Monday, March 17, 2014

First Tekumel

Good poets borrow...
What was your first Tekumel? My first contact with the world of Tekumel was in a capsule review of Empire of the Petal Throne in a gaming magazine. My recollection was that the review was in Strategy & Tactics magazine. But in recent years, people have told me there was never a capsule review of EPT there. So I am not sure where that review occurred.

The reviewer was quite amused by the clever names and fanciful (dare we say Vancian?) titles that Professor M.A.R. Barker gave to the creatures of Tekumel. If memory serves, the Dnelu, "the Concealed Leaper", the Kuruku, "the Small Giggler", were cited as examples, but I have no idea why the reviewer didn't mention other worthies, such as the Hli'ir, "the Beast with the Unendurable Face" of whom we are told: "These mad creatures are hideous to look upon, and anyone who does may go insane" (EPT p.67). 

Medusans, anyone?

With that little review, I was bitten by the Tekumel bug. Not too long after then, I think, Dragon 4 came out. That was a much bigger dose of Tekumel for me, and sharpened my interest in getting the game.

But it would be a few years yet, before I could afford to buy a copy of EPT. At $25. the EPT boxed set was a serious expenditure for a high school kid. Back then, Whitebox D&D was only about $12. But when I did buy it, EPT proved to be worth every penny.

And those maps!

So what was your first Tekumel? An advertisement, an article in a gaming magazine, the boxed set appearing in your game store, someone playing EPT in a local game store?


  1. The week I saw the game in the store, Craig Smith and Tim Cox started a campaign in The Little Tin Soldier Shop in Minneapolis. They were both players in Professor Barker's own campaign, and theirs was an official offshoot of the home campaign. I bought the game immediately. That campaign lasted for over a year, and I met friends that made the core of my gaming group for years to come, including Tom Juntunen, John Finsrud, Neil Cauley, Victor Raymond, Scott Kallen, Bruce Cauble, and Jay Cummings.

    1. If only I could have grown up around in the Twin Cities! It took me about 30+ years to actually play Tekumel for the first time.

  2. My first introduction to Tekumel came by way of reading a capsule review of EPT in the Owl and Weasel newsletter. The precursor to White Dwarf. I didn`t buy the newsletter but thankfully I did buy the game. All I can remember of the review is that it referenced a magic user performing cheap tricks in a marketplace for money. It did though hint at the depth of the setting so it was obviously a good review.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Ian! Sorry I am so slow with curation these days! That's an interesting story and I've never heard of the Owl and Weasel before, so that's some interesting game history too!