We’re adding new encounters to Rime of the Frostmaiden that you can place anywhere around Icewind Dale! Help a shifty pair of kennel owners recover their lost dog and discover an infernal secret; help an ice troll get his bridge back from a trio of dastardly goats; chase down a pack of chardalyn-stealing duergar. This guide is packed full of adventure for your Dungeons & Dragons game of Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden!
As usual, you can get all the information from the video below. We’re also providing one of the encounters below that, but you can get all three of them over on Patreon!
Get the full color PDF over on Patreon!
The duergar of clan Sunblight are chasing down chardalyn for their despot, Xardorok, all over Icewind Dale. Some chardalyn can still be found in its raw, natural state—but quite a lot of it has been worked into various objects, some imbued with magic, some mere trinkets.
Zilly Blackpipe. A courier by trade, the rock gnome Zilly Blackpipe (NG female commoner) is in possession of a particularly finely worked pipe made of chardalyn—a prized possession that has been in her family for generations, even giving them their name! She makes a living by transporting goods, messages, and passengers throughout Icewind Dale with her trusty pair of dogsleds. One sled is run by her, the other by her partner Hartha (N female goliath).
Zilly and Hartha tend to be quite a spectacle wherever they go, with Zilly standing barely 3 feet tall and sporting a pink mohawk, and Hartha towering at almost 8 feet and bald. Zilly speaks for the team and it is difficult to get more than an “uh-huh” or “nuh-uh” out of Hartha.
The pair can be encountered anywhere in Icewind Dale; in one of the towns while making a delivery or out in the icy wilderness sledging form place to place.
When the party encounters Zilly and Hartha, read or paraphrase the following, adjusting for whether this is an encounter in Ten-Towns or the wilderness of Icewind Dale:
As you trek along, good and ready for a rest, you become aware of a campfire, not too far in the distance. There seem to be two large dog sleds next to it. A rather gigantic figure looms beside them… a yeti, perhaps, or a verbeeg? With relief you realize that it just seems to be a halfling or gnome standing on the shoulders of a goliath!
Zilly’s bright pink mohawk stands out against the drab tundra like a lighthouse signal, as she eagerly waves you over, a long pipe between her grinning lips, black as the night. “Zilly Blackpipe, pleas’d ta’ meet’cha!” she shouts, as she puffs on the pipe with pride.
If the characters have seen chardalyn before, they can immediately tell the material of the pipe. Zilly is always happy to share the story of how one of her ancestors won it off a wizard in a rigged game of dragon chess. Zilly is eager to break the monotony of her duties by meeting other travelers, so she invites the party to share camp with her. Hartha is much less inclined to conversation and a bit disapproving of Zilly’s unconcerned nature, but she also trusts Zilly and is used to following her lead. Zilly is interested what the characters are doing out here and if they are adventurers—she loves to hear or tell a good story!
After a while, with everyone just about ready to go to rest, the night takes a sudden turn:
Zilly is still laughing from her latest joke, her pipe almost falling out of her mouth—when, suddenly, something violently knocks her to the ground! Hartha is by her side before you can even blink, but her legs give out as if something just hammered her into the knee pits and then her head hits the frozen ground with a thud. At the same time, two hooded broad figures with long white beards appear, pummeling the two couriers into the ground—while Zilly’s black pipe floats in mid-air, bobbing quickly towards one of the sleds! The two duergar are after it and on the sled before you can even react, surprised and unprepared as you were for this assault.
The Chase is On
Zilly runs over to her unconscious companion. Holding her bloodied mouth, she spits out a tooth. Zilly points at her other sled and shouts at the characters:
“We’ll be fine! Five hunner’d gold if ye’ get me pipe back! And bring me dogs back alive!”
The sled can hold up to six medium or smaller creatures, two at the back to steer, two at the mid point of the sled, and two at the front behind the dog team. Characters at the front of the sled soon discover that being so close to the running dogs poses its own problems—kicked up snow and dirt means they have disadvantage on all attacks and ability checks that rely on sight.
Whoever is steering the sled must use their action every turn to control the sled’s direction. When doing so, they must succeed on a DC 12 Wisdom (Animal Handling) check to gain 30 feet on the duergar as they egg on the dogs; if they fail on the check, the distance remains the same. If they roll a 1, they lose 30 feet. Characters proficient with land vehicles can add their proficiency bonus to the roll. A character standing beside the driver can use their action to help operate the sled, granting them advantage on the check. If the driver does not take an action to control the sled, it continues straight in the direction they are currently going, but the dogs begin to slack off and the sled loses 30 feet on the duergar that round. They can also take an action to slow the sled, losing 60 feet on the duergar each turn they do so; it takes 2 rounds to bring the sled to a halt.
The chase starts with 90 feet separating the characters and the duergar. There are three duergar on the opposing sled, one steering, one beside them at the back of the sled, and one on the freight section. The duergar steering the sled remains invisible, while the other two are visible only after they attack. Each duergar can innately cast two level 1 spells per day, which have been infused into their being by frequent handling of tainted chardalyn (spell save DC 12, +4 to hit with spell attacks).
During the chase, the duergar take their turns on initiative counts 25 (the one steering), 15, and 10 (losing all ties). The characters go in order of initiative rolled. Otherwise, run this exactly as you would run a combat situation; any character can take actions as they please.
If the characters’ sled draws even with the duergar, run it as if the two sleds are right next to each other, separated by a 5-foot gap.
On initiative count 20 (losing all ties), a complication can occur—some of which can also be a chance to close the gap! Have the players roll for a complication in turn and then consult the Sled Chase Complications Table. Feel free to pick a complication that seems most appropriate or replace one complication with another in case of re-rolls.
The chase has ends if one of the following conditions occurs:
- The characters get the duergar sled to stop.
- The characters get Zilly’s chardalyn pipe into their possession. If this happens while the duergar are not incapacitated, they cut their losses and run rather than face the characters in open combat.
- After 8 rounds, the duergar sled reaches a 20-foot-wide ravine. The duergar have a unique spell that conjures a temporary ice bridge just wide enough for their own sled, which allows them to cross the ravine before it crumbles one round later. The characters must stop their own sled or plummet into the ravine.
There are two main conclusions to the chase. Either the characters get back Zilly’s pipe, upon which she thanks them profusely and pays them 500 gold pieces, or the characters don’t get back her pipe, upon which she promises them that she will pay if they can get it back to her in the future.
In either case, Zilly shares with them that their assailants were duergar, and that she has heard of several similar attacks in the past, but she didn’t take any precautions because it didn’t make sense to her. All they seem to be after are objects made of chardalyn, such as her pipe. “Why would anyone try to hoard that stuff?”