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Frost Giant Pirates of the Icy Heart (PFRPG) PDF

****( ) (based on 2 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game compatible GM's Resource by Ben Kent

Ploughing through the water like a frozen leviathan, the Icy Heart is an immense pirate vessel carved from an iceberg. With a crew of frost giants, the Icy Heart is a ship like no other, capable of seizing the richest and most powerful vessels. The Icy Heart’s only weakness lies in its leadership; the rampant self-interests, rapacious designs of the white dragon Flashfreeze and the cruel, bloodthirsty demands of the frost giant Jarl Icehammer rarely coincide. The ravenous appetites of the beast and the tyrant are held in check only by the scheming of Lady Krath, who uses both to advance her own cause and wealth.

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Product Reviews (2)

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****( ) (based on 2 ratings)

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****( )

Frost Giant Pirates of the Icy Heart details what I can only explain as one of the most unique pirate vessels I have ever come across. Part of the Tribes series, this pdf takes on the crew of the Icy Heart, a freaking glacier used by a crew of frost giants and a dragon (and her brood) as a pirate vessel. Yes, I said glacier...pirate vessel...yep...pretty freaking epic, no? Trust me, the artwork depicting this is pretty cool. Weighing in with 24 pages (6 lost to covers, checklist, OGL, intro and such), this pdf is fully bookmarked with a linked TOC...which always makes me happy.

The crew of this lovely little party killer (did I mention you should only unleash this on a high level play group lol?) consist of Flashfreeze, a white dragon, and her brood of four. Flashfreeze's “pet”Lozondur, half dragon remorhaz...uh huh...quit your drooling, and yes, stat wise, he really is that insanely cool...could you imagine the miniature? Because I can, and really really want one...isn't Christmas coming Creighton? Lol

So, back to the crew, momentary Lozondur distraction there...Jarl Icehammer, an antipaladin with a disposition that not even a villain could love captains the frost giant crew, and rules them through fear, pure and simple. He has his goals and plans, the dragon has her's, heck even the dragon's brood have their's...so how do they all cooperate on this vessel long enough to be a threat in the first place? Simple, the woman who brought them all together, Lady Antonia Krath. A spoiled aristocrat who was married off by her parents into a life she didn't want, Antonia sought a method of insuring the wealth of her new husband that he might be able to afford her tastes in life...the rest as they say is history.

A vessel of legend, this is not the type of thing you drop in unannounced and expect a playgroup to be able to handle in a one off session. Not only has the crew been well designed with the thought of them being a challenge to any group, but the very vessel itself presents environmental challenges to overcome so that one may even attempt to challenge the crew in the first place. Easily the perfect thing to build towards in a nautical campaign, letting word spread from coastal town to coastal town, letting the legend grow in the wake of destruction left by this vessel. Making your players understand the danger of finding themselves caught within the path of the Icy Heart long before they ever lay eyes upon it.

I love source material of this nature, I really do. Whether you take it as a whole, dropping it into a campaign world as it is, or mine it for pieces, there is a lot here to work with. Fully developed NPCs with motivations, personalities and a legitimate reason to be there. My only complaint in regards to this pdf is that we get no internal maps of the Icy Heart, which I think is a real shame, as it is not laid out entirely as a traditional ship by the descriptive text.

Final thoughts, a few minor grammatical mishaps, but nothing major. A great design for a truly memorable pirate crew (love the idea that the giants have taken to dressing as they think pirates dress), and probably one of the most unique vessels I've encountered in awhile. But, a lack of visuals of the ships interior, or maps to use since it is treated as terrain does bring down my rating...so I am settling with a 4 star rating for this module.


Cool giants on an iceberg-ship - but sans naval stats

****( )

This pdf is 24 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword, 1 page of advice on how to read statblocks for novice DMs, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving a total of 16 pages of content, so let's check this out!

The latest installment of RSP's TRIBES-series features frost giants, to be precise, frost giant raiders (2 sample statblocks, including barb1/fighter 2 frost giants and a brood of young adult white dragons, but the true central concept is the one of their base - essentially these raiders crush ships via their mobile iceberg-fortress: Driven by the white dragon Flashfreeze, the iceberg is manned by an antipaladin frost giant jarl and his men, driven by dragons and held together by human ambition, balancing the precarious and twisted tempers of dragons and giants alike. Better yet, the iceberg is fully detailed and comes with a lot of information on the decks, watchposts and the dragon's maw, which swallows ships and has them boarded after a grueling wait for slow, but inexorable doom. Icy terrain and environmental factors are covered, as are 3 new feats, which enhance power attack vs. favored enemies, grant extra smiting or the option to add elemental damage to your strikes. Divine blasts to hit foes with fire or cold damage and crampons as new equipment are also part of the supplement.

Lady Antonia Krath (aristocrat 2, cleric 3, wizard 3, mystic theurge 7), mastermind of the Icy Heart is covered including a modified version of her stats that include buffs. Flashfreeze is also detailed with tactics, buffed stats and hoard, as is the frostgiant antipaladin Jarl. Lozondur, half-dragon remorhaz and "mechanic" of the iceberg, essential to the maintenance also gets the full NPC-write up, as does lady Antonia's poor and rather nice husband Ysgrith - the noble and honorable northman is lying to himself about the wickedness of his wife...for now.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's b/w-2-column standard and the pdf is fully bookmarked. The artwork of Icy heart is among the best pieces of b/w-artwork I've seen in a while and not something I would have expected to find herein. I would have loved for a one-page version of the artwork as a handout, though - it's that beautiful. The pdf comes with two versions - one optimized for screen-usage and one for the printer.
I'll come right out and say it: The Iceberg-fortress has been done before, in Frostburn - Frostrazer was the name and it rocked then. What this pdf does, though, is explain properly via mundane means how the iceberg is steered without resorting to "Magic did it" - which is awesome.

The basic concept is awesome and the respective characters are brilliant - author Ben Kent has done a great job regarding these. What is not so great is the bland supplemental rules-material - neither the spells, nor the feats are worth talking about in any detail - they are forgettable and bland. There is only one page of said content, though, so not a major blemish. I do have two subsequent gripes, however: First is a fluff-gripe: I would have loved rules to deal with how the iceberg fares in warmer waters - perhaps rebuilding rules and guidelines for thawing? And the other is a crunchy gripe and one so obvious I'm honestly slightly shocked it's not been covered: These are frost giant pirates on an iceberg-ship that crushes other ships. There's currently a Paizo-AP running that deals with pirates (not in ice-cold waters - see thawing) and it features naval combat rules. However, a representation of the icy heart according to these rules is painfully absent from this pdf, making for not only an obvious omission, but also for one that actually limits the pdf's appeal more than it deserves - after all, dropping these raiders into "Skull & Shackles" seems obvious, doesn't it? That being said, this is still a very good pdf for the low price and thus I'll settle for a final score of 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.


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