Monday, March 7, 2011

What Happened to the Other “Tekumels”?

I got stuck with a wild tangential thought when reading through the Drune's Humanspace Empires today.

Close to the front he provides a nice chronology of the pre-historic Tekuml period covered in the game. The last entry in the timeline caught my attention and fueled my imagination:
ca. 111, 912 AD Tékumel thrown into pocket dimension, the Time of Darkness. The same fate befalls 722 other worlds in Humanspace.
The sourcebook for the second iteration of EPT rules, Swords & Glory, states it thus:
It must be assumed that Tekumel and its solar system fell--or were thrust--through a warp in the fabric of space-time itself, a "hole in the sky," into a pocket dimension in which no other matter existed. The reasons for this terrible calamity can only be guessed: natural forces, stresses created by the incessant use of the Three Light Drive, the actions of a hostile race, interference from mighty inter-dimensional beings far beyond man and his allies on the evolutionary scale, the vengeance of God upon His arrogant and overweening Creation? No one knows. It may only be noted in passing that this same fate befell 772 other worlds of Humanspace within a century after the disappearance of Tekumel and its system.
Obviously there is some discrepancy in the numbers between the two. I'm not interested in the picking of canonical nits, however, but what the implications are for fun with the setting.

It's funny I must have read this passage more than three times as I read and reread the planet's history. Each time though my mind eased over it; perhaps chalking it more to an eloquent bit of verisimilitude, than something that might have a wider implication.

With the revival of interest in the swords and planet genre that has rode on the backs of the general revival, there has been some interest in the use of EPT to game other worlds .

Think for a moment about the wonderful possibilities of basing such games in those 700-plus other worlds. With thousands of years of post-Darkness history you could run virtually any type of game world you want while maintaining all the science fantasy richness of the professor's creation.

Want tubecars, eyes, ru'un, Pe Choi, Shen in your post-apocalyptic Weird West, here you go. Want a parallel-evolving world—there must be some deeper mystery to that cosmic drama involving the gods pariah or otherwise from EPT after all—with all the baroque hierarchies, religions, etc. in your own science fantasy homebrew campaign stew, here's your rationale.

The pocket universe is the limit...


  1. There's your crowd-sourced sourcebook... when finally completed, it's Hardcover. 1000 pages. Separate book with maps.

    Covering the mysterious difference between 772 and 722... and just title it:

    The Fifty Worlds.

  2. Love it, we need more open world products. Why not actually make it pocket universes?

  3. No, no, NO! Don't tempt me! Other projects afoot...

  4. The lost worlds of Humanspace is a pretty fascinating mystery, along with what caused the disaster in the first place.

    A campaign on one of the other lost worlds has its appeal but I almost feel that if one is going to play in a pocket universe similar to that containing Tékumel, it might as well be Tékumel. I still want to follow up Humanspace with Lords of the Latter Times, a Gamma World-Mutant Future-Super-Science and Sorcery=game set on Tékumel during the Time of Darkness.

    I think 772 is probably the canonical number, as it is stated in Swords and Glory and in GOO's Tékumel: Empire of the Petal Throne. This latter work is not without its own difficulties relevant to the mathematics of history as it notes that Tékumel was first visited by Humanspace explorers in the 81st century rather than the 620th or 621st century.

    I likely picked up the 722 figure from Shawn Bond's "A Chronological Presentation of Tékumel, The Sidereal Universe, and The Majesty of The Empire of The Petal Throne." Mr. Bond also included several non-canonical alien species in his time-line- the noisome tripedal Popo of Beta Aquilae, the shaggy Umpleb from Delta Aquilae, and the insiduous Bahk Muhk from Denebola-that stirred up some confusion on the Blue Room list.

  5. Old West: Six-guns & Ssu?

    Romantic comedy: Shen & Sensibility?

    The possibilities are endless!

  6. Indie action flick with a twist: The Usual Shunned Ones

  7. So...been offline a bit due to surgery...just catching up a bit on things...has anyone worked out how to actually do this sort of project without running into litigation? This sounds like a potential money-maker for the Foundation perhaps? It would sure be nice to get the Professor's blessing on such an undertaking...

  8. So far purely a thought experiment. But I agree if it got anywhere it would be best to have Barker's green light.