Expanding Rime of the Frostmaiden: Targos

Today we’re expanding on the town of Targos in Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden. We’re adding a new section to the town, deeper character motivations, and an NPC ally! 

We’re also including an exclusive map from Venatus Maps for the Church of the Endless Winter, featured below!

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Much like its sister town, Bremen, Targos is not very well fleshed out. The goal here is to give both additional interactions and some tie-ins to other areas of the module that your players can explore. We have added in several NPCs and locations in town for your players to interact with. Some are new and some are from previous Icewind Dale content. Additionally, a potential NPC ally for your party can be found in Targos. She can accompany the party on their journey and assist them along the way if your party chooses to ask her to accompany them.

General Information

In 1351 DR, the Targos was subject to a devastating attack that left a large section of the town blackened and destroyed. Since then, the area has been dubbed “The Ash Quarter”. Due to numerous ghost stories, few people go there. Those that do are typically children on a dare, or adults trying to avoid prying eyes.

Locations in Targos

The Luskan Arms

Owenn, the proprietor of the Luskan Arms, is a widower. Up until a two years ago, he was married to Esther, the first woman to be sacrificed to appease Auril. Ever since, Owenn has been in a deep state of melancholy. He still runs the inn, along with his fourteen year old daughter, Stefania. Stefania has also tried to take over her mother’s role as town seamstress and is doing a passable, if clumsy, job.

Owenn will not divulge this information to your PCs. He is used to people being unsympathetic about his wife’s death; sacrifices are just part of life in Ten Towns. If your players meet Stefania, however, either at her sewing in the corner by the hearth or helping her father clear tables, she can be convinced to talk to them about her parents with a DC 11 Persuasion check.

On a successful check, she will comment about how her father just has not been the same since her mother’s passing. Stefania will also divulge the strange, recurring dream that she has had about her mother standing by the foot of her bed, watching her sleep. This is not actually a dream, but the ghost of Esther coming back to check on her daughter when she thinks that Stefania is asleep.

Stefania is very concerned about becoming a sacrifice to Auril in the lottery. All residents of the town are at risk, regardless of their age. She will quietly divulge to the players that she is saving money to leave the town prior to her becoming chosen, despite her father’s complete lack of desire to leave.

Naerth Maxildanarr

After Esther’s death, Owenn worked out a deal with the town’s Speaker, Naerth Maxildanarr. In exchange for room and board at the inn, Naerth keeps Owenn and Stefania out of the lottery. Unbeknownst to either of them, this makes them potential targets for Sephek (see the Cold-Hearted Killer quest).

Naerth is running a sort of protection racket among the more influential citizens of Targos. Those who pay him or make themselves valuable to him remain out of the lottery of sacrifices to Auril. At your discretion, he may even offer the characters a job in order to stay out of the drawing, should they be in town on or near the new moon.

Despite the lucrative income of his protection racket, Naerth is having problems with his income that his bosses in the Zhentarim are finding troubling. If the characters watch him for long enough they may spy him sending a letter out using one of his winged serpents. The letter outlines the reasons that he has been unable to collect as many taxes from the fishermen: fewer boats can make it onto the lake to fish and fewer caravans of traders are passing through, due to the darkness and increasingly cold temperatures. The message is coded, and can be deciphered with a DC 18 Intelligence check.

If the characters prove themselves to be capable adventurers, Naerth may approach them about finding an end to the eternal winter so that trade and commerce may resume. At no point will he reveal himself openly to the group as an agent of the Zhentarim. If confronted, he will laugh off the accusations as unfounded, stating that Icewind Dale is far too remote to garner the interest of an organization such as the Zhentarim.

The Wolf’s Pelt Tavern

This tavern is located on the waterfront, overlooking the docks and is mostly frequented by local fishermen. It is tended and owned by Cellia Winters, and is also a place where the rumors chart may be utilized.

Cellia and Esther Tarsenel were best friends before Esther’s death. Unlike Esther’s husband Owenn, however, Cellia has managed to get on with her life despite her loss. Recent events have left her shaken, though. One day, while passing close to the Ash Quarter, Cellia swore that she saw the ghost of Esther watching her from inside a burnt-out building.

Although she passes it off as her eyes playing tricks on her, any mention of the Ash Quarter leaves her shaken. Cellia will share the details of her sighting with a successful DC 13 Persuasion check.

Graendel’s Fine Dwarvencraft

Graendel, a shield dwarf, is one of the oldest residents of Targos. He is familiar with chardalyn and its uses, and can also tell your party all about Ash Quarter, having been a child in Mithril Hall during the attack that burned that area of the city to the ground.

For decades now, Graendel has worked as a craftsman and blacksmith within the walls of Targos. He can repair most metal items and is a master at his craft. Because of Graendel’s exacting standards, his work often takes some time. His prices at the same cost listed in the Players Handbook.

If your party gains his trust, Graendel can be persuaded with a DC 22 check to tell the party that he is an “old friend” the Harpers. He is keeping an eye on the speaker of the town, Naerth Maxildanarr and can tell the party that Naerth is a Zhentarim agent and not to be trusted. If your party is traveling with Shale Evenstar (see Appendix A), Graendel recognizes her immediately and your players can forego the Persuasion check. If they are allied with Shale, he will also give them a discount on his armoring services.

If your party is not with Shale and gains his trust, you can add an optional quest from Graendel. He has a package to be delivered to the other Harper operative in Easthaven and he is willing to pay your party 20 GP if they ensure that it gets safely to her hands. Inside the paper wrapped package is a message for her regarding Speaker Naerth’s identity as well as a scroll of Greater Invisibility. If your players open either the letter or the scroll to read it, they will find both to be covered in not writing but rather in lines of raised dots. Shale Evenstar is blind, and so both the letter and the scroll are written in a form of Braille.

Church of the Endless Winter

The church building in the town was once a church of Lathander, but has now been converted to a church of Auril by its cleric, Denaia. The doors to the stone building stand open in order to allow the frigid winds of the eternal winter to flow through its halls.

Though it appears outwardly as a church of Lathander, inside the iconography of Lathander have been covered with cloth or replaced. When the characters enter the church, there are several parishoners seated on pews. All are clasping their hands before themselves, and have their eyes closed in prayer. A DC 10 Perception check will allow the players to overhear a churchgoer muttering a prayer to the Lady of Winter. The same check will allow them to notice that, despite the frigid winter wind entering the church through the open windows and doors, none of the parishioners are wearing a cloak, and some are even shivering from the cold.

In front of the altar, at the far end of the church, Denaia stands with her back to the doors. When she turns from the altar, characters can clearly see that her holy symbol is in the shape of a snowflake.

Denaia can give the characters all of the information on the human sacrifices to Auril, and is in fact the one that conducts the lottery along with the town speaker. She does not know about the speaker taking bribes to remove people from the lottery and believes that all in the town have an equal chance of becoming the chosen of Auril. She believes that these sacrifices are necessary in order to spare the townspeople from the wrath of Auril and cannot be convinced otherwise.

Denaia will not allow any fire to be lit within the church, and may even ask the players to remove their outer layers of clothing should they remain within the church for any length of time. She is very open in her view that the light of Lathander has abandoned the town of Targos and all that is left is to appease Auril in hopes that they will be spared her wrath.

Denaia is quite friendly and will assist the players in whatever requests for aid they ask, for a price. She will demand a sacrifice of body warmth be made to Auril by one of the requesting characters in the holy pool behind the church. The player must go and jump into the icy pond, which has a hole cut into the ice for this purpose. See the rules for frigid water in the module or in the Dungeon Master’s Guide.

Ash Quarter

In any of the taverns or inns, characters can hear a local rumor about a woman sobbing somewhere in Ash Quarter. No one has ever seen the woman, leading to many speculations and ghost stories.

Located on the edge of town, the Ash Quarter was once a prosperous neighborhood of Targos over a hundred years earlier. That changed with Akar Kessell gained the Crystal Shard, Creshinibon, and used its power to lay waste to the area along with other parts of Icewind Dale. Partially out of respect for the dead and partially because supplies are always scarce in the tundra, Targos left the section of its town alone to decay. Little remains of the town that was once was besides cellar holes and a few crumbling walls. Pine saplings and low scrub brush have begun to overtake the ruins, which have built a reputation for being haunted. At least one spirit can be found here: Esther Tarsenel.

When her name was drawn in the lottery, Esther’s husband, Owenn, told her to hide in Ash Quarter. He planned to head back to the Luskan Arms to get their daughter and prepare for them to flee the village. By the time he and Stefania made it to Ash Quarter, however, Esther had been found and taken off to be sacrificed.

Something went wrong during this first sacrifice, however, and Esther died before Auril’s magic could change her into a coldlight walker. After freezing to death, Esther regained consciousness as a ghost tied to the material plane. Although she did not become a coldlight walker, Esther is well aware of them and the danger that they pose to the living.

Having nowhere else to go, Esther came back to haunt the Ash Quarter. Although she goes to great lengths to avoid being spotted, she does check in on her family when she thinks them asleep in the Luskan Arms.

Esther wants nothing more than to stop the human sacrifices, especially to prevent the sacrifice of her husband and daughter. If the characters intend on stopping human sacrifices to Auril, she will gladly accompany them on their journey, so long as her existence is not revealed to Owenn or Stefania. Should her secrets be disclosed, Esther will feel betrayed by the party and refuse any further dealings with them.

If she accompanies them she will stay with them until they defeat Auril’s intentions and then her spirit will finally be able to move on. Her stat block can be found in Appendix A of this guide.

Quest for Garret

Unlike in the module, Garret will die in 2d4+2 days should the players fail to reach him in time. In order to assist characters in reaching Garret as quickly as possible, Keegan will offer them the use of their spare dog sled and team, should the characters not have already procured one. He will also offer to allow Boy to accompany the characters if they accept the mission.

Boy will be insistent that the characters follow him immediately in the direction of Kelvin’s Cairn. If the players try to deviate on another quest, he will continue turning in the direction of his lost owner, occasionally tugging a party member in that general direction.

If Boy is with the party, they gain advantage on all Perception and Survival checks related to finding Garret.

When they finally find Garrett, he is no longer located on the snowy incline. He has managed to crawl his way down to the dog team and is being kept alive by their warmth. He is injured and unconscious and is at two levels of exhaustion. Unlike in the module, the dogs do not just run off if freed but instead stick by Garret to protect him. As in the module, if the players heal the guide he will tell them about the yeti attack and plead with them to continue up the mountain to find his missing companions. At DM discretion, he may choose to tell Boy to remain with them to help track the missing hikers as he returns to civilization with the other five sled dogs.

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