Monday, January 3, 2011

Random-Ass Monday: Space Opera Tékumel and the Paladin à la Holmes

As a general rule I hate secondary commentary as it's an awfully cheap and lazy way to run a blog, but I promise to be posting something else of more-or-less substance later today or tomorrow as I coast out of the Holidaze. Hey, at least I'm not tormenting you with an eye-glazing rundown of 2011 resolutions. Yet.

First up of special note is The Drune's two-post musings on the potential of pre-pocket universe Tékumel as a space opera setting (thanks to HC player Desert Scribe for flagging this for me over at Super Galactic Dreadnaught). He does a bang up job of putting together M.A.R. Barker's writings hinting at the sci-fi pre-history of the planet, including a very nice star map approximating the positions of the human empire and the stellar locations of Man's allies (pictured below). 

Tékumel lore is replete (perhaps Jeff Berry could help us out here) with tantalizing details about the space-faring technologies of Humanspace. I remember positively salivating on reading yahoo group posts by such old hands like Victor Raymond throwing out lists of campaign finds of such wonders as weather control machines; gravity engines at the core of the planet; Ahoggya-built starships (that can only be piloted by four people due to their eight arms); planetary defense batteries on one of the moons, etc.. Throw in some other details about starcraft and other oddities at the end of Barker's Lords of Tsamra and other tidbits from the good Professor and you start to get the foundation for a really interesting space opera setting.

So here's to The Drune coming through with his plans to publish a free gaming supplement putting this all together in the months ahead. I would expect nothing less from a first-place loser.

Turning to something closer to medieval fantasy, I thought Jeff Rients' recent spin on the Paladin for his Surfeit of Lampreys campaign to also be an incredibly nice way to start off the new year given my own pipe dream fantasy about wanting a “Holmesian” expansion. Suitably Jeff goes beyond just re-bolting some OD&D bits back onto a Blue Book chassis and making a proper variant class with all the simplicity and oddness (as compared to the other strains of D&D that is) of the original.

I half-seriously commented at the time of my Holmes Expert thought experiment that Jeff would be the perfect draftee for the project, I would now like to go full serious with that one. As to my own plans around this, at the least I may try a hand at some Holmes-like variant classes such as the Witch or such like.

But that gets us back to resolutions...


  1. Both things are weird and wonderful. I look forward to your own gonzo contributions.

  2. I thought you might find Ix interesting. I never got into EPT, but the setting is starting to intrigue me.

    I also liked that minimalist take on the Paladin, and think that such sparse descriptions, rather than pages of crunch, are entirely appropriate for any additions to the Holmes rules.