The following excerpt is from The Tékumel Sourcebook; Prof. Barker presents some advice about how to approach playing Tékumel:
“There is no need for ‘your’ Tékumel to be identical with ‘my’ Tékumel. Introduce other characters, different animals, further races — after all, my terrain maps show only a portion of the planet’s northern hemisphere, and there is lots of room around the other side! Change the social structures, throw out or ignore features which do not appeal to you. Use your own imagination to bring in features which you and your players will enjoy. The game can function as a springboard into your own fantasy mythos, and if you go on to develop this, we shall all be the richer. If you have a campaign which uses some other set of rules, you may still wish to utilize these background materials either directly or as a stimulus to enhance your World. Even were we to issue a monthly newsletter or exchange data by telephone, there is no real way to prevent your history from diverging from mine. I can indeed provide further material — and some are already available from the publisher of this book — but we cannot keep your Tékumel from drifting away from mine. This is as it should be. You have just bought MY Tékumel. Now make it YOUR Tékumel.”
This advice is, if anything, more true today than in the past. What Prof. Barker wanted was for people to go out and play in his world, and then share the results with one another and with him. Trying to “get it right” is just falling down a rabbit-hole of needless worry. It’s understandable that players and game-masters would want to capture the essence of Tékumel, but that should include testing out your own Tékumel inventions and imaginings in actual gameplay.
From time to time, the Foundation blog will present various excerpts and notes from Prof. Barker which should be of value to Tékumel fans. This is the first in that series; we hope to provide some insights into what he thought was worthy of consideration as you explore Tékumel, the world of the Empire of the Petal Throne.