Sometimes it can be hard to cook up a story for a group of hungry gamers who have been consistently stomping through all your best mysteries and making the nastiest of your big nasties look foolish. Well, that’s the joy of a good tabletop rpg supplement. If you’ve been plumbing the frozen mysteries of Free League’s Vaesen, the Nordic horror themed tabletop rpg, then their supplement A Wicked Secret and Other Mysteries may be able to take some of the burden off your shoulders.
A Wicked Secret is a collection of four fully developed stories for integration into an ongoing campaign or to function as one shots, with a few modifications. As I said in my review of the core book, Vaesen’s rich setting and mechanics function much better as a long running campaign than they do for pick up and play type sessions. It’s far from impossible, and even enjoyable, but will need some creative planning on the part of the GM and a bit of modification here and there. It certainly isn’t the first system to run into this stumbling block, and it’s not the most damning of issues to have.
The stories themselves are interesting and come packed with developed NPCs with their own motivations and a whole host of creepy and whimsical creatures with their own lore, gorgeous illustrations, and mechanics. My personal favourite of which is the very large pig, hungry for everything insight, and ready for any holiday celebration. Of course all of these work wonderfully within the context of their own stories; these element can be broken off for inclusion into whatever devilish plots you have cooked up on your own.
Now, just like the core book, this is a lovely addition to any collector’s cache of rpgs and errata, with heaps of fantastic pages of art and various hand outs and maps to help everything play smoothly. Unfortunately, a few of those lovely illustrations may seem a bit familiar, possibly because several of them were lifted completely from the core book without any changes at all. Even the cover image is a reprinted image from the original book. Not only that, but the majority of the handouts included within are extremely difficult to read and may lead to more frustration than the elucidation they were meant to.
These problems are minor. There is some recycled art, but atleast the art is still gorgeous and thematic. While the secretive notes may be inscrutable, transcription is available within the description of the individual adventures. A Wicked Secret and Other Mysteries is not the perfect supplement, but it certainly provides a wealth of new adventures and ideas for a GM that may be struggling to come to grips with an unfamiliar new setting. The stories are enjoyable and the fresh art that is provided is a wonder to behold that will sit nicely on any bookshelf that needs just a few more Nordic mysteries on it.