Saturday, August 8, 2015

Digitizing Tékumel, Part 20: Analyzing Appendix '0'

There are many questions about the finer details of M.A.R. Barker's world. How high above sea level does Béy Sü, the Tsolyáni capital, sit for example? I know the city has dockyards bustling with merchant ships but is is all just "clear sailing" all the way to the sea? Its a good 1000 kilometers and probably more - I don't have the time to look it up. Its a good distance!

I know the city sits in the midst of the Beranánga plains. IIRC in "The Man of Gold" the caravan travels "up onto the plain". When one consults the provincial map it appears that Beranánga Province might comprise the entire area of the plains.

I note that the southern border of the province is marked by a long bend in the river. Are the Beranánga plains a plateau?

Presumably there has to be some height difference between Béy Sü and the Sea. Or does there? The northern plains of India through which the Ganges flows do not begin to rise in elevation until very close to the Himalayan Mountains. Is that what the topography of Tsolyánu is like?

All these are questions I have been considering. Of course it doesn't much matter how the Professor envisioned how things looked. He may have considered those details but only a very select audience might have heard the region described. I have to go by published works. And besides, as the Professor said, My Tékumel is bound to be different from His Tékumel.

When I read the description of the first three cataracts on the Nile - Appendix '0' from the Official History of the Sudan Expedition 1884-1885 - I thought this might be useful in understanding what the Mssúma river might look like. Are there cataracts? We know from later published works that the river has a delta but it isn't shown on the maps and earlier works fail to mention it.

I think it would certainly be more interesting if there were cataracts. Borrowing a rule from Gloranthan gamers one could declare there definitely are cataracts because that results in MTF - "More Tékumel Fun"! (MGF = More Gloranthan Fun). My Tekumel I am thinking there are may be three cataracts. And if you have read Appendix '0' you know a cataract can be comprised of many sets of rapids, not just one. My initial intent is to locate the first cataract a little up river from the towns of Métlan and Jáyo (see previous installments of this thread for details on these towns). The second cataract will be a Usenanu and the third at the river bend marking the border of  Beranánga Province.

Having got that out of the way, below are my notes, page by page, analyzing Appendix '0' and picking out the "useful bits". The bits with extra MTF... :-)

More to follow...

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