Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Historical Eras for Gaming in Tekumel

Most people I've talked to who have run in Tekumel placed their campaigns sometime after 2354 A.S. (After Second Imperium), the current game year given in Empire of the Petal Throne. I've run games in all periods after that point, most often during the civil war or in the period before the war with Yan Kor.

Sometimes games will end up in another time. I played a game of Swords and Glory at the local university campus in the late 80s or early 90s where we were cruising around in First Imperium times along the northern coast of the southern continent. One of our party was even from that time period, but the rest of us were from the 'present', trapped there by some nexus point. We were also hoping to make it back to our own time.

But the other eras are rife with adventure possibilities. The previously-mentioned First Imperium is a great example. All of the Change temples are active and Queen Nayari's dynasty was certainly 'interesting'. Perhaps a campaign of Dragon Warriors, capturing towns across the north. I'd be the first to sign up for a Latter Times game.

I've chosen to set my next few con games during the Time of No Kings, the five thousand years preceding the Second Imperium. Why the Time of No Kings, you ask? Let me list the reasons:

  1. Only one great empire exists (Livyanu) many thousands of tsan to the west. Everything else is petty kingdoms, city-states, warlords, and vast wilderness.
  2. The strictures of Tsolyani society don't exist.  
  3. No Concordat.
  4. This is the time of legends and heroes. 
  5. During times of chaos, opportunities for adventure and mayhem are increased.
My version of The Time of No Kings has combat and magic schools in every town, more temples to more gods. Some of them are aspects of the main 20 gods and cohorts that got absorbed by the major temples later. Some might be old pariah gods not remembered later or aspects of the more familiar pariah deities. Some might be frauds and swindles. I also posit that the cataclysm that ended Engsvan hla Ganga tore the fabric of reality and made it easier to summon extra-dimensional beings, also known as demons. Something about the sundering of the Egg of the World.

Add in the standard Tekumel elements: outlandish costumes and nudity, flashy magic, and horrific beasts.
I think I just described a typical Sword and Sorcery setting. The Time of No Kings, I feel, can accommodate any S&S meme or plot you want. 

If you're intimidated by running a Tekumel, try the Time of No Kings. It's much more freewheeling and loose.