“You are fae, and we are in the only fae city in the wilds, Solstice. It’s a dense, constantly changing metropolis that does not strictly follow the laws of physics. The fae are governed by four Courts that align with the seasons of the mortal realm. The Fall Court has recently ascended to power. It is a time of bounty and abundance–and of bracing for coming cold and harsh times ahead.”1
Those Courts are served by Houses that specialize in various services or trades. “One House stands apart from the rest. House Masks, made of members from the various other Houses, acts as the ‘legitimate’ means for the Courts to combat one another. The members, called Masks, must toe the line between their obligations to their family House, and the criminal activity required of them when they don their mask.”2
And now you must…
Don Your Mask
I love the fey. I love the capriciousness, the natural power, the touch of the arcane, the whimsy of divine existence, the tricks, the riddles… I love fey-aligned stories in media like Dresden or the Kingmaker path. When Stephanie Allen of Charm Person Games said she wanted to run a fey-based game of politics and trickery over on Gehenna Gaming, I immediately volunteered. If anyone knows fey, it’s Stephanie (who may be one) as she plays one on Gehenna Valley with me and we just returned with season 2! More than that, she’s an amazing GM I’ve gotten to play with her before and I know she can evoke a mood whether it’s dark and dangerous or lively and intriguing as she unveils her story.
For this kind of game, that’s exactly what’s needed. You want to feel like you’re traveling, cavorting, fighting, or gallivanting through the Fey Wilds. The creator, Spencer Campbell, describes it as a narrative game so the story and its characters will get primary focus. It’s truly tabletop roleplaying at its finest as you drive the story while interacting with your Game Master. Oh there’s certainly dice rolling too but I’ll get to that!
Signs of the Seasons
Seasons is built atop the Resistance Toolbox by Rowan, Roo and Decard. You are a fey courtier that must choose 1) a Court, 2) a family House, and then a bit of expertise in a specific skill or domain. Your Court and House give you some skills and domains, a well as specific abilities. Your House will also grant you some starting equipment and suggest some Bonds that you will have.
Those Bonds are your links with other Masks as well as the people of Solstice. You can leverage that Bond, asking them for help on a roll or you can burn a Bond to remove all the stress you’ve incurred. The stress on your resistance track is like damage. Get enough of it and you’ll suffer some fallout. Fallout impacts you and those around you in the story. Maybe you failed to Blend as a Mask, so the house turns on you or you are assigned a suicide mission! You may have gotten so much Strain that you could bleed out, have a mental breakdown , or suffer some sort of permanent physical damage.
But Rob – you might be thinking – how do I use these skills and domains and my abilities to avoid getting stress and fallout? Well Seasons uses a d6. You always start with a pool of one. Do you have an applicable skill or relevant domain? Add a d6 for each. The highest number you roll determines failure (1-3), success with a consequence (4-5), or success (6). Those skills include working a Deal, Deceiving a friend or foe, Harming others, Slinking away to hide, Stitching up a person or object, and Studying those around you. Domains are actual areas of focus: academic, art, coin, contracts, etiquette, and veil. And to clarify that veil helps you move magically, through the veil between worlds, even visit the mortal realm!
In building a character you’ll want to choose a Name, your pronouns (always happy to see that on the character sheet), and your general look and aesthetic. There aren’t suggestions to pull from so your imagination is the limit! I did love doing the bonds on camera, like how the Summer courtier (shout out to Brian‘s wonderful creativity) was too busy for some events so I had to play up as him with my mimicry to appear before the masses. It gave us plenty to banter back and forth about! We were doing a one shot but there’s greater considerations to be had, especially if you’re doing a long term game like how close is Solstice to the actual Fey Wilds, what kind of Fey live in the city or in the greater wild? You’ll want to consider mortals, especially if any happen to live in or visit Solstice often. Courtiers might be surprised to see a mortal visit, especially at a gala…
Stephanie let us know before the game we’d been hired by the Fall Court to help prolong their season. We’d be attending the “change of season” gala in the city of Solstice where the stones representing all the Courts would be present and we’d have to steal them so the Winter Court could not claim power from the Fall later. Also she let us know we’d have a secondary, secret mission! I was quite excited to see what characters we’d have to choose from.
Knowing I wanted to play up the Masks idea, I had a few outfits prepared with some actual masquerade masks to use. When the Spring character got in my hands and I saw they were talented in mimicry with various masks and costumes of the other courts, I knew they were for me. They were of the Glamour House – of course – known for fine acting and artistry, but also acting as spies for the fae, even against other courts. The abilities were interesting. Once per session I could make anything grow whether enlarging someone or making seeds grow even if their seeds of doubt in someone’s mind! I could also establish that a structure or location in Solstice existed even if it wasn’t here a moment before. I also had an ensemble, which I thought more as an entourage, from within my court who could go get information for me. Finally, I had the ability to study someone and store their character in my mask so I can make a convincing appearance as them.
My secret before starting? I suspected there was a traitor amongst my House of Masks. I would have to find and stop them without outing my own involvement. I established I was an old traveler of Winter at the gala for my first mask. The Autumn courtier (the incredible Natalie also of Charm Person Games) started drinking and chatting up our contact at the gala: Birdie. Summer and Winter (played by the amazing Dixie) reviewed the party as well as Autumn and myself as they sipped their drinks. We all had a part to play and moved quickly to begin.
I shouldn’t give the whole story away, but indeed I found a traitor. I got to use one ability of mine to make a glorious catwalk to a transportary kite, made by Summer out of magic alone. We knocked out a guard, stole some gems, tricked some other guards with law and order (good job Summer and Winter) while Autumn played the fool but stayed right in the thick of the action! I loved the witty commentary, the outlandish abilities, and the fey political intrigue. It was adversarial without being terribly violent, and enough PvP to be actually intriguing without causing friction for the story. Stephanie also had an amazing reference to our Gehenna Valley game by having her mother and brother visiting the gala, adding a heartwarming element after our illicit activities! I do so enjoy the fey!
If the intrigues and powers of the fey interest you, I highly suggest investing in Seasons! It’s an easy game to play over the internet and good for either a one-shot or a larger campaign. And should you have interest, Stephanie and Natalie are professional GMs who can run Seasons or many other games for you. Check them out at Charm Person Games!
I wasn’t quite sure what to name my article series when I first started but the idea of showcasing or discussing things that make me excited, that I find new and interesting, or maybe I’m otherwise passionate about seemed to fit with the idea of Investing In something like the Pathfinder 2E mechanic. To use some magic items you have to give that little bit of yourself, which helps make these things even better. I like the metaphor of the community growing and being strengthened in the same way!
I also want to hear what you’re Investing In! Leave me a comment below about what games, modules, systems, products, people, live streams, etc you enjoy! You can also hit me up on social media as silentinfinity. I want to hear what excites you and what you’re passionate about. There’s so much wonderful content, people, groups (I could go on) in this community of ours that the more we invest in and share, the better it becomes!
Banner – Seasons banner, Seasons by Gila RPGs, Spencer Campbell