Sunday, February 12, 2012

News from the Tékumel Foundation

Victor Raymond sent along word to me that the Tékumel Foundation, the non-profit corporation charged with supporting and protecting the works of Professor M.A.R. Barker, is preparing to release "the original, never-before-released rules draft for Empire of the Petal Throne.  As such there are some subtle and some not-so-subtle differences between it and the published version from TSR." Though the price for the PDF version of the unreleased EPT is still being determined, Victor says that it'll likely be under $20. A print-on-demand version of the same is under discussion as well, though when it will be available is still uncertain. The PDF will be made available through RPGNow/DriveThruRPG, where a wide variety of other Tékumel-related gaming products are already available.

As a teaser, here's a photograph of a copy of the original EPT rules, put together by Professor Barker in 1974, as well as one of the earliest maps of Tékumel, drawn by the professor. The Foundation intends to release the map to the public too at some point, but is still deciding the best way to do so. Once again, I stand in awe of not just what Professor Barker has done but what the Foundation is doing to promote and support his work. It's a pity more of the hobby's creators aren't in a similar position to be able to preserve and make available their works.

13 comments:

  1. I hope the cover of the PDF is the same as the ones depicted above. Who needs POD? I'd just print it and staple it just like the Professor did.

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  2. This is great! I think for certain individuals the value of their raw notes is underestimated. Now only if we could see a similar release by the heirs of Gygax and Arneson.

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  3. I'm an old schooler that has never purchased a Tekumel product. I'd done some reading on the Professor and his vision. What would you recommend as far as a gaming product? Is there a Tekumel / D&D conversion out there so that we could take advantage of the setting? What's a good starting place?

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    1. The original published EPT rules /were/ D&D, in most ways. It was only a slightly different system than was used on OD&D. I'd recommend the original boxed rules as being the most accessible from a gaming standpoint, but they're hard to get. The Different Worlds one-book printing seems to be pretty much the same thing, and you can get it from Tita's House of Games at http://www.tekumel.com/tita/ept.html

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  4. This is great news! Love the map, and the booklets... but would have preferred they use original dice in the photo! Only the bottom left-most die is from the 70s... the rest look to be early 80s.

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    1. That is undoubtedly correct as to the dice. I still have my original set purchased with my original D&D set of rules when they first came out. After about five or six years of rolling those, they became rounded and you couldn't play with them much anymore.

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  5. Pretty schwey. I might actually go for that.

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  6. I did some googling and found a blog about Tekumel: http://thetekumelproject.blogspot.com/

    I know, I'm awesome. You don't have to tell me, but that doesn't mean I don't like to hear it. :p

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  7. This is great news! So many people who came to the hobby in the late 80's, the 90's and the 00's have never heard ofTekumel before. If it brings more people into the original games and shows them that there has always been variation, flavour and gains their interest to play, all the more power to the project.

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  8. I have a friend who had that version of the rules. She loaned it to me at one point, I think it was early 80's; certainly before I could afford to purchase a copy for myself. Pretty heady stuff, eh?

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  9. This is wonderful news! I've always heard that the Professor's group plays rules-light (i think Bob Alberti once summarized it on one sheet of paper), but to finally get to see the original game structure before some of the rules (eg, separation of Priests/Magic-users and spell lists that don't really reflect Tekumel society) must have been adapted to be more compatible with OD&D will be amazing. Great work by the Foundation!

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  10. Excellent. It will be interesting to see the differences.

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  11. I have played in both Dr. Barker's very first and last role playing sessions. Except for a brief span in the late 70's and early 80's I have played in one group or another of his from 1974 until late 2011 when he was no longer able to referee the game due to health reasons.

    To know the impact of this set of rules, simply look at the original three volume set of D&D rules and compare it to this treasure.

    Everyone was simply amazed. For the younger enthusiasts out there, think of what it must have been like to see something like this only a couple years into the genre of role playing. It was like reading children's comics books and suddenly someone invented the novel. It was that profound.

    Alan Musielewicz

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