Thursday, June 17, 2021

House of Worms, Sessions 228–229

The journey by riverboat from Avanthár to Béy Sü was short (just under two days) and peaceful, a welcome change from the chaos and upheaval of the last few weeks. Also traveling on the boat was an older clan mate of Nebússa, Qeqélmu hiSsáivra, the Dritlán of the first cohort of the First Legion of Ever-Present Glory. Since his younger days, Grujúng has been an admirer of Kettukál hiMraktiné, the Kérdu of the said legion. He used this as an opportunity to approach Qeqélmu as a fellow legionnaire and to trade war stories. To his surprise, Qeqélmu proved to be much more approachable than either his clan or exalted position would suggest. From him, Grujúng learned about more about the war in the northeast involving Yán Kór, Sa'á Allaqí, and Milumanayá, as well as Tsolyánu's wait-and-see attitude about the conflict. He added that he was returning to Béy Sü to deliver new orders to Kettukál from the Petal Throne.

At the end of the journey, the characters split up to seek places to stay in the city. Grujúng and Lady Srüna headed to the Golden Bough clan house in the northern part of the city. Since Keléno's first wife, Hmásu, is a member of the same clan and cousin to Nebússa, he joined them, as did Kirktá (who has, more or less, become Keléno's "apprentice"). Meanwhile, Aíthfo sought out the Black Stone clan house, along with Znayáshu, Chiyé, and the Ksárul sorcerers who had accompanied them. Black Stone is the clan of Aíthfo's new wife, Ta'ána, as well as that of Lára hiKhánuma, leader of the sorcerers. Grujúng had no interest in traveling with either group, preferring instead to seek out lodgings in the barracks of the temple guards of the Temple of Sárku. 

At the Golden Bough clan house, Nebússa intended, first and foremost, to speak with his fathers and mothers. When he left Béy Sü several years ago, he did so under the cover of being a sybaritic wastrel, an identity he'd adopted for his work with the Omnipotent Azure Legion. Most of his clan (aside from Múresh hiQolyélmu, an important figure within the Legion) had no idea that his public persona was a carefully constructed pose. Up to this point, Nebússa had been a disappointment to his clan; his family was therefore overjoyed to learn the truth. 

Nebússa followed up this new by introducting Srüna, his betrothed. As a relation of the Disposer of Méku, the hereditary governor of that city, Srüna greatly impressed Nebússa's class-conscious relations. They asked him how soon the pair planned to wed. Nebússa admitted that he and Srüna had not yet set a day. Another question followed: how long was Nebússa planning to stay in the capital? He replied that he had no fixed schedule, though his original intention was to leave in a few days. His family was disappointed; they explained that, since they could not publicly celebrate his activities as an agent of the OAL, they now hoped that they might be able to host his wedding to Srüna in high style. After all, what sort of celebration could he hope to have in far-off Linyaró? 

After a few minutes of discussion, Nebússa and Srüna agreed to the clan's plans, even though it would take time to arrange. For one, it would three weeks at the earliest before Srüna's clan in Méku could be contacted and arrive in Béy Sü for the nuptials. Furthermore, there would need to be many invitations sent to people of significance in the capital. As Nebússa would later learn, one of those invited was Tíkuru hiTlaktonái, clan master of the Tlakotáni holdings in the north of the Empire. Though not a member of the imperial line, Tíkuru was nevertheless an important man in Béy Sü. His attendance at the wedding would be a huge boon to the position of the Golden Bough. Likewise, through one of Nebússa's fathers, an invitation was sent to Kettukál hiMraktiné – another coup for the clan if the Kérdu should choose to attend.

Keléno found little of this of interest. He set off for the Palace of the Realm to meet with its prefect, Di'iqén hiSayúncha, to gain permission to look into Engsvanyáli records about the Southern Continent. Di'iqén received him and happily granted his request. Keléno, aided by Kirktá, then settled in to scour the records. Keléno he might gain greater insights into the current situation on the Achgé Peninsula. The other members of the House of Worms clan spent their time sightseeing in Béy Sü, visiting the Pyramid of Ssirandár III, the Great Square, and the elegant shops and prosperous businesses of the city. After a time, all three groups met up and exchanged information. Znayáshu was slightly vexed to learn about Nebússa's upcoming wedding. He did not wish to remain in the capital for three weeks, suggesting that they needed to return to Linyaró as soon as possible. Unfortunately for him, no one else saw the urgency and instead thought they should take advantage of their current situation. After all, when would they be in the capital of the Imperium again?

Keléno and Kirktá returned to examining records, while most of the others set out to buy themselves attire appropriate to the wedding celebrations. Aíthfo, on the other hand, thought this might be an opportunity to check in with the local Temple of Ksárul seeking an exchange of information. He assumed, as a devotee of Ksárul himself, as well as the governor of Linyaró, he'd be well received, Instead, the temple's administrative high priest, Menték hiSayúncha, met him with some suspicion. It took Aíthfo a long time to convince Menték that they had interests in common and, even then, the high priest remained aloof. Aíthfo explained that he simply hoped to learn more about what he had happened in Linyaró and that, if anyone would know, it was the Temple of Ksárul in the capital. Menték seemed flattered by this suggestion and opened up somewhat. As their conversation continued, Menték admitted that all was well in Linyaró and that "the right people" were keeping the colony safe, by which he strongly implied he meant the Temple of Ksárul. Aíthfo feigned pleasure upon hearing this and learned as much as he could – which was not much, given the distance between Linyaró and Tsolyánu – before leaving the temple and heading back to meet his companions.


  1. This, for me, is what roleplaying in Tékumel is all about: the kinds of interactions that the setting and cultures foster. Much as I enjoyed reading the recent accounts of Ssu-smiting, I find this more intriguing.

    1. It's my favorite part of the campaign too. There are regularly long stretches, sometimes lasting months, where combat and "typical" RPG activities don't occur. Instead, it's just social interactions and politicking between factions, etc. Though the upcoming wedding of Nebússa and Srüna was not something I expected, I'm glad it's now on the menu, so to speak. I imagine the next few sessions will be lots of fun.

    2. I’m with Keléno on this one.

      Off-topic but, in the story you related in the Wandering DMs interview, what did they need the planetary defense emplacement to fire on?

    3. Strictly speaking, they didn't need it at all. It's a very long and convoluted story, spanning months of game play. In short: Aíthfo was believed by the Naqsái of the city-state of Mánmikel to be the mortal vessel of their tutelary deity Eyenál, whom they believed would lead them in glorious battle against a rival city-state. According to local legend, Eyenál once wielded a "might sword" that his servitor took with him when he left his service. This servitor founded the city-state of Miktatáin. So, the characters all set off for Miktatáin in hopes of finding what they thought was a weapon of great power.

      They weren't wrong, just ill-informed about the nature of the "sword." As it turned out, the Sword wasn't operational anyway and finding the power necessary to make it work was near-impossible. So, in the end, the Sword of Eyenál was never used at all.

    4. Thanks! Did the players laugh when they realized the ride you’d taken them on?

    5. Laugh? Not exactly. Most of them really enjoyed the revelation and felt it added a lot to their sense of Tékumel as a fallen high-tech world. Their only disappointment was realizing it was highly unlikely they'd ever get to fire a giant laser at their enemies.

  2. Where do we find the happy couple's gift registry? :)