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G2: The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Foes in the Frost rss

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Merric Blackman
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Ramping up my reviewing.
Happily playing games for many, many years.
Compared to the other two parts of the Giants series, The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl suffers. It manages to be deadly - occasionally in a somewhat arbitrary manner - and consists mostly of one combat after another. Of the 51 encounter areas, fully 35 contain monsters of one sort or another, of which only one gives the possibility of proper role-playing and negotiation. There's nothing as interesting as Obmi in G3, nor even the slave orcs in G1.

G2 does see the first glimpse of dragons in an official D&D module - two mated white dragons - and woe betide the party that stumbles into their lair unprepared! We also get a ring of wishes, but that is guarded by another fearsome monster.

There are one or two relics of the original D&D rules included, such as the sword of giant slaying, which has an alignment without special intelligence. This was legal in original D&D, but in AD&D, only swords with intelligence and ego had alignments. Given this adventure was released in 1978, with the AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide still a year away, it's not surprising to see such errors. (More will crop up in the other early AD&D adventures).

More than anything, G2 is defined by its environment: the icy caverns of the frost giants. This gives rise to some rather deadly mechanics: a 1 in 6 chance of each character slipping on the ledges, which leads to almost-certain death unless the party is roped together (and if they are, there's still a fair chance the entire party will plummet together to their doom). A misty cavern gives a 2 in 6 chance of slipping, dropping held items, and then a 1 in 4 chance of those items disappearing forever down a crack...

Although the environment is superbly evoked, with all the detail that Gary Gygax could muster, overall I find the adventure just a bit too capricious. There's good material in here, but overall it doesn't inspire as much as G1 or G3.
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