Adventure Hook: Snow Storm

A plot hook for 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons but adaptable to other systems.

By Mark-Alexander Cross

At time of writing the snow is really coming down here in the UK but it gave me an idea for a battle situation in the Forgotten Realms setting of the Icewind Dale.

Players: 3-6  Level: Adjustable  Goal: Combat

Your starting location is the town of Bryn Shander at the Kelvin’s Comfort tavern, placed a few months after the events of Storm King’s Thunder (for those who love their lore like me) and the owner Ogden Flamebeard has a problem.

Read this aloud to your players:

“After being served some of the famous Flamebeard’s Firebrandy, Ogden Flamebeard himself approaches you in his tavern and the whole of Kelvin’s Comfort goes silent as he walks up with sheer anger in his eyes.

‘Oi you lot!’ He booms in urgency; ‘My delivery is bloody well late! I need it here, and I need it now or else no more firebrandy for anyone.’

The entire tavern falls silent with looks of horror at the thought of losing the firebrandy as Ogden continues.

 ‘Now let me be blunt; I know you’re adventurers and my wagon should be along the south road. 50 gold each for the safe return of my delivery and free drinks to you all for a ten-day!’

Winter Wonder-where-the-hells-is-this-wagon-land

This is the usual battle setup of the wagon being ambushed along the road so set out the encounter to suit the level of your party. I recommend the random encounter table in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything for arctic settings and turn the Icewind Dale itself into an alternating battleground.

Setup the battlefield as you see fit but at the start of every round of combat, roll a d8 and put into action the result:

  1. A blast of arctic wind blows across the battlefield that even chills through the warmest of clothing. All participants must make a DC 12 CON check or suffer 1 point of exhaustion.
  2. Nothing happens on this round.
  3. Snow begins to heavily fall on the battlefield, causing disadvantage to perception checks and advantage on stealth rolls (usual rules of stealth still apply).
  4. The characters and enemies hear a giant roar in the distance; whether or not this is an actual beast or tactic to scare your players is down to you.
  5. Nothing happens on this round.
  6. The ground begins to freeze as the temperature drops making the area difficult terrain or a DC 12 DEX check to move at normal speed, falling prone on a fail.
  7. Roll an additional d4 for the number of Frost Giants that come into view, again to use as scare tactic or to legit bring them into the fight.
  8. A massive snow storm begins dropping the temperature, freezing the ground obscuring view with the snow. The effects of rolls 1, 3 and 6 come into effect all at once.

How many times you roll on the table is up to you but remember to scale and balance your encounter. The purpose is to take a basic adventure and put an unexpected spin on it, keeping your players and yourself on your toes to hopefully create an exciting combat encounter.

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