Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Count Orlock's Dazzling Jewel

This ornate gold necklace is set with a 10-carat blood-red ruby. It enhances the Charisma of the wearer by +5. It also makes the wearer very susceptible to a vampire's charm gaze, putting an additional -3 on the saving throw for a total of -5.

Count Orlock was a vampire who constructed this necklace to entrap a certain young duchess for whom he lusted. She was a beautiful woman, but was also very vain. She wanted to be the most gorgeous woman in the kingdom. She achieved her goal with the help of the count's jewel the night of the king's grand ball thrown in honor of the royal heir's majority. All could see that she was the most beautiful and fawned over her throughout the evening. That night the count charmed and seduced her -- she was dead within a fortnight.

A year later, the count brought her, now his vampire servant, to the duke on the anniversary of her death. The duke thought he saw his wife's apparition, but when he touched her and knew her to be real, they spent the night together. The duke was dead in the morning.

(This magic item was created for Erik Tenkar's 2014 OSR Superstar Contest. I just found my entry in my email after an unrelated search. Thought you might like it.)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Androids and Gynoids for The Latter Times on Tekumel

A rare white-haired gynoid
An Android is an advanced mechanical construct originally built to serve humankind before the Time of Darkness. They possess artificial intelligence, human-form bodies, paper-white skin, jet black hair, black eyes, and all models are beautiful. Both male and female models exist, though female models are called Gynoids. A variety of models were constructed, including assassins, household servants, sex toys, social companions, security guards, translators, diplomats, maintenance workers, spies, soldiers, and other purposes. In later eras, examples of androids and gynoids are the Yeleth as well as The Alluring Maiden of Nga.

No new units have been produced in thousands of years, but since they were ubiquitous, many thousands still exist and function. Their bodies only have limited ability to repair without spare parts, so full repairs require old android bodies for scavenging. Over the millennia, androids develop quirks in their personality programming.

Androids have free will, except when they are bound by an Android Control Medallion, usually in the form of a piece of jewelry, a pendant, ring, or other object carried or worn. The wearer can control up to three androids, who will be completely loyal to their master. The control can only be broken by the master releasing control, destroying the medallion, or killing the master. Androids have been systematically destroying these medallions in an effort to free themselves from servitude, though they cannot act to harm their owner or the medallion while under its influence. By later eras on Tekumel, these control devices are very rare, and usually called The Amulet of the Governance of Yeleth.

Androids and Gynoids for Tekumel using Warriors of the Red Planet

STR +1, DEX +1, CON +1, CHA +2 (min. 13), SOC: -5 (max 12)
AC        13
HD        3d8
Move 12"

Limited to 6th level in Scientist class, unlimited in other classes.

All Androids have the following Abilities:
Mechanical: Immune to poison, disease, and extremes of heat and cold. No need for food or sleep.

Android Healing: Androids can heal by resting after combat, as normal, but cannot heal from daily rest without parts from another android or other similar construct. Each android body can supply 1-6 dice of healing. A Scientist can cure level hit points level times per day, but only once per day on an individual android.

Ancient: Because of their long existences, androids get a +2 on INT skill rolls regarding past events and people.

Each player of an android or gynoid character should create an Android Upgrade package, as well as a mental quirk. Tables to roll these will be posted later.

Sample Character:
3rd level Gynoid Scoundrel

Nyfmar-11 has the Social/Pleasure Upgrade package. Nyfmar-11 is currently the property of Princess Zira, princess of the city-state of Tlakurra. The princess has an Android Control Medallion and Nyfmar-11 is devoted to her. She has been a servant to the Princess since Zira was young. More than once Nyfmar-11 has thwarted assassination attempts on the young princess.

STR: 14 +1
INT: 12 0
PSY: 5 -2
DEX: 14 +1
CON: 13 +1
CHA: 15 +1
SOC: 7 -1

AC:        13 / 15 against missiles
HD:        5d8 / 34
Move: 9"
Skill: 36%
Cash: 40 gp


Mechanical: Immune to poison, disease, and extremes of heat and cold. No need for food or sleep.

Android Healing: Androids can heal by resting after combat, as normal, but cannot heal from daily rest without parts from another android or other similar construct. Each android body can supply 1-6 dice of healing. A Scientist can cure level hit points level times per day, but only once per day on an individual android.

Ancient: Because of their long existences, androids get a +2 on INT skill rolls regarding past events and people.

Social/Pleasure Upgrade: The android is 'fully-functional' with anatomy, sensors, and programming to perform and respond as a sexual concubine. A full library of human sexual response is included in their data banks. In addition, the android has more advanced personality programming and is skilled in conversation, entertainment (select a specialty: dancing, music, art, acrobatics, or storytelling), seduction, massage, and other sexual and social talents.

Mental Quirk: Fascinated by stabbing the living and watching their fluids leak out. If Nyfmar-11 has damaged a human with an edged weapon, make an INT skill roll to avoid watching for a round. Always use cutting or thrusting weapons, never crushing weapons. This behavior can be very disturbing to humans.


Field-generating rings, +2 AC against missiles
2 daggers, concealed in hidden arm sheaths
Small belt pouch
Irradium hand torch
Silver flute

(P.S. I'm also writing these up for White Star.)

Friday, May 29, 2015

Running Tékumel during The Latter Times Using Warriors of the Red Planet

The Latter Times in Tékumel history are the few thousand years after the star system popped into the empty pocket universe it now finds itself in. The Humanspace Empire civilization that used the planet as a pleasure planet and trading hub fell hard from the physical trauma to the planet, which caused vast earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tidal waves, sinking land masses, and other difficulties, as well as the loss of the Empire's imports, especially iron. During this time, some retained the knowledge to fix the advanced technology left behind, but as the years went on, more and more knowledge was lost. Also during this period, psychic abilities first developed, as the barrier between the planes of existence was thinner, allowing easier access to interplanar power. A great culture in decline after a cataclysm on an alien planet with a combination of technology and psychic powers sounds like a Sword and Planet story, the genre invented by Edgar Rice Burroughs in The Princess of Mars and the Barsoom novels.

Warriors of the Red Planet is a D&D clone written by Al Krombach and illustrated by Thomas Denmark that is designed for Sword and Planet adventures. The four classes, Fighting Man, Scoundrel, Mentalist, and Scientist, fit nicely into an era of declining technology coexisting with the development of mental powers. After reading it, I immediately wanted to run it for Tékumel. Thus these house rules.

House Rules for Warriors of the Red Planet

Ability Scores

Replace Wisdom (WIS) with Psychic Ability (PSY). Psychic Ability covers many of the same things as Wisdom, including Mentalism, intuition, luck, etc. Mentalists rely on Psychic Ability not Wisdom.

Character Classes


Scoundrels can choose another skill set for their Skill besides Thief skills, such as Diplomat, Merchant, or Physician. This class is more of a Specialist than a Scoundrel. In this case, the Backstabbing ability could be replaced with something else appropriate, such as some kind of Healing for a Physician, or an advantage in negotiation for a Diplomat or Merchant.


Mentalists with a Psychic Ability (or Wisdom) of 13+ get a 5% experience bonus.

At each level, Mentalists learn one random and one chosen Power of the appropriate level for each slot. Other Powers may be learned through play. The number of powers a mentalist knows are not affected by a high PSY, only the number of powers they can use in a day (+1 1st level use for PSY 13+).


Scientists use the same level progression for Gadgets that Mentalists use for Powers.

At each level, Scientists choose one Gadget of the appropriate level for each slot. Other Gadgets may be found through play. High INT (13+) grants an extra gadget and an extra recharge from the power source.

 A Scientist's gadgets can hold 2 charges at 4th level, 3 charges at 7th level, and 4 charges at 10th level. The Scientist's power source can keep up with recharging them as well, double output at 4th, triple output at 7th level, and quadruple output at 10th level. Think of it as continued tinkering by the scientist to improve his devices.

Sorcerers of the Black Gate

The Sorcerers of the Black Gate class is being used for cultists of The Deep Space Goddess, the Latter Times name for The Goddess of the Pale Bone, the first of the deities to be contacted.




Dark skinned, dark haired humans. Arabic-Indian-MesoAmerican stock.
Add +1 to any Ability Score.
Unlimited levels in all classes.
HD 1
AC 10
Mov 12"

Nonhumans (Exotics)


STR +4, DEX -2, CON +4, INT -1, PSY -4, SOC: -5 (max 8)
HD 3
AC 16
Mov 9"

Limited to 6th level Scoundrel, 3rd level Mentalist and Scientists, unlimited as Fighting Man.

Four Arms: 4 attacks, if surrounded or front and back

Four Legs


STR -1, DEX +2
HD 1
AC 12
Mov 15"/30"

Limited to 6th Level Scientist, unlimited in other classes.


Tail Sword: Hlaka have a sharp bony tail end that can be used against targets to the side or behind the character. 1d6 damage; can attack at the same time as a normal attack.

Pachi Lei

AC 13
HD 1
Mov 12"

Unlimited in all classes.

Dark Vision

Sense Hidden +2: secret doors, ambushes, and traps.

Four Legs

Pe Choi

DEX +1, CON -1, PSY +2
HD 1d6+3
AC 15
Mov 12"

Unlimited in all classes.

Four Arms: 2 attacks.

Excellent Hearing +3

Sense Hidden +3: secret doors, ambushes, and traps.

Sense Life: 10' range

Sense Death (Pe Choi): 3 mile range.

Pygmy Folk

STR -1, DEX +2
HD 1d6-2
AC 12
Mov 6"

Limited to 6th level Fighting Man, unlimited in other classes.

Dark Vision

Excellent Hearing +4:

Small Stature


STR +2, DEX -1, INT -1, PSY -2
HD 3
AC 15
Mov 9"

Limited to 6th level Mentalist and Scientist, unlimited in other classes.

Tail club

Swamp Folk

CON +1, PSY = none
HD 1d6
AC 13
Mov 9"

Cannot take Mentalist, unlimited in other classes.

Spatial Sense: Can detect changes in subtle body position and location, detects sloping passages, teleports, nexus point travel.

Four Legs


STR -2, DEX +1, INT +1, PSY +2
AC 12
HD 1d6-1
Mov 9"

Limited to 6th level Fighting Man, unlimited in other classes.

Small Stature
Four Legs


CON -1, INT +1
HD 1
AC 10

Unlimited in all classes.

No Binocular Vision



DEX +1, CON +1, PSY +1, CHA +1, STR -1, SOC: -5, max 8
AC  14
HD 3
Mov 9"

Hypno-Ray: range 100', d6 targets with 30 feet diameter, Mentalism save or puppet/paralysis, permanent until psychic or magical healing or death of Yeleth. Usable (level) times a day.

Not Biological: Immune to poison and disease.

Android Healing: Androids can heal by resting after combat, as normal, but cannot heal from daily rest without parts from another Yeleth, Ru'un, or other similar construct. A Scientist can cure their level in hit points of a Yeleth once per day. Each android body can supply 1d6 dice of healing.

Limited to 6th level in Scientist class, unlimited in other classes



DEX +2, INT -2
AC 12
HD 1
Mov 15"
Excellent Sense of Smell
Fangs (1d6 damage from bite)
Sense Hidden (secret doors, ambushes, and traps) on d6/1-3, 30' range
Limited to 6th level in all classes


Old Standard is the language of the Humanspace Empire before the Time of Darkness.

Standard is Old Standard after a thousand years of linguistic drift. In later eras of Tékumel, this language is called Sunúz

Friday, April 24, 2015

Another Historical Era for Tekumel Adventuring

So I've decided on what I'm going to run at U-Con in November and Con of the North in February. Here's my crazy idea. I'm going to use Warriors of the Red Planet to run a Tékumel adventure in The Latter Times. This would work pretty much as is. 

Warriors of the Red Planet, one of my favorite rules systems, is a BX clone reskinned for sword and planet adventures -- Fighting Men, Scoundrels, Mentalists, and Scientists having adventures on the alien landscapes with Barsoom, Venus, or Skaith.

With the Latter Times being just a few thousand years after the Time of Darkness, plenty of the technology of the Humanspace empire still exists. With both Mentalists and Scientists, I figure I can set it late enough that psychic abilities have developed, but soon enough after the the Time of Darkness that Scientists still know to make technological devices.

Now to design the adventure.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Con of the North Tékumel Track, Part I

(I apologize for the lateness of this report. I really had to getmy dad's taxes for two years finished, as well as my own.)

The Tékumel Track I organized at Con of the North in February went off in grand style. We had 40 hours of games over the weekend, including adventures run by Don Kaiser, Stephen Vossler, and myself, a wizard duel miniatures game of my own design inspired by War of Wizards, Tékumel Trivia (I didn't know all the answers) and a Hirilákte gladiators card game from Stephen, and a palanquin street race (with scavenger hunt) miniatures game from Howard Hendrickson. One of the Referees that was scheduled to run games was unable to attend at the last minute, so Stephen and I covered his time slots.

Before I arrived on Friday morning, Stephen Vossler from South Dakota and his players decorated the room with 40 years of Tékumel art.

Then the Referees added their own floor plans and maps.

My Broken Reed clan house floor plan
plus Stephen's Penóm area map
Don Kaiser's Trireme floor plan

Friday started off with a meet and greet for track participants and referees. Jeff Berry told tales of playing Phil's campaign. Don Kaiser displayed 40 years of Tékumel game products, with some help from me (he didn't have Bethorm). About a dozen folks showed up, besides the referees.

Next up was a session of my Wizard Duel board game. Two non-Tékumel folks came to play, plus a couple of Track-folk. I redrew the arena from a two-wizard arena to a four-wizard arena. The players had fun. One player chased the others with a Wall of Serpents, one of the others summoned a demon right off the bat, and then proceeded to blow the rest of his spell rolls during the game. He ended up being the winner by shooting the last opponent with his trusty bow and arrow after all his spells were exhausted. The mechanics for the Wall seemed to work nicely.

Next was Stephen Vossler's Tékumel Trivia, designed sort of like Trivial Pursuit on a pyramid. We had fun, there were several questions I didn't know the answer to, but I won in the end.

Next came Don Kaiser's Intercalary Intrigue, a little murder mystery during the intercalary days at the end of each year. 

I played a Tinaliya, surprise, surprise (my personal favorite nonhuman race).

Then came the late night 10pm to 2am game slot, where I ran Heroic Age of Tékumel in a modified version of Dyson's Delve. I called it The Broken Tower of Gilraya Forest. If you're not familiar with Dyson Logos, he's one of the top OSR mapmakers, and due to his Patreon campaign, he pays his rent making maps for us to use. He releases his maps with a free non-commercial license, and at least 2 maps a month are released with a free commercial license (starting this month). I love his style and attention to detail. 

A small group of Pygmy Folk was discovered, making furniture to sell in the Rǘ marketplace. Also a bunch of undead were discovered. Tombs were looted.

And that's just Friday!

End of Part I