Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Humanspace Empires

(Yes, I know I said I wasn't getting to this until next week, but I had some time this week, so here you go.)

So, Tekumel popped into a pocket universe millennia ago and the highly technological culture slid into barbarism. But what about that incredibly advanced culture that discovered Tekumel, defeated the Ssu and the Hluss, terraformed the planet, moved its orbit, and installed huge gravity engines in the planet's core? What would it be like to adventure in the time before the Time of Darkness?

This question is answered in a new game called Humanspace Empires by The Drune. This game is part of the Old School Renaissance characterized by Pathfinder and Labyrinth Lord, as well as similar games evocative of the early years of RPGs. Humanspace Empires is very much designed to have the feel of EPT, but translated into the ultra-high technology level of the pulpy source material that Professor Barker was inspired by. The Drune has done an excellent job of injecting material that will be familiar to Tekumel fans, such as the Health and Pleasure Yeleth and Sunuz being the Galactic Standard language. The descriptions of the non-human races are also superb.

You'll find blast pistols, shield belts, ansibles, and interfogulators. Characters learn PSY powers such as Control of Self and Mind Bar, all very familiar.

So, if you're interested in pre-Cataclysm Humanspace, take a look at Humanspace Empires.

To find more out about this game, I've joined the Spacewords and Glory play-by-blog game. So, as an introduction to this new game, here is my character for the campaign:

Name: Krútai Málakal, Executive Officer on Deeds of Glory
Class/Level: Astronaut/3
Species/Homeworld: Human male from Tau Ceti
Age: 26

STR: 9
DEX: 16
CON: 8
INT: 12
PSY: 11
CHA: 7

Background skills:
Air Pilot

Astronaut Skills/Powers:
Space swordsman
Energy Pistol
Pilot +3

PSY Powers:
PSY Luck
Control of Self
Mind Bar

Credits: 2610 CR
Space sword
X-Ray pistol
Z-Ray pistol
Skin suit with Shield Belt Mk II
Scan goggles
10 air tablets
Magnetic clamps
Utility belt
Contra-Grav belt
Perimetric orbs
Concubine (level I)

Múruset Málakal was a brilliant administrator on the Tau Ceti system governor's staff, as well being a member of the governor’s prestigious Dhuón Tuptláng Két. Tlayésha Vríddu was an up-and-coming Imperial Naval officer from one of the great Houses of the empire, the Vríddu. Her career was meteoric, pushed by her whip-smart tactical mind and intense ambition. Múruset was her first husband, the perfect storm of an important political marriage and a love match. They met when Tlayésha was posted to Tau Ceti during a miner’s revolt. Their relationship was instantaneous and passionate. By the time they were married four months later, she was pregnant. Soon, her fleet was reposted to another system.

When she was five months pregnant with Krútai, as the executive officer of the frigate The Sérqu, she led the marine attack on a Hlutrgú corvette. They captured the ship and used it as a decoy to capture several other ships. Her ploy turned the tide in a key part of the Hlutrgú incursions. She then returned to Tau Ceti to be with her husband and deliver her son.

Her career took her all over the empire and beyond, while Múruset raised the boy. She returned as often as duty allowed. Her successes meant promotions to bigger ships. She also married another husband, her chief medical officer, who moved with her from assignment to assignment.

Seven years ago, when Krútai was just starting in the Academy, his mother got her commission as Captain of the dreadnought Red Devastation in one of the empire’s elite fleets. She was always in the lead, always taking the fight to the enemy, always first to shoot, first to board. Four years ago in a Mihálli raid, her ship was destroyed by a completely unknown weapon that obliterated half the fleet in an instant, turning the ships and the crew members inside out. Imperial investigators believe that the ship this terrible weapon was deployed on was also destroyed at the same time -- a suicide ship. His father became the governor’s chief of staff a year later.

From the moment he was born, Krútai moved. His Két-aunts said he never crawled nor walked, but went straight to running. At the age of five, he stole the keycodes to a mining inspection vehicle, and by ten he was learning to fly small inter-asteroid flitters. His father kept trying to get him interested in business or administration, but Krútai wanted to fly a starship. He got good marks in school, and his father finally acquiesced and let him sign up for the Imperial Naval Academy.

When his mother died, Krútai’s resolve stiffened and he finished the Academy with honors. With the solid political backing of his father, and the fiery passion and brilliance of his mother, he did extremely well in his assignments, rising through the ranks deftly with impeccable skills and subtle politics. One outcome of this tragedy was that Krútai became hardened and cruel, which distanced him from his crew. They respect and fear him, but few are his friends. His posting to The Deeds of Glory is his first as executive officer.


  1. Ok awesome looking character & the setting is incredibly easy to play in. Starting my game next week. I'm waiting with baited breath for the playtest to begin!

  2. Very cool. Looking forward to getting this off the ground.

  3. Very awesome, Brett! I probably won't use the HE system, but I'm sure I'll run the HE setting using the "Starblazer Adventures RPG" iteration of the FATE system some time in the next year - either at the Source, Convergence, or Con of the North.

  4. Come to think of it, I would love to "learn at the feet of the masters" and play in Tekumel or the Humanspace Empires face-to-face if/when there is an opportunity. Maybe we could hold a Twin Cities Tekumel/Humanspace Empires mini-convention some time in the near future.

  5. @Tallgeese Send me email from my profile. I'd like keep in touch about the mini-con.