GURPS Tékumel Characters

100-point characters are suggested for the average campaign, but a Cinematic campaign with 150 or even 200 point characters is possible. In campaigns where court intrigue plays a major role, the extra 50 to 100 points could be restricted to social advantages, such as Status, Wealth, Military Rank and Clerical Investment.

Treat humans as pre-19th century humans for determining height, and subtract 3" from average height.


Literacy Varies

Literacy among the populace is pretty low, averaging about 10% within the Five Empires, but the wealthier clans are more likely to educate their members in the appropriate temple schools. Literacy costs 10 points, unless the character is Status 3+ or Wealthy, where Literacy is free. (Illiteracy is not a Disadvantage for characters of any status or wealth.)


Military Rank 5 points/level

The Five Empires keep highly organized standing armies, so legion members need Military Rank. The terms used below are for Tsolyánu. Starting characters should probably be limited to Rank 3 or less.


Rank Title
7 Kérdudali (Senior General)
6 Kérdu (General)
5 Dritlán (Higher Officer)
4 Molkár (Lower Officer)
3 Kási (Captain)
2 Heréksa (Higher Subaltern)
1 Tirrikámu (Lower Subaltern)
0 Changadésha (Soldier) or Kuruthúni in Elite Heavy legions.

A tirrikámu commands a semétl or squad of 20 soldiers. A heréksa leads a karéng or company of 100 soldiers, and a Kási commands a tsurúm or cohort of 400 soldiers. A niqómi or legion is composed of 20 cohorts. Each legion has two molkár who command the left and right wings of the legion in battle, and two dritlán who assist the kérdu as his staff.

Warriors in Legion of Red Devastation

Patrons Varies

Nearly everyone has a patron of some sort. Clans, temples or legions are the most frequent. Some sort of duty may be required, usually of equal Frequency as the patron. Priests and temple guards can take the temples of the ten Gods count as very powerful patrons (30 points) and the ten Cohorts as 25 point patrons + 5 points for each of the priest's levels of Clerical Investment. Princes and Princesses of the Realm count as 25 point Patrons, regardless of how many points they are built on. The cost of clan patrons depends on the Clan Status of the clan as follows: Tlakotáni = 30, Very High = 25, High = 20, Medium = 15, Low = 10, Very Low = 5. Most clan members will at least have their clan as a patron at the Rare frequency.


Reputation 5 points/level

A character's position within a clan is considered a reputation. A respected clan member has a reputation of +1 within the clan, a clan elder has +2 and the head of the clan has a +3 reputation. Half of this bonus (rounded down) can be applied outside of the clan. These clan-based reputations are included in the Social Status table below.

Wealth Varies

In the Five Empires, the connection between Social Status and Wealth is reversed; a Social Status of 3 or more lets you pay 5 fewer points for Wealth levels. A rich slaver (a very low status occupation) still is at the bottom of the social ladder and won't be invited to the grand balls of the social elite.

New Advantages

Administrative Rank 5 points/level

This advantage represents a character's position within a governmental bureaucracy. In Tsolyánu, this is a position within one of the Four Palaces of the Empire: the Palace of the Realm (government bureaucracy), the Palace of Ever-Glorious War (military bureaucracy), the Palace of the Priesthood of the Gods (religious bureaucracy) and the Palace of Foreign Lands (diplomatic bureaucracy). The difference between Ranks is applied as a reaction bonus or penalty. For example, the reaction penalty for a petty clerk attempting to influence the Provincial Governor is -6. When the Provincial Governor is influencing the clerk, the clerk's

reaction is at +6 ("Yes, Sir! Right away, Sir!"). Starting characters should probably be limited to Rank 3 or less.


Rank Typical Posts
6 Provincial governors, high functionaries at Avanthár, the Court of Purple Robes
5 Provincial Palace chiefs, legates and ambassadors, senior provincial advisors
4 District Palace chiefs, mayors of large cities
3 Local department heads
2 Supervisors, overseers
1 Middle-level clerks
0 Low-level clerks, petty functionaries

Extra Fatigue (Magic Only) 4 points/level

At character creation, mages can buy up to 2 x Magery points of Extra Fatigue for use in casting spells. This cannot be used as normal fatigue, as Spell Energy is segregated from normal fatigue. Recovery of Spell Energy is covered later in the section on Magic. Extra Fatigue represents a larger than normal reservoir of mana for spell use.


Mana Damper 40 points

The person with this advantage creates an area around him in which spells cannot be cast. This area extends in a 2-yard radius around the person. Magic that originates outside of this range acts normally on those within it. A person with this advantage cannot have Magery.


Clerical Investment 5 points/level

The character is a priest or priestess in the hierarchy of one of the temples. This leveled version of Clerical Investment is described in GURPS Religion. The priesthood has a number of advantages that the laity lack, including a reaction bonus equal to their level of Clerical Investment among their co-religionists and others who respect their faith.

He or she will be addressed by a title, such as Rashángto or Hrúgash. Also, priests receive a bonus to their roll when calling on their deity for Divine Intervention (see below). No other powers are granted by this advantage.

Some priests will have Magery as well. It is recommended that beginning characters be limited to level 3 or less.

The Tsolyáni have a formal system of ranks called Circles, which roughly translate into one level of Clerical Investment for every three Circles. Priests are also divided into three categories: ritual priests, administrative priests, and scholar priests. The ranks of each of these categories and the equivalent Circles are given below:


Ritual Priests

Rank Title Circle
5 Ritual Preceptor (Mriyán) 13-15
4 High Priest (Qusúnchu) (10th Circle) and Grand High Priest (Hrúgash) (12th Circle) 10-12
3 Chief Ritual Priest (Rashángto) 7-9
2 Priest (Shárto) 4-6
1 Junior Priest (Su'umél) 1-3
0 Acolyte (Kengyél) 0

Administrative Priests

Rank Title Circle
5 Administrative Preceptor (Mriyán) 13-15
4 District Commandant (Hrúgash) and Senior Commandant (Otlú) 10-12
3 Temple Commandant (Njáshte) 7-9
2 Priest (Shárto) 4-6
1 Junior Priest (Su'umél) 1-3
0 Acolyte (Kengyél) 0

Scholar Priests

Rank Title Circle
5 Great Proctor (Qurupengátodali) 13-15
4 Proctor (Qurupengáto) 10-12
3 Ranking Scholar (Kusijáktodali) and Licentiate (Jokálto) 7-9
2 Senior Scholar (Kusijáktosa) 4-6
1 Scholar (Kusijákto) 1-3
0 Acolyte (Kengyél) 0

Priests of Rank 5 from each branch are members of the High Council for the temple. This body elects an Inner Synod of 10-50 Patriarchs, which in turn elects an Advisory Curia of 3-5 Lords Adept and a Grand Adept for the whole religious order. The Ranks of these Titles are given below:


Upper-level Priests

Rank Title Circle
8 Grand Adept (Tiritlén) 21-30
7 Lord Adept (Jáshten) 19-20
6 Patriarch (Tsémel) 16-18

Priestess and Priest of Ksárul


Social Stigma Varies

Women who do not declare themselves 'Aridáni' (giving them the same rights and responsibilities as men) are considered "Second-class Citizens" (-5 points). Tribal peoples, such as the N'lüss and the natives of M'mórcha, and many nonhumans, like the Ahoggyá, and essentially anyone from outside the Five Empires are considered as "Outsiders/Barbarians" (-15 points). Citizens of the Five Empires may not always like each other, but they recognize their common inheritance from the ancient empire of Engsván hla Gánga and outsiders are always seen as inferior for that reason. Slaves are "Valuable Property" (-10 points).



As there are no riding animals known within the Five Empires, Riding skill is not allowed.


Beam Weapons

Eyes, small techno-magical devices of the ancients, use the Beam Weapons skill, but due to limited numbers of charges and limited opportunities to practice, Beam Weapons can only be taken at the default level of DX-4.



The languages of Tékumel are generally Mental/Average, except ái Ché, Duruób, Llyáni, Mihálli, Thu'úsa, the Tongue of the Lord of Worms, and the written form of Ghatóni, which are Mental/Hard, and the Tongue of the Priests of Ksárul and Súnuz, which are Mental/Very Hard.

Modern languages: Aomórh, Hijajái, Jannuyáni, Livyáni, Lo'orúnankh, Milumanayáni, Mu'ugalavyáni, N'lüssa, Pe'é, Pecháni, Sa'á Allaqiyáni, Salarvyáni, Tká Mihálli, Tsoléi'i, Tsolyáni, Yán Koryáni.

Ancient languages: ái Ché, Ancient Mihálli, Bednálljan Salarvyáni, Classic Mu'ugalavyáni, Classic Tsolyáni, Duruób, Engsvanyáli, Llyani, Súnuz, Thu'úsa, The Tongue of the Lord of Worms, The Tongue of the Priests of Ksárul, Tsáqw, Zna'yé.



1 gold Káitar = 20 silver Hlásh

1 silver Hlásh = 20 copper Qirgál


1 Káitar = $4 GURPS

1 Hlásh = $0.20 GURPS

1 Qirgál = $0.01 GURPS


Standard starting wealth for a Tékumeláni character is $1,000 or 250 Káitars. This includes all possessions, not just cash.

Social Status and Wealth

Social Status 5 points/level

Social Status is an extremely important and complex subject in Tsolyánu. It is recommended that beginning characters be limited to Social Status of 4.

If a person is living in a group situation, such as in a clanhouse, army barracks, or priestly dormitory, reduce monthly upkeep costs by 25%.

Status Title Monthly Upkeep
8 Tsolyáni Emperor $50,000
7 Other ruler $20,000
6 Imperial heir $10,000
5 Imperial clan elder, close Imperial relative $5,000
4 Imperial clan (Tlakotáni), elder of very high status clan $2,000
3 Very high status clan, elder of high status clan $1,000
2 High status clan, elder of medium status clan $500
1 Medium clan, elder of low status clan $250
0 Low status clan, elder of very low status clan $100
-1 Very low status clan $50
-3 Clanless individual $25
-4 Slave $5


Tékumel is a metal-poor planet and iron especially has become a rare and precious commodity, the more so since it is practically the only metal that can be enchanted. Therefore, most metal objects are made out of bronze and other soft metals, and iron or steel weapons and armor are worth hundreds to thousands of times more than their bronze equivalent. Only steel weapons can be made better than Good quality.

However, there is another substitute which is even more useful. The chlén, a large reptilian work animal similar to a triceratops, produces a hide that can be chemically hardened to produce a light, yet strong, substance used to form weapons, armor and other items. This hide is removed in sheets from living animals. It then regrows in a few weeks.

For game purposes, chlén hide armor has the same PD as the equivalent metal armor, the weight is only 1/3 that of steel and the DR is reduced by one. So, a chlén-hide breastplate is PD 4, DR 4 and weighs 6 pounds. Chlén-hide swords weigh one-third as much as steel, and cause one less point of damage because of the light weight. Chlén-hide swords also break like cheap weapons when used to parry steel weapons.

For buying equipment, use the GURPS costs, except for chlén hide swords and plate armor, which are 1/3 of the weight and cost, and flint, steel and tinder, which cost $20 because of the rarity of steel.