Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bethorm has arrived!

Yesterday I got to open a package I have been waiting for. Once again there's a Tekumel game in print! Jeff Dee's Bethorm has arrived at my door.

Tekumel is one of those games everyone knows about as "that weird game you need a degree in tekumelian studies to run". It's often that way with the games that step outside the box. There's nothing so simple as a horse, everything has multiple limbs and are named weirdly. For some of us, that's a siren call of the Strange and the Fantastic not always found the realms of fantasy and science fiction, strangely enough.

So how is the game? Well, I just got it and I almost never read a game from cover to cover, and when I do it takes me multiple weeks. But, I can give some initial impressions.

One of the things that always throws me into a sense of dislocation when I read about Tekumel is the weird creatures. I have found multiple hacks online adapting this or that game system to model Tekumel. Sadly, most of them lack one thing really vital to "get" a strange setting and that is illustrations. How convenient Jeff is a visual artist! Guess what? Bethorm contains illustrations of all those weird creatures. This alone is worth a lot to make this game one you'll want to get if you're curious about Tekumel. Finally you can put your copy of Man of Gold aside when a creature is mentioned, look it up in Bethorm and then go back to the novel with a picture in your mind of what's in the story. Really useful.

Something else useful is that before getting into details like how you make a character or how the game system works, you get a section on how to GM a game in Tekumel. It makes me wonder why not more games start with a section on the "core activities" and a few campaign frames.

All in all this looks, from a very cursory inspection, to be an interesting addition to the different rules sets that have been available for Tekumel. My only puzzlement from a visual standpoint is why on earth the text is set in a non serif type?

More impressions will follow as I read on.

2 comments:

  1. Hey, I'd love to hear more about this. I'm such a Tekumel geek I bought the Tsolyani language books back when I was a teen.

    Also, we should be in touch more. I still miss you and Anna!

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  2. Yeah we should, totally agree about that.

    I am on something of a Tekumel spin myself right now.

    For some reason I've decided that Brett Slocum's pronouncement of 2015 as "the year of Tekumel" means I have to run a Tekumel game soon after the new year dawns.

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