Winterheart is the second adventure to be produced as part of EN5ider, a patreon-backed magazine produced by EN Publishing. The adventure is designed for a party of 4th-level characters, and is written by Esper.
The adventure takes inspiration from the film Frozen and sets the party the challenge of rescuing a kidnapped girl with the mystical power to unleash winter on the land. At that point it pretty much diverges from the plot of Frozen, and that’s fine.
The early part of the adventure is devoted to working out what’s going on after the PCs receive a vision of the young girl in danger. The PCs get to chat to two agents of opposing factions, both whom wish the party to neutralise the other, before they eventually get to meet someone who knows what is going on. Then, while armies of the two factions meet, the players get to sneak into a keep to rescue the girl.
Honestly, I can’t really recommend this adventure. It’s a mess, with a lot of half-baked ideas. It feels horribly rushed and clunky. The fact that the kidnapped girl has frost powers has no relation to the plot; it does nothing. The motivations of the characters are dreadful – yes, if the love of my life has been killed, I kidnap her innocent sister and keep her captive – and the encounters don’t really feel that significant. In an adventure this short, every encounter needs to advance the plot, not distract you from it! The structure makes it feel like there’s a big story going on… which the players aren’t involved in.
At only twelve pages long, it’s not a big adventure, and unfortunately it pales in comparison to The Veiled Society; that adventure was only four pages longer and did a lot more with two duelling families. More action and investigation, in particular.
The formatting of the adventure isn’t good. Two uneven columns are already problematic, but the font is also very large, making me think of TSR during its worst days. There are also some sloppy bits of text placement (one that causes an orphan!), and the stat blocks are HUGE.
There are some nice ideas in Winterheart, but it feels like it’s about a quarter of the adventure it could be.