Wednesday, August 31, 2011

oddling thoughts

Random Tékumel related thoughts that have crossed my mind in the past 36 hours

some how the first half of this post was cut..

here is is, restored

I am still working on the campaign updates, between INTERNET distractions. Writing them offline helps get a draft out, but, I need this puter to get Tsolyáni spell checkers. There is, for those who are unaware, a Tsolyáni dictionary for word processors available on in the Yahoo group files. Unfortunately, it was created for MS word in or before 2005 and won't import easily into the current Open Office. I have been manually adding words as I have needed them, and occasionally go off on the net to research an easier way.. without success. Which, by the magic of the Internet, often leads me to waste several hours on Ebay or FB, or reading blogs. Amazing time machine the Internet. All that led me to an blog post on Hill Cantons about RPG narratives and what makes em good, bad, indifferent, justifiable, or offenses against nature. Hold that thought..

There is a new Blog devoted to Tékumel news on the web, called the Skein of Destiny.

It is a group blog, and it was the spawn of a yahoo group discussion that began when the admin of Skein offered to run a newsletter. I countered that a group blog could reduce the individual work load, and he and I, without consultation, both created a blog for that purpose. Only he actually put some articles up.. which makes his much more interesting to read. No reason to compete, but now I have the makings of a Tékumel blog, and no real mission. These two paragraphs are related..

I had been considering making my Tékumel blog a group blog, for the purpose of game session reports. Anyone running or playing in a campaign could, if they desired, become a contrib, and log their campaign sessions as they saw them. I just thought perhaps an additional feature might be to link it to a drop-box for the posters to put Maps, or pics or such.. though drop box may not be a good choice.. .. probably shouldn't brainstorm and blog at the same time..

At any rate, what are your opinions? I am especially interested in the views of potential contributers.. as they would be crucial. Readers, as with all things blog, are optional.

I will probably cross post this question in a few places..

The Dictionary, mentioned above, and the blue room archives, and a few other bits of readily available data on the net, might make good fodder for a collective effort to begin to build a Tékumel Wiki. I am trying to go through proper channels to achieve a Tékumel Wiki, and I understand that such a beast is a frightening prospect for those who wish to control the IP rights.. so this is tricky ground to negotiate. This is not a new thought, it has crossed my mind before, and is beginning to wear a path..

My plan/pipe dream to make a Penóm Gazateer got a minor boost in that I have invented a new beasty that I think will fit well into the Swamps and the Underworlds. Have to try it on my players sometime soon..

“The unsecured path”.. I won't provide stats, as I believe strongly that the path forward is a system-less Tékumel .. But the creature is an intelligent plant/fungus that grows floats in the swamps. Each individual pod is about 5-8 inches in diameter, though not specifically round. They cluster in dense communities making a firm floating surface that can cover miles of open, stagnant water.
But saying too much now might spoil the fun.. I will tell more about this in a future post.

I am toying with trying to create a set of rules for Den Den. The paucity of information on the game is daunting. The only thing I am sure of is that the players can sometimes change one piece for another, and the game is supposedly an abstraction of the complex political world of Tékumel. I am thinking, currently, that, unlike most games known to our readers, players tokens won't be designated by color. And players provide their own tokens for a game, rather than both or all tokens coming from one source. The tokens are standardized in some manner, but customizable. Much as we see lots of different renditions of the common chess set. Pieces are defined by some simple attributes (several sizes, perhaps, and several colors for each set) but they are also customized, possibly with clan markings, or temple markings.. that have no impact on the game except to identify the piece as belonging to one player.

All the above was actually just a distraction from my original reason for creating this post..
Got together with some old friends the other night and played a few classic board games..

First up was Raj, a card/tile bidding game I had never played before. Picked up a copy at a thrift store, and it looked like something I could import to Tékumel .. (hence all the digression above..). It was compelling, and played quickly, but was really just a way to kill time until all the players arrived.

Next a game of Circus Maximus. A departure from our traditional fair, actually. We usually play Dune..I have bling.. We were doing a quick race, 1.5 Laps. The pic is from just before the first corner. In the next turn I entered the corner a bit hot, and rolled badly, flipping my chariot. I spent the rest of my career and life as a charioteer being dragged around the course. Geo flipped one turn later, but cut himself free. Then Jerry ran him over. Mark won, but Jerry was the crowd favorite.. 

 Then we played Dune, but, Chip had to leave – some lame gotta work tomorrow excuse – and the FLGS was closing.. so it was going to be abbreviated. Jerry outsmarted all of us and time itself by pulling a win on turn three while we all tried to figure out if we could get one more turn in before our deadline. Since we still had time, we played out one more turn, and, at the designated hour of 1045, low and behold Jerry still had control of the most cities.. Cudos to Emperor Jerry for pulling off two wins in four turns.. He shall not be invited back..(I kid.. I kid..)

wow.. mustn't post free hand after midnight.. This think is littered with typos and edit errors..  ed.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Still More from the Campaign

I am beginning to understand why I have been avoiding this. A lot happened in the last few adventures, though their wasn't a great deal of activity.

The next day they all paid a visit to the temporary billets of the Tangled root eaters, and made an attempt to gain audience with the Kerdu, G-Gum-Shoggu, or other officer who could make their claim to the land outside Butrús stronger. Their basic story was noted by the officer of the watch, and he promised to move it on to his superiors. They should wait for a reply. So they cooled their heels, did some more sight seeing, and discovered they were being followed. They set a trap, but must have spooked the tail, because it disappeared.

Eventually, they gained audience with the Quartermaster, who had been authorized to deal with the matter. They made their case,

Point 1, the tangled root eaters, a most honourable and devoted legion of the Empire had, with good faith, transferred title of the land in question to the Plume of White clan, and this arrangement had been seen by both as noble and in the best interests of each party and the empire. But for the bumbling of a low level scribe, that would be the end of the story, and none of the parties has ever shown sign to regret the decision.

Point 2, The party bringing the objection (the Ito Clan) to the long established transfer, though, undoubtedly doing so only in the interest of protecting the Petal Thrones deep devotion to perfection in all things of Tsolyánu, and most certainly abhorring, as the Emperor must, any flaw that might stain the imperial record-keeping.. can be assumed to have no other interests in the property in question.

Point 3, Any outcome contrary to the long running understanding can only reflect negatively upon the Empire, the Palace of the Realm, The clans involved, and the Tangled root eaters, for they have allowed this error not only to occur, but to fester, which can only lead to doubt in the standing of all claims of title, and from thence, in the edicts of the empire.. doubts which the AOL would, reasonably, be expected to erase, and probably with blood.

Point 4, Abolition of the long running understanding would would be inconvenient for all involved, as the Clan of Plume of White would probably expect recompense, to include interests, going back a approximately 1000 years, and the Tangled Root eaters would be saddled with land they no longer found useful to their mission. The expenses for the Tangled root eaters would be especially inconvenient, during a time of war, when monies might more readily be spent on armour, and training.

What the players didn't know, but would learn, is that some of the delay that had given them so much free time in Tumíssa was to allow the TRE to send a scout to investigate the property before a final decision. The Quartermaster and the Tirrikámu had learned enough to be very suspicious of the potential hazards that might be associated with laying claim to the unnatural caverns. They chose not be be distracted in war time with a place where the dead walk, without even the calling of Sárku.. to assist them. Better to leave that, in fact, to the temples to sort out.

So they authorized the deal that our party was suggesting. They would have an officer in Butrús with authority, meet with representatives of the Clan of Plume of White, and the temple of Hriháyal, and the former two would both sign over rights to the later, so that no matter the outcome of any challenge, the final owner would be the Temple, and it would all be completed before Avanthár would have any reason to be upset by the errors in paperwork. The will of the Emperor would thus be done.

The learned one other thing from all this. The bureaucrat whose name was associated with this error had, despite his considerable rise in rank, a reputation for similar, minute errors in paperwork that created the potential for challenges to long standing documents.

note: if any one is new to the story, and wants to go back and find the beginning, I have tagged all the narrative posts as campaign..

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Back to our featured presentation

Well, time to start drafting that update..

I am thunderstruck when I realize the last post on the campaign was in March. It ended as this.

They heard rumours of Mu'ugalavyá scouts and small skirmishes being fought in Do Cháka, up near Tumíssa. The Bulk of the Legion of Tangled Root eaters, a Páchi Lei legion, was currently up in Tumíssa, operating the defenses against said Mu'ugalavian incursions. As players are wont to do, they took an end run around my Jájgi plot line, and decided to approach the Legion, to sort simply replicated the original purchase agreement, or make a deal to purchase the land directly, if the courts should determine that they still owned it.

I have drafted enough already to break this into two or three posts, and am nearly caught up with the narrative, so without further ado..

...The players outfitted a small excursion to Tumíssa. And figured they would do some business on the side, in part as a cover for the real mission. That didn't actually keep anyone from following, as their opposition in this affair is both numerous and dedicated. Due to my neglecting to bring my maps, I over estimated the travel time from Butrús to Tumíssa. I explained this away by heavy traffic and heavy security, what with the harvest season starting, and Mu'ugs in the Chákas. There were some casual encounters along the way, but things were mostly quiet.. again, due to heavy traffic and heavy security. They did meet a Priest of Qón who was crawling.. as a means of mentally preparing to fight demons.. to Tumíssa. He was a dedicated demon fighter.. and an Ascetic, and a bit of a crazy, by the parties reckoning. Still, he invited them to his temple to research the Goddess of the river.. and possibly related matters. The party figured he might take a month to get there, at his current speed.

On to Tumíssa. , They traveled as a Merchant Caravan transporting fine papers from Mriga's Clan for sale in the big city, and Sánjesh brought his Hriháyal Guard for protection. Once in the city they did a bit of touristing, finding two places of great interest. The first was the Hall of Cool Air.. Which Mriga returned to repeatedly. The other was the Avenue of Stele, where they found another stele which seemed markedly similar to the one in the cave. It had been unearthed during the construction of the Lushman canal, and, as they had learned from other sources, that event appears to have coincided with an earlier renaissance in worship of the Goddess of the Turín river. Sánjesh stopped by his temple to try to toady a bit with Mis hiRakádi, and her entourage, but Mis was in a state of seclusion in preparation for the Ritual of Ecstatically Traveling to the Isles and Back again. He did find her protégé Kaiyor, and she invited the party to a the special holiday festival that were in store for the evening. Mriga nervously bowed out, returning to his own temple to do research, But Suni and Mriga attended. As it happened, the festival was a feast, more than an orgy, which brought in all the most exotic foods that could be had at the beginning of harvest, for the gluttony of the temple faithful. (It was noted by Suni, that there might be a correlation between the nature of the festival, and the rather severe diet I had place upon myself about a week prior... suni is wise, I suspect, as I was rather obsessed with food at the time..) The party goers (well Suni, I think) ordered a plate to go to be delivered to the studious Mriga... who had discovered that the Priest of Thumis from chapter 2 was doing research in the facility on the Stele they had all discovered in the caves..

The next day they all paid a visit to the temporary billets of the Tangled root eaters, and made an attempt to gain audience with the Kerdu, G-Gum-Shoggu, or other person who could make their claim to the land outside Butrús stronger. Their basic story was noted by the officer of the watch, and he promised to move it on to his superiors. They should wait for a reply. So they cooled their heels, did some more sight seeing, and discovered they were being followed. They set a trap, but must have spooked the tail, because they disappeared.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


My blogging is weak, from lack of exercise. I promised an update on the Empire of the Petal Throne campaign, and haven't delivered. There is a reason, not a good one, but a reason. We didn't actually manage to get together that week that I planned to confer with the players and make sure my info was accurate and complete. And we haven't managed to get together since. Early summer vacations spread us across several states, and – I think – a couple continents. There was a brief period, I think, when we were all in town, then Geo went to MI to visit his brother. And there is is to this day.. with a broken engine. Not really an excuse for my not posting... something.. anything... even stupid things... As a result, my readers – if any of you still view yourselves as such – I am behind..

I am writing this post offline, which, now that I try it, may prove to be the system I use in the future. I can do this when I have time, and no I net connection, and copy and paste it. This avoids the common distractions of the Web, FB, G+, BootCamp, Ebay, Email, etc. As I write, I am at my friendly local Game Store waiting to see if anyone shows up looking for a pick up game of 4ofnordK. The place is quiet, though someone with an Army just came in after being waylayed by a Dog, which resulted in some broken models, a minor limp and a foul mood. I have been busy with my IfnordG army, compulsively buying, adequately painting, and now, for the first time in my Gamey Career, basing the figs. (as it turned out.. I forgot my Company Command Squad at home, so, I ended up leaving when I finished this draft)

I have come up with some fluff to account for the variety of figures I use. I will be fielding the 703rd Segmentum Obscura Regiment of Detachments. I hit on the idea while reading Sharpe's Eagle, one of the Napoleonic high adventures of Captain (as of this book) Richard Sharpe. Early in the book, a pompous general, with no experience, gets his regiment badly massacred. As a result, the survivors are formed up with other depleted units into a combined regiment, with no real identity. My plan is to pull any unit effectively destroyed in a battle, to be replaced by another unit of similar value. I plan on heavy use of range, as IG that get into assault tend not to survive. This mechanic will serve to keep me honest in troop use, I think, as it means pushing units into a meat grinder guarantees I won't have them next fight.

Units will come back, of course, Can't afford to buy figures forever. I may build a random chart for replacements. I will never use a colour guard, as a regiment of detachments would have no colours. Locally, I will play mostly against SpaceFnordMarine, as that is the most commonly fielded force. I have chosen never to field a commissar against SpaceFnordMarine. Fluff wise, fighting SfnordM makes no sense anyway.. figure it only happens when Mil Intel wishes to keep the SfnordM in training, and a Regiment of Detachments would be a good sacrificial goat.

But, I have been spending an inordinate amount of time on 40FnordK lately. There is a certain attraction to the build process, but the game is, so far, less than compelling. I miss the More nuanced world of Tekumel. I will be devoting more time to that for a while. There are interesting things happening in that world as well. More later..

editors note. It appears that in publication, pictures have been truncated.. please click on the pic to see the whole thing. We will try to learn how to address this in the future..
decided to add a bit of bling. Introducing the current 703rd Segmentum Obscura Regiment of Detachments

the above is a typical infantry squad.. two squads combined, 20 men with missle launchers and grenades launchers. Currently have two of these.

This unit is a Veteran Demolision team. Minitures are Pig Iron Kolony Militia. On the right we see two heavy lasers proxied in for multifnordmeltas. Can have up to 3, so I have another few soldiers en-route.

This is a typical Platoon Command Squad. The soldier on the left has a flamer. On the right we see a VoxfnordCaster. Currently two of these, and another unfinished that will be have a heavy weapon. Their function is command and control.

The last two photos are of hvy weapons teams. There are both GW and Pig Iron in the mix. I can take no credit for the upper three, as they shipped in all finished from the Eba nebulaay..