The Tékumel Foundation

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

Archive for the tag “University of Minnesota”

Another 40th Anniversary…

OD&D Men & Magic cover

OD&D Men & Magic cover

It’s the 40th Anniversary of the release of Original Dungeons & Dragons (OD&D)!  As Jon Peterson has already chronicled, sometime in January 1974 was the original public release date for Original Dungeons & Dragons.  It is a anniversary well worth celebrating, as it was the start of a huge shift in popular culture around the world.

Somewhat less well known is the fact that Michael Mornard – better known as “Old Geezer” in online RPG forums – was the person who introduced Professsor Barker to OD&D in the fall of 1973.  Professor Barker was the faculty advisor for the Conflict Simulation Association (CSA), a student organization at the University of Minnesota.  Michael began attending meetings of the CSA, and it was there he began running his own OD&D game, and as a result, gave Professor Barker an opportunity to experience OD&D.  Later, in early 1974, Professor Barker produced the “green cover” or “mimeo” set of rules for what would become Empire of the Petal Throne.

As part of the process of cataloging Professor Barker’s vast collection of games and material related to Tekumel, we discovered Professor Barker’s copy of OD&D.  When we looked inside the covers, though, we discovered that Professor Barker not only signed the books but dated them as well.  We hope you enjoy these photos, courtesy of Bob Alberti.

OD&D Men & Magic inside cover with Prof. Barker's signature

OD&D Men & Magic inside cover with Prof. Barker’s signature

OD&D Monsters & Treasure cover

OD&D Monsters & Treasure cover

OD&D Monsters & Treasure inside cover with Prof. Barker's signature

OD&D Monsters & Treasure inside cover with Prof. Barker’s signature

OD&D Underworld and Wilderness Adventures cover

OD&D Underworld and Wilderness Adventures cover

OD&D Underworld and Wilderness Adventures inside cover with Prof. Barker's signature

OD&D Underworld and Wilderness Adventures inside cover with Prof. Barker’s signature

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May 5th, 2012 – The Barker Memorial

The Temple of Vimuhla

The Temple of Vimuhla

The memorial celebrating the life and work of Professor Muhammad Abd-al Rahman Barker was a great success. Held at the Sheraton Midtown Hotel in the heart of south Minneapolis, over 60 people gathered to remember the accomplishments of the celebrated linguist, scholar and game designer.

The evening began with a social hour, with former colleagues, students, family and friends arriving at the hotel. Mrs. Ambereen Barker was accompanied by her sister-in-law, and graciously greeted guests as they visited her to express their condolences.

At 6:30pm, the chair of the Tékumel Foundation, Dr. Victor Raymond, gave a brief introduction to a 20-minute audio-visual presentation about Prof. Barker. Compiled from Prof. Barker’s own photo collection by Janet Moe and Mrs. Barker, the presentation showed highlights including the 1950 World Science Fiction Convention, Prof. Barker’s studies in India and Pakistan, his time teaching at McGill University and the University of Minnesota, wargaming with friends, and his later travels with Mrs. Barker. Following the presentation, there were a series of short remembrances. Among those speaking were:

  • Chris Davis, longtime Tékumel fan and moderator of The Blue Room
  • Bob Alberti, member of the Thursday Night Group and Tékumel Foundation treasurer
  • Dr. Indira Junghare, former student and colleague of Prof. Barker
  • Al Musielewicz, member of the Thursday Night Group, Tékumel Foundation board member and student of Prof. Barker
  • John Till, longtime Tékumel fan and member of the Aethervox Gamers
  • Dr. Victor Raymond, member of the Thursday Night Group and Tékumel Foundation Chair
  • Heather Davies, member of the Aethervox Gamers and personal friend of the Barkers

“It was a really nice way to remember Phil,” said Thomas Juntunen, who was one of the attendees. Tékumel fans present included Ken Fletcher, Joe Zottola, Jim Bodine, Bill Hoyt and many others. As socializing continued, Jeff Berry provided tours of the famous Temple of Vimúhla, keeping his audience in rapt attention as he detailed the inner sections of the scale model. Photographs of the event were taken by Dave E. Romm, including the one shown above. (Additional photos can be seen on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150834696485138.430107.530260137&type=3&l=7eb8b54bac  )

After the formal occasion was over, friends and colleagues of Prof. Barker stayed to reminisce in the lobby and hotel restaurant, sharing stories of old adventures on Earth as well as on Tékumel.

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