Sunday, July 6, 2014

Welcome to Béy Sü!

If you stripped away all the present day elements, this scene from Varanasi, India might very well be a view looking south along the west bank of the Missúma from central Béy Sü. The Tsolyáni capital, I have blogged about this mighty city before. Here.

Many people, when they try to describe to themselves and others what Tékumel or Tsolyánu is like, or might be like, use Mesoamerican civilizations such as the Aztecs or the Maya as a starting point - but with the same technological sophistication as Ancient Rome or Greece. I don't think that is entirely off base but I feel that India and that part of the world offer far greater sources of inspiration. The roots of Tékumel are far deeper in India and Pakistan (and the region) than they are in South and Central America. IMO.

I've recently been starting to collect images, mostly from India, which I think provide some inspiration as to what Professor Barker's World might look like. None will be perfect, of course, but all are useful in some small way. The above photo I found on Pinterest. I've set up a board there myself: Inspiration for Tékumel.

I hope it will be of use.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Temple Guards?

Freebooter Miniatures, from Germany and rather expensive, especially after shipping, but nice otherwise.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Pendragon 5th Edition on Bundle of Holding - Last Day!

Apologies for the short notice, but Bundle of Holding is just wrapping up a Pendragon themed month...

All the really useful 5th edition books are available as PDFs, including the Great Pendragon Campaign and the Book of Battle, plus the main 5th ed. rules.

Why is this of interest to Tekumel Gamers?

IMO, Pendragon has potential for use as a system for Tekumel games. And the Book of Battles has an interesting take on how to run a battle within an RPG.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Temple of Sárku would have used copper...

Vessel for holding ritual wine used in initiation ceremonies. Human skull trimmed in silver. Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet

Found here: Lattice Light

Friday, April 18, 2014

C is for "Command and Colors"

"Command and Colors" (yes, I know it's spelled wrong, but it is an American game so one has to make allowances) is a boxed Ancients "block" game published by GMT. It is a boardgame - though it doesn't require a board - and a wargame all rolled into one. It is set in around the time of the Punic Wars. There is a fantasy variant called "Battlelore" and there is a Game of Thrones version which I have to say I didn't care for at all. I can't even recall the name. I owned it briefly but quickly dumped it at the next Flea Market. C&C and Battlelore are keepers, however. C&C more so than BL.

You can download the rules for C&C from the GMT website.

As I said, it is a boardgame - there is a board with a hex grid used to manage movement and you add terrain using separate tiles to overlay portraying woods, rivers, hills and towns. And it is a block game in that it comes with wooden blocks in the appropriate colour for each side and with sheets of stickers with pretty pictures of the units represented on them.

I don't usually play using the board, however. I prefer to play it on a full sized wargames table with 28mm figures. I don't bother with hexes. All references to "hex" in the rules I substitute with 6". So if the rules say a unit moves 2 hexes, then that means 12". Maneuver is simple. As hexes somewhat negate the concept of flanks - it is assumed, I think, that units always turn to face the enemy - then one doesn't have to be too particular when moving your troops on the tabletop. As long as they only move 6" or 12" that is fine, and you can wheel or position them as you like.

The only thing you might have to consider is different sized bases for different units. You want to ensure that in the tabletop version that no more units can attack a single unit than in the original rules. No need to rebase; just don't allow a bunch of small units to pile onto a single opponent.

One of the best things about the rules are the command cards. These simulate the problems of command that may not be apparent to the player. Annoying for those who like to micro-manage their armies down to the last millimeter of movement or angle of facing. For myself, I think it's great. I think it is a step towards putting you on the table rather than lording over it. It means your "perfect" plan can be foiled by bad cards - ie. poor communications and obstinate subordinates. Just the sort of things that happened to real generals! :-)

I think the main thing that some people dislike about the rules is that it doesn't matter how heavily armoured you are - the chance to hit is still 1-in-6.  And I am not sure "dislike" is the correct word. Maybe people just find it odd. Shouldn't they be harder to hit? The rules go about differentiating the heavy/"battleline" infantry from the rest in a different way.

I mean, the "heavy" infantry - those that would be heavier armoured and meant to fight in the main battleline - they get 5 dice when they attack in open ground, and hit on "swords" as well. It is like arriving at the correct balance by coming in the back way. With 5 dice hitting 1/3rd the time they are pretty deadly. Medium infantry might hit on swords but get less dice, and light infantry get only 2 dice and only hit 1/6th of the time. It's like saying the chance to kill an armoured man is 1-in-6, unless you are properly suited for the purpose. Light infantry are not and medium infantry are only somewhat better. The differences between the troop types are accounted for, just not in the way people are accustomed to, is all.

In addition, it is easy to "dress up" Command & Colors with rules for Stubborn, First Strike (for pikes), etc.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

B is for Barbarian

I think wikipedia will back me up on this, that the Ancient Greeks believed everyone who was not Greek was a "barbarian". That is, an "uncivilized" person, brutish, rude, and uneducated.

Tsolyanu has its tribal groups: the tribes in the Gilraya and Chakan forests, the Kurt hills, the Kraa Hills and, I suspect, the Desert of Eyagi and in the marshy flats along Tsolyanu's southern coast. Some Tsolyani might think these peoples "backward" but I don't think they'd call them barbarians.

That term they would reserve for peoples like the N'luss and the Lorun. These are two related groups, taller than typical humans on Tekumel - much taller, in fact. Some N'luss stand over 7' tall.

You can see more about the N'luss here. And about the Lorun, here.