If you’re a fan of Gloomhaven then you’ve definitely heard about the sequel that’s coming down the road called Frosthaven. There has been Frosthaven information all over the place, so here is your all-encompassing brief for all the information we’ve currently got on Frosthaven’s backstory, new enemies, new status effects, the Frosthaven map, as well as other changes to the gameplay established in Gloomhaven.
For a detailed meet’n’greet with the new starting characters in Frosthaven, just slide yourself on over to the post dedicated to the Frosthaven starting classes. It runs through fancy new effects, core strategies, strengths, weaknesses, what to consider when selecting your starting class, and a full rundown of spoiler-free actions and quirks.
Here, in this article we’re gathering up all the info that is out there and putting it in one place. All the interviews, blog posts, speculation, updates, and dusty tomes that I could get my hands on have been carefully combed through to keep track of what’s happening with Frosthaven.
Put your mittens on. Let’s do this.
Frosthaven is a chilly outpost that is North of the Copperneck Mountains, which is North of everything else that takes place in Gloomhaven, so these mercenaries are going waaay North to get there.
Our protagonists-for-hire are going up to Frosthaven in the summer to help get things back under control, because management has been seriously lax and things are getting out of hand. The outpost has fallen into disrepair, they’re constantly being attacked by wild beasts and weird machinery, and gosh-darn it, they’ve had enough!
You’ll need to strengthen the outpost’s defenses, repair the buildings, and fend off the feral aggressors… and it’d be highly advisable to do it before winter sets in…
It wasn’t until conversation around this new map that I found out there are two different viewpoints on the map – some people love having the map and placing on the stickers, and some people think it serves no purpose and don’t even bother with it.
Well I’ve got some great news for all of you pro-mappers out there – the new Frosthaven map is going to be twice the size of the Gloomhaven map and is split into two sections; the outpost of Frosthaven, and the surrounding areas of Frosthaven called The Northern Coast.
Check it out:
Just to reiterate, Frosthaven is not below the mountains, that is a zoomed-in version that takes up the bottom half. Frosthaven is situated in the centre of the top-half of the map. This is what we’re looking at.
Zoom in… enhance!
We’ll start with the top half and behold all the natural splendour that surrounds us!
Wait… is that lady… is she riding a… rhinoceros? Looking very Banner Spear-esque, what with the spears and all, but has a lot less armour, so I’m assuming that’s someone else?
It’d be badass if there’s an unlockable class with a rhino steed! No more opening doors to new rooms, you would charge right through them!
On the map we have our old friends, the Copperneck mountains. Except, instead of being at the top of the map, right where we left them, they now find themselves at the bottom of the map.
They, along with the Imperial Mountains, isolate Frosthaven from pretty much everything that is worth being connected to. The only lifeline to civilization our mercenaries have left is the Frozen Pass. Travelers are only able to use it during the summer months (too treacherous in the winter) and according to the creator it’s the only way to and from Frosthaven.
But hey, if our mercenaries were interested in having access to down-filled pillows and sweet-scented perfumes they wouldn’t have agreed to come up to this frozen, desolate, wonderland full of joy and things with claws trying to hurt us.
And then aside from mountains, we only have three other regions – Whitefire Woods, which is intimidating in a how-did-it-get-that-name sort of way, the Crystal Fields, which leave absolutely nobody wondering how they got that name, and the much more inviting Radiant Forest, which actually sounds borderline pleasant.
There are large chunks of territory that don’t have any sort of label on them, but one of the changes in Frosthaven is there are going to be some XL stickers to put down as you explore new territory.
Off to the East we have a mystery mountain just hanging out by itself, and North of everything is the North Sea. In theory, during the summer, ships should be able to come in and out of port in Frosthaven, which would make the Frozen Pass a) not the only way to Frosthaven, and b) not even the best way to Frosthaven! Hire a ship instead…
Now let us cast our gaze downward.
My, what a lovely pile of rubble. Has a sort of rugged charm to it, wouldn’t you say? In a derelict… kind of way.
These are the buildings and defenses that are going to need repairing. We dive into how and why in the section Repairing Buildings, but for now we are going to take a look at what we’re working with here.
The orientation of this portion of the map has changed – so the top is now South. You’ll see above Frosthaven there’s a road that leads through the woods and into the mountains. Those are the Copperneck/Imperial Mountains along the top and the road is the Frozen Pass.
Say what you want about the walls, which have basically all fallen down, that main gate is in good condition! It’s shut and locked at the moment, Frosthaven is closed for business, so don’t even try getting in!
You will also take note of the very close cave that is heading into the mountains… I’m sure nothing awful will come out of there to attack us.
The docks are looking in pretty good shape, all things considered. There are even two boats that are docked there…
… they must have come through the Frozen Pass.
Alright, so the takeaway here is it’s gonna be a lot of work. It’s a bit of a fixer-upper, but look at the potential! And if anyone can hazard a guess as to what the pizza-shaped pile of rubble is going to be, down at the bottom there, I’m all ears!
Welcome home, mercenaries.
If you’ve come to Frosthaven for the fantastic wealth and piles of gold that it has you are going to be so upset! (this is where the Mindthief turns around and walks away)
Gold doesn’t hold a great deal of value in such remote parts of the world as Frosthaven. As Watto so wisely once said, “Republic credits are no good out here, I need something more real.”
It’s all about them resources, babyyyyy.
Looting is still how you’re going to fill your pockets with wealth, but in the new system we’re not stockpiling gold to buy new shiny items, we’re taking our loot coins and picking cards out of a resource deck to figure out what we’re picking up.
So you don’t know what you’re getting before you get it!
The deck that you’ll be picking the resources out of will be constructed based on where your scenario takes place. Going into the woods to smash some skulls? There’s going to be a lot more wood in that resource deck. Heading off in the Copperneck Mountains to distribute justice? You’re more likely to pull metal out of the deck then.
The resources that have been talked about so far are wood, metal, money, herbs, and hides. You can also pick up items and rare/special items that will make your life easier in unrevealed ways.
It’ll also make looting way more important than it was before. Sure you wanted those shiny new weapons and sweet enhancements, but if it took you a couple extra scenarios then it’s no big deal.
But now if winter is looming and you’ve still got a big ol’ hole in your wall you might be slightly more motivated to skip an attack and loot instead.
At least this way you can claim you’re “doing it for the team”.
Call in the colonel! We’re busting out the secret 11 herbs and spices and figuring out what goodness we can cook up!
The days of having potions made for you is done! Get your chef apron on and your floral oven mitts, because those herbs you find as resources are going to be used to create new potions.
In true “do it for science!” style, you don’t know what type of potion your combination of herbs is going to make until you’ve already made it. Some of them are going to be good and some are going to be bad.
You don’t have to drink the bad ones… unless you’re susceptible to peer pressure, then you absolutely have to! You cook it, you drink it! New house rule! Make it catch on, it’ll be a thing.
In the announcement, Issac was saying there’s going to be a folder-like sheet where you peel off perforated cut-outs to reveal the potion you’ve created. If you’ve played Pandemic Legacy, then it’ll be exactly like the dossiers.
As the game proceeds you’ll be able to upgrade the alchemy building to get more complex and powerful potions that require more herbs that you find (and presumably herbs that are harder to find).
For more about upgrading buildings hit up the Repairing Buildings section.
I hope you’ve been practicing with your construction paper and fancy zig-zag scissors during Crafternoon at the seniors’ centre. Bust out the glitter and glue because craft time is coming to Frosthaven!
We’ll be making stuff slightly stronger than your usual paper mache (but given the state of those walls, it might not be far off).
Now that you’ve collected all of your sticks and stones from looting resources it’s time to do something with them! One of the hearty businesses still propping up the Frosthaven economy when we arrive is the Craftsman.
Right off the bat our Craftsman can make us all items numbered 001-012, but instead of paying for it upfront with gold, like we did in Gloomhaven, you have to bring the craftsman the resources with which he will make them.
Not entirely sure what’s in it for him, or why he’d be doing his crafting pro bono. Presumably he’s invested in the overall prosperity of Frosthaven and hey, if this crude shield will prevent mercenary guts from being spread all over the rubble then it will have been worth his time.
Here are some examples of how the crafting system will work:
So far so good, it’s all making sense. Got yourself some metal and some wood, take it on over to the craftsman and boom, you’ve got yourself a crude spear. Use that when you’re against a big enemy with retaliate and no range and all of a sudden we’ve got some strategy behind saving this cheeky little outpost!
As the saying goes, “sticks and stones break monsters’ bones, but names will always draw null…”
Repairing Frosthaven Buildings
Given the current state of the bottom of the map, it should come as no surprise that some repairs are going to be in order.
When you’re done kitting out your character with some sweet new crude gear you can reallocate some of your resources to repairing the buildings and defenses in Frosthaven.
Different buildings are going to have different impacts and benefits for our enchanting outpost. We already talked about our main man with the equipment hook-ups, but there is also an alchemist who will make potions for us, buildings that will generate resources for our team over time, buildings that will attract more mercenary allies, and buildings that make other buildings cheaper to fix.
So far the buildings that I know will be in Frosthaven are the craftsman, alchemist, library, tavern, and inn.
Not impressed by equipment that starts with the word “crude”? Good news for you then. Frosthaven’s finest craftsman can upgrade those for you, but he’s going to need some help with his current setup.
As well as creating new buildings to bring in new benefits, you’ll also be able to put those resources to upgrading buildings that you’ve already got up and running.
I mentioned the craftsman can currently get you items 001-012, but if you spend two wood, a metal, and a hide you can upgrade the craftsman’s shop and unlock other items of a slightly more refined nature.
The example Isaac gave was if you have a crude shield and an upgraded craftsman, you can spend 1 wood to get yourself a reinforced shield.
There is a fundamental shift here between Gloomhaven and Frosthaven that I want to highlight before we move on. That double wood, metal, and hide to upgrade the building can be collective. Previously a character had his/her own loot & items and there were no tradesies! In Frosthaven you’re still not allowed to trade items or resources, but we are breaking down the what’s-mine-is-mine aspect because all players can combine the resources that you have and upgrade a building.
Upgrade to a level 8 inn and you might just get yourself that down-filled pillow I poo-poo’d earlier in the article.
But don’t rest easy just yet. The buildings in Frosthaven can be attacked, and they can be damaged. When a building is damaged you won’t be able to use it until you’ve spent the necessary resources to repair it.
With that in mind, it’s probably best that we talk about Frosthaven’s defenses.
We’re using the term “defenses” here quite loosely inasmuch as that wall looks about as defensive as an open door with a welcome mat.
By my count, there are 14 sections of wall that need to be repaired (in orange) and 3 watchtowers (in blue).
Maybe the game has some small mercies and the watchtowers come along with their respective sections of wall. Frosthaven’s Buy-One-Get-One Fall Blowout Event! (Buy now, before Winter)
Presumably, there’s going to be a lot of wood involved in improving the defenses, but that is ultimately the objective for why we’ve come up here – to keep the town safe.
Frosthaven is going to have a Defense Rating, and that is going to impact that level of damage the outpost takes when it gets attacked. If you’ve only focused on upgrading the tavern (you raging alcoholic) and haven’t patched the walls at all then it’s going to be a rough winter.
Unlike Vivaldi or Frankie Valli, Frosthaven only has two seasons. Cold, and bone-chilling-everything-is-frozen-why-did-I-come-here cold. For ease and simplicity, we shall refer to these as “summer” and “winter”.
Summer is when we show up. Conditions are less harsh, the Frozen Pass (allegedly the only way in or out) is slightly less frozen, and the attacks on Frosthaven are less frequent.
Winter is the opposite of that. Our enemies attack more frequently, and things just generally take a turn for the worse.
There are two separate event decks that have been added into Frosthaven; one for summer and one for winter. Summer’s deck is mixed between some good and some bad events, and winter’s is just straight-up a deck of bad things that are going to happen to you.
Each season is measured in 15 time units. These are likely going to be each time you return from a scenario the calendar moves forward a time unit. We show up at the beginning of summer, so you’ve got some time to work on improving the walls and defenses of Frosthaven before winter comes and your defense rating is soon (and frequently) put to the test.
There are multiple years, so winter will pass by in the same 15 time units and you’ll have some respite when summer returns again.
There are two new status effects that are being introduced in Frosthaven, the first of which is bane. (You merely adopted the frost; I was born in it, molded by it)
Bane will inflict 10 points of damage on the ill-fated recipient of such an attack. BUT, it’s not just an Attack 10, it’s actually more like tossing a grenade at a monster’s clawed feet. With Bane, the 10 damage doesn’t happen immediately, it happens at the end of that monster’s next turn.
Healing before then will mean the Bane is lifted and the 10 damage doesn’t happen. So if there’s some pain-in-the-butt shaman knocking about handing out Heal 2 or whatever then boom, there’s your hard earned 10 damage gone right out the window!
The inclusion of Bane in Frosthaven is the solution to the execution abilities (which are widely viewed as being overpowered) from Gloomhaven that gave certain classes at certain levels (I shall reveal no class details) the ability to insta-kill one monster.
This makes it a bit more balanced because you can’t instantly take down an enemy with 18 HP, but you can take a massive chunk out of it and make sure it’s having a bad day.
Now, hold on there slugger, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. An eye for an eye and a horn for a horn and all that.
Since the impact is no longer certain death it has left the door open for Bane to be used by monsters as well. So you too could be the recipient of 10 damage at the end of your next turn if you don’t heal yourself in time!
Bear in mind, if a monster has a faster initiative than you and drops a Bane bomb on your slow and unsuspecting ass then you’re going to have to chug a healing potion pretty freaking ricky-tick in order to get that off of you.
Otherwise you’ll be burning a card to dodge 10 damage.
Might want to hold that crude shield up.
The second new status effect we’ll be able to distribute as well as endure is Brittle.
When you’re classified as Brittle the next hit you take is going to be worth double damage.
This is a major one-two punch if ever there was one, and if (Great Oak forbid) that monster happens to hit a 2x crit then you can just go ahead and deposit one card from your hand directly into the lost pile, thank you.
There will likely be limitations to how this gets applied though – otherwise a group of enemies could take their turn where the first one puts Brittle on you and the next guy punches you in the mouth for an automatic 2x before you even have time to realize you should have stayed at home today.
What this means is we will likely see Brittle on monster actions that don’t have an attack on them, or it could be on more standalone monsters that don’t come in a herd of 12.
I imagine the attacks that have Brittle on them will be really slow initiative attacks. That way you’ve got some time to prep before it happens, and after you’ve been stricken with this brittley affliction you can tell your teammates you’re gonna go stand at the back for a moment when the next round starts.
Just imagine having some massive, angry, foul-smelling beast up in your face as your teammate tosses Brittle on it and you drop the hammer down with your Attack 5 and an automatic 2x.
It’s Brittley, bitch.
An enemy is a friend you just haven’t slaughtered yet.
Is that the saying? I feel like I messed that up somewhere.
Inspiration aside, it’s time to get acquainted with the new Frosthaven monsters! These are the 3 groups of ruffians who are making a mess of our fine outpost and not bothering to pick up after themselves.
I say groups because there are different types of each enemy. Similar to the way the Inox had guards, archers, and shamans.
The way I’m going to organize this is to go through the really top-level information about each of the new Frosthaven monsters (the stuff that is part of the core premise of the game), and then everything that is more detailed will go underneath a spoiler warning.
That way you’ll know what you’re getting into and you can decide how much you read about right now.
Time to meet your foes!
By now, everyone has already been acquainted with the big ugly posterboy for Frosthaven, the Algox.
The Algox are a distant relation to the Inox, but are even bigger and more ill-tempered. They also have the iconic 3 horns, but I imagine when you’re up close and personal the massive frozen club-like fist is probably a higher priority.
From what we’ve heard in the back story, and, you know… the cover of the box… it’s pretty safe to say the Algox are causing a lot of damage to Frosthaven.
The Algox are built for winter and they’ve got home field advantage on us, so just because you’re renowned for slaughtering a whole bunch of innocent Inox (that reputation hasn’t been left south of the mountains), doesn’t mean you’ll be able to easily do the same to the Algox!
They’re thematic, we’ve seen loads of Algox in the pre-release announcements, and it’s the main baddy for Frosthaven, so I think it’s safe to say we’re going to have to deal with Algox on the regular once we’re up North, and especially once winter rolls around.
Look in those eyes. Those cold, uncaring peepers.
Crabs are creepy enough as it is, I don’t need to be dealing with shellfish that are three stories high and covered in blue spikes!
I suppose that’s what you get when you set up shop right next to the sea!
The particular Lurker you can see above is a Lurker Wavethrower.
Lots of AOE attacks coming our way out of this guy, and he’s actually going to be throwing water around everywhere. Like a toddler getting out of the bath. The Lurker Wavethrower has the ability to put down water tiles (difficult terrain) in order to summon his sidekick, who will get an honourable mention in this section!
The Lightning Eel – Nominated for Best Frosthaven Monster In A Supporting Role, the Lightning Eel has to stay in water tiles, and is capable of creating lots of light on its regular attack actions. It then also has cards (plural) that will use this light element to Stun if it can attack you!
Seems like it should be really easy to avoid something that’s stuck in a water tile, but something tells me we’re going to start seeing a few more water tiles kicking around on the map.
Alright, back to the Lurkers!
These are another of the three main threats to Frosthaven right from the get-go and they make their home in the North Sea. Sadly, we won’t be able to get revenge on them by destroying the sea, but perhaps we can at least squash the ones that come up on land!
Hmmmm… I wonder how these pests could be getting in…
Yup. That’ll do it.
Make sure you bring 1 metal over to the craftsman so he can make you a cracker for lobster claws. Then once you’ve upgraded the restaurant building in Frosthaven you can get a Lobster Bib and Melted Butter.
In the initial announcement of Frosthaven, Isaac mentioned the third major threat to Frosthaven right off the bat are mysterious machines wandering the area.
In case you’re confused I googled the word “unfettered” and went ooooooooohhh okay, I get it.
“released from restraint or inhibition”
So they had a job and served a specific purpose at one point and now they’ve gone off the grid.
No inhibitions! Care-free robots wandering the land, no stress, and no responsibilities!
… But they’re killer robots, so we’ve got ourselves a problem.
This is the class that has had the least amount of information revealed. We know there are going to be many different designs (model numbers?), and the one that’s pictured above is called the Bolt Thrower.
Why are there robots wandering around the North, you might ask. A very valid question. And it is one that you may just find yourself investigating a little more thoroughly throughout the game.
~ Spoiler Territory ~
The following information has already been announced and is widely talked about on the internet, so there aren’t any genuine spoilers in here.
There are, however, plot details that some people may want to wait until later to find out about, and more monsters that have already been revealed, but aren’t one of the main 3. I’ll let you decide!
Safety first, ya know?
Snow vs Ice
You knew Frosthaven was a game of combat, but I bet you didn’t realize we were also getting into politics, did you?
The Algox have separated themselves into two sects – the Snow Speakers and the Ice Speakers. Maybe I’m reading into this too much, but hey, you’re still here so you must be into the details! I spotted this little gem at the top of the map:
That is looking like two very angry Algox looking to square off. One is slightly whiter (snow) and the other is slightly blue-ish (ice).
From what we know, the feud (not the familial type) is entirely based on religious disagreements, and each side is certain they are right. Which, of course is absolutely ridiculous…
… because everyone knows the only one true deity is The Great Oak!
(Don’t forget to donate 10 gold to the sanctuary)
Within the first few scenarios you’re going to have to make allies out of one sect and break the hearts of the other. You can’t be friends with everybody! (and as far as I’m aware you’re not allowed to be enemies with everybody either)
But, on the bright side, having some Algox (Algoxes?) on your side will mean they probably won’t put their efforts towards breaking your newly rebuilt Frosthaven buildings and that will be suuuper sweet.
Then again, maybe the half of them you just pissed off will try extra hard to ruin your buildings – especially the tavern! Heartless heathens…
As the saying goes, you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few skulls.
Even More Friends
As if you weren’t already popular enough, you sly dog, it’s been fully implied that you’re going to make even more fraands.
During the original interview when the Frosthaven announcement was made, Isaac said that if you work at it, you’ll be able to befriend the Lurkers and get them on your side.
With this in mind, I think it’s safe to say 3 of the 10 unlockable classes will be an Algox, a Lurker, and a death machine of some kind!
Even More Enemies
We’ve got monsters of all different races and walks of life that are lining up to be your enemy! Quite a few have been talked about and revealed, but I didn’t want to put them all in the main section just in case some folks want to keep it a surprise for 2021, but we’re in the fun section now, let’s take a look!
You thought the Algox were angry and smelly when they were alive, just wait til you’re dealing with them once they’re dead. You’ll be on scenario 28 recognizing a Frozen Corpse that used to be an Algox you killed back in Scenario 3.
Don’t I recognize you from somewhere?
Throrshnak! From the Frozen Caves, right?? This is weeeird.
Gotta watch out for the frosty frozen stank breath they’ve got going on. That’ll dish out Brittle and then you’ll be finding yourself in a world of hurt next time you’re attacked.
LivingDoom is the chief undead monster. He’s dealing damage and inviting even more undead, unhappy, and uninvited guests to our little Frosthaven shindig.
He’s going to be doing some summoning, and it ain’t gonna be anything friendly.
And remember that time we talked about Bane? Living Doom’s got it.
Which makes sense, if I were to speculate as to who is most likely to be putting Bane on you… I’m probably going to go ahead and say the floaty hellish demon thing.
The only other details we’ve got at the moment are that Living Doom will be summoning [Gloomhaven enemy reference] Living Spirits, which move fast, have range, and have shield! Which make them an incredibly large pain in the ox. Especially if they’re going to be summoned (doubtless at the most inconvenient times).
Lions, and tigers, and polar bears – oh my.
Not a lot of information yet on these cuddly bundles of fur other than (and I quote) “who are just, ya know, even worse cave bears”
Might wanna make yourself one of them crude spears…
Another new race for Frosthaven! It seems like that sea is really causing them some trouble. She’s a cruel mistress, is the sea.
I’m not saying that this guy looks super sketchy, but he doesn’t strike me as the type that’s paying his taxes to the Capital and donating to the Sanctuary of The Great Oak…
I have no idea if I’ve spelled Abail correctly, but it’s gotta be something close to that!
Abail? Abale? Abbale? Âbälè?
I’ll wait to see it written, then update you!
Update: I took 4 cracks at it and still missed altogether! Correct answer is Abael. I’ve updated the header on this section for accuracy.
These lovely law-abiding citizens are fishmen from the deep that have come to cause us trouble and no doubt stand between us and the restoration of law and order in this fine outpost.
Isaac’s very first game that he created was called Forge Wars, and in this game there was a particular card called Fish King Blockades The Dock. That was the inspiration for this race.
Just in case you’re curious, but didn’t want to ask because spoilers, the Abael are not part of the unlockable classes, so you’re not going to get to play as one! (Sorry to bear that bad news)
Already got a mention, but wanted to toss in the image down here without stealing the Lurkers’ thunder. (cheeky little lightning joke there for ya)
We’ve got the prototype cards for these guys as well, so we can really get a sense of how they’re going to be operating.
No AOE on these guys, but stun is front and centre. Those abilities have some pretty slow initiatives though, so it should be pretty easy to kite them if they’re stuck in water.
By the end of the scenario there’s gonna be a two-for-one special on unagi sashimi if you’re interested.
Algox Shaman, Archer, Guard
Following right in the clawprints of the Inox, the Algox also have an Algox Shaman, Algox Archer, and Algox Guard.
Looking very mysterious in their dimly-lit portraits. When you get whacked with a hatchet you won’t even know what hit you, it was so dark. Must be during the time of year when it’s dark in the North for like 22 hours a day.
I would not trust these guys to honour the rules of “Marco Polo”, so you’re going to need to find some wood and make a Crude Torch or something.
That’s it for now! I’m going to keep an eye out for more information and update this post as more details become available. I’ll look for some image upgrades as well.
If you haven’t already, check out the Frosthaven Kickstarter. The actual campaign is over, but Isaac is posting updates there all the time so it’s the best place to get the latest on Frosthaven.
Frosthaven was originally meant to be out in March 2021, but we’re expecting an updated schedule in the near future with new timelines.