Welcome to The Hall of Blue Illumination, the podcast dedicated to the world of M.A.R. Barker’s Tékumel. Our hosts begin this episode with a discussion of “demons” as they appear in Empire of the Petal Throne. How do EPT’s demons differ from Prof. Barker’s later conceptions of them? Then, James and Victor finish their review of the magical tomes section of EPT.
[00:00:34] Following on their discussions of magical items and books in Empire of the Petal Throne, Victor got interested in looking at EPT’s demons. “Demons” in EPT are basically just big monsters, while demons in later works like the Book of Ebon Bindings are lesser trans-dimensional beings of great power.
[00:02:25] The first mention of demons in EPT is in the Group III spell The Demon (EPT §500, p. 25). This is a precursor to the more elaborate summoning rituals in the BEB.
[00:03:23] The Demonology spell in Swords & Glory provides access to the servitor-races of certain gods.
[00:04:11] All of the demons mentioned in EPT’s The Demon spell are also mentioned in the BEB.
[00:05:14] The next time demons show up in EPT is in the section on cursed scrolls. (EPT §1610, pp. 78-79). On a d20 roll of 20, Kukligásh the Eater appears. Interestingly, he doesn’t show up in BEB.
[00:06:34] In the books section of EPT (§1700, p. 79), Lord Origób appears in entry 11, which was discussed in depth in Episode 47.
[00:07:30] The next reference (EPT pp. 88-89) is prefaced by a full page illustration. I involves priests of Sárku summoning the fire demon Jnékshaa.
[00:08:10] The next reference occurs in §2810, p. 99, “Nakoné, who resembles a great black worm.” This name doesn’t appear in the BEB, but it sounds similar to the “Sweet Singers of Nakomé.”
[00:09:50] After James notes that these seem like Prof. Barker’s “first drafts” of demons, Victor notes that he actually talks about that in Dragon #11. Victor supplies a great quote from the article.
[00:11:40] Even though Prof. Barker suggests that “Saturday Night Special” demons might be amenable to compromise, that’s not what happens in the example of play in EPT (§2810, p. 102). There, the players encounter the demon Kurritlakál.
[00:11:55] Before that, the child-like demon Lelmiyáni appears. Another demon who is mentioned earlier in EPT, but isn’t identified as such, is Srykárum. (EPT §2810, p. 100). Death Himself is also mentioned, and in the BEB he is also treated as a demon (Missúm, BEB p. 79).
[00:13:56] Speaking of odd entities that might be demons but aren’t so named, the Group III spell entry prior to The Demon (EPT §500, p. 25) mentions “Gorún, the undead priest of the God Sárku…” The line between the higher undead servitors of Sárku and actual demons is fuzzy.
[00:16:00] Another odd mention occurs in EPT §2810, p. 100, “the Temple of Hés, the little God of Humor.” He shows up as a demon in BEB (p. 69).
[00:16:49] Victor compares the description of Kurritlakál in EPT (2810, p. 102) to that in the BEB (BEB p. 41). He’s one of the major demons of the BEB.
[00:21:30] James is amazed at the detail in the BEB. There’s a lot of hidden information about the history of Tékumel and its cosmology.
[00:22:26] Books (Cont’d). Our hosts resume their discussion of the magical tomes listed in EPT.
[00:22:40] 13. Kízhaga Dlittlúmri. This is a very magical tome, with specific but diverse powers. “Fireball” isn’t an EPT spell, and so it’s interesting that this tome has this ability.
[00:25:29] 14. Jnéshtlaq Kéq Yóssu. All of the mentions in this entry (“the Secret City of Schyák in N’lýss,” “the Tomb of the Lord of Black Mold”) do not appear anywhere else.
[00:28:52] 15. Guppíshsha Hrákkuq Mazhzhátl. Who wrote this, since you have a 25% chance of horrible things happening to you?
[00:31:23] 16. Zrú Hsún Tí Ch’à. “The Excellent Travelling Volume.” I wonder where you could get that?
[00:32:42] 17. Jurrúmra Miye’éklun Tlakotáni. James discusses the etymological place of tla-, and the mysteries surrounding the founding of the Tlakotáni dynasty. This book affects alignment, which is more difficult to change in EPT, normally requiring a visit to a temple.
[00:39:05] 18. Duré’ep Tkásh Sneqsí’va. Pretty much a cursed book, which might only be of interest to the priesthood of Drá. It’s also odd that it’s written in Milumanayáni. Most Tsolyáni would think of the Milumanayáni as illiterate barbarians.
[00:41:46] 19. Hlórush Zhdanáwi Migún. Is this the human language of Mihálli, or the actual language of the Mihálli race? Victor believes it’s the latter, for two reasons: it’s the one non-human language that humans can learn to read, and Prof. Barker would have noted specifically if he meant the language of the humans of Mihálli. A discussion of (the non-human) Mihálli language ensues.
[00:46:36] 20. Mó’om Té’ep Srásy. You could use this book as a set up to find the materials to construct these beings; it creates an opportunity for multiple adventures.
[00:49:29] 21. Barukán Lli Fèshdrubál-Chrén. Another book that suggests alignment is an essential aspect. Also, it’s odd that this connects “wishes” to Belkhánu. It’s also odd that Fnér-Khmíshu doesn’t appear in The Gods of Yán Kór, but Victor suggests this might be the product of linguistic differences between eastern and western Yán Kór. This could also be one of the elements of the original versions of Tékumel that never got explored further, or the conception of it evolved. There’s also very little reference in EPT to foreign deities, and nothing as far as aspects of Pavár’s pantheon.
[00:55:47] 22. Du’on Duqala Toruuna. Not a typo, there are no accent-marks for this entry in EPT. Gardásiyal includes them for this book (Du’ón Duqála Torùúna). Victor and James discuss the “epic feel” of some aspects of “game” Tékumel, and divine intervention.
[01:00:09] 23. Mi’ithurish Hrshenga Mmeghusane. Another entry lacking accent-marks. It’s interesting that priests and magic-users of either alignment can use it, which lends credence to the idea that Hrsh is very different conceptually from the Tsolyáni gods. However, this entry doesn’t actually tell you who Hrsh is, or that he’s a Mu’ugalavyáni god.
[01:03:25] 24. Púrohlan Znamríshsha Kagékte. It’s interesting that this is written in Bednálljan, given that Pavár only described the pantheon at the end of that era. So who wrote it? Pavár? James notes that there’s actually several centuries between Pavár’s revelation of the pantheon and the acceptance of the new order.
[01:07:03] James feels like they need to discuss divine intervention in more depth, given how much it’s come up.
Hosts: James Maliszewski and Victor J. Raymond.
Producer: Thomas Tiggleman
Flamesong, Professor Barker’s second novel set on Tékumel, is finally back in print. You can purchase the paperback through Amazon. It’s also available as an ebook for Kindle, Nook, or Kobo.
Tékumel Products Referenced:
Empire of the Petal Throne is the original Tékumel sourcebook and rules set. It was first published by TSR in 1975. It can be purchased as a print-on-demand book, or as a PDF from DriveThruRPG.
The Book of Ebon Bindings is fantastic, but currently out-of-print. The 1978 (or was it 1979?) edition was published by Imperium Publishing. Theatre of the Mind Enterprises re-printed it in 1991.
Swords & Glory Vol. 1 (a.k.a. the “Source Book”) was first published by Gamescience in 1983. It is a detailed sourcebook for the world of Tékumel. You can purchase it as a print-on-demand book, or as a PDF from DriveThruRPG.
Dragon Magazine was originally published by TSR, and titled The Dragon until 1980 with issue #39.
The Dragon #11 was cover-dated December 1977 and its above-referenced “Seal of the Imperium” article can be viewed or downloaded free-of-charge from the Tékumel Foundation here.
The Excellent Travelling Volume is a fanzine written and edited by our very own James Maliszewski. All 13 issues are available as PDFs from DriveThruRPG, or in print via the TETV website or Lulu.
There were several supplements for the Gardásiyal ruleset in the Adventures on Tékumel line. They were published between 1992 and 1994 by Theatre of the Mind Enterprises and are now out-of-print.
“The Almighty Gods of Yán Kór” is an article written by Prof. Barker. It discusses the beliefs of the Yán Kòryáni. It can be purchased as a PDF from DriveThruRPG.
The Armies of Tékumel books were published in six volumes by several companies over a twenty year span beginning in 1978. All are now out-of-print, and some are harder to acquire secondhand than others. In addition to miniature painting guides for the respective armies, these volumes detail military units, their equipment and commanders.
Non-Tékumel Things Referenced:
James M. Ward created Metamorphosis Alpha, a sci-fi roleplaying game first published by TSR in 1976. You can learn more about it here. It has seen several editions over the years, and can be considered an antecedent to Ward and Jaquet’s Gamma World, which was published by TSR two years later.