Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Rough Guide to Clan Status...


How's this for a rough guide to clan status?

The Emperor - Is;
The Imperial Clan - Are;
The Very High Clans - Always Have Been;
The High Clans - Did Something;
The Middle Clans - Do Something;
The Low Clans - Serve Someone;
The Very Low Clans - Do Something No One Else Wants To (or can or knows how to).

But how does it work?

(Does it even work? I think it does. It does for sure re. the Very High Status clans who all claim lineages stretching back thousands of years. I haven't tested it extensively for the lower ranks, however. Not yet, anyhow. And there are always going to be exceptions).

But how *does* it work?

Well, say you've got a clan you've made up, or have only a vague description of, and you want to know what status they are. Then you consult the guide.

Example:

I recently came up with the following description for a clan:

The Clan of the Third Eye Blue - note that this is a name borrowed from Glorantha. Perhaps we should use "The Clan of the Third Indigo Eye", even though that seems to have some sort of tantric/yoga connection IIRC.

"A very low status clan of nomadic smiths who travel in small family groups with their forges and tools carried in chlén carts. Found in rural areas across Tsolyánu’s central plains, as well as in Pijéna, Saá Allaqí and Yán Kór. They avoid cities and, keeping to the secondary roads, are often welcomed in small villages and towns where established metal-working clans are not as prevalent. Clan houses are small, used primarily for storage with a caretaker to look after it."

I already decided they are "very low" status. Does it "fit"? Well, they are nomads eking out an existence on the secondary roads. They "do something", but I think it is more "do something no one else wants to" so that makes them "very low" rather than "medium".

But that is one I just made up. I can decide what status they should have. What about a canon clan that is ill described? Recently I found a reference to the Clan of the Balanced Stone.

It is based in Ssa'atis, in Mu'ugalavya and is a source of Tsahltén judges. It is also stated to be:

"...famous as a source of reliable body servants, majordomos, chamberlains, accountants and judges of sporting events".

It is stated to be found across the Five Empires.

So what status should it be. Some say "medium", but I personally favour "low".

Does it fit?

It does in the Rough Guide as they "Serve" as their primary reason for being.

There is also a canon example - the Clan of the Granite Lintel - who are "cooks, body-servants and kitchen workers" and which is also "low".

But what about "majordomos, chamberlains, accountants and judges of sporting events"? Would they be "low"? Well, they are still servants, yes?

To say they were "medium" status would give them ideas above their station! :-)

As always...YTMV. :-)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Flats of Tsechélnu - Digitizing Tékumel, Part 17




The Flats of Tsechélnu

My maps are based upon the Swords & Glory map, scaled to meters. In AutoCAD there is a tool called a polyline and if you draw an enclosed shape you can consult the properties and get the area of that shape (in square meters, in my case). So I traced the area on the map that is the Flats of Tsechélnu and a quick check returned the following statistics:

352526588986.0591 sq m 
= 352,526.589 sq kilometers 
= 35,252,658.9 hectares 
= 136 111.277 sq miles

Some RW comparisons:

170,304 km² = Florida
696,241 km² = Texas
20,000 km² = area of Tigris and Euphrates marshes (shared by Iraq and Iran). Note that this the original estimated area, not the current area. The marshes  were drained by Saddam and are only now slowly recovering.
357,168 km² = Germany

So, about double the size of Florida, half the size of Texas and almost the same size as present day Germany. And many times that of the Tigris and Euphrates marshlands.

Yesterday I posted a question on the Facebook Tékumel page, asking how many distinct ecosystems people thought might exist within an area that large. The above illustration is my first, rough guess.

Shown are nine regions:

1) In the far west. My thinking is that the Bútrus Gazetteer probably has this covered. :-)

2) This may or may not be a separate region. I have to re-read the Gazetteer to see what it says.

3) These are the coastal areas. Barrier islands, reefs, beaches and mangrove swamps. Look to the Everglades, or Kerala, or the Mouths of the Ganges for inspiration.

4) This region is described in one of the Solo gamebooks published for Tékumel.

5) Each of these three rectangles is 20,000 km², illustrating that there is a significant area that could be inhabited by Tékumel's version of the Marsh Arabs. The real marshlands have a sea of grass standing over head height in some places. If you did get up high enough to look over all you would see was a "Sea of Grass" extending off to the horizon in all directions. You might see the top of a sail on a boat moving down some distant channel. This is the Hméchànyukh, or "grass sea". :-)

6) This is the region where the flats transition to firmer ground.

7) The present day Mssúma river delta which I have been mapping. This is a relatively tame area of the Flats. The further west one goes the wilder it would become. I would say the sákbe marks the end of the "safe" area and the start of the dangerous sections.

8) This is a region that isn't grasses. Perhaps similar to #2 above. This is where the Mssúma river used to flow in ages past. This river course is now called the Nyélmeyal river (the River of Dreams). The ancient ruins of Ngála no doubt contribute to the character of this region.

9) The final region is Point Kuné. This includes the ruins of Hrúgga's Fortress. so I assume at least parts of the region have high ground or rock outcrops. But I also think it might have been part of the Mssúma river's ancient deltas.

Anyway, that is what I have so far. As always, comments are welcome...

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Damn this cold!


...or is it Flu? How does one tell the difference anyway?

So I went into work for two days and then was off sick for the last three. I *am* felling a bit better this morning but I still have this persistent cough. IIRC, I seem to remember hearing that the cough can hang with you for weeks afterwards. :-(

In the meantime if you raise your gaze slightly you may notice the addition of some tabs. :-)

I'm breaking out the Band of Joyous Heroes and Kérdu stuff and editing it into a hopefully more coherent form. 

Also, you may have noticed that I've started using Pinterest to display images that I think are in some way inspiring or evocative of Tékumel. When I first started, I guess a few months back, I wasn't sure if I should be changing the comments of the pins I was re-pinning. I didn't know if there was some sort of etiquette that applied on Pinterest. Recently however I  have realized that I don't need to touch the original Pinner's comments at all. I can just add my comment when I repin it to one of my sub-boards. Ideally I would like to do this for all the pins because for some it might not be clear why I selected them, and for many only certain aspects of the image apply. Another W.I.P. I'm afraid...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

de pestmeester komt



Actually, they've almost been and gone. At least, if I had got a lick of sleep last night I would have said so. As it is I am sick for one more day anyway. I was sick for about a week during the holidays and have been again since Saturday evening. Hopefully, tomorrow I will be able to report a full return to health...or "GE" anyway (GE = "Good Enough")...

Edit: Thursday. Well, I'm still sick. I did go in for a 1/2 day today and cleared some items off my desk, including a last minute emergency. I went in late and left early. Off again tomorrow.

Monday: Monday is the new goal for RTH (Return to Health) day...

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Kárinjàjzayal, or the "Red Marshes"


The Kárinjàjzayal

These marshes in the Mssúma river delta are home to a species of red grasses and are what give the Kárin river it's name. The word "kárin" meaning "red" in Tsolyáni.


Spring and Summer


Autumn and Winter

The Anatomy of a Peasant Economy



I found this while doing research on fiefs. I've been trying to decide upon a reasonable fief size. So I've been looking at feudal Japan and the fiefs - called han - during the Edo era and earlier. I stumbled upon this research paper: "Anatomy of a Peasant Economy - a Rice Village in the Philippines" while doing this research. 

This paper dates from 1978 and looks at a typical rice village in Laguna province of the Philippines. There is a nice map of the village and very good statistical information on the number of families and, of course, crop yields, planting seasons and the like. 



I think this could be a good example of what a typical village in the Mssúma delta might look like. The barrio is one of thirteen in the municipality of Pila. It is a relatively small village with only 95 households and a population of 549 (in 1974.) The households are divided between farmers (large and small) and landless workers. There are 54 of the former and 41 of the latter.

My thinking is that a similar Tsolyáni village - say one of those surrounding the village of Nisuél - might be of similar size, or perhaps slightly larger. Larger would be better, actually, as this takes up a really small patch of land and if all villages were this size then I have a lot more to draw! This village only covers a couple of hectares and the delta contains over 78,000 hectares! Some of that is lost to rivers, lakes and streams, marshes, secondary roads and footpaths, irrigation and transportation canals, the villages themselves, forested areas and orchards. It is still a lot of area...