Friday, November 27, 2015

Tekumel Games Played at U-Con

Brett Slocum GM's Heroic Age of Tekumel
Last weekend was U-Con, a high quality, well-organized, very friendly gaming convention based in Ypslanti, Michigan. I travelled there with my Minnesota road buddies Brett Slocum and Howard Hendrickson. It's a long trek through the Midwest to and from the con, but you have a lot of time for Tekumel-talk on a 12 hour road trip!

Here's a brief report on the games in which I was a player:

  • Hlaka 2: The Way Home - T:EPT author Patrick Brady is know for his high quality military scenarios, and this one was a diceless adventure of a Hlaka mercenary flight that ended up on the losing side of the Civil War. Patrick spent a lot of time working out both the flight mechanics and social behaviors of these three-eyed, six-limbed, mammalian flyers. They flew using patagia, with behaviors and flight dynamics similar to those of bats. I played a Hlaka archer. Hlaka don't try to use bows while in flight; they're an intelligent species. Instead, you find a tree, land, and shoot from there. As always, Patrick's game was funny as hell, and provoked deeper thinking about how things work in Tekumel.
  • Bethorm: A Night's Entertainment - Krista Donnelly ran two sessions using the new Bethorm ruleset. The adventure carried over a character (and storyline) from last year, and involved an Emerald Circlet (a very low clan) group of entertainers who had been summoned to a very remote island estate of the very high status Azure Cloak of Gems clan. This was a rather sinister scenario with a lot of strange things happening in and around the clanhouse. I've had a copy of Bethorm for a while, and found the system easy to learn and use.
  • Heroic Age: Fresh Off The Boat - Our next game as a classic fresh-off-the-boat scenario in which a group of demon-worshipping islanders began new lives in Jakalla. We ended up taking a patronage offer from a member of a middle-clan with scholarly interests; this led to a rather deadly expedition into the Jakallan Underworld. I wouldn't be surprised at all if this demon-worshipping tribe becomes a recurrent "character" in future Foreigners' Quarter games set in Jakalla. Brett's Heroic Age of Tekumel is a retroclone of EPT. I've played it a number of times now, and I think it does a good job as an old school Tekumel game. The Heroic Age of Tekumel quickstart is a free download on RPGNow. 
  • Warriors of the Red Planet: Princess Zira & the Jungle Ruins - I have run Warriors of the Red Planet a number of times; it is an old school swords & planet RPG that is very faithful to it's primary source material, Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom. A Princess of Mars was one of Professor Barker's favorite books, and in many ways the world of Tekumel is a sister planet of Barsoom. WotRP perfect for Tekumel games set in periods such as the Latter Times, long before the low-tech, highly stratified Tekumel-as-we-know-it came into being. I played a member of the Mentalist Guild of Omel. The action involved the intrigues of a sinister cult in a very distant city. Great game!
  • Bethorm: A Guard's Life - Krista's second Bethorm scenario featured a group of Sakbe road guards who had to deal with a BIG situation (50+ escaped slaves) way beyond their pay grade. This game was a challenging mystery in which we narrowly avoided killing or capturing the innocent. I played a guard who had been kicked out of the Temple of Sarku for failing to learn the prayers. However I had learned a few useful spells, which caught my fellow guards by surprise! Nobody expects a Sakbe road guard to cast Web of Kryag!

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