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Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Irrisen—Land of Eternal Winter (PFRPG)

***** (based on 4 ratings)
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Irrisen—Land of Eternal Winter (PFRPG)

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Far to the north lies a realm that the seasons never touch, where snow lies heavy on the ground all year and winter never releases its icy grip. A country ruled by White Witches with hearts as cold as the north wind—the daughters of the Queen of Witches herself, Baba Yaga—and supported on the backs of a conquered, enslaved people. A place where frost giants and hateful fey are respected citizens, and winter wolves stalk the streets in human form. This is the nation of Irrisen, a land cloaked in unceasing winter for 1,400 years.

Irrisen, Land of Eternal Winter presents a comprehensive overview of this frigid kingdom, where the imperious control of the ruling class stifles the residents just as strongly as the harsh, never-ending winter.

Inside this book, you'll find:

  • A detailed exploration of the nation of Irrisen, from the icy fey stronghold of Feyfrost to the frozen forest of Hoarwood, including an extensive timeline of Irrisen's history and notes on traditional Irriseni holidays.
  • Detailed maps of Irrisen's six provinces and half a dozen of its most important towns and cities, from Queen Elvanna's capital of Whitethrone to the industrial town of Morozny.
  • Complete stat blocks for each of Irrisen's provinces and their capitals, detailing major settlements and notable denizens.
  • Numerous sites and events where adventure can be found, as well as hazards and afflictions that threaten visitors to these snowy lands.
  • A bestiary of new monsters and NPCs from Irrisen, such as Baba Yaga's Three Riders, the boreal creature template, and sample winter witches.

Irrisen, Land of Eternal Winter is intended for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and Pathfinder campaign setting, but can easily be used in any fantasy game setting.

By Mike Shel

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-486-3

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Campaign Setting Subscription.

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Product Reviews (4)

Average product rating:

***** (based on 4 ratings)

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Super . . . COOL!


The subtitle to this book in Pathfinder's Campaign Setting line immediately sums up the essence of Irrisen: it's a place of perpetual winter. Cursed by the witch Baba Yaga, Irrisen is a foreboding land ruled by witch-queens placed upon the throne by Baba Yaga herself and even the cities are full of dangerous, intelligent monsters like winter wolves, frost giants, ice trolls, and more. The peasantry are governed with strict rules and prohibited from leaving Irrisen for more inviting places, and even merchants and adventurers who travel to Irrisen from elsewhere do so at their own risk. Irrisen isn't an easy place to live, because if the weather doesn't kill you the inhabitants very well might. Although released to support the Reign of Winter adventure path (which takes place in Irrisen), this book works very well as a standalone source-book for GMs wanting to set other campaigns in the nation. The inside front cover of this 64-page book features a map of Irrisen, showing how it's been divided into six different provinces, each ruled by a different winter witch Jadwiga (descendant of Baba Yaga and of Irrisen's first queen).

The first six pages of the book give an introduction to Irrisen and a history of its centuries-long rule by the winter witches. Unlike some histories of fictional lands, this one is quite interesting and has on-going resonance for the "present day" state of the setting.

Next, the bulk of the book is devoted to a full summary of each of the six provinces, including their ruler, major cities, and other locations of note. Each province receive six pages of coverage, and includes a map of the province, a map of the province's capital, and a picture of a notable NPC. I won't go through the six provinces as they all share a common overall theme, but I will say I very much appreciated that a lot of work was put into making the descriptions full of adventuring hooks for a GM to exploit. Sometimes even the best GMs need inspiration, and it's much more interesting to read a source-book like this if its relevance to actual game-play is clear from the outset.

After the provinces, a six-page "Plots and Perils" section provides more detail on some particular places for adventure and potential storylines to involve the PCs. Using any of these would still require a lot of work by a GM, but there's enough to plant the seeds for several adventures. There's also a few new afflictions (curses and diseases) and some supernatural weather hazards.

Last, there's an extensive bestiary that includes random encounter tables for each of the provinces. I like random encounter tables, but what's missing from these is how often an encounter should take place. In addition, the vast range of CRs on the very same table (one table ranges from CR 2 to CR 17) are such that actually randomly rolling up encounters is likely to result in something either laughably easy or an instant TPK. This reduces the usefulness of the tables substantially, though they can still serve as a list of possible threats for a GM to pick from. The rest of the bestiary is quite solid. One of the really interesting features of Irrisen is that every century, Baba Yaga returns to take the current queen with her and installs a new queen on the throne; this occurrence is presaged by the appearance of the Three Riders, who pass judgment on Irrisen's inhabitants, from the lowliest peasants to the most wealthy winter witch. Each of the Three Riders receives a full page entry. After this, a new template ("Boreal") is created to make it easy to add winter flavour to any ordinary monster, and example stat-blocks of Boreal wolves, Boreal manticores, and Boreal annis hags are provided. Other new monsters include the guardians of Irrisen's borders (Sentinel Huts and Guardian Dolls), a dragon called a Khala, a giant called a Ved, and NPC stat blocks for a standard winter witch baroness and a winter witch "Cold Sister" (the land's inquisitors). Of the campaign setting books I've read so far, this one has by far the best and most useful bestiary.

The artwork in Irrisen, Land of Eternal Winter is uniformly excellent. Although I think I would have preferred to see more variation from province to province, I could definitely imagine setting an entire campaign in Irrisen and using this book as my primary resource for dozens of sessions of adventure. When your players have had it too easy for too long, send their characters to Irrisen--that should shake things up!

In Soviet Russia, Hut Dances You!


So, this book is 1 page cover, 1 page credits... hell, I'll never be an Endzeitgeist :/

OK so here it is, the campaign setting sourcebook on the "Grimm Fairy Tale Russia with Witches, Dancing Huts and a Truckload of Fey" region of Irrisen. (Incidentally, if you're looking for the less magical analogue of medieval Slavic lands, you should be looking for Brevoy. Now shoo, before the Witch sees you.)

Campaign setting books from Paizo are usually of the stellar writing quality (seriously, I'm hard pressed to find one I didn't enjoy) occasionally marred by some oddities such as cartography or lack of statblocks.

The writer here is Mike Shel who did prove his chops with Isles of the Shackles, which was unlucky enough to suffer a letdown or two in the maps department.

Fortunately, this one doesn't. There's plentiful of excellent cartography, both regional and city level. We also get a complete gazetteer of Irrisien, city statblocks, plot hooks and new monsters. The writing is vivid and captures the Icy Realm of Dark Fey feel perfectly. There are oodles of adventure ideas and intriguing locales which coupled with a solid amount of cold hard maps and statblocks makes this book a joy for any GM. Some of the slavic names can be real tongue twisters for our dear Anglo-Saxon readers but I'm sure they can deal with names such as "Chrzaszcz" (just kidding, this one doesn't turn up. But I wish it would).

The layout is nicely ... blue. I really like the shade. It would perhaps make me feel chilly if it wasn't for -15 Celcius we have over here as I write these words so I think it's time to quit while I'm ahead and my fingers aren't frozen yet. Hey, where' my vodka bottle?

Great book, you won't be disappointed! Five frozen fingers of approval from a Slav here.

Excellent book!


Read my full review on my blog.

Irrisen, Land of Eternal Winter is a fabulous book, jam-packed with information that will bring alive any campaign set in the region. Even campaigns set near Irrisen will benefit heavily from the information in this book as the White Witches provide great villains for games set in the Linnorm Kingdoms or the Realm of the Mammoth Lords. It’s full of endless fascinating characters, plots, and locations that I’m dying to use in some future campaign set in and around Irrisen. I highly recommend it.

Perfect Companion...


for The Land of the Linnorm Kings book as well as a must have for The Witchwar Legacy and Reign of Winter AP.

This is the kind of book as a GM and gaming fanatic that I purchase! It is full of so much cool information about the Witches and the Northlands! Great job Paizo! Gift Certificates
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