Tékumel: The World of the Petal Throne

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If you examine the amazing detail that Tolkien put into his imaginary world of Middle-earth, and how it has sparked the imaginations of millions for a generation—you’d be forgiven for thinking that this creation is unique in its complexity. But there is another world, less well known but just as complex, multi-hued, and co-incidently also the life’s work of a professor of linguistics. His name is Professor M. A. R. Barker, and the world is called Tékumel (tay-koo-mayl). I first became interested in this place in my early teens, when it was the subject of a now-classic roleplaying game called The Empire of the Petal Throne. It came out about the same time as Dungeons & Dragons, but far from the kind of generic Tolkienesque style of that game, it was a fully developed, decidedly non-Western melieu of original fantasy.

I forgot about it for about fifteen years, and then stumbled across one of Professor Barker’s novels (there are five so far) set on Tékumel in a second-hand bookstore. The vividness of Tékumel came flooding back, and I decided to give this world a website, a home on the internet. That was almost eight years ago, and Tekumel: The World of the Petal Throne has grown into a site of some 290 pages that is not only a repository for online versions of material dating back to 1975, but a place where you can spend many, many hours reading about this amazing world and the people, societies and creatures that live on it. I’ve just re-launched the site and it has been improved in every way. If you like imaginary worlds, you are in for a big treat—welcome to Tékumel!

One Comment (+add yours?)

  1. steelbuddha
    May 06, 2005 @ 04:47:22

    Wow. Lovely. I’ll admit I got a litle hung up in laces on the old one. Right now I’ve gotten pretty heavily into reading the Planescape backgrounds, but after that I’m coming back to Tekumel. Excellent work.