Monday, 19 November 2012

Campaign Concept

For my first attempt at running a Tekumel campaign, I decided to use a simple travelogue style adventure. Start the PCs at A, give them a reason to go to B which is a long way away, and give a series of encounters in between. This approach is an easier, more episodic format than adventures in a set location, when recurring cast and politics will inevitably start to take a larger role in a Tekumel campaign. It also allows me to showcase a much wider range of the things that make Tekumel distinct from other settings.

The general concept I came up with was that one of the PCs- Kemuel- had the potential to be a truly powerful Sorcerer, and so had to be sent to a place where he could learn magic. We settled on the White Stone clan and the temple of Dlamelish as his Clan/Temple, so then I was left to think on where to send them, and where to send them from.

Looking at the background for Tsodlan the Legion veteran, I settled on the Legion of Lord Kurukaa as the best fit for what I envisioned him as. Since this was based at Urmish, this decided the rough starting point for the PCs- a rural Clanhouse in that province. Looking at the map, the logical destination was Jakalla- it was the nearest major city, and was famous as a centre for magic and the Temple of Dlamelish. Except- Jakalla seemed too close for the sort of adventure I'd planned. I needed somewhere more distant. Sokatis seemed perfect, both in terms of distance and the fact that the White Stone Clan is noted as being particularly strong there.

Now I just needed a reason for the Clan Elders to send the budding archmage to Sokatis instead of Jakalla.

After much brainstorming, I finally had a stroke of inspiration. The Swords & Glory sourcebook states that in Salarvya religion is dominated by worship of the goddess Shiringgayi, a combination of Dlamelish and Avanthe. When I first looked at the religious affiliations of the White Stone Clan- Avanthe and Dlamelish- and the fact that Sokatis near the Salarvyani border is the centre of their Clan's power, a suspicion was formed. Were the White Stone Clan originally worshippers of Shiringgayi, and changed to Avanthe and Dlamelish as a concession to living in Tsolyanu?

Perhaps the White Stone Clan was from Salarvya, or was from the same cultural stock as the Salarvyani but ended up in Tsolyanu when the borders were stabilised centuries ago. Maybe the Clan actually exists in both empires, as the Vimuhla-worshipping Red Clans do with Mu'ugalavya. It would seem to fit what information I've been able to find.

I thus decided to take this idea a step further. The Temples in Tekumel are all full of secret societies and sects, all with different agendas and views on the worship of their deity. Some are simply like fraternal orders for the Priesthood, others are outright heretical or subversive, and most fall somewhere between. I reasoned that it was very possible for there to be a secret society in Sokatis that worshipped Shiringgayi, one which existed in the temples of both Avanthe and Dlamelish, teaching that both were simply aspects of a single goddess. This society is in conflict with the mainstream Temple of Dlamelish, but this conflict is, to date, so subtle that outsiders don't even know it's happening- Tsolyani institutions not being eager to show weakness or division to outsiders.

One of the key advantages the Temple of Dlamelish has in the conflict is that they have greater Sorcerous resources, being centred in Jakalla. The Sokatis sect is eager to address this deficiency- and part of this is to have Kemuel sent to Sokatis, where in addition to sorcerous training he'll be indoctrinated into the cult of Shiringgayi. The Temple of Dlamelish will be keen to prevent this happening- and so a conflict starts around the unsuspecting PCs even before they set foot outside the Clan-house.

1 comment:

  1. Clever and devious set up. Very much in the spirit of Barker's creation. He'd be pleased and would approve.
    - alx