Monday, March 3, 2014

Does Tekumel Have A Fate?

Over the last three years, I have run Tekumel games using three different systems:
  • The Tri-Stat system from Guardians of Order's Tekumel: Empire of the Petal Throne RPG; 
  • The crunchy 1D6-1D6 version of Fate from the Legends of Anglerre RPG; and 
  • Standard Fate Core, the most recent universal implementation of Fate.  
All three systems worked well in the games I have run. All three created fun, immersive games. All three systems worked well for long-time Tekumel fans, as well as for people who were new to Tekumel.

For the Fate of Tekumel blog, I am planning to use a different implementation of the new Fate Core system: Brian Engard and Clark Valentine's Fate Freeport Companion. 

While I tried for aesthetic reasons to boil this list down to three reasons, there are at least four different reasons that this particular implementation of Fate Core is good for Tekumel:
  1. Character Generation and the Magic System in Fate Freeport Companion are Open Gaming License (OGL). The book was written in the spirit of Fate Core itself, with very generous licensing terms. I appreciate how much the authors included in their OGL; it's an invitation to take their system and adapt it for use with other things, which I recently did with Trey Causey's Weird Adventures pulp setting.
  2. Skills Based on D&D Attributes Build A Bridge. Taking a bit of inspiration from Fate Accelerated Edition's six Approaches, Fate Freeport Companion uses D&D's six Attributes. Those attributes have about 40 years' equity now in terms of what they mean to players. Using them makes it easier for experienced gamers who are newcomers to Fate to grasp how the Fate Skills/Approaches can be put into action.
  3. Fate Freeport Companion has mechanics for discrete spells. Anyone who is familiar with Tekumel expects a game system for that setting to come with specific, discrete spells with predictable effects. Spells like Doomkill tell you you're on Tekumel. Now, Legends of Anglerre gets you really close to discrete spells. But Fate Core and Fate Accelerated Edition moved in the opposite direction, toward broad brush, looser magical effects. Fate Freeport Companion takes me right where I want to go for magic in Tekumel: discrete spells, predictable effects, with plenty of room for signature spells for specific temples.
  4. I want both a Physical and a Mental Stress Track.  We like the simplicity of Fate Accelerated Edition's (FAE) six Approaches. But Tekumel is a world in which magic is tiring and where humans definitely NOT on the top of the food chain. Fate Freeport Edition strikes a good balance between the two new implementations of Fate. It keeps simplicity where that helps the game emulate traditional D&D-style character mechanics, but allows for distinctions between different types of stress - for example, between the results of physical combat and constant spellcasting - using both Physical and Mental Stress Tracks.
In short, we'll be giving Fate Freeport Companion a test drive as the backbone for the Fate of Tekumel blog. We'll see where this exploration takes us.


  1. Looking forward to hearing more. I like that this has a framework to hang the Tekumel magic on.Wish I could be in on the adventure!

    1. Hi George: I am sure hoping we'll be able to do some more games with Howard and you! You guys certainly pushed me to look for a less handwavy Fate solution to individual spells, so I am grateful to you both for that!

  2. The first time I thumbed through FATE rules, I thought of Tekumel. Its really interesting to see that you are working with combining these two.

    1. Thanks for stopping by David! Tekumel is pretty evocative and aspect-rich which makes it a natural fit with Fate.

  3. so, I should track down fate freeport.. shouldn't be too hard.. off to google.

    1. The Source got it in about a week that I gave up all hope of seeing it in the store, and ordered it from Evil Hat. They are pretty well stocked now with Fate Core products, dice, etc.