RPGNow.com
Browse Categories
 Publisher Info













Back
Kurt Hills Atlas $44.95 $14.95
Average Rating:4.5 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
0 1
0 1
0 0
0 0
0 0
Kurt Hills Atlas
Click to view
Kurt Hills Atlas
Publisher: UNIGames
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/01/2018 08:41:34

POSITIVES

This is an amazing fantasy atlas, period. Forget Tékumel. As the description of an imagined land, it's one the best fantasy guides I've read in years. Although crammed with information, it didn't overwhelm me into some paralysing stupor. Instead, it made me want to play ... in this case, on Tékumel!

The Kurt Hills, as a geographical zone, offer a great balance of well settled, cultivated regions and wild areas filled with sometimes unfriendly locals and weird flora and fauna; the Hills pretty much look like the world-famous karst hills of tropical South China. A referee could plop his or her group of adventurers anywhere in the Kurt Hills and have them immediately caught in a web of local stories, traffics, and long established politcal deals and relationships that would take many campaigns to unravel and weave through.

The Kurt Hills are divided into large hexagons, which are themselves subdivided into smaller hexes. Each chapter of the book starts with an overview of a particular Large Hex before going into more or less short entries on the unique features that dot the land, one Small Hex after another.

So what do we get? Everything! New plant and animal species, weird ruins, and beautiflly detailed bits on unique local customs (related to weddings, cultivation, hunting, charcoal making techniques, etc.). We get important NPCs (clan leaders, politicians, priests, "a valuable slave", etc.), bizarre cults, local folk tales, stange hills, creepy swamps, hints of large underground ruins, new sorts of Underpeople (who are numerous in the area, thanks to its remoteness), exotic local delicacies, plenty of local, colorful politics and rumours, unique biomes, etc. It's rich ... and it feels alive.

The Index is fantastic It's very detailed and thorough, which makes up for the lack of hyperlinks. Thank the gods for great Tékumel-related indexes. If there's one fantasy world that requires it, it's M.A.R. Barker's fantastic creation. And this book has it.

NEGATIVES

My one complaint would be that the PDF lacks hyperlinks set up within it to help readers go from one reference to another with ease. Also, there are typos. These could easily be fixed in version 2.0 of the book though (if it ever happens); more importantly, none of them make reading the text difficult or confusing.

--

The Kurt Hills Atlas is a book you're going to want to use and not simply add to your collection of fantasy atlases as it's basically a giant, richly detailed sandbox that could easily keep your PCs adventuring for years. It is a slow read. So, don't think you'll get through it in a week. You could, but then you'd miss all the unique flavours and, yes, the jokes, the pop-culture references, and the puns (I want to try that Mársara wine badly!). Take your time. Enjoy the friendly and not so friendly encounters, the sights and the smells, pleasant and otherwise. It's worth it.

A remarkable achievement.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kurt Hills Atlas
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.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Displaying 1 to 2 (of 2 reviews) Result Pages:  1 
Back
0 items
 Gift Certificates
Powered by DriveThruRPG