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G2 The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl (1e)
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G2 The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl (1e)

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Giants have been raiding the lands of men in large bands, with giants of different sorts in these marauding groups. Death and destruction have been laid heavily upon every place these monsters have visited. A party of the bravest and most powerful adventurers has been assembled and given the charge to punish the miscreant giants.

This is the original adventure G2: "The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl." Contained herein are referee notes, background information, maps, and exploration keys for the complete adventure using the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules. This adventure can be used alone or as the second in a series of adventures that includes G1: "Steading of the Hill Giant Chief" and G3: "Hall of the Fire Giant King." 

For characters of levels 9-10.

Product History

G2: "The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl" (1978), by Gary Gygax, is the second D&D adventure from TSR and the second "G" Giants adventure. It was published in July 1978 at Origins '78.

About the Title. A generation of young D&D players probably expected to find a frost giant named Jarl in G2: "The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl" (1978), and were confused to instead find the leader of the frost giants was named Grugnur. Jarl is of course a title for a Norse chieftain.

"Glacial Rift" is also the only one of the "G" adventures that leads off with a definite article ("the").

Origins (I): Off the Cuff. When Gygax started writing about giants, he was thinking only about a hill giant fort. He came up with the idea for a "larger adventure" as he worked and had the "springboards" for the other two Giants adventures (1978) and for the later "D" Descent series (1978) "well in mind" by the time he finished G1: "Steading of the Hill Giant Chief" (1978).

Origins (II): Same 'Ole, Same 'Ole. Otherwise, "Glacial Rift" has the same origin as its predecessor, "Steading". It was part of TSR's first series of adventures and one of its major sources was the "heroic adventuring" of The Incomplete Enchanter (1941) by Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague de Camp. It was run as part of a tournament at Origins '78, then the adventure went on sale immediately following that round of play — on the evening of Saturday, July 15th.

About the Book. Like "Steading", "Glacial Rift" is shockingly short: just 8 pages long!

Adventure Tropes (I): From Dungeons to Caves. Though "Steading" featured a tradition dungeon, "Glacial Rift" is instead full of caverns — which introduced players to the other natural source of dungeon-crawl style adventures. Beyond that, "Glacial Rift" is a very traditional dungeon crawl. Where "Steading" had some possibilities for cunning and guile, "Glacial Rift" is more likely to be a hack-and-slash from front to back.

Adventure Tropes (II): Gygaxian Naturalism. "Glacial Rift" continues to depict another early D&D trope, what James Maliszewski calls "Gygaxian Naturalism".
The entire adventure is set in a frozen terrain, and this is reflected in what's found there. Monsters include not just frost giants, but also winter wolves, white dragons, and the otherwise unknown white puddings. One can imagine an entire winter ecology.

Exploring Greyhawk. "Glacial Rift" is set in the World of Greyhawk, but as with "Steading", you wouldn't really know it from the adventure, which is said to be set "amidst the tallest mountain peaks". Later publications would more precisely place it in the Crystalmist Mountains (hex S5-134).

Monsters of Note. "Glacial Rift" is the big spotlight for frost giants, who are obviously derived from Norse mythology, where they're called the Jotun (or Jötnar). The king of the Norse frost giants, Hyrm, had already appeared in OD&D Supplement IV: Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes (1976).

"Glacial Rift" is also notable for featuring the first dragons in an official D&D adventure — the aforementioned white dragons.

About the Creators. Gary Gygax originally wrote these adventures in the middle of creating AD&D. After finishing Monster Manual (1977) he needed a bit of a break, and so wrote the Giants adventures before continuing on to the Players Handbook (1978).

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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Discussions (2)
Customer avatar
Jeffery B June 06, 2016 8:48 pm UTC
PURCHASER
As of 6/6/2016, there is a new scan of the module in which the maps are much darker and far more readable. They're a bit grainy, but look very usable in comparison to the original scan that was posted for sale.
Customer avatar
Jeffery B May 26, 2016 2:10 am UTC
PURCHASER
Classic module, and I'm glad they're posting the old monochrome versions. However, as others have noted, the maps on the pdf are very faint. Also, anytime italics appear, they are also faint and a bit tough to read. I hope these problems are fixed, as this is one of the iconic adventures of D&D.
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File Last Updated:
June 06, 2016
This title was added to our catalog on May 24, 2016.