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Tékumel Thursday 3: A Disaster at Sea

A sailing ship

In my earlier post about my Tékumel campaign, I mentioned that in my timeline, the High Princeps of the Temple of Thúmis, Gámalu hiBeshyéne, had died in a shipwreck late in 2355 AS. After some behind the scenes political maneuvering, he had been replaced by Lady Nátluna hiVaisúra, the High Administrative Priestess of Thúmis in Avanthár, and a friend of Lord Cháimira hiSsánmirin, the Provost of the High Chancery. I did this because Gámalu was a player-character in the original campaign, and I wanted my campaign to be influenced as little as possible by those characters. By replacing Gámalu with Lady Nátluna, the Temple of Thúmis would chart a very different course in the unfolding history of the campaign. To understand that means looking at the projects Gámalu was promoting, and what was done instead:

  • An Encyclopedia of All Knowledge. This was delegated to an up-and-coming priest, to continue support for this project, whilst moving it from the center of political and social attention of the temple hierarchy.
  • Official patronage of the Legion of the Lord of Wisdom. Mobilizing an Imperial heavy infantry legion was not something that came easily to the Temple of Thúmis. Instead, it was designated as a unit to provide Temple guards with more military experience, and not fully activated. This lessened competition for recruits amongst Imperial legions, and made it easier for the Temple to focus on Imperial politics in Avanthar.
  • Building a new warship. Gámalu had personally undertaken the construction of a new type of Zirunél or quinquereme in the city of Penóm. The ship was completed – and then provided as a contribution to the Flotilla of Hagárr of Paránta, building closer ties to the Temple of Karakán.
  • Sponsorship of an unrevealed Prince. This was Prince Surundáno, an otherwise unassuming clerk in the Temple of Thúmis in the town of Haumá. By not revealing Surundáno as a Prince of the Empire, the Temple could continue to provide support to different Imperial heirs and their factions, providing political flexibility and influence.

That final change of project – deciding to keep Surundáno unrevealed – would have the greatest impact on the campaign timeline. In the timeline of the original campaign, the revelation of Prince Surundáno led to the Temple of Vimúhla revealing its hidden heir, Prince Mirusíya, dividing the Military Party and eventually leading to the events at the end of Flamesong. By not revealing Surundáno, the Temple of Thúmis could be more influential in Imperial politics, and ultimately have greater influence going ahead.

This also meant that one Tórisu hiVríddi, a Dritlan of the Legion of the Lord of Red Devastation, would subsequently be appointed as the Military Legate for the Embassy of Lord Arái hiRi’inyüssa to the Court of the Ssáo (or King) of Saá Allaqí. During that embassy, a plot by fanatics of She Who Is Not To Be Named to overthrow the Ssáo and destroy the Tsolyáni mission would be discovered and thwarted…