Frost Giant Pirates of the Icy Heart details what I can only explain as one of the most unique pirate vessels I have ever come across. Part of the Tribes series, this pdf takes on the crew of the Icy Heart, a freaking glacier used by a crew of frost giants and a dragon (and her brood) as a pirate vessel. Yes, I said glacier...pirate vessel...yep...pretty freaking epic, no? Trust me, the artwork depicting this is pretty cool. Weighing in with 24 pages (6 lost to covers, checklist, OGL, intro and such), this pdf is fully bookmarked with a linked TOC...which always makes me happy.
The crew of this lovely little party killer (did I mention you should only unleash this on a high level play group lol?) consist of Flashfreeze, a white dragon, and her brood of four. Flashfreeze's “pet”Lozondur, half dragon remorhaz...uh huh...quit your drooling, and yes, stat wise, he really is that insanely cool...could you imagine the miniature? Because I can, and really really want one...isn't Christmas coming Creighton? Lol
So, back to the crew, momentary Lozondur distraction there...Jarl Icehammer, an antipaladin with a disposition that not even a villain could love captains the frost giant crew, and rules them through fear, pure and simple. He has his goals and plans, the dragon has her's, heck even the dragon's brood have their's...so how do they all cooperate on this vessel long enough to be a threat in the first place? Simple, the woman who brought them all together, Lady Antonia Krath. A spoiled aristocrat who was married off by her parents into a life she didn't want, Antonia sought a method of insuring the wealth of her new husband that he might be able to afford her tastes in life...the rest as they say is history.
A vessel of legend, this is not the type of thing you drop in unannounced and expect a playgroup to be able to handle in a one off session. Not only has the crew been well designed with the thought of them being a challenge to any group, but the very vessel itself presents environmental challenges to overcome so that one may even attempt to challenge the crew in the first place. Easily the perfect thing to build towards in a nautical campaign, letting word spread from coastal town to coastal town, letting the legend grow in the wake of destruction left by this vessel. Making your players understand the danger of finding themselves caught within the path of the Icy Heart long before they ever lay eyes upon it.
I love source material of this nature, I really do. Whether you take it as a whole, dropping it into a campaign world as it is, or mine it for pieces, there is a lot here to work with. Fully developed NPCs with motivations, personalities and a legitimate reason to be there. My only complaint in regards to this pdf is that we get no internal maps of the Icy Heart, which I think is a real shame, as it is not laid out entirely as a traditional ship by the descriptive text.
Final thoughts, a few minor grammatical mishaps, but nothing major. A great design for a truly memorable pirate crew (love the idea that the giants have taken to dressing as they think pirates dress), and probably one of the most unique vessels I've encountered in awhile. But, a lack of visuals of the ships interior, or maps to use since it is treated as terrain does bring down my rating...so I am settling with a 4 star rating for this module