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Author Topic: MAR Barker passed away  (Read 2510 times)

RPGPundit

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MAR Barker passed away
« Reply #30 on: March 21, 2012, 02:29:27 AM »
Quote from: IceBlinkLuck;522739
You've mentioned this before and it genuinely puzzles me. I've been gaming since '74 and I've been running games or playing in games set in Tekumel since it was first published and I have never heard the accusation of racism leveled at a person who didn't want to play the game.


Usually the accusation is more subtle than outright racism, but it amounts to that; its the idea some tekumel-fanboys seem to have that the "only reason" tekumel isn't the most popular rpg setting out there, equal to the forgotten realms or whatever is that its "non-western".

I really dig non-standard fantasy, and have run campaigns set in China (Qin), on seriously alien worlds, a sci-fi campaign based on a muslim caliphate, etc.  

Again, the issue here is not, to me, a culture issue but an issue of Tekumel simply being a setting that demands a very high level of effort to buy-into. And a huge part of that is the obsession with linguistics.

And no, you don't have to learn to speak tsolyani to play, but you do need to remember dozens if not hundreds of tsolyani words, terms, place names, names for creatures, for objects, for cultural traditions; a lot of these, had Prof. Barker been a wiser man (or at least, had he wanted his world to be more accessible), he would have termed in plain english.

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The Butcher

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MAR Barker passed away
« Reply #31 on: March 21, 2012, 07:40:36 AM »
Quote from: RPGPundit;522757
And no, you don't have to learn to speak tsolyani to play, but you do need to remember dozens if not hundreds of tsolyani words, terms, place names, names for creatures, for objects, for cultural traditions; a lot of these, had Prof. Barker been a wiser man (or at least, had he wanted his world to be more accessible), he would have termed in plain english.


A dozen at best, Punds. Other than the animals (Chlén, Hmá, Hmélu), the other races (Shén, Ssú, etc.) the custom of tearing down old cities and building new ones on top (ditlána) and the fermented beverage of choice (ngálu), I seldom remember anything else, and I see no reason someone can't run a game without even knowing the latter two. Or even the animals and races ("six-legged pack triceratops" will do just as well as Chlén, "proud warrior race lizard men" for Shén, etc.)

A few funny names have never kept geeks from engaging their favorites IPs. Witness the popularity of The Wheel of Time books.

The_Shadow

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MAR Barker passed away
« Reply #32 on: March 21, 2012, 08:45:38 AM »
The words are certainly strange, but Barker didn't fall into the trap of renaming familiar things. A sword is a sword, cat is a cat, and a magician is a magician. If it has a Tsolyani name it's because there is no plain English equivalent.
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Kuroth

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MAR Barker passed away
« Reply #33 on: March 21, 2012, 10:04:24 AM »
Gary’s forward to Empire of the Petal Throne:

"It is a great privilege to be given the task of writing the prefatory remarks to Professor Barker's tremendous creation EMPIRE OF THE PETAL THRONE. It is also something which I approach with considerable reservation, for what can I tell you about this incredible labor that its author and the game components haven't already said far better than I possible can? So I simply state that it is the most beautifully done fantasy game ever created. It is difficult for me to envision the possibility of any rival being created in the future. Comparisons are often misleading, but carefully drawn ones can be helpful and informative. Therefore, I must ask the reader to view the world of Tekumel in comparison with J .R .R . Tolkien's Middle Earth. A study of the background detail and society of each will force the reader to the conclusion that the former work is, if anything, at least as painstakingly and lovingly detailed as that of the acknowledged master of the fantasy world in toto. J .R .R . Tolkien did not, of course, ever imagine his Middle Earth as a vehicle for the play of fantasy games - much to the loss of his myriads of devotees. But Professor Barker has neither had the opportunity to introduce and familiarize his Tekumel by means of popular works of fiction. It is unfortunate likewise that Professor Tolkien did not survive to contemplate the possibilities of creating a fantasy game which would allow his readers the opportunity of sharing even more intimately in Middle Earth through such adventures and campaigns as are offered herein. The author of this work may yet publish his incomplete (at the time of this writing) novel of the world of the Petal Throne, and I look forward eagerly to this prospect not only in order to enjoy the excitement and beauty of Tekumel on a broader basis, but because I am convinced that this will also bring much deserved fame to its author.

In a similar vein, I am unable to relate much personal information about Professor Barker, for I have known him for but a short time and then only through his game creations, correspondence, and telephone communication - both forms of communication being on the lengthy side, but the former far less expensive than the latter, for I tend to go on at length regardless of the cost. His wargaming friends and associates in the Twin Cities area have also told me much about him. Professor Barker illustrates (as is proven herein, well indeed!) and sculpts (there are rumors of an army of 2,000 hand carved figures for Tekumel) amongst his many other talents. In fact, I have begun to wonder what he cannot do rather than what he can. If there is such a thing as a Renaissance Man, I am inclined to believe that Professor Barker amply fills the qualifications on all counts. To put it in the tritest of phrases, he is a gentleman and a scholar. More importantly where we are concerned, he is a superb author of fantasy and fantasy games. Enjoy!

E . Gary Gygax
Tactical Studies Rules Editor,
1 July 1975, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin"


Most of the Tékumel releases are available as reprints from Tita's.
http://www.tekumel.com/tita/items.html
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Kuroth

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MAR Barker passed away
« Reply #34 on: March 22, 2012, 12:31:30 AM »
Jeff Berry’s thoughts about his friend M.A.R. Barker:

http://chirinesworkbench.blogspot.com/
« Last Edit: March 22, 2012, 12:35:06 AM by Kuroth »
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RPGPundit

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MAR Barker passed away
« Reply #35 on: March 22, 2012, 04:56:16 PM »
Quote from: The Butcher;522804
A dozen at best, Punds. Other than the animals (Chlén, Hmá, Hmélu), the other races (Shén, Ssú, etc.) the custom of tearing down old cities and building new ones on top (ditlána) and the fermented beverage of choice (ngálu), I seldom remember anything else, and I see no reason someone can't run a game without even knowing the latter two. Or even the animals and races ("six-legged pack triceratops" will do just as well as Chlén, "proud warrior race lizard men" for Shén, etc.)

A few funny names have never kept geeks from engaging their favorites IPs. Witness the popularity of The Wheel of Time books.


I seem to remember that just in like, the first page of the introduction of the original EPT book, there were so many words in tsolyani it was dizzying.

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Claudius

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MAR Barker passed away
« Reply #36 on: March 23, 2012, 07:18:24 AM »
Quote from: RPGPundit;522757
Usually the accusation is more subtle than outright racism, but it amounts to that; its the idea some tekumel-fanboys seem to have that the "only reason" tekumel isn't the most popular rpg setting out there, equal to the forgotten realms or whatever is that its "non-western".

In case anyone doubts the Pundit's word, read this and this post. Lovely, isn't it? :rolleyes:

I don't think the problem with Tekumel is only linguistics, is that if you listen to the fanboys, it seems like a "cleverer-than-you" setting, and frankly, most gamers just want to have fun, no more. If I were to publish a new Tekumel book, I would include this post in the introduction, in golden letters:

Quote from: Ian Absentia;155262
You know what Tékumel is like to me?  It's like the planet Mongo from Flash Gordon, only without the rayguns and space ships (well, mostly without them).  It's a mish-mash of "oriental" cultures overlain by an exotic pulp template.  Seriously, Ming the Merciless would be right at home in Tsolyánu.

As with so many canon-heavy settings, if you stop listening to the pundits (no offense, Pundit) who jaw on about the anthropological aspects instead of the gaming aspects, then it's easier to envisage.  Remember that it's a science fiction setting, more akin to Flash Gordon or John Carter of Mars than to any historical nation or culture.  You can't think of Mughal India, or Imperial China, or the Maya when you think of Tékumel, no how much those cultures may have influenced the author.  You need to think of Mongo or Barsoom.

!i!
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Lawbag

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MAR Barker passed away
« Reply #37 on: March 23, 2012, 07:25:25 AM »
Thats pretty sad, up there with the loss of David Eddings in my books...
 
Im sure Mr Barker died with a ton of stuff still in his head which he yet to impart.
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crkrueger

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« Reply #38 on: March 23, 2012, 08:12:19 AM »
Look, the guy was a genius, a professor in multiple disciplines who still had weekly gaming at his house, like a cross between Tolkien and Gygax.  It's only natural he would have groupies.  However, Barker had the additional elements of being multiculturalist, a white guy who went Islam, stuff like that's going to draw not groupies, but near-cultists, like that chick above.

Really any liberal arts professor with an open-house policy is going to attract followers, any fantasy world that is sufficiently dense with a barrier to entry is going to attract followers because of that barrier.  Barker was just a perfect storm because on top of it all, from what I understand, he was a helluva good guy.

I don't think he cared one bit whether Tekumel caught on, he wrote what he wanted to write.  Sure Tekumel is weird, sure it has weirdos who follow it practically like a secret society, there's also normal gamers who play as well(not me, but I'm gonna give it another shot).

Let's give the man his due without pissing in a memorial thread.  Make a "Why Tekumel Never Caught On" thread for the rest.
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Melan

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« Reply #39 on: March 23, 2012, 08:23:37 AM »
Quote from: CRKrueger;523321
I don't think he cared one bit whether Tekumel caught on, he wrote what he wanted to write.  Sure Tekumel is weird, sure it has weirdos who follow it practically like a secret society, there's also normal gamers who play as well(not me, but I'm gonna give it another shot).

Let's give the man his due without pissing in a memorial thread.  Make a "Why Tekumel Never Caught On" thread for the rest.

Yep.

For an introduction to running the game, there is also this thread. I'd make it part of the GM advice for any new edition to appear.
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Greentongue

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MAR Barker passed away
« Reply #40 on: March 23, 2012, 01:47:59 PM »
Quote from: claudius;523311
i don't think the problem with tekumel is only linguistics, is that if you listen to the fanboys, it seems like a "cleverer-than-you" setting, and frankly, most gamers just want to have fun, no more. If i were to publish a new tekumel book, i would include this post in the introduction, in golden letters:
[/b]

this!
=
« Last Edit: March 24, 2012, 02:56:08 PM by Greentongue »

RPGPundit

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MAR Barker passed away
« Reply #41 on: March 23, 2012, 08:54:46 PM »
Quote from: Lawbag;523312
Thats pretty sad, up there with the loss of David Eddings in my books...
 
Im sure Mr Barker died with a ton of stuff still in his head which he yet to impart.


I'm not too sure about that; I mean the guy did have a freaking lifetime of production in terms of his work, its not like he died tragically young.  I think his opus was pretty complete.  
What I think we might see is notes of his and stuff he never published still coming out in the future.

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One Horse Town

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« Reply #42 on: March 23, 2012, 09:10:30 PM »
Quote from: Claudius;523311
In case anyone doubts the Pundit's word, read this and this post. Lovely, isn't it? :rolleyes:

I don't think the problem with Tekumel is only linguistics, is that if you listen to the fanboys, it seems like a "cleverer-than-you" setting, and frankly, most gamers just want to have fun, no more. If I were to publish a new Tekumel book, I would include this post in the introduction, in golden letters:


I miss Ian.

RPGPundit

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« Reply #43 on: March 24, 2012, 11:49:05 AM »
Man what a weird chick. The one in Claudius' links, I mean.
I didn't even remember that.

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The Butcher

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MAR Barker passed away
« Reply #44 on: March 24, 2012, 01:04:54 PM »
I consider myself a fan of Tékumel, and that woman's post freaks me out too.

It's kind of like people are having themselves a nice Prime Directive thread, and you show up and half your post is in Klingon. :eek: