Thousand Year Old Vampire- a play through

hawkeyefan

Legend
So for Christmas, my wife picked me up a copy of Thousand Year Old Vampire by Tim Hutchings. It’s a kind of solo- storytelling RPG of sorts. It’s got some really interesting game mechanics that involve replacing old memories with new ones as the vampire gets older and older. Less and less of its original self remains. I haven't played through yet, but it seems like the game is focused on the loss that such a long lived being would face.

Essentially, you determine some starting traits for your vampire, and some loose sense of their place in the world and their history and relationships. Then, you use a d10 and d6 to randomly generate prompts for play. Each page contains three prompts. You roll both dice, subtract the d6 result from the d10, and then move that many pages forward (or backward in the event of a negative result) and use the first prompt on that page. If you have already used the first prompt, you move down to the second, if you’ve used the second, then move on to the third. If you’ve used all three, then you move along to the next page.

The prompts may alter your vampire’s traits or remove them or introduce new ones. A vampire can only have 5 memories at any time, with 3 experiences related to each memory. When prompted to add a memory, you must eliminate an older one. They suggest that however you track this, you strikethrough the memory but leave it visible on the page.

I thought it’d be cool to go through it and record my results here as a series of posts. I’ll post my vampire and his stats in the next post, which I’ll edit as needed, and then will record each prompt in a subsequent post. Feel free to comment if you like, or follow along, or ignore this altogether.

I’ve decided on England in the 1000s as my starting era, and I’ve drawn very loosely on actual historical figures and events. My goal is more about having a sense of time and place than about historical accuracy. Anyone who would like to correct my inaccuracies will be summarily executed.

Also, the starting situation for the vampire is pretty loosely sketched. I don’t have every detail mapped out because we can either add them as needed, or else they may become irrelevant due to the passage of time. My goal here is to see how the game plays, and to be entertained. I'm not trying to impress anyone with my writing ability. I'm going to lean heavily on things that we'd all likely consider tropes or even outright cliches.

Each vampire is defined by certain traits, the types of which are summarized below. Most prompts will result in changes to the traits… they can be lost, replaced, restored… and so on. Here's a bit of a summary of the traits and the rules that pertain to them.
  • Memories- these are the important events of your vampire’s life. A Memory is a set of Experiences, which are all related. Each Memory can have up to three experiences. When prompted to add a new Experience, it can be placed in an existing Memory if there is space and if it is connected to the Memory. If not, then it must be added as a New Memory, and another Memory must be deleted to make room. The Vampire can only remember so much. It is possible to transfer deleted Memories to a Diary. But the Diary must be listed in the Resources section, and once entered, the Memory and associated Experiences cannot be altered further. A Diary can hold up to four Memories.
  • Skills- a broad descriptor of the Vampire’s capabilities. Some prompts will indicate a Skill should be checked. I’ll add a mark on the sheet to reflect that. A Skill can only be checked once. Prompts may indicate that a Skill is lost.
  • Resources- these are assets or items that the Vampire has which can be used to assist the Vampire in some way. Some Resources may be Stationary; a hereditary castle or a hidden cave, for example.
  • Characters- the people that are important to the Vampire. Some are mortal and others maybe immortal. Mortal characters should be stricken when a prompt indicates enough time has passed that their life would have ended.
  • Marks- a mark is a strange indicator that there is something supernatural about the Vampire.
  • Note- when a prompt indicates that a skill should be checked, and the Vampire has no unchecked skills, lose a Resource instead. If a prompt says to lose a Resource and the Vampire has none, then check a Skill. If a prompt says to check a Skill or lose a Resource, and the Vampire cannot do either, then the game is over, and the Vampire’s existence ends.

Okay, next post will be the Vampire’s details and traits. I'll have to come back to this second post to edit the traits as needed throughout play. After that, I'll start playing. Each prompt will be in a new post, and I'll include the prompt itself and then the results in the story. I'll write it in first person from the Vampire's point of view. Some posts may be short and light on detail, and may get fleshed out in subsequent posts; I expect sometimes context may come from posts that follow. We'll see.
 
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hawkeyefan

Legend
THE VAMPIRE CHARACTER SHEET

Name: Eadric Streona

Memories

Memory 1: I am Eadric, eighth child of my house
  • My father is a minor noble of the middlelands; my ambition is stronger than my station, and I will take what I can from this life
  • .
  • .
Memory 2:
  • My skill for subterfuge and intrigue are recognized, and I’m placed in command of a company of soldiers nominally tasked with defending the realm, but our true task is eliminating the king’s political enemies.
  • I kill Sigefirth, my closest confidante, before he can betray me and reveal my true nature.
  • .
Memory 3:
  • I'm named Earl of Merica, in the middlelands; I bring my task of recognizing and eliminating the king’s opponents to a larger stage.
  • I am forced to flee Lundenburh, forfeiting my title and authority.
  • After being humbled by Wulfstan, I agree to leave England.
Memory 4:
  • I marry Eadgyth, the daughter of King Aethelred’s sister; her dowry makes me rich, and allows me to continue my work on the king’s behalf.
  • After my encounter with Aija, I find myself changed, and upon returning home to my wife, I'm overcome with a bloodlust and I drain Eadgyth.
  • I have Sigefirth dispose of Eadgyth's body, and then use her disappearance to convince the King that his enemies are growing bolder; he urges us to double our efforts to root out his enemies.
Memory 5:
  • I am seduced by Aija and corrupted into something both more and less than a man; she wants me to betray my kinsmen to the Danish Prince, Cnut.
  • I recall the encounter more clearly, and realize that my victims will be left with incomplete recollections of the feeding as long as I only drink a little.
  • In the town of Twywell, I learn from Wulfstan the name for what I am: vampire. He shares much of what it means to be a vampire.
Skills
  • Cunning Insight
  • Manipulation
  • I never take blame
  • Bloodthirsty
  • (X) Slake Subtly
  • Vampiric Sense
  • I know my place as an immortal
Resources
  • A group of loyal armsmen
  • Title, Earl of Mercia
  • A stash of plundered gold
Mortals
  • Aethelric Streona, my father, a minor noble of the middlelands; he thinks highly of his middling accomplishments; he loves my oldest siblings, but had little time for me
  • King Aethelred, my liege, a fool who does not deserve his crown; he is called the Unready for a reason, he is not capable of dealing with the threats that face Briton
  • Eadgyth, niece of Aethelred, I married her for political gain; she is fair enough and kind, but it is her family’s power that I need
  • Sigefirth of the Seven Burghs, a member of my armsmen and my right hand; when I feed too greatly he disposes of the bodies
  • Cnut, a Danish Prince who seeks power in Britain, he wants to marshal allies
  • Edmund, called Ironside, son of Aethelred and crown prince; he is what holds this crumbling kingdom together
Immortals
  • Aija, a member of the court of the Danish Prince Cnut; she is mysterious and strange, often said to be a witch
  • Hemminge, spymaster of Prince Edmund; his connection to Aija is uncertain, and his true aims unknown
  • Wulfstan, an ancient vampire of great strength, existing alone in the town of Twywell, he taught me about vampires and commanded me to leave England after I attempted to betray him
Mark
  • In the light of the day, my shadow behaves randomly, often in ways that betray how I truly feel about others; I avoid going out in the day, and when I must I take measures to try and cast no shadow.
  • I have an aversion to religious symbols and ceremony.

**************************************************

So now, I’ll start rolling prompts and will type a post for each one. I’ll post the prompt, and then the events of the story. I’m hoping to do this daily or nearly daily as time allows.
 
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hawkeyefan

Legend
Prompt 1
In your blood hunger you destroy someone close to you. Kill a mortal Character. Create a mortal if none are available. Take the skill Bloodthirsty.

I returned from my visit with the Danish Prince Cnut. I was not well; my time with the woman Aija seemed to have left me with some sort of affliction. I did not recall all of the details of our.... dalliance. I should have heeded the rumors about her, and ignored her advances. It seemed she... did something to me. My skin seemed to burn and itch, and I was taken by an incredible hunger, though I had no appetite.

Instead of reporting to King Aethelred, I sent Sigefirth in my stead. Returning to my guest chambers in his majesty's castle, I found Eadgyth waiting for me. She welcomed me warmly, and as we embraced, my hunger became overwhelming. I pulled her close and felt the beating of her heart in her neck. I could almost see the blood pulsing in her veins, and I knew how to satiate my hunger.

I drank of her. In doing so, I recalled my encounter with Aija more fully. I realized what had happened to me. It did not stop me. I was so hungry that I simply could not stop.

Finally, when I'd had my fill, I let Eadgyth's pale body fall to the floor. For a moment, I felt... complete. But it was fleeting. Before long, the horror of what I'd done registered. Not that poor Eadgyth was gone, but that I'd killed her. I would have to do something about this. Could I hide the fact? Could I blame it upon one of the king's enemies? What could I do?

But even then, beyond the concern for my station and my position, already I was wondering when I would be able to feed again.

**********
Results: Eadgyth is killed; Bloodthirsty skill gained
Experience added to Memory 4:
  • After my encounter with Aija, I find myself changed, and upon returning home to my wife, I'm overcome with a bloodlust and I drain Eadgyth.
 
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hawkeyefan

Legend
Prompt 9

You develop a system for feeding. What is it? What happens to those who die? Create a Skill that reflects this.

Thank whatever gods there may be for Sigefirth. He helped me dispose of Eadgyth’s remains. Getting rid of bodies is not exactly a new endeavor for him; he’d been eliminating enemies of the crown at my command for years. Eadgyth proved no more troublesome. Sigefirth bundled her up and left from His Majesty’s castle in the deep of the night, with none the wiser.

We blamed Eadgyth’s disappearance on some plot of His Majesty’s enemies. I mentioned Prince Cnut as being a possible culprit. I explained that my visit with the Danish lord left me with an ill feeling, and proposed that the meeting was pretense on his part to enact this scheme. I vowed to Aethelfred that I would uncover the truth and that I’d bring those who abducted Eadgyth to justice, and that if she was alive, I’d find her. The fool believed me.

I had my men arrest folks for questioning. Even the most tenuous connection to the Danes or any of His Majesty’s other enemies would suffice. I would often question these prisoners personally. I did so alone, so that I could feed.

I had learned from Eadgyth to control myself. I drank only a small amount from them. When I did so, their mind seemed clouded to the full nature of the encounter. If I took only a little, they did not die, nor did they become afflicted as I was. Sometimes, I drank too much. It was no matter; these dregs of society would not be missed, and Sigefirth easily disposed of their bodies, as he had dozens of others.

With this process in place, I was able to satisfy my urges, and learn to control my feeding.

**************
Results: Added Skill "Slake Subtly"; added Cnut as a character; added that Sigefirth helps dispose of bodies
Experience added to Memory 4:
  • I have Sigefirth dispose of Eadgyth's body, and then use her disappearance to convince the King that his enemies are growing bolder; he urges us to double our efforts to root out his enemies.
Experience added to Memory 5:
  • I recall the encounter more clearly, and realize that my victims will be left with incomplete recollections of the feeding as long as I only drink a little.
 
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I really appreciate the time and effort taken here @hawkeyefan and this game has piqued my curiosity. If I've understood correctly the story-telling is all you. Only the prompts are from the game itself, those which you have italicised, right? And do you set your own starting date or is it fixed at 1000 AD due to the name of the game?
Time, is that pushed forward by your storytelling or do the prompts age you or perhaps both options are viable?

I like the game, it is smart, although I keep drifting to the possibility of it evolving into a duet (2 player, not the 1 GM and 1 player version), where perhaps a common goal is pursued, whether you are allies or foes.
 



hawkeyefan

Legend
I really appreciate the time and effort taken here @hawkeyefan and this game has piqued my curiosity. If I've understood correctly the story-telling is all you. Only the prompts are from the game itself, those which you have italicised, right? And do you set your own starting date or is it fixed at 1000 AD due to the name of the game?
Time, is that pushed forward by your storytelling or do the prompts age you or perhaps both options are viable?

I like the game, it is smart, although I keep drifting to the possibility of it evolving into a duet (2 player, not the 1 GM and 1 player version), where perhaps a common goal is pursued, whether you are allies or foes.

Yes, I probably could have been clearer. The storytelling is all me, the Prompts in Italics are from the book. The text that follows the prompts in the posts above is what I imagine in response to the prompts. The book urges you to not overthink things, so I tend to come up with them immediately after generating the next prompt. I just let whatever comes to mind out onto the screen. Then I do a little tidying to make sure it all makes sense, and then I post it.

One thing to note, each prompt is meant to be an Experience that needs to be added to a Memory. I've edited to add a few in based on the first couple of prompts. Once a Memory has 3 Experiences, you can't add any more. Once you need to add an Experience and there's no room and/or no Memories with space would fit, you must delete a Memory and crete a new one based on the new experience.

You can set your own starting date, absolutely. I just chose to run with the thousand years for mine. But there's no reason you couldn't start earlier or later than that.

On the passage of time, I'm not entirely certain. I've not perused the book beyond the rules and the prompts I've rolled other than some incidental reading of secondary prompts on the same page and so on. It seems that the prompts will at times indicate the passage of time. The Vampire Creation section certainly conveys that; it explains that the Characters you come up with for your Vampire should be important, but will not likely be around too long. It also says to use your judgment; if enough time appears to have passed that a character would likely no longer be alive, then go ahead and cross them out.

I expect within the next couple of prompts we may see years start to go by.

I have an idea to journal this in a word document, but to change page color and font to also indicate the passage of time. I'll stop hijacking the thread now. :D

No worries! Feel free to comment however much you want.

I feel like there are probably lots of creative ways to play the game and track the results. Playing through will probably inspire more ideas, too.
 


hawkeyefan

Legend
@hawkeyefan Great to read this -- it brought up many fond memories of my first session. I journaled this using footnote-style references to give the prompt numbers, and simply added headers when the date changed significantly. I kept a running. electronic tag of my assets, skills and memories, and snap-shotted them every now and again.

Here's my journal:


That's awesome, thanks for sharing it. I didn't read too far as I want the prompts to be surprising to me, but I'll definitely take a look at this once my playthrough is done. I like the format and the details you've come up with.

Funny how we both started with what was going on in 1020 and looked up some details and then started.
 

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