Mysteries throughout the year - a Mephisto review
Seasons of Mystery
As a supplement to the role-playing game Vaesen, Seasons of Mystery is a collection of four adventures, each of which, as the name suggests, is assigned to a season.
The first adventure is A Dance with Death, which takes the player characters to the seemingly peaceful area around Lake Siljan in the spring. Near the lake, animals are kept for grazing in the spring, and a group of young women take care of herding the animals there. But the supposedly idyllic atmosphere is broken when a young farm girl is found by the lake with amnesia, and shortly after, two cows drown in the water. The task is to solve the mystery and prevent an escalation.
The adventure Fireheart focuses on an area called Smolandia, which suffers from heat waves and fires, causing many residents to immigrate to America. One of these people, who wants to leave the area, does not want to leave his brother, who runs a successful steel mill and may be under the influence of a preacher. Of course, there is much more to do than just mediate between the two quarreling brothers because, this time, the player characters will encounter a truly epic creature.
The Devil on the Moor is about a group of engineers who try to open up an abandoned moorland through canals. However, during their work, they encounter strange events and constant setbacks. The chief engineer fears that dark forces are at work. The players must investigate this matter and mediate between the engineers and the villagers, who are critical of the project, to solve the strange incidents' mystery.
Finally, the adventure A Winter's Trail takes the player characters towards St. Petersburg, where they want to participate in a meeting with like-minded people. However, a dangerous snowstorm forces them to seek shelter on their journey. There, they are confronted with a threat that they must identify while fighting for their survival and that of the other guests of the inn in the middle of the wilderness.
Seasons of Mystery offers four well-crafted and, above all, varied adventures, each capturing the mood of its season. The settings and challenges are unique, and each adventure should offer enough for a few sessions before the characters have solved the mystery and hopefully averted the conflict. As usual with Vaesen, it is not just about identifying the supernatural threat, but also trying to solve the problem at its core. And since a physical confrontation is not the method of choice, it is a matter of understanding the background and trying to resolve the conflicts in other ways - if possible, which is not always the case here.
I liked the approach that each adventure takes place in a limited, self-contained setting that offers the player characters many opportunities for interaction, be it with the young farmhands, the aggressive brothers, the engineers, or the inn guests, who offer entirely different points of view. For each scenario, there are also hints on how they can be adapted for the Mythic Britain & Ireland setting.
For players of Vaesen, Seasons of Mystery is definitely recommended, as the adventures provide exciting challenges and offer varied environments for the player characters to investigate.