I know content is king but aesthetics can pretty much be everything. One of the great things about Christian Eichhorn’s work is his attention to detail. His typical work is a masterful blend of content, form, and functionality. The resulting product a nicely written work that is easy to use and integrate into your sessions. Eichhorn’s latest publication, Secrets of Icespire: Notice Boards, Encounters, and Bounties for the Hinterlands, fits the bill whether you’re coming off of the Dragon of Icespire Peak or Lost Mine of Phandelver campaigns or not.
Secrets of Icespire
Writer(s): Christian Eichhorn
Publisher: DMs Guild
Product Length: 77 pages
Available Format(s): PDF
Icespire is a 77-page resource for dungeon masters containing quests, encounters, bounty hunts, and sidekicks. In a nutshell, this product feels a lot like Eichhorn’s other Notice Boards yet it’s not at all derivative. In fact, it’s quite refreshing. The selected art is familiar and the production isn’t overdone. He does let the content speak for itself but not to the point of neglect where it concerns layout, cartography, and selected art integration.
Each quest supplies just enough flavor and information to get you going and free of long-winded monologues and overly prescriptive details or instructions. You’ll get a good background and conclusion for each quest along with a (modified) Dyson Logos map. Including the map and full description of that map, each quest is between 3 and 5 pages long. Not bad for 3-6 hour quests. I contend that affords you a lot of flexibility if (when) the adventure goes off the rails and to make the quest really fit well with your group’s style.
The encounters can be used to give a bit more meat to these quests, or other quests, if you’d like. They’re not your standard “2d4 kobolds ambush your campsite” type of random encounters. Use these encounters to thicken your plot or as segues into the next chapter of your players’ saga. I mean, doesn’t appeasing a hungry xorn sound like it opens up options?
The bounty hunts are interesting. They’re essentially four NPCs, each with a unique history, location/encounter notes, and preferred tactics. And, of course, you also get a rich stat block for each of them. While some of them are evil and perhaps deserving of death, one of them may simply want to be left alone. But she still may deserve justice…
The last section is probably my favorite: Sidekicks. I think of these as hirelings and henchmen but with a little more personality and freewill. To be sure, PCs can still persuade them to join their cause. But these three NPCs maintain their own alignments and motivations. They’re far from just another set of armor or what have you. Players controlling sidekicks should take care to roleplay those characters’ motivations and not their own. They could easily be working together indefinitely. But the dynamic could also easily shift to become more adversarial. I think it merits discussion and consent prior to introducing them in your campaigns.
- doesn’t require any rulebooks aside from the core (PHB, MM, and DMG)
- bar-setting production (bookmarks, table of contents, seamless art integration, writing, editing, etc)
- great suggestions with the use of sidekicks and encounters
- not for the DM who prefers more prescriptive encounters and adventures
- not for 1st tier player characters