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Tékumel Thursday 4: What About All Those Player-Characters?

Two figures standing, a woman and a man.  The woman is Lady Deq Dimani, the ruler of the island of Vridu.  The man is Mruoz, an officer of the Incandescent Blaze Society.

In my Tékumel Thursday post last week, I talked about making a decisive change to my Tékumel, essentially creating my own branch on the Tree of Time.  I did this by eliminating one character and their later actions from the campaign.  

Put another way, I decided that the starting “canon” for the campaign would come from Empire of the Petal Throne — everything else was optional. That meant that all future material – the Tekumel Sourcebook, the novels, everything that followed – all of that became a great source of ideas – but not a determinant of What Happens Next.  Some of it remained relevant, e.g. any history of the world, as well as The College At The End of Time, which made my job as the referee much easier.  But the events as recorded for the quarter-century of Prof. Barker’s active Tekumel campaign – that was somebody else’s accomplishment, and I decided it ought to stay that way.  My campaign could – and would – be different.

But what about all the other player-characters from Prof. Barker’s campaign?  There are a LOT of them, and while I know the details of many of them, I may make some mistakes in my recollections here.  Even so, a few examples are worth repeating:

  • Gamalu hiBeshyene, the High Princeps of the Temple of Thumis – and the poor fellow who died in a shipwreck in my own Tékumel timeline – was the character of a player living in upstate New York.
  • Karin Missum, the “Red Death” – General of the Legion of the Lord of Red Devastation – actually one of the original co-owners of The Source Comics and Games in St. Paul, Minnesota.
  • Princess Vrisa Vrishetru, a daughter of the Ssao or “King” of Sa’a Allaqi – another player in the Twin Cities.

There are dozens more listed in the records of Prof. Barker’s campaign – I had to think: should I just assume those characters were there in my campaign, or not?  For most of those characters, I made the assumption that they wouldn’t be part of my campaign, unless for some reason they would be highly appropriate or necessary.

This had an additional effect: I realized that actions taken by player-characters were part of adventures made available to them by Prof. Barker, and therefore those adventures should be available to my players, as well.  If my players decided to not go on these adventures, I could decide later how the events turned out for the purposes of my own campaign.  Thus, from the very beginning, I knew that my campaign would be different – even the people were going to be different.