Episode 24: Empire of the Petal Throne by TSR

It’s a legend in the RPG community, M.A.R. Barker’s famous Tekumel is brought to you by the halfling horde’s inimitable wit! Well, half of it anyway… The Empire of the Petal Throne is arguably the first D&D variant world to see publication, and it’s got more detail than you can shake a dice bag at. The Halflings take a review of the world of the Petal Throne, its rules that vary from Dungeons & Dragons, and most importantly discuss…Dire Navigators!


Links mentioned in this show:

Empire of the Petal Throne (1975) on Drive Thru

Tekumel: The World of the Petal Throne

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4 Responses to “Episode 24: Empire of the Petal Throne by TSR”

  1. Don’t worry about pronunciation of the Tsolyani language. It’s something that you can pick up over time.

    I *really* enjoyed your discussion – it was very enlightening to see how EPT gets received by experienced gamers who new to it. (But you don’t need to be a college professor to run it – really!)

    If you would like to play in a game of Empire of the Petal Throne, I’d be happy to do that for you sometime – just let me know. Thanks for a great podcast!

  2. David Lemire says:

    Remember that the game was essentially a second draft. Phil didn’t really play-test or thoroughly edit the document. I picked up EPT in the summer of 1975, and it was far clearer than the original Dungeons & Dragons. As an example of its unfinished quality, however, take the Likelihood of Spell Success Table (the most important game mechanic in the entire rules). It cross-references level and skill difficulty, and is far ahead of its time. Phil, however, buried the table on page 20 of the rules and never really discussed its importance. It was used for skill success also, so a very important table. Personally, I wish Phil had kept the product reasonable in price and had re-written the book to bring to the surface its many strengths.

    P.S., The book describes a pre-Tolkien, sword-and-sorcery, world, and does have a great deal of sexism in it. I never refer to Nayari as “of the Silken Thighs”. I refer to her as the Founder of the First Imperium.

  3. Chris Holmes says:

    Take Victor Raymond at his offer if you can; he is a great D.M. Fun show as always. Barker was also a better fantasy writer than Gygax so it’s no wonder Gary was star struck.

  4. Tsolaniguy says:

    Interesting review, but a unfair labeling Tekumel sexiest, when it’s well known Professor Barker drew inspiration for his world from fantasy, horror, and sci-if of the pulps, as well as, medieval/ancient non-western cultures. It’s a shame Liz didn’t take any of that into account or try to be more objective in her review. But this isn’t the first time she’s done this sort of thing.