Gaming on Tékumel

Gaming Tools and Play Aids

A Gardásiyal Mapmaking Guide

by Martin Gibbs

Firstly, some mapmaking suggestions for making up maps of Tékumel places of interest. Make sure that you have some thick white card, black on white hex paper, and possibly a pad of some (rare) micro-hex paper, pens, coloured pencils, craft knife and non-slip ruler. Clear overlay is also useful for protecting your map, as well as that ‘tough’ weaved tape called ‘book-binding tape’. Leave a border around your map and use this tape to protect the edges. It’s also great to use on the back of your map, in case you decide to divide it into sections.

Each Major Hex on the old Gamescience or Original EPT plastic maps is listed at being 100 Tsan from side to side. When I looked at this, I decided to ‘span the difference’ and make my major map hexes about 90 miles across. If you do this, then using hex paper, it is further possible to divide things down into what I call ‘Sub Hexes’—which are one third the size of a macro map hex. You can now sub-divide a major map hex down into about seven smaller ‘sub-hexes’ which should be a perfect 30 miles across. Now ... if you have some of those old Judges Guild or similar Micro Hex Pads full of little hexagons overlayed on one big hex—then each little micro hex is one mile across (also perfect, as you may see later). Look in well-stocked RPG and wargames shops for these useful things.

The old movement system for characters in outdoor tactical situation used the old ‘inches’ system, similar to the old Chainmail rules. Many of the creatures in old EPT rules had a movement rate quoted in ‘inches’. This is a generic measure that represented 1" = 1' movement ‘indoors’ (per round) and 1" = 10 yards (or metres if you wish) for ‘outdoors’ tactical movement. Thus—‘inches’ was a scaled measure of movement, and each creature had a movement listed in ‘inches’ to describe its relative move. I have devised a scaled tactical outdoors movement system that integrates nicely with the way that I make my Tékumel maps. My Encounter Tables work with this system so I hope you find it all useful. By the way … you can use the Speed Scaling movement from Gardásiyal with this too (See Section 3, Movement, Deeds of Glory vol. 1 ‘Players Guide’). Extrapolate values by simply dividing by a factor of ten. Don’t forget the movement bonus for those Characters with the ‘Athletics’ skill. Some Tékumel Creatures also have phenomenal movement rates, such as Sro Dragons and most flying creatures.

I suppose that most underworld Tsurum are hazardous when you start sprinting about every which way, and if you’ve ever delved down into a real cave or suchlike, then you may see that a cautious rate of 60 or 6" or less would be prudent. Using the Micro-Hex Paper, with one BIG hex overlaid over 30 micro-hexes, it is now possible to draw and plot encampments, towers, villages, towns and even cities (some in sections). Your ‘inches’ scale on a micro hex that is one mile across (x 30 of them per ‘Sub Hex’ that is one-third the size of the Major Map hexes) becomes the:

Number of Miles per ‘Period’ that a Character or Small Party may move. In other words, if you are all Heavy Infantry trudging along, then you may all move at a Speed of 60 or 6 ‘inches’ per period (60’ per turn normally or 6 miles per ‘Period’). I define an Outdoor Travel Period as a 6 hour timeslot or:
i) From Dawn to Noon (0600 – 1200)
ii) From Noon to Sunset (1200 – 1800)
iii) From Sunset to Midnight (1800 – 2400)
iv) From Midnight to Dawn (0000 – 0600)

Of course—a party may decide to ‘push on’ into other periods without Rest, but this will take a toll upon their encumbrance capacity and their stamina. One or two Periods of Tactical Map movement is usual, the rest of time taken by camp preparations, eating and sleeping (an even a ‘shift’ of guard duty!). Forced Marches can be made but will take a toll of exhaustion and decreased flight or fighting ability.

Wounds also take a toll on movement rates, as well as having to move at the slowest rate of creature in a party (eg, Chlén Beast Carts).

Regardless of the Tactical Movement Rate selected, I roll for only one ‘Encounter’ per Day and Night session. I also divide my Encounter Tables down into four possible Events:
Lost / Encounter / Hazard / Discovery

This is not mandatory, but I thought that it might make a nice change from having to fight off a creature every time. Here are my definitions of each Event:

Lost: The party or character has ‘wandered off the beaten track’ or made an orientation/ compass error. Of course this may not be likely if they are following a coastline, river or a Sakbe Road. Reduce or eliminate in the latter instance or follow up to quite a likely chance (I use a d20 Chart) for in the middle of a thick Mangrove Swamp.

Encounter: Pretty self explanatory—make up your own custom Encounter Tables for the region that you are reflecting in your mapped area. The Tékumel Bestiary is very good for dividing critters into Terrain Areas. Fit anything else that you find or make up into these categories. There are two types of Encounter Tables that you may consider : Random and Planned. With a random encounter, you may have to look up and roll up the creatures on the spot at the gaming session. Planned Encounters allow you to ‘custom craft’ the encounter to make things unique and interesting, with all of the fighting statistics and treasure already worked out. Replace and ‘reconfigure’ your Planned Encounter Table when one is ‘used up’.

Hazards: Events that result from moving though specific terrain types. Eg: Sinkholes and quicksands in the desert, shifting dunes, sandstorms, etc. Make up a table for each terrain type, including river and coastal shores, ruins, old battlefields etc.

Discovery: A chance find of something or either minor or major value, even a small bit of unaccounted for treasure. The item may be a significant lead to something in a scenario, part of a Letter of Credit, and assassin’s coin, a few feathers from a headdress, a broken Engsvanyali sword, a hollowed out Hluss carcass …

I will try to post an example of one of my maps with the respective Encounter Tables, meanwhile—happy Tékumel gaming. Maybe you’d like to trot off to The Isle of the Hluss? I made this little isle from a few (real) inches up to A3 Folio sized (colour).

High Patriarch Mritten Hi Gribbsa,
Cloak of Azure Gems Clan, Bey Su.

aka Martin Gibbs

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