Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tsolyani Ships

As I mentioned in my first post I have been working on a little treatise on Tekumelani naval warfare. I haven't decided yet how to post it, since it doesn't break down very naturally into blog posts.

I guess I'll find a way.

In the meantime, I was very interested to read over at The Pewter-Pixel Wars ( about the challenges in wrestling with the problem of representing Tekumelani warships with earthly Hellenistic/Roman-style miniatures. It looks like pretty fiddly work at that scale, I look forward to seeing how it turns out.

The question of what Tekumelani warships really look like is one that has always interested me. Yes we have text from a number of canon sources indicating that certain vessel types might be "like" pentekonters, others are "like" triremes etc. But more than the text descriptions, I am personally rather influenced by the little ships portrayed on the original EPT box cover. These have an over-the-top Tekumel design sensibility that sometimes looks a little improbable but surely must be right for the "look and feel" of Tekumelani ships.

My own take on Tekumelani ships, at least in the Five Empires, is that like most material culture they have elaborate ornamentation: superstructural decoration that may look impractical, but is considered essential. Not a frill. In fact, if chlen-hide panels are used for some of this ornament it might even be vaguely functional since it would be somewhat armoured and would especially protect against flaming missiles.  

Here are a couple of screen-grabs from the working copy of my naval piece to show what I mean. Both of these vessels are supposed to be Tsolyani.  I am not totally happy with the way my zoomorphic elements look like I just glommed them onto streamlined hulls (though that is more or less what I did!); ideally I think the hulls and the superstructures should have a more unitary look, but still, I think it is an approach that has possibilities.... and it may be one way we can make historical models look more Tekumelani.

Incidentally, I understand that Qadardalikoi has illustrations of Tekumelani warships.  Unfortunately, I don't have a copy. One day I will track one down. Or... did I see somewhere that a new edition may be published? Either way, if I can find a copy it will fill a major gap in my library.


  1. Beautiful artwork!

    Qadardalikoi is still available (in reprinted form) from Tita's House of Games... US$9.95 if I recall correctly.

  2. Beautiful and perfectly 'credible' / 'in character' artwork delivering the 'right feeling': compliments!

  3. I can scan the artwork from my rules and send it to you, but you should treat them carefully as 'source' material; they were drawn by the talented Ken Fletcher from my collection of 1/1200th scale ship models, the vast majority of which were 'kit-bashes' of the old Valiant Miniatures "Spanish Main" line for the sailing ships and their "Ancients" line for the oared ships. I did the modifications to make them look more like the cover of the TSR boxed set of EPT, as that's the only drawing that Phil ever did of ships. If you like, I can send you photos of the little fleet; it had been my intention to illustrate the new edition of my rules - with the expanded and updated naval portion - with photos of miniatures 'in action', as I get a lot of requests for that.

    Your drawings are geat, and I think that they are very 'Phil'!

    yours, Chirine

  4. thank you everyone, I think Tekumelani ships are probably a challenge for all of us...

    So Tita's House of Games, is that still a going concern? The only pricelist I could find (the one linked from is 2-3 years old, which I usually take as a bad sign.....

  5. Just send off an e-mail to Carl to double-check pricing and postage...

  6. He updated everything last month.

  7. Jeff Berry was showing me a copy of your wonderful naval dissertation. Is that something you can send me?

    1. Thank you for the compliment! I wish it was more wonderful than it is, it seems to be doomed to perpetual draftdom.

      Anyway, yes, I will get you a copy. That draft was done before the Tekumel Foundation was formed, so I will have to add the Foundation's standard disclaimer. And i will see if I have a more recent draft too.

    2. Thanks! I look forward to it!

    3. Okay, I added the Foundation disclaimer about unofficial status. Otherwise, the latest draft is little changed, other than some notes on text and illustrations to add. Possibly a few new footnotes.

      How should I send it to you, email via Jeff?

    4. I'll ask Jeff to forward my email to you.