Tekumel: Dungeon Levels

Posted: 17 June 2010 in Settings

I woke up far too early today (that happens more and more as I get older) so here are the levels of the dungeon beneath Jakalla, using the London Underground as a map. This has no references to game system as such, so could be used with baseline Tekumel or the reskinned version I’ve been pulling together this week.

  1. Bakerloo Line: The sewers and drainage system of modern Jakalla.
  2. Central Line: The uppermost of three levels built during the Second Imperium. The architecture here is familiar, and inscriptions are in the intricate glyphs of Classical Tsolyani. A layer of meandering passages covering several square kilometres. Two important shrines are maintained here; the enormous temple of Hru’u, and the upper level of the temple of Dlamelish. The temple of Thumis maintains a priestly academy and library on this level. There is also a strange circular temple to Chiteng, and the River of Silence, in the midst of which is an island where Death himself dwells, or so it is said.
  3. Circle Line: The middle level of the Second Imperium, containing the middle level of the shrine of Dlamelish.
  4. District Line: The lowest of the Second Imperium levels, including the lower level of the shrine of Dlamelish. Since this level was the first one built after the Time of No Kings, when legendary figures like Hagarr and Subadim reigned, their treasures are most likely to be found on levels 4 or 5.
  5. East London Line: The first of the Engsvanyali levels. These levels are characterised by smooth, graceful, sophisticated and somewhat effete styles. Inscriptions are in an elegant, delicate cursive script. The typical coin is the Suor, a large gold coin worth about 150 Kaitars. There are many dungeons and torture chambers to hold and torment the enemies of the priest-kings. Since this area was the last built before the Time of No Kings, when legendary figures like Hagarr and Subadim reigned, their treasures are most likely to be found on levels 4 and 5. This level is notable for the Garden of the Weeping Snows, and Lelmiyani, the Sweet Singer of Doom.
  6. Hammersmith & City Line: The middle Engsvanyali level. Includes the shrine to the mysterious He Who Laughs Forever.
  7. Jubilee Line: The lowest Engsvanyali level, including the tomb of Rekmilish III. This level holds the earliest representations of, and shrines to, the Lords of Stability.
  8. Metropolitan Line: The uppermost Bednalljan level. Bednalljan areas of the dungeon are recognisable by their grotesquely baroque murals and bas-reliefs. Inscriptions have a syllabary of curliques and awkward shapes. The earliest Sakbe roads and the walls of Jakalla were built at around this time. Nonhumans reappear in illustrations (there are none of levels 9-11).
  9. Northern Line: The lower Bednalljan level. Sites of interest include the tombe of Mnekshetra. The earliest shrines to Sarku, Hru’u, and especially Dlamelish are found on this level, consequently there are no Qumqum. Allegedly there is also a sealed shrine to the Goddess of the Pale Bone, a goddess so nasty that even the Lords of Change are afraid of her.
  10. Piccadilly Line: This level was built by the Dragon Lords, and is characterised by their leaping flame-and-dragon motif. The Great Shrine of Vimuhla is on this level. Also here is the earliest temple to Ksarul; consequently there are no Mrur or Qol below this level.
  11. Victoria Line: The Llyani level. Script here is squat and square. There are no representations of nonhumans above this level until level 8, since they became isolated after the Interstellar Era. The earliest temples to Vimuhla are on this level.
  12. Waterloo & City Line: The ruins of Humanspace Alliance facilities from the Interstellar Era. This level is a twisted mass of collapsed metal passages, inscribed with geometric embellishments and angular scripts. A current of cold air blows up from the caverns below. This is the most likely place to find Eyes, Ru’un or Yeleth; other ancient creatures such as Thunru’u, Sagun, Tsu’uru etc have likely wandered upwards in search of food.
  13. Docklands Light Railway: Prehuman caverns from before man’s arrival on Tekumel. The walls here are inscribed with Ssu script, rows of perfect circles of different sizes, depths and patterns, incomprehensible to humans.
  14. National Rail: The transcontinental subway system, installed by the earliest human settlers as a system of underground rapid transit.

While theoretically the dungeon should be about 50 levels deep (25,000 years or more of habitation, with a new level added every 500 years), I reason that (a) people always exaggerate how old things are, (b) there would always be a reason to put off the expense of rebuilding all the cities in the Empire, and (c) some cultures would not have left ruins. Thus, I have collapsed the long history of Tekumel into the 14 layers on the Underground map. At some point I might align the above sites of interest with specific Underground stations, but now it’s time to start the long commute to work, so off I go.


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