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

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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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The Railroad: Choo choo choo

2/5

+1 to Tim Burgers review. Super-linear adventure. Half the encounters could be dropped as non-essential, wandering monster type encounters and you would not miss any of the story. So, why were they included?


To leave your zone of comfort behind...

4/5

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.


Good Adventure, Weak Hook

4/5

Snows of Summer is a really cool (no pun intended) adventure overall, with a range of action and some solid set piece fights (rare in a low-level module).

If this were the second or third adventure in an AP, I'd rate it 5 stars.

The module's real weakness, though, is where the first adventure of an AP needs to be strongest: the hook needs to hook. I don't feel Snows of Summer does that.

That said, the adventure is written so it's really easy to replace the hook and I fully intend to do that when I run it.

Short Version: A great adventure that just requires a little more customization to your characters' backstories than usual.


Strong compelling NPC heroine, portal to winter = awesome.

4/5

Bullet point reviews = my bag baby.

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 Ugly: -You're off to rescue the less bad guy.

My new review style recession reviews are here

Overall: Mostly nitpicks but overall I like the story, I like the challe4nge to PCs going from a relatively comfortable land to a harsh winter environment.


Nice adventure, but...

3/5

"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...

Spoiler:
...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.


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Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Nick O'Connell wrote:
How is rise of the runelords anniversary edition different from regular adventure paths ?

I am not sure exactly what you are asking but the anniversary edition of RotRL is the first AP updated from DnD3.x to Pathfinder rules and tidied up into a single volume.

However it also has a slightly different 'look', so I guess that is what Liz is referring to. The new look has a lot of similarities to the Beginner Box in style IMO. It has border decorations and stuff.


Thanks for explaining

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Product image and description have been updated to match the finished product.

Scarab Sages

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

Is that baba yaga on the cover?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Stratagemini wrote:
Is that baba yaga on the cover?

That's Valeros, silly!

Paizo Employee Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Stratagemini wrote:
Is that Baba Yaga on the cover?

It is dear Grandmother!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Jam412 wrote:
Will this AP take the layout of Rise of the Runelords Anniversary edition or stick with the traditional look?

The layout of Reign of Winter will look pretty close to the standard layout for all Adventure Paths, although the magic items will be using the new format as begun in the Rise of the Runelords hardcover and carried on in Ultimate Equipment.

Every Adventure Path has minor cosmetic changes to the look, but overall, the layout of Reign of Winter will look more like Shattered Star and previous Adventure Paths than it will the Rise of the Runelords hardcover.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Adam Daigle wrote:
Stratagemini wrote:
Is that Baba Yaga on the cover?
It is dear Grandmother!

I don't know. Without the flying cauldron she could also be Louhi from Finnish Mythology, what with the earth freezing and all (see the epic poem, Kalevala, or the film, Sampo)

Liberty's Edge

Is it odd that I am excited about the Path using a blue color scheme?

Paizo Employee Developer

Laschoni wrote:

Is it odd that I am excited about the Path using a blue color scheme?

Nope! We're excited here, too! :)

Contributor

Gah! Big bug!

Paizo Employee Developer

Rob McCreary wrote:
Laschoni wrote:

Is it odd that I am excited about the Path using a blue color scheme?

Nope! We're excited here, too! :)

Yep! What Rob said!

Andrew did a gorgeous job designing the look of this AP.

Contributor

WampaX wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
Stratagemini wrote:
Is that Baba Yaga on the cover?
It is dear Grandmother!
I don't know. Without the flying cauldron she could also be Louhi from Finnish Mythology, what with the earth freezing and all (see the epic poem, Kalevala, or the film, Sampo)

Louhi shows up in Artifacts and Legends in the Dancing Hut entry, and since the Dancing Hut takes a prominent place in the adventure path (not much of a spoiler since it's the title of one of the volumes), I'm guessing there's a reasonable chance of encountering her there too.

I think there's also an oblique reference to her Sampo in the AP novella, assuming James left it.

Dark Archive

Are you guys increasing the price for the ap's after Shattered Star?

Silver Crusade

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
I think there's also an oblique reference to her Sampo in the AP novella, assuming James left it.

SAMPOOOOOO!!!!

Looking forward to that Irrisene fiction!

Contributor

Mikaze wrote:
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
I think there's also an oblique reference to her Sampo in the AP novella, assuming James left it.
SAMPOOOOOO!!!!

Ask for it by name!

Mikaze wrote:
Looking forward to that Irrisene fiction!

Likewise. Hope everyone enjoys it. I love doing novellas.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
I think there's also an oblique reference to her Sampo in the AP novella, assuming James left it.
SAMPOOOOOO!!!!

Ask for it by name!

Mikaze wrote:
Looking forward to that Irrisene fiction!
Likewise. Hope everyone enjoys it. I love doing novellas.

The MST3K Russo-Finnish Troika was my initial plunge into the greater mythologies of the frozen north. It was a fun, strange trip and I'm giddy that this AP and materials will pull from that larger cannon.

EDIT:

brad2411 wrote:
Are you guys increasing the price for the ap's after Shattered Star?

The Blog and thread discussion of such things

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
WampaX wrote:
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
I think there's also an oblique reference to her Sampo in the AP novella, assuming James left it.
SAMPOOOOOO!!!!

Ask for it by name!

Mikaze wrote:
Looking forward to that Irrisene fiction!
Likewise. Hope everyone enjoys it. I love doing novellas.
The MST3K Russo-Finnish Troika was my initial plunge into the greater mythologies of the frozen north. It was a fun, strange trip and I'm giddy that this AP and materials will pull from that larger cannon.

Poetic geekery fact: The Kalevala (which I have a copy of) is written in Old Norse Flowing Meter, which is a fancy way of saying heavily alliterated trochaic tetrameter, or in more layman's terms, the same meter Longfellow used for "The Song of Hiawatha" (which is not a Native American meter, but sufficiently exotic that it sounded right). I drew on this and a number of the other old meters of the north for the AP tale.


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Will there be kennings, speaker of Grimnir's lip-streams?

Dark Archive

Thanks WampaX I missed that blog.

Contributor

Kajehase wrote:
Will there be kennings, speaker of Grimnir's lip-streams?

Some kennings, yes. A bit more barbieing. ;)


Mikaze wrote:

So many of us have fled from Helgen so many times already, I can't believe we're actually going towards the place now.

;)

Where exactly is Helgen? I looked through all the books I possess and didn't come across it on any maps.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Man behind the Screen wrote:
Mikaze wrote:

So many of us have fled from Helgen so many times already, I can't believe we're actually going towards the place now.

;)

Where exactly is Helgen? I looked through all the books I possess and didn't come across it on any maps.

Near Falkreath.


How many pcs would this AP handle?


Thank you Mead


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Man behind the Screen wrote:
How many pcs would this AP handle?

APs assume 4 PCs.


Helgen is the town you start in in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. By the end of the tutorial, you are more or less fleeing Helgen. The town is in the hold Falkreath.

Paizo Employee Developer

Man behind the Screen wrote:
Mikaze wrote:

So many of us have fled from Helgen so many times already, I can't believe we're actually going towards the place now.

;)

Where exactly is Helgen? I looked through all the books I possess and didn't come across it on any maps.

Seriously though, Heldren is in southern Taldor, just north of the Border Wood, which is just north of the southern border of Qadira. The closest sizable settlement is probably Zimar.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Adam Daigle wrote:
Seriously though, Heldren is in southern Taldor, just north of the Border Wood, which is just north of the southern border of Qadira. The closest sizable settlement is probably Zimar.

True. Zimar lies almost directly east of Heldren. It's the closest sizeable population.

If you crossed through the Border Wood straight south of Heldren and to its other side, you could also reach the town of Demgazi which is right on the border with Qadira.

The best map I found to view the Border Wood, Zimar, and Demgazi appears in the back section of the Pathfinder Companion Taldor: Echoes of Glory. That's what I used for researching and placing Heldren. There should be an overland map in the adventure itself which shows the town's surrounding geography, including all the roads leading to other parts of Taldor.


Another great cover.


Vic Wertz wrote:
Stratagemini wrote:
Is that baba yaga on the cover?
That's Valeros, silly!

Those dang aging penalties!

Webstore Gninja Minion

brad2411 wrote:
Are you guys increasing the price for the ap's after Shattered Star?

Yes—read more about it in this blog post here.


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

(in the voice elderly, dwarfish, minions.)

"Sampo,Sampo,Sampo,Sampo,Sampo,Sampo...."(continues for 5 mins.)

Artifact: Sampo

mill that endlessly churns out flour, salt, and gold.

*warning, owned by Baba Yaga. caution when requesting use.*


I only posted Helgen because it was there was an early post to this thread that mentioned this name. Soundef close to the town that was mentioned in the AP description of module one. Lol. I guess it was close enough. Thanks for clearing the name and location. I want to get a group ready for a pbp version of this AP. needed the location to get things rolling.


My grammar sucks on this iPhone. Please remove "it was", the it should make more sense


How big a town are we talking with Heldren here? A couple hundred? Nearer to a thousand?

Paizo Employee Developer

Phillip0614 wrote:
How big a town are we talking with Heldren here? A couple hundred? Nearer to a thousand?

Heldren is a village, so less than 200 people.


What month and year will this AP take place?

Paizo Employee Developer

New England Frost Giant wrote:

What month and year will this AP take place?

Adventure Paths are normally assumed to begin in the Golarion equivalent month when the first adventure in the AP is released, in the Golarion equivalent year. So the Adventure Path released in February 2013 would begin in the month of Calistril in the year 4713 AR.

However, Reign of Winter does not follow that assumption, as "The Snows of Summer" starts (unsurprisingly)in the middle of summer. We don't actually give a firm start date in the AP, but I would say anytime in the months of Sarenith, Erastus, or Arodus (with mid-Erastus being best) would be good. Regardless of which month the AP starts in, however, the year matches the normal AP assumption, which is 4713 AR.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Well it is summer here, in fact I have just had a swim :D


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Weirdly, when I looked for the entire list of products for Shattered Star (All, not just Available Now), it also listed The Snows of Summer. A website glitch?

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Bellona wrote:
Weirdly, when I looked for the entire list of products for Shattered Star (All, not just Available Now), it also listed The Snows of Summer. A website glitch?

I'm sure that's because the adventure is sooooo good, it needed to be part of two APs at the same time. ;-)

Spoiler:

Or...it could just be a website glitch. :-(


Firstbourne wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
I hope this can be adapted to start in the PCs kingdom in the Stolen Lands.

At first that sounded cool, but then I realized that my level 17+ PCs would handle the situation themselves - so that wouldn't work well with the beginning of an AP.

Any suggestions on how to handle that?

A few options:

Dual-classing 1e style. Your Monarch(s) and Advisors abdicate the throne, leave almost everything behind and start new careers in new classes. Perhaps as middle-aged/old/venerable characters, scrubbing back to 1st level in a radically different class with the same personalities can be pretty fun. Maybe they're worried about their mortality and hope that the summer snows forsage a means to deal with Death...

1st level followers are sent, so long as you permit them nothing more extravagant than the Rich Parents trait. If you're feeling generous before horribly slaughtering their precious followers, give 'em this trait gratis. (I had my players send 5th level followers to find hapless Oleg from Kingmaker to Carrion Hill.)

Webstore Gninja Minion

Neil Spicer wrote:
Bellona wrote:
Weirdly, when I looked for the entire list of products for Shattered Star (All, not just Available Now), it also listed The Snows of Summer. A website glitch?

I'm sure that's because the adventure is sooooo good, it needed to be part of two APs at the same time. ;-)

** spoiler omitted **

*smashes glitch*

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Liz Courts wrote:
*smashes glitch*

Why do I imagine you as a White Witch when I read that? ;-)


Neil Spicer wrote:
Liz Courts wrote:
*smashes glitch*
Why do I imagine you as a White Witch when I read that? ;-)

Probably because of this avatar and her connections to Baba Yaga. >:D

Sovereign Court

James Jacobs wrote:
Jam412 wrote:
Will this AP take the layout of Rise of the Runelords Anniversary edition or stick with the traditional look?

The layout of Reign of Winter will look pretty close to the standard layout for all Adventure Paths, although the magic items will be using the new format as begun in the Rise of the Runelords hardcover and carried on in Ultimate Equipment.

Every Adventure Path has minor cosmetic changes to the look, but overall, the layout of Reign of Winter will look more like Shattered Star and previous Adventure Paths than it will the Rise of the Runelords hardcover.

Yay!


This has probably been asked before, but is the Winter Witch Revisited Blog considered official errata yet?


Why are these adventures more expensive than previous Adventure Paths?

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