• The VOIDRUNNER'S CODEX is coming! Explore new worlds, fight oppressive empires, fend off fearsome aliens, and wield deadly psionics with this comprehensive boxed set expansion for 5E and A5E!

Vaesen Story Hour


Vaesen, Session 0

It is the mid 19th century, and Europe is recovering from the Napoleonic Wars. In the mythic north of Scandinavia (Denmark, Finland, Sweden & Norway), the tireless march of industrialisation creates a rift between the crowded, smokey cities and the wild, superstitious countryside. Forests are felled to clear ground for railway lines, and rivers are polluted by the poisonous run-off from factories. The Vaesen, creatures of myth and legend feel their way of life is under attack, and can only be pushed so far before they begin to push back....

In the city of Upsala, a group of investigators gather at the crumbling ruins of Castle Gyllencreutz, at the behest of a troubled old woman named Linnea Elfeklint. They are the Thursday's Children, cursed with the ability to perceive the invisible world of the Vaesen. Together, they will reform the Society, a secretive organisation dedicated to studying the supernatural and intervening in any conflict between aggrieved Vaesen and the humans who inadvertently threaten the old ways they cherish.

The investigators are;

Arne Lindstrom, old hunter, male: rangy woodsman in his mid 60's, tough as old boot leather. Comes across as gruff and crusty, but is truly an introspective soul who loves nature. Arne grew up in the same village as Linnea Elfeklint, who was close friends with Arne's mother, leading to her offering him the job of gamekeeper at Castle Gyllencreutz.

Erik Gruber, young private detective, male: grew up in a mining community before joining the local constabulary. A perpetual adulterer, he simultaneously ruined his career and relationship after cuckolding a superior officer. Discharged in disgrace, Erik became a private investigator and began taking dangerous cases that could not be handled by the police. On one such investigation, Erik tangled with a werewolf. His story made the papers and drew his name to the attention of Linnea Elfeklint, who invited him to join the Society after recovering from his wounds.

Knut Dahlberg, middle-aged vagabond, male: homeless vagrant with dirty blonde hair and shabby clothes. He never goes anywhere without his trusty bindle. Wears a silver cross on a chain around his neck, the only thing he has to remind him of his mother. Knut joined the Society to expose the Vaesen, and to have a safe and dry place to rest his head.

Svenrich Hansen, middle-aged writer, male: freelance journalist and author of lurid fiction based on Scandinavian folklore. Svenrich first met Erik Gruber when writing about his encounter with the werewolf and the two men realised they shared the Sight. Svenrich was recruited into the Society to document any future encounters with the Vaesen.

Gudrun 'Mystic' Magi, middle-aged occultist, male: swarthy fortune teller with a thick Slavic accent and an inflated opinion of his own mystic arts. Was recruited into the Society after offering his services as a psychic to Linnea Elfeklint.

log in or register to remove this ad


Vaesen, Session 1/Part 1

A letter arrives at Castle Gyllencreutz, addressed to the Society. Their decrepit butler Algot Frisk delivers the envelope unto the investigators. They are invited to attend a shadow play titled The Dance of Dreams, at the Witch Cat Inn outside the city. The invitation is signed Olaus Klint.

The investigators spend some time in the castle's dusty library before setting off. They discover the Witch Cat Inn was once used as a meeting place for the Society some 50 years ago. Svenrich canvases his contacts for intel on Olaus Klint, but comes up empty. Meanwhile, Algot packs each investigator an overnight bag, before bundling them into the last coach to Sigtuna.

During the journey, Knut challenges Erik to a game of Five Finger Fillet, and Gudrun reads Arne's future in the tarot cards. Svenrich observes and makes notes for his next book, featuring a crime-solving fortune teller. Everyone gains Advantage (+2 dice to any one check during the mystery).

A fierce storm rolls in as the coach stops outside the Witch Cat Inn. Torrential rain drums against the roof of the coach and thunder rumbles overhead. A middle-aged man waits to meet the investigators, huddled against the weather in the scant shelter offered by the stablehouse. He introduces himself as Olaus Klint and tells them about a strange and powerful presence inflicting vivid night terrors on travellers who stay at the inn.

The investigators head inside. The place is a naughty word hole. Water drips from the ceiling and the wind batters loose shutters. A sorry collection of dispirited guests are seated around the drafty taproom;
  • Sami Harjula - surly innkeeper,
  • Sophia Harjula - innkeeper's daughter, homely serving wench,
  • Ingelis Holm - cook,
  • Sven Knuse - stablehand,
  • Jonathan Gnejs - guest, obese drunk,
  • Father Niels Klarhed - guest, sickly priest,
  • Lisa Finkel - guest, chemisty student from Upsala University.

The investigators ask Sophia about the shadow play and - after a fearful glance toward her father - she quietly invites them to join her in the attic for the debut performance. Knut asks Sami about the strange dreams afflicting his other guests, but the innkeeper denies everything.

The investigators head to the attic, where Sophia is waiting to begin the shadow play. The Dance of Dreams tells the story of a man called Oscar Hjort, who could also see the Vaesen. Oscar was recruited by a man called Albert and introduced to his friends. They told Oscar of their plans, but Oscar rejected them, so Albert and his friends murdered him and buried his body in unconsecrated ground.

As the play reaches its end, Sophia's voice becomes deeper and more masculine, until it is clearly some other being speaking through her body. Suddenly, a skeletal figure wreathed in icy blue flames rises from beneath the stage and hurtles toward the audience! Knut and Gudrun are frozen with fear. Arne flees the attic in terror, while Erik draws his revolver and fires upon the wraith. His shots pass through the apparition and it dissipates into freezing mist. Only Svenrich retains his wits and slaps some sense back into his comrades. Arne returns clutching his rifle, but the dread spectre is gone!


Vaesen, Session 1/Part 2

Sophia is comatose, mumbling the same four names over and over; "Albert... Katja... Hilda... Pyrri...." Nothing the investigators do can rouse the sleeping woman. Sami enters the attic to investigate the gunshot and finds his unconcious daughter surrounded by strange men. He's not super happy about that. Unable to wake her, Sami carries Sophia to her room. Knut wants answers but Sami is not talking. The two men nearly come to blows before Arne intervenes.

Sami is left to watch over his sleeping daughter while the investigators... investigate. All the other guests have fallen asleep also, muttering the same four names under their breath. Erik searches the attic and finds journals written by Sami's wife Nora. She describes a ghostly presence haunting the inn, and an abusive relationship with her overbearing husband. The final entry indicates her intent to run away. The diary also records that Pyrri Harjula (Sami's grandfather) was involved in the murder of Oscar Hjort, and that Oscar's body was buried in the inn's garden.

Meanwhile, Svenrich and Gudrun search the guest's rooms for clues. In Lisa Finkel's room, they find several phials of opium and a loaded revolver. They take the gun. As lightning flashes outside, Gudrun sees Oscar Hjort's skeletal visage grinning in through the window. He feels the spectre trying to take possession of his body. For a fleeting instant, he is overwhelmed with the urge to take Lisa Finkel's gun and shoot Svenrich in the head - but the moment passes and Gudrun shakes off the spectre's baleful influence.

Knut wants another crack at Sami, but finds the innkeeper missing. Sami has gone out to the stablehouse and is in the process of tying a noose around his own neck. He has been possessed and believes himself to be his grandfather Pyrri. Only by killing himself can he atone for his sins. Knut tackles Sami to the ground and calls for the other investigators to help restrain the suicidal innkeeper. The other investigators rush out to help, and Erik demands to know where Oscar's body is buried. "The root cellar!" Sami wails, somehow accessing the memories of his murderous grandsire.

Suddenly, the revenant of Oscar Hjort materialises amongst the investigators, condemning them for interfering in his vengeance. He accuses the party of conspiring with his murderer and raises his knife-edged claws to rend their treacherous flesh from the bone.... TBC!


Vaesen, Session 2/Part 1

Screaming wind rattles the walls of the stablehouse, as the Thursday's Children confront the vengeful shade of Oscar Hjort.

"Pyrri.... Betrayer.... Murderer!" the spectre intones, advancing on the quaking innkeeper. Sami is overcome with terror and passes out.

Gudrun moves to intercept the gristly apparition, brandishing his ritual dagger and calling upon his mystic arts to hold back the wraith. Oscar bats him aside. Gudrun cartwheels through the air crashes down in the muddy inn yard, battered and bleeding, his knife lost to the darkness.

Oscar looms over the helpless innkeeper, flexing his knife-edged claws. Before he can strike, Erik shoots the ghoul in the back. Oscar spins around, empty eye sockets ablaze with murderous hatred! Knut darts forward and slams his knife into the creature's breastbone! With an anguished howl, the apparition dissipates into freezing mist, driven back to the root cellar where its body lies buried beneath unconsecrated soil.

The investigator's relief is short-lived, as the sleeping guests emerge from the inn, their eyes glazed and movements shambolic. In unison, they chant the names of the four conspirators Oscar holds responsible for his death; "Albert.... Katja.... Hilda.... Pyrri...." Unwilling to harm innocent pawns, the investigators retreat into the stablehouse and barricade the entrance. The sleepers hammer their fists on the door. Peeking through a gap in the slats, Erik sees Father Klarhed carrying a lantern that burns with a sinister blue flame. Taking careful aim, Erik shoots the lantern. It explodes, splashing the priest with oil and causing the blue flame to spread to his cassock. Father Klarhed does not react as his flesh begins to bubble and melt.

Svenrich recalls the occult tomes he found in the inn and begins frantically skimming through them for clues. He establishes Oscar is a type of Vaesen called a Revenant, and that he is unable to harm anyone bearing a holy symbol. To banish the creature for good, its remains must either be reburied in consecrated ground, or burnt.


Vaesen, Session 2/Part 2

The investigators know Oscar's body is buried beneath the root cellar, but the stable is surrounded by mindless sleepwalkers under the Revenant's control. Gudrun and Arne climb into the hayloft and jump down into the yard. They run toward the root cellar, slipping and sliding in the mud, as the sleepers give chase. The inn's jovial cook - who the investigators last saw ladling out bowels of watery broth - reappears swinging a meat cleaver. Losing their nerve, Gudrun and Arne retreat into the inn. The sleepwalkers crowd into the root cellar, to stand guard over Oscar's grave.

Knut grabs the smoldering corpse of Father Klarhed and rolls it into the root cellar. He then throws hay onto the corpse to start a fire, and shuts the cellar door. The root cellar fills with smoke, and one by one, the sleepers begin to asphyxiate. Wrapping wet rags around their faces to protect themselves from the smoke, the investigators carry the unconcious guests back to the inn and tie them up. Arne and Gudrun decide to get high on the drugs found in Lisa Finkel's room.

Meanwhile, the rest of the team start digging up the root cellar in search of Oscar's bones. The desperate Revenant enthralls Knut and compels him to attack his friends with a shovel. Knut is grievously injured/physically broken in the scuffle.

Erik and Svenrich unearth Oscar's grave. The ghoul rages at them, but is powerless to prevent them dousing his skeletal
remains in alcohol and setting them ablaze. The bones crumble into ash and the Revenant is destroyed.

Erik and Svenrich carry Knut back to the inn, expecting Arne to treat his injury - however the old hunter is smacked up on opiates. He does his best, but the wound heals weird and Knut develops a permanent/crippling injury (-1 Force once per session, unable to wield two-handed weapons).

The sleepers wake and demand to be untied. They have no recollection of their actions under Oscar's spell and understandably want to know WTF is going on. Also, where is Father Klarhed? Knut tells them everything - every strange and unlikely detail. Nobody believes him. Yes, something unnatural has occured, but who could rationalise such an outlandish tale?! Olaus thanks the investigators for their aid solving the mystery of the Dance of Dreams, and looks forward to working with them again in the future.

The investigators return to Upsala, to recover from their ordeal and develop their headquarters. TBC!


Vaesen, Session 3/Part 1

The investigators return to Upsala to indulge in some downtime and develop their headquarters. Erik begins to alphabetize the castle's extensive library and discovers a secret room filled with records of the Socities' previous encounters with the Vaesen (new HQ feature: Annals). Arne has developed an unfortunate craving for opiates and makes frequent visits to the Widow Gustovssdottir for sweet release. Svenrich splashes out on some new camera equipment and Gudrun buys a crystal ball, since all the cool occultists are using them. Knutt is confined to his bed, as the wound he suffered on the previous investigation has turned septic, and he may yet lose the limb.

Several days pass. The investigators are visited by Inspector Lundmark of the UPD. He is investigating the mysterious disappearance of Father Niels Klarhed (who the investigators may have set on fire). It occurs to the investigators that they did just leave the priest's crispy carcass lying in the root cellar of the Witch Cat Inn, where any old flatfoot could find it. The investigators play dumb. Inspector Lundmark seems unconvinced, and states he will also be speaking to Lisa Finkel at Upsala University. The investigators wish him well and take no further action to obfuscate their involvement in the priest's demise, which will DEFINITELY not have repercussions in the future....

Soon thereafter, the investigators receive an unrelated letter from a living priest named Oscar Uddgren. The body of his mentor Vicar Carl Hedqvist has been hauled from the sea, with what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Oscar does not believe Vicar Hedqvist capable of suicide and suspects his death was engineered by the wicked Herring Baron of Wrecker Isle! Oscar implores the Society to meet him in Fjallbacka, and bring the Herring Baron to justice. With nowt else to do (like, I don't know, relocating an incriminating corpse or convincing an eyewitness into altering her damning testimony), the investigators hop onto the next coach!

The overland journey from Upsala to Fjallbacka takes several days. By happy coincidence, Svenrich has visited Wrecker Isle before and sends a messenger pigeon to his good friend Malte Sundstrom to secure accomodation for the group. Oscar Uddgren awaits them at the docks, but refuses to follow them into a tavern, claiming such establishments are dens of sin and alcohol is the devil's pisswater. The investigators watch him through the window, shivering in the cold as they knock back a few pints beside a warm hearth. Eventually, the ferry to Wrecker Isle shows up and the entire party climb aboard.

The voyage to Wrecker Isle is short, but the sea is choppy, and Arne loses his breakfast. Oscar reveals a few choice nuggets of exposition;
  • The Herring Baron is called Zacharias Amundsson. He is the youngest of four brothers and manages the profitable saltery on Wrecker Isle. His mother Abela runs the inn. There are rumours that Zacharias killed his own father, although his mother does not seem to begrudge him that act of patricide.
  • Vicar Hedqvist visited Wrecker Isle many times, hoping to convert the heathen fisherfolk to Christianity. Each time, his efforts were ridiculed and rebuffed. Not to be deterred, Vicar Hedqvist returned to Wrecker Isle one month ago, carrying a pistol to defend himself from the rough devils that sup from the Amundsson's salty cup. He was not seen again until his waterlogged corpse was pulled from the sea.


Vaesen, Session 3/Part 2

The investigators arrive at Wrecker Isle. The docks are bustling with rowdy fishermen who pay the landlubbers little mind. Oscar points out the Amundsson inn and the huge building that houses the herring saltery.

The investigators head for the inn. Erik persuades Oscar to tone down the talk of fire and brimstone. Even at midday, the inn is crowded and the locals are raucous. 'Godmother' Abela Amundsson - a robust crone cradling a shotgun - perches atop the bar, eyeballing the newcomers suspiciously. She is flanked by two of the ugliest men the investigators have ever seen (imagine Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee if they had grown up on a council estate), presumably two of her four sons. The investigators order drinks (water for Oscar) and are served by a young woman called Justina. It turns out that Oscar and Justina are aquainted, and it was only after she put him in the friend zone that he joined the priesthood. Svenrich is waylaid by a old drunkard, who warns the writer to beware the new moon.

A couple of sailors get handsy with Justina, and Oscar bolts to his feet. Erik pacifies the hot-headed priest before he causes a scene. 'Godmother' Abela discharges her shotgun into the ceiling and warns the sailors to keep their hands to themselves.

Svenrich's friend has secured rooms for the investigators, but there is no bed for Oscar. The priest will have to stay in an empty shack on the bluffs, where he will be closer to God and further from Justina. Arne and Erik explore the island, while Svenrich and Gudrun hunker down at the inn.

Svenrich endears himself to the locals by getting in a round of drinks. They tell him about the bountiful quantities of herring over the past 30 years, a phenomenon they refer to as the "silver of the sea". Meanwhile, Gudrun approaches 'Godmother' Amundsson and offers to read her fortune, hoping the old woman will let something slip. Gudrun learns that Zacharias is not Abela's son by blood, although she seems to favour him above her own offspring.

The investigators retire to their rooms, but are soon disturbed by a knock on the door. One of the three Amundsson brothers extends an invitation to dine at the Herring Baron's table, and the investigators accept.



Vaesen, Session 4/Part 1

Dusk settles over Wrecker Isle. The investigarors attend the Herring Baron's manse for supper. They are met by Lura the maid, who escorts them into the dining room. Zacharias is seated at the head of a long table, along with Godmother Abela and two of the three Amundsson brothers (Pete and Paul). There is an empty seat where the third brother (Pace) would normally sit.

Zacharias is charming as he welcomes the investigators to his home. Lura serves the appetizers: herring with slices of pickled cucumber. Gudrun chooses this moment to reveal an unfortunate intolerance to seafood, which does rather inconvenience their host. While Zacharias adjusts the menu, Erik quizzes the brothers Amundsson on their missing sibling. Pete and Paul claim Pace is away on business, but they are obviously lying. Godmother Abela prods Erik with a spoon and warns him that he should mind his own business, as the new moon is nigh. This is not the first reference to the new moon, and the investigators gnaw on this one clue like a pack of dogs with a juicy bone. Zacharias banishes his mother to the kitchen before she can say more, and requests that the investigators disregard her geriatric rambling.

The plates are cleared away and Lura brings out the main course: salted herring served with onions and wine vinegar. The investigators explain that they are looking into the death of Vicar Hedvqist and share their concern that the old priest was murdered, hoping to learn something from the Herring Baron's reaction. Zacharias seems genuinely shocked. Gudrun straight up accuses the Herring Baron of killing the vicar, which does rather ruin the whole evening. Gudrun notices that Zacharias wears an awful lot of cologne to mask a somewhat fishy odour.

Before things deteriorate further, Malte bursts in with news of a violent altercation at the inn! The young priest is brawling with some drunken sailors! The investigators rush ahead to rescue Oscar. A crowd has gathered outside the inn, where three burly seamen are kicking the naughty word out of the young priest. Erik fires his pistol into the air, hoping to disperse the mob. A brawny dock worker punches him in the head. Two more sailors pile in and dispense a savage beating that leaves Erik with a fractured skull and possible brain damage. Gudrun stabs one of the men with his dagger, and Arne shoots another in the leg. The injured seamen flee, leaving Svenrich to stablize Erik's broken condition.

The investigators carry Erik upstairs and put him to bed. Ideally, he should be taken to hospital, but the ferry back to the mainland won't return until the next day. Gudrun confronts Oscar, who explains the fight started when he tried to persuade Justina to leave the island with him. Gudrun curses the young priest for a lovestruck fool.

The night passes without further incident and Erik wakes the next morning with the worst headache of his life. Nevertheless, he forces himself to rise and rejoin the other investigators for breakfast (salty porridge, yum). The group are discussing whether to cut their losses and return to the Upsala, when Malte approaches their table to enquire after Justina. Apparently the young woman has gone missing during the night, and nobody knows what has happened to her....


Vaesen, Session 4/Part 2

The investigators poke around Justina's room and establish that she left of her own volition, without even donning her shoes or coat. Arne finds barefooted tracks leading from the inn to the herring saltery, but the entrance is barred by the brothers Amundsson. Gudrun entices the dimwitted siblings to gaze into his crystal ball, distracting them long enough for Arne to slip inside. The warehouse is intolerably hot, and the eye-watering fumes rising from the whale oil vats make the old hunter's head spin. Arne is unable to find Justina, but he does stumble across another clue; a silver pendant in the shape of a crucifix. The investigators surmise the pendant belonged to Vicar Hedqvist, which raises the question of what the old priest was doing inside the saltery.

While Arne is snooping around, Svenrich commanders a fishing boat to ferry the group to Graveyard Isle. A reclusive old man named Orvar lives alone on the island, and he alone may possess the secret knowledge the investigators require to crack this case wide open.

The investigators set sail! Soon, dark clouds begin to converge overhead, and the sea grows agitated. Arne is sick in a bucket. Curiously, the strange weather seems to be following them. A huge wave threatens to capsize the boat. Erik is washed overboard and begins to drown. Gudrun manages to haul the young detective back into the boat. Svenrich takes the helm, but he is no sailor and it's all he can do to keep the vessel afloat. Heavy rain reduces visibility and Svenrich has scant seconds to react as a reef of grey rocks appears out of the murk. The boat makes a horrid grinding sound as it is violently beached on the shore of Graveyard Isle.... TBC

Remove ads