Free Midwinter Adventure: Winter’s Flame
Wizards of the Coast have just released Winter’s Flame, a free winter holiday adventure, written by Ryan Wheaton for The D&D Adventurers League. It’s designed for players of levels one through four.
Having read over it today I found myself a bit unimpressed. My immediate reaction was that it didn’t seem to have much substance, and didn’t seem very adventurey. The majority of the adventure involves participating in a Midwinter festival in the Chultan city of Port Nyanzaru. There is an interruption that threatens to ruin everyone’s Midwinter, but even this threat seems very low stakes. If I ran this adventure with my regular group I’m not sure it would be enough to keep them interested.
When I noticed myself thinking like this I was kind of surprised. I’m normally pretty critical of people (especially gamers) who complain about things that are free, or things that they’re just not into. My normal reasoning is that not every product (or free gift, as in this case) is designed with every kind of gamer in mind. People play games for a wide range of different reasons. I need to remind myself that that kind of D&D adventure I want to be playing isn’t what every player or every table wants. There are probably groups who would like to play a lighthearted session like this during the holiday break, who would get really immersed in exploring the festival. (I also have to admit that the threat to the festival does turn out to be pretty heart-warming!)
If I was going to use this little adventure at my table, my guess is that it would be as a supplement to the Tomb of Annihilation hardcover book, which starts in Port Nyanzaru and explores the land of Chult. This episode could provide a good light-hearted break between sessions in the harrowing, zombie-infested jungles.
The festival also involves a lot of games. There are ten all up, testing different abilities. I expect lot of them would be great opportunities for roleplaying. I’m running Out of the Abyss with my table at the moment and I’m thinking about how I could incorporate some of these games into an Underdark festival.