down.

  • Cloudy With a Chance of Gargoyles: 20% chance that any given spire has 1d3+1 gargoyles (MM pg 140)

Y3. Chain Lightning Stadium: If you set foot in this place:

  • Barrier: A barrier dome surrounds the field. (Touch the dome: 40 lightning dmg)
  • Pick Your Team: You must choose your team of 6 (presumably your fellow heroes, rounded out by galvan magen pg 301)
  • Know Rules: If you don't know the rules, your rolls are at disadvantage (the rules can be found in the lbrary on pg 241)
  • The Opposing Team: 6 galvan magen (pg 301)
  • Attempting to Steal Trophy: 18 lightning dmg, trophy cannot be removed from pedestal.
  • Winning the Trophy: Trophy acts as a stone of good luck (DMG pg 200)

The Rules (pg 238): It's dodgeball! All resolved by Athletics checks. You can electrify the ball, and if you hit someone, lightning shoots out at another player and if it hits them (3 lightning dmg), they are eliminated too.

Y4. Tower of Abjuration: This tower contains an anvil that can destroy magic items.
  • Studying the Runes on the Exterior: Symbol (insanity) glyph (PH pg 280). Detect it with an Arcana check DC 18.
  • 6 Demos Magen (pg 300) won't let anyone use the anvil.
  • Inscription: "First, shield thyself with a wand from the Nether Oak."
Using the Anvil of Disjunction
  1. Pick up the hammer. Hear a voice that says "Bring me items of power, and together we shall destroy them."
  2. Place a magic item on the anvil and hit it three times (each strike is an action) with the hammer. 
  3. On the third strike, the item disintegrates.
  4. 25% chance a tomb tapper (pg 310) burrows in and attacks. 

Y5. Prison: If the group searches for 30 minutes, they'll find an invisible person strapped to a table. They've been under the effect of a sequester spell (PH pg 274) since before Ythryn fell.

Xerophon: Will appear to be a middle aged human. If the sequester is dispelled, Xerophon will try to claim he was a peasant who had a cruel master named Iriolarthus, but in truth he is a doppelganger (MM pg 82) who murdered a sage.

Xerophon knows 3 pieces of lore (pg 235) and he knows all about how to get into the Spire of Iriolarthus.

Y6. Spire Entrance: The only way through the force field is with the Arcane Octad ritual (pg 234).

Y7. Tower of Conjuration: 4 living Bigby's hands (pg 298) guard a mini-tower. The tower entrance is actually a portal to a small demiplane - the den of 3 night s (MM pg 178).

  • The Hag Coven: Auntie Pinch, Auntie Pillage, Auntie Plunder.
  • Lair: Cluttered den 40 ft by 20 ft
  • Will let the heroes leave if they each agree to share a memory plucked from their heads.
  • The Arcane Octad inscription is written on the wall
  • Loot: Potion of longevity (DMG pg 188), potion of invisibility (DMG pg 188)

Y8. House of the Arcane: In the auditorium is a Magic Goblet containing liquid that looks like hot water. Each character can drink from it once and receive an effect from the table on pg 243:

  • Blade Ward (PH pg 218-219)
  • Mage Hand (PH pg 256)
  • Flying Sword (MM pg 20)
  • True Strike (PH pg 284)
  • Friends (PH pg 244)
  • Dancing Lights (PH pg 230)
  • Minor Illusion (PH pg 260)
  • Chill Touch (PH pg 221)
  • Death Ward (PH pg 230)
  • Prestidigitation (PH pg 267)
  • Polymorph (PH pg 266)
  • Bat (MM pg 318)

Note: Drinking from this goblet allows characters to sit in the chairs in the Chamber of the Ebon Star on pg 251.

Y9. Library: A yugoloth is here looking for the fabled Books of Keeping (MM pg 311)

Scrivenscry: An arcanaloth (pg 313) who insists that the party help search for the Books. 

  • 3 Scrolls: Leomund's tiny hut (PH pg 255), Plane Shift (PH pg 266), and Wall of Ice (PH pg 285)
  • Chime of Opening (DMG pg 158) with 1 use remaining.
  • Treatise on the Outer Planes worth 250 gp.

Kingsport: A blind, 5-foot-tall penguin who serves the arcanaloth. Hopes to be free. Gives a character a note that says "Help me."

Searching the Library: Spend a few hours, learn 1d3 facts from the Ythryn Lore table (pg 235). They can find:

  • Almanac: Contains the rules of and a list of past winners of Chain Lightning tournaments. 
  • Journal: Written by Thufeus, describes the Fall of Ythryn and what happened to the survivors (see pg 231). 

Y10. Arboretum: The group will need to make a wand made from the Nether Oak. The problem is that the Nether Oak is a surly treant (MM pg 289) who will summon 4 needle blights MM pg 32) if angered. A Persuasion Check DC 15 will allow the group to get some wood to make the wand.

Y11. Tower of Divination: On a pedestal is a crystal ball full of eyes (the symbol of Savras). 

Orb of Divination: Put your hands on it and speak the name of an object/person. 

  1. If that creature is on the same plane, you see it and know how far away it is and what direction. 
  2. Make a CON save DC 20: Fail: take 10 dmg as one of your eyes is teleported into the orb 
  3. "Injuries" DMG pg 272: Disadvantage on ranged attack rolls and Perception checks.

No inscription! The wall fell with the inscription fell into Y15.

Y12. Wellspring of Answers: A well encircled with crystal benches. On the well is an inscription ecouraging you to sit and meditate. 

  • Meditating: If you do so, you can make Insight check DC 15 to gain a clue from the Ythryn Lore table (pg 235). Fail by 5+ awakens the hydra-like abomination in the well (hydra MM pg 190).

Y13. Bazaar of the Bizarre: This place is ruined. A headless iron golem (MM pg 170) is rampaging around. It is blinded and deafened, has disadvantage on attack tolls, and can't use its Poison Breath.

Y14. Hall of Silk: You can walk in here, and an illusion will greet you. 4 phase spiders will create a silk garment of your imaginary design right there. Each character can get one, worth 250 gp each. There are ten robes in the store, but if they are taken, the guards attack.

  • 6 demos magen (pg 300)
  • 5 galvan magen (pg 301)
  • 4 phase spiders (pg 334)

Y15. Observatory: This place is guarded by 7 magen, who will telepathically warn intruders to leave.

  • Iron Door: AC 19 HP 30 imm: poison/psychic.
  • Inside is a hostile blue slaad (MM pg 276) and a green slaad (MM pg 277) who was once the Arch-Astronomer. 

Inscription on Chunk of Wall: Shed a secret for all to hear.

  • 3 galvan magen (pg 301)
  • 3 demos magen (pg 300)
  • 1 hypnos magen (pg 301)

Y16. Menagerie: The Chimeric Creator is a magic device (Arcana check DC 15 to figure out how it works). If you pour 80 hit points worth of blood in there and pull the lever, it creates a creature with special properties that is loyal to you. It can be used once every 8 hours.

  • Weasel (MM pg 340)
  • Hare (pg 294)
  • Baboon (MM pg 318)
  • Cat (MM pg 320)
  • Rat (MM pg 335)
  • Fox (MM pg 288)

Y17. Theater: 5 scripts of the same play, each with a different cover. Reading a script for one hour: WIS save DC 18 or gain a unique curse as described on pg 246.

Y18. Tower of Necromancy: A ghost (MM pg 147) is overseeing 200 crawling claws (MM pg 44) who are excavating an area. The ghost's body is at the bottom (finding it lays the ghost to rest). The Arcane Octad inscription is down there, too. 

  • Necklace of Fireballs (DMG pg 182)

Y19. Spire of Iriolarthus: Iriolarthus can only use Lair Actions inside the force field.

Note: Once the force field is down, the group can walk right up to the Ythryn mythallar (Y23. pgs 255-256).

Y19A. Main Entrance: The heroes go up a magic lift. There is a lone hypnos magen (pg 301) guarding the door. 

Y19B. Ballroom: This party is an illusion. The group can speak with the "guests"and learn one piece of lore (pg 235). If this illusion is dispelled, the three brains in a jar (pg 279) in here will be furious and attack. 

Y19C. Council Chambers: Tables, parchment. Notes on an Ostorian artifact that hes been moved to the stasis chamber for further study.

Y19D. Guard Passage: The same hypnos magen (pg 301) from Y19A. guards this place as well.

Y19E. Liquefaction Chamber: This room is designed to assist someone into becoming a brain in a jar. Veneranda can use this room to transform one humanoid into a brain in a jar.

Veneranda: A brain in a jar (pg 279) that is affixed to a headless helmed horror (MM pg 183). She is not necessarily hostile.

  • If combat breaks out, the brain and the helmed horror roll intiative seperately. 
  • She will ask the group to retrieve the staff of power from the study (Y19Q on pg 252)
  • Veneranda wants to restoe Ythryn to its former glory. She thinks she can use the obelisk in Y21 (pg 255) to turn back time and repair the damage.

Y19F. Staff Storage: Non-magical staffs that can be used as an arcane focus for spellcasters.

Y19G. Den: An illusion of courtiers lounging. smoking, and eating fruit. The chest is real (abracadabrus pg 314 - a device that can conjure up items, food, and drinks worth up to 1 gp).

Y19H. Members' Bar: Illusionary guests drinking. Not an illusion: 12 bottles of 2,000 year old magically preserved wine worth 50 gp each. 

Y19I. Force Bridge: This invisible bridge connects to Y19J. The Chamber of Sorcery.

Y19J. The Chamber of Sorcery: This room contains a living spell/NPC named Everlast. It is bored and friendly. It was made to help restore the city and is not allowed to reveal the city's secrets to outsiders. 

  • If half or more of the crystals in the wall are destroyed, Everlast ceases to exist.
  • Passive Perception DC 20: There's a secret door in the ceiling - a shaft to Y19K. Open hatch: STR check DC 20.

Y19K. Dome: The group emerges, but can't proceed due to a dome of force (wall of force PH pg 285) that is powered by a green crystal. They can use noise to disrupt the crystal (the field will go down for d6 rounds). Then they can shatter the crystal to end the field completely. 

2 living blades of disaster (pg 299) guard the double doors to Y19L.

Y19L. Testing Chamber: Trap: Flesh to stone (PH pg 243) up to 3 times.

There are 8 doors in here. If you don't speak the name of the correct apprentice (these names can be found in Y29. pg 258) before going through a door, a barbed devil (MM pg 70) appears and attacks. All of the doors lead to Y19M.

Y19M. Chamber of the Ebon Star: 8 chairs facing a starry miasma. The party can learn about the magic of the chairs from the tome in room Y19O. on page 252.

  • Star Field: Study it, make an INT save DC 20. Fail: gain a flaw where the hero can't look at the sky.
  • Chairs: A portal to Y19Q. can be opened if a character linked to the right school of magic sits in the chair with the corresponding symbol. A necromancer sitting in the necromancy chair, for example. Also, people who drank for the goblet in Y8. count as well.
  • Door to Y19P: Can be opened by the adamantine key in Y19O. or Pick it: DEX check DC 18.

Y19N. Stasis Chamber: Maybe don't touch the spindle. It can't be moved or damaged. If a character targets it with a 5th level spell or higher, all magic items in a 3 mile radius are suppressed for 24 hours and spellcasters are drained of all spell slots.

Y19O. Library: Digging through the mess turns up two things:

  • Scroll of the Comet (pg 315) (Arcane Brotherhood wants this)
  • A Brittle Tome: Notes on meetings in the Chamber of the Ebon Star. Reveals that sitting in the chairs in Y19M opens a portal.

Y19P. High Court Balcony: Words spoken on this balcony are 10 times louder than normal.

Y19Q. Iriolarthus's Study: The group will likely have a big fight on their hands. Once that is resolved, they can find notes on Ythryn and the obelisk being powered by a staff of power.

  • Demilich (MM pg 48): This is Iriolarthus. Lair Actions can be used here.
  • 3 Nothics (MM pg 236)
  • Living Demiplane (pg 299): Anyone trapped in it must deal with the 3 galvan mages (pg 301) and 2 flesh golems (MM pg 169)
  • Staff of Power (DMG pg 202) (Arcane Brotherhood wants this)
  • Incantations of Iriolarthus (pg 317): Contains the create magen spell (pg 318) (Arcane Brotherhood wants this item most of all)
  • Scroll of Tarrasque Summoning (pg 315) (Arcane Brotherhood wants this) Check out "Summoning the Tarrasque" on page 260.

Y20. Tower of Evocation: 8 alcoves contain giant "block of ice". One has a humanoid skeleton in it. If the brazier in this room is lit, it melts the "ice" (thawing out 8 gelatinous cubes! MM pg 242) and reveals the 5th inscription for the Arcane Octad.

Y21. Obelisk: The heroes could use the staff of power on the obelisk to rewind time. It goes like this:

  1. Use Staff: Expend 10 charges, touch the staff to the obelisk.
  2. Explosion: 30 foot radius, damage is 16x the number of charges in the staff (see the samage chart in the DMG pg 202-203) DEX save DC 17 for half dmg.
  3. Demiplane? 50% chance that the person holding the staff travels to a random plane of existence (you could have the characte rpop up in the hag demiplane on pg 240?)
  4. De-Aging: Any creature within 120 feet of the obelisk still alive become 10 years younger.
  5. Time Travel: The obelisk disintegrates as it hurls the planet into the past.

Y22. Tower of Illusion: As the group approaches, their worst fears manifest as phantasmal killers (PH pg 265).

  • Chamber of Illusions: The inscription in here is an illusion. The real inscription is revealed with dispel magic (PH pg 234) or truesight.

Y23. Ythryn Mythallar: This is contained in the force field that surrounds the Spire of Iriolarthus, and can't be accessed until the heroes use the Arcane Octad. If a character tries to attune to it, a tomb tapper (pg 310) appears and attacks. Also, Irilarthus (demilich MM pg 48) senses the attempt to attune to it, and immediately flies down to discourage further tampering.

Ythryn Mythallar (pg 316)

  • Appearance: Glowing crystal ball 50 feet in diameter.
  • Touch it: CON save DC 22, take 180 radiant dmg, half on save. Objects that touch it are destroyed (no save).
  • Attunement: Up to 8 creatures can attune to it at the same time. To attune to it, you must take a short rest within 30 feet of it.
  • Powers: Once attuned, you can make it fly 30 feet, recharge magic items, and cast control weather (PH pg 228) affecting a 50-mile radius

The mythallar can be used to end the everlasting winter in Icewind Dale (see "Epilogue" pg 261).

Y24. Tower of Enchantment: A lady named Ivira is sitting, stunned, on a throne, wearing a cursed crown. If the group removes the crown, she asks them to destroy the crown and she dies.

  • Touch the Crown: WOS save DC 17 charmed by the crown, put it on.
  • Put the Crown on: Your memories begin to be siphoned. After an hour, make an INT save DC 15 or be stunned. The save is repeated each hour. after 10 days, the stun is permanent.
  • Destroying the Crown: Use the anvil in Y4. page 239.
  • Inscription: On the wall behind the throne.

Y25. Hall of Weightless Wonder: Go into a pillar, which raises you up to a dome which you can float in. There you can cast project image (PH pg 270) that you can explore the city with.

Y26. Tower of Transmutation: The inscription here is damaged. There's a word missing. A mending spell (PH pg 259) will fix it. There's also an adamantine statue in here - a polymorphed Netherese wizard named Metaltra.

Y27. Music Hall: An orchestra never got to finish their song. If you pick up the baton, they appear and you can help them finish their symphony. You'll need to make three Performance checks DC 15. Failing a check does 27 psychic dmg to all creatures in the hall.

If the third check is successful, the musicians fade away and the conductor gains information.

Y28. Skydock Spire: A clear chamber that hovers atop a spire. Gives a good view of the Necropolis. 

  • Wand of Chardalyn: Grasping it gives you an urge to harm others. Made of chardalyn (pg 6).
  • Avarice's Base: This is where Avarice and her team will set up as their base (see pg 260).

Y29. Museum: The domed ceiling depicts Itrolarthus when he was a mortal, along with his apprentices. All of the apprentices are named (these names are useful in room Y19L. pg 250).

  • Lower Level: 6 nothics (MM pg 236)
  • Upper Level: Pillars are 4 spitting mimics (pg 302). Dead creature is a phaerimm

(pg 259) Dealing with the Arcane Brotherhood

Velynne (pg 274) might accompany the group here. She can help:

  • She can use comprehend languages (PH pg 224) to translate Draconic.
  • She can cast Leomund's tiny hut (PH pg 255), which will be a safe place to rest.

Avarice (pg 270) has likely followed them in.

Arcane Brotherhood Item Checklist: The four items they want the most are: The staff of power, the scroll of the comet, the scroll of tarrasque summoning, and most of all, Iriolarthus's spellbook. 

Auril's Wrath: She shows up after 1 day. 

  • 3 frost giant skeletons (pg 289)
  • 6 snow golems (pg 308)
  • 6 winter wolves (MM pg 340)
  • She will capture Avarice's minions and turn them into Coldlight Walkers (pg 284).

If the group takes out most of her minions, she will bellow out a challenge and then track them down. 

(pg 260) Summoning the Tarrasque

If summoned, the tarrasque (MM pg 286) will destroy the necropolis, smash through the caves of hunger, and rampage across Icewind Dale.

(pg 261) Epilogue

Year of the Chilled Marrow: If the heroes end up in -343 DR, they'll be in a floating city ruled by the lich version of Iriolarthus. The obelisk has been erased from history. 

We're done! Good luck with your campaign and thanks for readin.