Dresden Files: A Huldra in Hammerfest, Episode 102

  • Pernilla Hemming (Bare-Fisted Brawling Half-Hulra Orphan)
  • Aleksander Jorgensen (Would-Be Dragon Slayer)
  • Isra Dunlop (Nomadic Wizard)

Okay, let us recap.

Pernilla discovered a bunch of dead, rotting animals in the woods, was warned by a mostly-dead reindeer about death and such, and chased out of the woods by a shadow-something. Aleksander had learned that it was most likely due to a necromancer or pestilence demon, and had heard an ominous dragging noise in a shadowy part of town that was not supposed to be shadowy. Finally, they both heard from Gnorbitt that a very strange stranger just so happened to be looking for a boat, because he wanted to get to an island that was made from the corpse of a dead dragon.

Can you spot the theme, here? Because they both decided that it was probably just a coincidence, split up, and went home for the night. Possessed of a measure of sense, Pernilla did not want to go back to her camp, all by her lonesome, in the middle of the usually "only" troll-inhabited woods. Aleksander's family would not permit her to stay in their sprawling mansion, and he had already broken plenty of the rules as of late, so she defaulted to Isra. Granted he only had a small condo, but it was much closer and he was both a wizard and professional monster hunter.

In other words, well worth a lack of comfort and privacy.

She knocked on his door, and after a while heard him roll onto the floor and drag himself to the door. He fumbled with the lock, but eventually managed it. She tried to explain what had happened yesterday, but received a response that consisted of indecipherable grumbling as he motioned for her to enter, waved casually at the couch, and shambled back to his bed.

Pernilla laid on the couch for a few hours before drifting into a fitful sleep. She was awakened shortly thereafter by her stomach, which growled and clawed at her painfully; she realized she had not eaten anything at all the previous day. She got up, made her way to the fridge, opened it...and somehow managed to stifle a scream. Granted she did not know Isra particularly well: in addition to being an aforementioned wizard and monster hunter, she also knew that he was not always home and maintained a secondary base of sorts in the mountains.

So in terms of food she was not sure what to expect, if he would even have any food at all. What she was not expecting was for all of it, including the condiments, to be completely covered in mold.

She choked back a gag, closed the fridge, and looked at Isra. He was still sleeping and not in any apparent way a zombie. Well, he did not seem to be rotting, at least. Okay, so maybe he just had not checked his fridge in...weeks? Maybe even months? How long did it take ketchup to go bad? Her piece of mind demanded substantiation. Unfortunately, for her piece of mind, as she went to wake him something started scratching at the door. She froze, again stifling a scream: whatever was about to come through that door, it had better have huldra insurance.

Seconds stretched into minutes, but the door remained mercifully closed. When she dared to take another step, however, a faint, creaky voice whispered, "Little huldra, little hulda, let me in..."

She dashed over to Isra and frantically shook him awake. Despite her panic he barely acknowledged her, only asking pointedly if she was aware of the time. She responded by almost yanking his arm out of its socket as she effortlessly hauled him over to the fridge, opened it, and demanded an explanation. He stated that he had restocked it a few days ago, because of course he did, because of course whatever was responsible for the rotting animals was right outside the door, but just to make sure there was absolutely no doubt, again something scratched at the door and whispered, "Little huldra, little huldra, let me in..."

Isra motioned for Pernilla to lift him up so he could check the window above the door. He could see nothing in the hall except inky darkness, which was normally lit, and even when he tried to conjure magical light it did not work. Okay, new plan. He grabbed his gun, conveyed through pantomime a plan where Pernilla would stand on one side of the door, he would open it, and then they would shoot and punch whatever happened to be there. Pernilla shook her head, but Isra opened the door anyway.

There was nothing there but darkness.

Isra tried shining a flashlight into it, but the gloom seemed to consume the light. Figuring that maybe the darkness was alive, he decided to give shooting a, well, shot. Before he could pull the trigger a clearly reptilian hand darted out of the shadows. It stopped as it slammed into Isra's wards, and there was a brilliant flash of light. When their vision cleared, they saw that the hand was encased in ice. It flexed, shook the ice free, and a shrouded figure stalked into the room.

"Little huldra...little huldra, where...are...you?"

It moved past Isra, seemingly oblivious to his presence; he took the opportunity to fire his gun point blank at its head, but it did not seem to notice. Even Pernilla's supernatural strength did not have much more of an effect than his bullets. Its claws, on the other hand, proved exceedingly effective, tearing deep gashes across Pernilla's torso and flinging her through the sliding glass door and on to the balcony.

It continued to advance towards Pernilla, so Isra decided to see how it took to magic, blasting it with an intense jet of water. This had more of an effect, actually knocking it off of its feet and into a wall. It also got its attention, which was good for Pernilla and very, very bad for Isra. Pernilla was not out quite yet, and with its back now turned to her she bit back the pain and lobbed a couch at it, knocking it partially through the wall. As Pernilla pondered whether they were actually hurting it, a tail snaked out from its robes, wrapping around the couch and flinging it aside.

It threw the couch at Isra, who rolled underneath it, narrowly dodged its claws as he ran past, grabbed Pernilla, and dove off the balcony. The landing hurt, but not nearly as bad as it would have had they stuck around to fight a losing battle, and they bolted for the lighthouse.

Aleksander was there, having been consigned by Marek, the Order's patriarch and his grandfather, to a full day shift for his curfew violation the previous day. Isra knocked on the door, exclaiming that Pernilla was badly hurt. Aleksander asked what had happened as he descended the stairs, and when Isra mentioned rotting food and the shadowy lizard-thing he stopped, pondering what he had learned yesterday at the library. Pernilla mistook his hesitation for fear, and punched the door off its hinges.

Aleksander was furious, not because the door could not be replaced, but because it would not be replaced before someone discovered that it had been destroyed, and he was already in a lot of trouble. However, his anger was softened when he saw Pernilla's wounds. He treated them as best he could with the first-aid kit he had on hand, while Isra used her blood to create a magical misdirection in case whatever it was that attacked them came looking for her.

As noon came, Aleksander noticed that her wounds looked like they were infected, so he called home to see if they had more advanced medical supplies. His cousin wanted to know why. For obvious reasons Aleksander did not want to explain himself, but eventually relented, and his cousin said he would send someone over.

Marek arrived. Thankfully he brought medicine, and and was able to keep his anger in check just long enough to get Aleksander up stairs. He told him that the door would be repaired today, his probation would be extended for a month, and warned that if he made one more mistake he would be cast from the Order. Aleksander tried to explain that there was something really bad going on, but Marek dismissed him, stating that their only responsibility was the island.

After Marek left, Pernilla and Isra stuck around to help fix the door, figuring it was the least they could do. An hour later someone knocked on the door frame: it was a man, clad in black, with a broad hat and dark glasses. His skin seemed too tight, and his smile seemed strange and forced.

"Excuse me, but would it be possible to rent a boat?"

Behind the Scenes
You can see the city and character sheets here (it is missing Kamon's character).

This was definitely a learning experience, particularly for magic. Kamon asked about wards, so we looked it up on the spot and kind of winged it so as to avoid eating up too much time trying to figure it out, ultimately treating it like a freebie attack when the creature tried to enter. I was fine with allowing Isra to have a ward setup beforehand, since it was reasonable and made the encounter more tense.

Same goes for the thaumaturgy effect, which again we were trying to figure out during play. I had him roll Lore, let him tag some aspects that made sense, and used the final result as the number the creature would need to meet-or-beat in order to locate Pernilla. It was not great, but hey, they do not know what it rolled.

It was nice to see more aspect-tagging this time around; I suspect the first session was mostly because it was a new mechanic for them, having played mostly Dungeons & Dragons before.

Melissa ended up tagging Don't Know My Own Strength to get a re-roll in combat, and I ended up tagging it later to have her break down the door. I also tagged some of Ben's stuff, namely Duty-Bound and My Hands Are Tied to get him in trouble. I really need to remember Home School Hell for when he tries to do more research...


  1. Mmm... thaumaturgy. I need to get my Dresden group together again. I want to play my combat thaumaturge.

    1. I really dig how magic works in it (and by extension FATE). I'm having a lot of fun, and it is good research for FATE versions of the stuff I am writing.


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