Pathfinder Adventure Path #67: The Snows of Summer (Reign of Winter 1 of 6) (PFRPG)

3.70/5 (based on 19 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #67: The Snows of Summer (Reign of Winter 1 of 6) (PFRPG)
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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.

ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-492-4

The Snows of Summer 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 (639 KB zip/PDF).

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

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3.70/5 (based on 19 ratings)

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Great ideas, love the twists, but too much for level 1...

4/5

Nothing like an eager author, but in this case a little overboard. Word of caution-read the specs on the beasts and consider balance issues and difficulty for level 1 characters VERY carefully. When you total up one battle it is way too high for that level, especially with the very nicely thought out trick that comes with it. Lots here to work with, but running it out of the can is problematic. Not sure what the problem is with lower level adventures-they are SUCH a delicate time for an adventure and to have a wipe, or 3/4 of the party gone and the rest running is boring compared to just a close call or two..or three. But it is a lot harder to write for the latter to happen than just piling it on with minimal consideration...and editing by the staff that is supposed to be doing it. Maybe (someone) needs to start putting some sort of rating on the path modules for how much editing and work a DM will need to do before using them...maybe count it in hours...or days...hmmm.

SPOILER ALERT!

Spoiler: The dragon beast that can pounce and rake, but oops, the terrain is difficult (actually difficult x2), and how does it move and still carry a character around "in its coils" when it moves using the same coils? I realize this is fantasy but that isn't an excuse for things not being consistent. And a CR 1/2 for the exploding frost skeletons is off just by looking at it, but even though d20pf lists it both as 1/2 but then "add 1 CR" to a template-well you get the idea. Anyone that thinks something with an extra d6 elemental damage that then blows up at the end is a CR 1/2 is..confused? I'm chalking it up to over eager. And then you wipe out the bandits but then have to deal with 10 zombies to get out, after being tired from all that? AND with a cleric radiating 2d6 of negative energy 5 different times? Great idea at a higher level, overwhelming for this unless you have a very specific type of party (like maybe super high cha cleric, a paladin, a tank and a witch?). The elemental aspect of it all is a bit odd also without an easy way to get some endure elements going-sure you can crank out some scrolls, maybe buy a bunch if they are stocked, but then when you consider how long the trek actually takes to the lodge it all gets tedious unless you are just really into that sort of stuff ie. making a foray in, calculating how far you can go, maybe camping nearby and having a 25% chance of an encounter every 3 hours (?...did he mean then only check once per day, twice per day? Another thing left out or overdone).
Unfortunately if you are just to take out some of the pieces like the frost skeletons it effects the mood and some later parts from what I can tell...but tell me, how does the cleric navigate that little room with two skeletons radiating cold 5' out? You'd have to time your movements VERY carefully to make sure you don't end up next to them at the end of your turn. Overlooked? Looking forward to finishing this, but with a part of 5 on the fast track and at level 2 when they hit the lodge.


Well done craftsmanship.

4/5

I ran this adventure for a group of 5, so some modifications had to be made.

Overall, this one was a very fun experience. Initially, it was a little drawn out, with a more-or-less typical "string of not-so-random encounters on a road" followed a mid-boss fight which honestly didn't really float many boats, but that might have been our fatigue and my bad GMing as well.

Then, after the action moved to Irrisen, things went a lot better. The whole Waldsby part was arguably amazing, with NPC interactions, subplots and some really cool opportunities for improvisation.

Finally, the tower part was an enjoyable dungeon crawl with some memorable moments and a goat.

I'd rate the first part 3/5, the second one 5/5 and the third one 4/5, for a total of 4 stars. I'd also echo the comments about something wonky about how the cold conditions were handled in the adventure - I was really confused here and my group saved the day by spamming endure elements and mitigating the problem altogether.

Nevertheless, good start of what promises to be a turbo fun AP. Two frozen, frost-bitten thumbs up!


Fun adventure, but requires GM caution/adjustment

4/5

I divide my AP experience into 3 sections: Adventure, Supplements, and Layout/Art

The layout and art for this volume (and this AP) were as brilliant as ever. I especially like the inside cover material, and use it in my campaign. 9/10

The supplemental material was very useful. I love the expanded NPC/treasure format, and the villages were well presented. The monsters were all useful, though none particularly stood out. Unfortunately, the fiction in this AP did not keep my interest. 6/10

I'm a fan of Russian folklore, so this adventure appeals to me thematically. As usual, Mr Spicer uses Fey liberally and well. The NPC's are engaging, with interesting back-stories (especially Nadya).
While the author is very good at setting up twist encounters, there may be too many in the first 2 books of this Path. One encounter which particularly irked my players was the ravens: there is a setup to hide to avoid them, but it is nearly impossible for an entire low-level party to make the necessary check, and therefore they only make the encounter more difficult for themselves.
The biggest problem I had with the adventure was that it seemed the difficulty of the environmental conditions were not truly taken into account. I feel that those reviewers who said this was too easy were probably handwaving the cold damage, difficult terrain, and wind/snow effects. It seemed many of the encounters failed to take them into account as well.
It may have improved things if there had been a note or side-bar suggesting GM's take the difficult conditions into account when assigning xp, because the cold did more damage than many of the encounters.
Overall, however, it is an engaging story which my group enjoyed playing. 7/10


Great Adventure

5/5

I had the opportunity to run the adventure path for Pathfinder Society for Organized Play. Overall great time! I found the scenario to be well written and challenging for a full group of adventurers, especially taking into account the weather conditions. I like the campaign setting overall.

My advice is to allocate as much time as reasonably possible to get through the entire sanctioned content for Pathfinder Society for Organized Play. A 6 hour session will feel rushed and doesn't offer as many roleplaying opportunities. I would recommend between 7-8 hours for an event.


Winter's coming?

4/5

This module starts somewhere in Taldor and its main plot arch is centered around a weather shift happening in the local area where the PCs happen to be.

In the middle of summer, patches of snow and ice start to appear around a particular forest. In the subsequent investigation, the PCs cross a portal to Irrisen in the north. In there, they will be chased by the winter witch's guards.

Eventually, they will need to fight back... this means locating the ice tower where the witch's man in charge lives and defeat him.

It's a very atmospheric module that uses the wintry weather as a very unique way to set the stage for the main plot lines. I like this module. I like the way the winter is thrown upon the unsuspecting PCs and catches them unprepared. I also like the fairy tale feeling of the strange land where you're not welcome, the bad guys are hunting you and you're not even sure why. I even like the ice tower, it makes for a fun dungeon with all the teleporting.

Not everything is positive, of course. I don't love the way the mission is dumped on to the PCs. Giving them the reward first before they actually complete the mission is risky so the author needed a way to force them to go on and prevent them from cheating. Enter the punishing side of the reward: the artifact penalizes the PCs if they stray from the mission. It is a very clunky way of setting up a mission. I believe there are better ways of handling this without threatening the players.

Also, splitting the forest part in two sections sounds repetitive. The way it's done, it's: following a trail, finding a cabin, defeating bad guys. Then, continuing the same trail, finding a camp site, defeating bad guys. I would have preferred to set up the first part as an investigation that gives clues to the second location. Oh, well.

My rating: 4 stars. I really like it but I'm missing a little more social interaction and options for the players. Even so, it's a very nice story in an evocative setting. Definitely one of the better ones from Paizo.

Read my full review here


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Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The PCs are dealing with a bigger problem (perhaps the return of Choral), or the Bandit Council. The synopsis suggests that the only the one small town is effected by the strange weather, so maybe the mayor of Tatzlford or Oleg's or Varnhold (choose the smallest town in the PC's kingdom) asks for volunteers to find answers.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I hadn't noticed this thread.

::Is ready for a stiff drink now::

Been busy.

Whew.

MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

We're gonna have Halloween at Christmas!


Congrats to Neil on finally getting a first installment.Now all I have to do is figure out why a Winter Witch would want to stop this.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I just noticed a little something in the Artifacts & Legends book...

Spoiler:
The Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga is going to be in this issue.

Does that mean we might see the owner of this item statted up somewhere in this adventure path? I'm a sucker for high-level celebrities.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There's a lot of stuff from "Earth" coming out nowadays. Saint Cuthbert's Mace, Baba Yaga, Rasputin... Will this AP go to Earth?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Seoni, Valeros, Kyra and Merisiel pop up in 1918 Russia. Now that would be awesome!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Josef Vissarianovich: "Na zdarovya tovarich* Seoni! That was very nice of you to blast those white counter-revolutionaries into the Caspian Sea. I'm afraid we'll still have to put your friend Kyra against the wall, though. The people's dictatorship has no room for old religious superstitions, even ones from another planet who seem to be real."

Merisiel: "STAB!!"

And thus the history of 20th century Eastern Europe turned out a lot nicer than in the real world.

*No idea how those words are usually transcribed into English.

Shadow Lodge

Gorbacz wrote:
Seoni, Valeros, Kyra and Merisiel pop up in 1918 Russia. Now that would be awesome!

I don't remember who the other three are, but I know it's been confirmed that Feiya is one of the iconics for this. I think Valeros is one of the others.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Card Game, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
DM Wellard wrote:
Congrats to Neil on finally getting a first installment.Now all I have to do is figure out why a Winter Witch would want to stop this.

Speculative Spoilers:
since Elvanna seems to be the BBBEG in this one, you could play a loyalist who hopes to be pretty high on the totem pole when the proper order is restored?
Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

DM Wellard wrote:
Congrats to Neil on finally getting a first installment.

Apparently, that whole "ask and you shall receive" thing is true. :-)

::tosses a snowball into the thread::

Wheee! Snowball fight!

Dark Archive

Neil Spicer wrote:
DM Wellard wrote:
Congrats to Neil on finally getting a first installment.

Apparently, that whole "ask and you shall receive" thing is true. :-)

Shouldn't that be : "ask, work really really hard, for years, on everything they throw at you, smiling all the time, and you shall receive"??

Looks like it from out here ;)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

I thought that was obvious. It's all part of the freelancing definition of "ask"... ;-)

::throws another snowball::

Dark Archive

Ahhh, I see. That makes sense ;)

<throws snowball at the ice overhang above Neil so it collapses down the back of his neck>

<ducks>

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

::shrugs off the invigorating experience::

::casts quickened sleet storm to close off Nevynxxx's retreat, and follows with a maximized cone of cold::

"Dodge that!"


I do so love seeing the younglings enjoying suitable weather.

Dark Archive

::Suddenly becomes very, very still with a frustrated look::

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

::casts endure elements and starts looking for Rasputin::

Daron Woodson
Abandoned Arts


Not sure how relevant it is to this AP, although with Daigle's teasings, who knows, but there is post by everyone's favorite Creative Director:

Quote:
James Jacobs wrote:

For Golden-Esque:

Hark! A dancing hut!
Has it been one hundred years?
Get them mythic rules!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Gosh Cheapy, you're the man who usually puts all the clues together. Especially when I am strangely silent. ;-)

Check out the product description of Chapter Two: The Shackled Hut!


Nice! Hadn't looked at that one yet!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

3 people marked this as a favorite.

"Ah-hah! Trespasser!"

::casts ice crystal teleport on Jim, sending him back to The Shackled Hut thread::

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.

::fails saving throw and vanishes in a crackle of ice::


Very excited about this one, looking forward to winter already! Thanks all for making it happen!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

::The Dwarf king Santa Klaus rides into the scene on his sleigh with his army of Gnome helpers and charges into battle with his magic dwarven double waraxe, Naughty & Nice.::

As you can see i would love to make an equivalent of Santa Claus for Galorian to finally bring Christmas to Irrisen.

aka. Christmas theme adventure for the holidays.


Zergtitan, not sure if you're aware but have you seen the trailer for Rise of The Guardians?

It will feature a Russian Santa Claus who also happens to be a bad-a$$ with tattoos. If you're looking for inspiration for a Golarion Santa this movie should help.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

thanks block knight, yeah I've seen the trailer and it does have some inspiration on my idea. I'm thinking maybe have him be some sort of paladin and his helpers be gnome fighter's with craftsman skills.

I choose gnomes for his helpers because a) elves in Galorian don't fit the character need and b) the personality of fun-loving helpers seems to fit.

Dwarf for Santa, because i feel that the jolly belly, red face, and beard fit the character. plus Dwarves are also craftsman as well.


Casts Snowball Swarm


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Very excited about this AP. Can't wait!


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

::Uses Yule Log Aura to defend against snowball swarm and heal ally Gnomes::

This year winter's coming late, but with a bang.


When do the players guides get released? The same time as the AP chapter?

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The player's guides are usually released along with the first installment of an adventure path.


Ravenmantle wrote:
The player's guides are usually released along with the first installment of an adventure path.

There was a precedent set with the new format of Player's Guides for Shattered Star that it may come out a week early or so.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Aye that's true but it'll still be tied to the first installment of an adventure path in that it comes out at roughly the same time as that installment +/- a week or so.


Dragnmoon wrote:
Work Horse Neil Spicer Starts it off!

I'm currently running the Carrion Crown AP with one of our groups. We are almost done with the first book and I've been reading ahead. I just finished reading "Ashes at Dawn" today, so I am very happy to see this bit of news. :) I've enjoyed "Ashes at Dawn" tremendously, and look forward to "The Snows of Summer".


Finally something that might convince one of the Russian culture nerds in my group to run an AP so I can get to play.


First price increase ever. Still the best deal for your gaming dollars.

j.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

I've certainly aimed to make it worth your while. ;-)

And, you know Paizo has, as well. :-)

Contributor

Same here with the novella for the AP fiction. :)


Why the price increase?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

That's been discussed by Eric Mona in one of the blog entries.

EDIT: Linky for your convinience.

The Exchange

So the prices are up on the pront version... however according to what I read are the reasons for the price increase, PDF prices should remain the same. Is that true.

The Exchange

Lord Snow wrote:
So the prices are up on the pront version... however according to what I read are the reasons for the price increase, PDF prices should remain the same. Is that true.

there should be a question mark there

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm fairly certain it's been said that the price for PDFs will rise slightly as well. My memory might be faulty, though.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'd imagine staff enjoys being paid more, too, also other fixed costs might have increased over the past couple years.

The Exchange

RuyanVe wrote:
I'd imagine staff enjoys being paid more, too, also other fixed costs might have increased over the past couple years.

true, dat.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

And the economy of today is not the economy of 2007.

Shadow Lodge

Looks like my cold sorcerer will be on hold a bit longer, to see if any nifty traits, archtypes, or spells will be popping up.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Will this AP take the layout of Rise of the Runelords Anniversary edition or stick with the traditional look?

Webstore Gninja Minion

There will be some layout tweaks with the Adventure Paths starting with Reign of Winter.


How is rise of the runelords anniversary edition different from regular adventure paths ?

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