Blood Thirst

The opening prompts for this book are incredibly bloody. I rolled a 1 (5 and 4) to start with. I remember what prompt 1 is, and I thought to myself “no, I’ll skip that one and roll again”. Then I rolled another 1 (7 and 6). Fate clearly wanted me on this path. Let the bloodshed begin.

(Checkout the setup.)

King Statton was furious with his soliders for failing to protect his lands from the … whatever it was that invaded and messed up a lot of people. He refuses to believe that it was strange shadow creatures and even though his fighters – Sir Aeron’s fighter’s – have come back very wounded he still sees them as failures.

One of the the 4th Company laughs – letting off steam more than anything – about the death of the King. “He wouldn’t be so miserable then.” But the idea catches on the wind. The men and woman of the Company feverishly taste the idea as it passes between them. Sir Aeron knows his duty – he should shut them down and order them to run laps or something – but the taste gets to him too. What the heck is happening? he has time to think, before a switch flips and he’s tearing into the King.

It doesn’t stop there. Lord Cambridge himself comes across the scene, or at least peices together enough of what happened to know who did it. He doesn’t know why or how, really. The 4th Company step in before he can do any real damage. Aeron, right then, realises he has a new family. He’s not entirely sure he’s in charge of them, but they call him Lord Cambridge now.

Side note: Faber-Castell highlights cause Uniball black to bleed. This isn’t the case with Uniball blue.

His friend Lain is too sure of him though. She doesn’t realise what’s taking hold of him. Unsure what else to do to help her friend, she suggests to her husband that young Aeron Cambridge should take his father’s empty seat. “Now is a terrible time for the Council to be broken,” she tells him.

And somehow, it happens.

Sir Aeron

“An oil painting of a grass field. It is dusk. There are men in the field wearing armor, breastplates and helmets. They are fighting shadow creatures of different shapes.”

I started a new Thousand Year Old Vampire.

I have a Universe already, called the Alius See, in which I’ve set my previous TYOV stories (and ones inspired by my TOYV stories) but this one immediately ended up being recognisably not-Earth. So now it’s a Multiverse, and the Alius See connects ’em all.

This time around, I’m playing on actual paper, continuing my love for index cards.

Sir Aeron, who’ll one day be Lord Aeron if he plays his cards right, has been brought up in a world of tough love. As the first born, it was always his destiny to take over ruling Cambridge and so that’s what his father has been rearing him towards.

Lord Essin of Cambridge never approved his his boy’s lingering over a chess board, when he could be practicing his riding or archery skills. It was decided that if his son was going to waste his time like this, then he’d come through the other end of it the best player these was.

I’m not sure yet how important Cambridge is to the rest of the King’s empire, but Statton certainly knows how to keep the Cambridge family happy. Likely, he does that with all his bannermen, but the King manages to do it whilst it feeling very personal.

The suit of armor wasn’t just gilded with both Aeron’s family name, but also the King’s own insignia. That alone is like +10 temporary hit points – no one wants to take a swing at the boar-and-swan and risk offending the King. That wasn’t all though. It was specifically designed after the blacksmith watched how Aeron preferred to fight.

Lain Talin is a close friend of Aeron’s, though about twenty years older than him, and married to the Archbishop. More than once their friendship has managed to mend a link between the Lord and the head of the Church in these parts, without them even realising. The Archbishop isn’t the only one with God’s ear though – his wife may have just as much of their attention.

It’s hard to know what kind of leader Aeron will be at this point. He’s skilled in combat – certain kinds of combat at least, when winning over the audience is more important than winning the fit. He’s managed to make some key friends during his time. And he may well be the keenest chess player alive.

None of this helped when quite a large Fold appeared – a crack between this world and the Alius See – and let a clutch of shadowkin through. As they’re want to do, they ravaged the bodies of those that tried to defend the city, and as so often is the case, their victims failed to die.

This isn’t good. Rather than a single vampire spawning (or whatever it is the shadowkin infect people with) the entire Company has turned. Maybe the entire Cambridge military. No idea where the shadows went afterwards. They probably didn’t have their fill and just head back home.

Aeron’s face was mercifully left alone, if there’s a mercy to be found. He does have a wound, similar to the rest of his band, that seems to have run out of blood to spill. Now the flesh is sore, red, and pulsing, as his heart tries to push blood is no longer has.

I didn’t even have to roll a dice yet and look how much content there is! I have many pages to fill out on my (private) world building wiki already. Tune in next time to see how Cambridged faired after the massacre.

Imagination requires confidence

A few Sundays ago, I wanted to start another Thousand Year Old Vampire run but I didn’t fancy doing it alone so I dropped a message into my family chat. “Does anyone want to play a writing game with me? It’s about figuring out what a vampire did over their lifetime.” I knew my sister, S1, would join. I doubted my other sister, S2, would join. I hoped my mom would join.

When the time came S1 arrived eager to play, even though she had no idea what was about to happen. I didn’t hear anything from the always busy S2. There was no sign from my mom either, which upset me a bit, so I messaged her privately asking if she had time to join. “I’m not very good at writing and making things up, I dunno,” she said back. I applied about more pressure, as the favorite child, and she joined.

We had a huge amount of fun, and it’s ended up being a Sunday routine of ours that we’ve done for over a month now. S2 even graced us with her presence which has been wonderful.

This was a very novel experience for all three of them. I don’t believe they’ve done any creative writing since being forced to at school – even for the youngest of us, that’s over a decade ago. It was very obvious that they were … resistant to lean into their imagination too much, too quickly.

The most confusing reaction – that cropped up multiple times – was are we allowed to write this? Both my mom and S1 had this reaction at different points, and I wasn’t entirely sure who they thought would stop us.

TYOV is primarily a single person game. There are multiplayer rules, but I’ve not paid any attention to them. When it’s time to make up a new resource our vampire has aquired, I’ll say “okay, mom, what’s the item?” and she’ll have a think and say “a kettle?” and then I’ll say, “okay, S2, what’s cool about it?”, “it never runs out of hot water!” (“what about booze?”, my mom will say, “yeah! hot vodka!” S2 will screech, “no wait normal tempurature vodka!” mom screeches louder, attempting to keep us sane, “too late – it’s hot vodka,” I decided) and then maybe I’ll figure out the event that meant our vampire aquired it and type it up. We all contribute a bit.

On one occaision the prompt required us to make a new immortal creature. “Does it have to be a vampire?” S1 asked, still grasping around for the acceptable boundaries of imagination. “Could it be Dobby?” There aren’t many things that my sister will nerd out on, but Harry Potter is up there.

“It can’t be Dobby!” my mom decided. “That’s plagorism!”

I think it’s probably closer to copyright infringment, but I was a bit taken aback that my mom’s first thought was that we’d all be thrown in a prison cell together if we wrote down the name of a houseelf. The Google doc we were writing was, after all, just for us. (In the end, we did go with a gnome-like elf, but who went by a different name.)

There were a few other occaisions where one person or another got caught on the idea that we were breaking a rule that their imagination just couldn’t get past. “Well, I’ve never heard of a vampire that can do that,” someone said. It wasn’t that they were against the idea of a vampire that could do a unique ability, it was that there was a door in their imagination that we had to kick open before they thought it was allowed.

The first couple of hours certainly felt like we were hitting those doors all the time. They were opened though; with practice they all seemed to be more comfortable with just making stuff up.

Anyway, at the end of last session we just woke up the Overlord of the Vampires, who’d been in a petrified state for thousands of years, so I’m very excited to play again tomorrow.