Beast of Winter is the first downloadable expansion for Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, and while it doesn’t require players to have finished the game, it does require a party of high-level characters. If you’ve already completed PoE II’s main story, you’ll have to load up an earlier save to access the Beast of Winters DLC.
Once you do that, you’ll have to wait to receive a letter that invites you, the Watcher of Caed Nua, to “a feast to be held in your honor” at Harbingers’ Watch, a small outpost located in the southernmost reaches of the Deadfire Sea.
The Harbingers’ Watch is populated by the worshipers of Rymrgand, the god of entropy and disaster, so suddenly the way these worshipers are calling you, the Duskspeaker, makes perfect sense. What makes it more intriguing is the worshipers of Rymrgand want to die and by inviting you to visit Harbingers’s Watch they hope that you, the harbinger of the end, will fulfill your destiny.
Apparently, a portal into the White Void has opened below Harbingers’ Watch allowing the iceberg to aggressively grow, thus threatening the entire Deadfire Archipelago. Before you start investigating what’s really causing the problem, you are met with your first trial – a dracolich.
Beast of Winter allows players to recruit another character, Vatnir, the leader of the Harbingers, the cult of Rymrgand living on the small island. He’s a Godlike priest, quite potent with both offensive spells and melee.
Over the span of around six hours I’ve battled new enemies (resistant to ice!) to find out what’s causing the portal to grow and how is the dracolich related to the problem. Beast of Winter is meant to offer players the chance to take a closer look at Rymrgand’s realm, religion, and followers.
What makes the Beast of Winter even more interesting is that Rymrgand and the Watcher of Caed Nua have unfinished business, so trespassing on its realm poses a major problem for the protagonist. Luckily, a deal is struck so your party is free to roam the White Void is search for the roots of the evil that threaten the Deadfire Archipelago.
The writing is once again top-notch and the new enemies, even though they pose no real threat for a party of maxed out characters, greatly fit into the Beast of Winter campaign. Before embarking on your journey to Harbingers’ Watch make sure you have enough fire weapons to gear up your characters.
Also, I did make room for Vatnir on my party just to have a taste of how it feels playing a melee priest, and a follower of Rymrgand at the same time. You’ll find plenty of new weapons and armors in Beast of Winter, most of them based on ice damage, but that’s quite understandable.
I’m not going to spoil any story bits, but I was very happy with the ending. Whenever you’re striking a deal with a god, expect some not so pleasant surprises, and that applies to all gods, regardless of their alignment (good, neutral, evil).
Beast of Winter is already available for purchase for €9.99/$9.99 and offers around 4-6 hours of playtime, depending on your party’s level and the pace at which you decide to go through it. In my book, Beast of Winter an interesting standalone adventure that explores one of the “coldest” god from the Pillar of Eternity pantheon – Rymrgand. I do recommend everyone who liked Deadfire to get the DLC, it will help players to better understand some of the religions that haven’t been the focus of the main game.