Tekumel – First Times

I was first introduced to Tekumel: The Empire of the Petal Throne [http://www.tekumel.com/], back in the late 1990’s. I was in college working on a Fine Arts degree and had joined a game that had been going on for years.

The first game was just traveling briefly to the world as we were playing D&D2nd in a multiverse Planescape game, where we were based out of Sigil.

It was confusing as the world was unlike any setting I’d encountered before, and I had been playing Dark Sun for about 2 years at that point.

The next occasion I encountered M.A.R. Barker’s world of Tekumel was when an experienced DM, Dale, ran a one-day event using the Garasiyal system. I don’t remember much besides being so lost. New gaming system, alien world. It was fascinating!


I mainly remember one player’s character. The player was a small woman, and she played a giant Shen (7′ tall lizard). The game was far more political than anything I’d encountered before.

In Tekumel, you have several factions that each player is a part of, the empire, clan, temple, and sometimes military affiliations, perhaps a secret society. And you’re commonly given goals that can be contrary to other factions. The empire sends you to retrieve an artifact, the artifact is of perhaps a rival temple and your temple wants you to destroy it. Perhaps another party member is of that temple and doesn’t want it destroyed, but instead wants to take it back to their temple.

Your on the edge of the empire, where the land is battling with the original vegetation of the planet which is more than deadly to humans. Oh ya, your latterly on an alien world that was colonized by humans and their allies 30,000 years ago. And the humans hit on some hard times, some 25,000 years ago when space was cut off and everything was thrown back into the stone-age.


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