NB: Thousand Year Old Vampire (affiliate link) is a journaling game that directs the player to start “in the distant past”. For the purpose of this playthrough, however, I will be using Trophy Dark and Trophy Loom to help with character creation and setting details. I’m playing as a Quick Game, where I answer the Prompts entirely in the Memories. This varies from the Journaling Game, where I would “[dedicate] a short paragraph or so to each question.”
Thousand Year Old Vampire is a lonely solo role-playing game in which you chronicle the unlife of a vampire over the many centuries of their existence, beginning with the loss of mortality and ending with their inevitable destruction.
Trophy Loom is a system-agnostic setting book for dark medieval fantasy roleplaying games, especially the games under the Trophy banner. Unlike other RPG setting books you may be familiar with, you will not find detailed historical timelines or accurate city populations in Trophy Loom. Rather, this book consists mostly of random tables you can use to inspire you before or during a game session. These tables contain threads of detail that can be woven into an entire adventure, or can be stitched in to fill a gap when you need a name, monster, or location on short notice.
A vampire (the player character) consists of 5 traits: Memories, Skills, Resources, Characters, and Marks. Most prompts will change a trait; I’ll describe those as they happen. I will present a character summary at the beginning and end of each session
I’ll begin by rolling on some of the initial character creation tables in “Trophy Dark”, plus a bit of setting from “Trophy Loom”. I’ll use the randomly-chosen Drive to help create the initial experience - whatever led to that Drive will be the first memory.
I am Valen, a retired soldier born to a poor family in the Charcoal District of Ambaret. During my service in the Royal Army, I observed the officers’ wealth and privilege with jealousy.
Each of those experiences takes up the first slot in a different Memory.
Charcoal District of Ambaret, generated by DALL-E 3
I’ll record the prompts here and write an Experience to go with it. As appropriate, I’ll note which Memory it will go in.
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.
What started as a drunken jest led to me striking down Foret, my brother-in-arms; I managed to dispose of his body at the district hospital and have it sent across the Blossoming Sea.
You are overcome by panic and maul someone close to you, accidentally turning them into a monster like yourself. Convert a beloved mortal Character into an enemy immortal. Take the Skill Ashamed.
While visiting my mother, I am driven into rage by pain when a small bauble produces so much light; when I come back to myself, I am shamed to see that I have burned her eyes away, and yet she sees.
A loved one discovers your condition and works to help you. Create a Resource which represents their assistance. Create a mortal Character if none are available.
Baso, the old man who helped me readjust after leaving the army, recognizes my mark and introduces me to the Cooperation Society, a gang of thugs and racketeers; I hide in the darkness of their shadowed alleys and fight in the night against whatever enemies they point me at.
Your body manifests some trait related to the vampire that created you. How do you become more like them? Create a Skill that reflects this.
Six eyes of various sizes burst from my head in perfectly round orbs; I can see in all directions at once, but I cannot close my eyes to sleep. (Created “Vigilant”)
New laws or social mores make it harder for you to hide among the populace. How are you nearly caught and destroyed? Check a Skill. Create a Skill. Create a mortal criminal who assists you.
A new push against the Cooperation Society nearly flushes me into the open on a bright morning; a young thief named Benah helps me escape, and I take refuge in her hideout in the Salt District. (Checked “Endurance”; Created “Silent as the Grave”)
Two friendly Characters become embroiled in an internecine conflict. Become involved and check a Skill. Create up to two Characters, if needed. How do you profit? Gain a Resource.
Baso, who is in fact one of the senior advisors of the Cooperation Society, is targeted as a member of a different sub-faction than Benah, and I support the woman who has taken me in; eventually I gain the respect of the Society’s leadership who confide in me their plans for rebellion against the Crown. (Checked “Survival”; Created “Support of the Cooperation Society leadership”)
You have fed too long in one place, destroying a community or social group. Who were they? How did the last community member die? Gain a scavenged Resource, lose a Resource.
Over time, the Cooperation Society leadership falls to my predations as the leader, in private consultation with me, insults my military experience; I take over leadership, intending to topple the Crown myself (Gain Command of the Cooperation Society; Lost Support of the Cooperation Society leadership)
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.
While prowling the Azure Archives, I learn the secrets of creating a human library, known as an Inscribed; as I feel no physical pain other than bright light, the alchemical changes to my skin cause no discomfort. (Created “Inscribed”)
A long dead mortal Character returns. What do they want from you? How have they survived death? You only recognize them if you still have a related Memory. Check a Skill.
Foret, the soldier I killed in a drunken rage, returns to me with his spirit somehow transferred into a constructed manikin, wanting that gargoyle from so long ago; I wonder if we can return to our past friendship. (Checked “Ashamed”)
Wars rage throughout the region in which you reside. You withdraw into a hidden retreat, waiting for them to pass. Lose a Resource.
Rebellion breaks out, independent of my own plans, and I flee into the Kalduhr Forest; an abandoned ranger waystation provides my refuge. (Lost “Command of the Cooperation Society”)
You are exposed as a monster and flee to a far-off land. Lose any stationary Resources. You do not know the language of this new place—how do you overcome this obstacle? What new name do you take?
A band of treasure-hunters drives me away from my forest retreat, and I flee across the Blossoming Sea to Naganeh; these who overthrew their snake-men kings speak a different tongue, but my alchemical transformation into an Inscribed provides me with enough basis to learn the language and I take the name “Balzor”. (Lose “Military pension” and “The Cooperation Society”)
You disguise yourself with an entirely new persona. Take an old Memory and modify it to make it contemporary and bland. Create a Skill based on blending in.
An old man named Baso told me stories of his youth as a famous monster hunter; the idea of the creatures as he describes them struck me as improbable at best. He helped me readjust after leaving the army by introducing me to a street gang. The Kingsguard flushed us from hiding and I hid in the sewers of Ambaret. (Created “Streetwise”)
You lose yourself in your assumed personality. Lose your oldest and newest Memories. Throw away your Diary. Create a Skill and Resource tied to your new life.
I lose my memories of my mother and military pension as well as my flight into the Kalduhr and then Naganeh, as well as the diary (a journal on calf vellum, bound in leather, with a lock in the form of a crown) that recorded my memories of military service and rebellion. I am now simply Balzor, an alchemist (new skill “Alchemy” and resource “Alchemical Lab”) and human library in this land of humans, snakes, and so much else.
This feels like the appropriate place to end this first session. When I pick it up again, I can start with the new life of Balzor.
As of the end of this session, my character looks like this: