Anybody played Vaesen or at least given it a solid read through?

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Toadmaster

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I've nearly added Vaesen to several FL kickstarters but for reasons I haven't so far. I see Free League will be having a Black Friday sale (actually on Black Friday, how quaint) and thinking about picking it up.

It seems quite a few of you have mentioned buying it, but I'm not seeing much discussion of it.

Pretty sure it uses a variant of FLs Year Zero house system, but I'm mostly interested in the vibe of the setting and tone of the game play.

Is it dark and hopeless like Call of Cthulhu where PCs are just barely holding back doom, until the die or go insane, grim, but heroic like a lot of vampire hunting fiction or something lighter, maybe even whimsical considering it involves the fae?

The description just says 19th Century, but that is pretty vague. The first half of the 1800s is only marginally different from the Renaissance while late 1800s you have pretty much an early 20th century feel. Also lots of "19th century" games feel the need to go steampunk even if not marketed as such.

From the description I could easily see this feeling very traditional fantasy like, or more CoC by Gaslight with an accent.
 

Gabriel

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Gave it a decent read. Had intended to play, but that hasn't happened yet.

System is the d6 variant of the FL system, like Alien uses. Not the muliple polyhedral version like T2K and Blade Runner.

I'd say the tone is grim but heroic. There's a certain hopelessness, but it's not at all the way that Cthulhu is pitched as totally hopeless and the best thing you can hope for is slobbering madness before grisly death. There is a level of comprehension (not understanding) of the supernatural in Vaesen that is not in Cthulhu (from my understanding). More nature and not cosmic horror beyond the minds of men.
 

Skywalker

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I have ran it for the last 2 years including all the scenarios in Wicked Secret.

It has a CoC vibe for sure, but its not dark or hopeless, nor is it heroic. As mysteries usually involve the PCs trying to understand the vaesen and the PCs are also building the Castle, there is definitely a sense of the PCs building up something that helps others. However, vaesen generally remain unknowable and not capable of being defeated by direct confrontation. Given this, it also isn't whimsical like fairies are often presented in the Victorian era.

As for its 1800s setting, it is a loose presentation and this is intentional. Its designed to be forgiving on players and allow a certain level of anachronism where its expedient or just plan cool to do so. In general, it feels more late Regency or early Victorian than the late Victorian that tends to be the focus of RPGs set in this period. I think part of this is due to the fact that vaesen tend not to be city dwellers, so are encountered in rural settings.
 
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zcthu3

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Running it at the moment (in a couple of hours in fact). We’re really enjoying it. I’d agree it’s not hopeless (like COC), but rather focused on uncovering the mysteries of the vaesen and the conflict with humanity. Humans can be just as much the monsters as the vaesen. In terms of the loose 1800s setting, it’s quite liberating as you can pick and choose from across the century in terms of technology etc. to what feels right.
 

Toadmaster

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Ok so sounds like it might be similar in tone to something like Dracula or maybe Kolchak the night stalker. Definite real danger, but being smart and learning about the creatures can give the PCs enough of an edge to win.

I also noticed in some of the reviews that negotiation may even be an option in some cases, so not everything encountered is inherently evil, it just may be having some conflict with the local humanity.

As far as the time period, I like historical but am perfectly fine with based on this general era with a bit of handwavium (I mean we are adding secret societies, magic and monsters so...).


I'm a big fan of CoC, but I don't need yet another game in that particular niche. This sounds distinct enough to be its own thing.
 

Mankcam

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I bought Vaesen on the strength of the artwork alone, the books are a thing of beauty.
I love the premise as well, it's very Gothic Folklore meets Brian Froud & Grimm.
Looks like it will play quite differently to what we usually experience with Call of Cthulhu/Pulp Cthulhu.
I have yet to do a deep delve, but Vaesen is on my list to run in 2023
 

AsenRG

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I haven't bought in yet, but from the reviews it seemed to deserve being on the list of "stuff I'd like to play". It reminds me mostly of a 19th century Northern European variant of Kuro which is a compliment in my book:thumbsup:.

I mean, monsters that mostly can't be defeated by confrontation, but must be investigated and outplayed or even negotiated with...that's how Kuro should be, IMO, and it says so right in the books (somewhere between the list of combat techniques and the list of protective talismans, I think:shade:).

But then that's really a feature of how horror games based on real folklore and not "Mythos Lore" should go, IMO. You can very well argue that BedrockBrendan BedrockBrendan 's Strange Tales of Songling is exactly that as well:grin:!
 

Necrozius

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so not everything encountered is inherently evil
For sure, but some of the fey or vaesen are full—on evil. Redcaps for instance. But the issue, just like with other fey or undead, is that you can’t just punch them to make them go away.

I was surprised by how many of these creatures are bothered by Christian prayers and symbols. This is a game where a Hunter could hold an ancient vampire at bay with a hand-held cross. Or a Wight with salt. Or a Troll with a Psalm.
 

Mankcam

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The recent supplement of Mythic Britain & Ireland also looks great.

The author indicates that he may expand to Eastern European folklore next - that will be really cool, very grim and dark :shade:
 
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johnmarron

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I've run it a number of times, and it has been a hit each time. If you are familiar with the YZE (Free League's house system), the version in Vaesen is on the very light end of the spectrum (more similar to Tales from the Loop than Forbidden Lands). As mentioned, the art is gorgeous, and the Scandinavian setting makes it feel somewhat unique to my American players. I have the Mythic Britain book but haven't given it a thorough read yet. It might work for you if you want something a little more familiar.
 

S'mon

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Myself and other more aspergery players struggled with the "no defined date" thing, it really screws with creating character backgrounds. I wanted to have the Crimean War in my PC's background, another player the Indian Mutiny, another was from 2nd Reich Germany. I think the GM needs to be much more dictatorial and say something like "You're Swedish! You've never left Sweden!" :grin:
 

Skywalker

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Fortunately nothing really breaks in the game if you want a stricter timeline.
 

Toadmaster

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Weird sometimes I don't get any notice of new posts, sometimes I get a notice for every new post.

For sure, but some of the fey or vaesen are full—on evil. Redcaps for instance. But the issue, just like with other fey or undead, is that you can’t just punch them to make them go away.

I was surprised by how many of these creatures are bothered by Christian prayers and symbols. This is a game where a Hunter could hold an ancient vampire at bay with a hand-held cross. Or a Wight with salt. Or a Troll with a Psalm.

I think the Christian symbols thing is is fairly common with mythology in the later periods like Vaesen is set. I like the idea it is not limited to a cross or necessarily even equally across the board. Sometimes holy symbols gain their status due to older relationships. Some vampire movie I saw years ago the cross only worked if displayed by a believer which was kind of a neat twist.

The recent supplement of Mythic Britain & Ireland also looks great.

The author indicates that he may expand to Eastern European folklore next - that will be really cool, very grim and dark :shade:

Yeah, I'll definitely pick up Mythic Britain and Ireland, and an Eastern Europe supplement would be great.

Myself and other more aspergery players struggled with the "no defined date" thing, it really screws with creating character backgrounds. I wanted to have the Crimean War in my PC's background, another player the Indian Mutiny, another was from 2nd Reich Germany. I think the GM needs to be much more dictatorial and say something like "You're Swedish! You've never left Sweden!" :grin:

Yeah, that I can see that go either way. On the one hand it avoids people digging deep to point out, that that you can't have a percussion cap pepper box because the percussion cap was invented 3 years later than the campaign timeline, or we couldn't meet Beethoven because he died 2 years ago (and this isn't a spirit Beethoven). On the other hand I can see how being vague could annoy some, particularly those who know a time period well. Having anachronisms living along side each other can be neat or irritating.

I can enjoy both as long as it is consistent. Just don't get fussy about when this or that occurred but then handwave other stuff because the GM isn't interested in it or it is just easier.
 

3rik

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As for its 1800s setting, it is a loose presentation and this is intentional. Its designed to be forgiving on players and allow a certain level of anachronism where its expedient or just plan cool to do so. In general, it feels more late Regency or early Victorian than the late Victorian that tends to be the focus of RPGs set in this period. I think part of this is due to the fact that vaesen tend not to be city dwellers, so are encountered in rural settings.
Same kind of setting as Eden Studios' Ghosts of Albion then, though that has a more urban focus?

Yeah, I'll definitely pick up Mythic Britain and Ireland, and an Eastern Europe supplement would be great.
I'd like a supplement covering the Alpine region.
 

finarvyn

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One thing I like about Vaesen is that it doesn't demand combat in order to defeat the scenario. Basically, I think of something like Ghostbusters rather than Call of Cthulhu, although not as slapstick. The PCs hear of some sort of haunting and go to investigate. Sometimes you fight the thing, sometimes there is a ritual or other means of defeating it. Maybe more like the Supernatural TV show than Ghostbusters.
 

Toadmaster

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One thing I like about Vaesen is that it doesn't demand combat in order to defeat the scenario. Basically, I think of something like Ghostbusters rather than Call of Cthulhu, although not as slapstick. The PCs hear of some sort of haunting and go to investigate. Sometimes you fight the thing, sometimes there is a ritual or other means of defeating it. Maybe more like the Supernatural TV show than Ghostbusters.

Yeah, the work it out rather than straight to vanquish thing, as well as there being an organization behind the players makes me think of a Victorian era Stalking the Night Fantastic or Men in Black (with Fae rather than aliens in the case of MiB).

I've always liked that aspect of SNF aka Bureau 13, it could certainly go full horrific horror, but the focus was on supernatural it was not always evil. Sometimes the supernatural was even the victim.
 

sharps54

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I need to get a game of Bureau 13 going, I’ve had it since the early 90’s and it’s never gotten to the table :cry:
 

Fenris-77

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Not connected to this thread at all, but I'm re-reading Vaesen right this very moment. I still like it a lot. The like the YZE a lot generally, and I very much like how they shaped it for Vaesen. I really need to get the Mythic Britain and Ireland supplement.
 

Toadmaster

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Well I went ahead and grabbed Vaesen and the British /Ireland book. FL is having a BF sale until 11/28, 50% off most of their core rule books, exceptions seem to be those in pre-sale status.

Other than I'm sure they are lovely books, is there any strong reason to buy hard copies of the adventure books?

I don't typically buy hard copies of limited use items like adventure modules unless there is a very compelling reason. Nearly $40 for hard copy vs $20 pdf strongly has me continuing with that policy as I don't see that they include any useful utility beyond the adventures (and being another pretty book on the shelf).
 

zcthu3

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Well I went ahead and grabbed Vaesen and the British /Ireland book. FL is having a BF sale until 11/28, 50% off most of their core rule books, exceptions seem to be those in pre-sale status.

Other than I'm sure they are lovely books, is there any strong reason to buy hard copies of the adventure books?

I don't typically buy hard copies of limited use items like adventure modules unless there is a very compelling reason. Nearly $40 for hard copy vs $20 pdf strongly has me continuing with that policy as I don't see that they include any useful utility beyond the adventures (and being another pretty book on the shelf).
Probably not (I got them as part of the kickstarters) but they are gorgeous and the mysteries are quite involved. I am using the hard copies as I am finding myself flipping between different parts of the adventure (locations, countdowns etc), but if you’re happy running them from PDFs, or printing them out, then there’s no need.
 

Mankcam

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Rolled up some characters this afternoon; VAESEN looks like it will be pretty good
 
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