Vaesen: A Wicked Secrets and Other Mysteries RPG Review

19 March 2024
Vaesen takes us into a world of monsters of folklore, making you the investigator in this fantastical RPG. But is the secret behind Vaesen's supplementary book a good one? We certainly think so.

Written by George Chrysostomou

Good roleplaying games can often be defined by their atmosphere. If a world is immersive enough, players are sure to get lost in the storytelling. The Vaesen series, which depicts the ‘mythic North,’ a dark and menacing 19th century Northern Europe, is well-established in the RPG community as a bastion of quality storytelling. A Wicked Secret & Other Mysteries, a supplementary book to the original title, continues that tradition and dives into a twisted mythology that is as intriguing to learn about as it is to inhabit in a gaming scenario.

What is Vaesen: A Wicked Secret?

Players form part of The Society, monster hunters with the specialist skill to see the Vaesen, the titular nightmarish creatures that have been unleashed on the world. The Vaesen can only be vanquished by performing a spell or ritual, and most campaigns are partially built around players expelling their foes. A Wicked Secret & Other Mysteries provides players with 4 campaign premises to explore, each of which is accompanied by detailed character descriptions, useful handouts and crucial clues used to uncover methods to bring the conflicts to an end.

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What is Vaesen?

For those unfamiliar with the Vaesen saga, the rules are intuitive and relatively simple to pick up. Players can choose whether they wish to craft their own characters or use some of the pre-made figures from Vaesen lore. Each character is given 12 skills to use throughout the game, and are judged on four key stats: Precision, Logic, Physique and Empathy. The combination of these factors decide how many D6 a player must roll to find success or failure throughout their campaign. These can be boosted by talents, which are specific attributes that can elevate a player’s luck. With monsters and very human menaces to overcome, players can find themselves taking on conditions, which may damage them physically or weaken their resolve.

Related Article: How to play Vaesen

What's inside A Wicked Secret?

There are certainly dangerous and entertaining scenarios to survive across this particular book, which includes The Silver Of The Sea, The Night Sow, The Song Of The Falling Star and the titular tale. While each story is notably grim in its premise and full of gorgeous illustrations and shining examples of solid RPG character work, we’d be remiss not to focus in on the star of the show. Indeed, if you’re going to try your hand at one of these campaigns, A Wicked Secret is the must-play tale.

Set within the fractured forest community Färnsta, players investigate the fallout of a deadly attack that is steeped in conspiracy. With a sinister cult known as the Free Ones, obsessed with protecting their small world from outside interference, it seems they have gone to extreme lengths to push back against the business interests that threaten to supposedly destabilise their way of life. With creepy murders, unpredictable fanatics and a curious village ensemble to interact with, there’s a great deal of depth in this particular narrative. This scenario builds to such an action-packed crescendo that players will be excited to revisit this adventure and tackle it from new angles.

Momentum is the key word, with the book carefully guiding the games master through detailed locations and cunning clues, while opening the door for plenty of creative and original ideas that add tension and increases the narrative velocity. Although it’s recommended that players also tap into the original text for further help, from a story perspective the character info boxes and imaginative premises provide enough in the way of inspiration to give the games master confidence in their delivery. While each story truly captures the tone of the Vaesen world, it’s also worth noting that the seasonality of The Night Sow creates a unique and fun backdrop that sets it apart from the pack.

The consistent quality across the book makes this RPG a perfect choice for horror fans of all experience levels.

Should you play A Wicked Secret & Other Mysteries?

We consider this a must play.

A Wicked Secret & Other Mysteries, which is both narratively rich and instantly accessible, prides itself on crafting immersive and mysterious scenes for players to get lost in.

Try this if you liked... Call of Cthulhu

Monsters, mysteries and menacing cults, fans of Call of Cthulhu will find a lot of familiarity in this fantastical, horror RPG.

Buy your copy of A Wicked Secret & Other Mysteries on Drive Thru RPG.

On the Book

Designer: Gabrielle de Bourg

Publisher: Free League Publishing

Pages: 112

Age: 14+

Price: £35 

Buy A Wicked Secret & Other Mysteries on Amazon

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