That said, the complexity and alienness of Tékumel tends to get overstated for rhetorical effect in a lot of discussions of the setting. This is often done both by those who haven't played in the setting, who wish to explain why they've never attempted it, and by those who have, in order to preserve the "elite" air that sometimes wafts around the setting. Now, I know for a fact that playing in Tékumel is both possible for the uninitiated and that no less an authority than Professor Barker himself feels Tékumel is only slightly more unusual than other fantasy settings, as he says in the Introduction to the original Empire of the Petal Throne:
once one gets past the original alienness, it is easy for others to become immersed in the elaborate societies, politics, and adventures of Tekumel. Players of my World of the Petal Throne quickly learn to shiver just as much at the mention of the sound of chiming and the odour of musty cinnamon (you may find out why below) as they do at the creaking of Dracula's coffin and the distant bellowing of the minotaur.Of course, saying and doing are two different things. In my experience, a significant barrier to attempting to run a Tékumel-based campaign is the lack of easily available models. If one is playing D&D or Traveller -- or indeed most other RPGs -- there are a large number of pre-made adventure modules to which one can turn for guidance. That's just not the case for Empire of the Petal Throne. That's not to say there aren't any modules for EPT, but they are few and far between.
One such module is 1981's The Nightmare Maze of Jigrésh by Michael E. Mayeau and published by Judges Guild under license. This 16-page module details what even its author calls a "dungeon" for use with EPT, namely the eponymous labyrinth of an Engsvanyáli priest of Sárku named Jigrésh. According to the opening "designer's notes" section, Mayeau consulted with Professor Barker by phone when writing this module, receiving a great deal of help in placing the Maze and its backstory within the world of Tékumel. Though the notes don't say so, I can't help but wonder if Barker did the same thing with Mayeau that he did with me several years ago, imagining details that mesh one's own ideas with those he himself had already established about Tékumel.
The Nightmare Maze of Jigrésh is by no means a great module. In it, the characters set off to steal the fabled Claw of Srükárum from the Maze, which, as its name suggests, is a maze of twisting corridors and passageways, with little in the way of rooms or chambers. Good luck mapping it -- or, for that matter, describing it to the players! Within the maze, there are numerous Tekumeláni monsters, some with treasures. The module introduces a few new monsters (such as the undead Jájgi, which may have appeared in print for the first time in this adventure), along with excerpts from The Book of Ebon Bindings, along with wandering monster and treasure tables. In short, it's a pretty undistinguished dungeon, noteworthy primarily for its unusual flavor, at least some of which owes to Professor Barker himself.
For me, the banality of The Nightmare Maze of Jigrésh is its real value. Too many people have the false impression that Tékumel is too exalted to be sullied by hands other than those respectfully steeped in its minutiae for decades beforehand. Michael E. Mayeau clearly thought otherwise, as did Professor Barker. This module is nothing more than a dungeon crawl in a slightly exotic setting -- and that's fine. People often forget that Empire of the Petal Throne, moreso than many fantasy RPGs, provides a ready-made and culturally plausible explanation -- a couple, actually -- for the existence of monster and trap-filled "dungeons." The underworld beneath the great city of Jakálla played an important part in the earliest Tékumel campaigns, too, so Barker clearly did not look askance at delving for treasure as a focus for characters.
There's no reason anyone else should do so either. Like D&D, Empire of the Petal Throne (and, by extension, other Tékumel RPG) campaigns can easily start off as dungeon crawling expeditions into the underworld and then, over time, expand beyond that. Or not, as the case may be. After all, the underworlds of Tékumel are vast and deep and could occupy months or even years of satisfying play, if one is so inclined. There's no reason that Tékumel need be viewed as a "highfalutin" setting accessible only to a select few players. Both personal experience and modules like The Nightmare Maze of Jigrésh suggest otherwise.