A Pathfinder/3.5 Compatible Adventure for 4-6 PCs of Levels 4-5
The annual Winterflower Festival & Dance is just around the corner! What originally started as a festival to honor the rare Winterflower has grown into an annual gathering for families, soldiers, and hunters to eat, drink, and dance the night away.
The festival is named after the rarest flower in the world. It thrives in a cold mountainous region and has a reputation for growing on sheer mountain peaks and cliffs. It is the only flower known to grow through layers of snow in order to reach the sunlight. When carefully transplanted near the village the Winterflower is considered a blessing which protects the village from harm.
It is customary for the men of the village to ask the women to the dance by presenting them with rare, difficult to obtain gifts. A woman will usually select from the men based on the rarity of the gift with which she was presented.
This year, a beautiful maiden by the name of Gwendolyn has come of age and many men vie for her attention. Three such men are Nicoli Vrodle, Alem Dulgra, and Vladimir Pelchonal- all of which are willing to go to great lengths to attend the Winterflower Festival & Dance with the maiden Gwendolyn on their arm.
Each of the three men hire the PCs to retrieve the rarest gifts in the land.
The catch? The Winterflower Festival starts in just 5 days so the PCs must hurry!
Also included in “Winterflower”:
Jonathan G. Nelson
4.5 stars – Excellent, fairy-tale style module
Endzeitgeist — Apr 26, 2012, 12:48 AM
This pdf is 24 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving 21 pages of content for this adventure, so let’s take a look!
This being an adventure review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion!
Still here? All right! The annual Winterflower Dance and Festival is upon Rybalka and emotions and hormons run high: The beautiful maiden Gwendolyn has many a suitor, and three men, Nicoli Vrodle, Alem Dulgra and Vladimir Pelchonal vie for her hand with increasingly heroic quests – which, of course, the PCs can assist. Whether they assist one, two or all of the quests, they’re in for a challenge: Nicoli wants them to acquire a broach from a capsized Vikmordere ship, which is unfortunately near the location of the last adventure, “Forest for the Trees” – depending on the outcome, the PCs may have an interesting first look at the consequences of their actions as they make their way to a stranded ship. The PCs may meet a scouting party of Vikmordere on the way and when they reach the ship (with its beautiful map, unfortunately with numbers), they will have to brave the undead that now inhabit the frozen shipwreck. They might even salvage a cannon from the ship – IF they succeed in getting its massive bulk back to Rybalka, that is.
Unfortunately, poor Nicoli’s advances fall on deaf ears and Alem is next: Quite popular and wealthy, this unscrupulous man deals in illicit narcotics and want to secure a rare dwarven gem, Alexandrite, to effectively buy Gwendolyn’s heart. He might also prove to be a way for the PCs to get back to good graces with Rybalka after choosing the “Path of the Druid” in “Forest for the Trees”. In order to reach the entry to the secret subterranean dwarven holds, the PCs will have to brave kobold traps and succeed at a kind of sliding puzzle (WITH a hint, this time), which comes with actual ways to find the solution without brute-forcing it – GREAT! In order to get the gem, though, the PCs will first have to get some cave-moss from a grick-infested cave. Once this task is complete as well, they may return to Rybalka, only to realize that Alem might not be a good choice for Gwendolyn – he might even be harassing her.
The strikingly handsome Vladimir has perhaps the most romantic of the three ideas – he wants to bring the Winterflower to Gwendolyn to ask for her heart – reminiscent of the tradition in the alps to bring the Edelweiß to one’s beloved, I did consider this idea in particular to be awesome. Especially with the map and location: The flower only grows on the mountain known as “Solitary Giant”, a huge thing of ice and basalt, circled by a vast snow roc. To make matters worse, the weather is taking a turn for the worse as well. Climbing the solitary giant will have the PCs brave potential avalanches and other obstacles to have an awesome climax: Fending off against the snow roc while being tied to the wall. the creature is not overtly hostile and easily confused and the objective is not victory, but survival. Hopefully, the PCs can keep brave Vladimir alive.
Upon their return, though, Gwendolyn may spurn Vladimir as well to follow her own choice and heart unless the PCs intervene on behalf of the brave man. Whether or not for the better, the PCs have helped a romance by showing what can and cannot be achieved by bravery, money and suaveness and thus ends the adventure and concludes the festival. Which I would have loved to see being described in the module, but oh well.
Editing and formatting are very good, though not perfect – I did notice some minor glitches, though not many or glitches that impeded my understanding or enjoyment of the text. Layout adheres to Adventureaweek.com’s 2-column standard with its colored background. No printer-friendly version is included in the deal, though herolab-files are. The cartography, as I’ve come to expect from adventureaweek.com, is stellar, though I’d love for player-friendly maps sans the numbers etc. or a similar file of collated handouts as e.g. Run Amok Games provides. The pdf comes with extensive bookmarks. Of all the adventures in and around Rybalka I’ve read so far, Winterflower is perhaps the most unconventional. A sense of personal involvement can be just as enticing as the promise of epic loot and the module provides an intriguing backdrop and interesting motivations for the players. The climactic climbing of a mountain is one of the coolest environmental showdowns I’ve read in any PFRPG adventure and feels truly unique. I do have some complaints, though: In direct comparison to other modules by adventureaweek.com and other publishers, “Winterflower” is a bit on the short side for the price – TPK Games’ “Ship of Fools”, for example, provides about twice the content and multiple full-color maps for the same price. Additionally, the festival that is an integral component of the module’s background gets no description or the like. Its rites and dances could have made for a cool end and a way to convey more of the unique cultures and customs of the setting/settlement. It is due to these two gripes, especially the bang-for-buck-ratio, that I’ll settle for a final verdict of 4.5 stars – a bit on the expensive, but unconventional and rather cool side. For future modules, I’d love to see a bit more content/maps etc.
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