The Tékumel Foundation

News about the World of Tékumel® – the creation of Prof. M.A.R. Barker

Archive for the month “December, 2012”

FAQ: What is the Legacy Line?

What is the “Legacy Line?”  The “Legacy Line” refers to all previously published game material for the World of Tekumel.  This includes roleplaying games, such as Empire of the Petal Throne and Swords & Glory, source material such as S&G Vol. I: the Tekumel SourcebookThe Book of Ebon Bindings, The Tsolyani Grammar, and games such as War of Wizards.  It also includes miniatures related material such as Deeds of the Ever-Glorious, Armies of Tekumel Vol. I-VI, and related materials.  It is the intention of the Foundation to continue securing the rights to previously-published game materials and make them available once again.  Unfortunately there may prove to be some situations in which this is not possible.

How does the Foundation plan to republish old material?  Currently, the Tekumel Foundation has over thirty items available as PDF downloads through DriveThruRPG.  The Foundation is working to scan and prepare previously published materials and expand the line at DriveThruRPG.  In some case, the Foundation may decide to update old materials with higher quality art and/or updated material to maintain quality and consistency with other products.  When this happens, the updated material will be clearly marked as such.

What about print copies of old material? The Foundation is working to convert PDF files to print-on-demand (POD) format, allowing Tekumel fans to obtain physical as well as electronic copies of their favorite items from the past.  As new POD products are made available, we will make sure that Tekumel fans get all of the necessary information to order them.

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Five Questions with Jeff Dee

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Jeff Dee, artist, longtime Tékumel fan and co-author of Béthorm, a new rpg for Tékumel.

As part of the Foundation’s efforts to keep Tékumel fans aware of newsworthy events in the Five Empires, we had a chat with Jeff Dee recently.  Here’s what he had to say:

1) So who are you? As impossible as it might sound, not all Tékumel fans know who you are.
I got my start in the games industry at TSR Hobbies in the late 70’s, doing illustrations for early AD&D books and many other game lines that TSR published at the time. But I’ve always been both an artist and a game designer. I co-authored Villains and Vigilantes (V&V), the first complete superhero RPG ever published, in 1979. After that I did a lot of freelance illustration for a wide range of different games, such as MegaTraveller and Space: 1889 from GDW, West End’s Star Wars line, and so on. I eventually wound up in computer games, first as an artist on the Ultima line from Origin, and later as lead designer on the Sims: Castaway Stories. I’m happily back in tabletop RPGs now. Jack Herman and I re-released Villains and Vigilantes, and I also operate my own small publishing company called UNIgames.

2) How did you get interested in Tékumel?
My eldest brother Dave introduced me to D&D shortly after it was first published. We lived just ½ hour south of Lake Geneva, so we made frequent trips to TSR’s Dungeon Hobby Shop to check out all their latest games – including Empire of the Petal Throne when it came out. I was immediately mesmerized by the artwork and the Tékumel setting; EPT was my go-to game during those early years. In fact when Jack Herman and I met in high school, and decided to try to make a superhero RPG, our first experiment involved writing up stats for Spider-Man and the Human Torch for EPT – and making up new rules to handle their powers. Few if any EPT mechanics made it into V&V (a d100 scale with 50 being average for normal humans isn’t very convenient for a superhero game), but Tékumel remains my absolute favorite fantasy RPG setting.

3) What is UNIgames? How did it get started?
My partner, who goes by the name Talzhemir Mrr (and is the co-creator of Furcadia – the world’s longest continuously-running MMO) was looking for a small, powerful RPG ruleset and thought that a 2d10 roll would make a solid foundation. She asked me to do the initial development, and that became the core of our Pocket Universe game system. We formed UNIgames to publish it, along with two game settings for it. Quicksilver is our fantasy RPG which features psionic ‘magic’, light horror, and the metal ‘quicksilver’ which is used to create custom magic items. Teenage Demon Slayers is an RPG inspired by Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Our latest game is Cavemaster – a caveman RPG featuring a Paleolithic game system that uses handfuls of rocks instead of dice.

4) What’s Béthorm?
Béthorm is UNIgames’ upcoming conversion of Swords & Glory and Gardasiyal to the Pocket Universe game system. It’s a tragedy that Professor Barker’s own Tékumel games never received proper support, making it that much more difficult for new players to discover Tékumel. Our goal with Béthorm is to get Tékumel onto a stable platform, which we can keep in print and support with adventures and expansions.

5) What do you plan to do next, as far as Tékumel is concerned?
We’re in negotiations with the Tékumel Foundation to select a region within Tsolyanu that we can develop as a campaign setting. Sourcebooks and adventures set in that region will follow!

Thanks, Jeff!

 

FAQ: What is the Tekumel Archive?

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An Egyptian god miniature in Prof. Barker’s Tekumel collection

What is the Tekumel Archive? The Tekumel archive includes all of the materials created by Prof. Barker during his lifetime that are related to the world of Tekumel.  This includes, but is not limited to, all of the games and fiction related to Tekumel, such as:

  • Games: War of Wizards, Empire of the Petal Throne as published by TSR, Inc., Swords & Glory, Gardasiyal and the Adventures on Tekumel series, and Tekumel: Empire of the Petal Throne from Guardians of Order.
  • Fiction: Man of Gold, Flamesong, Prince of Skulls, Lords of Tsamra, and A Death of Kings, as well as The Book of Ebon Bindings.
  • Miniatures game materials: Missum!, The Armies of Tekumel, vol I-VI, and Deeds of the Ever-Glorious.  Other related materials include works written by other authors, such as Legions of the Petal Throne and Qadardalikoi.

The Tekumel archive also includes a range of three-dimensional materials related to the World of Tekumel:

  • Prof. Barker’s miniatures collections, including armies of Tekumel as well as armies for Ancient Egypt, the Medieval era, and the Valley of the Four Winds.  There are a range of role-playing related miniatures, as well.
  • The globe of Tekumel, showing the Five Empires and surrounding areas in the northern hemisphere of the planet.
  • Artwork of various kinds, some of it already presented as part of other Tekumel-related publications.
  • …and the magnificent Temple of Vimuhla, now in need of restoration work.

There is much more besides this, as well.  In truth, an entire catalog of the materials in the archive would take many pages to complete.  One of the major tasks of the Tekumel Foundation is to preserve this material and make it available to the gaming and general public to heighten awareness of the World of Tekumel.

Are there materials in the archive that have not been published, as of yet? Yes.  The precise extent of these materials is not yet defined, but current estimates range towards several thousand pages of manuscript materials in print form, more thousands of pages stored on computer media (and being backed-up for safekeeping, too!), and many boxes of other materials.  As time progresses, the Tekumel Foundation will be working on releasing new material from this part of the archive.  The “voice” of Prof. Barker will be with us for many years to come, as it will take some time to properly edit and present even some of the “hidden gold” now stored in the archive.

FAQ: What is the Tekumel Foundation?

Once a week, we are going to provide a question and answer about the Tekumel Foundation.  As time progresses, we will be assembling these posts into a FAQ for the Foundation.  Enjoy!

What is the Tekumel Foundation? The Tekumel Foundation exists to encourage, support and protect the literary works and all related products and activities surrounding Professor M.A.R. Barker’s world of Tékumel and the Empire of the Petal Throne. The Foundation was formed in 2008 by Prof. Barker, his wife Ambereen Barker, and members of the Thursday Night Group, his longtime group of gamers.

What does the Tekumel Foundation specifically do?  The Tekumel Foundation is primarily responsible for three main tasks:

  1. Preserve the Tekumel Archive.  This includes all of the written and artistic material created by Prof. Barker during his lifetime.
  2. Make previously-published Tekumel materials available to the public.  This involves the re-release of older Tekumel material, usually referred to as the “Legacy Line.”
  3. License new material to be “approved for Tekumel.”  This includes any and all new creative efforts set in or connected to Tekumel and Prof. Barker.

Other tasks related to Tekumel and Prof. Barker are also part of the mission of the Foundation.

Blue Room Archives – Available Again!

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I’m very happy to announce that the Blue Room archives are available again. See my October 18 post on the blog here for the reasons that they weren’t available.

I have created a complete volume 37 that finally captures all of the messages that were ever released on the Blue Room (We were missing a handful in the old release).

In this current incarnation they are still plain old text files. Peter Gifford, the esteemed webmaster of www.tekumel.com has some ideas on reformatting them. I am looking forward to seeing what he wants to do with them. But until that time, they can be downloaded now from www.tekumel.com under the Tekumel Archives section. Just click here to be taken directly to the download page. You can download individual digests, or the whole thing in a zip file.

Thanks everyone, for being patient.

Chris Davis

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