Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tekumeláni Naval Warfare: Some Progress

So next year will be the 40th anniversary of the original publication of Empire of the Petal Throne, and 2015 has been proclaimed "The Year of Tékumel!"

Given my patchy attention to this blog over the past year, I probably shouldn't commit to producing anything to mark the occasion, but certainly, I would like to produce something Tekumeláni in 2015. More to the point, I would like to finish something Tekumeláni in 2015!

To that end, I have decided to return to my naval treatise, probably the most finishable of my personal Tékumel projects.

And I have made some progress!

Until recently, the draft document focused on individual vessel tactics; fleet and flotilla deployments got short shrift. Now though, I have blocked out all of the principal naval formations and evolutions employed in the Five Empires. These are to be illustrated by discussing three fairly large historical naval actions: First Penóm in 2,019 A.S. (the Mu'uglavyáni invasion), Second Penóm in 2,020 A.S. (between the Tsolyáni relieving fleet and the Mu'ugalavyáni rear guard), and a more obscure action near Keruná in Háida Pakála, in 2,293 A.S., between Pakalayáni pirates and a Salarvyáni punitive expedition.

I have blocked out the stories for each of these battles. Otherwise, progress on the battles is mixed; I have a complete series of maps for the action near Keruná, a partial series for First Penóm, and no maps yet for Second Penóm.

Certainly, the maps are slowing me down. Originally I had planned to do very simple black and white maps, with simple ellipses for the shipses, and no over-elaborate Tekumeláni design hoo-hah. If I had stuck with that plan, I might be well on my way to finishing. Unfortunately, but perhaps predictably, I just couldn't leave well enough alone. I just had to Tékumelize the maps. Evidently, I am all about the elaborate Tekumeláni design hoo-hah.

So now, it will be a bit of a slog, but I have to make my battle maps look more like this:

(This particular map shows the opening dispositions at First Penóm. The Mu'ugalavyáni to the left are just "shaking out" from their convoy columns, the Tsolyáni blocking force is deployed to the right)

One depressing thing about putting a lot of work into Tékumelizing maps is that niggling feeling that it is only a waste of time. After all, we all know that Tekumeláni don't really make maps, not in the sense that we make maps. Yes they make "picture maps" but a picture map really wouldn't serve my purpose here. So here I am, trying to add Tékumel flavour to maps that perhaps could never exist on Tékumel.

On the other hand, we do know that Tekumeláni do make specialized military maps, showing blocks of troops, movement arrows etc. I don't know what those maps look like, but they sound similar to Terran battle maps. So maybe, just maybe, these Tékumel-styled naval maps are something a Tsolyáni Changkérdukoi (Admiral) might recognize...