Thursday, November 1, 2018

Thousand Year Old Vampire, Scholarly Sojourn


Welcome back to the next part of my playthrough of Thousand Year Old Vampire by Tim Hutchings. In the last post, we left Lucius alone and lost in the wilds of Greece, having fled the city of Rome from the wrath of his ex-lover and newly created spawn, Aurelia. When I started this game, I had absolutely no idea what to expect, but so far it’s been a pretty thrilling ride, even if some of the events are, honestly, pretty upsetting.

At least a couple of decades have gone by, but we’re going to play a little fast and loose with the time here. I’ll narrow it down a bit based on what happens in the next couple of prompts. As a reminder, each prompt has a number associated with it, and Lucius is currently on 10. To determine the next one, I roll a d10 and a d6, and subtract the results of the d6 from the d10. This number is then added to the current count, with negative numbers moving things backwards. This time I roll a 10 and a 4, for 6. Added to the current count, and I’m brought to event 16.

People are hunting you in an organized way. How do you defeat or evade them? Create a Mortal Character related to one of your checked Skills. Check a Skill.

I think I’m actually going to fast forward a few centuries, to around the era of Constantine the Great. The old gods are dying, and the faith of the Christians is becoming more dominant. In their fervor, they are not only smashing temples and idols, but also hunting such creatures as Lucius. Lucius, despite his nature, is not an inherently violent man. Instead, I determine that he will use his Seduction skill to win over the leader of the mob to his side, a monk named Pelias.

The nights seem endless, until a new faith driven by hatred of the old ways arises. They seek to destroy me, but their leader Pelias is a kind and vulnerable man. We have many meetings at night, and I hold him as I once held Aurelia. While she sought to destroy me, his love proves more true and he turns the mob away from me.

For the next prompt, I roll a 5 and a 4, for a 1, leading me to prompt 17.


You commit a murder, but not to feed. Why? Check a Skill. Remove a Mortal Character, if you like.

I don’t want to kill Pelias, not after we’ve finally found each other. Instead, it makes the most sense that Lucius would commit the murder of Pelias’ behalf. I decide that Lucius is actually acting out of Guilt for his previous acts of violence.

They called him ‘heretic’ because he refused to bow to their inane drivel. They sought to kill him, the kindest and gentlest soul I had ever met. I could not stand for this, not after what had happened to Manius and Aurelia. My nature led to their deaths, but maybe I could find some of the salvation Pelias spoke of by saving him.

Next prompt. I roll a 10 and a 2, for a total of 8, bringing me up to 25.

Your feeding techniques are no longer effective. What has changed? Lose a Resource and create a Skill.

This actually follows from the previous events. With the rise of the Christians, the “wondering around and feeding as I please” is no longer an option. Instead, I need to learn to blend in with the world. I create a new skill Masquerade to show my ability to act like a human in this new, Christian Empire.

The old ways have past, I see it now. I must lean on Pelias, to teach me how to survive in this new world. I give up my wonderings and settle in this New Rome, Constantinople, passing myself off as an eccentric if harmless scholar.

Two things. First off, this feels like a good time for a new Memory. I also think that this is a good time for Lucius to create a Diary. A Diary is a physical object you can store your memories into, allowing you to retain them beyond the 5 listed. I don’t technically need to do this now, as I only have 4 Memories currently, but the combination of Lucius remembering that he forgot someone and his time as a “scholar” seems like the perfect combination. He won’t write down the horrors of his vampire life, merely what he recalls of his mortal existence.  So, I create a new Resource for his Diary and move all his mortal Memories to this. He also loses his Gladius, though I assume that was more tied to the previous murder, rather than him settling down. I also create a new memory:

The new faith, the Christians, came for me in the wild places. I was fortunate, for they were led not by a monster, but by the kind and beautiful Pelias. I sought to seduce and ensnare him to my will, but instead it was he who ensnared me. He saved me from the mob, and I saved him from the those who dared call him “heretic.” We settled in the New Rome of Constantinople, he as a monk and I as a scholar. For the first time in centuries, I was happy.

So, if you’ve been reading along, you’ll notice that my Experiences and Memories tend to be pretty…verbose. This is NOT how the game recommends you do things. Instead, each is supposed to be a sentence, and no more. Unfortunately, I have a bad habit of rambling on and not getting to the damn point. So, I view this rule as more of a “guideline.” Just be aware, I am playing the game wrong.

Now, let’s see what befalls our lovers in the New Rome. I roll and get a 4 and a 4, for a result of 0. I stay on 25, and read the second prompt.

What structures support this new feeding system? Create a simple, practical Skill and lose a Memory.

Lucius still recalls his learning at the hands of the last great teachers of Greek rhetoric, so decide that, in addition to being a scholar, he will also be a teacher. He feeds on the young men who come to him for their education, giving him the skill Tutor. For the Memory, I could transfer it into my Diary rather than losing it, but I think Lucius, in a way, wants to forget the murder of Manius all those years ago. He also, therefore, forgets why Amelia hated him so, which allows him to paint himself as an innocent victim.

I become a scholar of rhetoric, imparting ancient knowledge to the sons of the elite; alone at night, they slake my thirst.

Next up, I get a 6 and a 6, leading to another 0. This leads me to the third prompt for 25.

A Mortal Character threatens your feeding system. What compelling argument do they make? How do you dissuade them? Check a Skill.

Would this be Pelias? I don’t think so. He knows who I am. Instead, I create a new mortal, Antenor, a rival scholar who objects to what I’m teaching, and how. Things get pretty heated, and I’m forced to defend myself publicly. This guy is good, but I debated Cicero.  My Oration overcomes him arguments.

No one respects the old ways, and I am challenged by the upstart Antenor, who claims I know nothing of learning. I am forced to debate him in the public square, but these new so-called “Romans” know nothing of Oration or Debate, and he withers before me.

Next prompt. Really hoping I don’t get a 0 this time. 7 and 6 for a total of 1. I finally get to move on to 26.

You create a vampire through sloppy feeding. Create an Immortal Character from an existing Mortal Character if possible, or create a Mortal Character if needed. Why did you not destroy them? Check a Skill.

WHY DOES EVERYTHING HAVE TO BE SO HORRIBLE? You know, Lucius was happy. He had Pelias, he had intellectual stimulation. Things were going great.

Ok, I have two Mortal characters, Pelias and Antenor. There’s no way Lucius is going to damn his lover, so it’s Antenor instead.

Overcome with pride, I made my way to Antenor’s chambers, to feed on him as a final act of domination, as punishment for daring to challenge me. But, something went wrong—he did not die, but instead rose three days later as one of my kind. I do not understand how this happened, and retreated further from the world, and my students.

Bye-bye Tutor skill, hello another damn vamp who probably wants to kill me.

Next prompt. I roll a 3 and a 6 and, for a -3, sending me back to 23.

You master a strange new science or field of knowledge. How does your vampire nature give you special insight into these studies? Create an appropriate Skill based on a Memory.

That’s not too bad. I forsake teaching and the publicity it brings, but still focus on scholarship. Based on my history with Pelias, I decide to go with Theology for my skill. I combine all my recent experience into a new Memory.

We find a home in Constantinople, and with Pelias’ help, I am able to find a place among mortals as a teacher. This draws unwanted attention, by those such as Antenor, who challenge me and my standing. I am able to best him publicly, but my pride leads me to feed off of him, and inadvertently create another creature like myself. Perhaps there is no peace for me, but Pelias does help me find solace in the Christian Bible.

And that’s as good a place as any to take a pause. Hopefully you’ll join me next time!


Tools and Mechanics
Thousand Year Old Vampire by Tim Hutchings.  Kickstarter for this game is currently live, and concludes November 15th, 2018.
The Everyone, Everywhere List by Erik James Olsrud

Thousand Year Old Vampire

Thousand Year Old Vampire is a Solo Roleplaying game, in which you chronicle the centuries of existence as one of the undead. It was laun...