T.I.M.E. Stories: Under The Mask
Teaching Time: 20 mins
Playing Time: 90 mins per session
Setup Time: 20 mins
Value For Money: Mid
Solo Play Review
Under The Mask is my personal favorite T.I.M.E. Stories module so far. Its set in ancient Egypt and tasks players with fixing things so that Tutankhamun will be found to have died via the correct method recorded by history. The theme is strong and well realised, also it has no divisive or horror elements, making it accessible to a wide audience.
Its greatest strength is its overall story arc involving searching out a wide range of items driving you through the full selection of its offered locations. This simply sits together as a crafted whole better than most of the modules so far, its puzzles are appropriate to its setting and story and allow for both subtle passing moments of interest and satisfyingly climatic ones. A powerful element present in this module and inexplicably missing from all the others is the ability to switch player characters mid-play. The plot of T.I.M.E. Stories has player's agents jumping into character through time to fix history, so switching characters makes absolute sense and it is a total mystery why this ability doesn't turn up in more modules.
In the overall T.I.M.E. Stories arc, Under The Mask stands largely separate, it has a minor element which I will mention below under a spoiler warning, but it can be played out of release sequence without spoiling the main story. Under The Mask is a solid module and in my opinion would have made the best release module for the base set.
Throughout T.I.M.E. Stories mysterious blue cubes are hidden. As yet (just after the release of Brotherhood Of The Coast) it is unclear what their purpose is but it seems clear that it has something to do with the over arching story line. Under The Mask contains the first post-base set one of these cubes, however nothing indicates they need to be found in any specific order meaning the module can still be played in any sequence. It does mean that unlike The Marcy Case this module will need to eventually be played to complete the final story, persumably.