Pathfinder Adventure Path #67: The Snows of Summer (Reign of Winter 1 of 6) (PFRPG) (based on
Paizo Publishing, LLC
Chapter 1: "The Snows of Summer"
by Neil Spicer
The Reign of Winter Adventure Path begins with an exciting new adventure from RPG Superstar winner Neil Spicer! Every 100 years, the Witch Queen Baba Yaga returns to the nation of Irrisen to place a new daughter on the throne, but this time, something has gone wrong. Far to the south, winter cloaks the forest near the village of Heldren with summer snows. The heroes venture into the wood and discover a magical portal to the frozen land of Irrisen, whose supernatural winter will soon engulf all of Golarion unless they can discover the fate of the otherworldly witch Baba Yaga—a quest that will take them through snowbound Irrisen to even stranger lands beyond.
“The Snows of Summer” is a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game adventure for 1st-level characters. This volume kicks off the new Reign of Winter Adventure Path, and includes a gazetteer of the villages of Heldren and Waldsby, details on the cultural and magical legacies of Irrisen, and several new monsters in the Pathfinder Bestiary. Author Kevin Andrew Murphy launches a new Pathfinder Journal novella in this exciting volume of the Pathfinder Adventure Path!
This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path launches the Reign of Winter Adventure Path and includes:
“The Snows of Summer,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 1st-level characters, by Neil Spicer.
A gazetteer of two villages—one in Taldor and the other in wintry Irrisen—to help flesh out the characters’ environs, by Rob McCreary.
A look into Irrisen’s legacies and mysteries GMs can use for this campaign, written and compiled by Rob McCreary.
An alchemist’s journey to Irrisen’s capital of Whitethrone in the Pathfinder’s Journal, by Kevin Andrew Murphy.
Four new monsters, by Neil Spicer and James Wilber.
Snows of Summer has a good premise, and a desperate feel to it due to the harsh environmental changes which (at least for me) the PCs almost never experienced. It’s nice the the players fear the environment even more than what might be out there, at least monsters they can kill.
Snows of Summer also has a hook that is hard to swallow, and starting in a location that is strange for PCs who wish to have winter-themed characters. The railroady nature of the adventure also bothers me some, it’s a journey from point A to point B with many encounters in the middle, with almost no way for the PCs to decide on the direction they are taking.
But that’s no deal breaker. I do like Snows, and will probably run it, but might feel the need to change some stuff around.
The Good: -Strong female NPC lead that doesn't strike me as arm candy for your fighter.
-Feels like a Russian Dark Fairytale which is a good vibe.
-Nifty new animal companion option, fun battles.
-Strong story sets the tone, love the ice sculpture bit.
The Bad: -Might be a little too similar beginning to a certain iconic fantasy that has a Lion Jesus allegory.
"The Snows of Summer" is a really nice adventure. On the pro-side, it has a pretty nice "frosty" feeling and sets the tone for the adventure part. It also delivers a strong hook for future installments that is even able to keep a group of evil PCs together. Most encounters are fun to play.
I was a bit disappointed with...
...the linear design. The adventure railroads the PCs from encounter to encounter - not much room to develop individual plans (except for the two dungeons perhaps).
...the difficulty: Especially if the characters are able to provide a reliable source of fire-damage, the adventure turns into a cake-walk. On top of that, the adventure offers a huge lot of treasure, which is a bit too much for my taste.
Overall, it still provides about fifteen hours of entertaining, if a bit bland, fantasy-action.