Collecting Empire of the Petal Throne
Empire of the Petal Throne was a roleplaying game first published in 1975 by TSR. Empire of the Petal Throne‘s setting was Tekumel, a medieval technology world based on Incan, Mayan, and Egyptian cultures. The setting was created by Professor M.A.R. Barker, a professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis when Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson were students there in the 1970s. Inspired by the students new game, Dungeons & Dragons, Professor Barker transformed a setting (he intended for novels) into a roleplaying setting.
The Tekumel RPG produced four professionally-published game publications, along with a few novels and a wargame. The Empire of the Petal Throne books are collectors items because it was one of the first roleplaying games to be published, and it was an early effort by TSR Inc. The Tekumel setting is notable for one other reason: M.A.R. Barker designed languages for the civilizations of Tekumel, much like J.R.R. Tolkien did for his Lord of the Rings novels.
Since 1975, four games have been published for the setting:
- Empire of the Petal Throne
- Swords & Glory
- Gardasiyal: Adventures in Tekumel
- Tekumel: Empire of the Petal of Throne
Empire of the Petal Throne RPG
The original Empire of the Petal Throne box set includes a history of Tekumel, a description of races, a bestiary, maps, and a full set of rules using the D&D system. The Empire of the Petal Sun RPG was published by TSR in 1975, and the game (without the box) sells for $140 to $150 in a lightly used condition.
Tekumel Journal #1 – Empire of the Petal Throne
The Tekumel Journal #1 was published in 1977 by Imperium Publishing. The journal provides additional background material for roleplaying in the Empire of the Petal Throne game. A copy of the game sells for about $35 in good condition.
Tekumel: Swords & Glory Volume 1
Swords and Glory is a 1987 redesign of the Tekumel RPG by Professor Barker published by Gamescience. The Swords & Glory supplement contains an early history of Tekumel, notes on the empires, ethnic descriptions of races, a discussion of the family and the clan, and astronomical data information for the Tekumel universe.
Gardasiyal: Deeds of Glory Box Set
Gardasiyal: Deeds of Glory was a 1994 game for the Tekumel setting by Theater of the Mind Enterprises. The Gardasiyal box set contains a guide, reference chart, gamers compendium, and character archetypes. I’ve found a copy of this box set online with a damaged box and an asking price of around $45.
Tekumel: Empire of the Petal Throne
Guardians of Order released a new version of the EOTPT in 2005 with Tekumel: Empire of the Petal Throne. This is a full update with new cover art. A new version of this book sells on eBay for between $80 and $85.
More Empire of the Petal Throne Products
If you’re looking for more products by Professor Barker about the Empire of the Petal Throne, there are several references: Deeds of the Ever Glorious: A History of the Tsolyani Legions, The Book of Ebon Bindings, and The Tekumel Bestiary. Five sourcebooks detail the armies of the Five Empire, while a sixth sourcebook details the armies of the reptilian race known as the Shen. More than one wargame has been produced, as well as miniatures that were marketed by Eureka Miniatures of Australia. Five Tekumel novels written by Professor Barker also were published: The Man of Gold, Flamesong, Lords of Tsamra, Prince of Skulls, and A Death of Kings.