Saturday, October 8, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: Reign of Winter

Reign of Winter: Snows of Summer
When Pathfinder wanted to introduce us to their witch class they did so with a lot of pomp, circumstance, and many great adventures. The Magnum Opus of this has to be their Adventure Path: Reign of Winter.

Once again we are taken to Irrisen and to the court of Witch Queen Elvanna. Only now her reign is at an end and she won't go quietly.  The PCs have to intervene.

Reign of Winter Adventure Path

Six adventure books, print (oop), and PDF. Full-color covers and interior art. Each book 100 pages.

First a bit about the adventure paths. Paizo created their adventure path idea largely as a means to to support  D&D 3.5 and then their Pathfinder Core RPGs. They were a direct competition the D&D Adventure League (in format anyway).  While D&D has moved on to larger hardcover adventures for 5e now, Pathfinder was still doing the Adventure paths in six or so various softcover adventures for characters 1 to 20.  

Land of Ice and Snow

Reign of Winter dealt with the Witch Queen Elvanna, daughter of Baba Yaga, and her machinations to keep control of Irrisen now that her reign of 100 years is over. There is involvement with Baba Yaga, her dancing hut, the Demon Lord Kostchtchie, The Mad Monk Rasputin, AND none other than THE Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova.  Now I have been a fan of Baba Yaga for decades, but I also am a huge fan of the whole mystery of Anastasia Romanova and whether she could have still been alive.  So all of this and add world hopping on top of it all?  Yeah! Sign me up!

While I have all of the adventures and supplementary materials in PDF, I am missing a couple of the physical books.  I did grab as many of the minis as I could.

Each adventure has an overview outline of the major events to help explain what will happen. Lots of new monsters, NPCs, great-looking maps, and more. I will say this, Paizo goes all out on these.

Each Adventure path module is released every month, so a half of a year from start to finish.

Adventure 1 (of 6): Snows of Summer

The PCs start at 1st level and should end the adventure at or around 4th level. This is the adventure that introduces them to Irrisen.  The hook is winter is moving southwards and encompassing more lands.  It is here that we learn that the Great Witch Baba Yaga has been captured and imprisoned. 

Adventure 2 (of 6): The Shackled Hut

Here the PCs must find Baba Yaga's famous hut and use it to find her. But there is an entire city filled with monsters between them and the hut. And then they have to deal with the Winter Witches. This adventure is for PCs 4th to 7th level.

Adventure 3 (of 6): Maiden, Mother, Crone

The PCs are transported around the world. They end up in another frozen wasteland of Iobaria on the far-off continent of Casmaron. Here they find three magically linked dungeons and the secrets of the Demon Lord Kostchtchie the Deathless.  
A note about Kostchtchie. Back in the late days of TSR the notion came about that Orcus was once a human. I always hated that notion. Now we get the same thing here with Kostchtchie and I like it. It works so much better for him than for Orcus.

This adventure is for PCs levels 7 to 10.

Adventure 4 (of 6): The Frozen Stars

In a true world-hopping adventure the PCs will take the Hut to Triaxus, the seventh world in Golarion’s solar system, now in the midst of its decades-long winter (of course!). Here the gain useful information on the whereabouts of Baba Yaga.

This adventure is for PCs levels 10 to 13.

Adventure 5 (of 6): Rasputin Must Die!

Now THIS is an adventure! You have to go to Baba Yaga's home world of Earth in 1918 to retrieve her and stop her captor the Mad Monk Grigori Rasputin himself. The PCs have to face him, his minions and 20th-century tech of WWI. 

I have to admit for a lot of reasons this one might be my favorite out of all six. 

This adventure is for PCs levels 13 to 15.

Adventure 6 (of 6): The Witch Queen’s Revenge

The PCs have found Baba Yaga but she is trapped in a matryoshka doll. They have to free her AND still defeat Queen Elvanna and put a new Witch Queen on the throne.

This adventure is for PCs levels 15 to 17. Leaving the last three levels for something else I guess. 

Adventure 7? Witchwar Legacy

Interestingly enough the adventure I reviewed a couple of nights ago, The Witchwar Legacy, is for characters level 17 and up. It also features contact with the Witch Queen Elvanna of Irrisen.  In fact it reads like a rough draft to this adventure. It was written by Greg A. Vaughn who wrote the Witch Queen's Revenge.  If I used this then it would need to be the new Queen of Irrisen or Baba Yaga that sends them on their way.  I am safe in saying "new Queen" because if the PCs don't defeat Elvanna in Adventure 6 they will surely be dead.

Personally, I like this plan. Given that I have an overabundance of Winter Witches I could run this independently of my War of the Witch Queens.

The Witch Queen’s Revenge

Maybe I'll convert the whole thing to Pathfinder 2 or D&D 5/One D&D someday and run that. There is just too much fun stuff here NOT to use.

The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween



Lee said...

When Reign of Winter came out, I was deep into running my campaign of Kingmaker, which I had set in a different world, in an Irrisen-like cold frozen North, but with more Slavic flavor. One of our PCs was, in fact, a winter witch. Her player might have like to keep that character?

However, the players all knew I was a reader of Russian/Soviet and 20th century military history, so I was Forbidden from running this campaign, specifically episode 5. Why they should be afraid of rifles at level 13+ is beyond me.

I was unaware of Witchwar Legacy until now, so maybe I could use that as a one-shot follow-up to the now-ended Kingmaker game, using those PCs one more time?

Timothy S. Brannan said...

It is a good one-shot and designed for high-level characters.