Wednesday, December 7, 2022

About The Frozen Temple of Glacier Peak

 The Frozen Temple of Glacier Peak is a 24 page OSR adventure by Robin Fjärem, for a party of level 1-3 adventurers, designed for Knave, and easily convertible to other OSR games.

I got the PDF and printed it at home as an A5, stapled zine of sort (no POD option is available).

Mr Fjärem has done a very good job at designing a module that in 24 pages describes 32 rooms full of adventure.

What's it about? The adventure offers 3 levels, each with a distinctive theme and flavor. The first is the titular frozen temple with 11 rooms, the second is a a single large cave with an underground lake with 6 areas, and the last is "the spirit realm", a large underground complex with 15 rooms.

Before the dungeon proper, we have the description of a mountain camp, 6 different hooks, and 6 rumors.

The first level is long lost temple. The glacier has melt a bit, and it is now possible to enter the temple again. The contents of the temple fit the theme perfectly, its all abandoned and icy, close to no encounters except a frost centipede and, from the random encounters table, rival adventuring parties and a frost smilodon who has just ventured inside the temple looking for prey.

The second level is fairly linear, with a sequence of islets scattered through the lake. But has a snorting troll sleeping in the farthest islet, and the lake is the portal to the spirit realm, if the group figures out how (and there's plenty of ways to understand how the lake is magical), while possibly avoid waking up the mysterious source of the snorting. 

The last level, the spirit realm, is in fact a perfect adventure in the mythical underworld, with more than a hint at fairy tales and norse mythology. This level is full of fun, interconnected encounters with NPCs, including a Lindwurm (a flightless dragon) and its magnificent hoard.

So how is it? It's a great little adventure, with a distinct pacing and a strong theme. The writing is short and clear, exactly how I like it. You read it once, you're ready to run it.

Is it perfect? No, but close. I didn't like that some secret passages in level 1 don't include in their description an obvious way to suspect they are there. I didn't like that the "spirit realm" level is too small. It feels like it should have been vast, too vast to explore in its entirety (there's world in mythical underworld). And it feels so because there's a lot going on with the fairy creatures and peculiar places described, and also because of the very good random tables included (mushrooms, treasure, NPC motivations, events). At your own risk, you may attempt connecting this to other adventures such as The Incandescent Grottoes, or simply expand the map, adding rooms and paths between the keyed ones, to increase the feel of an underground world. Those tables should make it relatively easy.

All in all: It's a good one, definitely recommended if your campaign has snowy mountains and you like the fairy/norse(ish) themes, and worth the effort of conversion to your favorite OSR system.

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