What Do I Know About Reviews? The Creed of Auril (Dungeon Masters Guild Product)
Icewind Dale has a special place in my heart, as much because of the CRPGs as any inclusions in novels or stories set in the Forgotten Realms. I love cold, wintery settings, and I love the isolated, “starting over” feeling of the setting. Because of this, Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden definitely snagged my attention, and supplemental material is also going to capture my focus.
What I’m looking at today is the Dungeon Masters Guild product The Creed of Auril. This product is designed to make Auril’s followers more of a factor in Rime of the Frostmaiden. While the goddess herself is a major part of the plot, and actions propitiating her are important to the story, formal priests are not much of a factor.
Articles of the Creed
The Creed of Auril is a twenty-five page product. This includes a cover page and a credits page, with the rest of the pages dedicated to content. The formatting is a single column layout, with various tables and stat blocks that resemble the standard D&D 5e stat block formats. Pages themselves are clear white pages, with DMs Guild resource artwork to illustrate various stat blocks, and clear blue headers throughout.
The product is structured in the following manner:
- Description of Auril, her church, and the local Icewind Dale cult
- Faction and renown rules for the Cult of Auril
- Breakdown of numbers in various regions of Icewind Dale
- Special Abilities granted cultists
- NPC Statblocks
- Activities of the Cult, tying them to events in Rime of the Frostmaiden
- Artifacts, Magic Items, and Spells
Crystalized Plot Points
The product starts with a discussion of the differences between the practice of worshipping Auril in general, versus the specific goals of the Cult of Auril, which is more of a focused branch of the religion. This goes into tenets of the faith, organization, and goals. This means that there are several plot points that exist in Rime of the Icemaiden modified by the presence of the Cult of Auril, providing more context for some events, and expanded encounter suggestions.
In addition to the above, the Cult of Auril is organized as a faction, in a similar manner to some of the larger factions that have been used in Forgotten Realms material and organized play since the beginning of D&D 5e. This includes renown levels, titles, and granted abilities at different tiers of the organization.
The following stat blocks are included in the product:
- Spite of Auril (CR ⅛)
- Tempest of Auril (CR ½)
- Darkhand of Auril (CR 2)
- Coldwind of Auril (CR 2)
- Icebringer of Auril (CR 6)
- Nix Mater (CR 9)
These provide a fairly wide range of mechanical options to model the cultists that will be woven in and out of the narrative of Rime of the Frostmaiden, or for use anywhere you want to insert the Auril’s followers.
One of my favorite parts of this product involves the contextual placement of Cult activity within the adventure. There are notes on activity in each town, as well as local leaders. There are eight points highlighted where locations outside of the town could have cult activity attached to the events at that location. This is effectively about three pages of the product, but depending on how much your player characters find out, this could significantly recontextualize events that are happening in the playthrough of the adventure.
The final section of the product introduces magic items and spells native to the Cult of Auril. Some items and spells are reprinted from other sources, in an effort to collect relevant materials in one convenient place. There are other spells and items included, however, like Freezing Breath, Frozen Repose, Heat Thief, and Reverse Flame that are definitely on brand for the Cult.
Because I’m a Realms nerd, I can’t help but dig into sources used to flesh out organizations. I’m glad that Samuel Dillon, the author, included notes about polytheisitc practice in the Realms, and I was also glad to see the Revelations of the Icedawn mentioned when talking about Auril. The sources cited for this include Legacy of the Crystal Shard, the Dragon Magazine articles Faiths of Faerun: Prayers of the Frostmaiden, Revelations of the Icedawn, and Winter Hall, as well as D&D 5e products referencing Auril and Icewind Dale.
Now it’s time for me to be a complete nerd. I do like some of the titles and connections mentioned in Faiths and Avatars from AD&D 2nd Edition.
|Faiths and Pantheons Titles||Creed of Auril Titles|
|Lord or Lady of the Deep Winter||Icebringer|
|High Hand of Ice||Nix Mater|
Faiths and Avatars also mentions that many followers of Auril only use the more simplified structure of “Hand of Auril” and “Ice Breath.”
Since terminology can change over time, and some of D&D 5e is about streamlining lore, I would love to pick and choose from the lists for something like this:
- Storm Sibling
- Frost Touch
- High Hand of Ice
It’s interesting that Revelations of the Icedawn gets a nod, but Iyraclea, Auril’s Chosen that lives on the Great Glacier, doesn’t get much of a nod, although that’s somewhat understandable given that she’s pretty far removed from Icewind Dale, and her current status is unknown. Still, some contact between Iyraclea and a member of the cult in Icewind Dale wouldn’t be impossible. It’s also interesting that Revelations of the Icedawn is namechecked, and the product mentions “lesser” books transcribed from it. I would have done something similar with the Codicil of White, which makes an appearance in Rime of the Frostmaiden. That said, I’m way too obsessive about little connective details like this.
The Last Storm
If you want more details on Auril’s followers for Rime of the Frostmaiden, the stat blocks, organizational structures, and local entanglements are going to be great to increase your icy content. There is also a wealth of content if you really want to stay on your ice/cold theme with your spellcasters. Just in case you can’t let it go.
The Coming Storm
I appreciate the “cult as faction” details, but unless you are going to play a very different game, zooming the faction out to be more of the standard church of Auril would probably be more widely useful in this case.
Qualified Recommendation–A product with lots of positive aspects, but buyers may want to understand the context of the product and what it contains before moving it ahead of other purchases.
This is a very solid product, but it may be of variable use if you aren’t adding content to Rime of the Frostmaiden, or if you aren’t particularly interested in expanding your ice magic library. That said, solid spellcasting stat blocks are almost always useful.