[Tekumel] The Excellent Travelling Volume

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Big Mac
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[Tekumel] The Excellent Travelling Volume

Post by Big Mac » Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:14 am

Jeff Grubb wrote a blog entry in June last year, called Gaming: Excellent. Most Excellent, about a Tekumel fanzine, called The Excellent Travelling Volume:
Jeff Grubb wrote:The Excellent Traveling Volume A Fanzine of M.A.R.Barker's World of Tekumel

It should not be a surprise to readers of this blog that I am a big fan of M.A.R. Barker's Tekumel and its first public incarnation, the Empire of the Petal Throne boxed set from TSR. I wrote about it way back here, discussing all its updates new rulesets, and probably have to update it further since new and exciting material, like Jeff Dee's Bethorm has shown up on the scene, and Brett Slocum's Heroic Age of Tekumel is in the offing.

But what I really want to talk about right now is fanzines. I'm a fan of fanzines, in particular since they drill right down to a specific, almost obsessive, level. On the creator's side, they are a labor of love, rarely money-makers, closer to hobbies, and contain only that which the the creators themselves wish to see. On the consumer side, they are for a very, very small group who have a deep interest in the particular subject. One without the other, and the fanzine ceases to be by or for fans.

Enter The Excellent Traveling Volume by James Maliszewski, who formerly ran the late, lamented Grognardia blog. It is a Tekumel fanzine, and even further concentrates on the original TSR (later reprinted by Different Worlds) versions of the game.

TETV is a hand-crafted music box of a 'zine, each issue laying out expanded content for the game. The original set concentrated on Tsolyanu, but the booklets increase character creation for the Red Hats of Mu'ugalavyani, the Salarvya, and the descendants of the dragon-riders of N'luss (No, I'm not putting in the accent marks. Live with it.). This expanded section gives both personal names and clans of the nations, and bits about their culture and religions, and how they compare back to the Tsolyanu that most fans are comfortable with.
There is much more to Jeff Grubb's blog entry than that, If you like Tekumel, you might want to surf over and read the rest. Or go straight to the website of The Excellent Travelling Volume.

From what I can see on the website, it's been going since December 2014 and the original issues were limited to just 200 copies per issue.

Does anyone subscribe to this fanzine? What do you think of it? Jeff Grubb suggests that it is aimed at the original Tekumel game, but do you think any of the content in any of the issues of the fanzine could be used with later Tekumel games?
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
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Re: [Tekumel] The Excellent Travelling Volume

Post by The Dark » Sat Jan 07, 2017 5:03 am

I have the first five volumes of The Excellent Travelling Volume. Some articles (most notably the NPCS and articles on non-Tsolyani character creation) are easiest to use the original game, but others (such as the city and undercity being described in each issue) are simple to adapt.

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Re: [Tekumel] The Excellent Travelling Volume

Post by Big Mac » Sat Jan 07, 2017 11:20 am

The Dark wrote:I have the first five volumes of The Excellent Travelling Volume. Some articles (most notably the NPCS and articles on non-Tsolyani character creation) are easiest to use the original game, but others (such as the city and undercity being described in each issue) are simple to adapt.
Thanks for the feedback. There is almost no information on the website, so only your feedback and Jeff Grubb's feedback gives a clue what's in these things.

Is there any reason why you didn't get Issue 6?
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
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Re: [Tekumel] The Excellent Travelling Volume

Post by The Dark » Sat Jan 07, 2017 4:00 pm

Big Mac wrote:
The Dark wrote:I have the first five volumes of The Excellent Travelling Volume. Some articles (most notably the NPCS and articles on non-Tsolyani character creation) are easiest to use the original game, but others (such as the city and undercity being described in each issue) are simple to adapt.
Thanks for the feedback. There is almost no information on the website, so only your feedback and Jeff Grubb's feedback gives a clue what's in these things.

Is there any reason why you didn't get Issue 6?
I have it on order - I was on vacation when it was released, and didn't want it to arrive before I got back.

Here's what's in each issue:
Issue 1:
A couple paragraphs explaining how what we'll see in TETV varies from the original rules:
Alignment - James explaining that he uses the later Stability/Change axis rather than the original Good/Evil
Profession - James calls magic users "lay priests" to better match their role in society
Basic Talents - an alternate stat-rolling system that creates more competent characters

The Shaman: a new class for foreigners
Patrons: five fleshed out patrons (with stats) with adventure hooks and four potential outcomes per hook
Bestiary: twelve new monsters for EPT, some from later editions and some totally new
Magical Devices: six new miscellaneous magical items
The Hidden Shrine: a low-level adventure

Issue 2:
The Adventurer: an adaptation of Glenn Rahman's article from The Dragon #31
Sokatis, the City of Roofs: the beginning of an article detailing the city. History, description, clans, temples, customs, and a map
A Portion of the Underworld of Sokatis: a map and key of part of the underworld. The key covers about half of the map
Patrons: five more patrons
Lost and Found: an adventure idea (loose concepts chained together, rather than a fully keyed adventure) for starting new players
Random Tsolyani Faction Names: a table to generate faction names

Issue 3:
Salarvyani and Pechani Characters: modifications to the EPT character creation rules. One useful thing for EPT players is all the modifications are listed by what section of the rules they modify
A Portion of the Underworld of Sokatis: the other half of the section mapped out in Issue 2
Demons of Ksarul and Grugaru: a demon mistress and two demon races
Character sheet: the centerfold is a character sheet designed by Dyson Logos
On the Road: encounters for the Sakbe roads. This has minimal stats, so it's fairly easily used with any edition
The Tower of Wachanu: an adventure exploring a wizard's tower

Issue 4:
Yan Koryani and Sa'a Allaqiyani characters: more modifications to character creation
Patrons: five more patrons
A Portion of the Underworld of Sokatis: a new section of the underworld that connects to the previous section. About half is described in the article
The Shapeshifters - The Mihalli: a description of the Mihalli as a monster, with an explanation of their primary weapon, the Ball of Immediate Eventuation
The Prismatic Fortress: a Hluss enclave
Tomes of Power: fourteen magical books for EPT

Issue 5:
Mu'ugalavyani and N'luss characters: more modifications to character creation
At The Clanhouse: five patrons, but this time themed around being fellow clanmembers of a PC
A Portion of the Underworld of Sokatis: the other half of the section from Issue 4
Alternate Experience Point Awards: a sidebar on granting experience for learning what items do, rather than just for slaying monsters and getting treasure
Bestiary: two new types of undead
The Underpeople: an article on human or semi-human people who aren't members of a great nation
The Tomb of Vrikheshamma: a short, high-level dungeon
Demons of Belkhanu and Qon: three new demon races

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Re: [Tekumel] The Excellent Travelling Volume

Post by The Dark » Sun Jan 22, 2017 1:18 am

I received Issue 6 yesterday. Once I have a chance to read through it, I'll put up some notes.

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Re: [Tekumel] The Excellent Travelling Volume

Post by Big Mac » Sun Jan 29, 2017 2:20 am

The Dark wrote:I received Issue 6 yesterday. Once I have a chance to read through it, I'll put up some notes.
Thankyou.

The previous notes were very helpful.

The character sheet and the Tomes of Power are probably the thing that sound most interesting to me. But I can imagine a lot of people liking The Tomb of Vrikheshamma.
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Re: [Tekumel] The Excellent Travelling Volume

Post by The Dark » Sun Jan 29, 2017 5:09 am

Issue 6:
Livyani and Tsoleini Characters: more character creation modifications. This includes a section on Livyani gods (and their closest Tsolyani parallels)
Spells of the Shunned Races: includes modifications to existing spells (e.g. Ssu cast darkness instead of light since they can see in the dark) plus new spells for the Ssu and Shunned Ones
Bestiary: three new creatures from the Dry Bay of Ssu'um
The Dry Bay of Ssu'um: a detailing of an area only briefly mentioned in canon sources. It's a magically barren zone, where magic and Ancient devices fail. Includes a 12x13 hex map, environmental and cultural notes, and places of interest
The Village of Kumashkekkur: a village near Sokatis used in James' campaign. The usual patrons article is rolled into this one as significant personalities of the village.
The Forest Ruins: a set of ruins near Kumashkekkur that can be explored

The inside cover apologizes for not including the random underworld generator that was advertised in Issue 5; it turned out to be more complicated than expected, and is still being worked on. The cover for this issue is the adventuring party for one of the current campaigns, with three warriors and three casters (a scholar priest, a priestess, and a lay priest/magician). Advertised for Issue 7 are Pe Choi and Pachi Lei characters, Shunned Ones, Demon Weapons, and a Martial Artist class.

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Re: [Tekumel] The Excellent Travelling Volume

Post by The Dark » Tue Jun 26, 2018 5:01 am

James sent a note today that issue #8 has been released, and that made me realize I never covered Issue 7, which has all the articles advertised in Issue 6.

Issue 7:
Pe Choi and Pachi Lei Characters: As with last issue, there are sections on the gods for both species. They're both dualistic, with the Pe Choi deities essentially being either Stability or Change, and the Pachi Lei having a pair of deities that are composites of Hnalla and Thumis on one hand and Hru'u and Ksarul on the other, which influences their choices of Pavaran priesthoods.
Martial Artist: A new class covering both Dedaratl and Hu'on practitioners and suggests they act as special agents or bodyguards for temples, with Assassin-Spy-Tracker as a required skill.
The Revenant's Tomb: A small dungeon by Jeff Grubb, with GM options for where the final encounter fits on a combat/social scale.
Demon Weapons: Four new magical weapons, plus a conversion of a weapon from Gardasiyal to EPT.
The Pyramid of Chanmarbayik: Another small dungeon, this one by Mikael Tuominen.
The Shunned Ones: A description of this inimical race, along with a trio of new Eyes they might be encountered wielding.
Hrsh: A description of a Mu'uagalvyani deity, with brief descriptions of how his worshipers interpret other gods, the Mourners in Sable (an elite guard of Mu'ugalla), a drawing and written description of a temple icon, and two new temple spells.

Advertised for issue 8 is a "Campaign Starter" set in Sokatis.

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Re: [Tekumel] The Excellent Travelling Volume

Post by The Dark » Mon Aug 06, 2018 1:21 am

In a surprise twist, issue 8 does not have a Campaign Starter for Sokatis. The inside of both covers consists of James' explanation as to why - the highly condensed version is that his campaign's no longer in starter mode, and his creative energies have been applied elsewhere. Instead, issue 8 looks at a portion of the Southern Continent.

Issue 8:
Linyaro, Outpost of the Petal Throne: A Tsolyani colony on the Southern Continent, with a physical description, descriptions of significant clans, local temples, and significant NPCs.
Bestiary: Four new creatures.
Through the Nexus: An adventure outline by Jeff Grubb, giving three options for where a nexus point could lead and the consequences of going through it.
Centerfold: A map of the city of Linyaro.
Patrons: The usual five patrons, this time centered around Linyaro. Also has a random encounter table at the back to use when in Linyaro instead of Sec. 1110 of the EPT rulebook.
The Achge Peninsula: A description of the region around the colony of Linyaro.
Pull-out: A hex map of the Achge Peninsula.

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