Monday, February 11, 2013

Testing Eyes to Determine their Nature

On Tekumel, Eyes are small techno-magical devices of the Ancients. They draw power from the Planes Beyond and produce specific effects. They were originally tools, now they are magical treasures. Most of them are somewhere between 30 to 40 thousand years old. Some are older.

They are called Eyes because they are about the size of an eyeball and they have a lens or aperture on one side and stud on the other. Some have counters in some old forgotten language, and some of those have had more modern numbers written over them. Some people have written the name of the Eye in paint or ink on the Eye itself. It will probably be in some ancient tongue no one remembers.

The 36 types listed in Empire of the Petal Throne require some fearsome testing to figure out what they are. Here is the surefire method of figuring out what magical bauble you have recovered from the deep underworld or been given as a birthday present.

Testing Eyes to Determine their Nature

Materials Required

  • a mrur or other undead.
  • human slaves that satisfy each of the following conditions. They can be all one slave or several slaves, but all of them are at risk of death. The necessary conditions are: sexually attractive to the tester, a recent injury, missing a hand, foot, leg, or arm. If slaves are too valuable, use bound captured soldiers or expendable persons from the Foreigner's Quarter.
  • a dead body not more than 18 days dead.
  • an unenchanted steel weapon.
  • a free person who knows a foreign language that you don’t know.
  • a jealous rival or captured enemy.
  • a rock.
  • a trapped chest or other item.
  • a bonfire.
  • an Eye with no remaining charges, hopefully with a known effect
  • a Magic user with Remove Curse, Detect Magic, and either Neutralize Poison or some kind of wind spell.


  • In an outdoor area, preferably on the roof, just after sundown or before sunrise, have the Mrur and the slaves stand close together in front of a wall.
  • Lay the dead body at their feet.
  • Place the steel weapon on the dead body.
  • Situate the foreign speaker, the rival or enemy, the magic user and trapped chest behind the tester. The rival should be 2 yards away, the foreign speaker 3 yards away, and the trapped chest 4 yards away.
  • Ask the slaves, “Which is more important? The stability of society or the freedom of the individual?” Note their responses.
  • Light the bonfire nearby.
  • Stand at an angle from the Mrur and slaves 1 yard away.


  1. Twist the stud
    • A bunch of inanimate stuff appears: Eye of Retaining All Things.
  2. Push stud halfway, while standing 50 feet away from testing area. Return to original location.
  3. Point the Eye at the undead creature.
  4. Push stud fully.

  • If the undead and slaves both flee in terror: Abominable Eye of Detestation.
  • If the slaves flee in terror, but the undead does not: Eye of Indefinable Apprehension.
  • If one or more of the slaves and undead, completely stop moving, and get a reddish tinge: Excellent Ruby Eye.
  • If a beam blasts one or more of the figures and puts a hole in the wall: Eye of Advancing Through Portals.
  • If a beam blasts one or more of the figures, but the wall is intact, and the beam bounces off the wall: Terrible Eye of Raging Power.
  • If a beam hits the targets and they freeze or get frostbite: Eye of Frigid Breath.
  • If a beam harmlessly strikes the figures and they are illuminated for a period of time: Eye of All-Seeing Wonder.
  • If the figures are crushed and crumpled as if by a giant hand: Splendid Eye of Krá the Mighty.
  • If one or more of the figures and the tester begin to fly vertically and horizontally: Eye of Aerial Excellence.
  • If the tester floats up in the air, but can only move vertically: Eye of Rising Above All.
  • If one or more of the figures and the tester disappear and reappear over where you pushed the stud halfway: Eye of Departing in Safety.
  • If the dead body starts breathing, gets up, opens its eyes, etc.: Eye of Bestowing Life.
  • If up to a hundred mechanical men appear: Eye of Calling Forth an Unconquerable Army.
  • If scary things that are not mechanical men appear: Eye of Insubstantial Visioning.
  • If the eye emits a cloud of gas: Eye of the Creeping Fog of Doom. Have the magic user dissipate the cloud with the wind spell, or cure everyone affected by poison.
  • If the sexually attractive slave acts sexy and comes on to you: Eye of Exquisite Power over Maidens.
  • If the area is bathed in a soft light: Eye of Illuminating Glory.
  • If some number of the slaves, the rival, and the foreign speaker act mad, gibbering, talking to themselves, laughing uncontrollably, etc.: Eye of Madness. Have the magic user cast Remove Curse on them.
  • If the magic user exclaims, “You’ve all disappeared!”: Eye of Non-Seeing.
  • If the magic user exclaims, “You’re all enshrouded in darkness!”: Eye of Returning Unto Darkness.
  • If the Eye buzzes, move more than 5 yards away from the trapped chest. If it stops buzzing: Eye of Opening the Way.
  • If a wall of fire appears 5 yards around the tester: Eye of Raising an Infernal Barrier.
  • If the slave with the missing body part is restored: Eye of Regeneration.
  • If the recent wounds heal: Ineluctable Eye of Healing.

If Nothing Happens

  1. Have the person with the rock toss it at you.
    • If it bounces off without hitting you: Eye of Being an Unimpeachable Shield against Foes.
  2. Ask the slaves to run fast.
    • If they run very slowly: Eye of Retarding Destiny.
    • If they run very very quickly: Eye of Hastening Destiny.
  3. Ask the foreign speaker to say a couple sentences in the foreign language.
    • If you understand them: Eye of Incomparable Understanding.
  4. Ask the rival to have tea with you. Bring up the subject of their jealousy.
    • If the rival acts friendly and discounts your conflict: Eye of Joyful Sitting Amongst Friends.
  5. Have the magic user cast Detect Magic on the steel weapon.
    • If it is magical: Eye of Strengthening the Majesty of Weapons.
  6. Mentally command the slaves to attack the Mrur.
    • If they comply with your command: Incomparable Eye of Command.
  7. Verbally command your rival to attack the Mrur.
    • If they comply with your request: Eye of Ruling as a King in Glory.
  8. Ask the slaves again the question, “Which is more important? The stability of society or the freedom of the individual?”.
    • If their responses are different than previously: Eye of Transformation.
  9. Quickly put a foot into the bonfire.
    • If you don’t scream in pain: Eye of Triumphant Passage Through Infernos.
  10. Touch the Eye to the uncharged Eye and click the stud again.
    • If the uncharged Eye vanishes: Eye of Retaining All Things.
  11. Attempt to use the uncharged eye.
    • If the uncharged Eye produces an effect: Thoroughly Useful Eye.

If some other effect occurs, you have a new Eye, probably caused by a malfunction. If the Eye explodes, the Eye is defective. Otherwise the Eye is broken, defective, or a fake.


  1. This would look fantastic written in faux-Barkerian prose.

  2. I was thinking of rewriting it as a document from the Temple of Ksarul.

  3. Ah, I hate to be a pest, but you left one out:

    The Thoroughly Useless Eye - This was an Eye Phil dropped into games to annoy the kilts off the players; it drains charges from Eyes so that the repair person of the ancients can work on defective or broken Eyes. It has no other function, except to make players with lots of Eyes cranky.

    Seriously, I love this! Makes me feel thirty years younger, and yes, we did stuff like this... :)

  4. Well, I only used the 36 'classic' Eyes, not the extras from S&G or Gardasiyal.