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

This is Part IV 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, and Part III was on some novels that you can use for inspiration.  

By this point you have run a few dungeon scenarios, using the rule set of your choice (perhaps EPT), and you have started to flesh out the world beyond the Jakalla underworld for your players. Maybe you have started to dabble in some adventures in town or in the wilderness, but this can be overwhelming with the information you have access to. This week, I am going to discuss the best solution to a common problem in Tekumel gaming, the scarcity of immediately usable game material in the main source material. To me, the best source for that information is The Excellent Traveling Volume.

EPT details some locations in Jakalla, but it doesn't give the novice Tekumel GM much to work with when it comes to what that all means. What are these locations? Who is in them? What d…
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MERP: Dawn of the Fourth Age Session 17

This is part of an ongoing campaign. You can find the other sessions over on the sidebar. This session was played on October 4, 2020. 15 Urui F.A. 15
Having dealt with the wights, the fellowship decided to finish with the bandits before returning to town. Unsure of how well Dirdan's Charm spell would work if asked to attack his friends, they jumped Eowic and tied him up. 
Tulip peaked down the hole in Mound B and could see a few bandits standing guard below. Two of the bandits seemed to be trying to force a cell door open. The party decided that the best plan was to make a two-pronged attack with some attacking from above while another group approached through the underground from the south.

The underground group descended the stairs in Mound D as Dirdan used his magic to boil a barrel of water on Mound B. Tulip yelled to draw a guard's attention and Dirdan dumped the boiling water on him as the others peppered him with arrows. Meanwhile, the group below made their way under Mound …

MERP: Dawn of the Fourth Age Session 16

This is part of an ongoing campaign. You can find the other sessions over on the sidebar. This session was played on September 27, 2020. 15 Urui F.A. 15
With Elyanis and Elwin having been carried into the depths of Mound A, the fellowship knew they would have to dispatch the two wights that had engaged them on Mound E quickly in order to save them. The characters managed to position themselves on the hill in order to engage the wights from all sides and Eowic had his men charge back from Mound C to take the wights in the rear. 
As they were fighting the wights, they could hear the sounds of battle coming from inside Mound A. The fight was not easy, several of the group were injured and the bandits took heavy losses, but they were able to defeat the wights. They quickly made their way to Mound A to rescue Elwin and Elyanis. At this point, one member of the party raised the issue that Elyanis had seen four wights inside the mound and two more went down carrying their companions. 
Tulip decid…

MERP: Dawn of the Fourth Age Session 15

This is part of an ongoing campaign. You can find the other sessions over on the sidebar. This session was played on September 6, 2020. 15 Urui F.A. 15
The portion of the party below Mound C (Sindawe, Ardaer, Dirdan, Melvin, and Kelvin) were able to deal with the bandits not caught in Dirdan's sleep spell and then turn their attention to finishing off the unconscious ones.  They decided to make their way south and check their theory that the mounds were connected underground.


Back on the surface, Elyanis took a quick look down the stairs the bandits had been guarding on Mound A. Sticking her head below, she saw four wights staring at a wall on the southeastern end of the chamber. The wights pivoted their heads to look at her, but then resumed looking at the wall. She did not have time to investigate this further as she and Elwin needed to move back to Mound C to join the rest of the group in the fight against the bandits charging from Mound B and the wights following Tulip into the ca…

MERP: Dawn of the Fourth Age Session 14

This is part of an ongoing campaign. You can find the other sessions over on the sidebar. This session was played on August 23, 2020. 15 Urui F.A. 15 As the fellowship reentered Bree, settling how the guardianship of Edrahil and the administration of the manor would be handled, in light of Hiraval's death, was foremost on their minds. They proceeded directly to Mayor Daisy Erling's office and arrived just as Eowic, the dark-haired fellow that had been sitting with Cormac in the bar, was being escorted out. When they questioned the mayor's secretary about Eowic's presence, he told them that Eowic was an archery champion and hunter who worked the woods to the east and north of Bree.
Once in with Mayor Erling, the fellowship attempted to convince her that Elwin should be given guardianship over Edrahil. The mayor seemed skeptical about giving the duties of raising the young man and controlling his estate to a complete unknown, so she asked Edrahil what his thoughts were. Edra…

MERP: Dawn of the Fourth Age Session 13

This is part of an ongoing campaign. You can find the other sessions over on the sidebar. This session was played on August 9, 2020. It is based on "What Lies Beneath", a scenario for The One Ring RPG found in The Ruins of the North.
11 Urui F.A. 15 The fellowship reached Hiraval's manor around noon without further incident. The manor was set against the wall of a valley and covered with vines. There was a fair amount of open ground between the manor and the lip of the valley where the fellowship was currently out of sight. There were some trees to offer cover, but they determined that it would be difficult to approach unseen in the daylight. Dirdan used his invisibility spell to sneak up to the manor. As he approached he could see several figures in the manor's tower, they appeared to be armed with longbows. Once he reached the manor, Dirdan started by making a circuit around its perimeter. He spotted a stone covering the entrance to a crypt on the backside of the manor…

MERP: Further Thoughts on MERP

I continue to find MERP enjoyable to run, and quite a bit more playable than its reputation would lead one to believe. There is no doubt in my mind that the combination of the tools available through Roll20, and Scott's super-helpful scripts, increase the fun factor of this game quite a bit. The increased speed of play gained by eliminating the table searching allows the tactical detail introduced by those tables to really shine through, adding a layer of surprise to combat that other systems lack. On several occasions, the players have been forced to alter their tactics in a fight because of a result on the critical tables either going for or against them. The layer of detailed added by the adjustments to Defensive Bonuses based on positioning and stun also add to the tactical element. Even a multi-session combat (as we will see in The Battle of the Barrow Downs) can stay interesting and exciting to run, something I have never experienced in a D&D descended game.
 I am also en…

MERP: Dawn of the Fourth Age Session 12

This is part of an ongoing campaign. You can find the other sessions over on the sidebar. This session was played on July 26, 2020. 8 Urui F.A. 15 The fellowship arrives in Bree with the intention of finding and eliminating the bandits at their nearby base. They hope to get some help from the people of Bree while they are in town. As they enter town, they see the black banners of mourning flying over the gates. Paladin Took II, Thain of the Shire, has died of the Red Flux. His son, Pippen, is expected to succeed him in the position. On hearing this, Tulip, a native of Bree, heads to find some local hobbits to get more news. He met Hob Gandry, a distant cousin and wily veteran of the war, who was eager to join them in their attack on the bandits and thought he could gather up another four hobbits for the fight. The rest of the fellowship headed to the Prancing Pony Inn to get some drinks. Dirdan got a few too many and found himself in a semi-drunken conversation with a  fur trader named Cor…