5E Adventure Review: The Claw of Winter

The Claw of Winter is an adventure for 8th-level characters written by John Prichard. It is set in the kingdom of Cormyr in the Forgotten Realms. The presentation of the adventure draws very heavily that of the D&D Adventurers League adventures, even to having a similar format of rewards, monster statistics and encounters. It even includes downtime days and renown, although this is not an official DDAL adventure.

The form of the adventure, which leans heavily towards role-playing and investigation, would also be familiar to those who have played D&D Adventurers League scenarios. The basic idea of the adventure, which sees the adventurers investigate a murder in a small village near to a monastery, is excellent, and the story includes a number of very good plot twists. One of my contentions about writing good investigations is that you need to have a number of overlapping stories, enough to provide entertaining diversions and false paths for the players to investigate while tracking down the true solution. The Claw of Winter manages to provide those stories.

That said, the adventure still has a number of significant flaws, primarily in the early and middle stages of the investigation. The writing is often rough, and requires more polishing. At one point, the text draws attention to a key suspect leaving a tavern, but fails to explain what’s happening. You can work it out from a later encounter, but it’s something that can confuse a DM running the adventure.

The adventure makes use of a few interesting pieces of Realmslore, which I was happy to see, and includes two conversions of monsters that haven’t appeared before. I was very happy to see a catoblepas presented here; it is nicely done, although perhaps not quite as deadly as it was in the early editions of AD&D.

The formatting of the adventure is quite basic, but mostly clear. It suffers from a poor choice of font sizes; the boxed text, in particular, looks miniscule compared to the regular text. The headings likewise prove a poor fit for the main font; it’s likely the main text was increased in size without the remainder of the text styles being updated to match.

Ultimately, the realisation of The Claw of Winter doesn’t quite live up to the quality of its ideas. Despite the problems with its presentation, you should be able to untangle the strands and use it to present an entertaining adventure, but you’ll probably have to do a bit of work to clean it up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s