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Kurt Hills Atlas $44.95 $14.95
Publisher: UNIGames
by Zygmunt L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/09/2018 17:40:59

The Kurt Hills Atlas is probably the first standalone campaign setting for Tékumel. A lot of background material has been published since the original Empire of the Petal Throne (EPT) game in 1975, but it always required the GM to weave it into a campaign.

The Atlas is nominally designed for the Bethorm Tékumel RPG, but you can use it with any game system from Empire of the Petal Throne on.

Original EPT provided a map of Tékumel, divided into hexes, which are 133 km across. The Kurt Hills are located to the north-west of Jakalla. The Atlas describes 46 of the Kurt Hills hexes in detail. For each hex it describes 10-20 'interesting' locations. It covers terrain, the Sákbe roads, cities, towns, villages as well as other notable places: markets, festivals, temples, ruins, the odd nexus point and tubeway car stop. The Atlas also describes the clans active in the region and the local Sé'lyau or religious societies - a nice complication for priests of the usual 20 Tekumelani deities.

There are various plots included in the Atlas.

  1. The Kurtani Foundationists are Kurtani Stability fanatics trying to get rid of Dhich'uné supporters. This is an interesting idea, but there is only a page plus some scattered hints. The Foundationists would make an interesting antagonist for a long-term campaign, but need to be fleshed out in much more detail.

  2. The Stations of Brave Peripatation are a linked set of 25 locations. This is a good excuse for a quest-type campaign, involving adventurers, merchants, priests, sorcerers or nobles. There is an in-game reason for visiting these, to encourage merchants to learn the produce of the region, but they could be used as a way to get the usual 'off the boat' starting characters elevated to minor levels of respectability.

  3. There are 250 plot hooks "Featured Text" scattered through the text. These range from a single paragraph to half a page. There are legends the PCs can learn, traditions, mercantile opportunities, descriptions of local creatures, some local personages of note and the odd demon. These are a really nice concept, and should provide inspiration for the

The Atlas is a great backdrop to a classic adventuring campaign on Tékumel, involving travel, encounters and the occasional underworld expedition. The main weakness, if you want to run a higher-level, more political campaign, there is lots of good background, but the GM will need to define the high level individuals and factions, along with their byzantine political plots.

The Atlas is available as a PDF. It took me a while to work out it is also available as a print-on-demand hardback/softback via Lulu. It is 225 pages plus a comprehensive 26 page index. The Atlas is illustrated with line drawings of life on Tékumel, characters and wildlife, all by Talzhemir. The illustrations feel like Tékumel. You probably want both versions to run a campaign, as you will want to print individual map hexes from the PDF.

Highly recommended.

[4 of 5 Stars!]