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Issue Five | Summer 1995

History is Bunk!
This scenario would suit either the group of city militia described in Eye of All-Seeing Wonder
No.3 (bringing some interesting questions of loyalty into play) or possibly another group of
adventurers of similar level either from the same clan (preferably) or the same temple.
The Job
The group are summoned before a council of clan elders. The senior elder present ushers all the
slaves from the room, and then reveals to the group that a theft occurred the previous evening from
the clanhouse. The only thing stolen was an elaborate scroll-case containing a document of some
antiquity (believed to be Engsvanyali). The elder reveals that owing to the embarrassing nature of
the contents of the document he is unable to file a full report with the Palace of the Realm. If
pressed he will divulge that the document contained information which brings into question the
heredity and provenance of the Clan of the White Crystal, who are very powerful locally. The clan
was retaining the document for use as a possible lever in future business ventures. The elders Or the
clan would like the group either to retrieve the document, or at worst make sure it is destroyed.
The item was taken from a secure room deep within the building, which, although not guarded, was
in a well-frequented part of the building. There is no sign of forced entry into any part of the
building. Careful study of the room from which the document was stolen will reveal an oily patch
approximately 6" across soaking the plaster of the wall close to the door. It may be recognised as
being Salarvyani hair oil.
The clan chief has also heard rumours that other similar thefts have taken place from various
temples and clanhouses around the city. These rumours point to thefts from one or more of the
following: another clan, a temple, at least one government department, and the Foreigner’s Quarter.
Initially the group will only be aware of the theft from their own clanhouse. They will have
approximately 1 month to conclude their investigations before the final robbery takes place.
The Truth
There have been five other robberies over the past few months: from the Palace of the Realm, the
Palace of Foreign Lands, the Temple of Vimuhla, the Clan of the Moon of Evening, and the House of
Fulfilment of Dreams.
The burglars are a small group of Salarvyani, who enter the underworld via the cellars of the
mansion of Donmikayel hiGangasa, without his knowledge, though one of his slaves is being
handsomely paid to let them in through a back entrance after dark. They have been getting about
using the less well-known sections of the city’s underworld. There are exits from this into each of the
buildings robbed.

the information directly. covered in stylised glyphs of various demons. describing the use of ancient weapons. the Livyáni affairs specialist. It is low on their priority list as he has refused to give enough detail about the theft to be of help. The inscription is in Classical Tsolyáni. from the Time of No Kings. containing an ’Eye" and several fragments of metal leaf inscribed with writings from the early Second Imperium. How to find out about the theft: i) Coming across Korazunu during the investigation ii) A. How to find out about it: i) Report has been made (easy if the group are militiamen) ii) Bribery House of Fulfilment of Dreams: An emerald-studded phallic wand of Bednalljan provenance. an ancient High Cartography stone. crusted with jewels. member of the temple might have enough influence to get. How to find out about it: i) Knowing the official ii) :Bribery iii) Palace of the Realm (this has been reported partially to the Office of the Recovery of Stolen Materials. which has the ability to cast a spell of Potency once a day. though the owner was not able to tell that. It is part of a description of a battle involving the use of "dragons". How to find out about it: i) rumour ii) Clan postpones an ocean-crossing trade expedition iii) Agents planted in the household return . purported to be from the Old Citadel of Ch’ochi. Palace of the Realm: A gold box.The other stolen items are as follows: Temple of Vimuhla: A fragment of a stela from the Dragon Warriors. It is actually defunct. Palace of Foreign Lands: From the office of Ektunaz hiMnari. (Bednalljan) How to find out about it: i) Rumours that certain regular and aged clients have stopped frequenting the establishment ii) further investigation of the Foreigners’ Quarter criminal element will reveal that a big reward has been offered for its recovery Moon of Evening Clanhouse: A steel astrolabe reputedly belonging to Hagarr of Paranta. (Llyani). It is reputed to have belonged to Queen Nayari.

they will still need to do some sweet-talking to get to see Jedusane. He is quite capable of keeping the characters for hours and he is far too highstatus to cut short in full flow. The . none of the thefts were discovered until several hours after the event when any trail was too cold to follow. though they had proper permits etc. Time of No Kings. the most significant of which is the fact that the robberies all occur when Gayel is full. If the group work out that the book is the thieves’ next target. owing to a type of warding on it. Also. The trail down the corridors is quite easy to follow. Dragon Warriors. and the Three States of the Triangle The item from the period of the Three States has yet to be stolen. and the item from the time of the Fishermen Kings was in the hands of the thieves originally as they are descendants of Gamulu. Engsvanyali. Any collectors of historical curios will probably (moderate "Collector" skill check) be aware of the existence of the book in the possession of Jedusane as he often displays his extensive collection at social occasions. the first Fisherman King. Fishermen Kings. several common features will be observed. When more of the thefts are uncovered. they will find the robbers in mid-theft.vague information that Benshatun is in somewhat of a state The day after the intelligence is received the agent is found floating in the harbour with a Black Y talisman around his neck It may be noticed when the extent of the robberies has been discovered that each item comes from a different major period in history (Llyani. They require one item from each of the periods for the recital of a ritual of summoning. If the party can find some way of cutting Jedusane short and ask to see the book. This is not true. If they don’t they will follow the trail back to Donmikayel’s mansion. but the thieves fervently believe if. If the characters hurry they may manage to reach the robbers before they get to the outside world. The trail will lead to a well-concealed secret entrance. It is written on leaves of beaten copper and is illegible using any form of magic. It is the only item in the city which is verifiably from the time of the Three States of the Triangle. The Pala Jakálla Underworld The complex of tunnels and hidden chambers can be subdivided into four major parts: the first is the series of corridors that are used by various government agencies to get about the city unseen— many of these are guarded by traps. great length. for a demon who is thought to have charge of one of the Keys or Wards of the Blue Room. Three States of the Triangle. On at least two occasions people had been allowed into the room where the stolen artefacts were kept. The item from the time of the Three States of the Triangle. which leads to an unfrequented part of the underworld. If they are delayed in any way they will go down to the vault to find the book gone. The thieves will have gone sufficiently recently for their psychic traces to remain. Bednalljan. He will be very interested in the historical aspect of the robberies and will discuss it at great. which the thieves intend to steal is a book in an unknown script owned by Jedusane hiTlakotani. human sentinels and the occasional non-human guardian. Second Imperium) The two periods missing thefts are the Fishermen Kings.

quite a din will ensue. He is so terrified that he will divulge everything that he knows. a wealthy and influential member of the Clan of the Might of Ganga. He may even threaten to sue the militia for shamtla. and some underground storage cisterns. The Pachi Lei is well-known in militia circles—he is the personal bodyguard of Donmikayel hiGangasa. largely unexplored section which features several very old areas. (This is not much—see description of slave below.The fourth is a deeper. The group will emerge into a dark cellar. It will not be difficult to track him down. If the group do insist on seeing him there and then rather than coming back later. It is this part that the robbers have been using. feel free to add in the wandering denizens) as they are using the older sections.second section is used by the Temple of Sárku to get from their temple to the City of the Dead across the river—this area is guarded by various Undead and other more hideous denizens. and will provide as much assistance with enquiries as possible starting with the description of the missing slave. In the torchlight it will be possible to see row upon row of bottles. He will then concentrate his efforts against anybody not in uniform. waking the household up. Eventually the party will come to a dead end. If any of these are captured they will readily divulge whatever information they have. He has no idea that the robbers had been using his cellar as an entrance to the Underworld. as he was caught stowing away aboard a barge heading up-river just before dawn.) If the ambush is sprung. After the skirmish it might be best for the group to try and slip away into the underworld again rather than face the wrath of the householder. of all shapes and sizes. First to appear on the scene will be a grizzled Pachi Lei who will weigh in indiscriminately until he spots the uniform of the City Militia (if the group are wearing it). It is also quite easy with the use of levers to prise the door open. If the robbers are aware that they have been followed they will attempt to set an ambush to gain themselves enough time to get away into the city. characters fail to intercept the robbers before they reach Donmikayel’s mansion they will lose them in the city streets. They may well leave their hired thugs to delay the party. containing a wide selection of wines and liqueurs. He will be able to tell that the people who paid him were . There is only one door to this cellar. If the. who would not be pleased to have his night’s rest disturbed. More careful inspection will reveal a heap of empty bottles with their necks broken off. but will see that the dust and debris against one section of the wall has been swept away in an arc as though a door has opened. Donmikayel’s Mansion Following the trail of the robbers Through the underworld can be tricky (i. It is all the work of one of his slaves. he will be outraged that his privacy has been invaded in this way. The third is a series of short passageways between various temples. The Following Day Donmikayel will have calmed down.e. Needless to say this man will have fled.

They may then be able to set a trap of their own. though if the deal is struck he will use his powers to assist the surviving summoner in some other matter (this will be a random one of the robbers). He will also know that they asked him to be available to let them in again when Gayel and Kashi were both full (three days time).foreigners. There is a line of charcoal drawn around the outside of the room some 5’ in from the edge. There are two distinct groups of people in the room—the slaves and . Otherwise they may have to rely on a less expert guide. accoutrements etc. probably Salarvyani by the look of their greasy beards. they have a couple of days to try and investigate. if more sorcerous techniques are used he will be able to recall more details about the appearance of the robbers: each of the Salarvyani wore a cloth band around his head with a diagram painted on it which he describes quite accurately. When the party come across the summoning they will find the following scene: They will perceive a glow and a strong scent of incense from some distance down the passages. However. Sundering and Descrying. The Eater of Skins The robbers will return to the underworld later. Comminution. All around this line are small crucibles of burning incense (approx. who may only know of several potential locations. they may wish to do further research into his summoning. They will be able to find out the physical requirements of the summoning—the room. Clearly they will not use the same entrance if they are aware that their man has been caught. and will be able to give a brief physical description of each and the dates on which he had let them into the house. the Eater of Skins. and they may in the end have to rely on their sense of smell to guide them to the ritual—there is a phenomenal amount of incense used in it. the main one being the number of souls to be sacrificed. and eventually will find a large circular room (100’ across). This is all he can remember. His powers are those of Gifting. Sorcerers may recognise the diagram is a glyph of Kurritlakal. but there are some major flaws in their understanding of it. This means that after the demon appears and consumes the first sacrifices (three slaves and the hired thugs) it will start to bargain for a deal including the souls of four of the five ringleaders (without mentioning that this is part of the bargain). If they use this method they will arrive at the ceremony just before the completion of the ritual. 200 of them). They may be able to find a real expert who knows enough about the underworld to come up with an exact location for the summoning. The formula for the ritual of summoning they are going to use is perfectly correct. The second major flaw is that the Demon Prince does not have possession of the secret of the Ward of Ksarul. He had the impression that they were going down to perform some sort of ritual rather than steal something. bodyguards to conduct the ritual of summoning The demon they are trying to summon is an avatar of Prince Kurritlakal. with all their surviving. They will need to enlist the aid of a competent demonologist. In this case. Consuming. It is the Gifting and Descrying that the robbers wish to use. Once the characters have discovered that the glyph is of Kurritlakal.

the demon may disappear (this will certainly happen if Turzaq is still alive and can recite the formula of dismissal). These tentacles may be fought off. and anyone looking upon the demon must make a -5 Psychic Reservoir check or become afraid. If the party disturbs any part of the ritual after the demon has started to manifest it will break through the circle and start sending out viscous extrusions towards the people around the edge of the room. Soon after the disappearance of the sacrifices the surface will rise again and the Demon Prince will manifest himself. The noise of his breathing will be like a great wind. In form. the floor will flow out towards them and draw their bodies down. asking what it is they wish. from something simple to something impossible. letting foul vapours escape in clouds. and they will be sucked screaming into the floor. After a deal is struck. one brass castanets. eventually filling the room up to the limit of the charcoal circle. and the ringleaders outside the circle. Dramatis Personae Korazanu hiVriddi: (See Eye of All-Seeing Wonder No. The front end has a number of slits and holes which open. In recompense for his services the demon may ask for almost anything. In any case the demon is confined for the moment within the circle. Unfortunately for them it is too late. armour 2/2. and damage D6+2 They are dripping with a corrosive substance. As the group watch they will come to a halt at the southern end of the room. They are all in the midst of a chant in a strange language (Llyani). 3) Social Status 15 He has been assigned to the theft by the Temple of Vimuhla. 12 hit points. Anybody who takes damage must also take a further 1D6 damage which will continue to burn at 1 point less each round. and fur or hide robes Of the five outside the circle two are carrying drums. and the last (Turzaq) a torch in one hand and a copper dagger in the other. the Demon is almost like a huge spider though with an enormous number of limbs sprouting from all over the body. Once he has taken the souls he will shrink back within the circle. whilst walking around the perimeter of the circle. and the whole being is surrounded by a bluish corpse-light When the demon speaks it will do so in Salarvyani. and speak to any survivors. The body is also covered in small hanging globular appendages. one a flute. The demon will continue to extrude tentacles until it has either taken four more bodies or there is nobody left in the room. If a person goes down. and the floor in the centre of the circle will appear to buckle and its surface become liquid and boil. their extremities burning away as though in acid. Washing will have no effect. A critical failure means that the character will collapse into a quivering catatonic heap. Turzaq will now say a single word and the sacrifices will wake up and be aware of their peril. All the people are wearing strange leather masks in the semblance of fantastic beasts. partly because he is ruthless and has a good chance of getting . and anyone fighting a tentacle must make a weapon breakage roll any time they either parry or attack successfully. and each has a Melee Value of 18. which will be very difficult for anyone to understand who is not a native speaker.thugs inside the circle.

He will he only too pleased to speak to the investigators. If he encounters the party he may ally with them. Arkut hiFerShéna: SS 9. If the group discover that the astrolabe was stolen he will see them. Official of the Palace of the Realm. He has the advantage of high social position on his side. He is blind and has been for 30 years. language. Age 51. He is extremely worried about the loss of the phallic wand. since just before he started working in the Office. SS 10 Brother-in-law of’ Majjaq Skendruzhzha the "godfather" of the Foreigner’s Quarter. It is his his cartographic stone that has been stolen. Zekkumet is aware of thepresence of the Salarvyani group. and can remember the details of every permit he has ever Issued. who has a foul temper. Usually. Zekkumet Ssamadan: Age 30. purpose of business. and partly because his reputation is becoming an embarrassment and his demise might be convenient. In appearance he is the complete antithesis of Majjaq: tall.) He has even followed every one up to check on the success of the business. It is his house which is being used as an entrance to the underworld by the thieves. and has done quite handsomely out of the arrangement. (The absence of any fixed heavenly bodies in the sky makes navigation by astronomical means extremely difficult. Livyáni affairs expert at the Palace of Foreign Lands (VIII C) . whether the permit was renewed. He does not wear the archetypal Salarvyani thick. The astrolabe stolen from his clanhouse is a magical device which means that a ship will never become lost whilst at sea. He is an enthusiast for all aspects of Livyáni culture—religion. politics etc. He has an eidetic memory. (Typical Vriddi!!) Donmikayel hiGangasa: (See Eye of All-Seeing Wonder No. though he will be very evasive about the true properties of the instrument. He runs the House of the Fulfilment of Dreams for his bother-in-law. He is the official from whom the jewelled casket was stolen. Ektuaz hiMnari: Age 40. ships stick to coastlines if possible. though he is unaware of the purpose of their visit. date. This device is normally only used for major clan ventures involving ocean crossings. or use magical means if they can afford them). which look effective enough to the untrained eye. much in the style of’ Khirgar. (Name. He affects a number of tattoos. Benshatun hiZamck: (See Eye of All-Seeing Wonder No. but if the party take an accusatory stance he will be obstructive. Office of Marketplaces (Vl C). Clan of the Red Flower of Dawn SS 8. oiled beard. though without his knowledge. Clan of the Grey Wand. 3). but has a. etc. He married Majjaq’s sister for the money. though this will not be an easy alliance—he will try to dominate proceedings and will treat the party as his personal servants. The Chief Robbers . well-barbered one. as well as immense wealth. Despite. Vll Circle. SS 15. If the group approach him with their findings in a civilised manner he will be helpful.his name he isn’t actually Livyáni. SS 10. but any Livyáni would spot them as fakes immediately. as it is a personal possession of Majjaq.3). slender and good-looking (for a Salarvyani).the job done.

Twin brother and sister—clan relatives of Turzaq. He wears his hair in the traditional Salarvyani style. a worshipper of Ksarul. He is probably a member of the Ndalu Clan. They complete the group of ringleaders. All of them are foreigners and/or non-human (one is a Shén) picked up on the cheap. He is the expert on stealth and disguise. Ziggutu Gamulu Ga’uzu: He is the muscle of the operation. They are essentially young idealists. Evd = Evade. He is the most recognisable of the group. Arm = Armour. and can pass unnoticed almost anywhere. and a member of the Salarvyani Thieves Guild. Unknown to the group he is included on a list of suspect characters at the Registry of Malefactors (his name was recognised at the Port of Entry as being a member of the Thieves’ Guild). Baggu’azu & Ta’akata Gamulu Diqqushsha: aged 21. In addition to these five there are five hired thugs. fanatical followers of Turzaq.Turzaq Gamulu Diqqushsha: The ringleader of the robbers. Dmg = Damage. He is 24 years old. He can pick almost any lock or ward. Wpn = Weapon. lean. Character Statistics Mel = Melee. and will be expended at the end of the mission as part of the ceremony. He has not been arrested as he has been in disguise most of the time. He is totally ruthless about recovering the items for the ritual. mean and ferret-faced. Ma’assa Gamulu Beshshayana: A weasel of a man. 100 kg). He is 42 years old. and is built like the proverbial brick outhouse (6’ tall. MR = Magic Resistance. He is also pretty smart. HP = Hit Points. without leaving a trace. Mel Wpn Dmg HP Evd Arm MR Korazanu 36 Sword +1 14[3/5/8] 11 3 8 Pachi Lei 36 Sword x2 +2 20[5/8/11] 8 3 9 Baggu’azu 20 Sword 0 14[3/5/8] 8 4 6 Ta’akata 21 Arruche +1 12[3/5/7] 12 3 5 Ma’assa 24 Poison Dagger 0 12[3/5/7] 15 1 8 . He is a 15th Ievel sorcerer of Ksarul. and the one the slave is able to describe best.

Gardásiyal. run events at game conventions. Silver Halo (Psychethesis) Joyful Sitting Amongst Friends The last few months have seen the release of the new Tékumel rules. His Spell Phyla are Evocation (+5). Does this mean Tékumel will finally hit the big time? Not without help! Brett Slocum: I want to encourage people writing Tékumel material to submit articles to the mainstream gaming magazines. I’m planning on writing an adventure and perhaps a more detailed world background (since my GURPS article was mostly game mechanics) for Pyramid or whoever will publish it. need to fuel that spark. at a local convention in Minneapolis. I’m going to run an underworld adventure using the Gardásiyal rules and the character archetypes provided with that game. Last year. the Tékumel community. I will also be running the Illuminati: New World Order tournament. Translucence and Shadows (Occultation). This is one of the best ways to get new blood into the Tékumel fold. My recent GURPS Tékumel article in Pyramid and the publication of Gardásiyal will spark some interest and we. I understand that Contraptions in the UK will have a few Tékumel events. Sandy Peterson (Runequest author) ran a Tékumel adventure using his Tékumel / RQ rules. (Fool that I am. Occultation (+5) and Psychethesis (+5) His favourite spells are Enantiomorphy (Invultation). Also. Geomancy (+3). as well as The Eye. At the same convention this year. I’m a fool because I’ve never run a Con event before and now I’m running two. . Is anyone going to run some Tékumel games at GenCon or Origins? I certainly hope so. from TOME. Use whatever rules you feel comfortable with. I hope to see more events at other Cons. Disenchantment (+7). Invultation (+5). but get people playing in Tékumel. one of which is a multi-round tournament.16 Blowgun Ziggutu 36 2H Sword +3 24[5/9/13] 7 5 9 Turzaq 12 Dagger 0 10[3/4/6] 15 0 14 Shén Thug 34 Axe +3 24[5/9/13] 7 6/1 7 Thugs (4) 22 Sword +1 15[4/6/8] 7 4 4 Kurritlakal 18 Tentacle D6+2 12[3/5/7] 6 2/2 12 Turzaq has 300 spell points and has 15 levels of Sorcerer. It was well received.

it seems obvious that a "magic book" would be something that contained information—special information. so you have stories like the one about the wizard Setna. Maybe worshippers of Avanthe regard aging as a part of the natural order of things and don’t want to keep their youth. Just possessing a book could give you power—the fact of having it. The idea is not that these activities gain merit. but that by doing them the individual becomes closer to the deity. Each owner would annotate the text.If you do plan to run a Tékumel game at a convention. books would be rare items that are passed from owner to owner over centuries. fasting at Lent and so on. I’m baffled as to why Dlamelish should be associated with rejuvenation. Only one reservation: how about some captions for those of us whose Tékumel lore isn’t enough to identify the subjects from the clues in the pictures? . that makes more sense.. I think this is why the Vimuhla berserker has more chance of DI—not that Vimuhla notices or cares what any individual worshipper does. not of having read it. In all cultures you have activities that seek to imitate God: resting on the seventh day. Wouldn’t you think this would be the province of Dilinala. And that’s what helps when he needs to call for DI. making his own contribution to the worth of the book. I used to have a copy of Sun Tzu’s Art of War which reproduced such annotations.) I guess Avanthe would be associated with the natural cycle of the seasons. It was like that in Ancient Egypt. to be "one with Vimuhla" on the spirit plane. birth and death. I don’t think the Tsolyáni would actually see it that way. Literacy being so low. but just information. On a related topic. since her followers are obviously simulating eternal youth by maintaining their virginity? (Dlamelish as the dispenser of senescence. Yes. Aidan Dixon: Much kudos for Martin Helsdon’s art. It’s a lot better than some of the stuff seen in official Tékumel publications. Presumably. It certainly brought home to me how important the history of an individual volume can be to its value. sure. send me the information and I’ll try to publish it here. who apparently gained power from his magical library just as he did from his collection of talismans.. Dave Morris: In a society with high literacy like ours. on the other hand. worshippers of Dlamelish seek not youth but the age at which their sexual prowess is greatest. books certainly would be treated differently. but that behaving in that way helps the worshipper to become attuned. Dave Morris: Back to Paul Snow’s remarks vis-a-vis divine intervention. the very idea of the written word would be of something mysterious and magical. Since the printing press hasn’t been invented on Tékumel.

. Well put. Aidan Dixon: Paul Snow’s letter was interesting.." this is totally wrong! So do you mean to tell me that if I do a better job role-playing my low clan bodyguard than the guy playing a noble sorcerer I’ll get rewarded with a Gold of Glory and he won’t get ’owt? Whatever happened to status. I’ve had many an enjoyable evening when players have forgotten the carefully-constructed plot and invented their own mischief. Dermot Bolton: I just saw a copy of the new Tékumel RPG rules last Saturday and my first impressions are not very favourable. The picture on page 4 [Histroy is Bunk]. But surely there is something positive you can say? . The presentation is not to the standard I would expect. I mean what are they doing using ’%’ and ’$’ symbols to represent male and females?—very Tsolyáni don’t ya think? Anyone can do better than that on Word for Windows! Contents-wise it appears to be just a re-hash of the old Swords and Glory stuff. a soldier could gain a Gold of Glory. but I would’ve expected most players to grab what Tékumel has to offer with both hands rather than sit around demanding to be spoon-fed a scenario. Aidan. Why. My games of late have been tending more and more to the character-driven. full of tables and random encounters. quite amaterish in my opinion. skulduggery and all those other noble virtues that make Tékumel so fun? I sympathise with the motivation. Thank you for the impromptu review. I think RPG rules have moved on a lot since the seventies so I’m puzzled at the apparent nostalgia. it’s nice sometimes to play a straight dungeon (sorry. could easily be Zekkumet Ssamadan. I set up a situations and the PCs interact with it as they choose.not very useful. Sure. not the rules.Martin’s work certainly is fine. with all its rich background detail. Dermot. especially after a long day at work. but still I despair. Tékumel succeeds because of the world. And did you notice that the back of the box is more eye-catching than the front? Within the books themselves the typesetting leaves a lot to be desired. And who ever heard of a ’complete’ RPG boxed set where you had to buy an extra book to generate characters? One of the books looks like an old D&D manual for generating random adventures. though. (mis)Quote: "If a player role plays particularly well you may reward their character. As for the actual system itself. One other thing I spotted mentioned something about PC experience. the Godfather of the Foreigner’s Quarter. that’s exactly how we came to meet the Whisperer and be sold into slavery in the far east of Salarvya.g. bribery. I’d have thought that Tékumel was ideal for this sort of thing.. The pictures don’t have captions partly because Martin hasn’t given any and partly because I prefer it that way.. e. etc. well Swords and Glory was not the best then (apart from the magic) and still leaves a lot to be desired. Underworld) smash-and-grab run.

how can you be sure that the people who rise high will be competent? The answer is you can’t. Oh yeah. you aren’t going to get the same alienation between the generations as we have today.) With so many people and so little real talent it is easy to see why rising bureaucrats may have to hire adventurers to do their missions for them. A youngster who wished to demonstrate his independence of clan . where in our society you have offices with defined power that are assigned according to merit (in theory!). I better leave it at that until I see it again on Saturday. Advertising? What advertising? You see I just can’t help knocking it. in Tsolyánu you have offices that are assigned according to status and then have to jockey for position.) Thus you have the Court of Purple Robes. although the way its been marketed isn’t one of them. incompetent adventurers usually end up a tletlakha food! Dave Morris: Nathan Cubitt thinks Tsolyáni youth might go in for body piercing as a sign of rebellion against their parents. but a young Tsolyáni doesn’t have much leisure for rebellion —he’s an adult at 14. After all. Since status plays such an important part in promotions. A teenager might find it hard to get on with his actual father. Hopefully at least one of them will end up being run by someone who’s competent. and he’s likely to organize things to give his own branch more control. I don’t think that would happen. (This was why Walsingham’s fledging intelligence department gained so much power in Elizabeth’s day—the time was right. it has a nice map.Dermot Bolton: Saying all this I recognise that there must be some redeeming features. That way there’s a good chance that somebody clever will bob up to the top in at least one branch. the Gardásiyal rules certainly seem to have had a mixed reception. and the Omnipotent Azure Legion all directing things from the top. These are reasons why Tsolyánu (and real world cultures like it) are so conservative. Never Assume that the men in power are competent. (A rebellious young warrior might transfer some of his affection from his father to a favourite uncle in the army. Maybe Dermot will have calmed down enough to actually try playing it next Saturday. In other words. say. Quite true. (It certainly holds true for the British Civil Service. An interesting theory. but he’d have a host of what we’d call uncles and older brothers to give that restlessness an alternative outlet. the High Provost’s Chancery. after all. Phil Holmes: I’ve been thinking about the Civil Service. and I think this explains why the bureaucracy has so many branches with overlapping functions. for instance.) Not only that. and it had the right man at the helm. It’s sometimes hard to remember that the Tsolyáni simply don’t think like us and don’t have the same social problems. In a culture with strong extended family links. Well.

many societies believe that you must attract the attention of gods by some ritual or act. Bob Dushay: A random thought of my own: given the size of the Salarvyani Empire and the relative strengths of the seven great families it seems likely that the each of the families ruled independent kingdoms after the fall of the Engsvanyali Empire and that they were either conquered or negotiated into on empire. Prof. were basically contracts with spirits made by Zhang Taoling. Maybe gods intervene on a whim. abstaining from wine. On the other hand. it was because of the spirits honouring the deal they did with Zhang. The skeleton is wrapped around the muscles but the skin is wrapped around the skeleton like a roll of paper towels. through their ancestors) that you were able to gain assistance. the first Taoist celestial master. The skull is a "soIid endostructure". The stuff which you lose should go to the temple. because it’s through them (or rather. not necessarily because of any intrinsic worthiness of the person using them. The problem with large exoskeletons is that they are impermeable and constrict the movement of internal organs such as lungs. I think the latter type is more like a Tsolyáni DI. Perhaps Dl is granted only to those who attract the attention of a god by a ritual of DI or through some feat of significance to the god such as recovering a Key to the Blue Room. and which has been ritualised. the case. and contains the spiritual power of its writer (bit like a Tékumel scroll from a temple). some of these talismans placed strictures on the user: not eating meat. If these worked. It’s like a contract that has been negotiated centuries ago (by Pavar?). women and song or whatever. this presupposes that DI represents an actual ritual which is formally recognised and taught. it might be worth mentioning the Chinese approach to talismans. The interior of the hlüss is similar. I need to be clear on whether this is. which can be mass produced. Barker points out several times just how insignificant an individual human is to a god. That’s why you don’t get too many six-foot beetles on Earth. Maybe the Ssú’s skin helps it to breath? I’d like to see a dissection of a hlüss or pe choi to see how they’ve evolved around the problem. This could explain a lot. Paul Mason: Referring to the Issue of Divine Intervention.control would be more likely to become deeply involved with a legion or temple. The continued power of the seven great families implies that this combination was probably relatively . A young woman always has the option of becoming Aridani. Bob Dushay: Martin Helsdon asked some interesting questions about the Ssú’s internal structure. Having said that. Professor Barker told me that the internal structure of the Ssú is something like an interior exoskeleton. The other kind. or maybe they are honouring an ancient agreement with Pavar. in fact. A far as I can tell there are two basic types: one is created by the magical cloud script. However.

I suspect that this more than anything has helped to maintain the status quo.peaceful. and communications are probably difficult along it because of natural geographic boundaries. I have a cynical enough view of human nature to say that such a situation could not last. Bob. It also implies that the regional differences in Salarvya are much stronger than in any of the other Five Empires. Sooner or later some ambitious leader would try to take over the whole shooting match. Salarvya is a huge country. I think we have to disagree on this. I’d also guess that it’s no coincidence that modern Salarvya occupies the same area as the ancient empire of the Fishermen Kings. Maybe its history that keeps the Salarvyani together as a nation? .

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