DMs Guild Review – Dread of the Ice Devil

Thwart a devilish ritual hidden in the mountains of Icewind Dale in this one-shot adventure for level five.

A review copy of “Dread of the Ice Devil” 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: Christopher Waples

Dread of the Ice Devil is a one-shot adventure for 5th level parties, taking place in the frosty regions of Icewind Dale. Before you get too excited, the adventure predates the release of Rime of the Frostmaiden, but it’s still a solidly built, combat-heavy one-shot adventure.

At fewer than 10 pages, Dread of the Ice Devil is one of the shortest one-shots I’ve reviewed, particularly one sporting a level 5 party tag. The tiny font does it a disservice, squishing the text and making the adventure smaller than it is – thought it’s still fairly quick. The rest of the layout is lovely, using stock art with an icy background and – gasp – full color, detailed grid maps! Huzzah!

The adventure kicks off as the party arrives in Cear-Konig in the Ten Towns region of Icewind Dale. No adventure hooks are provided to get them there, but right in the middle of town is a rampaging Abominable Yeti with a Gibbering Mouther parasitically attached to its back.

Yetis aren’t terribly rare in Icewind Dale, but one coming down from the nearby mountain is concerning, its monstrous mouthy companion notwithstanding. The defender of the town, Thaladred the goliath, sends the party on a mission to investigate the mountain known as Kelvin’s Carin.

The journey is montage’d via a d12 Mountain Mishap table. The DM rolls for an event that involves a save or check, such as climbing over a cliff, sneaking past wolves, navigating a tricky path, or simply surviving the cold at night. Each event has its own consequence for failure, and if you fail more than two before getting three successes, you start accruing exhaustion. A nice travel system that’s not bogged down by random combat encounters.

The bulk of the adventure takes place in a dwarven garrison in the mountains, now commandeered by duergar (who coincidentally have a major role in Rime of the Frostmaiden!)

dms guild review

The garrison features only a handful of rooms, including a fight with some duergar at the entrance (with hidden fire mephits in the lit braziers) and a secret room through a hidden door in a portrait, leading to a mini-boss fight with a unique icy beholder called Eye-See, who doesn’t skimp on the ice-puns. Nice! Though I’m upset that there’s no loot or reward for finding and battling the unique creature.

Strangely, the final boss room is openly accessible as soon as the party clears that first duergar room. It features another fun and interesting combat encounter, as a duergar warlock named Gymira works to free an ice devil trapped in a massive block of ice.

The party has a number of turns to interrupt the ritual, while cultists protect her with Magic Circle, and devils and duergar defend her against intruders. Failing to stop Gymira results in the CR 14 Ice Devil breaking free, and probably a swift end to our adventurers.

Dread of the Ice Devil doesn’t break any new ground when it comes to story-telling, role-playing, or exploration – though I do appreciate the Mountain Mishap table as an effective travel tool (and one I may very well adopt for our upcoming Rime of the Frostmaiden campaign). It’s a combat-heavy adventure with interesting and well-designed combat encounters (and maps!), but just because it’s set in the frosty tundra doesn’t mean I didn’t want to see a bit more meat on its bones.

Pros:

  • Creative, interesting combat encounters and creature combinations.
  • APL adjustments for each encounter.
  • Effective Mountain Mishap table for traveling.
  • Full color, detailed grid maps!

Cons:

  • No treasure or reward for solving an optional puzzle and beholder fight?
  • A bit too short, even for a one-shot.

The Verdict: While it doesn’t tie into Rime of the Frostmaiden, Dread of the Ice Devil utilizes several stand-out combat encounters within a one-shot dungeon in Icewind Dale.

A review copy of “Dread of the Ice Devil” 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