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A05: Winterflower $6.99 $5.99
Average Rating:4.0 / 5
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A05: Winterflower
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A05: Winterflower
Publisher: AAW Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/31/2012 07:19:00
This is a rather strange adventure, as there are three completely separate paths that the party can take - indeed, it's almost three separate adventures, and time constraints are such that they can probably only manage one, maybe two if they're quick about it, in time.

The situation is quite simple. The village of Rybalka, that has been serving as the base for all the adventures so far (assuming, that is, that you have been using Adventureaweek's campaign world, recommended given the online support available if you subscribe) holds an annual festival, the Winter Flower Festival. This celebrates a rare flower that grows high in the mountains, but has also become a traditional time for young gentlemen to press their suit with local ladies - the custom being to present the lady of choice with some rare and costly gift.

Now, this year a particularly beautiful young lady has just come of age and plenty of young men are eyeing her up and wondering how to win her favour. Three of them approach the party in order to seek their aid in obtaining suitable gifts - hence the choice before them, there isn't time to manage all three quests before the Festival starts!The three young men are quite different - and nicely-developed - individuals, and this may influence the party's choice as to whom they will aid. Only one asks for support as he collects the item he's chosen, the other two offer to pay the characters to fetch their items for them.

Each quest should prove quite a challenge, and all present varying opportunities for thought as well as combat skills. One task involves retrieving treasure from a sunken ship, one involves negotiating with local dwarf miners for a gem and the third is a quest high into the mountains to retrieve a Winter Flower itself! This last is a feat that has only been done once in the past decade, and will bring great honour to whoever manages it... never mind a maiden's hand!

As we've come to expect, each quest is laid out clearly with information placed at the GM's fingertips to facilitate easy running of whichever one the characters choose to undertake. The introduction could do with a thorough proof-read, but the rest of the text is fairly error-free. There are also additional suggestions for embedding events more closely into the party's own story, if they have been involved in earlier adventures...

But there's a gaping plot hole that is never addressed. What if one (or more) of the characters fancies that beautiful young lady for himself? Or indeed, having heard about the Winter Flower, what group of adventurers out to make a name for themselves will not at least consider going to find it to gain the renown? I suggest you decide how to accommodate these options before you run the adventure, because if I think of them pretty much as soon as I've read the synopsis, so will plenty of players when they are presented with the situation.

That aside, the three quests should provide for some solid adventuring fun, and those not completed in time for the Festival may perhaps be slotted in later, certainly the wreck-exploring one. Good solid material firmly rooted in a setting that I'm beginning to be quite fond of.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
A05: Winterflower
Publisher: AAW Games
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/30/2012 04:04:31
This pdf is 24 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving 21 pages of content for this adventure, so let's take a look!

This being an adventure review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion!

Still here? All right! The annual Winterflower Dance and Festival is upon Rybalka and emotions and hormons run high: The beautiful maiden Gwendolyn has many a suitor, and three men, Nicoli Vrodle, Alem Dulgra and Vladimir Pelchonal vie for her hand with increasingly heroic quests - which, of course, the PCs can assist. Whether they assist one, two or all of the quests, they're in for a challenge: Nicoli wants them to acquire a broach from a capsized Vikmordere ship, which is unfortunately near the location of the last adventure, "Forest for the Trees" - depending on the outcome, the PCs may have an interesting first look at the consequences of their actions as they make their way to a stranded ship. The PCs may meet a scouting party of Vikmordere on the way and when they reach the ship (with its beautiful map, unfortunately with numbers), they will have to brave the undead that now inhabit the frozen shipwreck. They might even salvage a cannon from the ship - IF they succeed in getting its massive bulk back to Rybalka, that is.

Unfortunately, poor Nicoli's advances fall on deaf ears and Alem is next: Quite popular and wealthy, this unscrupulous man deals in illicit narcotics and want to secure a rare dwarven gem, Alexandrite, to effectively buy Gwendolyn's heart. He might also prove to be a way for the PCs to get back to good graces with Rybalka after choosing the "Path of the Druid" in "Forest for the Trees". In order to reach the entry to the secret subterranean dwarven holds, the PCs will have to brave kobold traps and succeed at a kind of sliding puzzle (WITH a hint, this time), which comes with actual ways to find the solution without brute-forcing it - GREAT! In order to get the gem, though, the PCs will first have to get some cave-moss from a grick-infested cave. Once this task is complete as well, they may return to Rybalka, only to realize that Alem might not be a good choice for Gwendolyn - he might even be harassing her.

The strikingly handsome Vladimir has perhaps the most romantic of the three ideas - he wants to bring the Winterflower to Gwendolyn to ask for her heart - reminiscent of the tradition in the alps to bring the Edelweiß to one's beloved, I did consider this idea in particular to be awesome. Especially with the map and location: The flower only grows on the mountain known as "Solitary Giant", a huge thing of ice and basalt, circled by a vast snow roc. To make matters worse, the weather is taking a turn for the worse as well. Climbing the solitary giant will have the PCs brave potential avalanches and other obstacles to have an awesome climax: Fending off against the snow roc while being tied to the wall. the creature is not overtly hostile and easily confused and the objective is not victory, but survival. Hopefully, the PCs can keep brave Vladimir alive.

Upon their return, though, Gwendolyn may spurn Vladimir as well to follow her own choice and heart unless the PCs intervene on behalf of the brave man. Whether or not for the better, the PCs have helped a romance by showing what can and cannot be achieved by bravery, money and suaveness and thus ends the adventure and concludes the festival. Which I would have loved to see being described in the module, but oh well.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, though not perfect - I did notice some minor glitches, though not many or glitches that impeded my understanding or enjoyment of the text. Layout adheres to Adventureaweek.com's 2-column standard with its colored background. No printer-friendly version is included in the deal, though herolab-files are. The cartography, as I've come to expect from adventureaweek.com, is stellar, though I'd love for player-friendly maps sans the numbers etc. or a similar file of collated handouts as e.g. Run Amok Games provides. The pdf comes with extensive bookmarks. Of all the adventures in and around Rybalka I've read so far, Winterflower is perhaps the most unconventional. A sense of personal involvement can be just as enticing as the promise of epic loot and the module provides an intriguing backdrop and interesting motivations for the players. The climactic climbing of a mountain is one of the coolest environmental showdowns I've read in any PFRPG adventure and feels truly unique. I do have some complaints, though: In direct comparison to other modules by adventureaweek.com and other publishers, "Winterflower" is a bit on the short side for the price - TPK Games' "Ship of Fools", for example, provides about twice the content and multiple full-color maps for the same price. Additionally, the festival that is an integral component of the module's background gets no description or the like. Its rites and dances could have made for a cool end and a way to convey more of the unique cultures and customs of the setting/settlement. It is due to these two gripes, especially the bang-for-buck-ratio, that I'll settle for a final verdict of 4 stars - a bit on the expensive, but unconventional and rather cool side. For future modules, I'd love to see a bit more content/maps etc.

EDIT: New verdict - 4.5 stars, as the price was reduced to $5.00.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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