Monday, October 22, 2012

They keep saying there are no Tékumel adventures

I keep hearing that there is a dearth of adventures for Tékumel, but when I searched online sources for adventures, I was pleasantly surprised by how many well-crafted scenarios were available. This post is a survey of what's available with a link to comprehensive spreadsheet at the end.

If you're talking about published adventures, 'They' would be right. Three adventures were published, one by Michael Mayeau in 1981 (The Nightmare Maze of Jigrésh) and two by Mark Pettigrew in 1984 (A Jakállan Intrigue and The Tomb Complex of Nereshánbo). If you add in the three books of solo adventures from Adventures on Tékumel, which can often be adapted to a group, you are still left with a veritable paucity. (Reprints of all these are available from Tita's House of  Games.) Turning to magazines, I found only The Temple of the Doomed Prince by Phil Holmes aka Dave Morris published in White Dwarf #54. That's it for professional large run products. But that ignores a huge swatch of the marketplace and one extremely important for Tékumel: the fanzines.

The official fanzines, The Tékumel Journal, The Imperial Military Journal, The Journal of Tékumel Affairs, and The Imperial Courier, focused on encyclopedic articles on the temples, legions, non-humans, culture, astrology and numerology, and lands uncharted on the maps, as well as fiction. Not one adventure could I find.

Then we come to the Eye of All-Seeing Wonder, the British fanzine, published by Dave Morris and Steve Foster. From the first issue, with Michael Cule's excellent Welcome to Jakálla, a good "Fresh Off the Boat" scenario, this fanzine had at least one adventure in each issue, sometimes two or three. I used Welcome to Jakálla for a birthday party game last fall, though I replaced the trip to the ruins of Ngála with my own excursion down below. In total, in six issues, The Eye had eleven adventures and two campaign settings -- quite a haul. (Online versions of these issues are available on the exquisite Tekumel: The World of the Petal Throne website, the official Tekumel resource.)

Next on our trip around the Net we come to The Book of Visitations of Glory, an Amateur Press Association (APA) devoted to Tékumel. For those not familiar, the original idea of an APA was to publish a fanzine among a set of authors, who then commented on each others work in later issues. The famous Alarums and Excursions was the first roleplaying APA, started by Lee Gold in 1975. Visitations is circulated freely electronically, but retains the commentary aspect. In the seven years of its existence (2001-2008), thirteen adventures were published, including eleven by the prodigious Krista Donnelly. I played in several of these scenarios at U-Con over the years, so I know they have been thoroughly playtested.

Besides hosting the online versions of Eye of All-Seeing Wonder and Visitations of Glory, the official Tekumel site also has its own set of adventures. First is The Temple of the Doomed Prince, that ancient adventure from White Dwarf, a rare magazine indeed. Luckily, you don't need to locate a copy just to get this one four-page adventure. Against the Grain by Bob Dushay is a sequel to one of the adventures from The Eye # 6 (A Matter of Honor -- here updated slightly from The Eye version for consistency). If you happen to be in Mu'ugalavyáni, then you might take An Excursion into Old Cho'óchi, a short adventure by Dave Morris. Lastly is the inestimable Patrick Brady's The Silver Hma, where players investigate the theft of some silver ingots that were meant for paying legions fighting in the north.

These adventures should keep your group playing for a long time to come, and more scenarios await exploration in the Index of Tékumel Adventures, the promised spreadsheet.


  1. Nice to see EoASW and White Dwarf stuff being appreciated Brett. I worked hard with Peter Gifford and others to get this all online some years ago. I think I still have a copy of that issue of White Dwarf too (Dave & Steve did give us permission incidentally). But I think the point that there is a paucity of high quality printed campaign material is valid. Most newcomers to Tekumel will seek this first, online material is stage two. No doubt the new (again) system will be good, but is it what Tekumel really needs?

    1. Oh, more than appreciated. Makes me want to try my hand at adventure writing with the goal of having something publishable, as well as wanting to create yet another high quality fanzine.

      Wanna collaborate? Perhaps a collection of Tekumel adventures, based in a single location, a campaign mayhaps?

      Also, I think the success of Swords and Wizardry, a mostly n online product, shows that the new millennium can handle a game that exists digitally first. You may have noticed that Newsweek just closed its physical edition and is now completely online. Silver Gryphon Games is another digital-first company. No one's going to get rich, but it's possible to put out good product.

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  3. When the Guardians of Order tristat T:EPT game was being playtested it included a chapter of campaign frames with lots of adventure seeds. It was excellent material that went a long way to illustrate what kind of adventures and campaigns one could play on Tekumel. Sadly the chapter was not included in the final book. I dont know who wrote that text but it really should be published, it is in no way relying on the tristat system and could be used with whatever rules one wanted.