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Dropping Below Zero: A Chilling Adventure on the Road to Icewind Dale
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Dropping Below Zero: A Chilling Adventure on the Road to Icewind Dale

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Warm up to the Icewind Dale with this chilling adventure!

This 5-Star, Best-Selling adventure is an ideal prequel on the road into Icewind, gaining your PCs much needed experience for the challenging campaign ahead!

Already kicked off? The module comes with recommendations and scaling for how to incorporate the horror and excitement into any travel within Chapters 1 or 2 of RotF, either on the road between towns or as your party heads out into the Wilds!

Accompanying a caravan through a wintery mountain pass, either on the way into the Icewind Dale, traveling between towns, or making their way out into the Wilds, local heroes find that their travel is severely impeded by a gathering snowstorm. Hope of making it to the next waypoint is lost, but a small copse of fir might provide some shelter if they can keep the carts – and themselves – from sliding into the frozen river, first.

With exhaustion becoming a real danger and the snowstorm strengthening to a full blizzard, the adventurers find themselves stranded. And as dusk begins to fall upon them, so does a sense of dread. Despite the dangers, one by one the caravan crew inexplicably start losing all sense of fear, even the instinct of self-preservation.

The situation only grows more chilling. As night sets in and watches are posted, caravan members begin to go missing, leaving only the occasional frozen appendage behind to mark their passing. With warmth and resources waning, can these local heroes locate the real threat and protect both themselves, and the caravan, long enough to make it through the night?

Contents. "Dropping Below Zero" is a 3 - 4 hour D&D adventure for APL 1 - 6 suitable for any wintery adventure, and ideal for situating at any point within Chapters 1 or 2 of the Icewind Dale campaign. The contents include a full-color PDF of the adventure for screen readers and tablets, a printer-friendly PDF, three novel monster stat blocks, 3 fleshed-out NPCs, and a set of four high-definition custom maps. The PDFs contain keyed maps for the DM and an acompanying zip file contains eight seperate HD JPG files for the players and/or VTT use (two each for each map, a VTT-optimized copy and a more thematically gloomy option).

Usability. This adventure might serve as a prequel or introductory session to the Icewind Dale campaign setting, offering players a chance to test out characters and get a feel for the anticipated tone of the upcoming hardcover. That said, the adventure is applicable to any scenario in which the heroes are traveling through a wintery terrain and includes specific scaling recommendations. To drop the adventure into an ongoing campaign, any opportunity for winter travel suffices: Perhaps the PCs choose to accompany a caravan as hired muscle to make a few coins between towns? Did they get caught in the same snowstorm, only to join forces with the caravan as they all try to make headway against the wind and sleet? Or perhaps their story begins here, with a kismet meeting on the road, their storylines converging when they step up to protect their fellow travelers? 

Difficulty. The adventure, as written, works well as an introductory session for an average party level (APL) 1 – i.e., a party of 3 – 5 PCs, all or mostly level 1 characters. The module is designed to evoke horror and dread using difficult encounters, but suggested modifications are provided in the footnotes, where appropriate, for how combat encounters may be scaled. The module includes specific scaling recommendations for larger parties or those with an APL up to 6. A party with an APL above 6 may not be substantively challenged without some additional creativity on the part of the Dungeon Master (DM). 

Content Warning. This adventure is intended to evoke a sense of isolation, horror, and building dread amidst a frozen, austere landscape. Can the local heroes find hope, in themselves and each other, to push through the oppressive and unknown threats of this long, bleak night?

Updated (8/15/2020):
  • Revised organization and layout, particularly with respect to consolidating sensory descriptions under each map for what the PCs might encounter at each keyed location. Additional cross-reference links have also been added to help the DM navigate between appropriate sections when running the module from a tablet or computer. Thanks for flagging this in your 5-star review, Asa!
  • Modified suggested tactics and actions for the animal companion with prompted optional mechanics, to be used at the DM's discretion, to ensure the creature doesn’t hamstring lower APL parties or those with less experienced players. Thanks again, Asa, for this feedback.
  • Two new maps are also now included:
    • One of the Riverbend, which leaves one section of trail empty in case the DM would like to use a movable cart image on a VTT;
    • One of the Campsite, as viewed before tents are set up and camp is made, to allow for a more natural narrative development and exploration around the area before settling in for the night and establishing watch.
Updated (9/26/2020):
  • Updated sensory descriptions and lore to match the published Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden campaign.
  • Provided recommended adjustments to incorporate the adventure as either a prequel, set on the road to into the Icewind Dale, or as part of normal travel between towns within Chapter 1, or as part of an expedition out into the Wilds within Chapter 2 of the campaign.
 
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Reviews (8)
Discussions (4)
Customer avatar
Olivia M September 05, 2021 10:31 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I was just wondering how long this normally runs for? I find most one-shots are about 3 to 4 hours however this to me seems more like a 2-3 hours.
Customer avatar
Jeffery P September 06, 2021 4:38 am UTC
CREATOR
Happy to let others chime in, but through playtesting I found a solid 3 - 4 hours was fairly accurate. It depends a bit on player experience, of course. I took one playtest group through who were all quite new to D&D and we ran over 4 hours. I also ran this through a duet-playtest (just one player/PC, though I ran an NPC to assist), and that was more like 2.5 hours.

Table preferences also make a difference. If your table primarily moves combat-to-combat, it would probably run 2.5 hours. If they dive into exploration and/or social pillars, it will be more 3 - 4 hours.
Customer avatar
David L June 28, 2021 10:31 pm UTC
PURCHASER
The full-size preview does not appear to be working as of today.
Customer avatar
Jeffery P June 29, 2021 1:21 pm UTC
CREATOR
Thanks for flagging, David! Looks like it’s back up and running today, but I’ll keep an eye on it.
Customer avatar
David L June 29, 2021 7:37 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I just tried it again. Still inop.
This is the address attached to the Full-Size Preview link:
https://www.dmsguild.com/Waiting%20for%20previous%20preview%20regen.
Or sometimes this:
https://www.dmsguild.com/Not%20PDF%20(file=1754236-DBZ_Maps_v3.0.zip,%20ext=.zip)

It should be this:
https://watermark.dmsguild.com/pdf_previews/321754-sample.pdf

A clarification: it is doing this on the Desktop version of the site, either on my iPad or iPhone. If I use the mobile version (clicking the eyeball) on my iPhone it works. Hopefully the additional info will help track down what’s wrong.
Customer avatar
Jeffery P July 12, 2021 9:45 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hey David, thanks again. Sorry, it took me a few days to figure out the source.

In case anyone comes across a similar problem, the order in which files are updated matter. The top file has to be the PDF for the preview. In my most recent update, the maps zip file ended up at the top of the list. That's been corrected, and on the desktop and mobile it now appears to work for me.

Again, sorry for the delay in trying to get that fixed up!
Customer avatar
Jeffery P April 18, 2021 5:42 am UTC
CREATOR
Thanks for your question, Tim!

For context, your question references a novel stat block made for this adventure. Spoiler warning for what's ahead: The creature is a swarm and can occupy the same space as a PC. Each token monster of the swarm is comprised of a pixie-like creature, but made solely from sharply faceted ice. Given this, the creature has a feature that allows it to use a bonus action (BA) to attempt to hide against snow or icy surfaces, such as the frosty boulders in the cave.

In this case, if a PC is within 5ft of a suitably icy background, the swarm may attack the PC (ACTION), move off the PC's square to the adjacent square with suitable ice or snow (MOVEMENT), and attempt to hide (BA) against the ice or snow. It can do all this without provoking an opportunity attack (OA) from its victim, since the creature is still within the 5 feet range of your typical PC's weapon.

There may also be other such scenarios where it may avoid an OA -- when a PC has already...See more
Customer avatar
Tim F April 18, 2021 4:12 am UTC
PURCHASER
One part of this adventure says "Given their flying speed and Frosty Stealth trait, they will attack, move, and attempt to hide each turn if doing so does not provoke an opportunity attack, such as when a PC is within 5 ft. of any icy boulder or cavern wall."

I'm confused -- why would being within 5ft of an icy boulder or cavern wall preclude provoking an opportunity attack?
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File Last Updated:
July 12, 2021
This title was added to our catalog on July 26, 2020.