Saturday, April 16, 2011


The first question would be "Why would anyone write a blog about Tekumel?" It's an old setting that has had a checkered publishing history. It's never reached the audience that something like RuneQuest or Traveller has.

The answer to that is that in spite of difficulties, Tekumel presents one of the most creative settings around. It's depth and scope approaches Middle Earth, but with a heavy dose of the strange and exotic. Whereas Tolkien drew from the familiar themes of northern Europe, Barker used the less well-known motifs of Indian, the Middle East, and Meso-America. He combines them with the pulpy sci-fi of the 40s and 50s in a way that makes you believe this place exists on some plane.

The second question would be "Why would I write a blog about Tekumel?" I've been around role-playing games since the beginning, as a player, a GM, and a writer, and Tekumel was the first campaign I ever played in. It ruined me for D&D. I've been around Tekumel ever since. After 35 years, it's still my favorite RPG setting.

So, that answers those questions. Perhaps you have some questions as well. Ask in the comments, if you like.


  1. I remember my first exposure to Dr. Barker's creation. My English teacher was helping stoke my love of fantasy and science fiction by lending me items from her and her husband's collections. One afternoon she comments that she had noticed the copy of the AD&D Player's handbook I had been reading through and she hands me her husband's copy of EPT. I was blown away, the ideas, the setting, the people, I had never read anything like it. Even though it would be many years before I would find a group willing to venture into Tekumel the experience impacted and colored my own storytelling labors. 30+ years later I am as fascinated by the work as I was on day one, experience has only deepened my understanding and appreciation of Barker's vision.

  2. Here's a question: What color is a time-travelling Greek dwelling ca. 480 BC?

    It's nice to see you out and about. I wish you all fun with the new blog.

  3. Hmmm, I don't remember. Was it white or beige? hehe