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!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Ahoggya Ark - 12th Plane Encounters

The 12th Plane is a jungle level. The primary denizens are Ahoggya, Shen, Platform Builders, and Tribal humans and mutants. And other mutants.

The jungle is dense. Crossing 1 mile of jungle on foot takes four hours. If travelling by water (canoe, raft, boat), it takes 1 hour to cross a mile of jungle. Roll 1D6 per mile of jungle crossed. On a roll of 5 or 6 there is an encounter.

Consult the On Land and On or Near Water tables below as appropriate.  Standard mutant descriptions and number appearing notes start on p. 17 of MA. Distribution of Monsters (Mutations) and Treasure rules and tables are on p. 20-22. Standard encounter tables by terrain type are on p. 22.

On Land Table
  1. Ahoggya party
  2. Platform Builder party (1)
  3. Shen party
  4. Tribal party
  5. Mutated human
  6. Mutated animal (2)
  7. Mutated plant
  8. Mutated Ahoggya
  9. Cyber-Ahoggya
  10. Gachaya (dragon-like 10 M long lizard from Shen worlds)
  11. Thief Beast (p.17)
  12. Hyehoon
(1) If at night time, substitute Qol, who often emerge from the sublevel below 12.
(2) Common forms include Atlun (spiders), Nyar or Tsi'il or Chlen, Feshenga, Hu, Giant Dri (ants), Syusyu (small Shen lizards, 4-6 cm, many edible, some poisonous), Sezhme (snakes, some segmented, some not; many poisonous).

On or Near Water Table
  1. Hlu'un
  2. Ghar
  3. Sezhme (snakes)
  4. Ahoggya party (waders)
  5. Ahoggya party (raft)
  6. Shen fisherfolk
  7. Hisser (p.17)
  8. Fern Bush (p.18)
  9. Dart Weed (p.18)
  10. Winged Biter (p. 17)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Ahoggya Ark

My head is exploding! Is it a mental attack? If so, I'll just have to tick one mark off for a successfully resisted attack and get on with things!

This week, I'll be running my Metamorphosis Alpha scenario, Ahoggya Ark at U-Con in Ypslanti, Michigan. The event is cross-listed on both the Tekumel and OSR theme tracks, and happens on Friday, November 20, from 10 AM-2 PM. It looks like there is still a ticket left for the event if you want to play!

We're in High Convention Prep Mode here, and I spent the day with the Anubian Ambassador at my side, reading the rules to Metamorphosis Alpha. It was quite a trip back in time, to a day when RPGs sometimes had a dizzying array of subsystems packed into a very small shell. I have to say that Goodman Games has done a great job bringing this classic SF RPG back into broader circulation with a series of deluxe editions and new supplements and art!

+B. Portly has done a great job in designing a new GM screen for the game, and his character sheet designs support the GM and players in not forgetting some of the nuances in the rules, such as the little ticks for Mental Attacks resisted.

My generation ship scenario is something of a crossover between Metamorphosis Alpha and Tekumel/Humanspace Empires universe. It will be accessible to people who know nothing about either setting - so there's no barrier to entry!

Come join us for an adventure on the 12th Plane!