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Tekumel: Resources (I Tekumeled and So Can You V)


This is Part V in a series on how to get started as a GM in the world of Tekumel. Part I was on jumping right in, Part II was on picking a rule set, Part III was on some novels that you can use for inspiration, and Part V was on the Excellent Traveling Volume 'zine.  

I apologize for this entry coming a day late. I have been dealing with a water leak in our basement, where my office is. Since I use that office to work from home, as well as write this blog, I needed to address that first. I didn't even get to play Tekumel or MERP last week (although we did manage to get a Tekumel session in on Monday this week).

This is going to be a fairly short entry anyway, as it deals with the podcast, "The Hall of Blue Illumination". The Hall is hosted by Victor Raymond (of the Tekumel Foundation), James Maliszewski (of Grognardia and The Excellent Traveling Volume), and Scott (whose last name I cannot seem to find anywhere).

This podcast has episodes on a wide variety of interesting Tekumel-related subjects, but I suggest it for new GMs for three reasons:


  1. Hearing the words: the hosts are three long-time Tekumel players, and Victor was a player at M.A.R. Barker's table, so this is an excellent chance to hear many of the Tsolyani words said aloud. This is a great help for the new GM as it gives you a chance to get an overall feel for how the language sounds.
  2. The Walking Tour of Jakalla: this is an ongoing series on the podcast where they walk you through the map of Jakalla and explain what all of the buildings called out on the key are, and what a character might expect to see and do there. I found Jakalla to not be usable, as presented, when I first encountered it. It was clear that the information provided was meant to tell me something, but I couldn't tell what. This segment goes a long way to rectifying that for new GMs. Also it falls very much in line with the idea, that I have written about previously, that in the beginning, you just need to provide the city as a background they pass through.
  3. It's OK to Do it Your Way: all of the hosts, but Victor especially, drive home on a regular basis that you should not worry about GETTING IT WRONG. They give advice on how everyone's Tekumel is different (Mecha Sro!) and how to retcon out mistakes you made in the past, or work them in as local cultural variations. 
The podcast as a whole is excellent, with interviews with other former players, and even Barker's wife. There are many stories of "real Tekumel" and what it was like to play at Barker's table. I suggest giving it a listen for anyone interested in Tekumel, or the history of the hobby.

In other news, The Excellent Traveling Volume Issue 11 showed up right after I posted my thoughts on how to use the 'zine to get started as a Tekumel GM. This issue is excellent, as always, but there isn't anything in it that would cause me to change my recommendations about which issues someone looking to get started in Tekumel should choose. That said, there are several things in it that are likely to make appearances in my campaign in the near future.

I also received the copy of The Kurt Hills Atlas I ordered. Several people have suggested that I look into this, and Bethorm, as possible resources for new Tekumel GMs. I will be reading through both of them and I will probably try to pull together an online session or two using them to test them out. Sadly, the action in my current campaign is currently in the Sokatis area and we use EPT.

Next time we are going to finally take a look at The Tekumel Sourcebook, and I will go into detail as to why it is so low on my list of suggested new GM resources and how I suggest a new GM approach it when they do start to use it.

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Tekumel: Resources (I Tekumeled and So Can You)

I Tekumeled and So Can You


So, how does one even get started in Tekumel? Isn't it impossible to digest the information needed to even run your first session? What's with all those accent marks? This map is huge! Why does everything have so many legs? Where is all the metal?

It is very easy to get discouraged when faced by the overwhelming amount of, very detailed, information and the crushing need to get it right. You go looking for help on-line, and there are people willing to help, but you quickly realize that they basically have PhDs in Tekumel, or gamed at Barker's table! They are light years ahead of you. You are going to get it wrong! So you walk away.

Luckily, you have me. I hardly know anything about Tekumel, and I knew even less when I started. But I Tekumeled, and so can you. Here's how.