This is my remix of the Foaming Mugs quest from the 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons module, Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden. You can use this to spice up your encounter with a bit more intrigue, potential negotiation and roleplay. It also ties back to The Chardalyn Syndicate, a faction that is part of the Far North & Ten-Towns remix posted here previously. Check out the RotF and Remix tags on this site for more remixes.
I avoid reproducing items from the module and you’ll need the original to make sense of this but be aware this may imply spoilers.
What this remix changes
- Turns this into an “inside job” involving one of the dwarves.
- Adds a fantastic location for the encounter to play out in.
- Throws in a possible Yeti encounter.
- Introduces a ‘secret’ ending for investigative players who catch onto the inside job.
The lost shipment of iron was an inside job. Korux the Dwarf is working with Izobai the goblin leader to steal the shipment on behalf of Arnold Beitz, who they know will pay for goods that get lost on the road. Conspiring together, Korux and Izobai made a plan to scare off the dwarves using Izobai’s polar bears. Korux convinced the other dwarves to travel overland using one of his old smuggling routes because the roads were unsafe. Izobai decided it wasn’t worth risking his polar bears and bought a small charm that attracts Yeti. Unfortunately, for all involved the Yeti didn’t announce its presence, ambushed the dwarves, gravely wounding Korux in the process. Since then, Izobai and the goblins have been waiting for the Yeti to clear out before recovering the shipment.
The core of the adventure is as follows:
- Get the quest from the dwarves to recover the iron shipment. Potential RP & Foreshadowing.
- Travel to the site of the lost shipment, find the Yeti charm, and perhaps realize something more is happening. Potential environmental encounter.
- Follow the trail of the shipment to find the Goblins trying to make off with it. Potential negotiation or slapstick fighting.
- Encounter the Yeti still in the area. Potential difficult fight.
- Discover the ‘hidden’ encounter, where Arnold Beitz attempts to have Korux killed for his incompetence. Potential intrigue, fight, or roleplaying.
Getting The Quest
What’s at stake: This is a roleplaying encounter, it sets up the quest, foreshadows the forthcoming action.
Players get the quest much the same as it does in the module. In addition to the boxed description in the encounter, read the following.
Ironically, Korux was the most severely wounded member of his group in the Yeti attack. This causes the other dwarves to tease him for having suggested the possible safe route. DMs should use this encounter as foreshadowing rather than revealing anything. There’s really not much here to reveal, Korux doesn’t know Izobai betrayed him and caused the Yeti attack.
If the players agree to recover the iron shipment the dwarves will tell them where they can find it.
The dwarves will say the Yeti came out of nowhere, killed Oobok, and wounded Korux when he tried to intervene. They all ran shortly afterwards and made their way back to Bryn Shander. Importing the players to help, if they sense the players to be kind hearted at all, they will add.
If the players get it into their head to shake down Blackiron Blades, they’ll be disappointed. The store is poor and has little to offer other than a free blade or two, free repairs, and ernest thanks.
On the Trail of the Lost Shipment
Players approach this section much as they do in the “Search for the Sled” section of the module. The following additions or changes apply.
Fantastic Location: The Dancers Garden
What’s at stake: This is a lore and investigation encounter. It mostly sets the players up to know what to be aware of and how to approach the follow-on encounters.
The lost sled with the iron shipment is six miles west north-west of Bryn Shander. Locals call this area The Dancers Garden. Fifty years ago, it was the sight of a small gnomish village that became the target of a Medusa’s wraith. The area is a littered jumble of broken structures dotted with the petrified remains of the villagers. The stone remains of the Medusa’s victims are scattered around, in macabre poses with expressions of surprise and terror. Most locals avoid the area.
If DMs may want to use the Heart of Winter Magical Region I created. This makes an excellent location to use and introduce the players to terrors in the north. Note, you will likely want to scale down some of the effects of the region as appropriate for the party.
In addition to the information from the module. The players find a small charm nearby, on a long stick driven into the snow. On top of the stick, they discover a charm made of holly branches and yeti fur.
Building a Mystery
DMs should give out the minimal information needed for players to understand something is going on. Save value added information for follow-up actions and skills. On finding the charm, pass this minimum information to the players. The charm itself looks recently made and obviously placed in this path.
If the players the charm or the area, they may also discover:
- A DC 10 Arcana (Intelligence) will let them realize the charm is a folk magic fetish used to attract Yeti.
- A DC 10 History (Intelligence) check will reveal the charm seems to be of local goblin make. Make this roll at disadvantage if not from the region.
- A DC 15 Survival (Wisdom) check will reveal Yeti tracks no older than four hours in the area. (The Yeti is still around)
Note this is in addition to the tracks and other information found about the sled being taken away. The players notice the tracks left by the sled and direction but leave other information for skill rolls and investigation. This might include information about the number of people, how heavily armored, and more.
The Goblin Encounter
What’s at stake: This is primarily a roleplaying encounter. There’s the possibility it will turn into a physical contest if they get into tug of war over the sled. The Goblins have no desire to fight but will defend themselves if need be.
This encounter plays out much as it does in the book. The players find the goblins making off with the sled. The goblins are not fighters and have no desire to fight. They will argue, claim salvage, lie, cheat, or take advantage of anything they can to get the players to leave. At most they will wrestle or have a tug of war over the sled. If the players gain control of the cart, they will scream ‘Fine, we didn’t want it anyway” and blow a large horn summoning any other goblins before they leave. They will fight as a last resort if cornered or trapped. Izobai will leave his crew behind and fire crossbows from the cart as it pulls away,
Any significant amount of noise will start The Yeti Attack encounter.
When the Yeti attacks the goblins will be as surprised as the players. They will panic and run around, the wagon will begin to pull away, leaving any goblins by the sled behind.
What the Goblins Know: The goblin boss is the only one with any real information about the full plot. All the Goblins know is they were told by the boss. They were going to recover something, they’ve been sitting out here a few days and went to get the shipment several hours prior to the players arriving. If for some reason the players are able to force a convince Izobai to talk, he will be evasive and not reveal any information voluntarily. The most he will reveal is that he knows of a salvage operation in Bryn Shander that pays for recovered goods without any questions. He will also say he learned of the shipment by hearing dwarves talk about it back at a trading post. Technically not a lie, Korux told him about it. Only under the direst circumstances will Izobai reveal Korux’s involvement. Izobai also knows they were to deliver the shipment at a meeting place in a back alley in Bryn Shander a day from whenever this encounter takes place. See the “hidden” encounter below called Lose Ends.
The Yeti Attack
What’s at stake: Survival! The yeti wants more food and to dominate its territory. If the goblins help it may be a chance to renegotiate afterwards.
The Yeti has remained in the area the last few days, drawn by the charm and is seeking to establish a new lair. The Yeti encounter is straightforward, it will roar and emerge from the darkness. Roll the Yeti’s stealth check and compare it to the players passive perception to determine if they are surprised.
A note on balancing the encounter. This is an early encounter (I ran it against a level 1 party) and may be more or less difficult depending the party state and composition. Some tweaks you can consider to rebalance the encounter up or down.
- Up, have a Yeti Tyke accompany the Yeti.
- Up, bump the Yeti’s hit points (if you know the average damage output of the party give it about 3 rounds)
- Down, limit it’s use of Chilling Gaze or don’t have it use it altogether (say the blizzard keeps it from using the gaze or it’s lost an eye)
- Down, have the goblins join in the fight if it starts going south. They don’t want the thing chasing them. This might spark a parlay or more roleplay with the goblins.
Note Yeti are fearless but it will flee it below 10 hp.
Returning the Goods
What’s at stake: This is mostly a roleplaying encounter and possible investigation encounter if the players uncover Korux’s involvement.
Returning the goods happens much as it does in the module. Korux has healed a bit but is still sullen and withdrawn. The DM will need to adapt to the next steps as best they see fit but the broad possible outcome
- If the players share details about the charm or reveal any information that does not directly name Korux, he will continue his sullen behavior but give no indicator of any other information.
- Information about this being an inside job will cause the dwarves will begin to argue among themselves and eventually ask the players to leave as this is “a family discussion.”
- Directly accusing Korux of involvement will cause him to vehemently deny it, and start an argument among the dwarves similar to the previous bullet. Ultimately if pushed far enough Korux will confess and throw himself on the mercy of his friends who will again ask the players to leave.
What’s at stake: This can range anywhere from a roleplaying to a combat encounter depending on how the players run it. This is also a “hidden” encounter in that it will only take place if the players are pro-active and follow-up on details from the previous encounters.
The handoff of the goods to Arnold Beitz and his gang is supposed to happen a day or so after the party returns to Bryn Shander. It will happen in some out of the way alley late at night when there are not many potential observers. Korux will sneak out from wherever he and his friends are staying, he dares not ignore the meeting.
The alley way the meeting happens in will only have a single entrance. Arnold will meet with Izobai and Korux and demand an answer to their failure to deliver. He will express his extreme disappointment in their failure and make very vague threats that this sort of incompetence cannot be tolerated.
The setup of the scene:
- Two Thugs guard the entrance to the back alley, keeping out anyone attempting to get in. They are inattentive and resentful of the cold.
- Arnold Beitz is standing in the deep shadows of the alley way. He has five bandits attending him, two Thugs as body guards, and one Bandit Captain.
There are many outcomes depending on how the players approach this encounter, if they approach it at all. Note, DMs should make apparent the forces in the alley could not be overcome, overthrowing a local crime boss is generally beyond the capability of a 1st level party. This should be made obvious.
- If confronted or disrupted, Arnold Beitz will simply say “take care of it” and retreat into a building, escaping with the help of other allies. The remaining thugs will insist the players leave, telling them they didn’t see anything. The bandits and thugs will attack if pushed. If the players are defeated, they will be left outside the walls of the city, presumably to die in the cold.
- If the players are able to observe the exchange, Arnold will berate Izobai and Korux for their failure and his resentment for having to be out in this weather to address it. He will eventually focus his disappointment on Korux, stating that at least Izobai has been of service before. Eventually everyone will be dismissed, Izobai and Korux will depart in different directions. A few moments after things break up, two Thugs follow Korux at a distance and will attempt to kill him in some remote street as he sulks back to whenever he is staying.
If players do not discover this encounter or do nothing, two days after they return, they will hear news that the Dwarf Korux was found dead in the streets having been stabbed in the back.
Wrapping Things Up
So that’s it. This adventure can be a self-contained encounter and left there. In my own campaign I used this as a tease for the intrigue I introduced involving the attempt by The Chardlyn Syndicate to control the Ten-Towns. DMs can use this as a means to introduce that or some other plot element into the game.
If you use any of this material hit me up on twitter with some details.