DMs Guild Review – The Frozen Forge

A mini-adventure that combines frozen undead, warring elemental cults, and an opportunistic frost giant.

D&D

A review copy of “The Frozen Forge” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Dustin Martens

In many ways “The Frozen Forge” is exactly what I want out of a DM’s Guild product, a succinct dungeon crawl adventure with a solid theme, easy ties to published adventures, and some neat new ideas. “The Frozen Forge” falls a bit short in its execution but it has all the right pieces for a memorable side trek.

“The Frozen Forge” is a mini-adventure designed for 4th level characters, with a bit of scaling for adjacent levels (or a desire to make things easier or more difficult). It’s designed to slot in particularly well within Princes of the Apocalypse due to the warring elemental cults, or Storm King’s Thunder with the presence of a disgruntled frost giant. Or it could be simply plopped into whatever campaign with just a few adjustments.

The PCs begin in the town of Loudwater, where they’re given a task by Madam Aurora to investigate a missing shipment from the nearby forge nestled in the Southwood. At the same time at unseasonal cold has gripped the region, threatening crops and the farmers’ way of life, and you can bet you adventuring ass these things are related.

Chapter 2 has the PCs setting out on the Stalked Road, followed by the Forge Trail. There are a number of optional encounters that can be used while traveling, all of which are tied into the story, or explore upon background elements such as the nearby wood elves.

I was very impressed with how well-designed these encounters are, making all of them meaningful and impactful, such as discovering a surviving cultist with blue eyes who’s unable to warm herself (eventually throwing herself on the campfire should it get that far), and including several ice zombies that speak to the grisly fate of the missing shipment.

The few NPCs that PCs can interact with include brief but excellent role-playing notes on their appearance, mannerisms, and secret goals, the perfect cliff notes for DMs in an easy-to-glance format.

dms guild

Chapter 3 is the dungeon itself, a forge that was once operated by the Cult of the Eternal Flame. There’s a bit of background info on the forge’s original owner, and how his daughter sold out to the cult and actually murdered her own father, but strangely none of that matters for the context of this adventure. What does matter is that a rival elemental cult, the Cult of the Crushing Wave, hired a frost giant to attack the forge with a Blizzard Bomb, a modified version of the Devastation Orbs seen in Princes of the Apocalypse.

The result was indeed devastating, as the orb destroyed the forcecage that was trapping the fire elemental in the forge, transforming it into an undead variant that sought and drained all nearby heat. The unlucky cultists who weren’t vaporized were transformed into ice zombies, another nifty variant.

There’s a lot of fun environmental storytelling that allows the PCs to discover what all went down. The accompanying VTT-friendly map of the two-story forge (courtesy of Elven Tower) is most excellent, but I was a bit disappointed in its design. The forge is a relatively short and simple area, made up of a few destroyed, ice-covered rooms, trapped ice zombies, and the blue flame elemental.

None of the fire cult remains, and the ice zombies are more of a nuisance than a threat (other than the few prowling around outside), though the talkative winter wolf chafing under the frost giant’s cruel ownership could be a definite treat for PCs to work with. Ostensibly the blue flame elemental is the boss battle, and it’s up to the DM whether or not to even use the frost giant at all, who can return at any time to loot more of the forge and battle the PCs.

I was hoping for a bit more complexity, as there’s not quite enough to do or see in the actual forge itself. There are enough pieces in play (and the excellent map) to create some interesting events, like maybe having all the ice zombies become freed after the elemental is destroyed, or perhaps throwing a fire cult survivor in there who can shed some light on events, and act as a potential enemy of my enemy situation.

Despite my complaints it’s still a very well designed adventure, and I’m excited to see this designer tackle bigger projects.

Pros:

  • Optional Encounters with meaningful story ties and purpose.
  • Excellent full-color, detailed, and player-friendly maps of the forge dungeon and the regional area of Loudwater.
  • Perfect role-playing notes for NPCs.
  • Detailed epilogue for each faction and event.

Cons:

  • The forge itself is a little too short and sparse.

The Verdict: Though a bit on the short and simple side, “The Frozen Forge” is an excellently themed mini-adventure that makes the perfect side trek or lead-in to Princes of the Apocalypse or Storm King’s Thunder.

A review copy of “The Frozen Forge” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s