Saturday, December 22, 2018

Nisuél, Seat of the Clan of the Golden Sunburst - Part 2

Gylph of the Clan of the Golden Sunburst
(Artist unknown)


Original Source: 
Thonburi 1767-1782
Artist: Suthichai Ritthapatichai
Muang Boran Journal
Vol. 43 No. 4 October-December 2017

Plodding ahead with detailing the Mssúma river delta, starting with Nisuél, seat of the Clan of the Golden Sunburst, I have started to identify some of the location names. Don't forget to use the tags to find the rest of this series, and the overall "Exploring Tsolyánu" series.

Ever since I happened across this artist's impression of the city of Thonburi (Thailand) by Suthichai Ritthapatichai I have become more and more convinced that this is what the Mssúma delta looks like. Thonburi is even described as being a "canal and garden (or park) district". Which matches pretty much with Professor Barker's description of the delta being "...the Produce-Garden that feeds Jakálla..." and how it is "criss-crossed with canals and secondary roads." 

Nisuél amounts to a good-sized village. It is located on the Dhu’ónin River (Golden River), one of the many distributary rivers that thread to-and-fro across the Mssúma river delta. Between them are networks of major and minor canals, creating a patchwork of fields and ponds, with woodlots scattered here and there, and secondary roads weaving throughout it all as best they can. The population of the delta is pretty dense, mostly employed in agricultural practices. It is a pretty safe district, with Tékumel's more dangerous denizens kept far away by vigilant warders and a millennia old policy of extermination for any that stray too near.

I've done a bit of research on the Clan of the Golden Sunburst. I've looked up personages in the various sources, principal of which is always the "Hardison Guide", as I call it. One thing that bothered me was that Alva lists the Clan Patriarch as being named "Nisuél"; bothered me until today, that is, when it finally dawned on me that they were just following the long standing practice used by the legions of the Kérdu taking the name of the traditional Kérdu. i.e. "Sérqu" is passed down through the ages, from one general to the next. Indeed, the Hardison Guide mentions that the "17th Sérqu" was a member of the clan. So I am reconciled with the idea that the Clan Patriarch is called "Nisuél" even as it is used for the community itself.  

If you click on the above image you'll see I've used this in my attempt at naming the features on the painting. 

Nisuél's Manse - which is the principal residence of the sitting Clan Patriarch. 

Also shown is the Bastion of Sérqu, "Swath of Red", a reference to that 17th Sérqu mentioned in the Hardison Guide. A similar defensive work is at the southern end: the Tower of Kokún Vriyón, named after an Éngsvanyáli "Hero of the Age". 

Other features I've tentatively - this is still only a first draft - identified are:

The Channel-Master's Station and the Canal-Master's Lodge, two of the clan officials charged with the smooth running of the Clan's business. I suspect the Channel Master out-ranks the Canal Master. 

The Palace of Serene Repose, a guest-house for noble visitors.

The Domicile of Iron, one of the clan's own Temple and/or Mausoleums.

The Mansions of Resplendent Glory, the main clanhouse complex. 

The Halls of the Exhalted, more Temples and Mausoleums, including monuments dedicated to the Clan's greatest ancestors.

The Guild of Iron, one of the subservient clans I've identified, this being hereditary warriors and bodyguards. I don't think "Guild of Iron" has been used before, and while there are no guilds as such, the term guild has been used: the Temple of Qon's "Guild of those Who Repel the Dark" (Source: Mitlanyál, Vol. 1).

The Barracks of the Guild of Iron, barracks for the Household Guards, almost all members of the Guild of Iron clan.

The Palace of Heroes, being more palaces and monuments to the Clan's glorious past. Note that I think clan apartments would be scattered among these complexes for senior members of the clan to reside in. 

So that is my start. As I said, a first draft. Coming up with extravagant sounding names ain't easy you know! ;-)

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Best Kept Secrets: "The Economic Aspects of the History of the Civilization of Japan", Vol 1

I've blogged about this before. I had meant to expand on my initial post once I received my print copy but I never did, sadly. Need to follow through on that!

But that isn't why I'm blogging today. I just discovered a digitized version online! Yay!

Vol 1:

Originally published in 1930, I guess it is out of copyright now. 


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Building Métlan and Jáyo 2 - Arena Viewing Platform

Latest find: an arena platform

I found this while excavating the basement a week or so ago; so I've had it a while, I just never had a definitive use for it. I think it must have come from some children's playset, perhaps one that went with that Disney cartoon pulp adventure movie from a few years ago. Was it called "Atlantis" or something similar? 

(But a quick google search later seems to say "No, that's not where it is form. Hmm... something similar I'll bet!)

What this will be is a viewing platform for the big shots of  Métlan and Jáyo, or perhaps the Arena Official or referee. 

Friday, November 2, 2018

Best Kept Secrets: Newline Designs' Christmas Sale

Guti Highlanders. IIRC

Witch Cult...

...more Witch Cult...

...and more Witch Cult!

Newline is running a 25% off sale until November 27th. I think the Guti make good Mu'ug skirmishers and I mix the Witch Cult in with my Haida Pakallan Pirates and Tsolei Islanders.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Building Métlan and Jáyo

Sketch Map of Métlan and Jáyo

I've decided to build my little towns of Métlan and Jáyo. I don't mean "build" in the sense of a permanent table layout or diorama. I mean I am going to start making scenery and buildings and props to allow me to put parts of the locale on the table. For use in tabletop wargames scenarios, skirmish scenarios - RPG-lite adventure games - whatever you want to call them. For "A Band of Joyous Heroes", or for any rule set one cares to use.

I've decided to start with the floating arena. In my initial post it is described as follows:

20)  The Hirilákte Arena. Shared between the two towns of Métlan and Jáyo, it is not a proper arena at all, but rather is a circular array of stout posts driven into the riverbed and protruding a few feet above high water level. These delineate the area used for the events which are staged on a variety of barges and other boats as deemed appropriate. Spectators view the events from other boats or barges that are rowed over and anchored in place or tied up to the posts. There are also some platforms on tall stilts located at the typical low water mark on which are set up tents from which the arena referees and imperial representatives and their guests view the matches.  There is a considerable rivalry between the two towns and also between the temples of the two towns.  Many matches pit the two against each other, while other matches are “neutral” in nature.

I'm starting there because about a week ago I realized that I already had the components to make it! I've had them for several years, and just to date have failed to see their usefulness. Its funny how things work out! Here they are:

These are plastic Dollar Store toys. Part of some sort of "Wild West" bag of plastic figures, IIRC. No idea if they are still available. Likely are, somewhere. Each raft is about 3" x 5", with a single hole at one end and two holes at the other. I've arrayed them in the nine-square-grid beloved of my first year studio profs but as you can see I am two short.

You know, I probably had enough originally but some are probably either on walkabout (i.e. "lost" within the confines of the house) or have been sold or given away. My memory on this is vague but I am pretty sure I have either thought about giving them away or selling them several times in the past so maybe the missing rafts are ones that I did, foolishly, dispose of. :-(

There is a moral in there somewhere.

And, actually, now that I think of it, there is a set of Natural Laws that covers this precisely: The Laws of Stuff.

These are ancient laws that predate the Internet, though you can find some re-iterated online to a greater or lesser degree. Sometimes stated incorrectly, as a quick Google-search has just revealed. One of these laws, I don't recall which one, states that the value of stuff is inversely related to its availability. That is to say, stuff you can't find is of greater use/need, and therefore value, than the stuff you have to hand.

So those two missing boats (assuming I did have them in the first place) illustrate that particular Law to a tee; so does my father looking for his glasses not 20 minutes ago!

So, two things:

1) My original concept called for a circular arena.

"a circular array of stout posts driven into the riverbed and protruding a few feet above high water level."

So now I think this becomes: "a row of three stout posts driven into the riverbed and protruding a few feet above high water level." Heavy ropes connect to the single hole in the first row of rafts, and each of the other rafts are joined in turn by other ropes. So there are three columns/strings of rafts tied together in tandem. I don't think at this point that the three columns are tied to each other. For one thing, this means they could drift closer or further apart during the fighting, which could lead to interesting situations.

2) the missing rafts. Do I find replacements, and fill the gaps? Or are they missing because the arena is a bit run down? Maybe they are arranged differently on different days? I am kinda liking that idea. Maybe the middle column has a gap on purpose - with a very long stretch of rope? Or maybe it should be moved more to the right (ie. upstream) with a wide-ish gap bridged by a board?

To make things clear "upstream" in the array of rafts is to the right. The river flows right to left. The nearest bank is off the bottom of the picture. The three rafts adjacent to the ruler represent one of the so-called columns of rafts that have been roped together. The three stout posts would be at the head of each column to the right of the picture. North would be diagonally up and to the top right corner. 

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Nisuél, Seat of the Clan of the Golden Sunburst - Part 1

Thonburi 1767-1782
Artist: Suthichai Ritthapatichai
Muang Boran Journal
Vol. 43 No. 4 October-December 2017

I discovered this image on the Patreon page of one Munkao: 

I'm not sure how active he is anymore, but even if you do not subscribe you should take a moment or two (or three!) to browse his public posts. There is a lot of useful stuff there!

My first thought on seeing this image was: "Wow, that is what the Mssúma river delta must look like! And that is the village of Nisuél!" 

This is an area I have been trying to draw as part of my Digitizing Tekumel project.  I know it to be the seat of the Clan of the Golden Sunburst from the third solo game-book: "Beneath the Lands of Tsolyánu". (The one with the green cover.)

These books are Excellent!
Highly Recommended!


Headquarters of the Clan of the Golden Sunburst

Located about 100 tsán north of Jakálla in the heart of the Mssúma river delta.

The village contains more clan houses than just those belonging to the Golden Sunburst; there would be subsidiary clans, hereditary vassal clans, perhaps a bodyguard clan, or a boating clan, and similar. Looking at the painting, I would declare that the large white buildings were Golden Sunburst clan houses. The other large buildings are those of subsidiary, or vassal clans closely tied to their senior clan. The lesser buildings are perhaps still other clans who are not tied to the Clan of the Golden Sunburst but whose clan business requires their presence. And of course there are workshops, storage buildings and the like as well. The buildings near the fields are not clan houses of course but are workshops or storage areas, or are intended to provide shelter to "Field Watchers" in the outlying areas.

The large river is one of the distributary rivers branching off the Mssúma river as it reaches the delta. There are dozens such rivers of varying size. Nisuél is on the Dhu’ónin River, the Golden River. 

Other river names I've come up with are:

Festival River Gohóimu River
Fever River Ubó River
Fear River Ssünrü River
Mad River Ssánga River
Eternal River Prazhúrin River
Red River Kárin River
Black River Mikárun River
Emerald River Jangáivu River
Green River Zháurun River
Grey River Tathén River
Wild River Baradá River
White River Abásun River
Exalted Emperor River Kólumeljarài River
Ever-glorious Empire River Kólumelbabàrkohàya River
False River Ogrún River
Golden river Dhu’ónin River
Ghost River Ssudú River
Forbidden River Tabár River
Gods Protect Us Sharé River

Some of these, such as the Sharé, Ssünrü, Ssánga and Ubó Rivers, I intend to use in the Flats. 

My existing sketch of the delta

I shall have to re-draw my delta to match the river shown in this painting!

As the solo game-book text states, the delta is 

"...lush and green. It is crisscrossed by canals and secondary roads, for this is the produce-garden that feeds Jakálla and its suburbs, Músa Jakálla and Pála Jakálla. The great clans that own these lands are old, wealthy, and - to be honest - stodgy. The peasants you meet bow humbly as your litters pass; the slaves tramp in endless columns off to the fields in the morning and back again at night; the Chlén-carts are laden with vegetables and fruits and grain; the tax collectors appear, obscenely sleek and well-fed. This is the Empire as it has been for almost two thousand years..."

The Clan of the Golden Sunburst
Primary Lineages:

Clan-Patriarch: Lord xxx hiQolyélmu

Other Notables:
Clan-Elder Srikandómo hiTétkolel
Lord Dalkén hiQolyélmu, a son of the clan-patriarch.
Jórudu hiTétkolel, a distant cousin of Lord Dalkén hiQolyélmu. 

That's all for now!

I'll post more in part 2.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Lost, Bitten & Mutilated

Art by Tony Yates

First off, apologies to Zak Smith (and Lamentations of the Flame Princess) for my shameless "hack", as it were, of the title of Zac's inspired "Frostbitten & Mutilated" book. I just picked a copy up at my local and have been ravenously devouring it last night and today. Living in Canada I get quite enough of the cold in real life so the sub-zero setting of his books appeals to me less than it might to some. 

It occurred to me that it need not be set in a frigid northern climate at all. Why not use it for inspiration for my Ngála game? Why not, indeed! With that in mind, I am stripping away the freezing cold and bringing on the sweltering heat and monsoon rains, transporting the setting to Southern Tsolyánu... 

"Lost, Bitten & Mutilated" is my Indian takeaway, as it were. :-)

(to be continued...)

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Best Kept Secrets: The Forge of Ice!

Alex Bate's "Forge of Ice" has just launched a second kickstarter for his Azor setting - click the link above to check it out. It features these cool guardsmen which - IMO - would work well for Tekumel games.

You can find out more about the Forge of Ice on facebook or, if you don't do facebook, then on the Lead Adventure Forum: link. Check out his range! He has a lot of cool stuff! :-)

Monday, April 2, 2018

DAD Armoury (coming soon)...

A selection of polearm and spear tips, 
and swords coming soon from DAD

Giant Wasp

Mayan wall or floor panel

Tekumel-themed statue and plinth

Post-Apoc Cavalry

Tekumel Fungus Beastie

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Just a Bit of Fun...

Printed War Canoes and Galleys

Shown are the 8" versions. Prototype Tsolyani crew on a scanned and modified version of my Khmer War Canoe. The galley is made by scaling the vessel by 150%.