Thursday, December 25, 2014

Playing in Tekumel, with Fate

I have been quite curious about Tekumel a while now. More and more Tekumel texts have assembled on my sagging shelves, and I have decided to take a dive into the deep end and run a game in the new year. Bethorm arrived and I blogged about my impressions. Having read a bit more in it I'm now pretty clear I wont run that game. It's a bit too fiddly for me. But, the game system I have been using lately, Fate, might do the trick.

Fate is a very different game. Different from almost all other traditional games I've been playing for all these years. Trying to adapt Fate for Tekumel I've found one of the reasons for that. If you were to become enamoured by Savage Worlds or GURPS and wanted to convert your old game to that new system, is would mainly be a question about how to map the different systems to each other. Magic works in one way in the original system, and then the question is how to make the target magic system to behave that way. Fate is different. I have found that when I started to do a "generic" conversion it felt a bit rough in places. It turns out that the game you want to play will strongly influence how you do it.

My first idea for a Tekumel game centred around a clan house. I figured it would be easiest to keep the game within one clan, within one location and centre is around interaction between clan siblings.

It turned out to be harder than I thought to model this by figuring out how to make the rules for the usual cabal of magic-user, cleric and fighters. I dived deep into the intricacies of Tekumel metaphysics and magic and suddenly I had a game where magic way more complicated than anything else in the game. But, magic was not intended as the big focus of the game! I found out it is very easy to use the so called "Fate fractal" to take that literally and recursively deep into a tailspin of complexity.

That was when I realized what I wrote above, the game you want to play will strongly influence how you do it. Fate is a game system that change depending on how you handle it. Once again I had been fooled. Once again the strangeness of it all had exposed how I had approached the game I was planning with an approach that the rules was something I brought to the game, not something that adapted to the game. I wonder if I will ever feel comfortable with that!

Now I have a set of Fate rule guidelines for a Tekumelian game, and once I have written it all down from my handwritten notes I will put them up for perusal.
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