Reign of Winter: A Pathfinder Chronicle

Childish Grumpino

"...before turning the gun on himself."
Original poster

  • Every 100 years, the Witch Queen Baba Yaga returns to the nation of Irrisen to place a new daughter on the throne.

    But this time, something has gone wrong.

    Far to the south, an unseasonable winter cloaks the forest near the village of Heldren with summer snows. When a group of heroes venture into the wood in search of a missing noblewoman they discover a magical portal to the frozen land of Irrisen, whose magical winter will soon engulf all of Golarion unless they can discover the fate of the otherworldly witch Baba Yaga. A quest that will take them through snowbound Irrisen... and to even stranger lands beyond.

  • An Early Frost

    To investigate a puzzling incursion of wintry weather and rescue a missing noble kidnapped by bandits, the heroes venture into the Border Wood, mysteriously blanketed in snow even at the height of summer.​
  • The Depths of Winter

  • The Land of the Winter Witches

  • The Pale Tower


  • Like in most peasant communities in southern Taldor, the people of Heldren mostly keep to themselves. Far from the politics of Oppara and ever watchful for Qadiran aggression, Eldren goes on as it always has, as a relatively small and unimportant hamlet of farmers, herders and woodcutters. But Heldren is home to a secret unsuspected by its normally complacent citizens: a mystical ley-line connects their village with another far to the north. Could the recent appearance of unseasonable winter weather in the nearby border wood be a harbinger of worse things to come?

    1. Armoury
    2. Isker's Smithy
    3. General Store
    4. Town Hall
    5. Willowbark Apothecary
    6. Barber
    7. The Silver Stoat (Tavern)
    8. Livery Stable
    9. Town Square
    10. Ionnia Teppen's House
    11. Temple of Erastil
    12. Carpenter
    13. Heldren Sawmill
    14. The Butcher of Jalrune
    15. Old Mother Theodora's
  • Irrisen (pronounced IHR-ih-sehn) is a harsh cold northern land covered in the snow and ice of a winter that has lasted centuries. The snow never melts, and almost as omnipresent as the snow and ice, is the feeling of dread that pervades the whole of Irrisen, for as harsh and unforgiving as the land is, it is nothing compared to those who rule it. The land is governed by the white witches of Irrisen, the grand daughters of the terrible crone Baba Yaga. All the white witches are obedient to their queen, who is a daughter of Baba Yaga herself.

  • The following campaign traits tie characters to the Reign of Winter Adventure Path. Although the campaign will take characters to Irrisen and other icy, winter-bound locales, it begins in the warm lands of Taldor far to the south. Characters designed for this campaign should plan to be residents of or new arrivals in the village of Heldren.

    Adaptive Magic: The wonders of magic have always fascinated you, and you find the urge to tinker and experiment with magic almost irresistible. You could be the child of an alchemist, wizard, or witch; a member of the Pathfinder Society; or maybe someone with a touch of fey or dragon blood. You may not be trained in magic, and you’ve had your share of accidental mishaps, but you possess a natural knack for activating magic items. You’ve always been intrigued by the cold magic of the winter witches and ice mages of the North, and would love to get your hands on some of their magic items.

    You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (arcana) and Use Magic Device checks, and Use Magic Device is a class skill for you.

    Blood of Giants: You’re a big person, and people have always said you’ve got some giant blood in you. Even as a child, you towered over your friends, and as you grew older, you grew even taller and stronger. Maybe your hair has a tint of blue as well, or your skin is as pale as snow. Perhaps someday you’ll get the opportunity to travel to the North and meet some real giants, and see whether the rumours about you are true.

    You gain a +1 trait bonus on combat maneuver checks to sunder, and a +1 trait bonus to your CMD against bull rush and overrun combat maneuvers.

    Failed Winter Witch Apprentice: As a child, you were apprenticed as a winter witch in the frozen land of Irrisen, but you did not complete your training. Perhaps you disagreed with the politics of Irrisen’s White Witches, or you had an altercation with one of your teachers, or maybe you were just ill-suited to the practice of witchcraft. Whatever the reason, you left the ranks of the winter witches and left Irrisen. Whether or not you have continued your training on your own, you still retain some small knowledge of witchery and the magic of the icy north.

    You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (arcana) and Spellcraft checks to identify spells or magical effects with the cold descriptor, and one of these skills (your choice) is a class skill for you. In addition, you gain Hallit or Skald (this does not count toward your number of languages).

    Northern Ancestry: One of your parents came from the North, and the tales of the frozen lands at the top of the world that you grew up listening to excited your imagination. Alternatively, maybe one of your ancestors passed on the blood of some frost-rimed creature. You feel most alive during the chill of winter, and as a child, you spent hours playing in the snow. You rarely feel the cold, and you’ve always had a restless longing to travel north.

    You gain a +1 trait bonus on Fortitude saves, as well as cold resistance 2; this resistance does not stack with cold resistance gained from any other source.

    Restless Wayfarer: You have long led a nomadic life; perhaps because your parents were travelers (whether roaming Varisian caravaneers or travelling merchants who traded far and wide), you belonged to a nomadic tribe, or you ran away from home to discover the world at a young age. Some call it wanderlust, but to you the thought of new places and experiences is truly what makes life worth living, and no region catches your imagination like the windswept wilderness of the North. You are used to getting along in unfamiliar lands and interacting with interesting new people.

    You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (geography) and Knowledge (local) checks, and one of these skills (your choice) is a class skill for you. You can also speak one additional language (this does not count toward your number of languages).

    Vigilante Witch Hunter: You don’t trust witches. They deal with otherworldly beings, consort with beasts, and brew vile poisons in their cauldrons. As a child, perhaps you barely escaped some horrid fate at the hands of an evil witch, or maybe a loved one was stolen from you by a witch’s charms. Perhaps you wanted to be a witch yourself, but the local witch refused to take you on as an apprentice. Whatever the reason, you now hate witches, and have dedicated your life to ferreting them out and exposing their wickedness for all to see. You know that the North is full of winter witches, and should you ever find yourself there, you’ll relish bringing your justice to them as well.

    You gain a +1 trait bonus on Sense Motive checks, and Sense Motive is a class skill for you. In addition, you begin the campaign with 1d4 hex nails.

    Warded against Witchery: Sometime in your youth, you encountered a location, object, or being steeped in the power of evil witchcraft. Whether you were the victim of this force, were a conduit for it, or merely witnessed its effects, the event changed your life. You have tried to put the strange incident behind you and forget it, but nebulous premonitions of danger and eerie feelings of deja vu have dogged your steps ever since. For some inexplicable reason, you feel drawn to the lands of the North, though you fear another encounter with the evil witchcraft that touched you once before. Whether through your purity, the blessing of goodly spirits, an innate determination, or an intuitive and inexplicable familiarity with the ways of black magic, you have acquired a resilience against the power of the dark arts.

    You gain a +1 trait bonus on saving throws against the spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities of evil arcane spellcasters, and a +1 trait bonus on Spellcraft checks to identify spells cast by evil arcane spellcasters.​

  • Throughout the course of the adventure, the PCs find themselves in many likely unfamiliar locations. Because of this, they will find that their social mores often do not fit those held by the NPCs they encounter. Being flexible and able to adapt (or blend into) different cultures would be very helpful in this Adventure Path. Characters who are more interested in being obstinate individuals will likely have a difficult time in this campaign, however, and could become a burden for their fellow adventurers.
  • How should you prepare for the dangers that await you in the Reign of Winter Adventure Path? Just keep the following in mind while creating characters.

    Humble Beginnings: The adventure begins in the village of Heldren, a small village in Taldor just north of the Border Wood near Qadira. The PCs should all be residents of (or recent arrivals to) Heldren, where rumors of strange, unseasonable pockets of wintry weather appearing across Taldor have begun to circulate among the town's gossip mongers. They likely have a reputation around town already, positive or otherwise, as people who can get things done that others can't.

    Frozen Foes: Reign of Winter’s adventures contain a variety of monsters, many of which are native to icy climes. You’ll face animals, fey, and humans at lower levels, then giants and magical beasts. At higher levels, expect evil outsiders, undead, and possibly even a few dragons.

    Ice Magic: Irrisen’s White Witches are masters of icy magic, but your character may be interested in cold magic as well. The winter witch archetype in Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea Magic is perfect for a witch character, as is the winter witch prestige class from Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Paths of Prestige, while an oracle can choose the winter mystery presented on page 26 of Pathfinder Player Companion: People of the North. A druid with the arctic druid archetype or sorcerer with the boreal bloodline from the Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player’s Guide would also be a good fit. Likewise, an inquisitor with the witch hunter archetype from Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Combat or a magus with the hexcrafter archetype from Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Magic would suit many of the campaign’s themes. {{GM NOTE: All of the alternate/prestige classes and features mentioned here can be found on the Pathfinder OGC.}}

    Lands of Winter: Winter is a major theme in the campaign, so you should be prepared to face cold temperatures and harsh conditions. Survival would be a very good skill to have, as would Stealth and Use Magic Device. Characters will also be travelling to new lands during the campaign, so Diplomacy, Linguistics, and Knowledge (local) may be useful in dealing with natives and new surroundings. Being able to survive in cold terrain is a must, but the adventures will also take characters into forest, mountain, and urban environments as well.​
  • This Adventure Path brings the PCs to a number of far-flung places, locations that might very well end up being extremely foreign to most characters. In order to get by when it comes to communicating with natives of these places, it would serve a PC well to invest in the Linguistics skill. Furthermore, early on in the campaign the PCs visit the nation of Irrisen, whose residents don’t generally speak Common, but instead treat the Skald language as their common tongue. Some Irriseni also speak Hallit, and Sylvan and even Aklo may be helpful for communicating with some of the fey natives.

    For some characters, language slots are a precious commodity (especially at the beginning of their careers), but it would be helpful for a party of adventurers in this campaign if at least one member of the group selected Hallit or Skald as one of her starting languages. As the campaign progresses, spellcasters would be wise to select comprehend languages or tongues as spell selections.
    • Everyone says the weather is unseasonably cold for midsummer: it even snowed in the Border Wood. Most suspect magic is involved, and some fear Qadiran agents played a role in it.
    • Old Man Dansby claims that someone keeps stealing from his fields. His farmlies closest to the Border Wood, where half his crops have died from an icy frost and the rest have been carried off.
    • A farmer's son took ill a few days ago after falling through the ice over Wishbone Creek. The boy said he spotted a white stag in the forest, and heard it talking, then tried to follow it.
    • A group of rangers in the Border Wood called the High Sentinels usually keep bandit activity curbed. They're doing a poor job if brigands could attack a well-armed caravan and abduct Lady Argentea.
    • Locals say a hunter named Dryden Kepp claimed he saw a giant white weasel on the High Ridge in the forest. No-one believed him so he went back to trap it and prove them wrong.
    • Two weeks ago, Lady Argentea Malassene traveled past Heldren on her way from Oppara to Zimar to meet her betrothed. Rumuor has it the two didn't get along and Lady Argentea caused a scandal by calling off the engagement and returning home.


    Reign of Winter is an Otherworldly Fantasy adventure path for the Pathfinder RPG System, set primarily in the frozen northern realm of Irrisen. It draws influences from Russian folklore, dark faerie tales (and maybe just a pinch of C. S. Lewis).

    Stuff To Bear In Mind
    • Respect the elements, man. Reign of Winter, surprisingly enough, is set in extremely cold and inhospitable locations at times, requiring a lot of preparation and equipment if you don't want to be making constant FORT saves to not freeze to death.
    • Consider what classes other people are playing when building your own character, and try help create a balanced party. An entire posse of skill-focused mages and rogues are gonna be in serious trouble during close-quarter battles, and a whole mob of heavy-set, brutish fighter-types aren't gonna be much use when attempting to navigate unfamiliar terrain or negotiate with potential allies. Balance is crucial.
    • I really recommend talking with your fellow players and working out backstories and relationships between characters together. Even something as simple as “we travelling companions yes?” can grow and expand into powerful connections that are both great fun to roleplay and extremely good motivators for storylines.
    • The story arc is a little more straight-forward than some Adventure Paths (HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU, SERPENT'S SKULL), but it's still got plenty of room for character flexibility. I think it strikes a good balance.
    • I'll probably be playing around with some of the adventure path, just to keep any would-be munchkins from swatting up on encounters ahead of time.
  • Starting Level: 1

    Ability Points: 20

    Alignments: Please stick to Good/Neutral characters, in the interests of having a party that won't try to murder each other within two sessions. If you really, really just have to play someone with an Evil alignment, PM me and we'll talk about it.

    Carrying Capacity: We'll play without this since it tends to weigh down the game (hurr hurr hurr), just make sure to list all your gear on your sheet. Don't take advantage of this, though, or I'll lower your character head-first into a goblin pit.

    Deities: All Golarian deities.

    Allowed: Archetypes, Alternate Racial Traits, Carrying Capacity, Hero Points, Extra Maneuvers, 2 Traits (or 3 if you take a Drawback).

    Prohibited: 3rd Party Homebrew, being a meta-gaming turd-blossom, being That Guy. And NO WANKY RACES, GODDAMMIT. >:[ (Basically, anything above 15 RP is a no-no)

    Strongly Discouraged: Companions (they slow everything down, so please take their alternatives where you can).

    Hitpoints: Start at the maximum possible for Level 1. When levelling, use the Throw a Dice command from the More Options menu in the bottom right corner of an Iwaku post.

    Experience: You'll level up at key plot points in the adventure. This first adventure will end with you on Level 4.

    Starting Wealth:
    Paladin/Ranger/Fighter/Cavalier - 175gp
    Cleric/Rogue/Inquisitor/Ninja - 140gp
    Barbarian/Bard/Alchemist/Oracle/Witch/Samurai - 105gp
    Druid/Sorcerer/Wizard/Summoner - 70gp
    Monk – 35gp​
  • We're playing over on Roll20, which is a sweet way to simulate the whole tabletop experience online. You'll need to set up an account, which is free so don't panic.

    The time will be set once we've got a decent group gathered. I'll throw up a poll of some kind.

    We'll also be using Iwaku's TeamSpeak server for chatting and so I can yell at you when it's your move on the Turn Order. The server is at:
  • Post a background and overview for your character in this thread. I've provided a simple Pathfinder character sheet in player journals in the Roll20 campaign, which doesn't look too likely to cause everyone's brains to leak out their noses but still handles some stat-monkeying for you. You'll need to join the campaign first before I can assign you a sheet.

    Please also provide an image for your character. I'll be using them to make tokens, because fuck spending money on pretty sprite packs.

  • A Kitsune Oracle, played by Silver.

  • An Oread Monk of the Iron Mountain, played by Cerulean.

  • A Human Druid, played by Arcadia.
  • A Human Barbarian, played by Alan.

  • A Half-Orc Zen Archer, played by Lucius Cypher.
  • A Human Barbarian, played by Butterfly.

  • An Arctic Elf Druid, played by Soulserenity.

  • A Human Bard, played by Koori.
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Childish Grumpino

"...before turning the gun on himself."
Original poster
Tegan Tegan Asmodeus Asmodeus @Lucius Cypher Kooriryu Kooriryu @Arcadia Lumina @Rain of the Night @Closer Cerulean Cerulean (EVEN THOUGH YOU SUCK AND ARE ALREADY PLAYING THIS) @RiverNotch @Aarkom @Miru @Zen @Talon Phoenix @AnyoneElseWhoGivesAFuckAboutThisStuff


So Carrion Crown sadly didn't work out, but with a bit of luck this second attempt at an Adventure Path will have some more success. RoW is a little more of a traditional adventure arc, though its still got some intruige and fun stuff to keep people interested as well as the usual monster murderin'.

I'M PRE-EMPTIVELY SAYING TUESDAY/WEDNESDAY AT AROUND 8/9PM GMT. Speak now your suggestions/alternatives or forever bitch and moan about it later.


Hopeful Monster
So, if this starts at a time Asmo and I can play, I am so down for a little old lady halfling rogue/or investigator.

ASMO! You wanna be my hubby? Or one of my grandchildren who's just there to make sure his gran isn't eaten by a barghest?

*Hits barghest with her handbag*
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The Internet Witch
I might be fucked if it ends up on a Wednesday, or it might not if I don't bother with the entire clusterfuck you're setting up. 83


But does he know about second breakfast?
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I like most. However, I have found I am most comfortable with Fantasy, Sci-fi, Fandom, and Modern.
Oread Monk incoming...


Originally from Irrisen, Cargan has spent a most of his life either in a temple or on the road. One part learning, with two parts society thinking him a strange oddity. His father had given his name to represent where he comes from. That tradition and life mean everything. That greed and lethargy are bane to a worthy bane. It wasn't long before he took his life and threw it at a monk order among the things that helped make him. The Order of the Iron Mountain became his home and his family.

His superiors often found that he was best suited for missions that needed a bit more muscle that he could provide. Wisdom quickly became apparent as he always came back with a desirable result.

Which is why he is being sent to Taldor, to investigate the supernatural winter that seems to be ruining everyone's summer vacation.
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So, if this starts at a time Asmo and I can play, I am so down for a little old lady halfling rogue/or investigator.
You're doing Fargo, aren't you?

I could maybe play a Tengu. Halflings marry Tengu, right? Failing that, something else small and husbandly.

Though it would be a cleric, and probably wear a plague mask. For ye olde lullz.
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Hopeful Monster
Something like Fargo, but I'm gonna be hella old. Like, retiree finally living her dream of adventuring old.

...I could see myself marrying a Tengu. Our kids will be ugly as shit, though.

I think Grumpy said 'No wanky races," in the Cbox, though. We'll have to bless our union through him.


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He'll be busy enough trying to find snow maps in Roll20.



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It said something anti-semitic and ran off.

Okay, I'll be the cleric. Tengu, or gnome if Grumpy can't handle my exotic girth.


Hopeful Monster
To be fair, I don't think Gladys could handle your exotic girth.

...even if it is a cloaca.

I guess marriage is full of all sorts of compromises.

(But really, if you're not feelin' my idea, that's cool)

Childish Grumpino

"...before turning the gun on himself."
Original poster
Your exotic girth will be tolerated, since I guess I can rely on you not to play it retardedly.

*throws Asmo at the Roll20 page*


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*looks at everyone else*

See that? I'm trusted. That means the natural hierarchy of players has begun to establish itself. It will be known implicitly that I am the party leader, and when Grumpy rages about something it will go without saying that I am excluded from his ire. The social dynamics of strategy and encounter resolution will hang upon my approval, and the majority of emotional milestones in the story to come will have my mark upon them.

You will all dance for your Cure spells.

You will dance for my love.


I'll play a Druid. (Who might be able to hold some liquor, might be.)