Yesterday a group of four players started my Tekumel campaign. In the great tradition of "barbarians coming to the big city and learning the setting" they created characters, members of an island tribe. They each took party roles.
The Speaker (caller in social situations) was a necromantic shaman with a blow-gun, who contributed that the tribal totem was the Wild Dog. He follows He Who Sets the Night In Order, lord of the moons and planets, ordainer of bad fortune, and casts fortunes by scattering bones in moonlight.
The Rememberer (note taker and mapper) was a not particularly competent hunter. He decreed that the rival groups on the island were the Wild Cat tribe and a group of Hlutrgu frog-men, all separated by mountain ranges and a dormant volcano.
The Keeper of the group's resources was a blind healing shaman ("Can I be blind like Daredevil?" "No, you're just blind"). He determined that what the tribe trades with one Captain Tarshar, boss of that big canoe with wings, is red-flecked volcanic obsidian in return for trinkets, hatchets, cloth and food. He became blind by staring too long in search of She Who Hides Behind The Sun, ordainer of good fortune.
The Defender, lord of military strategy and the initiative die, was a strong and resilient barbarian warrior whose weapon of choice is a big rock on a rope. To him fell the invention of why the PCs, their zero-level followers and about 20 other tribespeople had to leave the island. Famine, due to increasing heat and decreasing water, was the answer. The other three were among the least necessary members of the tribe. The other twenty also had less desirable qualities -- lazy, complainer, drunk, quarrelsome -- and somehow got the short end of the "random" selection by lots conducted by the Wild Dogs' elder shaman. The Defender took pity on them and decided to accompany them. The tribal legend says that across the sea, in a place where people build mountains and live in them, is the Greater Eye of Shaping the Earth, relic of the dawn age, which can bring prosperity to the most ravaged land.
The elders decide that Captain Tarshar, whose seasonal visit comes any day now, must be convinced to take the surplus tribespeople to this built-mountain-place. The quest of the Eye seems like a good use of these exiles. How big, after all, can the world be?
Next: The Hunt
Happy Gygax Day!
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