Monday 31 January 2011

Molds (or is that Moulds?)

I never know which spelling to use. I assume the one with the "u" must be the proper English spelling - and therefore correct, but I seem to use the other spelling just as often.

Anyway, I digress. The purpose of the post is to announce the arrival of our first box of molds (or moulds) from Eureka. Included are Shen, Hlaka, a great many feathered plumes and a whole slew of weapons.

These will have to be forwarded on to RAFM and then maybe we can get a good number of releases done this year!

Saturday 29 January 2011

Gánga Tourists

Gánga Tourists

Éngsvan hlá Gánga: “the Kingdom of the Gods.”

Nowadays, when the weather is fine, enterprising guides take wealthy patrons on tours of the underwater ruins of the city of the Priestkings.

Just some more art for A Band of Joyous Heroes.

Sunday 23 January 2011

A Band of Joyous Heroes - Rules Preview 2

Last time I posted a rather long-winded bit that happened to include a combat example from the rules. Here I jump straight in with more parts of the combat system. It is based upon Two Hour Wargames free CR3-Swordplay rules, but I have tweaked it a bit.

I have added a number of "Combat Effects" - the Swordplay rules just have knocked down, but I found that overly simplified. I have added Headlong Attacks and Impaling Weapons; and the Combat Effects: Knock Down, Push Back, Maneuver, Fall Back, Disarm, Counterstrike and Break Weapon or Shield.

Headlong Attack

Certain creatures or individuals are prone to making headlong attacks heedless of possible injury to self. Such creatures gain bonus dice when they melee due to the ferocity of their attack. In addition, if they win the combat they receive a +1 result on the Melee Combat Results table.

Impaling Weapons

Some weapons are capable of impaling, causing severe wounds in the process, particularly when used against a foe making a Headlong Charge. Impaling weapons are indicated on the Weapons Table. If the impaling weapon wins the combat they receive a +1 result on the Melee Combat Results table.

Combat Effects:

Any time the wound level is reduced to Evenly Matched, either by an armor save or through Star Power, a Combat Effect is said to occur as well. A Combat Effect is an additional result such as a knock down, a disarm or push back. Some Combat Effects require a pre-requisite skill or weapon type.

Knock Down – Requires that the attacker have a two-handed weapon or be two Size categories larger than his foe. The foe who saved against the damage is knocked down instead by the force of the blow. It takes an activation to regain ones feet, with no attack that turn.

Push Back – The attacker may force his foe back up to 2”, immediately following up. If the foe cannot move backwards because of an obstacle then the attacker gains the equivalent of a Reach Advantage in the next turn. If the foe is backed into a hazard of some kind, such as the edge of a rooftop, an Agility Challenge must be taken to avoid the hazard (i.e. falling.)

Maneuver – The attacker may maneuver around the foe. The foe spins on the spot and continues to face the attacker.

Fall Back – The attacker may fall back up to 2” while fighting. The foe automatically follows up and remains in contact.

Disarm – If the attacker possesses the appropriate skill and weapon, he may attempt to disarm his foe. This is accomplished through a Challenge Test – but with only one attempt permitted (per attack.)

Counterstrike – The attacker with a buckler or dagger in his off hand, and possessing the skill, may attempt a counterstrike. Both combatants roll 2D6 each, counting successes as a normal attack, but only rolling once. If the attacker rolls more successes than his foe then apply that result – the normal armor save applies.

Break Shield or Weapon – An attacker with a weapon rated Impact 4 or higher, may attempt to shatter his opponent’s shield, or weapon, if the foe has no shield. Roll 1D6 and add the Impact value. If the result is “10” or higher, then the shield is splintered or the weapon broken. Steel weapons and shields need a total of “12” or more to break them; those that are magical cannot be harmed in this manner.

It should be noted that the BoJH Melee Results table differs from Swordplay as well:

Melee Combat Results Table

3+ Obviously Dead - NS
2 Obviously Dead
1 Out of the Fight
0 Evenly Matched

NS = No Armour Save possible.

Sunday 16 January 2011

The Coolest Thing on the Web!

The coolest thing I found online today has to be Dave's Mapper!

Ok, maybe I am easily amused, but this would have been so awesome back when I was playing D&D...

Still, maybe it can handle the Jakallan Underworld. I wonder if there are any underground river tiles...

A Band of Joyous Heroes

It's been a while since I posted anything about A Band of Joyous Heroes, the set of tabletop adventure rules I've been working on. I have been puttering away on the rules, pretty slowly really - and with long gaps of inaction. This is not because I have lost interest or anything like that; it is because I have been focusing on the stuff in the book that comes before the rules.

I want the background material to prepare the player for Tékumel and for playing a Tsolyáni character. I don't want there to be characters named "Bob" or Ono-Mato-Pe'a or any of the other silly names players come up with for their characters in D&D games. Not that this is a role-playing game - it's not really. It's a "Tabletop Adventure Game". That's what I call it - a wargame (a "skirmish" game, if you like) played out with figures on a tabletop. Two Hour Wargames used to call their games "RPG-Lite", but now I see they are referring to them as "Immersion Games". That is, games that allow you to "be" the character. If the game is about WW2 squad level combat the rules allow you to be the squad leader without the "200-foot General" syndrome - and hopefully without the mini-maxing rules-lawyers that spoil so many games for others! Rattrap Production's series of Pulp, Weird World War 2, Retro-Sci/Fi and Swashbuckling games are a similar thing. They are wargames played out on the table.

When I say that they are wargames, I am referring to the fighting and the use of figures. Most of these games emphasize "characters" over "units". That is, the players normally take on the role of the heroes and either the referee or another player runs the villain and his goons.

That is what A Band of Joyous Heroes is intended to be. By default the players will be Tsolyáni and human, but allowances are made for foreigners and non-humans. There is nothing to stop one transplanting the game to some other part of Tékumel but I am having enough trouble doing the background for Tsolyánu as it is - I can't do the same for everywhere else as well. At least, not right away.

So what is the problem? Well for one I don't simply want to re-hash the same old history that is described in every other Tékumel publication. For another, I want the background part of the book to prepare the players to play Tsolyáni and I want them to only know what a Tsolyáni would reasonably know.

I want them to see things from a Tsolyáni point-of-view. And I don't want to do it with pages of text descriptions. I want illustrations - lots of them! I want an illustration on every page, and where there isn't I want two on the next page! :-)

Let's face it, the cultures on Tékumel take a bit of getting used to. What I am trying to produce is something similar to those many books out there from the "Eyewitness" series , or "Everyday Life in ... insert culture here" - and so on. You know the ones I mean. They are often considered children's books I think, but who cares.

Anyway, that is where I am at. Work is progressing slowly on both the background and the main rules. I am hopeful that even those who are sick to death of "another set of damn rules" for Tékumel will still find the background part attractive - maybe even useful.

Enough rambling! I had intended to just post a combat example from the rules, but I seem to have got off on a tangent a bit. Count yourself lucky we're not in conversation - I am assured it's much worse! ;-)

So here it is, my combat example - fresh from the pages of BOJH:

Example – Two Warriors (Rep 4), clad in medium armor and armed with sword and medium shield, attack Kómek (Rep 5) who is in heavy armor and armed with a two-hand sword.

• Kómek will roll 5d6 for his Rep, and 1d6 for the reach advantage, for a total of 6d6.
• Both Warriors roll 4d6 for their Rep, plus 1d6 for each friend attacking the same enemy, for a total of 5d6 each.
• All the dice are rolled, keeping each warriors dice carefully separated.
• Kómek scores 5 successes.
• Warrior A scores 3 successes and will continue to melee. Warrior B scores 2 successes and will continue as well.
• All the failures are discarded and all combatants re-roll their remaining dice for a second round of melee.
• Kómek scores 2 successes.
• Warrior A scores 2 successes and will continue to melee.
• Warrior B scores zero successes. As Kómek has scored 2+ successes against Warrior B, he gets an Obviously Dead result.
• However, as Warrior B is armored and has a shield, the Protection Table must be consulted. Kómek has a two-handed weapon with an Impact value of 4. Warrior B has medium armor but the shield provides a column shift to the right, giving the same protection as heavy armor. This gives a one die saving roll against injury. Warrior B rolls a ‘2’ which is a success and reduces the wound from Obviously Dead to Out of the Fight.
• Though not slain, Warrior B still goes down.
• Warrior A must still take a Man Down test. If he passes, the melee will continue with both combatants rerolling their remaining dice.
• Kómek scores 1 success.
• Warrior A scores zero successes. Kómek has scored 1 success against Warrior A, so he is Out of the Fight, but for his armor.
• Warrior A is also armored and has a shield, so the Protection Table must be consulted again. Kómek has a two-handed weapon with an Impact value of 4. Again this yields a one die saving roll against injury. Warrior A rolls a ‘5’ which is a failure so his protection availed him not.
• Had the roll been successful, his protection would have reduced the result from Out of the Fight to Evenly Matched.
• In that instance, Warrior A would still be subject to the combat effect: knocked down, having being struck a solid blow from a two-handed sword.

The rules are based upon the free "CR3-Swordplay" rules available from the 2HW site. I did have to make a few changes as the original rules don't allow for three levels of armour (L, M & H) that have been standard pretty much since the days of Empire of the Petal Throne, if I am not mistaken. So I added a little table to account for the armour, but as you can see armour - unless it is steel or magical - still won't offer much hope if you roll badly. I also added the "combat effects" such as knocked down. Maybe I'll describe them in another post.

What is also missing from the above example is Star Power, which is basically a way of getting a second chance. It is only available to certain characters - the player characters primarily, but occasionally the NPCs. Kómek in the above example would have Star Power dice which he would roll if he suffered an OD (Obviously Dead) result. These would give him a pretty good chance of avoiding that fate - at least early on in the adventure. They can become depleted though and by the end of a hard-fighting game even the heroes are living on the knifes-edge like the lowly NPCs. They have other advantages over NPCs, of course, but I won't go into those here.

One thing you may notice is that there are no "hit points". Characters are either OK, OOF (Out of the Fight) or OD - Obviously Dead. Basically the assumption is that if someone sticks a sword in your gut and doesn't kill you, you are still somewhat discomfited - hence the OOF result. This takes into account shock, pain, etc.

After the encounter there is a check to see whether you can come back to the fight. That is, it really wasn't so bad after all - the wound was bloody and hurt like hell but with some bandages and maybe some magical healing you are ready to carry on. Or, on a bad roll, maybe not so much...

Sunday 2 January 2011

Ahoggyá Masters...

Ahoggyá Masters

Height Comparison

Unarmoured Ahoggyá Masters

Here are some pictures of our new Ahoggyá figures going off to be molded this week - well, mailed this week. Molded and cast before Month End - cross your fingers! :-)

In the top picture there are 10 unarmoured masters on the left, 10 armoured masters on the right plus the arm variants. Still trying to decide how to package them...

Once molded and cast they will be added to The Tékumel Club as our Second Release. No idea about pricing as yet, as I don't know how much they will weigh in at. They are going to require several molds, I expect, as well - which will have to be taken into account.

Saturday 1 January 2011


Not sure if I should make any resolutions this year as we missed nearly all of last years!

We did manage to get the Tékumel Club up an running, more-or-less, with two well received releases: the Qol and the Hlutrgu. The Qol will be expanded upon and finished this year, that expansion leading into the Temple of Ksarul.

We also managed to get a number of other things started - some of which are almost at the release stage. Chief among these is the Ahoggya which is poised to be molded in the very near future. Then there are the Princess Vrisa figure, the Puppet Master Vignette and the Sacrifice Set which are all in line to be molded as we can afford them.

The Hlaka are molded and will go into general release as soon as the molds arrive from Australia. The Shen will follow shortly after.

Then there is a backlog of Yan Koryani gureks - I've published the list previously - which we will slowly work at bringing to release. Note that some of the units still need additional figures, or detail changes/additions before they can be released.

The Tsolyani are not to be neglected either: the Aridani Legion of Lady Mrissa and Mirkitani, Hero of Victories are number one to be sculpted this spring. Also, look for Tumissa Crossbowmen, Sapphire Kirtle, various Vrayani and the Kurtani (including the Legion of the Inverted Hand.) Concept Art for the N'luss and Lorun is also in the works.

A Band of Joyous Heroes and Kerdu are not forgotten. They are progressing, albeit at a snails pace.

Lastly, in the last few weeks of 2010 the idea of Painted Tékumel Miniatures sprang pretty much out of nowhere. A number of people are interested and I will be investigating this further, sending off a few test pieces to be painted and reporting on the results. If there is an interest and we can come up with a process that works I will go ahead with this.

That's about it really...probably left bits out...but that's enough of my rambling for now!

Happy New Years, Again - to you all!

Best Regards,

Howard Fielding
The Tékumel Project