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The Veranthea Codex launches today at 6PM EST (3 PM PST)!


Mike Myler and Rogue Genius Games are launching a Kickstarter later TODAY (6PM EST!) for a book everyone needs in their Pathfinder library—the Veranthea Codex.

Spoony Jaws - Trectoyri [Jacob Blackmon] (reduced)Veranthea is Mike’s mad world, the campaign setting he started playing Pathfinder in years ago, and it’s been developing into a truly amazing project! But why are you reading about it on the AaWBlog?

The answer is simple—Mike’s borrowing some of the crew here to help bring his world to life in a beautiful hardback book!

  • Brian Wiborg Mønster is heading development and writing in Grethadnis!
  • Luis Loza and Colin Stricklin, two module authors from’s stables, fill out his core group of writers (developing Urethiel and Trectoyri, respectively).
  • Beztekorps - Grethadnis [Indi Martin]Justin Andrew Mason is producing incredible graphics for the Veranthea Codex, doing the lion’s share of cartography (with the exception of Jonathan G. Nelson’s stretch goal), and is on to make some mythic content alongside Rory Toma (another great stretch goal)!
  • Another veteran—the other MM, Michael McCarthy—is on to develop material for stretch goals and is the lead editor, making sure that all of the content in the Veranthea Codex is top-notch!
  • Finally there’s Julian Neale, the mechanics engineer that worked with Mike Myler on the Underworld Classes product line—with his guiding hand on board, the archetypes and prestige classes throughout the Veranthea Codex are sure to be some of the most balanced material third party publishers have to offer!

Master in Irons - Urethiel cast [Nathanael Batchelor]

This post is to get the word out; visit the Veranthea Codex tumblr for a peek at much of the existing content for Mike’s World, keep an eye out for the four FREE Veranthea Codex PDFs on,,, and, or drop by the Veranthea Codex Facebook page to get an early peek at the FREE PDFs releasing all throughout September!

If you like what you see, please tell your friends, share the Facebook page, and get ready for the Kickstarter launch TODAY at 6PM EST!

We’ll see you there!

Braxthar Grimdrahk - Scientific Innovator [Indi Martin] (reduced)


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Maddening May: The Sunken Fla’nag Asylum

Last one to the tomb gets locked out when the sun comes upThe Fla’nag Asylum was built not out of the desire for such a structure, but by the necessity for one. The madness that seeps through the Dar’Spelun Slugmarsh had left too many madmen wandering the land, dangers to themselves and to others, so the dweorg Fla’nag Irontooth carved this sprawling asylum from the living rock of one of the nicer the caverns nearby, just outside the Tangleroot Forest.

However, Fla’nag was unaware that as he carved the tunnels that would become his asylum, the work was being guided by another hand: that of the swamp’s madness slug. As work progressed, the asylum came not to be an ordered structure as the dweorg had originally intended but one with sprawling hallways and rooms of every size and shape—all of which form a titanic symbol designed to focus madness inwards, concentrated by on a narrow planar breach at the asylum’s heart.

It took only six years after the asylum opened before reality cracked, spilling it into the Plane of Madness (and drawing some of the otherworldy realm into the Material Plane). Today, the asylum exists in at least two places at once, and the architecture constantly warps and folds upon itself, trapping any fool brave enough to explore its halls. Even locating the asylum can prove a challenge: oftentimes its entrance can be found in the Tangleroot Forest, but other times the doorway crawls through the Dar’Spelun Slugmarsh, or even disappears entirely.

Those that do escape with their lives and minds intact tell terrifying tales of what the place has become. The committed are dead to a man, though their spirits still stalk the halls and their final screams hang in the air. The hallways stretch to infinity in nearly all directions (though sane enough minds can hold them in place long enough to traverse safely, doing so only makes it easier for the creatures within to track their prey). The once-dweorg guards and doctors are now eldritch horrors and dark scions, endlessly patrolling routes and guarding empty chambers for reasons only they understand.

Worst of all—so the stories go—is the warden: to survive the encroaching madness, Fla’nag reached out to any power that would answer, signing a blood pact with the devils of HEL in desperation to transform him into a powerful gitwerc that could survive, and perhaps even rule over such a place. Now he toils to siphon off fragments of the mad souls to his new masters, eagerly seizing any new life that stumbles into his domain.

ghost__keith_curtisThough impossible to map the majority of the asylum, there is a semblance of order that persists throughout. The atrium that connects to the outside world remains virtually untouched by time, and there are very distinctly upper and lower ‘floors’: the upper floors are often filled with a haze of smoke and mist while the lower floors are instead flooded to a greater or lesser extent. The wellspring of the water that floods the Fla’nag Asylum isn’t known, but the water is tainted with madness, mutating those who drink from it or driving them insane.

No maps of the Fla’nag Asylum survived its collapse, so it is impossible to tell how many of the rooms within exist purely on the Plane of Madness. Rooms seem to appear and disappear at random, or perhaps their appearance is guided by Fla’nag or some greater power distilled from the plane itself.

There remain cells with padded walls and few corners, and offices now often featuring torture implements as often as simple desks and chairs, but other more obscure rooms still exist, whose purpose has been lost to madness or whose original purpose may never have quite been met. The only fragment of Fla’nag Asylum that remain unchanged from the original days is its heart, where the planar rift hangs invisibly in the air. A coven of drow witches makes their lair here, servants of the madness slug herself.


Though the architecture is constantly in flux, the spirits and energies within the asylum are fairly consistent. During any encounter, or once each hour spent stationary in the asylum, a GM should roll to see which madness effects manifest in that location.

d100      Madness Effect
0-15       —
16-30     auditory patch of madness
31-45     visual patch of madness
46-65     echoes of the asylum

66-75     both auditory and visual patches of madness
76-85     auditory patch of madness, and echoes of the asylum
86-95     visual patch of madness, and echoes of the asylum
96-99     visual and auditory patches of madness, and echoes of the asylum
100        The asylum writhes as a wave of raw madness energy rolls through the hallways. All characters must make a DC 25 Will save or immediately gain a random insanity (see the “Sanity and Madnesssection in Chapter 8 of Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Gamemastery Guide).

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Maddening May: Touching of Minds

Most people think of and experience telepathy as a simple voice inside their head: a totally silent conversation to whom only those in the telepathic link are party. However telepathy is more than that, and as a touching of minds it can share anything that can be expressed by thoughts, relaying messages as complex as both minds are capable of appreciating—and sometimes more.

touching of minds 4 - eye_of_the_deep__eric_quigleyWhen both creatures are sane there is little concern for stray thoughts that cross over this mental link, but when one of the creatures is insane or deeply alien, stray thoughts can range from distracting to downright disabling in their oddity—and opening one’s mind too deeply to a connection with a mind gone mad is only inviting insanity to oneself.

When one creature in a telepathic link (such as alter thoughts, detect thoughts, or any form of telepathy) is insane, an aberration, or otherwise has an alien mind, the sane creature must make a Will save each round (DC 10 + ½ the insane creature’s HD plus the creature’s Charisma modifier). On a failure, the mental link is unstable and the insane creature’s mind bleeds through into the sane creature’s, leading to all sorts of unpredictable effects. Ten sample effects are included in the list below—GMs are encouraged to pick whichever most closely matches their insane telepath!


1) Long-Term Link
The telepathy effect becomes permanent. During this time, the insane creature can re-open the link to mentally contact the sane creature at any time both creatures are on the same plane, and the sane creature has no control over the contents or duration of these incursions (though, the sane creature gains a +5 circumstance bonus from any further direct contact from that specific insane creature). Further, the insane creature can read the sane creature’s thoughts at any time as detect thoughts (caster level equals hit dice). This effect ends if either creature dies.

2) Maddening Images
The images that bleed through the psychic link disturb the sane creature to its very core, shaking the very foundation of who they are more the longer they think about it. Each day the sane creature takes 1 Charisma drain.

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????3) Stolen Thoughts
The insane creature replaces a number of the sane creature’s memories with its own less comprehensible ones, doing 2d4 Intelligence damage but granting a +5 insight bonus to each Knowledge skill that the creature has ranks in. This bonus disappears once half of the Intelligence damage has been healed by any means.

4) Forgone Conclusions
The creature’s voice whispers in their head, distracting them from making rational decisions and offering inappropriate advice. Each day, the sane creature takes a variable (changing daily) -1d6 penalty to their Wisdom score.

5) Hallucinations
The telepathic link is so strong that the sane creature sees after-images of the experience for 1d4 days afterwards. During any stressful situation, the sane creature must make a Will save (DC equal to the original save) or be confused for 1d6 rounds.

6) More Than You Asked For
The sane creature gets a deep, dark glimpse into the mind of the insane creature, and is offered almost free reign of their mind and memories. The sane creature can ask the insane creature any number of questions, which the insane creature must answer truthfully and completely, to the best of its ability. Asking and receiving an answer to a question takes a full round, though the sane creature is unaware that time is passing until the end of the process. During this time the sane creature is in a trance and considered helpless, while the insane creature is entirely unaware of this process (though it remains aware of a telepathic connection if it would normally be aware), and may act normally.

Touching of Minds 3 -  Storn Cook_Page_2_Image_00017) Phobia
Something in the insane mind utterly terrifies or fascinates the sane creature. The GM chooses one thing closely related to the insane creature (such as brains, crowds, noise, etc.), and the sane creature immediately gains a mania or phobia (50% chance of either; see the “Sanity and Madness” section in Chapter 8 of Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Gamemastery Guide) related to that substance.

8) Xenophilia
The connection to the insane creature’s mind fascinates the sane creature in a way they cannot explain to others. They become utterly obsessed with the insane creature’s original insanity (or in the case of unusual creatures, obsessed with that creature type). Any time the sane creature encounters the subject of its new obsession, they must make a Will save (DC equal to the original save DC) or move towards it in the most direct means possible, even if such movement would put the sane creature in danger. Further, any time the sane creature goes a number of days equal to its hit dice without encountering the subject of its obsession, it is affected as though it had failed to fulfill a geas and begins taking penalties to its ability scores until the sane creature satisfies its new need.

9) Shared Mind
A fragment of the insane mind seeds itself into the sane creature and becomes a permanent aspect of that character’s mind, utterly impossible to remove without permanent damage to the sane creature. Aside from the new insane voice within the sane creature’s head, the insane creature can compel the sane creature once per week into any action it so chooses. This functions either as dominate monster with a duration of 1 hour, or as a geas with a duration of one week (caster level equal to hit dice). In addition, the sane creature is aware of this possession, but is stopped by the insane creature from communicating the affliction to any other creature.

Touching of Minds 2 - Jason Walton 5610) Something Breaks
The sane creature’s mind simply cannot handle the connection to the insane creature, and goes immediately insane itself. The sane creature is inflicted with 1d4 random insanities (see the “Sanity and Madness” section in Chapter 8 of Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Gamemastery Guide) and is staggered for 1 round.


The majority of these effects are permanent, and can only be removed by the same means that would remove insanity normally, such as wish, miracle, or other high level magic.


[Submitted by Michael McCarthy]

Disclaimer: Any point of view expressed in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not in any case represent, define or otherwise reflect the view of the AaWBlog,, or AAW Games, Inc. For more information on insanity in Pathfinder, see the “Sanity and Madness” section in Chapter 8 of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Gamemastery Guide.

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A19: Saatman’s Empire III – Incandium’s Eruption

Today I’ll take a look at the third installment of Michael McCarthy’s adventure-arc of draconic destruction,


A19: Saatman’s Empire III – Incandium’s Eruption


The third installment of Michael McCarthy’s Saatman’s Empire adventure-arc is 66 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages ToC, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 60 pages of content – the longest module of the arc so far, so let’s take a look!


This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.


All right, still here? So far, the PCs have foiled two of the incursions of dragons into the territory of the Klavek Empire  – first by ending Midwinter’s cold snap in A16, then by vanquishing titanic Storm and thus ending the sabotage of naval trade. By now, the PCs will probably have realized that there’s something brewing, that some force engineers the draconic problems. Said force is the self-proclaimed heir to Saatman’s Empire and the goal is nothing but the utter destruction of the Klavek kingdom to recreate the draconic empire of old. One of the most central figures in this plot would be Incandium.

Incandium is essentially one of the key-players in Saatman’s gambit and when a dragon challenges the PCs in public to meet with Incandium and the Half-dragon (with membraneless wings of fire) offers them the choice to surrender or die. Not sure whether I like the angle where he comes personally, though: I’ll probably just send an illusion or something to ensure he doesn’t get killed off. Going alone off to kill the PCs when he has a neat array of allies/servants and a great fortress seems like a stupid move to me.

Now, Incandium’s base is no push-over: A volcano studded with tunnels at different heights: And the adversaries found will show that Incandium knows no mercy, not even for his brothers and sisters: The former now guard low levels of the tunnels and as minor dragons, still are challenging, though twisted by his experimentation. The latter await, at his command, other dragons to breed with – such is Incandium’s decree. But in order to even access this part of the volcano, the PCs will have to defeat a sliding block-puzzle – or bypass the puzzle via being nimble enough. Nice to see a puzzle! Another set of caverns contains a clan of harpies as well as the bones of Incandium’s mother, whom he slew due to his less than nice childhood.

The third set of caverns hosts Incandium’s kobolds and features an interesting feature: Traps. Too many of them – so many in fact, that they partially cannot be disarmed anymore and require those foolhardy or brave enough to walk them to weather the storm of assaults. Also, Incandium’s elite kobolds are nothing if not deadly, even without the extreme heat of the volcano. At the lip of the volcano, elemental guardians await and in the depths of the caves, hidden in the maze of tunnels and chapters, two suites of chambers might make for good locales to have Incandium make his final stand (for the module prescribes no location and assumes he perishes in the first encounter) – his set of private chambers (which includes the draconic father of fire, an elemental prince) and his lab includes more pieces of information to unearth his weird experimentations – and we get an extremely cool puzzle that has the players assemble a pyramid-shaped key that comes as a player’s handout with graphical representation. Damn cool!

Finally, by piecing together clues, groveling before the elemental lord or sheer chance, the PCs may find the true secret of the volcano: A temporal anomaly, currently in the process of being studied by no other than the blue dragon Saatman himself! After some bartering, he sends his elite mages of the Serpent Sanguis-cult at them and teleports away – his plans for harnessing the temporal anomaly to hasten the aging of dragons and create an army of old wyrms to squash the Klavekian Empire being sabotaged – but Saatman is far from finished!

The module also includes a write-up for a new spell, redirect teleport, a new magical item, 3 alchemical items, a write-up of a new deity, of the elemental lord (and gaining his favor or curse) as well as a short write-up (fluff-only, no organization stats/PrCs) of the Serpent Sanguis-cult.



Editing and formatting are top-notch – I didn’t notice any glitches this time around. Layout adheres to AaW’s 2-column standard and the respective rules for skill-checks, puzzles etc. are now set before scrolls – nice to look at. In contrast to A18, no semi-transparent dragon in the background of the pages this time around. Personally, I prefer the scrolls to A18’s layout. The cartography (including hand-outs for the 2 puzzles) thankfully once again comes with player-friendly versions of the maps – especially the puzzles getting two thumbs up from me! The pdf is fully bookmarked and as per the writing of this review, the herolab files have not yet been provided. Not all is perfect regarding formal criteria: Each monster gets its own page in the statblock-appendix, which is nice, as you have the necessary stat ready. However, this also means that some of the pages (e.g. those with less complex stats) are half-empty: Lost space. Worse, the annoying dissolution of the separation between 3.5 and PFRPG-stats has been kept, meaning you’ll either print out all (and have stats for a system you don’t use) or pick the pages by hand, which sucks and is less comfortable than the organization by system AaW used before.

Incandium’s Eruption is longer than its predecessors and it shows: Where A16 and A18 suffered from what feels like cut-downs and a lack of space to develop their awesome locations, this one does the job – from intense heat, to caves laden with opium-fumes, there are quite a lot of hazards, environmental issues to complicate things and iconic locales. The breaking of formulaic structures where the boss is not waiting at the end is also an interesting decision. Add to that the neat puzzles and cool background story as well as inner-dungeon dynamics and we have by far the best installment of the campaign arc. In fact, my only gripe with this module remains the combat index and its impractical implications for the user, resulting in a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform. Author Michael McCarthy can do it, after all and I’m looking forward to reading the finale, hopefully full of neat environmental hazards and iconic locales as well!

Endzeitgeist out.

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A18: Saatman’s Empire II – Storm’s Wake

Here’s the runelord of evaluation (no delusions of grandeur, a fan came up with the name) with a review of the second part of Michael McCarthy’s adventure arc,


Saatman’s Empire II: Storm’s Wake

storm's wake

This module is 44 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 blank page, 2 pages advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 38 pages of content, so let’s take a look!


This being an adventure-review, the following text contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.


All right, still here? This is the second part of the Saatman’s Empire-adventure arc after A16, Midwinter’s Chill, in which a white dragon cast a frosty swath of destruction into the Klavek Empire. While not required to run this module, the metaplot also ties in with A16 and thus, groups playing multiple modules of the arc may start to see a pattern: The once glorious empire of Saatman seems to have an heir apparent and said dragon is gathering his kin to systematically dismantle the empire. The second part of the puzzle being the eponymous dragon Storm. Contend for as long as people remember to only pick of those ships that straggled in her territory, she has gone on to destroying a trade-route. When the PCs arrive at Cherr’s Landing (complete with settlement statistics), the once thriving coastal port is in a desolate, half-empty state.


In order to end the incursions, the PCs will have to charter a boat towards the island’s around the notorious Devil’s Point, where “there be dragons”. Instead of the culprit, abandoned warrens and a crippled, small dragon, actually Storm’s grandmother awaits. Once she has been dealt with (or bypassed) the trail will lead the PCs sooner or later to Shipwreck Cove, an island littered with shipwrecks picked up by Storm and smashed on the rocks. Now inhabited by Cecalia, slaves to her mate, the island is anything but empty and, among other things, also contains two kobold-heralds of Saatman’s heir, who are anything but push-overs with 12 levels.


Also nice: The Cacelia use the armament of the ships to their advantage: PCs may actually get shot by ballista-bolts! Also, a new being called a titanic globster (including the template) is part of the challenges here. In the end, the Pcs will have to attack Storm’s nest, where her mate, the brine dragon waits. Now his tactics are actually smart for once, keeping his distance and blasting PCs and, more importantly, fighting in the open sky, not some cramped cavern. Having an island full of minions also helps. Once he has been vanquished, the hoards stolen and the eggs of the pair either smashed or stolen, the PCs will probably be on their way home and think the module is completed.

They’re wrong. Storm, a titanic black dragon, will be VERY angry and her tactic to destroy the ship with the PCs on it is simple and brilliant: Take it, lift it into the air (about 200 ft.) and let it crash down for a nice TPK. PCs will have to be smart thinkers, fast in dealing damage and armed with hopefully enough utility magic. And hopefully, they’ve rested and deduced that the brine dragon was not big enough to wreck this destruction.


The module also features a new deity-write-up as well as two new magical items.


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout has been further streamlined, with the excellent cover (also featured as a gorgeous full-color 1-page-illustration in the pdf) being a shaded background on the pages – unobtrusive and nice, yet printer-friendly. I’m also a fan of the less stark boxes used for read-aloud text-boxes, skill-boxes etc. Where the layout FAILS in my opinion is with a particular decision: Usually, we had separate appendices for the combat stats of the respective characters and monsters featured in a given module – one for 3.5, one for Pathfinder. You just had to print out the stats you need. Instead of this separation by system, we now get the creatures in alphabetical order, with both stats. This means I have to waste toner/ink to print out stats for a system I don’t use when running the module, which SUCKS and is not particularly useful. I hope AaW will change back from this decision. Another thing I missed from this book was the player-friendly maps. All other AaW-modules usually feature player-friendly, key-less maps to print out for convenience – this one doesn’t which, again, is a bad decision I hope will not be continued. If that’s the price for the new layout, I’d rather have the old one back and I sincerely wish for the system-division statblocks and player maps to return/be added.


If all my reviews of modules by author Michael McCarthy have taught me one thing, then that he knows how to write locales dripping with iconic flavor. Unfortunately, also one of his weaknesses is present in “Storm’s Wake”, albeit not in as jarring a way as in “Midwinter’s Chill”. What good is a great, iconic backdrop when it doesn’t influence combat/skills etc.? It’s just that, a backdrop, when it could easily be used to make combat so much more exciting and unfortunately, that’s also true for this module: Yes, here and there are minor specialties like aforementioned ballista, but what about climbing in riggings of smashed ships? Sniping from crow’s nests? More complex tactics for the BbeGs and other creatures, terrain that actually influences combat in some meaningful way – if these two had been added, we’d have a legend of a module on our hands. Without them, the iconic locales lose some part of their magic and thus fascination. The lack of consequences of terrain/unique areas make the module more sterile than its 5-star-ideas would make you believe.

In fact, it feels like 10 to 20 pages have simply been cut from the module: The search for the culprit of the trade collapsing and location of the culprit is sketchy at best and feels like it could use an overview map of the islands/coast to help the DM portray the whole search. What is left of this section, especially the battle with the first “boss”, feel sketchy and cut down to a minimum and evoked the distinct feeling of SOMETHING being missing. I maintain that, with about 10 pages of additional content to properly flesh out, this module could rank among the finest – Some for the beginning, some for the main locale, some for the tactics of the antagonists, some for the BbeG’s tactics and there we go – one legend of a module. As written, as much as I hate to say it, “Storm’s Wake” falls short of what it could easily have been. Combined with the lack of printer-friendly maps its predecessor still had as well as with the user-unfriendly statblock-presentation with mixed systems, I arrive at a score that hurts me more than lower ones I’ve given: Due to the ideas and potential, I’ll settle for 3 stars, but only if you’re willing to develop the module further. If you want a go-play module, then this one is not what you’re looking for. For now, I’ll sink back and hope for a revision and the ability to rate this as high as its concept deserves.


Endzeitgeist out.

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EZG reviews A16: Midwinter’s Chill (Saatman’s Empire 1 of 4)

I’ve never made a secret out of the fact that I like grand plots and this is the first of an arc that should challenge your PCs indeed:


A16: Midwinter’s Chill

Midwinter's chill

This module is 44 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 39 pages of content, so let’s check this out!


This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.


All right, still here? A swathe  of supernatural cold is cutting through the regions of the Klavek Kingdom, courtesy of a mysterious force and the PCs are on route towards Whitespire Abbey. The isolated place has been all but been wiped out and is now home to  cultists and other cold-related beings – a few pages  missing from one tome as well as one portal to a demiplane are all the PCs will find clue-wise apart from a surprisingly eclectic array of cold-themed adversaries.


Taking the step through the portal, the PCs go on to explore  the Roots of Winter, floating frigid isles connected via fragile bridges, where a Marid, cold elementals, cold based undead spirits and finally, Ofas, the arctic minotaur druid and henchman to the true mastermind of the sudden cold snap, who guards a teleportation spire that leads to the disturbing fortress depicted on the cover.


The beautiful full-color artwork is evocative and sets the mood, for it turns out that in the arctic fortress, beyond her minions and reanimated undead father, Midwinter waits – a very old white dragon! Upon her defeat, the adventure is over – for now, for Midwinter was just the first in a series of draconic incursions masterminded by one seeking to resurrect the empire of Saatman.


The pdf also has one new massive teleportation spell, a write-up for a new god/religion, 3 magical items and a short 2-page appendix with information on hatching/training dragons.



Editing and formatting are very good, I didn’t notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to a  2-column-standard and the respective headers have a nice frost-covered tinge. The cover artwork is glorious and the pdf comes with full bookmarks. As per the writing of this review, Hero Lab-files are not yet part of the deal, but from whaqt I can glean, are planned. With teh layout revision, no more printer-friendly version is included, but honestly, it’s not absolutely required with a relatively printer-friendly layout.


Midwinter’s Chill is an interesting adventure in that it offers us extremely iconic, glorious locations – perhaps the biggest strength of author Michael McCarthy’s writing in any of his modules and the locations are provided with the gorgeous cartography we’ve come to expect from Todd Gamble. That out of the way, not all is well with Midwinter’s Chill: The locales are superbly cool backdrops that remain just that: Backdrops.I can’t, for the life of me, not fathom why aqrctic dangers, slippery bridges biting winds, blizzards that grant concealment and the like are not part of the module: At the very latest in the demiplane included, hostile environment used to the advantage by the inhabitants should not be considered optional, but compulsory. What use are rope-bridges suspended over an endless chasm of white cold when the PCs can’t fall down/ be pummeled down? Where are the sheets of ice? The same holds true for the iconic, cool final fortress:

With such a look, why can’t the BbeG of the module e.g. partially animate the fortress to attack PCs? Why is the fortress so short/relatively ill-defended? The latter could be explained by the PCs bypassing much of the defenses via their means of egress to the area, but still: While not as bad as in Icecrag Monastery, the module still feels like its BbeG spinning the wheels. A section on tactics and some nasty surprises would have gone a long way to make the BbeG feel more menacing.  But in contrast to the  lack of environmental peculiarities, this is in the case of this module, a minor weakness that can be neglected.

All in all, the module feels like its content has been trimmed down to the point where a couple of additional pages to provide a crunchy foundation to the awesome fluff would easily have been in the realm of possibility. The finale feels a bit abrupt as well and could use a slightly more expanded build-up, e.g. via braving multiple ice elementals in a blizzard, trekking through deadly frozen wastes, etc. to drive home the epic, iconic location in the end. In spite of the stellar locations, I thus can’t rate this module higher than 3 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.