Geo has found some new players for my campaign. Mic and Jo, a delightful couple, young by my standards of age, but tolerant of my doddering and rambling. We spent most of this eve – a special session as I work tomorrow – creating characters and briefing them on the world.
Over in the Yahoo group there has been a discussion as to how one handles players who either can't or won't buy into the worlds culture. This is always a fear for me with introducing Tekumel to new players. It was the first game I played, so I didn't have an expectation of dwarves and paladins that many young gamers acquire from “other” RPGs. Transferring from our common ethos to that of Narnia is not so difficult for most. But being thrust into a world where your good neighbor might also practice ritual human sacrifice is a bit disconcerting for most people I should think.
So, our new characters are
Mriga is a Priest of Keténgku, with a strong grounding in the healing arts, both magical and mundane. He was raised at the Monastery of the Grey Cloak, (which, in my Tekumel, and I think reasonably) has a Keténgku wing. I will have to find him a copy of Man of Gold... He has a strong sense of loyalty to the Monastery, perhaps moreso than to his Clan, Victorious Globe.
Suni, a warrior priestess of Grugánu, cohort to Ksárul, with an emphasis – so far – on Warrior. She is a member of one of the Black Trinity Clans *Black Moon, if I recall, but I don't have the sheet in front of me) which should create a different dynamic, should the Black Clan hunting party appear in the area again. She wields a Quarter Staff very nearly expertly, and has perfect balance. She also has blood lust and a short temper.
With the addition of these players, it would probably be imprudent to continue to refer to Geo's character as the “Hero”, so by way of Introduction..
Sanjesh, a Temple Guard with Hriháyal, and, until recently, the focus of our narrative. He is a member of the Green Kirtle, with High Lineage. Attractive, with a singers voice, and an up and coming talent with a sword. He is the very model of a Hriháyal Major General.
Once characters were complete we brought everyone up to date. My brain was getting fried, and I was ill prepared for extensive adventuring, but we played for a bit, above ground. First, a long discussion ensued about alternative ways to catch a Chnéhl. Traditional hunting technique would be to try to use the slaves as beaters and drive the Chnéhl towards the hunters. But this didn't bode so well if the goal was to capture, rather than kill. Someone hit upon the idea of using pit traps. So, slaves were put to work making a wall around the new camp, digging pits and preparing torches for a possible entry into the caves. Sanjesh, Suni and the Beast handler took our bait out for a walk, to spread the scent around.
No Chnéhl, but they did spot a Kuni bird, which, at Sanjesh bidding, the Beastmaster subdued with Zoic Domination, and held in a tree while Suni climbed up and captured it.
When they got back to camp, the beast handler had a chance to look more closely at the Kuni, and found it banded, and property of the Black Monolith Clan. So, it may have been associated with the hunting party – though no one saw a kuni with the party – or there may have been another party in the area, or, perhaps it simply escaped or was somehow lost. There was talk of interrogating the bird, but, since they couldn't be sure if it didn't talk that it was just not trained to talk, they decided against it, for the time being. They also decided against letting it go.
There was also a discussion of possible reasons that the Chnéhl had yet to take the bait. (Part of the truth is that the dice didn't work in their favor, but) someone suggested that perhaps they could sense that things weren't right. It was during the layout of the tents that someone realized that the tent that housed the fake Mis was down hill from the rest, which would be improper, if it weren't actually housing a slave girl. No one knew if the Chnéhl were smart enough to notice that kind of social faux Pas, but it was also noted that, perhaps because the Rényu, or perhaps Kaiyor, Mis's protégé, or even her ever present bodyguard was missing, the Chnéhl were simply not buying it. Or perhaps the lack of active rituals and ceremonies to Hriháyal. Well, they couldn't do much about the missing people, and it had been a long week in the woods. So the Hriháyal contingent decided it was time for some fleshy rites. Nothing quite so powerful a scent as the cumulative odor of a dozen sweaty bodies doing the holy bump and grind. The newcomers were invited but did not take part.
Mriga took first watch, and late into it, or perhaps early second watch, I forget, the slaves in the trap tent came running out, again insisting that there was Chnéhl in the tent. When pressed, they admitted they didn't see anything, but heard something in the hole. Sanjesh investigated as a crowd of naked sweaty Hriháyal worshipers (and slaves) crowded in with a somewhat discomfited Thúmis and friends behind him. Silence. Then a groaning, moaning noise. Not specifically Chnéhl like, but not categorically un Chnéhl like. Perhaps injured Team Avánthe. Perhaps team Avánthe trying to trick them into putting the ladder back. Perhaps something completely different. A torch dropped down the whole failed to shed light on the subject. Finally, Suni volunteered to go in.
And that is where we left off for the eve. Overall, it went well. Thrown into a very non D&D like environment, and subjected to one of the more radically unorthodox social customs of that environment, our recruits stood fast, and, hardly blushed. I am pleased. I think they have what it takes to buy into the world, and explore it for what it is, rather than try to make it something with which they are more comfortable.