Wednesday, November 11, 2020

OSE EPT Spells

As I mentioned the other day, I'm in the midst of revising Empire of the Petal Throne with an eye toward making it easier to use and comprehend, taking the superb Old School Essentials as my guide. I'm tackling spells at the moment, which is a microcosm of my overall project. 

In 1975 EPT, spells are divided into three groups, namely Group I, Group II, and Group III. Each group represents an increasing level of power and complexity. With some notable exceptions, EPT's spells are modeled on those in OD&D, both in content and mechanics. In later presentations of Tékumel, there are still three groups of spells, but they are named Universal, Generic, and Temple spells. Universal spells are shared by all spellcasters, while Generic spells are limited to certain sub-sets of them. Temple spells, as you might imagine, are limited to casters associated with a particular temple. 

Since "real" Tékumel makes use of the Universal, Generic, and Temple distinction, for my revision I'm doing the same, replacing Groups I, II, and III with them. However, I much prefer the simpler, open-ended presentation of spells in EPT to their more developed presentations in later games like Swords & Glory and Gardásiyal. So, a big part of what I am doing is reworking the Tékumel spell corpus into something that's both true to the source material and more in line with the flexible simplicity I so enjoy about old school game design.

I have no idea whether I'll be successful or not, but I'm pleased with my progress so far. As I head farther down this road, I'll be offering additional updates here. It's also quite likely that I'll be sharing the drafts with interested parties for comment and, quite possibly, conducting playtests of the material. I'm especially interested in seeing how gamers unfamiliar with Tékumel find the new presentation of EPT, since it's my hope that this revision might provide a welcoming point of entry for newcomers to M.A.R. Barker's amazing fantasy world.

1 comment:

  1. That looks quite good! I am quite fond of the exotic names of some of the spells in the later rules sets. The OD&D ones feel a bit more bland to me. But, they are way too many, and hard to grasp for the neophyte Tekumel GM, I'd gather.

    Looking forward to seeing more of this work!