Sunday, September 30, 2012

Playing EPT Tekumel!

Yesterday, the Aethervox gamers met over at Jeff Berry's house (our traditional game spot, with its vast collection of Tekumel miniatures and props) to begin a new Fall campaign being GM's by Rob Leduc. Our default campaign uses a very simple narrativist d100 roll to resolve conflicts; characters in the default campaign have been created using many different systems, from Tekumel: Empire of the Petal Throne, to Swords & Glory, to my own Muugalavyani Priest of Gruganu who was created using FATE.

For Rob's campaign, which uses the original edition of Empire of the Petal Throne, we rolled up EPT characters for a "fresh of the boat" scenario. It was a great deal of fun. Each player created two characters. Mine were Akho-Akho and Tsuralnali. They are part of a distant island tribe, and therefore non-Tsolyani. Both are magic users. Akho-Akho is the better of the two magic users - his Psychic percentile attribute was in the 80s; in comparison, Tsuralnali only had a 41 for her Psychic skill - just average, no penalties.

I rolled an 11 on the percentile dice for Akho-Akho's ugliness, so he is not going to win any beauty contents. I have a pretty good idea why he is so ugly. It has something to do with his full-head tattoo of an Akho, the legendary "Embracer of Ships". (Note the image in the link - which is part of Brett Slocum's very fine GURPS Tekumel pages, shows a nipple-like bump in the center of the Akho, facing directly up toward the ship above. This is in fact a giant eye. I wonder if the form of this creature was also an influence on the avanc, the giant-eye-from-below in China Mieville's novel The Scar; of course, the Welsh myths of the afanc were also an obvious influence on Mieville. 

In contrast to Akho-Akho, Tsuralnali did fine in the looks department; IIRC, she was up in the 80s.

Unfortunately, I rolled only 1 HP for Akho-Akho. After which I apparently cried out with a great groan that elicited a belly laugh from Jeff Berry. He remarked that this was a common occurrence in the old days: you roll up a great character, only to be felled by a poor 1d6 roll for the HPs. He said this is why it is impossible to min-max with EPT.

Tsuralnali rolled a 5 for her HP. We'll see who survives longer. I have a feeling the law of averages will rule here.

I am looking forward to the campaign!

Oh, and we are fresh of the boat in Penom, the so-called "Armpit of the Empire", a bug-infested hellhole.


  1. Ah, Tekumel. MAR Barker did some magic with that setting. If you can keep from being drowned by the alienness of it- which the old-fashioned fresh off the boat framing does well- it's just a perfect context for blending old-school adventuring with complex sociopolitical maneuvering.

  2. Yes, the fresh-of-the-boat approach does the job. But here in the Twin Cities I have also seen many people introduced to the setting in medias res. That works fine locally here in the Twin Cities, because the existing players are very familiar with the setting and help newcomers. I wish that were possible in many other communities - it certainly wasn't where I grew up.


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