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Empire of the Petal Throne
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in The Fantasy World of Tekumel's LiveJournal:

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    Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
    12:35 pm
    Wednesday, February 6th, 2013
    8:14 am
    Tekumel Gaming: Malcolm Heath and Simone Cooper
    The Tékumel Foundation is always interested in actual Tékumel gaming. As an example of this, we chatted recently with Malcolm Heath about his on-going Tékumel game with Simone Cooper.
    Sunday, January 13th, 2013
    6:43 pm
    Going to Arisia!
    Hey there, Tekumel fans - I will be at Arisia 2013 in Boston, MA next weekend. Are there any Tekumel fans who would like to get together and game, gab or just hand out practicing their Tsolyani? I am arriving Thursday evening and leaving Monday night, so the weekend is open - except for that rather large SF convention. :)
    Monday, January 7th, 2013
    1:11 pm
    New Tekumel Foundation post
    peter gifford
    Five questions with Peter Gifford!

    The Foundation will update Tekumel fans on Facebook with links and other news from time to time. For more information, please visit the Tekumel Foundation, or the Foundation blog - thanks!
    Sunday, June 3rd, 2012
    1:56 pm
    “Holmes on Empire of the Petal Throne”

    - From The Zenopus Archives

    As reported elsewhere, Professor M.A.R. Barker, creator of the world of Tékumel and several RPGs based on it including Empire of the Petal Throne (TSR, 1975), passed away a few days ago. Today also marks two years since the passing of Dr. Holmes. As a tribute to Professor Barker and his work, I've transcribed Holmes' review of EPT from his 1981 RPG book. I think it provides an excellent introduction to Tékumel for the uninitiated.

    Review, AD 1981Collapse )
    Thursday, May 31st, 2012
    8:25 am
    Professor MAR Barker 1929-2012

    I can't BELIEVE no one in this “community” even noticed this. I'm only hearing about it NOW, by accident!

    Professor MAR Barker 1929-2012

    Press Release. Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 16, 2012

    Professor Muhammad Abd-al-Rahman (MAR) Barker, known to his friends as “Phil,” died peacefully in home hospice on March 16, 2012 with his wife Ambereen Barker at his side.

    Professor Barker is survived by his wife of 53 years, Ambereen.
    Details on memorial services will follow.

    In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Tékumel Foundation are preferred.

    Thank you Professor, for the inestimable gift of your imagination.

    Rest in peace.

    For cryin' out loud - is there anybody even ALIVE over here?!

    Saturday, February 11th, 2012
    2:10 pm
    Something coming soon on DriveThru/RPGNow from Prof. M.A.R. Barker and the Tekumel Foundation...
    Tekumel fans may be interested in the following upcoming release:

    Original Empire of the Petal Throne
    Saturday, February 4th, 2012
    11:43 am
    Blog post: The Eye of Joyful Sitting Amongst Friends
    I've posted a new post on my blog called Delving into the Underworld, where I show some of the tidbits I host on my Tekumel website. I strung them together with the beginning of a Tsolyani story that I'm writing, my first endeavor into Tekumelani fiction.

    I'd also like to mention an earlier post called Stop wringing your hands and start playing!, where I tell my method for starting to GMing on Tekumel. 

    Just thought you'd like to know.

    Thursday, April 21st, 2011
    3:13 pm
    New Tekumel Blog
    I've started a new Tekumel blog called The Eye of Joyful Sitting Amongst Friends. I've been involved with the world of Tekumel since 1975 or so, and I've observed much of its history. Come by and say Hi.

    P.S. I think my icon looks like a woman from Livyanu.
    Monday, October 4th, 2010
    6:55 pm
    Tsolyáni Barbie

    Y' know… it wouldn't be impossible. I've thought of kit-bashing Tékumeli action figures, but these days I'd never have that much free time.

    Saturday, March 6th, 2010
    10:38 am
    Tuesday, May 27th, 2008
    3:08 pm
    UCON 2008 Tekumel Track Call for Events
    Greeting in Glory and in Peace!

    Event registration for UCON 2008 has opened, and we are actively
    soliciting events for the Tekumel Track.

    The con takes place at the Michigan Union in Ann Arbor Michigan, on
    the campus of the U of Michigan.

    The convention dates are November 21st-23rd, 2008.

    At least one of the authors of the latest release of game rules
    (Guardians of Order's Tekumel: Empire of the Petal Throne) will
    attend, and Tekumel fans from all over the world often make the trip
    to Michigan for this convention.

    But, in order for the Tekumel track to be a success, we need your
    games and events, and we need them soon and in great numbers. There
    are no requirements for any particular game system, style of game, or
    really anything else, except that it should be Tekumel related. And
    don't be shy if you've never run an event before - Tekumel players are
    very nice people, open minded, and very welcoming!

    Please help us out! Submit your events at!


    # Friday, August 29, 11:59pm - Event submission deadline (for pre-reg listing)
    # Friday, September 5 - Events schedule available online
    # Friday, October 24, 11:59pm - Event submission deadline (for onsite book)
    Tuesday, March 25th, 2008
    9:50 pm
    Tekumel on Squidoo
    Since I've been spending quite a bit of time on squidoo for a couple of other projects and I noted that there wasn't anything on Tekumel there, I created a Tekumel on Squidoo page.

    Please visit, post here letting me know what I can do to add info and content, correct any content there. You can add links directly to the page itself so if there are other sites out there noteworthy, please add them. Also you can vote the links up and down.
    Monday, October 8th, 2007
    8:33 pm
    Tékumel: Empire of the Petal Throne: The Clanless Trilogy Part one, Episode One
    [I recently joined a local games club that structures its game play into eight week rotations. So I offered to run something for a full session and have got five players for Patrick Brady and Edwin Voskamp's The Clanless Trilogy. Of the five, only one is a Tékumeli, but none of them have played before. This first session was actually run in the last week of the previous
    rotation, simply as a quick hour or so to get everything set up and to give a little taster. I missed some of the minor details of scenario up until the attack, but that was due to it being run from memory.]

    In the Foreign Quarter of Jakálla -- "The Princess of the River," several individuals each receive an invitation to attend a meeting in the Pé Chói enclave. In turn, each is a rising star within the Foreign Quarter, known for their skill and capability, but beyond its walls, is unknown and always will be. For each of them, as is every individual in the Foreign Quarter, is
    nakomé, without either clan or status, and will never be regarded as anything more than foreign scum by the Tsolyáni citizens outside of their current circumstances.

    The invitation has been extended by the Clan of the Standing Reed and offers promise of a high risk, very high payment undertaking. The meeting is to be held in a warehouse in the Pé Chói enclave, and is attended early that day by five disparate nakomé. They include a hobbling Livyáni scholar-priest; a Tsolyánu clanless warrior carrying a long sword and a black shield, and wearing plain armour that has been scoured free of all symbols; a tall gangly man with oddly light coloured hair, carrying a walking staff capped by a heavy worked stone head and wearing a piece of heavy bejewelled vambrace on his forearm; a lithe Tsolyáni woman of muscular build; and finally, a black-scaled saurian Shén with a huge axesword on his back, the most notable feature about him being his bronze-sheathed claws.

    Out of the warehouse's gloom comes a bone-white Pé Chói who explains that they are safe here pointing to the simple dais of mats and the tray containing bottles and several cups. The quintet, knowledgeable already of Tsolyáni customs know to take their place on the lowest mat whilst the dancer considers the contents of the bottle, identifying it as Dsách-nn-ek,
    a Pé Chói liquor that tastes a little strange on the human tongue which she knows to sip gently. Several of the others carefully follow her lead.

    Suddenly the low light of the warehouse is blocked out by largest human that anyone of them has ever seen. A great N'lüss warrior, wearing ornate heavy armour marked in orange and yellow and with the clan symbol of the Clan of the Standing Reed, a Tsolyáni clan. When he removes his helm, he is revealed to be old and grey, but still with an unwavering gaze. He announces himself as Hrug of the Clan of the Standing Reed and states that he was once clanless.

    Over the next few minutes, Hrug explains that he has come looking for the best amongst the nakomé of the Foreign Quarter to make an offer from an honourable and important Tsolyáni. It involves a highly dangerous job for which their talents are highly suited that must take place inside the Foreigner's Quarter against Mu'ugalavyáni gang. He tells them that the job must be done within two days and that if they wish to take up the task, his employer wishes to see them at midday.

    Finally, Hrug says, "There is also the matter of payment. I think that it is excessive, but for successful completion of the task payment is sponsorship into my clan, the clan of the Standing Reed. If you succeed, I think you are the sort of people we want in our clan. So think of this as the entrance exam. On my honour, I say that I have spoken the truth to you in all that I have said..."

    At the suggestion of the Livyáni the five introduce themselves. He as Arduvaz, a scholar-priest devotee of the Shadowed One and then Mikúsa as a warrior before Núromen announces that he is a hero of his tribe and bound for a great destiny. The woman gives her name as Rayána and says that she is a dancer. Finally, Shén simply states that his name is Shek'nass.

    Hrug gets up to leave, but before exiting the warehouse, hands Arduvaz a roll of parchment. Everyone recognises this as a pass that will enable them to leave the Quarter and get themselves to the next meeting. With that he leaves.

    The quintet follow, but cannot keep up with the giant stride of the N'lüss as he is joined and flanked by two fellow N'lüss warriors. Ahead of the quickly moving trio, Mikúsa notices that the boundary between the Pé Chói enclave and the next ghetto is oddly empty of people and as he scans his surroundings spots a dark shape on a nearby rooftop. Before he can utter a warning, the N'lüss warrior on Hrug's left gurgles and coughs blood, his throat skewered by the dark length of a crossbow bolt, as Hrug drops to one knee, his hand clutching his shoulder, pierced by another projectile.
    Saturday, October 21st, 2006
    10:10 am
    U-Con 2006
    Hey, anybody going to U-Con 2006 (Nov. 17-19) for the Tekumel Track?

    I'll be there with a new GURPS Tekumel scenario.
    Wednesday, September 20th, 2006
    3:36 am
    'Guardians' version, reviewed

    RPGNet has published a rather unkind review of the Guardians of Order Tekumel rules. The synopsis is: Attractive book, good rules, unique and interesting setting, deeply flawed in ways that make me cry

    -- and he goes into some detail:

    The artwork is hit or miss, but mostly good. You have several full page drawings, often illustrating things that you wouldn’t normally see. It does a good job setting the look and feel of the setting. On the other hand, none of it is labeled, or apparently meant to illustrate anything specific. Some of the artwork seems kind of cheap, and none of it feels truly top notch. On the other hand, there is quite a bit of it, and it other than a few pictures, it seems very cohesive.

    The setting is rich, alien, and obviously well developed...

    Character creation has several ‘important’ steps that help place you within this culture, selecting a clan, for example, later you chose an occupation, an involved process taking two or three pages to fully cover. The only problem is that these have almost no impact on your character. The GM sets the status level of the game, and the players can choose to raise or lower it during character creation, usually only by one or two steps. Your choice of clans must be within the status of the game, you don’t need to work for the clan, worship the same gods as your clan, and so on. The only thing you need to do, clan wise, is wear a badge of some sort so other characters know your general social status. Occupations are about the same, since you buy your character’s stats; the minimum stats are kind of pointless. If you are a soldier, you are going to make your character strong anyway. In reality these two steps both belong in the character conception stage, rather than eating up space on there [sic]own...

    Compounding problems in the magic chapter are the poorly organized spell lists, the lack of any real sort of glossary to all these oddly named (but cool sounding) spells, a few poorly chosen terms (level is the base cost of the spell. Took me three readings to understand that) and just general sloppy layout. See, a spell has a base cost, modified by any defects it has (got those, Erratic preparation lowers the level by three…) but also have spell attributes that can be raised? Bought? and specializations as well. You don’t get a break for knowing multiple variations or specializations, and there isn’t any good way to judge the value of these ‘add on effects’ since they don’t list costs, but do use levels, which leads me to conclude that they all cost 1 point per level, which doesn’t match anything else bought in levels in the game. There is a list of restrictions on how many spells you can have, but it reads like one of those ‘solve the mystery’ brain teasers, matching up who wore what coat to watch which movie while eating which snack food...
    No wonder it fell into oblivion with scarcely a splash.

    I don't know about you guys, but I'm not greatly interested in buying it. Certainly not for $39.95, which in my state would be forty-two bucks! No, thank you: I played Tekumel with classic Traveller rules, and I can use WEG's Star Wars: The Role-Playing Game rules, or Tunnels and Trolls, just as easily. The setting is what counts, not the game mechanics.

    This, parenthetically, is one of the two biggest problems facing Amarillo Design Bureau's GURPS Prime Directive: It's just as easy to do it yourself! They're fighting hard against that, by designing the same game with various engines, and I give them credit - but I'd use StarWars RPG rules, if I was going to run a Star Fleet Universe scenario, because I don't like GURPS.

    [The other problem they have is more fundamental: They're trying to sell roller skates to Eskimos. Board-game players are not, as a rule, role-playing gamers, and vice versa - making an RPG from a board game is a very hard sell.]
    Friday, July 28th, 2006
    5:58 pm
    Thursday, October 13th, 2005
    9:02 am


    This is actually from inside the Mexican pavilion at EPCOT Disneyworld - but who cares?

    [Granted, for total verisimilitude I think the active volcano would have to be carefully excised from the picture, but perhaps it's a matter of taste.]

    Thursday, September 1st, 2005
    1:40 am
    Saturday, August 6th, 2005
    11:15 am
    I picked up the new edition of Tékumel: Empire of the Petal Throne a couple of weeks ago and am quite happy with it.

    I'm a long-time gamer and a fan of Tékumel since I found the Man of Gold novel in the 1980s. I snached up Flamesong when it came out and later managed to find the Gardásiyal boxed set with the separate Adventures on Tékumel books required to generate characters & part of Swords & Glory books. But it didn't seem easy to play, or more importantly, to run. With the new edition, the basic system looks reasonably easy to run and the character creation system looks good too. (I haven't really looked too much at the magic system yet.) I'm used to Eden Studio's Unisystem-based games so the rolls in the basic system of Tékumel: Empire of the Petal Throne are reversed from what I'm used to, but the basic idea seems the same.

    I think the background in the book is enough to start a game, but not so much that someone new to the universe is going to get lost in the detail. (And once they're ready for more detail there are previously publised books and web resouces.)

    (Cross-posted to my own journal.)
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