Thus it remained until the Time of Darkness. No records exist of this catastrophic age. The few fragments of folk memory which do exist lament in mythic terms of a time when the hills rose up, the seas walked the land, flame spouted from the brazen mouths of the mountains, and the stars went out forever. This last is most significant: it must be assumed that Tékumel and its solar system fell -- or were thrust -- through a warp in the fabric of space-time itself, a "hole in the sky," into a pocket dimension in which no other matter existed. The reasons for this terrible calamity can only be guessed: natural forces, stresses created by the incessant use of the Three-Light Drive, the actions of a hostile race, interference from mighty interdimensional beings far beyond man and his allies on the evolutionary scale, the vengeance of God upon His arrogant and overweening Creation -- ? No one knows. It may only be noted in passing that this same fate befell 772 other worlds of Humanspace within a century after the disappearance of Tékumel and its system.Take careful note of the last sentence I quoted. According to Professor Barker, 772 worlds besides Tékumel were plucked out of normal space and found themselves inside empty pocket dimensions, dimensions that we know, from other sources, have the same physical and metaphysical laws as Tékumel, such as the weakening of the "skin" of reality to such a degree that both magic and interaction with interdimensional beings (commonly called "gods" and "demons") are possible. What are these other worlds like?
I spent several hours chatting with Victor Raymond today and this topic was one of several that took up a goodly portion of our conversation. We both agreed that it might be an interesting exercise to imagine another what colony world of Humanspace would be like after tens of thousands of years of isolation. Such a world might have some commonalities with Tékumel -- the presence of certain alien races, for example -- but it might not, indeed probably would not have others, such as the lack of riding animals or large quantities of workable metals. Done right, the world might have a similar feel to Tékumel, but would be largely its own thing.
One of the knocks against Tékumel is that it's too intensely personal a creation for anyone but Professor Barker to enter into it. I'm thoroughly convinced that's untrue, but it's a common enough rap that it's attained a wide currency and many gamers are afraid to give Tékumel a whirl. So, I began to wonder what might happen if a referee took the basic principles behind Barker's setting and applied them a new planet. Would it seem less intimidating? I have no idea, but I'm going to continue to think about this over the coming weeks, corresponding and chatting with Victor to see where it leads us. If nothing else, it'll be a fun and imaginative diversion.