Thursday, January 25, 2018

Some Miniatures

I recently came across a wonderful miniatures site that sells some truly unique 28mm figures –Hydra Miniatures. Based in the US, their inspiration is derived from the pulp science fiction of the 30', 40's, and 50's, some of the same stuff that MAR Barker was inspired by when creating Tékumel. The miniatures' aesthetics would be  perfect for Tékumel games set in the Latter Times, or during the Human Spaces Empire's epoch. I plan on purchasing some of these soon, and when I do I will be sure to post a review. I have included some images taken from their website below.

They can be found here:

Leader Type/ Potential Player Character

Another Leader/PC

Another Leader/PC

Complete Unit with Leader/Guards

Magic User



Guardian Ru'un

Service Robot           

Shunned One?

Monday, January 22, 2018

Is Tékumel too hard to play?

I normally don't  bother such things on this blog, but recently, on a site that I have been known to frequent, the often voiced opinion that Tékumel is not a popular, or well known setting, because it is too complex to run successfully, unless you are MAR Barker, was repeated again

Tékumel as a setting is as playable as any other commercial setting. The failure lay in the foolish notion that somehow arose, and was perpetuated by many gamers, that the only/one way to run a game using this campaign setting was to follow Phil's "Tékumel Prime game" in order for it to work. All of the later affectations regarding pronunciation, immersion, etc stem from this desire to emulate the original campaign game, even though from the get go MAR Barker asserted that this was not possible, and people should make Tékumel their own. I have never understood this attitude. The complexity of the setting is not a prerequisite to playing a Tékumel campaign, but something that needs to be gradually developed over many sessions, if that is what the DM and players want. This is the crux of the matter. Do you want an Anthropological exercise, or do you want to play make-belief, "make some shit up," and push some lead figures around? From my experience, and probably the experience of the vast majority of regular Tékumel players, including  "Chirine baKal", "Gronan of Simmerya" (aka General Korunme), Dave Arneson (aka "Captain Harchar") and MAR Barker himself, the latter is closer to so-called "real Tékumel" than the former.

I am currently running a Tékumel Campaign that is in its second year, with two of the four players in the group not having a clue what the game world was like before they sat down to play. The remaining players in the group had, at best, a passing familiarity with the milieu but certainly were not "experts." They are now, finally, "getting" Tékumel. They have absorbed the background material and, to quote the above mentioned Chirine, have "gone native." The reality is that I could have easily had the same campaign set in Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, or my own campaign world and changed very little of the story. The complexity would have gradually developed except that you would have a faux medieval world to explore instead a fusion of Mughal, Meso-American, Egyptian and Barsoomian cultures. Both have their challenges if an immersive gaming experience is desired, but in both cases you can still enjoy yourself and not give a toss whether a name is pronounced a certain way, or someone should be greeted by a particular honorific. There is no need to understand the cultural nuances of Tsolyáni society prior to playing. I would be curious if anyone knows if such a requirement is even stated anywhere in the official literature.

The fact that many gamers feel that some type of major prep work is mandatory in order to play is too bad. They are missing out on a playing experience that is not a mere re-hash of the same Tolkienesque tripe.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Merry Christmas

Another year is almost past and Christmas is just over a day away. We have gotten a lot of snow and Christmas will most certainly be a white one. Although my posting has been sporadic again, this year has been a very busy and good one for gaming. My Tékumel group is going gangbusters and the guys have gotten into quite a pickle. Although we are only able to meet monthly at this time the games have been very productive for the most part. Unfortunately I’m located in the east end of the city and the rest of the group is closer to the downtown, which results in a long travel time to get to my place, even though everyone drives. I think that we will try playing on Hangouts in the New Year so that we can increase our gaming frequency.  I have been posting some of their adventures here if you are interested. The Sons’ of the Vríddi are mine. A regular participant on the RPGSite, and someone that I consider a friend of mine, Asen G., created the blog as a venue for to share Tékumel adventures, and dispel the myth that it’s too hard to game on Tékumel. It really is worth taking a look at as there are some great session/game reports posted there.   

I have been enjoying RPGs since the autumn of 1982 when I first discovered D&D. As it happened I became the DM in my first gaming group. This has largely continued up to the present with two exceptions: a campaign run by one of oldest friends, Larry, and one which is being run by my new friend Ben. The first game was in the early 90s and lasted for about a year or so, on and off, and was where my alter-ego Shemek came into being. The second game has been progress or two years and is one that I joined only a couple of months ago. Both games have one thing in common –great DMs who are evocative and can paint a vivid picture with words. Their campaign worlds are quite different but both have (had) elements of what I would call the Weird in them, others might call it creepy. I for one love this type of game world, as the Tolkienesque tropes have become, for lack of a better word, stultifying. I just can’t stomach the thought of another orc, elf, or dwarf. It was the lack of these beings that first drew me to Tékumel all those years ago, and has kept me there. Playing is a blast and has been a welcome change. If anyone is interested Ben’s game-blog may be found here:

More tomorrow, and if not, Santa Ssü wishes a Merry Christmas to those reading this blog.

Shemek hiTankolel
(aka Evan N.)

Hó Hó Hó

Friday, November 03, 2017

Happy Birthday Firu baYeker!


Had MAR Barker still been alive he would have turned 88 today. Although I never got the chance to game with him, I was fortunate to have enjoyed an email correspondence with Phil in the mid 90's, and interact with him on the old Blue Room site. His creation has provided my group and I countless hours of enjoyment over the years. There have been many RPG settings created over the years, but none have held my attention as thoroughly and for as lengthy a period as Tékumel. I remember the first time I was introduced to the setting. One of my closest friends in High School, Harvey, showed me the Sourcebook –Vol.1 in the hallway, in between classes, one autumn day in the mid 1980's. I been exploring the world ever since! Over the years my groups have survived the Stews of Jakalla, and fought in the underworlds of the same city, tramped over the Chaigari Protectorate, been taken as slaves, and feted as heroes. They have thwarted nefarious plots and have had comrades die in ancient caverns far below the world –alone. Tékumel has provided my group and I a little bit of everything, and has kept me coming back for more.
Recently I had the pleasure of being invited to play in an online game. Those of you who have spent any time online looking for, or at, gaming blogs have no doubt come across Ben L.'s Mazirian's Garden . A wondrous and truly inspired work, it led me to leave a comment for one of the entries, something I never do, with the exception of Chirine's blog that is. One thing led to another and I was invited by Ben to join the group. Yesterday was my first game and it was great time for me.  I can honestly say that I felt much of the same magic that I experience when gaming on Tékumel in Ben's game. The same majesty and sense of wonder is present, along with an otherworldliness that makes it easy to immerse oneself in the environment. Not surprisingly I brought in a Tsolyáni to the Dreamlands, the brave Bashán hiTankolel. A devoted follower of Mighty Chiténg, he is a Kuruthúni of the 8th Imperial Heavy Infantry, a member of the Red Mountain Clan, and a nephew of Shemék hiTankolel of Pecháni fame. His first session went well, and I look forward to the next game.       

Thursday, July 27, 2017


Spent a few minutes today cleaning up the blog, reformatting, and adding some new images ( pictures of the different types of  Pecháni coins). Going forward I will be including a lot more images in order to give a clearer presentation of what Pecháno looks like.
In the meanwhile, here is a small painting that Shémek showed me. As he said: "my scribe, Khóhesh Tsa'ankhél, completed this the other day. For some reason he insists on drawing me, and then with a ridiculously weak chin. That's supposed to be me behind the fellow in red, my Quartermaster Qu'méch Tuhéshmu Chelésh. I guess he figured that I wouldn't look in the ledger, or notice if he hid me behind Tuhéshmu.It's a good thing that I'm semi-retired these days or I'd really thrash him for his impertinence. A good whipping would do him a world of good and remind him where his place is! I don't know what his obsession is with drawing me? I've told him a dozen times that he shouldn't, but he continues. It's hard to get good help these days."  Shémek seems to be getting crankier the older he gets. 

Soldiers of The Nchésh of the Splendid Slayers of Ssü claiming their bounty.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017



            The Engsvanyáli year (and hence that of the Five Empires, and Pecháno) is divided into 12 months of 30 days each. Five intercalary days are added to bring the total to 365. every fourth year another day (Tsolyáni: Kolúmehagi) is appended to the account for certain orbital irregularities. In Tsolyánu the Kòluméhagi is dedicated to the glories of the Emperor, as its name implies, while in Mu'ugalavyá it is devoted to Hŕsh, in Yán Kór to Karakán, in Livyánu to Qame'él, and in Salarvyá and Pecháno to orgiastic festivities as an "empty day."
            The Pecháni employ the calendar devised by the Priest-King Kazhiloob during the last centuries of the Engsvanyáli Empire, and the current year is 9,932 AK (After Kazhiloob). The Salarvyáni also favours this era, but their scholars reckon the length of The Time of No Kings differently, and the "Era of Tsatsayágga" therefore adds 3,250 years, and it is thus presently 13,182 ET. Pecháno officially uses the former calendar, although in the past the Salarvyáni calendar was also used.
The Pecháni days are organised thus:

Days of the Week

1st. Sárna, 2nd. Múnnu, 3rd. Zíkkuná, 4th.Harása, 5th. Takáhl. 6th. Dúnnúlla.

Intercalary Days

1st. Genérru, 2nd. Turkkúm, 3rd. Vurúmma, 4th. Naguqqú, 5th. Chatáshshu.


1. Héshak, 2. Eshpíru, 3. Dómmu, 4. Varúttu, 5. Pessúrru, 6. Ójaz, 7. Péshru, 8. Prúddu,
9. Khillǘrra, 10. Muggtá, 11. Omuggtá, 12. Menmuggtá.

Pecháni Calendar Stone

Where has the time gone...?

Where has the time gone? Between work and prepping for my Tékumel game I have neglected Pecháno for the last seven months. So what has transpired since the last posting? My campaign is now in its second year, and shows no sign of petering out any time soon. I have toyed with posting campaign notes on this site, but the truth is the adventuring has all taken place in Tsolyánu and seeing as how this is a Pecháni blog… Well, if the party ever makes it to Pecháno then I will certainly post their adventures here. In the meanwhile, stay tuned as new content will be up soon. 

Teshkóa: Eastern Suburbs