Games on the Table – Part 11: Vaesen – Nordic Horror Roleplaying

The most recent game from Free League is Vaesen, and as with Forbidden Lands and ALIEN, that I talked about earlier, the game is based on the Year 0 Engine (Y0E), which I quite like, and I like how the publishers are able to twist the engine in different directions creating different levels of complexity (as will also be seen with the upcoming Twilight 2000 game). Vaesen is the one of the simplest versions, and that suits it well, as it is a horror-themed game, where the characters confront supernatural beings from Scandinavian folklore. The game is set in mythic 19th century Scandinavia, and the characters are gifted with the ability to see the supernatural and the remains of a crumbling castle hiding secrets of a long gone monster hunting organization.

We have played some adventures in Vaesen, and part of the fun have been travelling around Scandinavia confronting strange creatures and undead ones as well trying to solve the issues, that are at the root of the problem. At the same time the base of operations – the crumbling castle – have begun to grow as a part of the game, and this creates an unusual synergy – and it solves the one thing, Call of Cthulhu always struggles with: How to explain the characters’ continued involvement with the supernatural.

Vaesen also presents a welcome horror-alternative to the omnipresent cthulhu-themed horror-rpgs, for though I enjoy Call of Cthulhu, the use of the Cthulhu Mythos everywhere wears the theme out.

More adventures in Vaesen is coming up, and I look forward to growing the campaign.

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