Thin Ice: Frost Adventure Mode

Picking back up with the Frost Adventure, my party had made it through the initial stages of the gameplay and successfully broken the siege at the two towns in the Shivering Woods. My biggest concern at this point was finding some way to make it through the gauntlet of battles in the final dungeon and defeat the eventual endgame boss. This would be a trivial task if I could manage to turn up enough healing items, since I had all the time in the world to grind up my party with additional levels, gold, and equipment. However, the challenge posed by Frost Adventure mode is to deny the player access to the normal healing resources, or at least it was the case on this playthrough. I hadn't run into any problems when I previously did Frost Adventure games, and I wasn't sure if the disappearance of Godsbeard herbs was due to terrible luck or a quirk of Master difficulty. I had been saving them all game long and still had a mere four of them in inventory. Regardless, I continued to soldier onwards at the big picture task of making my party stronger while avoiding the use of any consumable resources unless absolutely necessary.

I decided that I would explore the islands in the Frigid Sea next since my party found itself drawn out to the western edge of the map. The town of Saxahvall was conveniently located in the middle of these islands, south of the main continent and west of Icy Hollow where I had spent so much time already. I discovered another Fountain of Life on one of the islands and pulled the same trick as before, using Ermine and two points of Focus to guarantee three total party lives. This had me feeling a lot safer, with the ability to lose someone in a battle and still have some leeway on extra lives. Then I stumbled upon another Sanctuary while exploring through the isles, this time the Sanctuary of Health. It was a good fit for Frost since she had the lowest Vitality in the group. Don't be fooled by her health total in the picture above, that's much higher than normal due to wearing the Deimos Skull helmet with +15 max HP on it. The scourge's hat along with that Sanctum combined to make Frost the character with the largest health pool in the party, up to 98 HP after devoting to the Sanctum. Perhaps most importantly, now everyone was protected from a deathblow.

After clearing out the islands (with several returns to Saxahvall along the way), I decided to explore more of the main continent in the last region that I hadn't visited yet, the Frozen Expanse. This is the most inhospitable part of the Frost Adventure map, with each turn ended outside costing a character 5 HP of cold damage. Even with Level 6 characters, this was an area where I was forced to tread carefully. The best way to explore the Frozen Expanse was to operate along the coastline with the boat, and it was in the process of doing that exploring that I found the Silver Hero statue. These Stone Hero statues are always scattered about in every game mode, and they will normally provide experience points and a full restoration of Focus for whoever tributes them. (I often use the Stone Heroes to catch up characters who are lagging on XP to the rest of the party.) The metallic heroes are a bit different; they have to be unlocked in the Lore store from playing FTK repeatedly and will not be available until this requirement is met. Once you've purchased them, one Stone Hero will be replaced by the the Bronze/Silver/Gold Hero Statues in each game. The Bronze Hero grants additional XP to your whole party, and this Silver Hero provides XP to the whole party along with +3 max HP to everyone. It's quite nice to have and I enjoy whenever I can find this statue. There's a Gold Hero as well that I haven't unlocked yet which grants +1 max Focus to the whole party, which is simply enormous as a benefit. Having an extra point of Focus on everyone from the start of the game would be game-changing. The requirement is to tribute a certain number of Stone Heroes (it's 35 for the Gold Hero) so this is something that will unlock eventually with enough playing time.

FTK also unlocks more powerful versions of the Sanctums after repeated playthroughs, which appear in the Lore store after devoting to each particular Sanctum type eight times. These upgraded Grand Sanctums have additional powerful benefits; for example, the Sanctum of Wealth upgrades to also include Steal immunity for the bearer. That's really awesome as it lets the person carrying the gold avoid worrying about having it stolen away by enemy thieves. I actually unlocked the upgrade for the Sanctum of Wealth on this very playthrough, although of course it wouldn't go into effect until my next game. The Sanctum of Shadow also gets vastly better from its upgrade, improving from +5 evade (which is nice but not great) by also adding +5 Speed. Yes please! The addition of the metallic heroes and the upgraded Sanctums are some of the few ways that FTK gets a little bit easier with repeated playthroughs. It still remains a rougelike game in most every way, but there are a few small things that improve over time via the Lore store.

I continued further west along the coastline of the Frozen Expanse and found Lucky's Vault, the home of Fergus the Mad. This is another scourge and fortunately it was the next one up on the timeline. I was able to ward off the scourge ahead of time by entering the haunt and confronting the villain. While active, Fergus the Mad will randomly steal gold and items that drop as loot following battles. I've seen some particularly choice items get stolen on a Livestream that I was watching, and once they're gone it's impossible to get them back, as they simply vanish into the ether. When it comes to combatting Fergus, he essentially functions as a stronger version of one of the imps in this game. Fergus has the evasion property which means that he will dodge any non-perfect attack roll, and he will often attempt to steal your gold and then escape from combat. The trick to beating Fergus is to spend heavily on Focus to ensure that he gets hit, as the evil leprechaun is fragile and dies quickly when he's unable to dodge. I was able to down him in a single rotation through the party's turn order thanks to Focus use and some decent dice results. The artifact that he drops, Lucky's Hat, is one of the relatively few items with Steal immunity on it. I considered having Ragnar put it on but decided that I valued his current helmet with its Speed boost a little bit more.

Earlier I had used another Vision Scroll to reveal what was located in the middle of the Frozen Expanse. It failed to find either of the towns located in the region, and eventually I realized that both Manavik and Draganholt were situated along the western edge of the map. Now it was nice to have one town located here, with Manavik easily reachable by sea, but having both of the towns so close to one another was a rather unfortunate result. This left the rest of the Frozen Expanse a vast wilderness with no places to rest and recover. The whole northeastern portion of this region was virtually inaccessible, with no way to travel through it short of using a Tinder Pouch somewhere along the way to make camp. In fact, an earlier scourge (Disciple) had triggered in this part of the map and I'd been completely unable to reach it as yet. Fortunately Disciple is the single least dangerous scourge in the game, causing black clouds to appear on the map screen and nothing else. It doesn't even rise to the level of annoying and I could safely ignore the scourge for the time being.

Instead, I concentrated on breaking the siege of the two towns next. This works the same way as the siege of the two towns in the Shivering Woods earlier, with a succession of three battles that must be overcome one after another before the town can be used. I set up a Tinder Pouch outside Manavik and prepared to face the assaulting monsters:

The two towns under siege in the Frozen Expanse are defended by higher level enemies, most of them around Level 5. I had deliberately waited to take on these fights until my characters were stronger, and they had little trouble cutting a path through the Snow Beasts that stood outside the two towns. The siege was broken at both of them without any serious danger, with my party leveling up in the process. I found an improved Mage Robe for Frost in the process that managed to get her Intelligence up to 85 after a long time sitting around 80. The bad news was a lack of any new healing items for sale in either village. No Godsbeard herbs to be purchased anywhere. That was going to cause real problems as I had now visited every town on the map and Icy Hollow had been the only place where they were available. (Herbs are available in sets of three for purchase in For The King; you can only pick up a maximum of three at any one point in time.) I had exactly four healing items in my inventory - how was I ever going to make it through the final dungeon without more resources available?

Well, that was a problem for later. In the meantime, I decided to remove the scourge and get those stupid clouds off the map screen:

It took me a long time to reach this point, and the foggy effect lasted for more than an hour of real-world time. Everyone was on the verge of hitting Level 8 before I was prepared to take on Disciple, and I still had to use a Tinder Pouch to set up camp before engaging the scourge. At least Disciple himself was a weakling by this point, fought alone with no supporting minions and without any armor/resistance for protection. The scourge used an attack that Shocked everyone but I had plenty of Focus to get around that. Two full rotations through the party's attack order were enough to get the job done, and no one fell below 70 HP in the process. Nice and easy.

Disciple was the last scourge to appear on the timeline, and his elimination meant that they had all been sealed away. With no chaos meter to worry about, the game essentially remained locked in place afterwards. There was nothing pushing me onwards, nothing to stop my characters from taking as long as they wanted to save up resources for the final dungeon. In fact, I had every incentive to take things slowly and farm up additional item drops. Rushing into difficult areas was only likely to lead me into a mistake and force the usage of critical supplies. Much better to keep fighting monsters that popped up near towns and take advantage of the inns for healing, in carefully controlled situations where the danger was minimal. It wasn't terribly exciting though.

I waited until my party reached Level 8 and then began clearing some more of the Snow Caves, which had remained locked at Level 5 opponents and didn't get any stronger. My hope was that I would find some more stores within the dungeons that would sell additional Godsbeard herbs. These hopes were dashed and I never found anything better than five snickerdoodle cookies on sale from one vendor (each one healing 5 HP), which I was desperate enough that I bought for 48 gold apiece. What a terrible deal, ugh! Eventually the stores refreshed for some reason and I was able to restock on Godsbeard herbs at Icy Hollow:

This was the same town where I had purchased three Godsbeard herbs earlier too, and that supply had been replenished. As for the other villages though, no such luck. These were the only six healing herbs that I was able to buy in the whole game. It was a stark contrast to the normal game mode where Godsbeards are always available for sale from each town that the party reaches. Was I just getting cosmically unlucky here, with only a single store selling the herb that I most needed? No, I had to believe that this was deliberate on the part of the designers. Strictly limiting the supply of the herbs was one way to create the "wilderness survival" gameplay of the Frost Adventure mode. I could see what they were aiming for. Unfortunately, in practical terms the denial of healing resources combined with the removal of the chaos meter largely meant that I needed to play the game in scaredy-cat fashion. One bad situation that wiped out my herbs could make it impossible to finish the game later on. Therefore I needed to avoid bad situations if at all possible, leveling up until my characters were strong enough to make it through the upcoming dungeons without need for healing. It was a recipe for timid gameplay that took no risks, not exactly the most fun kind of setup.

I spent a long time shuffling back and forth in the seas to the southwest of the main continent. I kept traveling a triangle between Saxahvall in the islands, Manavik in the Frozen Expanse, and Icy Hollow in the Shivering Woods. Monsters would randomly pop up along the coastline and I would kill them along the way, bringing back enough gold to heal my characters at an inn. Then rinse and repeat. This was quite tedious and made worse by the fact that the same enemies kept spawning over and over again. I fought Assassins, Owlbears, and Mind Benders for the most part, always Level 7 which is the maximum that random enemies can hit on this map, rarely anything other than one of those three monster types. Boring, boring, and more boring. Yet what else could I do? I didn't have the resources that I needed to defeat the final endgame dungeon, and while I could clear the Ice Shrines for sure, it was better to wait and do them at a higher level to avoid wasting those precious Godsbeard herbs. I planned to try them at Level 9 and adjust accordingly from there. It was a long slog to that point though, lots and lots of grinding to little purpose. For that matter, the punishing nature of FTK could still serve up danger. An enemy Owlbear landed a pair of critical strikes on back to back turns at one point and reduced Ermine to zero health, destroyed her Sanctum of Focus, which I replaced with a Sanctum of Purity. Even while leveling up I couldn't afford to make very many mistakes like that or this whole quest could be doomed.

The Ice Shrines in Frost Adventure mode are medium-sized dungeons, larger than the Snow Caves (and Sea Caves in the main game mode) while falling well short of the largest catacombs like the King's Maze, Harazuel, or Frostbite Peak. They have seven rooms in total followed by the ending treasure chest, usually four total battles along with several other instances of traps or healing wells or shops. The enemies in this cave were largely too weak to threaten my party by this point, and I was able to get a nicely-timed healing well in one of the middle rooms to top everyone off on health. The most noteworthy postbattle drop was not one but two Godsbeard herbs, which I greedily snatched up for potential lategame usage. There were also these nice new pieces of equipment, with the Iron Plate Mail providing excellent stats for Ragnar. I'm a bit hesitant to adopt the Strength-based class boots because they carry a speed penalty, but the chestpiece for this class carries no such disadvantage. Blacksmiths don't need the Intelligence stat, only the courage to stand and fight.

The Volcanic Tome for Frosty was a bit more interesting. This is one of the popular endgame Intelligence-based weapons for the main game mode, although I personally don't care for it that much and prefer the Tome of Wonders if it's available. The default attack for the Volcanic Tome carries a burning effect on a perfect roll, and while it's nice to have some ticking damage over time from setting the enemy on fire, I haven't found this to be very useful. Burning effect takes way too long; I much prefer the frozen debuff for its immediate +25% damage on all future dice rolls. Shocked is even better of course, although it seems like half the monsters in this game (and essentially all bosses) have shock immunity. Greater Fire Storm hits all enemies with a weakish fire attack that will also set burning status on a perfect roll (although it's a five slot attack), and Smoke Wall is an evade up buff for the party. Somewhat useful at times, not generally that helpful. The reason why the online community likes the Volcanic Tome is the abuse potential of the third attack: Fire Wall is the game's only Reset attack that hits the ENTIRE enemy party. A successful use of this move will interrupt all opponents and force them to lose their next turn. It's a five slot attack with a massive -20% accuracy penalty per slot, but the rewards for a successful attack are huge. With enough Focus spending, the player can brute force a successful roll and interrupt the entire enemy group, allowing the rest of the party to wail away on them for free.

I don't particularly care for this strategy. It's only viable in situations where the player has tons of Focus to burn through and therefore no good for general purpose use. However, given how many enemies in Frost Adventure mode were considered "ice" monsters, it still seemed like using the Volcanic Tome would be a good idea. It also gave me some ideas about how to make my way through Frostbite Peak with strictly limited healing resources. Finally, it wasn't like I had much in the way of better options. The top tier weapons and armor from the main game don't appear in Frost Adventure mode, and the Volcanic Tome was the stongest Intelligence-based weapon that I could hope for. Similarly, that Iron Plate Mail was as good as Ragnar was going to find. I didn't know this until I had grinded for several hours on end, by which time it was obvious that the best items don't appear in this game mode. Sadly, no Tome of Wonders or Gladius or Golden Bow for my characters in this game.

I'm essentially skipping over how much time I spent sailing around in circles in that little boat training my characters to higher levels. I cleared out the last scourge on Day 6 according to the calendar at the top of the screen, and I was still paddling about in that triangular pattern on Day 11. A day in FTK equates to a complete passage of the bar at the top of the screen, 14 * 3 = 42 total character turns in all. Since I had gone through about a half dozen of those days, we were looking at something like 200 individual character turns, not counting time spent in dungeons. I spent so much time on the ship that I had to repair about eight times in all, due to the occasional damage that would pop up from events like hitting ice flows or facing giant waves. At least the Kraken never shows up in Frost Adventure mode, thank goodness.

Eventually I cleared out the other Ice Shrine to complete the optional quest in this game type. That allowed me to return to the Armory and receive my reward: copies of four ancient weapons, ranging from the Ancient Blade to the Ancient Lute. There's one each atuned to the four primary stats in FTK: Strength, Awareness, Intelligence, and Talent. All of these are unique weapons with the same basic properties: very high base attack values and useful secondary abilities... with the tradeoff of shattering on a critical failure. For example, the Ancient Bow had a default one slot Awareness-based attack along with an armor piercing secondary attack that used two Awareness checks at a heavy -30% accuracy penalty. Any critical failure (all misses) would result in the weapon breaking and becoming useless. I held off on using any of these weapons for the moment but thought that I could see a way to make use of them in the endgame.

Picking up those ancient weapons from the Armory was the only interesting thing that I did for a long time. I roamed around to revist all seven of the towns in the world, including the two towns back in the Guardian Forest. None of them had any more Godsbeard herbs for sale; what I had right now was going to have to last for the remainder of the game. I did make sure to spend my accumulated wealth on anything that seemed like it might be useful for the final dungeon. That meant upgrading everyone's pipes to level 3 (why not?) and stocking up on as many Panaxes and Golden Roots and Hag's Banes as possible. There weren't very many of these on sale either, but I picked up what I could. Fortunately, I was also able to find two Firesilks (the herb that restores health to maximum) in random drops and pick up a third one in a quest reward from a town. That would be enough for each of my three characters to hold one in their backpack for emergency use.

I had decided that the best time to attempt the final dungeon would be shortly before my party hit Level 11, so that they could take advantage of the health and Focus restoration on the level up itself. Technically the levels in FTK go all the way up to a maximum of 14, but the experience requirements start increasing at an exponential rate and the monsters still remained stuck at Level 7. It would take way too long to reach Level 12 at roughly 15-30 XP per battle, much less anything beyond that. I used this Snow Cave to collect my party, Teleporting Frost next to the entrance and then pulling the rest of the party inside via the grouping mechanic. I had deliberately left this cave unfinished for the purpose of pulling this move later. After completing the minidungeon, my group defeated the nearby Fire Crag monster to fulfill that Firesilk quest reward mentioned above, and then used a Tinder Pouch to heal up outside the entrance to Frostbite Peak:

Once your party enters the final dungeon there's no turning back. Either your group wins the game or it ends with everyone dying; there's no way to exit and try again. At this point, I was as prepared as I was going to get. My characters were bringing 10 total Godsbeard herbs, 7 Tinder Pouches, 7 Golden Roots, 3 Panaxes, and 3 Firesilks. I would have preferred more items and I had plenty of money on hand, but that's what this group had available. I took a deep breath and sent the party inside.

Frostbite Peak is a long, long dungeon. That image shows the total number of rooms to clear, and at 17 in all, I believe this area is larger than anything else in any of the FTK game modes. It's a tightly organized dungeon though, always following a pattern of three hazard rooms (two fights and usually a trap in the third room), then a place to use a Tinder Pouch in the "staircase" rooms on the little map. This pattern repeats a total of four times followed by the eventual endgame boss in the seventeenth and final room. Since Tinder Pouches are plentiful in Frost Adventure mode, I had more than enough to heal back to full at those rest intervals. I could use two Tinder Pouches at almost every one of those stops. The problem was getting through the gauntlet of battles along the way without burning through all of my healing items since I knew that I would need them for the last boss. I planned to do this by leaning heavily on Focus usage to win encounters quickly and decisively before the damage could pile up. I also needed Focus to get past the traps along the way; here you see a rare use of the Trapper's "Elite Trap Disarm" skill, whereby Ermine only needed to succeed on three Awareness checks instead of the normal four checks. It's not much of an innate ability.

My plan for these battles was to use the Fire Wall ability on Frost's Volcanic Tome. If it landed successfully, it would Reset the entire enemy party, causing all of them to lose their turns as seen in the image above. Look at the battle order above the combat action, which was in the process of reshuffling when I took this screenshot. I was about to get five consecutive rounds of action, enough to kill both the Feral Warlock and the Dry Corpse. Once the Lich was the only monster remaining, the battle would be a cinch from that point onwards. When this attack landed successfully, the fights tended to be quite easy and I was able to save my limited resources until reaching the next Tinder Pouch campground.

There were two problems here. The first was that nearly all of these monsters were faster than Frost's 70 Speed rating, allowing them to get off a round of attacks before I could Reset them. This was often painful since these enemies were packing lot of dangerous area of effect magical attacks, and sometimes they were able to land nasty status ailments before Frost or Ragnar had a chance to act. At one point, a Red Jelly triple poisoned the whole party and I had to use up all of my remaining Panaxes to cure them. The second problem was the unreliable nature of the Fire Wall attack itself. Landing an attack with five Intelligence slots and a -20% accuracy penalty on each one was far from guaranteed. The attack was essentially unusable without investing some Focus points; the base chance was (0.69)^5 or about 15% and I wasn't going to waste rounds of combat on such low odds. With two points of Focus the odds jumped up to 70%, and with three points of Focus it went up to 85% odds. My planning was based around using three points of Focus to get those odds up to 85%, and yet I had the absolute WORST luck with this on this party's trip. There was one span where I failed 4 out of 6 times at those 85% odds, no joke. This was practically catastrophic because I was investing so much Focus into these Fire Wall attacks, only to have them fizzle out and do absolutely nothing. This is why I dislike the Volcanic Tome, as even with Focus investment the Fire Wall attack still remains a chancy option. Give me the Tome of Wonder with its resistance-piercing main attack and individual enemy Reset any day.

When these Fire Walls attacks failed, the results could get pretty ugly:

This was one of the worst moments of the endgame battle sequence, with Ragnar losing his Sanctum of Wealth from an otherwise fatal blow. Ermine had already lost her Sanctum earlier in this same encounter. I had another Tinder Pouch resting point coming up as soon as this fight ended, but the preceding battle was full of witches and warlocks blasting away with area of effect magic damage, and of course I had failed the Fire Wall attack at the outset of the battle earlier. I had to use double Tinder Pouches afterwards to try and recover from the carnage. The grind continued with wave after wave of monsters blocking my path, and the last couple of fights threw in Wisps that drained away my Focus and Beholders ("Watchers" to avoid copyright infringement) that dealt heavy magic damage while simultaneously Resetting my party members. This was the tail end of another one of those battles:

Ermine dead and every single point of Focus expended from the rest of my party. This exhausting sequence of combats truly drove home the importance of Focus as a resource, more so than any previous game that I'd played in FTK. Without Focus to help out, these battles were nothing more than pure RNG sequences and I was left at the mercy of dumb luck. This was yet another combat where the initial Fire Wall had failed at those same 85% odds and I'd been scrambling to control the damage ever since. Fortunately I did have three party lives remaining and the combination of Frost and Ragnar was enough to clean up the tail end of the battle. And I did manage to keep the Sanctum of Vitality on Frost, which was the most valuable of the three. On the other hand, now my margin for error was gone for the final battle, as dropping to zero health would spell doom for either Ragnar or Ermine. As my Tutorial group had found out, an individual party member can be defeated quickly in the final battles.

Rough as it may have been at times, I did make it to the endgame boss with only two Godsbane herbs used along the way, leaving eight of them still in inventory. I probably should have been a little more willing to use them, as that might have been enough to keep my Sanctums intact. I divided the healing herbs between the three characters since I would not be taking a Party Heal item into this showdown. I also split my five remaining Golden Roots, with one for Frost and two apiece for the other two characters. They were going to need that extra Focus because I was equipping the Ancient Blade on Ragnar and the Ancient Bow on Ermine, bringing out the big guns for this last duel. Time to reveal my plans for the boss of Frostbite Peak.

Frost Adventure mode ends with a battle against Whitemoon, a dragon with an incredible 825 HP. Whitemoon has a maxed out Speed rating and can use a series of high damage attacks against your party, with most of them carrying the Frozen debuff to add another 25% additional damage on subsequent bites. And yet as bad as this looks, Whitemoon isn't as dangerous as the Vexor fight at the end of the normal game mode, due to the simple fact that Vexor has two Chaos Hound companions and therefore brings more total attacks to the battle. The biggest difficulty when dealing with Whitemoon is wearing through his massive health total; if your party can simply hold on long enough, it should be able to emerge on top eventually. I knew that if I could make it to Whitemoon with a decent collection of healing items left in stash, I would likely prevail.

Due to Whitemoon's high Speed rating, it was impractical to try and land more Resets with Fire Wall. Besides, Frost had been hit with one last double poison attack and I was out of Panaxes to cure it, which dropped the accuracy of her spells that much further. I had her hold onto her normal Volcanic Tome to inflict the Burning debuff on Whitemoon; since Frost had no resistance piercing attacks, she wouldn't be able to deal that much damage to the dragon. Most of the offensive output was planned to come from Ragnar and Ermine for this encounter. The trick for them was to use the two slot attacks on their Ancient weapons, like the Heavy Pierce attack highlighted above. By using a single point of Focus, I could ensure that these Ancient weapons would never break, since they were guaranteed to have the first slot succeed every time. This would also increase the accuracy of the second slot of the attack, and Ermine had 73% odds to get the armor piercing property off for a massive 54 damage. I could do this for three rounds, then use a Golden Root to restore Focus, and then repeat the process. Both Ragnar and Ermine could therefore get off a total of nine attacks, and that would surely be enough to win the battle or die trying. If their weapons ever did break, I would be in serious danger. They could re-equip a weapon from their inventory, but it would be grabbed blindly and they both had a ton of random junk in their stashes by now. I wanted to win before their Focus ran out and the weapons had the potential to shatter.

I had theorized all of this ahead of time during the long hours spent leveling this party. After all that time, it was an immense pleasure to see the battle play out just the way that I had intended. Frost landed the initial burning debuff and kept reapplying it turn after turn to keep that fire damage ticking away in the background. Ragnar and Ermine both used a single point of Focus on each attack, with roughly 75% odds each to land both slots of their attacks and smash Whitemoon with huge damage. Ragnar's 62 damage attack above is about the most I've ever seen before in FTK, outstanding stuff. When I wasn't using Golden Leafs to restore Focus, I used some of the other items that I'd saved up throughout the game. The orbs that provided +10 party armor and +10 party resistance were particularly nice while they lasted, along with the Blood Orb that gave everyone +25% attack damage for the next round. The one limitation on item use in FTK is that each party member can only use one item per turn of combat, but otherwise your characters are mostly free to use an item and attack on the same turn.

In terms of defense, Whitemoon's attacks were not trivial and I did have to heal frequently. Both Frost and Ragnar consumed Godsbeard herbs for the level 3 pipe maximum of 60 HP restored, and Ermine was knocked low enough at one point that I used her Firesilk to jump back up to full health. I had been right to fear that I might run out of healing items here, the worry that had dogged me throughout the game, as my party was forced to go through a total of four Godsbeard herbs. However, that still left me with another four herbs in stock, and it soon became clear that I had more resources than I needed on hand. Whitemoon's health kept dropping and I still had health and Focus left to burn. When he finally keeled over, I still had about half of my herbs remaining in inventory:

Whitemoon actually died to a 6 damage tick of the burning debuff, heh. What an ignominious end to the big bad dragon boss. He was a worthy foe but my meticulous preparations were enough to see me through to the finish, even with the terrible dice luck on the Fire Wall attacks in the encounters leading up to the boss. The payout for winning was a cool 5000 gold, which was totally worthless since the game was now over but looked pretty cool nonetheless.

Too bad that I lost the Sanctum of Wealth on Ragnar or it would have been 6000 gold and I would have gone over 10k in total. I wonder if the game caps money at 9999 or if the digits go beyond four? Perhaps we'll find out one day down the road.

So that's Frost Adventure mode on the highest difficulty level. To be honest, I do not particularly enjoy this game mode. For The King clearly needs the chaos meter to function properly, and when it's removed from the game, the results are a lot less interesting from a gameplay persective. The challenge in this otherwise punishing game simply disappears without the meter pushing along the action. I've actually never lost a single game on Frost Adventure mode and my victory rate is well under 50 percent in the other two game modes. The designers tried to make Frost Adventure mode difficult by making the environment hostile to the party and nearly removing healing items from the game. However, while this is annoying to work around, it mostly promotes a hyper-passive style of playing that emphasizes grinding until your characters are strong enough to overcome challenges without the need to use restoration items. It's mostly just boring in practice. I'd much rather play the tightly paced other game modes than snooze my way through this setup.

It's still nice that Frost Adventure exists as a chance of pace though, even if I won't be playing it very often. I hope you enjoyed this trip to the frozen wastelands of the north.