log in or register to remove this ad

 

5E 'The Thing' Inspired Rime of the Frostmaiden Has Player Secrets [Updated]

Made popular in boardgames, such as Battlestar Galactica, the idea of players with secrets can increase the tension of games. Rime of the Frostmaiden introduces 'character secrets'.

thing_poster.jpg

“I think the most interesting part [of Rime of the Frostmaiden] is the character secrets... characters can play it one of two ways. They can keep their secret close to their chest and not reveal it to the other players, fostering and breeding paranoia, or they can reveal it anytime they want to, and then wrestle with the consequences of it. That’s left entirely up to the players.”
- WotC's Chris Perkins​


It's not clear if it's a full-fledged traitor mechanic like in some other games, or just an extension of the traits/bonds/flaws guidelines.

UPDATE -- this post (below) has some more information from EN Worlder ikj. "It's a card you can draw at character creation. If you like it you keep it. If you don't you can take another. I don't get the impression it's a 'traitor mechanic' so much as a way to add some interesting twists to character interactions and add some tie-ins with the plot."

In other news, the adventure is very inspired by John Carpenter's The Thing.

The Thing is a story about an isolated group of people dealing with a monster in their midst, and much of the movie takes place at night. If you take that idea and apply it to a D&D campaign, there’s lot of potential there,” he said over email. “When your setting is a cold, dark, isolated place, the horror comes easily. I was struck by the fact that our previous excursions to Icewind Dale didn’t really lean in that direction, so here was a chance to show Icewind Dale in a different light.”


From Venturebeat.
 
Russ Morrissey

Comments

Retreater

Legend
But that is clearly not what they are doing, if you read the article.

"Drawing inspiration from The Thing" does not mean "literally making it like the Thing". Characters have secrets that tie them to the plot, not pvp, just plot ties.
So I'm going to make a game that's drawing inspiration from The Fast and the Furious, but it's not going to have cars. Or family.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

If they are drawing inspiration from the Thing, which has the equivalent of PCs being replaced by a murderous monster, I don't see how "character secrets" can be anything other than PvP. I'm hesitantly open to see what they do - and maybe their inspiration is just "horror in a cold place" - but my interest level just dropped.
With this genre "they all went mad and killed each other" should be a real potential outcome (it's unusually what happened to the previous expedition). But you want it to be entirely avoidable with intelligent play. This is how I would do it:

Everyone takes a secret card. All the secrets are fairly inconsequential, but you trick the players into thinking one of the cards is a "you are the monster" card. Really, none of the PCs is the monster (it's an NPC), but you make them think one of them is.
 

Actually it is not clear. Crawford even said the player with the secret is free to tell the other players. So it seems the purpose is a bit different.
That's easy. You don't let the players keep the cards. So, when a player "tells their secret" the other players have no way to know they are not lying.
 

dave2008

Legend
That's easy. You don't let the players keep the cards. So, when a player "tells their secret" the other players have no way to know they are not lying.
Sorry, I'm not understanding the point of your comment. My point was the mechanic doesn't really rely on it being a secret per Crawford's comments. I am sure there are ways to make it a secret, but that was not the point of my comment.
 

Sorry, I'm not understanding the point of your comment. My point was the mechanic doesn't really rely on it being a secret per Crawford's comments. I am sure there are ways to make it a secret, but that was not the point of my comment.
Crawford said the players are free to tell their secret, but without the card as evidence, if Player A says "my secret is I'm an agent for the Harpers" the other players have no way to know they are telling their truth. For all the other players know, the card might have said "you are the wendigo, eat everyone" and they are lying about being a Harper Agent.

Without proof "sharing the secret" is meaningless.
 

MarkB

Legend
So I'm going to make a game that's drawing inspiration from The Fast and the Furious, but it's not going to have cars. Or family.
If I make a D&D game that's based on The Fast and the Furious, it's definitely not going to have cars. Airships, maybe, or fantastical monstrous mounts. Family is optional - I'm not going to force my players to make characters who are related to each other.
 

dave2008

Legend
Crawford said the players are free to tell their secret, but without the card as evidence, if Player A says "my secret is I'm an agent for the Harpers" the other players have no way to know they are telling their truth. For all the other players know, the card might have said "you are the wendigo, eat everyone" and they are lying about being a Harper Agent.

Without proof "sharing the secret" is meaningless.
Got it - I hadn't heard that. Of course, it is really easy to give them the card too ;)
 


univoxs

That's my dog, Walter
Supporter
If they are drawing inspiration from the Thing, which has the equivalent of PCs being replaced by a murderous monster, I don't see how "character secrets" can be anything other than PvP. I'm hesitantly open to see what they do - and maybe their inspiration is just "horror in a cold place" - but my interest level just dropped.
Vampire and WoD games in general can often revolve around the characters being at odd purposes but being drawn together by a larger threat. For my table, this has mnade some of the most memorable and enjoyable sessions.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Secrets are fine, I encourage it in my own game. PvP? Nope, not for me. It's something I ban in the session 0 discussion.

I do sometimes play minor mind-games with players with secrets, potential possession and so on, but I make sure it never scales up to the level of actual PCs fighting each other.
 


Retreater

Legend
If I make a D&D game that's based on The Fast and the Furious, it's definitely not going to have cars. Airships, maybe, or fantastical monstrous mounts. Family is optional - I'm not going to force my players to make characters who are related to each other.
Family is not optional in the Fast and the Furious game. Nothing is more important than family.
 


Al'Kelhar

Explorer
I am not and never have been a member of the Zhentarim faction.
See, you've just failed the first test, right there. That's a denial that's easily checked with a Zone of Truth. The right response is:

"As you would appreciated in these circumstances, I can neither confirm nor deny that I am now, or have ever been, a member of the Zhentarim Faction".
 

Secrets are fine, I encourage it in my own game. PvP? Nope, not for me. It's something I ban in the session 0 discussion.
The scene where everyone is pointing their guns at everyone else doesn't really work if they know the guns won't fire.

Why do you think it's necessary to ban PvP in session zero? Do you think it's something that is likely to happen if you didn't ban it? I've never banned PvP, but I've never seen it happen either.
 


The scene where everyone is pointing their guns at everyone else doesn't really work if they know the guns won't fire.

Why do you think it's necessary to ban PvP in session zero? Do you think it's something that is likely to happen if you didn't ban it? I've never banned PvP, but I've never seen it happen either.
Seems a red flag to ban it. I trust my players. We discuss tone. We discuss expectation.
 

So I'm going to make a game that's drawing inspiration from The Fast and the Furious, but it's not going to have cars. Or family.
You could do that. George Lucas got inspiration from The Hidden Fortress and Flash Gordon for Star Wars. And yet the movie features no samurai and is very different from Flash Gordon. If I draw inspiration from Dark Souls for my game, that doesn't mean my game will 'be' Dark Souls, nor that it will feature knights, or monsters, or its setting, or any of its mechanics.

There are lots of things you can do when taking inspiration from another property, but that doesn't mean you will literally copy everything over from that other property. I got the impression that they are going for the feeling of paranoia and dread, but not so much traitor mechanics (or else they would have said so), and I'm pretty sure it won't include a ufo either.
 
Last edited:

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
See, you've just failed the first test, right there. That's a denial that's easily checked with a Zone of Truth. The right response is:

"As you would appreciated in these circumstances, I can neither confirm nor deny that I am now, or have ever been, a member of the Zhentarim Faction".
The Zhentarim are all nancy-boys and do-gooders. Bring on your zone of truth. I am more secreter than that by far. How much more secret could I be? None. None more secret.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
The scene where everyone is pointing their guns at everyone else doesn't really work if they know the guns won't fire.

Why do you think it's necessary to ban PvP in session zero? Do you think it's something that is likely to happen if you didn't ban it? I've never banned PvP, but I've never seen it happen either.
It may not be necessary but it is a preference. I've had bad experiences in the past with PvP so basically I just don't want to deal with it. I cover a fair amount of things in my session 0 document like no evil PCs, don't play a loner who goes out of their way to antagonize everyone and so on. The no PvP is just one minor bullet point.

At a certain point I would just manipulate the scenario so it never gets to the "guns pointed at each other" phase, at least unless it's clear that the PC is not who they think it is (at least to the player of the PC being attacked). Different people play for different reasons, for me some things that would work for a short term or mini campaign would not work for campaigns that I want to go on for a couple of years.
 

Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters

Advertisement1

Latest threads

Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top