It’s really BIG

I just ran my Tekumel campaign last night, using Empire of the Petal Throne with some mods and changes.  My players are getting used to characters and the world and that’s all good. But there’s this issue of scale…

See, on Tekumel, the “underworlds” are equivalent to dungeons, roughly speaking.  Over the past few years, I’ve been running Prof. Barker’s original Jakallan underworld at UCon and elsewhere, and it is definitely a “mega-dungeon” in modern parlance.  Even so, it’s still a very “D&D” oriented depiction of what lies under the City Half As Old As The World.  And if each hex is roughly 50-100 yards across (the measure cited by Prof. Barker in the past has varied a little), then that means that a single sheet of graph paper covers about one to two hexes on the city map….

So I’m left with a design question – if I want to make the Underworld of Jakallan more “real” to Tekumel, then  that’s a lot of graph paper.  Another way to deal with this is to map out the “good bits” and make each descent start from someplace not too far away.  A third way is to let the players start above ground and let then explore until they find something “significant.”

I’m still thinking about this….

3 thoughts on “It’s really BIG

  1. First of all, what a nice surprise to see a slice of Jakalla on my RSS feed!

    I'd probably go with the "good bits".

    I do have an unrelated EPT question for you though. How did non-Twin Cities players know how to name their characters? I have been looking through the EPT rulebook, but not really finding a list of names. Sorry to blogjack, but inquiring minds want to know.

  2. No, that's a good question. A relatively simple way to come up with names is as follows:

    – Download a copy of TsolyaniNames Without Tears, and keep in mind that a goodly chunk of the names produced aren't really "Tsolyani." (I'm not sure what algorithm Brett Slocum's name generator uses, so I can't recommend it, as much as I might otherwise – Brett's a decent guy.)

    – Get a copy of Man of Gold, or Flamesong, or any of the other novels, and look at the names there. Flamesong is particularly good for differences between Tsolyani and Yan Koryani (and other) cultural conventions about naming things.

    – Use the Tekumel.com webpage for Tsolyani Names as a double-check on what you've got. Keep in mind that many of the lineage names that you see are for people of relatively high or very high status, so it's kind of like getting a list of last names that is only "Rockefeller, Astor, Gates, Marshall, Macarthur, Patton, Lee, Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, etc."

    – Feel free to come up with your own, based on a reading of the above.

    Hope this helps!

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