Episode 6: “Empire of the Petal Throne, Part 1”
Welcome to The Hall of Blue Illumination, a podcast dedicated to the world of M.A.R. Barker’s Tékumel. Scott has recently started an Empire of the Petal Throne game, so in this episode we discuss some of the more abstruse aspects of the 1975 rules set.
Our hosts close out the episode with pronunciations of the names of the Five Gods of Stability.
[00:01:20] In Scott’s youth, he believed the 1975 rules set inferior to more modern rule systems. But now he now realizes that EPT is a wonderful game as written.
[00:02:45] What is meant by “bonuses to hit dice” with respect to Basic Talents? Hint, it’s not like D&D. Instead, these bonuses are to your “to hit dice” i.e., your attack roll. (See EPT §§ 411-412, p. 15; § 710, p. 30)
[00:07:37] Rules for finding secret doors and detecting traps. (EPT § 412, p. 16; see also EPT § 1210, p. 62)
[00:10:22] Constitution modifiers in EPT do not modify hit points. (EPT § 413, p. 17)
[00:13:30] Constitution scores can affect one’s ability to use eyes, or to be revivified. (EPT § 413, p. 17)
[00:16:20] Unless you’ve picked up the original playtest rules, you won’t know that Comeliness wasn’t an original EPT statistic. This provides a window into Professor Barker’s approach to roleplaying.
[00:20:09] Real world analogs to Tsolyáni foods, tsi’il, hmá, and hmélu.
[00:20:52] In a “fresh off the boat” campaign, how do you reconcile the civilized Tsolyáni skills in § 420 with foreign player characters?
[00:25:19] How do you reconcile high rolls for original skills (which can yield patrician skills) with plebian characters, and vice versa? (EPT § 420, p. 18)
[00:27:16] EPT’s skill system predicts the non-weapon proficiencies of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons.
[00:28:06] The chance of succeeding at a skill is determined by rolling on the Chances of Spells Working Table (EPT § 434, p. 21).
[00:29:10] James reveals one of his house rules: occasionally, he transposes high Basic Talent scores to the Psychic Ability Chart (EPT § 414, p. 17) and where this chart gives bonuses to spells working, adds that to appropriate skill rolls.
[00:30:05] How do you handle ability checks? Players can simply attempt to roll under the score, or roll under the average of the character’s strength, intelligence, and dexterity. (EPT § 725, p. 33)
[00:32:46] A one-minute combat round is standard in EPT. (EPT § 724, p. 33) Why? It’s a legacy of the abstract combat system present in ‘70s-era war-gaming. (See AD&D 1st Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide, p. 61)
[00:37:58] Players frequently forget that EPT combat rounds are fought in pairs. Therefore, if a defender is slain during the attacker’s round, he still gets a chance to strike a dying blow. (EPT § 724)
[00:38:30] In Swords & Glory, the combat round is six-seconds. (S&G Vol. 2 § 2.500, p. 87)
[00:39:07] Swords & Glory and Gardásiyal are more granular systems.
[00:41:25] “Gods, Cohorts, and Divine Intervention” is a massive add-on that D&D would later mirror in Deities and Demigods. (EPT § 2100, p. 86)
[00:42:22] Pronunciation guide for the names of the Tlomitlányal (the Five “Gods” of Stability).
[00:47:25] The pronunciation of kh in the languages of the Five Empires.
Hosts: Scott Kellogg, James Maliszewski, and Victor J. Raymond
Empire of the Petal Throne is available as a PDF from RPGNow.
The original manuscript of Empire of the Petal Throne is available as a PDF from RPGNow.
Swords & Glory Vol. 2 is available as a PDF or in print from RPGNow.
The Gardásiyal rules set is out-of-print. It was originally published by Theatre of the Mind Enterprises between 1992 and 1994.
The original Chainmail rules were published by Gary Gygax and Jeff Perren in 1971. They are available as a PDF from RPGNow.
The Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 1st Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide is available as a PDF from RPGNow.
The “From the Sorcerer’s Scroll” article Victor referenced appears in The Dragon #24 (April 1979). It was reprinted in The Best of Dragon Magazine, Vol. 2 (1981).