5E Mini-Dungeon: Kaltenheim (5e)
This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Unlike most 5E Mini-Dungeons, this one does not come with VTT-maps or player-friendly iterations, which is a bit of a bummer.
Since this product line’s goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!
This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.
In the frigid north, rumors abound that a massive raider has begun striking at nomads wandering the snowline: Dubbed Koloss and accompanied by an oni, this boogeyman has recently called an NPC of importance – and now it’s time to put him in his place for once and for all. The trail leads to a complex of frigid, natural caves, which contain not only multiple, powerful yetis (reskinned hill giants) and subarctic shriekers acting as a natural alert-system.
More important for the module, the little pdf sports intriguing terrain features beyond the shriekers and they serve another function: The dread Koloss turns out to be an frost giant accompanied by his aforementioned oni buddy and the PCs will be challenged by these adversaries…but if they manage to out-stealth them, they may actually catch them unaware! Have I mentioned the elemental nodes associated with arctic water?
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches apart from a minor typo. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art – kudos!
Jonathan Ely’s Kaltenheim has a very distinct flavor that makes it unique and interesting – it rewards capable PCs and sports a cool (pardon the pun) boss.
At the same time, the skull and crossbones icon on the map, usually denoting traps, isn’t clearly aligned with what’s supposed to be there – I assume they pertain to the shriekers, but are also used for the trap that needs to be defused to reach the final room. Using two different icons would have helped make this slightly more user-friendly. Ultimately, this is a good, if not perfect, but certainly fun and immersive dungeon. The conversion by Kyle Crider did a relatively smart thing and uses reskins and nice alternate stand-ins – while I consider PFRPG’s bosses to be cooler (oni + two-headed winterwolf), the reskins used here are nice. All in all, a solid module, well worth 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.
You can get this cool (haha!) mini-module here on OBS!