Vaesen is a roleplaying game taking place in a mythic version of 19th century Scandinavia, but it does matter when one is playing in the 19th century as it influences not just the relationships between Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, but also determines when wars are occuring, as Denmark were involved in 1812, 1848-1850 and 1864 in wars, which had a profound influence on its borders, culture and policies – and this is even reflected in some folklore, as the elven king was said to have kept British troops out of the region of Stevns in 1812. The new mystery, Grain and Bones, deals with nisser, trolls and the political organization of Denmark in the latter half of the 19th century.
For centuries crafts and trades were regulated by the guilds. They determined who were allowed to set up a workshop in a given city, and many crafts were only allowed in cities. Trading had to be done at markets to regulate who were allowed but also in order to collect taxes from traders. In the countryside the king had decreed that a mill should always be within 7½km of a farm, and it was also here regulated who were allowed to run a mill. Having a mill could be a lucrative trade, as you had no competitors as the local farmers were forced to use your mill.
This changed with the introduction of Grundloven – the Danish Constitution – in 1849. The guilds lost their privilegies and their rights in just prior to the constitution, as a part of the preparation for it, and many other trades were deregulated in the following decade. During the 1850’s laws changing who could set up a mill were introduced and they were in force from 1862. Now anyone could set up a mill, and the farmers were allowed to choose between mills.
The Vaesen Mystery Grain and Bones is in part build around these changes in the land. It is a part of the plot, that the laws have changed, and in this case allowed a family of trolls to work as millers, but when Vaesen such as the trolls are involved, things begin to go wrong. I will not spoil what happens as it is a part of the Mystery.
The trolls are based on Medieval Scandinavian myths centered around the Church and trolls, but in this particular case the myth has been transposed to Denmark and added to an existing ruin creating a mythic frame for the scenario, which is not just part of the background but shapes the adventure.
The idea is to expand on the theme of modernity vs tradition, new vs old, industrial society versus traditional society which runs through the Vaesen RPG, and show how things are changing in the society and how these modern changes alters the relationship between humans and vaesen.
Also nisser are involved in the mystery, and this is mainly because nisser are in integral part of the life on the farm, where they help tending the farm and the livestock being very much some sort of household god. I hope to explore them more in later mysteries as the Danish folklore is rich in stories with them, and they are often quite different from what one might expect.
Finally the mystery takes place quite to close to the alternate Headquarter, Ravnholm Estate, as the area was rich in material I just had to use.
You can find the mystery Grain and Bone at DriveThruRPG.