Rime Wraith

Active only during the deepest nights of the winter, the Rime Wraiths are malevolent insubstantial beings that feed on the life of living creatures. The appear as nothing more than a low heavy fog with sparkling particles of ice suspended within them. They hunt only at night and during the worst winter blizzards, hiding underground inside the frost hardened soil itself during clear and sunny days. They are migratory predators, moving south with the spreading chill of winter and retreating north to rest within the permafrost through the hot months of the year.

A Rime Wraith will flow up around its victim and drain the life right out of them. They freeze solid , and the surfaces around them become covered in a swirling patterns of frost crystals, and the victims do not thaw completely until all of the frost and snow of the winter has fled the oncomming spring. Then they melt away into an organic sludge, nothing maintaining the solidity of their forms.. A Rime Wraith can enter buildings at will though a lit fire in a stove or or hearth produces enough heat to ward them away, as can a candle or a torch in a much smaller area. Only non-living heat sources seem to harm Rime Wraiths. Isolated Cottages have been found where the owners accidentally let the fire burn out over night and a rime wraith flowed in through chinks in the walls, freezing the inhabitants solid until well after the last frost had passed.

Rime Wraiths are not, as the name implies, undead, but fey creatures of deepest winter and thus bound by the same weaknesses as the fey, if you can find ways to apply them to a non-physical being. The only reliable way to destroy them is with fire, magical or otherwise and desperate hunters have been known to use prey staked out in the center of prepared firewood, or a well sealed abandoned hut that is then put to the torch to destroy a sorrow of Rime Wraiths.


Rime Wraiths are a part of the Winter Is Coming RPG Blog Festival organized by Wombat's Gaming Den of Iniquity


Dungeoneering Environments

I’m running a game for the first time in more than 4 years now, and that has me thinking about some aspects of gaming that slipped my mind while I was doing this purely theoretically. The biggest is the environment surrounding your dungeons. Specifically how you can manage the environment to get a bunch of excited gamers to focus in on the game itself. I’m running a pathfinder/fate mash up at the moment, so visual representations of where the players are are pretty important. What I’ve done is I’ve set up a large table with a couple of extra leaves so that we have adequate table space. I’ve got solid chairs (which I just bought cushions for. They aren’t bad without them, but the cushions should make them more comfortable for those of me who aren’t, shall we say, skinny. I’m the only stereotypically overweight gamer in the group. The only other person who might weigh 14 stone in the group is quite a bit taller than I am.) So we have chairs that are reasonably comfortable but not so comfortable that people are lounging and falling asleep. I’m not quite back to the place where I am comfortable enough with my dming that having the party scattered across the living room on recliners and couches doesn’t seem like a recipe for disaster. Also, that mostly works better with games that don’t use a play mat. I’ve got one large table, though I am running into the limits of the table’s size already… I sort of want one of those multi-thousand dollar gaming tables designed to organize your play space while still being a good place to game, but my apartment is small enough as is. We don’t have cable, and I have no idea how to turn on the tv. (I could figure it out, but the need for tv has been weak in me for years) I’ve got all sorts of interesting diversions around the room, but they are organized in such a manner that they are visually interesting without being particularly inviting for the person who wants to pick them up (ferex, my wall of board games is just hard enough to access that you have to be intending to play a game to take it down.) I’ve got adequate lighting, though I would like one more very bright lamp in the room in general. And I am slowly developing a side table to put plates of food on. The table is big enough to eat on or to game on, but it really isn’t big enough to eat on and game on and serve food on. That is definitely one issue, make sure you feed your players. Not having a blood sugar crash in the middle of your expository text in the middle of the adventure means that people will be able to pay more attention and they won’t be as likely to wander off mentally while you are giving them the clues their characters will need to survive their attempt to kill the evil overlord. Also, make sure you eat too. As the gm that is essential.
One thing I’d love to try, but that I don’t think would work with this group and this game system is a long low coffee table and a bunch of sumo chairs and pillows. I suspect that it would become giggle o’clock even faster than it does now. With my current group, I have something I call “Giggle o’clock” It is when 2 of my players start looking at each other and giggling in unison. If it goes on for more than about 30 seconds, I know that it is giggle o’clock and I need to wrap up soon because it is late enough that everyone’s attention is about to unravel. You should absolutely try to learn your own party’s signs of these things.

Tactica Talarius 2ma of ?

This next one is a bit less cut and dry than the three Fs. Initiative control is a reasonably powerful tool in your kit. Explicitly, you want your opponents spread out among a wide array of initiatives. In modern warfare, weapons have the ability to strike a target from such a distance that their transit times can be measured in tens of seconds. A modern military may attack a target with weapons stationed hundreds of miles away from each other, and they practice a doctrine called time on target. Different weapons platforms will fire at different times in order to hit a target concurrently. It turns out that massive damage all at once is more effective than spreading that damage out over time. Now given that your party is often going to be outnumbered by their opponents, it makes sense to do two things: cluster the party’s initiatives by delaying and holding actions, and getting your opponents’ actions as broken up as possible. Now there are shades of grey here. Obviously, if the party all acts on the same initiative, then every opponent gets to act before any party member gets to act again, but there is a difference between acting concurrently and acting one after another all in a row. If your DM uses group initiatives for monsters try to discourage that. It is very easy to subconsciously have every initiative group of opponents act in the same manner and use the same targeting  priorities, whereas if the DM is treating all of the initiatives separately, he has to consciously choose to apply concentrated fire on one character at a time. It isn’t a huge difference, but it is one that matters. (also splitting initiatives forces buffers and healers to think ahead. If everyone acts at once , the orc shaman can cast bull’s strength right as the barbarian is plowing into your line, where as with individual initiatives, your opponents must strategize.