The second edition of Frostgrave was released last week, and I picked up a pdf copy from DriveThruRPG. The new edition is an update to the first edition rules rather than a complete reworking of the game. Some of the changes are drawn from first edition supplements such as the rules updates in Maze of Malcor and the expanded rules for potions from Dark Alchemy. Other changes are drawn from concepts that were in Ghost Archipelago such as dividing soldiers into normal soldiers and specialists. In addition to those, there were updates to the spell lists, some cleaned up creature rules, rebalanced soldier stats, and more. Altogether, I think this is a solid update to the game and I’m looking forward to playing a new campaign with the new edition.
Spell List Update
Across the various schools of magic, there are several changes to the available spells. Illusionists lose Monstrous Form and gain Blink. Necromancers lose Reveal Death and gain Animate Skull. Sigilists lose Create Grimoire and gain Bridge. Soothsayers adjust and rename Reveal Invisible (becomes True Sight) and Will Power (becomes Mind Lock), and they lose Forget Spell to gain Suggestion. Thaumaturges fold Restore Life into Miraculous Cure and then gain Destroy Undead. In addition to those replaced spells, there are a lot of reworked spells to help with overall balance of the lists. For example, Awareness is now cast before the game and gives a more meaningful bonus to initiative rolls.
The changes to soldiers will have a fairly big effect on the game. Thieves and thugs are now free to recruit, so warbands should always be filled out with a full complement of 8 soldiers. The maximum of 4 specialists in a warband meanwhile puts a cap on warband recruiting as the game progresses since any given warband will have at most half its number as the more elite types of soldiers. Soldier stat lines were also adjusted a bit for balance. For example, Treasure Hunters and Archers have a lower Fight now to let other soldier types shine more.
Double the Scenarios
The new edition includes updated versions of the ten scenarios from the first edition and adds ten entirely new scenarios. On my first impression, the new scenarios seem a little more complex then the original ten. The ten new scenarios are The Orb, The Ice Storm, The Summoning Bell, The Right Hand and the Left Hand, The Treasure Phantasmal, The Mine Cart, The Lock Box, The Steam Vents, The Swirling Mist, and The Mine Field. This gives a huge amount of variety in the rulebook. Another nice touch in this section is that each scenario has a requirements list that makes it easy to know if the scenario requires any particular terrain or creatures.
One of the best aspects of the new edition is that it maintains compatibility with all of the first edition supplements. The rulebook includes an appendix that classifies each soldier type from the supplement as either a standard soldier or a specialist. The appendix also gives a high level summary on using each supplement with the new edition.
A New Campaign
My wife and I have played a short campaign with the first edition over the past few months, and we’ll be starting a fresh campaign with the new edition. In our first campaign, I played a Thaumaturge and my wife played a Soothsayer. We’ll be playing entirely new warbands for the new campaign. My wife has decided to play an Illusionist. Meanwhile, I’m trying to decide between four different ideas: an Elementalist, an Illusionist, a Necromancer, or a Witch. Since I’m not sure which one I’ll pick, I’ve gone ahead and started building miniatures for them all.