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The Petal Throne • View topic - World Transitioning


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 Post subject: World Transitioning
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 7:58 pm 
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Hi all,

I have a campaign that I am running called Delirium. The campaign is basically a sort of low-magic, or rather, wildly unpredictable magic, iron heroes (TM) setting that is going to become "unglued" once certain evil designs come together and the PCs (likely) fail to prevent certain time-space warping sorts of things. In essence, a monotheistic empirial theocracy is going to implode in certain ways, causing a violation of covenantal "bindings" that will cause magical energies to really warp and twist reality.

One thing that I "designed" into this is that my continent of the Empire of Delirium is a southern hemisphere landmass with a northeastern moutain range that is the same mountain region as on the very southwest corner of the T:RPG campaign map.

Now, Delirium is not on Tekumel, but I am thinking it sure would be nifty to make one potential effect of the plane "adjustment" one that brings my PCs to Tekumel. I plan to make this something that would happen to my d20 characters as a group, with no one above 5th level, and I may transition right into the modified tri-stat and have some sort of parallel characterization there, or I just might do it Savage Worlds style, as that system has a pretty straightforward d20 adaptation mechanic.

But, aside from mechanical things, I want to ask how I might handle this transition... after all, different languages, cultures, magic, plant life, etc., etc., keeps me cautious about such a way to introduce Tekumel. I suppose it could help a group if there is someone with aptitude for languages; I could also have these "strangers" snagged by imperial authorities once they are discovered, and then there "long term" stay within bureaucracy, etc., could become the way to supply them with all the Tekumel background...

Any thoughts, ideas, or perhaps a good one-shot introduction that is driven by some sort of plane shift in my campaign story? I wouldn't want to unveil much of the mystery of the Tekumel cataclysm, perhaps I could have a short term worm-hole or the like as the temporary one-way travel... also...

Their light skin, odd races, and, um, blue eyes, will prove interesting for my GMing skills!!

Okay, help me out, and don't be afraid to tell me this is a crazy way to start out Tekumel on a seasoned RPG group (note well, they agree that I can do stuff like this!!).

--Mike

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 10:50 pm 
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A fun project! I don't think this is a bad idea to go about it at all.

One random possibility off the top of my head: perhaps your characters are summoned as "demons." Might be interesting for them to be on the other end of that stick. Their strange coloring and abundance of steel would certainly mark them as supernatural types in Tsolyanu. It might actually make some social interactions easier than if the Tsolyani thought they were just very ugly humans. That might be a good way to introduce them: have them summoned by priests, perhaps of a relatively easy temple to get along with, like Thumis or Avanthe (oops, not Avanthe, not with blue eyes..). Hnalla? Dlamelish? Anyway, they're summoned, they have to help accomplish a task -- maybe an underworld crawl, maybe a trip up into the mountains or the far north, some place not too hot, unless they're already prepared for that kind of climate. That might be why they've been summoned, they are from a cold world (by Tsolyani standards). Once the task is done they'll be sent back. Maybe only their chusetl, their shadow-souls, are actually summoned, so if they die, they return to their bodies in Delirium. Perhaps intact, perhaps not. Anyway, a brief exposure.

Other thoughts:

--You'll need to figure out how to match the magical principles of Delirium with Tekumel's model of manipulation of interplanar energy. How does that work with the d20 notions of divine and arcane magic? That might be a hook: maybe the big ungluing in Delirium means that there is more ambient magical energy, available in ways that Tsolyani sorcerers are used to. The spell-casters in your party might see that they have something to learn from the priests of Tsolyanu. Similarly, the Tsolyani might see that your pc's know spells they don't know.

--an historical note. in the mid-80's, fantasy author Raymond Feist did something similar. He wrote a set of novels in which two worlds were interconnected -- one a typical European medieval inspire place ("Midkemia"), and one with a strong Asian flavor where the "Empire of Tsurani" hold sway. Supposedly this was inspired by some D&D and Tekumel games he was exposed to. A lot of us think his "Tsurani" is Tekumel with the serial numbers filed off, and Barker is known to be pretty unhappy about it. Feist's work is not a welcome topic on the Tekumel lists. None the less, there might be some inspiration there. The relevant books are out of print, you might be able find them cheaply:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riftwar

--the language thing is always tricky. You may want to finess it with magical devices. Maybe one Tsolyani is their guide/minder/translator, and he or she has a suitable spell or device.

--a minor point, I don't recall any mountains in the southwest, but I don't have access to the maps. All of the published Tekumel maps only describe portions of the northern hemisphere. The largest, the Swords & Glory map, covers as far south as about 12° North. The equatorial region on Tekumel is said to be too hot for humans, with temperatures in excess of 60° C/140° F. Of course you could tweak this as need be.

--for what it's worth, there are some AD&D conversions here:
http://www.tekumel.com/gaming_unofficialrules.html
It's a shame the d20 version of T:EPT never got to publication. Maybe someday.

--another random idea: maybe creatures/people from Tekumel arrive first. Floating teqeqmu drift in on the wind. Packs of zrné come down out of the mountains. Slavers parties or exploring cohorts of troops, or expeditions of priests and their guards from a temple. Bands of hlaka might soar overhead, or the soldiers might have kuni birds.

--riding beasts are going to be a big complication. If Delirium has horses or camels or anything like them, big changes will be happening for the Tsolyani. Even though they won't know how to ride horses, Tsolyani warriors might be able to deal with mounted warriors on a tactical level pretty well. They're used to fighting in teams, and using pole arms, and fighting large smart beasts. Where they are going to have a harder time is the strategic and logistical level. Cavalry and draft animals allows for better battlefield communication, intelligence, and supply than the Tsolyani have experience with.

just some thoughts to get things started...
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 1:36 pm 
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If you want to eliminate the riding animals, Tekumel could have a version of that carries or something like it.
That was historically effective in keeping horses and camels (and thus cavalry and mounted knights and mounted messengers) out of much of Africa.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 7:49 am 
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Great ideas!!

I like the idea of being summoned... it would work very nicely that way. My map source is from the GOO map in the back of the book--there is a small smidge of a place on the SW corner. My idea is that the cross-over from my map to the Tekumel map is inter-planar of sorts, but that would be a moot issue once a summoning occurs.

As to magic, I am leaning toward a sort of Iron Heroes approach to magic in my campaign--there is magic but it is very chaotic and unpredictable, so only very astute/gifted types of persons can handle it. In fact, there are 7 great temples within a vast bureacratic, religious, and theocratic empire, where there exist the Deliri, mages/sorcerors who have been found to be able to handle (mostly) the arcane and divine in a way that is fairly stable. I model this with a 'signs of glory' tweak, where every person has (usually 1-6) signs. Magic user characters get 2-12 signs... the Deliri have 20+ signs.

Basically, spell level is a DC. A success means magic is normal. Failure means magic doesn't happen (or worse, things go a bit wild). This is something I handle with secret rolls... oh, and magic items also can behave oddly. A worst case is that a player goes temporarily insane or sort of 'out of whack.'

So, I think the incentives make players drift to non magic users, though I do have a sorceror and a cleric in the current group--they are lower level and "waiting" to see how things pan out once they try for higher level. I can manage a transition to Tekumel, I think, as my world's basic premise of arcane and divine spells is that everything draws on energies (and access to them is tied to the 'signs of glory').

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 2:28 am 
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