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|Rules and Ideas
|The Armies and Enemies of the Empire of the Petal Throne|
|Some of you may remember "The Empire of the Petal Throne”. Published by TSR in the 1970's, it was the first fantasy role-playing game to feature a fully developed setting, including actual languages. Professor M.A.R. Barker’s multi-faceted and mysterious world - Tékumel - has its foundation neither in Medieval Europe nor the imagination of Tolkien – it is not even based on Earth. As well as providing an excellent setting for role-playing games, Tékumel has a rich military background to draw upon for miniatures battlegaming with some of the most exotic armies you are ever likely to manoeuvre across the table-top. |
Tékumel now comes to Eureka Miniatures in the form of a steadily expanding range of miniature figures, officially sanctioned by Professor Barker, and sculpted by Alan Marsh. What follows is an introduction to this imaginative and fantastic world. The information will be expanded here as we release more figures.
Imagine a world slightly larger than earth, and slightly hotter, with two moons and four sister planets, all revolving around a star much like ours. A planet discovered by our star-faring descendants and their Alien allies.
It’s hostile indigenous races conquered and subdued; its poisonous flora all but eradicated, the world becomes a hub for the interstellar commerce of a vast star empire and home to a multitude of species as well as mankind.
Imagine this world engulfed by some unknown – and now unknowable – catastrophe that shifted its system out of normal space and into some sort of other-dimensional rift. In this “Time of Darkness”, as this time is known in legends, cut off from the rest of known space, their world racked by volcanoes, earthquakes and tidal waves, the remnants of human and alien communities alike struggled to survive. Civilization crashed and began an inexorable plunge into barbarity and despair.
Now imagine the same world renewed; civilization rebuilt from the ground up over the course of some twenty five millennia as humanity strove to get on its feet again. It is a much altered world. Much has been lost and the new cultures remember their distant origins only in vague myths and legends. Technology is only half-remembered, the current level being roughly equivalent to that of Ancient Rome at its height. In its place mankind has learned to harness inter-planar forces to create what we would call magic. Humanity’s Alien allies survive in their enclaves in a similar state, sometimes warring on their human neighbours, sometimes befriending them. Tékumel’s original inhabitants still exist in their own enclaves, hostile to all the invaders of their home world.
Five great empires now sprawl across the surface of the planet Tékumel, interspersed with numerous lesser nations and tribal groups. Humanity is the most numerous and powerful of these. The greatest empire is Tsolyánu, also known as the Empire of the Petal Throne. To the North lies Yán Kór, a land of squabbling city-states and petty overlords, united by the Baron Áld. To the West is Mu’ugalavyá, a militaristic land ruled by a rigid oligarchy. To the East lies Salarvyá, the Ebon Kingdom, ruled by a mad king. To the South is Livyánu, a land of Shadow Gods and sorcery. Beyond that are the lands of the Shén - a reptilian species originally from Antares; the Empire of Shényu being the greatest of their realms.
Tsolyánu – The Empire of the Petal Throne
Spanning an area larger than that of present day Europe on earth, Tsolyánu is governed by a complex bureaucracy at the apex of which sits the Seal Emperor, Divine God-King of the Sidereal Universe, in all his resplendent glory. To ensure its defence, the Empire maintains a vast standing army consisting of legions of heavy and medium infantry, archers, crossbowmen, light infantry and slingers, engineers, artillery and marines. These legions are distributed along the borders and throughout the Empire itself. The Empire is currently embroiled in a war with Yán Kór and many legions are now congregated on the Northern border as a result.
Leading those legions are two Princes of the Imperial line: Prince Esélne commands the Western theatre of operations, while Prince Mirusíya, commands in the East. Serving with Esélne is the renowned General Kéttukal, First General of the Empire, and veteran of many wars. A loyal supporter of Prince Esélne, the General has been brought out of forced retirement to direct the thrust north into Yán Kór. Spearheading his army is Kéttukal’s own unit - The First Legion of Ever-Present Glory.
The First Legion of Ever-Present Glory, 1st Imperial Heavy Infantry
The General’s own unit, this ancient and revered legion is normally stationed in Sokátis guarding the Empire’s eastern border. It now heads the army congregating at Khirgár in the far north of the realm. The legion consists of twenty cohorts, each 400 strong. They wear heavy coat-of-plates armour, crested helmets, and are armed with long spears, swords and shields. Five cohorts have short composite bows.
The Legion of Sérqu, Sword of the Empire, the 14th Imperial Heavy Infantry
One of the oldest units in the army of Tsolyánu, and always commanded by General " Sérqu”, the name taken by their leader when he rises to command the legion in accordance with the ancient tradition. The Legion of Sérqu is composed of heavy infantry spearmen, and the legion is currently at full strength, consisting of twenty 400-man cohorts. Eleven of the cohorts also have bows.
The legion's current general is one of the Empire's finest field officers. He has been placed in command of those forces around the City of Khirgar, on Tsolyánu's Northern Border, where the Empire of the Petal Throne is being threatened by the army of Yán Kór, led by the Baron Áld.
Warfare on Tékumel
For Tsolyánu and it's neighbours, there are two types of war: the Qadárnikoi (or “Little War”) and the Qadárdàlikoi (or “Great War”). The former are ritual battles fought between small forces – often in peacetime – with the goal of attaining glory for the participants. The conduct of the little war is strictly controlled and there are generally few, if any casualties, even on the losing side. The Qadárdàlikoi, on the other hand, is all-out war waged without mercy or remorse.
The current war with Yán Kór is a Qadárdàlikoi, fueled in this case by the Baron Áld’s hatred of the Tsolyáni. In 2,356AS* the war was started by accident, before his forces were fully prepared, when border skirmishes escalated into a larger action. His hand tipped, the Baron recovered quickly, seizing the strategic Átkolel Heights near Tsolyánu’s North-Western border and striking down the massif’s eastern and western flanks at the main Tsolyáni cities in the region: Khirgár, in the east; Chéne Hó, to the west; and little Si’ís, between the two. The Tsolyáni responded deftly and after a series of battles halted the Yán Koryáni advances, pushing them back on both flanks. The Yán Koryáni still hold the Átkolel Heights, however, and this formidable position provides them with a bastion from which to launch further attacks.
Both sides are now marshalling their forces. The Tsolyáni are stronger but cannot easily advance around the Heights for fear of exposing their supply lines to attacks from the Yán Koryáni still ensconced there. And so something of a stalemate has been reached as the Tsolyáni prepare to assault the Heights in force. The Legions of Ever-Present Glory and Serqu, Sword of the Empire, are just two of the legions now stationed in the North East facing off against the Yán Koryáni. As heavy infantry they will be the mainstay in any battles to come.
*AS = “After the Seal” (of the Imperium).
Lying to the North of Tsolyánu on the other side of the Desert of Sighs, Yán Kór was at one time a collection of feuding city states, oligarchies and clans that fought amongst themselves as much as they did with their neighbours. This all changed with the arrival of Baron Áld. Through his force of will, military prowess and personal charisma Áld gradually brought all the disparate factions together, uniting them under one rule. His ascendancy inevitably brought him into conflict with Tsolyánu which sent many expeditions north to try and quash this upstart. These all failed, but in time a Tsolyáni force arrived at the gates of Ke'ér, the Baron's capital, and laid siege. The Baron's mistress Yilrána held the city and refused to surrender it to the surrounding Tsolyáni. The city quickly fell and Yilrána was impaled - the traditional fate of all uncooperative city governors who defy the Imperium. When the Baron returned he found the city razed and his beloved horribly slain.
Swearing vengeance against the Petal Throne, Áld has plotted his revenge, gradually uniting the nations of the North against the Tsolyáni Empire. Saá Allaqí in the South-East, Pijéna and Ghatón in the West have offered some or all of their forces; even distant Chayákku sends aid. Mercenaries flock to the Baron's standard: Reptilian Shen and brutish, multi-limbed Ahoggyá; the rodent-like Pygmy Folk; tall N'lüss warriors from the North-West and Lorún tribesmen from the far North. And he readies his great secret: "the Weapon Without Answer".
The City of Tléku Miriyá
The Desert of Sighs is a formidable obstacle to those who approach Yán Kór from the South. Its wastes are inhabited by predatory Milumanayáni tribesmen and even without their presence it would be difficult to supply an army during any crossing. There are two ways around: through mountainous Saá Allaqí in the east and Pijéna in the west, lying just north of the Atkotél Heights.
The city of Tléku Miriyá lies in South-Eastern Yán Kór where Jannu range runs east from the Desert of Sighs, forming the Northern border with Saá Allaqí. Overlooked by the mighty peak Borodon Head, Tléku Miriyá guards this passage into Yán Kór proper.
The Guréks of Tléku Miriyá
Whereas the Tsolyáni organize their forces into legions of a specific size and type, such as heavy infantry or crossbowmen, the Yán Koryáni use much larger, composite formations known as Guréks. This is partly because the Yán Koryáni forces are raised by individual cities or powerful clans. Each Gurék contains a variety of troop types, of varying strengths, depending upon the city or clan that raised it.
Lord Zhú Kriyór, clan leader of Tléku Miriyá has raised two Guréks for the Baron’s cause. The crossbowmen of this city are famed for their accuracy.
The first Gurék consists of 5000 heavy infantry with long spears, swords and shields; 3000 medium infantry with throwing spears, swords and shields; 2500 crossbowmen with medium crossbows, swords and large pavise shields; and 1000 artillerymen who serve 125 onagers.
The second Gurék is made up of 5000 medium infantry armed with pikes, short swords and shields; 4000 crossbowmen with medium crossbows, swords and large pavise shields; and 12000 light infantry with slings and bows.
The Gurék of the Valiant of Ke’ér
The Baron's capital, the city of Ke’ér, is located on Point Ke’ér on the shores of the Pentrúrtra Deeps, the sea which forms much of Yán Kór's northern border. The Gurék of the Valiant of Ke’ér is now led by the mysterious Lord Fú Shí’i.
As is common with all Yán Koryáni cities, the Gurék of the Valiant of Ke’ér consists of multiple troop types. There are 2000 heavy infantry in scale armour, with spear and shield; 6000 medium infantry with mace and shield; and 3000 archers.
The Gurék of the Turquoise Eye
The city of Khárcha Sárk is located in eastern Yán Kór, almost 700 tsan (931 km) due north of the City of Tléku Miriyá, and approximately 1100 tsan (1463 km) north-east of Ke'er.
The clan leader, Lord Kharcha, is a longstanding and loyal supporter of Baron Áld, having been instrumental in helping him to gain the position of power over Yán Kór that he now holds.
The troops of this Gurék are considered to be elite. There are 4000 heavy infantry in scale armour, with spear and shield; 4000 medium infantry with spear and shield; and 2000 archers.
Lord Fú Shí’i
An advisor to Baron Áld, Lord Fú Shí’i is a powerful sorcerer with mysterious origins. Some say he is not even human, others that he comes from a land on the other side of Tékumel’s polar region. Whatever his nature or origin, he wields great power in the Baron’s court. After the Sack of Ke’ér and the death of the Áld’s beloved Yilrána, Lord Fú Shí’i was appointed to lead the Gurék of that city – “The Valiant of Ke’ér”. Its former commander had been the clan leader of the city, slain by the Baron for failing to safeguard the city (and Yilrána.)
The Lord Fú Shí’i aids the Baron with more than mere advice, using his sorcery to bend the shape shifting Mihalli to his will, forcing them to aid the Baron with their ability to move between the planes. And he has provided Baron Áld with perhaps his greatest secret, the “Weapon Without Answer”, with which he intends to bring about the destruction of the Empire of the Petal Throne.
The Mihálli are creatures of legend, great sorcerers and alien shape shifters with the ability to travel between the planes of existence. They are described as having “skin of a deep bronze-red hue, with darker fur so short that it was like the nap of a carpet down it’s back and around its jaws and ears, a fanged bestial snout, six dark nipples on its belly, hands that had five fingers and a thumb, [and] a costume that consisted of no more than a harness of straps and pouches.”
Painting your Tékumel figures:
There are two important things to remember when painting Tékumel figures:
1) Humanity of the far future is much more homogenous than today. Hair should be black and skin tones are a rich coppery tan, lighter and more golden for women. There are none of the races that exist today, and no “blue-eyed-blondes”.
2) The uniforms of the legions reflect both their religious affiliation as well as their nationality. The various nations tend to favour certain colours, as do the various temples. Tsolyánu favours azure blue; the Yán Koryáni use green; the Mu’ugalavyáni prefer red; the Salarvyáni favour black, while the Livyáni use many bright colours.
All human flesh: arms, legs and other exposed flesh should be a rich copper-tinged tan colour as per Mesoamerican Indians; a little paler for females.
Painting The Legions of Tsolyánu – The Empire of the Petal Throne
Azure blue should be the predominant colour.
The Legion of Ever-Present Glory:
Helmet: Gold basic colour, red plume and blue trim.
Armour: Azure Blue basic colour, White kilt and red trim.
Shield: Main colour: gold, Second colour: blue, Trim: black.
Leather - straps, boots, pteruges, etc: choice.
Standard: Main Colour: gold, Second colour: White, Third Colour: Red.
The Legion of Sérqu:
Helmet: Azure blue basic colour, White plume and Gold trim.
Armour: Azure Blue basic colour, White kilt and Gold trim.
Shield: Main colour : Azure Blue, Second colour: White, Trim: Gold.
Leather - straps, boots, pteruges, etc: choice.
Standard: Main Colour: Azure blue, Second colour: White, Third Colour: Red.
Painting The Guréks of Yán Kór
Green should be the predominant colour for the Yán Koryáni, although there are some exceptions such as the Gurek of the Turquoise Eye. A popular style was to enamel the helmet panels alternating green and the main colour of the gurék. Various styles are possible. For example, the Valiant of Ke'er Heavy Infantry could have black scale armour, green kilt, red leather overkilt and shoulder straps, green shoulder pads and chest plate, with red trim. Armbands green. Or the overkilt straps and shoulder straps could be green with red tips, or kilt straps could be red and shoulder straps green, or vis versa.
The medium infantry could have black breastplate, green kilt, green shoulder pads with red trim. Boots were often black with green front plates.
The First Gurék of Tléku Miriyá:
Helmet: white basic colour, bright green plume and black trim.
Armour: white basic colour, black kilt and bright green trim.
Shield: Main colour: white, Second colour: black, Trim: bright green.
Leather - straps, boots, pteruges, etc: bright green.
Standard: Main Colour: white, Second colour: black, Third Colour: bright green.
The Second Gurék of Tléku Miriyá:
Helmet: yellow basic colour, bright green plume and black trim.
Armour: yellow basic colour, black kilt and bright green trim.
Shield: Main colour : yellow, Second colour: black, Trim: bright green.
Leather - straps, boots, pteruges, etc: bright green.
Standard: Main Colour: yellow, Second colour: black, Third Colour: bright green.
The Gurék of the Valiant of Ke'er:
Helmet: bright green basic colour, black plume and red trim.
Armour: black basic colour, bright green kilt and red trim.
Shield: Main colour: medium green, Second colour: black, Trim: red.
Leather - straps, boots, pteruges, etc: black.
Standard: Main Colour: bright green, Second colour: black, Third Colour: red.
The Gurék of the Turquoise Eye:
Helmet: turquoise basic colour, red plume and gold trim.
Armour: turquoise basic colour, red kilt and gold trim.
Shield: Main colour: black, Second colour: turquoise, Trim: gold.
Leather - straps, boots, pteruges, etc: red.
Standard: Main Colour: turquoise, Second colour: red, Third Colour: gold.
‘Tekumel’ and ‘The Empire of the Petal Throne’ are the creation of M.A.R. Barker and are copyrighted by him. This range has been created with his approval.
Additional information can be found online at
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