Friday Night Dungeons and Dragons – The Frosts of Rhime
The normal Dungeons and Dragons games that I run or come up with ideas for are big games, high fantasy, lots of magic, and some massive world events happening. The players are heroes who are going to save the day or die trying, but most likely save the day. This one, I want to keep some idea of that, but I also want this to be a harder game to make it through.
Right now in Minnesota we’re going through a massive deep freeze, in the southern part of the state, we might not get above 0 Fahrenheit for several days, and the lows have been very low, -14 with -30 wind chill (-25 and -34 centigrade). So how can you create a game around something like that, and that is where The Frosts of Rhime come in.
A deep magic, something long forgotten, has awakened throwing the lands of Rhime into an ice age. Frost Giants harrow the lands removing the smaller folks, humans, elves, halflings, and even breaking down into the dwellings of the dwarves deep below. A white dragon of an ancient stature sits on the remains of the largest city in the lands.
Deep deep below the rending claws of the dragon and delving of the Frost Giants, pockets of people huddle, always trying to dig deeper below, get closer to the center of the lands and further away from the ever increasing cold that is seeping down.
The player characters come from one of these pockets of people left down below. Just from that setting and telling them to come from one of the groups of people together is enough for the creation for a lot of good backstories.
Their goal, of course, is to return the lands to the ways that they were or at least stop them all from freezing to death. This means beating back Frost Giants, the ancient White Dragon, and more creatures of the cold before they freeze to death. Freezing is actually going to be one of the timers of the game. Unless they can make it back to one of the under ground settlements in time, which are moving, exhaustion becomes a real thing. This is a deep cold that even a magical resistance can only slow down a little.
There are two ways you can drop the players into this game. Firstly, start at level 1, give them small battles leading up to leveling up where they can start to deal with the bigger threats in the world. Or you drop them in at a higher level and let them start to deal with the bigger things. This is one where I might start at the higher level. I don’t know that survivability of low level characters is going to be that likely, even the most heroic.
When I talk about exhaustion, I’m talking about using those D&D rules where eventually you can die. Players at higher levels are going to have creative ways to deal with it more than characters at lower levels and they might be able to stay out for more prolonged times. It might be too deadly for lower level characters. I do want to tweak, a little how exhaustion hurts the players, instead of making their check for it at the end of the day, this is something from the middle of each day. And you need to spend a full day out of the elements deep below the ground to shake it. So no magical housing is going to get it out of your bones unless, maybe, the players spend a full 24 hours in there.
The players are going to battle their way up until they are eventually facing off against an ancient white dragon. At level 20, them versus the ancient white dragon should be in their advantage, but bring in some of the allies that the white dragon seems to have, like the frost giants.
Before that, they will need to get something, the mcguffin, something that the white dragon has used, somewhere in the lands to bring down this frost. Most likely at the top of a mountain that is treacherous to get up and could cause them to die just from exposure. So at the mid levels/early part of the campaign, make it about figuring out where that item is, what that item is, and how to undo what has already been done. Then as time goes on and they get better and stronger, let them go up there, deal with Frost Giants who are guarding the items for the white dragon.
How does this game sound to you? Do these post apocalyptic style of games where survival is key seem interesting to you or do you prefer more focused on high fantasy?