Tékumel Archive

The Eye of All-Seeing Wonder

Issue Two | Autumn 1993

Wizards in White Hats

Jamie Thomson reveals some secrets of Livyáni sorcery

These spells are variants on the TIRIKELU magic system, which has yet to be published. Spells are grouped into phyla and rated from +1 to +10. It is unusual for a sorcerer to study more than four or five phyla, and only a 20th Circle wadra would have mastery up to +10.

To cast a spell, you must make a Sorcerer check at a modifier equal to your rating in the appropriate phylum. This uses spellpoints. A sorcerer’s spellpoint score is ten times the sum of his Psychic Ability and Psychic Reservoir attributes. An ordinary success when casting expends spellpoints equal to the spell’s phylum rating times ten (eg, 60 spellpoints for The Pale Jade Pavilion). Critical success halves this cost.

Hit Points in the TIRIKELU system average from 10 to 12, so the spells need very little adaptation for systems like GURPS or RuneQuest. For Adventures on Tékumel, multiply damage and healing dice rolls by three.


the acquisition of goods and services by magical means

The Goblets of the Unknown One (+1)
Goblets of white onyx, bearing a glyph of unknown meaning, appear in the hands of 1-6 people. These contain a full day’s water requirement, vanishing when drained or set down. Before drinking, characters must toast their other-planar benefactor with the formula: “May he never be known!” Failure to do this is said to bring bad luck for a year and a day. (The quality of the water in the goblets varies cyclically according to unidentified causes. It was once believed to correspond to the position of the planet Ziruna in the night sky, but this theory of the mage Wuyoneb has now been disproved. The contemporary taste of the water, and speculation as to how it will change in the future, remain subjects of discussion among Livyáni wizards.)

Chiyuvaz’s Lantern (+2)
A beam of light shines from an aperture in the ether above the caster’s head, turning to follow his line of sight and moving along with him. The light turns on and off on command. It lasts for three hours.

The Cantrap of Immediate Accoutrement (+3)
This spell creates a single item of unlacquered Chlén-hide. It can be a melee weapon of any type required by the caster (sword, dagger, spear, etc), or light armour, or some other simple implement such as a dish, shield or digging tool. The item remains for thirty minutes.

The Sumptuous Repast of Chiyuvaz’s Hall (+4)
Food is created. This is of very fine quality by aristocratic Livyáni tastes, though may seem overly dainty to a commoner or foreign person. The banquet appears on dishes of gold laid out on a low silk draped table, complete with wine and even a tray of narcotic powders. There is sufficient for 1-6 people (depending on how hungry they are) but it is obviously laid out as if for a solitary diner. The board is always identical, and all may be consumed with the exception of the uppermost Dlel in the fruit-bowl, which appears with a single bite taken from it. This is rumoured to be the last morsel of food tasted by the wizard Chiyuvaz (at least on Tékumel’s plane) and to eat it is taboo. Some believe that breaking the taboo would result in the diner exchanging places with the long-lost wizard—hence the Livyáni expression “To share the wizard’s banquet”.

The Excellent Armoury of Llyan of Tsamra (+5)
This spell exercises miraculous agencies to rapidly repair a simple damaged object such as a suit of armour or a cart-wheel. Not only is the object repaired, but it is also re-lacquered in Llyán’s colours and supplied with archaic ostentation. Some opinions hold that the object is not in fact repaired at all, but simply replaced by a duplicate of appropriate size from Llyán’s obviously capacious armoury. (For reference, the primary colour is a thick dark bronze gold, the secondary colour is white and the third, ‘crest’ colour is light purple; trim colour is maroon.)

The Pale Jade Pavilion (+6)
A tent providing shelter from the elements is caused to manifest, with room for up to ten people (twenty at a squeeze). This lasts nine hours. The interior is furnished with cushions, and silken drapes partition the space according to the number of occupants. The Pavilion always gives most restful sleep, such that Stamina and Psychic Reservoir are treated as at +5 for purposes of recovery of HP and spellpoints. Indeed, it is believed to be the gift of the demon Njenü, for it can only be entered by bowing and saying, “I thank the Master of the Everlasting Dream for his hospitality.” Incursion without this formula will motivate the demon to umbrage, resulting in the character’s immediate and permanent expulsion from all manifestations of the Pavilion. (Apparently it is also bad form to use violence against anyone else in the Pavilion: from which comes the saying, “It seems we must share the Pavilion,” used between two rival sorcerers obliged to a temporary truce.)

The Vessel of the Invisible Seekers (+7)
A boat or palanquin appears as though from nowhere and lasts for four hours. The boat will carry up to eight passengers; the palanquin has room for three. The rowers or bearers are invisible (so that the palanquin seems to float in the air) but they do leave footprints of a nonhuman nature. The vessel’s crew always know a route to your destination even if you do not know it yourself. For example, you could command them to take you to the Tower of the Red Dome even if you had never previously visited Jakálla. They cannot be commanded to take you to a person, however, but only to a specific location which you can name. Additionally, you must always command them to convey you to such-and-such a place and no further; omitting this stipulation could prove disastrous. (A different boat or palanquin is summoned each time the spell is cast, varying in historical design and ornamentation. Seemingly the Invisible Seekers pluck any available craft from out of the time-stream – sometimes still with the original occupant!)

The Loyal and Indefatigable Workers of Qelem (+8)
A team of ten labourers arrive to serve the caster for one day. These are short, lightly-built humanoids with hairless golden skin and rat-like tails. Upon appearing, one of them will come forward and ask “Do you wish us to serve you?” The caster must not reply until he has examined each worker thoroughly to ensure that none bears the small green Atlun spider that represents the curse of Rü’ütlanesh! Only if no spider is found is it safe to give the workers a task. They will perform tirelessly and require no supervision. (There seems to be about a 5% chance that the workers will bear Rü’ütlanesh’s spider with them. If they do, a +5 Cleverness/Sorcerer check is needed to find it. Should you fail to notice the spider, they will fulfill their day’s tasks but whatever construction they produce will bear the curse of Rü’ütlanesh.)


imbuing a person with supernatural energy

The Magnification of Bodily Vigour (+1)
This can be applied to the caster and 1-3 companions, increasing their Stamina scores by D3 points each. It lasts one hour.

The Celerious Despatch of Lord Ru’ungkano (+3)
After receiving this spell, up to a twenty persons are able to keep to an easy and purposeful stride, covering 10% greater distance than they would otherwise manage in the six hours that the spell lasts.

The Mantle of Champions (+4)
The Melee and Missile values of 1-3 beings are increased by 1D6 (5%-30% in RuneQuest terms). The caster can include himself in the spell’s effect if desired. The effect lasts ten minutes.

Expedition (+5)
This spell speeds time for 1-3 beings (one of whom can be the caster himself), allowing them an extra ‘half-round’ action each round. A character under the spell can therefore make one ‘full-round’ and one ‘half-round’ action, or three ‘half-round’ actions, every round. This spell cannot be applied repeatedly in order to give even more actions. It lasts ten minutes.

The Martyr’s Blood (+6)
This acts on 1-3 persons. Each gains a ‘buffer’ of 2D6 Hit Points. Any damage inflicted on a character so protected comes off this buffer first, and only once the extra Hit Points are used up can the character himself be wounded. The spell lasts twenty-four hours, unless the extra points are expended before then. (The theory behind the enchantment is that some being of another world—the ‘martyr’ of the spell’s appellation—is taking the blow in your stead. On being wounded, you should invoke your deity in blessing this unknown individual, as for instance: “Dlamélish bless you, whoever you are!” in order for the buffer to come into effect. Failure to do so means that you will take the injury, though the buffer points will remain for later use.)

The Peerless Perfected Persona (+10)
All of the target’s attributes other than Size and Psychic Reservoir are raised to 20 for the six hours that the spell lasts. An attribute that is already at 20 or above is raised by 1D3. (Note that a very ugly individual will still be recognisable by his acquaintances, but they may wonder why they had not noticed his ‘beauty’ before!)


the incantations that promote healing

All Healing spells require the recipient to make a Psychic Ability check to see if the spell is effective. This reflects the changes that have taken place in human biology since the spells were originally formulated. A critically failed Psychic Ability check means that magic cannot be used for further healing, and the target must recover naturally.

Lesser Iatics (+1)
This spell operates at touch range and heals 1-3 lost Hit Points if the target makes his Psychic Ability check. Like the other spells of this phylum, it only affects wounds, not Hit Points which are effectively lowered owing to thirst, hunger, etc.

Greater Iatics (+3)
Like the preceding spell, but 1D6 Hit Points are recovered and the Psychic Ability check is made at +3.

Benefaction (+5)
1-3 wounded targets within 3 metres of the caster each recover 1D3 Hit Points if they make a Psychic Ability check at +3.

Cure All Wounds (+7)
The subject instantly recovers all lost Hit Points. The user must touch the subject. The Psychic Ability check is made at +5.

Restoration (+9)
This heals and restores one lost limb or crippled body area. No modifier is given to the Psychic Ability check. It can be used to repair lost eyesight, hearing, and other mutilations caused by either magic or serious wounding. It cannot remove genetic deformities, nor treat the ravages of disease or poison.


the ordering of elemental forces

The Obviator of Ambages (+2)
This helps the caster to find his way out of a jungle, maze or labyrinth. For the ten minutes that the spell lasts he is infallibly guided by the most direct route to the nearest exit. This route will avoid chasms, deep rivers, locked doors and other obstacles that would bar a person’s path. No indication of traps or hidden mechanisms is provided, so the caster might be brought straight to a secret door and be unable to open it.

The Ineluctable Hunter (+3)
The caster is able to unerringly follow the trail of a being for the 30 minutes that the spell lasts. The trail can be as much as a day old. He does not have to know the quarry’s name or even species, just so long as he is able to pick up some physical evidence of the quarry’s passing (a cracked branch, a loosened tent-flap, etc). It is also possible to follow the spoor of a Globe of Distant Discernment or Morphetic Travel if the spell is cast at a point crossed by one of these.

The Efficacious Earthen Exhortation (+5)
This spell transmutes an area of 40 square metres (a seven-metre circle adjacent to the caster) to a depth of one metre. Water can be changed to ice, mud to dry earth, and vice versa. It only works on flat areas of unworked ground, so you cannot use it to topple a mud-brick wall or undermine a building’s foundations. Once the area is transmuted, it remains in that form until it reverts naturally (a dried area of bog would slowly become waterlogged, for instance) and cannot be altered back by cancelling the spell.

The Irresistable Incursion (+6)
This creates a tunnel up to three metres long and one metre in diametre through earth or solid rock. This could take the form of a ditch or pit beneath an enemy’s feet—in which case the enemy needs an Evade roll to jump clear. The spell can then be cancelled leaving the enemy buried. Alternatively it can be used to throw up a boulder or earthern rampart of similar size. This spell has a range of 5 metres and lasts 5 minutes.

The Eructating Upheaval of Chaos (+7)
A very powerful earth tremor is localised in a circle of 3 metres radius within 30 metres of the caster. Beings in this zone are thrown about helplessly and must make an Evade roll each round to try and get clear. Failure means that the being takes increasing damage: 1D6 in the first round, 2D6 in the second, 3D6 in the third, and so on. Armour gives no protection. Items of glass, pottery, etc, are automatically shattered, and there is a 30% chance of toppling walls and pillars.


the sorcery of obscurement

Stimulation of the Ambages (+1)
This covers the caster’s tracks for a period of ten minutes. During this time he leaves no footprints or other signs that could be followed. He can still be seen and heard normally. This spell works against Ineluctable Hunter (qv) but cannot prevent an ‘aura trail’ remaining that could still be seen by Psychometrics.

The Veil of Felicitous Shadow (+2)
The caster becomes completely invisible when stationary, but can be seen as a flickering overlay of light-limned shadow when he moves. The effect lasts five minutes.

The Essence of Nethermost Darkness (+4)
This spell causes a cloud of darkness to swirl up out of the caster’s shadow; this rises to blot out the sky above 2-12 opponents within 20 metres and then descends upon them like a living thing. (Some have likened it to a gigantic demon Biridlu.) It takes one round to reach its targets and can be dispelled by casting a Dazzlement spell in time. Anyone engulfed (the spell can be Evaded) becomes catatonic if they fail to resist. This lasts until they are attacked.

The Abrogation of Mundane Visibility (+6)
The caster is rendered invisible for thirty minutes. Enemies who are aware of his presence must fight him at -10 from Melee or Missile. He can be detected by those naturally able to perceive invisible objects (eg Pé Chói) and also by the Seeing Other Planes spell. This spell can also be applied to another individual instead of the caster, and a Magical Resistance Roll is allowed to anyone who does not wish to be turned invisible.


the conjuration of weaponry

The Unseen Dart (+1)
An invisible javelin is cast at a target using the sorcerer’s base Missile score plus his Sorcerer level. Any negative modifiers that would apply to the chance of hitting are halved, and if cast into a group (in circumstances that would normally require a random roll to see who is hit) the javelin cannot strike any but the intended target. It counts as a magical weapon, doing 1D10 against which armour protects normally. Since the dart vanishes after striking something, impaling hits are not applicable.

The Reaper of Lives (+3)
A golden two-handed scythe is bestowed upon the recipient: either the caster or a companion within 5m. This is magically sharp, and armour gives only half regular protection against it. It counts as a polearm, and disappears after 10 minutes or if put down or dropped before then.

The Aegis of Shadow (+4)
This creates a large circular shield (with centrally-located handle) of dull black substance. It can be retained by the caster or given to a comrade. The shield has a 60% chance of blocking a blow struck from the bearer’s front or left (it cannot be damaged) and adds 1D3 to his Magical Resistance against spells targeted from in front of him. It lasts for 20 minutes.

The Scimitar of Dismemberment and Carnage (+7)
This spell, taught only to worshippers of Ru’unkgano, summons a chidok of secret mythic significance. This is a long one handed sword of unidentifiable metal which cannot be broken. It has the power of inflicting special hits 50% of the time; eg, with a Attack of 26 a 1-13 would count as a special. Unlike a weapon of excellent or enchanted steel, it does not reduce armour’s effectiveness against ordinary hits. When wielded by the person who has attuned it (see below) the scimitar cannot be dropped, disarmed or fumbled. For anyone else it will invariably fumble. (When the bearer takes up the sword, he must cut himself for 1 Hit Point to attune it, allowing the blood to run down the blade while saying, “Thus do I acknowledge, O Lord of the Strategems of Warfare, that the blade cares not whose blood it drinks.” This ritual is perhaps intended to symbolise an understanding of the ambiguous nature of conflict, though only the savants of the Temple of Ru’ungkano could speak with authority on the matter.)

The Inviolable Vestments of Lu-Ishatur (+9)
This creates an ‘armour’ of glowing blue energy around the target, who must be naked to receive the spell. The energy field absorbs 2D6+1 points damage against all hits including specials, and also adds 1D6 to the wearer’s Magical Resistance Factor; the exact protective value is determined by a new dice roll for each attack. The energy field has a certain inertia, causing it to lag behind the wearer if he tries to move faster than a brisk walk. (Thus, if he were to fall he would lose the field’s protection for a few seconds before it flowed to reform around him.) The spell has a duration of one hour.

For reasons of space, this is only a small part of the complete TIRIKELU magic system, which comprises some forty phyla. Additionally, there are some spells that do not fit into the regular pattern, being fragments of formerly complete phyla that have become lost over the ages. For example:

Creating the Fetch, or Shard of the Liminal Soul” from The Treatise of Chiyuvaz:

“First get a woman with child. Then the unborn child must be cut out within its first month. Place it within a lead box, filled with the caster’s own blood, spittle, semen, bile and urine. Seal the box with corpse wax and wind about with the mother’s hair. Next take the box to a sepulchral place and bury it in the rib-cage of a man dead at least forty years. Do this at the dark of the moons. The caster must sleep upon this spot until the time when Gayel is full but Kashi is not yet risen, when the Fetch will visit him in a dream. Then the box may be disinterred and the Fetch released. Each day the Fetch must be allowed to suck blood from its master’s nipples, whereupon it renders him service. Retain the box as its abode.”

The Fetch appears as a sort of large maggot with the caster’s face. It is part of his Shadow-Self (?), having 1 point of his Psychic Ability (this gives it 10 spellpoints) and 1 of his Hit Points. It cannot fight, but is difficult to hit (Evade 17). It resists spells with the magical resistance of the caster. It sees in darkness and can travel through wood or earth (but not stone or metal) at 10m a round, leaving almost no visible trace. When it returns to its box and the lid is closed, the caster knows all that it has seen while absent from him. If the Fetch is slain, the caster immediately takes a wound of 1-10 HP (with the usual chance of lasting injury) and must make a Stamina check to avoid unconsciousness for 1-3 hours.”

... A loathsome process, but squeamish readers can at least console themselves with the thought that Chiyuvaz eventually got his just deserts. Or, if you prefer, his just dessert.

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