The Ten-Towns of Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden provide rich plot, roleplaying, and excellent modular encounters for your 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons game. These early adventures setup the core tension of the adventure, and provide some of the most obvious ways to allow heroes make an impact on the region. What follows here are a few updates, changes, or additions to Ten-Towns to spice up your sessions in different ways. The factions section below provide a bit more political context to the adventure, the Sacrifices to Auril section provides a bit more background and context for the dangers faced and how each town is adapting, the Winter Survival Gear and Travel section enhance the survival mechanics in the setting. Like any remix, this is just a skew toward a specific style of running the game, use what you find useful and ignore the rest. Many of these core components setup remixes for individual encounters I will post over time.
Livestream of my discussion on 5e D&D campaign prep, talking about Failures and Rising Tension, creating Thrilling Heroics and more. Join me every Saturday at Noon EST on Twitch and YouTube to join in the conversation.
5th edition Dungeons and Dragons has a bit of a rough patch with its skill checks model. Given the variability of a d20, all or nothing skill checks can be a fairly harsh mechanic. Indeed, there’s some evidence all or nothing checks is not the designers intent. The DMG Chapter 8 provides some alternative methods to consider with skill resolution under Resolution and Consequences which all hinge on a single die roll mechanic. In cases, there may be some utility using a progressive success or failure system instead of a single checks. Particularly in non-combat encounters, it is best to build skill checks in a way to build tension from failure rather than a collapse. DMDavid sparked a thought after a specific example posted on twitter, how to handle falling with failed climbing checks. Progressive failure and rising tension meshes well with the Thrilling Heroics Rules I posted awhile back. In fact, it compliments it enough that I thought it useful to post some examples here.
Owing to a small thread on twitter earlier this week, I listed out the options 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons provides for effecting rolls. This is useful for creating your own roll effecting homebrew rules, if you want to understand the relative power level compared to other elements in the ruleset.
This post contains the remixes and changes I used for the Lake Monster quest picked up in the town of Bremen in Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden. It runs similarly to what is written in the module with a different backstory, delivery and climax. You can likely use this remix as an independent encounter in any game, but to get the most out of it you will need the module.