What Do I Know About Reviews? Chilled Secrets (Dungeon Masters Guild Product)
I’m going to try to be brief with this review, not because the product doesn’t deserve a deep dive, but because I feel a little strange writing a review longer than the product that I’m looking at. What I am looking at today is the Dungeon Masters Guild product Chilled Secrets.
Chilled Secrets is a product similar to Chultan Death Curse: Revised! which expands and supplements some of the rules introduced in a particular adventure to reinforce its theme, and Eberron: Backgrounds Debts and Regrets, which added new options to a wonderfully flavorful table added to Eberron: Rising from the Last War.
In this case, Chilled Secrets is adding new secrets to the options introduced in Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden.
This is a four page product, including a cover piece, a page of instructions, two pages of lists grouped by different themes, with the credits relegated to the bottom corner of the second page.
The instructions for this section give various ways for players to determine their secret using these charts, with different degrees of randomness across the different processes.
The stated purpose of this product is to focus on creating horror themed secrets, and to move away from some of the more humorous selections that exist in Rime of the Frostmaiden.
This section also reinforces that the players should keep their secret . . . well . . . secret. Personally, I think secrets can be problematic. Most of the secrets in the product don’t point players directly at one another, but they can reinforce behavior that doesn’t promote working together to succeed.
Rime of the Frost Maiden, in introducing secrets, puts less emphasis on players keeping their secret. Their secret is their own, and if they want to reveal it, that’s up to them. I would add to this that a secret you never reveal is wasted story material.
Various Closet Skeletons
There are four broad categories of secrets. These include:
- Legal Entanglements and Dark Accusations (10 secrets)
- Troublesome Family and Questionable Friends (8 secrets)
- Planar Entities and Profane Ties (10 secrets)
- Blind Ambition and Vain Conceit (8 secrets)
There aren’t many secrets that are humorous or embarrassing on this chart. The worst secrets on these charts are slightly more pointed than some of the existing secrets found in Rime of the Frostmaiden. Like some of the secrets in that book, this may mean you have ties to different parts of the story, clues to future events in later chapters of the adventure, or even special abilities tied to your secret. All of these feel in line with the secrets already presented.
I don’t blame this product for not addressing what the main adventure does not, but I do wish the secrets were a bit more mechanized. I would like it spelled out that whenever the player gets into trouble due to their secret, they can get inspiration. I would love to have a formal process for the player to say “I’m going to do something related to my secret” to the table, to help defuse any hard feelings up front. I really wish there was some kind of benefit to revealing a secret, even if it was a benefit more for the player than for the character revealing the secret.
Regardless of how I wish the mechanics worked within the confines of the adventure, I appreciate having more options, and this product provides lots of new options which all feel appropriate to the adventure.
Recommended–If the product fits in your broad area of gaming interests, you are likely to be happy with this purchase.
If you are running Rime of the Frostmaiden, I cannot imagine that you wouldn’t be happy with this purchase. Additionally, as a fan of background information for player characters, I think this is also a good product to peruse for details even for campaigns that aren’t directly tied to Rime of the Frostmaiden.