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RE: [tekumel] Re: Early Tekumel Material?

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  • Mark Eggert
    Lady Anka a, Thank you and the other old timers for the very informative history of pre-TSR Tekumel. I have searched the web and cannot find the web page
    Message 1 of 23 , Jun 8, 2008
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      Lady Anka'a,
      Thank you and the other "old timers" for the very informative history of
      pre-TSR Tekumel.

      I have searched the web and cannot find the web page with the early gaming
      stuff for Tekumel. I do have a copy of it on my hard drive and I will email
      it to the group.

      Regards,
      Mark

      -----Original Message-----
      From: tekumel@yahoogroups.com [mailto:tekumel@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
      ladyanka_a
      Sent: Saturday, June 07, 2008 2:25 PM
      To: tekumel@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [tekumel] Re: Early Tekumel Material?

      I have consulted with a few other "old timers" and we have
      constructed a more "thorough" history of Tekumel--as opposed to EPT.

      The sequence of events in late 1973 and early 1974; Phil was the
      faculty advisor for the University of Minnesota wargame club, which
      met on Tuesday nights at Coffman. Dave Arneson and his friends had
      been doing a lot of Chainmail games and started introducing fantasy
      elements into them, which led to D & D: Mike Mornard had moved up
      here from Lake Geneva bringing the new D & D game with him, and most
      of the group had bought copies of the original boxed three-volume set
      by late 1973.

      The specific genesis of EPT came after the publication of
      "Gods, Demi-gods, and Typos"; Phil was kibitzing a game being run by
      Mike Mornard, when the group slaughtered the Archangel Michael. Phil
      objected to this on various grounds, and Michael told him that "it was
      in the rules". Phil responded by asking the famous question, "Well,
      then, how many hit points does Jesus Christ have?"; Michael replied to
      Phil that if he didn't like the rules, he should go off and do his
      own. Phil then vanished for about two months and came back with the
      mimeographed two-volume manuscript for EPT. Phil told me that Arneson
      saw the manuscript, had Phil send it to TSR, and Gary Gygax
      came up to negotiate the contract for EPT.

      As to the "game" system, originally Phil "borrowed" the D&D system
      for EPT. It was pretty close to D&D itself, it took very little
      explanation to someone familiar with D&D. Gary thought it should have
      its own system, and so Phil went back and developed his original game
      system as seen in EPT. Phil was an old hand at wargaming, so the
      system was not a difficult matter for him. The world and the rest was
      what Phil was selling, not the actual mechanics of playing it. And
      this is what has caused so many disagreements, IMHO. This
      endless "D20 vs whatever system" argument is really not important.
      The world of Tekumel is the important thing, not how you play it,
      because there have been so many dfferent "game systems" within the
      Tekumel universe.

      As to where Tekumel itself came from, that goes waaaay back. Phil
      said he felt lonely and isolated as a child, he said he had few
      friends growing up and so he developed a rich inner fantasy life.
      Tekumel is the result. It probably was mostly "gelled" by the time he
      was in high school, but I imagine it was still evolving as he read SF
      and learned about other cultures and languages etc. in college and
      beyond. You can see in the drawings Phil did, that he was influenced
      by the popular culture of his day, Ma'in looks a lot like Claudette
      Colbert etc. He did the original map for Tekumel while he was in High
      School, and it hasn't changed a lot since then.

      Phil is a member of First Fandom in SF--he was around in the
      Late '40's and 50's and knew almost everyone. He attended worldcons
      and the rest in those days. He was active and did work for fanzines,
      including drawing maps for Jack Vance's world. (The L. Ron Hubbard
      story on the founding of Scientology is from Phil who did indeed
      witness the original drunken chat/argument/dare.)

      Interestingly, Phil told a lot of stories about his world travels,
      meeting peoples and cultures around the globe. In some respects he is
      a real-life Indiana Jones, going to all sorts of exotic places and
      having "adventures" there. He didn't collect artifacts however, but
      languages and cultures instead. He is a natural linguist. He taught
      himself heiroglyphs and the ancient egyptian language when he was a
      child of 8 or 9.

      Phil had been 'gaming' a form of 'proto-Tekumel' since his childhood;
      he told us about his collecting Britains' 54mm Roman and
      Egyptian figures, and how these evolved into Tekumelyani (Tsolyani vs
      Yan Koryani). He also hadncarved his own figures, which I've seen and
      which are quite charming - he did these when he was in his early
      teens, and they have a life all their own. (The figure that he used
      for the courtyard statue on the Temple of Vimuhla model is one of the
      same kind of thing as these.) What is interesting about the figures
      is that Phil was not only using a sort of H. G. Wells's "Little Wars"
      type of game for wargames on the floor, but he was also using a
      series of colored dots on the bases of the figures to indicate their
      particular strengths, powers, and attributes when he was using them
      as individual 'hero' figures. He also had some 'monsters' that also
      used the same base-marking system, and he told me that he had
      done 'adventures' of a kind that could be considered a form of 'proto-
      role-playing'.

      Now some of these color code dots may have been due to Phil's bad
      eyesight. He was legally blind in 1974 (20/200 or worse at that time)
      and he's worn glasses all his life. He did outline the figures he
      painted with ink to make the detail stand out better. This was a
      popular style of painting in Britain among wargamers there, but few
      did it in the US. The wargaming figures he painted himself are really
      beautiful, as well as brightly colored--again probably for ease of
      identification. Phil can see fine up close, but is lousy at a
      distance. He did not drive, for that reason.

      Phil continued this 'proto gaming' when he was doing his grad studies
      at Berkeley; he gathered a group of SF fans which included people
      like Bill Shipley and Vincent Gola, and they played the roles of
      various clans and familes in Tsolyanu; the "Shipali" family of
      Kerunan Province was Bill Shipley's, for example, and was the reason
      why Phil did up the land-grant document that was used for the cover
      of the Dragon issue, and an 'exploration' permit dates from the same
      1950s period in Phil's life.

      Probably, as a result of all this, as well as Phil's later extensive
      miniatures playing in the ancient and medieval periods, the arrival
      of D & D sparked Phil's interest in the medium. However, to answer
      the main thrust of the questions, yes, he had been doing Tekumel
      gaming prior to EPT's publication, and that since the 1940's...

      I can't find the link to that early 1974 first gaming session stuff
      myself. Please feel free to re-post it, I said what I said then, and
      it still stands.

      --- In tekumel@yahoogroups.com, "Mark Eggert" <meggert@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hello Lady Anka'a,
      > Please delurk and grant us another audience.
      >
      > This thread on the pre-TSR version of EPT reminded me of a posting
      a few
      > years ago which had a link to a web page with a picture of the
      mimeographed
      > EPT rules and a story of the original game session of EPT. I was
      sure I
      > saved this and indeed I have found it. And I see it was you who
      posted it.
      > Please either repost the link, or allow me, to for all to enjoy
      again. Btw,
      > the web page was posted on the 30th anniversary of the game session.
      >
      > Four years ago when I first heard of the pre-TSR version, I
      wondered if this
      > was what TSR used for their release of EPT and if so how much was
      changed
      > from the original. Before knowing of the pre-TSR version, I always
      wondered
      > if the professor only provided the world setting aspects and TSR
      generated
      > the variant of D&D for the ruleset. Or if the professor had
      generated the
      > ruleset? Can you tell us how close the two rulesets are?
      >
      > Patiently waiting your reply,
      > Mark
      >



      ------------------------------------

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    • Brian Murphy
      Thank you Lady Anka, for your unlurking attention.   I officially joined the EPT revolution about 6 months after the game premiered. My club was fully
      Message 2 of 23 , Jun 9, 2008
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        Thank you Lady Anka, for your
        unlurking attention.
         
        I officially joined the EPT 'revolution'
        about 6 months after the game
        premiered. My club was fully formed at
        that time, and called The Hawk War game
        Club. The core members (of which I am
        one, by accident of being there for the
        first meeting) decided to try to cover all
        game bases for our rapidly growing membership.
        The club wanted to have a D & D guy, a T & T
        guy an Arduin guy, and so on. I got volunteered
        for EPT and reluctantly assumed the job.
         
        I met Phil and several other EPT people at
        that fateful Temple showing, when GenCon
        was still being held in Lake Geneva. Phil gave
        me his number there, and I began a two or
        three year long distance correspondence.
        When I attempted to start a mail order business
        based in EPT products, Phil gave me verbal permission
        to use the Thumis glyph as my logo, which I
        occasionally do today, without copyright challenge,
        though the mail order business, Imperial Scribe
        forfeited the assumed name in 1984, and I retired from
        game merchandizing. I still have my old banner,
        and a lot of unsold items of Tekumelania.
         
        Phil became disenchanted with my constant
        inquiries about game modules, and judges aids,
        and referred me to Jeff Berry, from whom I was
        able to obtain 'official' paint jobs of all the current
        minis, so that I could display them painted on
        my minicon sales table. Jeff also put my name
        in for continuing subs to the current newsletters.
        I amassed a huge stock of miniatures, and still
        have most of it. My figure conversions are the
        stuff of legend among the Chicago clubs. I won
        the national  trophy in 1978. (not the GenCon one,
        or the Warhammer one, but the oldest one--the
        Wargammers Digest Winged Victory).
         
        I met the Heeps father and son team the year
        they did the giant Sakbe road display, and met
        Dave Sutherland around that time. Jeff Berry
        and I remained in touch until he stopped taking
        my calls. He had already referred me to Jim Roach
        who graciously compensated me for my lost mini
        consignment. I returned the favor by buying half
        his current inventory, and a sub to his fanzine.
         
        I left EPT to pursue my own fantasy compilation,
        Kesh, which has been well received, and almost
        bought. My original 25 players had shrunk to 3,
        and I decided to suspend the first campaign, which
        I dubbed Tika. Years later, several of my former
        players, and some newbees, ganged up on me,
        and compelled me to start the Chamber of Ages
        Campaign in the 90's. It was then that I began
        to realize the vast amount of EPT materials I had
        accumulated.
         
        This might go some distance toward explaining
        my relationship to EPT, and why no inner circle
        people knew of my existence until 2001, when
        I found Carl Brodt, and he convinced me to attend
        U Con. There I am in the photos, leaning toward
        the tape recorder, next to Carl.
         
        Regards,
        E, Brian Murphy
        The Imperial Scribe




        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • James Eckman
        ... One major exception to this, Phil is literate and the original rules are much better written than D&D. I did get one of the first copies, mostly because as
        Message 3 of 23 , Jun 9, 2008
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          > As to the "game" system, originally Phil "borrowed" the D&D system
          > for EPT. It was pretty close to D&D itself,

          One major exception to this, Phil is literate and the original rules are
          much better written than D&D. I did get one of the first copies, mostly
          because as a wargamer I had heard about these strange games and I wanted
          to try one. For the first 6 months or so, a few friends and I fought
          land battles and such before we got hooked on dungeon crawls.

          P.S. We used a 1914 variant for the land battles!

          Jim Eckman
        • Peter Huston
          James Eckman wrote: Phil is literate. . . I think that Professor Barker deserves more credit for this. To many of us who discovered EPT, and
          Message 4 of 23 , Jun 10, 2008
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            James Eckman wrote:

            <snip>

            "Phil is literate. . . "

            <snip>


            I think that Professor Barker deserves more credit for this. To many of us who discovered EPT, and such things as the Book of Ebon Bindings as teenagers or adolescents, Professor Barker deserves much unreceived credit as the source of first exposure to many SAT words that we never would have seen elsewhere.

            :-)

            Peter Huston



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • mtbdmf
            Too true. Phil s use of words occasionally reminds me of the works of my favorite author of all time, Clark Ashton Smith, who was an absolute wizard with
            Message 5 of 23 , Jun 11, 2008
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              Too true. Phil's use of words occasionally reminds me of the works of my favorite author
              of all time, Clark Ashton Smith, who was an absolute wizard with words, using words not
              only to describe but to evoke and enchant. Phil's "Book of Ebon Bindings" is my favorite
              gaming supplement of all time.

              M


              --- In tekumel@yahoogroups.com, Peter Huston <hamchuck.1234@...> wrote:
              >
              > James Eckman wrote:
              >
              > <snip>
              >
              > "Phil is literate. . . "
              >
              > <snip>
              >
              >
              > I think that Professor Barker deserves more credit for this. To many of us who
              discovered EPT, and such things as the Book of Ebon Bindings as teenagers or adolescents,
              Professor Barker deserves much unreceived credit as the source of first exposure to many
              SAT words that we never would have seen elsewhere.
              >
              > :-)
              >
              > Peter Huston
              >
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
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