The Midnight Sun Chronicles
Derik van Veldeke
Archaeologist dismissed by the academic community, looking for one last shot at success before he has to retire
Str: 14 (+2)
Dex: 11 ( 0)
Con: 9 (-1)
Int: 9 (-1)
Wis: 13 (+1)
Cha: 14 (+2)
Charismatic Hero (1)
a million and five
Fort Save: 0
Ref Save: +1
Will Save: +1
Simple Weapon Proficiency
Educated (+2 to Knowledge: history and Knowledge: Cthulu Mythos checks)
Trustworthy (+2 to Diplomacy and Gather Information checks)
Gather Information (cha) – 4 ranks
Read/Write Language (English & Korean) – 2 ranks
Speak Language (English & Korean) – 2 ranks
Diplomacy (cha) – 3 ranks
Knowledge: History (int) – 4 ranks
Knowledge: Cthulu Mythos (int) – 2 ranks
Decipher Script (int) – 4 ranks
Swim (str) – 1 and a half ranks (but 3 skill points used)
NB: Derik’s native language is Dutch.
Life and Career
Born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in 1945. Veldeke has a degree in Archaeology from Leiden University (1966) and a doctorate from Duke University in America (1970). He wrote his thesis on ancient temples in Korea. He is divorced (exwife is Marian) and has one daughter by her (Evelynn, born in 1980).
In 1971 Veldeke was part of the team researching the tomb of Muryeong in Korea, and in 1973 he supervised the excavation of the Heavenly Horse Tomb in Gyeongju, South Korea.
In 1975 he excavated Songguk-ri. He wrote a paper on two stone idols found there, but before he could publish it the idols went missing. A year of investigation didn’t turn up any results, so he revised his paper and published it. It was almost entirely dismissed by the academic community.
In 1977 an archaeologist called Bon-Hwa Kung excavating the temple of Hwangnyongsa in Gyeongju sent him a letter. He had been part of Veldeke’s team at the Heavenly Horse Tomb four years earlier and got his doctorate from that expedition. He looked up to Veldeke and had read his paper on Songguk-ri, and recognised one of the stone idols from his current excavation at Hwangnyongsa. Kung asked Veldeke to meet with him at Hwangnyongsa, but when he got there Kung had gone missing. He couldn’t find anyone who knew anything about the stone idols, and was refused entry to the excavation site.
Van Veldeke became obsessed with finding Kung and the idols and spent the next two years searching for them. During this time he lost his residency at Leiden University and he was labelled in Europe at best as an eccentric, at worst as a conspiracy-theorist unfit for academia.
In 1979, after his investigations had failed, he began teaching at a string of third-class universities and supervising excavations that no-one else could be bothered to in order to make money. He spent much of his time trying to find out what went on in Korea and consulting everyone he could get hold of that might know anything about the idols that went missing. After two years of that and various other marital troubles his wife left him, taking his daughter with her.
Veldeke retired from field-work in 1987, but continued to teach and research. His most recent papers on the Mahan confederacy have tried to rebuild his credibility, but he lost it all again with a paper on the Chinese Narwhal in 2006 and was asked to leave his teaching position at Southampton University. Since then he has lived off his meagre savings.
He heard that his daughter, Evelynn Veldeke (she dropped the ‘van’), got a doctorate in Mayan History from his old university, Duke, in 2005 and is now living in South America. Veldeke has been trying to get in touch with her, without success.
Veldeke is determined to show that he hasn’t wasted his life and that there is something big being covered up in East Asia. He’s looking for one last chance to prove himself before he is forced to retire for good.
Derik is still a strong man. He’s not a fitness fanatic, but in his youth he enjoyed swimming and he still swims when he can. Despite his age he doesn’t let people carry things for him and doesn’t take seats when they are offered to him – he’s proud of still being able to take care of himself.
Derik’s quick reactions have slowed with age, but he’s still more sprightly than people give him credit for.
The years are catching up with Derik. He’s independent and strong, but he feels the cold more than he used to and doesn’t handle prolonged physical exertion very well.
Derik is not as sharp as he used to be. He sometimes forgets peoples names and doesn’t pay attention to things around him, but he is focussed when it comes to his work.
After decades of reading and through just being old, Derik is knowledgable and has common sense. He’s not willing to charge into anything without first considering his options, and his experience means he takes the right path more often than not.
Derik has charm and a winning smile. He’s used his charm to talk colleagues into giving him more time than they otherwise would, and would probably have been fired from teaching long before without it. He can make his theories sound half-plausible given five minutes.