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Pathfinder Tales: Winter Witch

****( ) (based on 29 ratings)
Pathfinder Tales: Winter Witch

Add Print Edition: $9.99

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by Elaine Cunningham

In a village of the frozen north, a child is born possessed by a strange and alien spirit, only to be cast out by her tribe and taken in by the mysterious winter witches of Irrisen, a land locked in permanent magical winter. Farther south, a young mapmaker with a penchant for forgery discovers that his sham treasure maps have begun striking gold.

This is the story of Ellasif, a barbarian shield maiden who will stop at nothing to recover her missing sister, and Declan, the ne’er-do-well young spellcaster-turned-forger who wants only to prove himself to the woman he loves. Together they’ll face monsters, magic, and the fury of Ellasif’s own cold-hearted warriors in their quest to rescue the lost child. Yet when they finally reach the ice-walled city of Whitethrone, where trolls hold court and wolves roam the streets as men, will it be too late to save the girl from the forces of darkness?

From New York Times best seller Elaine Cunningham comes a fantastic new adventure of swords and sorcery, set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

368-page mass market paperback.

ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-286-9

Download a free sample chapter by clicking here! (84KB zip/PDF)

Winter Witch is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle Sheet and additional are a free download (229 KB zip/PDF).

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Tales Subscription.

Product Availability

Print Edition: Ships from our warehouse in 2 to 14 business days.

PDF/ePub: Fulfilled immediately. Will be added to your My Downloads Page immediately upon purchase of PDF/ePub.

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Product Reviews (29)
1 to 5 of 29 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

****( ) (based on 29 ratings)

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Wonderfully Written


I can't really recommend this book enough. Engrossing writing style, good characterizations, and two very strong main characters. The first chapter really grabs you, and I frequently find that when that happens there is relatively little left of the story. Not so with this book. I devoured this over a handful of days, and got hooked on Pathfinder Tales because of this one. A must read!

Ulfen splendid!


I find the book simply fascinating and wonderfully depicts the Ulfen culture and the hardships of the northern most regions of Golarion. Reign of Winter is one of my favorite campaign scenarios and is a great read for roleplaying inspiration.

I wanted more...

****( )

This is an enjoyable read. I love the flavour of Irrisen and the Peoples of the North.

The twists are nice; I enjoy that the story doesn't conform to others out there.

The Pathfinder Novels are an easy way to get more understanding and colour in the worlds we bring PC's into and through.

Well written fantasy litterature

***( )( )

I enjoyed the book - it's clear that the authors know their craft. It's also liberating free from the "save the whole world in a day" - plots. It's more down-to-earth person/family interacting. Full of peculiar and interesting campaign specific descriptions that make Varisia come alive. As the story unfolds I do however sit back missing some empathy on the characters: I for one, would have liked to get to know them a bit better, and I don't have that clarifying " ..ahh, that's it" - experience when the plot unfolds in the last chapters.

Nevertheless definitely worth a read and thanks for bringing back the legendary eastern Europe's Baba Yaga! :-D

Rough Start, Good Finish

***( )( )

I had a rough start with this book. The book starts with two story lines each supporting one of two main characters, Ellasif and Declan. While the story lines gradually come together, at the beginning of the book the stories were far enough apart that I easily set the book down. As the stories came together, the book became more compelling for me to the point where I didn’t want to put the book down as the climax approached. After reading this book I think I’m more of a fan of the Varian Jeggare and Radovan Virholt multiple-main-character books by Dave Gross, where the two characters experience the same story, from different perspectives, with an occasional split between the experiences of the two characters. The supporting characters mainly added flavor to the setting and served as blunt plot tools and were therefore predictable and near stereotypical for me.


For example, Declan’s interaction with the necromancer in the beginning felt under developed. After finishing the book I struggled to recall the relevance of the events with Jamang other than creating some foundational elements for the sake of consistency later. For example, the animated books set the foundation for Declan’s magical art, which was a very creative idea, however.

Declan's ideas on the corrupting effects of magic could have been explored more and been a strong point of inner tension, however when magic was needed Declan had no qualms about tossing spells.The interaction with Skywing was the most interesting relationship and ended up having the longest staying power.

I think Ellasif’s opening sequence in White Hook hooked me, but I didn’t have enough time with Ellasif to jump forward fifteen years without questioning what happened during that time. Yes, this was all filled in later, but I had a rough start with both Declan and Ellasif.

The story has some great twists that I didn’t see coming until the end. I found the sequence with Ellasif and the Varisian caravan very entertaining.

As far as setting, I always enjoy when an author takes the time to try and represent Golarion as authentically as possible. In this way, the book provides additional value to me, a Pathfinder gamer, rather than providing only entertainment.

I was looking forward to learning more about Irrisen. I think, however, Liane Mericel did a better job depicting Nidal in Nightglass than the treatment of Irrisen here. In thinking about running a campaign in Irrisen, I found myself wanting to know more. Fortunately I found more of the character and soul of Irrisen in the Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Irrisen, Land of Eternal Winter. The book does bring in elements of Baba Yaga and her legacy and I enjoyed those references.


Irrisen is portrayed as cold, sophisticated, complex, civilized and yet full of beasts and monsters who would otherwise tear civilizations apart unrelentlessly. Using gaming terms, why would neutral evil winter wolves and chaotic evil trolls bend in servitude to the Jadwiga unless the Jadwiga were brutal in their power. The power and brutality that keeps these monsters in check is developed nominally and I was not convinced. In places like the Bone Mill, human thralls and goblins work away, two groups that seem routine for forced labor. Despite the fiendish references in the book, I did not see the correlations between Irrisen and the Hells, and I was unconvinced that the evil residents would be controlled by presence and power of the Jadwiga.

In sum, I found getting into this book difficult and I wanted more from Irrisen. In the end, Declan and Ellasif had won my support, but I found their development fragmented. The climax and resolution were satisfying. If you love stories in the Land of the Linnorm Kings, Irrisen, winter witches and Ulfen, you’ll enjoy this book.

1 to 5 of 29 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | next > last >>
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