from Social Role-Playing Within the Empire of the Petal Throne:
This is an introduction to social role-playing on Tékumel. It takes a subtly different approach to the published systems devised for Tékumel (Empire of the Petal Throne, Swords & Glory, Gardásiyal, and Tekumel RPG). It eschews most of the common mechanics of role-playing a persona within one of the Five Empires — in favor of a cinematic and social network focused system. The goal of this is to shift focus away from learning mechanical minutiae and towards empowering new players (especially those with no exposure to Tékumel and its cultural background) to quickly and easily assimilate into the mindset of Tekumelani cultures. It also seeks to dispel some of the folklore about the difficulty of role-playing on Tékumel - folklore unfortunately rooted in some of the complexities of previous role-playing rules and a certain overweening "Otherness" fostered by random exposure to Tekumelani history and socio-cultural details which overemphasize the uniqueness of the environment. We think this is somewhat misplaced. There are simple and obvious correlates to almost all of the institutions and practices and histories one encounters in reading the Deeds of the Ever glorious in the Chancery of Avanthar — or in the secret histories compiled by the great and noble clans and the ruling Tlakotani royal house. This guide takes an in media res approach to role-playing — trying to throw the player (and his/her persona) into the rich cultural and political backdrop of Tekumel. The technique makes players important personages with high profiles within their respective social groups. There are no "Barbarians landing in a boat at Jakalla" assumptions and the express purpose of this minimal rule set is to create powerful, dynamic, and resourceful personas. They should be able to start adventuring and intriguing within the highest circles of the Five Empires dominating Tékumel in its mysterious pocket dimension.
from Historical Background and Setting:
This rule set is not designed for generation of low power, weak, and low status individuals — but rather to help support the elite of Tekumelani societies to achieve the true measure of their potential and to take their positions at the head of their respective social groups.
from Creating a High-Level Tekumelani Personality:
The role-playing system presented tries hard to eschew mechanical details and focus the majority of action on dramatic (cinematic) resolution. Die rolling is to be discouraged except for truly dramatic situations — in the normal course of gaming the players are taking on the roles important personages within the Empire. They are not the Chri-flies common to previous systems — where slow, laborious advancement was the expected and normal course. You are one of the beautiful people — looking down from your colonnaded balcony as the unwashed cluster in their rundown clan houses near the wharves — consorting with foreign rabble and lucky not to be swept up in a general Ditlana of the slums the priests have been pressing for.
from The Core Persona Aptitude and Skills:
All personas in Tékumel role-playing share a fundamental core of socially manifested skills or aptitudes which are useful in defining them for players as well as for allowing the GM to arbitrate conflicts, actions, etc. in the normal course of play. Unique to this rule set, the majority of core components are abstract and social in nature. Gone are the classical prime requisites of Dungeons & Dragons™ and mostly quantitative attributes of Tekumelani RPG systems of the past. They just are not that useful in the high stakes political and social intrigues that players of this system will likely find themselves involved with under normal circumstances. We have found that the minimal aptitudes required for creating dramatic action resolution revolve mostly around the ability to persuade, seduce, violate, discern and improvise.