Pathfinder Adventure Path #94: Ice Tomb of the Giant Queen (Giantslayer 4 of 6) (PFRPG)

***½( ) (based on 5 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #94: Ice Tomb of the Giant Queen (Giantslayer 4 of 6) (PFRPG)
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The Ice Queen Cometh!

Following the trail of the Storm Tyrant's armies, the heroes come to a frost giant village that serves as a training camp, led by a frost giant graveknight who issues orders from within an icy crypt. As the heroes engage in guerrilla tactics to weaken the army of giants and disband the camp, they can ally with a red dragon who seeks to infiltrate the village for her own purposes. Once they've broken the ranks of the giants, the heroes venture into a frozen tomb where they must defeat cultists of the Pallid Princess, morbid tomb giants, and undead war machines before engaging in a climactic battle with the giants' fearsome leader!

This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path continues the Giantslayer Adventure Path and includes:

  • "Ice Tomb of the Giant Queen," a Pathfinder adventure for 10th-level characters, by Jim Groves.
  • A look into some of the most fearsome graveknights in the Inner Sea, by John Compton.
  • Details on some of Golarion's most prominent giant organizations, by Mark Moreland.
  • A tale of shadows and deception in the Pathfinder's Journal, by Clinton J. Boomer.
  • A selection of new monsters in the Giantslayer bestiary, by Benjamin Bruck, Jim Groves, and Thurston Hillman.

Each monthly full-color softcover Pathfinder Adventure Path volume contains an in-depth adventure scenario, stats for several new monsters, and support articles meant to give Game Masters additional material to expand their campaign. Pathfinder Adventure Path volumes use the Open Game License and work with both the Pathfinder RPG and the world's oldest fantasy RPG.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-728-4

"Ice Tomb of the Giant Queen" is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. The rules for running this Adventure Path and Chronicle sheet are available as a free download (1.1 MB zip/PDF).

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscription.

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Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

PZO9094


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***½( ) (based on 5 ratings)

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Good adventure, but getting repetitive

***( )( )

Read my full review on Of Dice and Pen.

On the whole, I like Ice Tomb of the Giant Queen quite a bit. My biggest issue with is the repetitive quality it has to it. After two adventures which involve the PCs having to sneak into areas of significantly more powerful forces, it would have been nice for something a little different. I also worry that the next adventure, which puts the PCs up against the fire giants who are training the most élite soldiers for the Storm Tyrant’s army, will be more of the same again. Every adventure path needs a bit of variety to it, and Giantslayer could use a bit more.


Good mix of sandbox and combat

****( )

The overall plot of this adventure if straightforward: the PCs know that their main villain is hiding in a remote location; they need to find out where. The first step to get this information is to go check out the training camp of one of the baddie's generals, the giantess Skirkatla. Being the training ground for elite troops of an army, the village will need to be dealt with very carefully. If the PCs think they can just storm into this place and kill them all, they're in for a sad (and untimely) defeat. There is a much more interesting way: sabotage and deception.

The action is split in two very distinct sections. Part 1 is a sandbox, where the PCs keep undermining the troops' confidence and morale until they manage to disband the burgeoning army. Once they succeed, they will be able to proceed to part 2 and access the dungeon where the giantess general lives - or more accurately, dwells.

My rating: 4 stars. It's a pretty balanced module. The first half is very open and rewards player creativity. At the same time, it allows for a wide variety of strategies - including combat, if the characters are so inclined. The dungeon, on the other hand, is a more violent affair. Nonetheless, the creatures found inside are interesting, the theme is coherent throughout and it is atmospheric. The triple theme (giant/undead/cold) provides more resilience against well-prepared groups (unlike - for instance - undead-themed dungeons that may end up being too easy for clerics). This may be a blessing or a curse, depending on your kind of group but it's probably an even threat against just any kind of PC mix. I do like it. I only miss a bit more of social interaction in it. This module is one to try for sure.

Read here my complete review.


I like part 4.

****( )

This is written from the perspective of a player. I've not read the module.

I very much enjoyed this module. I don't know if it's typical for this, but my GM just laid out the isometric map of the entire area, and said, "This is what you see when you use Overland Flight to get a bird's eye view. There is nothing set in stone about what you must do, so... ask questions and try stuff." And then we did. We invented whatever we felt might work. At one point, I unleashed about 40 earth elementals just for the chaos of it. That kind of thing would never be possible (or fun) in tight dungeon corridors, but here in an open area, the elementals could Earth Glide unseen and make a mess of things. The GM figured out how that might affect the area, and we got some credit for inventiveness, and then moved on to other fun ideas.

Basically, the whole module (except the end) is pretty much just an idea factory. Think things up, try 'em.

If anything is a weakness of the module, I would say it is the open-ended gameplay itself, which I've just praised! Why? Because with an unfair or unbending GM, this becomes an exercise in futility. A bad GM might freeze up in such an open-ended game, perhaps saying "That didn't work," to anything other than combat. However, for the game I'm in, the GM accepts creative ideas. So we tested a LOT of things. Some worked, some didn't. It was a good experience.

Also, if you ever wanted your character to feel heroic, one nice thing about this module is that there are a LOT of helpless captives you might be able to rescue. I don't mean, "There are a dozen captives, placed in random locations." Instead, I mean, "There are maybe hundreds of captives, and you will likely see dozens killed, but you will also free scores and scores of them." We ended up mapping out an escape route for the freed slaves, and just exploring the surrounding wilderness to figure out the safest route to civilization was an enjoyable self-imposed mini-quest. Nothing in the module mandates that you save everyone. Your mission is actually to do something else. So we just saved people because we wanted to, and the module made it possible, and enjoyable.

Overall, I'd say that modules 1 & 4 in this adventure path have really been enjoyable for me. If you're feeling creative, this module might be right up your alley.


Sabotage and crypts

***( )( )

This time we move onwards to the next giants in the line and frost is all around this one.

I liked the sabotage mechanics in this one and it gets creative players an outlet to try out things on these giants. Though most of the encounters in the camps are quite easy if you just use the basic bestiary giants. There's a few NPC:s you can talk to but your players are probably used to just fighting their way through everything at this point.

I liked that the crypt gave some variety to the encounters and the final fight in this is well though out. As in the previous part there's some nice parts but mostly its just mediocre mayhem with different giants in the mix.


Sandbox Giant Slaying in the Snow

***( )( )

This is one of the better modules of the series. Let me start by breaking this down into a pros and cons framework:

Pros:
-Sandbox design which allows for a lot of creative solutions to resolving the challenges. My players found many clever and creative ways to deal with this part.
-Interesting environment. I like the cold and undead which owes a few nods to Game of Thrones.
-There is a scene at the front of the module which can have some RP and story implications later in the story.
-There are fun stories around the NPCs that the party can encounter, however its quite tricky to figure out ways by which these can be revealed.

Cons
-Too few NPCs for the party to speak with. This is a problem with Giantslayer in general but this module is not as bad as some of the others.
-The encounters were not particularly challenging with the exception of the final boss fight which was very creative.
- There is a serious lack of maps for some of the encounters. This proved rather frustrating.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Ally with a red dragon...interesting.


Sounds like a grand adventure. I can't wait!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Description wrote:
frost giant graveknight

Uh oh. This is gonna be fun!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Yes, the Old Classic with some twists! Still have the Old Giant series! Have both played and GM them. Now if you could do the old Temple of Elemental Evil the same way!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

I don't want to build this adventure up too much (I sort of learned my lesson with doing that), but with Rob's expert development.. I'm confident this is going to be a great adventure.

I didn't make it particularly easy. :)

It has a nice sandbox element to it, with a bit of dungeon. My take on it is that we'll give you a thoroughly designed setting, so you don't have to worry about it, but it will accept customization nicely.

Anyway, I'm gonna shut up now, but I'm really pleased with this one.


I'm very curious to see if there are a variety of frost giant enemies to be had (with class levels, with templates, with class levels and templates!). For my homebrew campaign, I came up with a bunch of frost giant enemies but we didn't/haven't gotten to that point in my campaign (which is now on hiatus). I'm not sure I'll get to it since Giantslayer is liable to be our next campaign. /salute!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Wait. What? Frost giants then fire giants? What kind of recruits are trained in those camps? Other giants? Orcs? Ogres? I'm confused.

Also, please don't make the graveknight a single-bad-guy encounter, prettyplease!?

Ruyan.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

Frost giants and fire giants cooperating, cats and dogs living together! Total chaos!


Hmm... ally with a red dragon. I'm sure that will end well.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

RuyanVe wrote:

Also, please don't make the graveknight a single-bad-guy encounter, prettyplease!?

Ruyan.

Done.

Your wish is granted. I say nothing more on pain of death. I think Rob will let me survive answering that question.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks!

Ruyan.


Any more hints on what minis to pick up for this (and all) adventure paths are always appreciated. I want to be prepared when Giantslayer comes out because it sounds Awesome. Hopefully my group will be mostly done with Emerald Spire by spring. Now I know to look into red dragons. Thanks.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

My HOPE is that the next mini set is for this AP. A Frost Giant Graveknight mini would be AWESOME! Plus maybe some female giants would be COOL too!


I'd love to see more of this. Looks interesting and I love giants.

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Jim Groves wrote:
RuyanVe wrote:

Also, please don't make the graveknight a single-bad-guy encounter, prettyplease!?

Ruyan.

Done.

Your wish is granted. I say nothing more on pain of death. I think Rob will let me survive answering that question.

Well, the frost giant chapter of the monster codex clusters around CR 11 to CR 13. So I'll guess the final battle is the graveknight, the battle priest (for her negative energy channels), and maybe a pair of scouts, some winter wolves, or just some scrub standard frost giants.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

We'll have to see, won't we?

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Oh, I cant keep a secret!

It's ice mephits. A whole bunch of them. By they're not standard, scrub ice mephits... No sir! They have the advance template!


kevin bienhoff wrote:
My HOPE is that the next mini set is for this AP. A Frost Giant Graveknight mini would be AWESOME! Plus maybe some female giants would be COOL too!

As long as the female Giants are not all about "cheescake"....I hate it when female monsters are all about giant boobs :P


Jim Groves wrote:

Oh, I cant keep a secret!

It's ice mephits. A whole bunch of them. By they're not standard, scrub ice mephits... No sir! They have the advance template!

So...CR 4?

That seems a bit low.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

4 people marked this as a favorite.

I may not have been truthful. :D


1 person marked this as a favorite.
nighttree wrote:
kevin bienhoff wrote:
My HOPE is that the next mini set is for this AP. A Frost Giant Graveknight mini would be AWESOME! Plus maybe some female giants would be COOL too!
As long as the female Giants are not all about "cheescake"....I hate it when female monsters are all about giant boobs :P

Well for rise of the rune lords the storm giant was in fairly practical but light armor.Reign of Winter had a large breasted frost troll lady but she was let's say rubenesque, which is closer to the original meaning of cheese cake but I don't think it's what you meant.Conna the Wise showed up in the most recent set and is a female stone giant. She's in almost the exact same outfit as male stone giants save the addition of a bear pelt. Her appearance is bald and lithely muscular.

I think we're in good hands.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Sigh, I really Really REALLY hope we'll get an option to ally with a Silver Dragon INSTEAD of the RED ONE! I'm getting tired of having to ally with evil things in order to slay greater evil things!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Axial wrote:
Jim Groves wrote:

Oh, I cant keep a secret!

It's ice mephits. A whole bunch of them. By they're not standard, scrub ice mephits... No sir! They have the advance template!

So...CR 4?

That seems a bit low.

How about a troop of mephits?

Ruyan.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Can't wait! The adventure sounds very exciting, and I'm also looking forward to seeing the new monsters in the bestiary section. :P


Serpent wrote:
Can't wait! The adventure sounds very exciting, and I'm also looking forward to seeing the new monsters in the bestiary section. :P

+1 - think the Bestiary entries for the whole of this AP should make for interesting reading!

Silver Crusade

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Aren't the boobs of all giants, by definition, giant boobs?


nighttree wrote:
kevin bienhoff wrote:
My HOPE is that the next mini set is for this AP. A Frost Giant Graveknight mini would be AWESOME! Plus maybe some female giants would be COOL too!
As long as the female Giants are not all about "cheescake"....I hate it when female monsters are all about giant boobs :P

YOU LEAVE MY CHEESECAKE WELL AND GOOD ALONE DON'T CHA KNOW!


Jim Groves wrote:
RuyanVe wrote:

Also, please don't make the graveknight a single-bad-guy encounter, prettyplease!?

Ruyan.

Done.

Your wish is granted. I say nothing more on pain of death. I think Rob will let me survive answering that question.

While we're on the subject of fan suggested changes, please consider giving the party a chance to ally with a Silver Dragon instead the Red Dragon.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Berselius wrote:
Jim Groves wrote:
RuyanVe wrote:

Also, please don't make the graveknight a single-bad-guy encounter, prettyplease!?

Ruyan.

Done.

Your wish is granted. I say nothing more on pain of death. I think Rob will let me survive answering that question.

While we're on the subject of fan suggested changes, please consider giving the party a chance to ally with a Silver Dragon instead the Red Dragon.

Beyond my powers. Just for perspective, almost all of the products announced here on the site have had their manuscripts turned over by the time they're announced. There are exceptions, like Core books which receive public playtesting... but alas, most "ships have already sailed" by the time we're talking about on the forums.

In the case of the no solo boss, I didn't actually change the manuscript in response to the forum post. The valuable feedback you folks give us led us not to make a solo boss encounter, but that decision was made a long time ago. I was just having fun with the poster.

Please understand, feedback DOES help. But it usually helps for the NEXT AP. Its just the time sink of the production process.

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Jim Groves wrote:

[...]

Please understand, feedback DOES help. But it usually helps for the NEXT AP. Its just the time sink of the production process.

Still pulling for a dragon rescued/princess slain AP.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber

Can we get a Hint, a Teaser so to speak, of what Graveknights are in the graveknight article?

Paizo Employee Developer

Not quite yet. It's still a bit early for that.

(But I appreciate your enthusiasm.)


I have a Battle Cleric of Thor ready for this AP! Thor FTW!

Dark Archive

In Adventure Path 92 on page 52 it is stated that this book contains a drawing of a "Tomb Giant" on the inside back cover.
I wonder if that is a new kind of giant in the bestiary of that volume or just a giant Grave Knight...
Either way it´s good stuff.

Paizo Employee Developer

It is indeed a new type of true giant.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adam Daigle wrote:
It is indeed a new type of true giant.

Very cool!

Thanks Adam, you´re the greatest. :-)
It should be CR 9 or 10...


Are tomb giants undead?

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Axial wrote:
Are tomb giants undead?

I'm going to wager they're humanoids with negative energy affinity and some necromantic powers, similar to cairn linnorms.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

They're creepy, I promise you that. Nifty backstory too, if that didn't change in development.

I'm kinda hanging around waiting to see if the cover shows up soon.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jim Groves wrote:
I'm kinda hanging around waiting to see if the cover shows up soon.

Did she say she was doing that today or did she only hint at it? I hope she also updates the cover for Occult Adventures. :)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

zergtitan wrote:
Jim Groves wrote:
I'm kinda hanging around waiting to see if the cover shows up soon.
Did she say she was doing that today or did she only hint at it? I hope she also updates the cover for Occult Adventures. :)

I'm sorry, I didn't see any hints. If she did hint, it was a coincidence to me posting. I haven't been on the boards much the last few months.


Are there going to any mythological giants in this AP?

I mean, Serpent's Skull had many african monsters in it, and the winter AP had many fey in it, so I hope this giant-based AP has at least some mythological giants in it, like Jack-in-Irons, Yehwe Zogbanu and Cacus.

Environmental Giants are cool I guess, but there are really too much of them already, so I hope (just like dragons) that the next giants are tapped from awesome mythology sources, and there are enough for an entire bestiary of its own.

Paizo Employee Community & Digital Content Director

Updated with final cover image and description!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Good and disturbing artwork on that cover.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Undead war machines!

Yay my cover is here!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Amiri is lookin' kind of...

<<

>>

Cheeky, don't you think?

I'll let myself out...

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

I noticed that too.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Yeah, it's... pretty gratuitous. :)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Bah, blatant sexualisation of females! Horrid! At least there are no nipples exposed...

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