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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


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.
 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (7)
Discussions (0)
October 19th, 2020
Like others, I will be using this as a zero session/1st session to set the mood and enviroment in Icewind Dale for Rime of the Frostmaiden. It is a great little adventure, full of intrigue, horror, combat, dialog and interaction. The skill challenges [...]
October 18th, 2020
Prepping this adventure for my ROTFM campaign.   Very impressed with the quality of the module and, based on a few teases to my players, they will enjoy it as much as I'm going to enjoy running it. Some seriously cool ideas and some very clever encou [...]
October 12th, 2020
Great adventure! I used this to kick off Rime of the Frostmaiden for a party of five and for a session 1 it was both fun and intense. My players (relatively casual roleplayers) really appreciated the adventure. It definitely fit the chilly horror vibe [...]
September 29th, 2020
Wow, this short adventure is a perfect quick introduction to the dread of the North. I will be using this as a chapter 0 to Rime of the Frostmaiden; its a cool story with interesting elements and a nice touch of horror. Good job! [...]
September 22nd, 2020
Ran this adventure last weekend after I had taken a year or so off from being a DM. I ran it with a small group (3 players) one who had never played D&D and two of my regular players. We had a blast. Lots of different aspects of an adventure in [...]
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File Last Updated:
September 26, 2020
This title was added to our catalog on July 26, 2020.