The Eye of All-Seeing Wonder
Issue One | Autumn 1992
Opening the Way
I discovered Tékumel back in 1976. Then I had to club together with a couple of friends to buy one of the first copies of Empire of the Petal Throne. Pretty soon the covers were falling off the rulebook, the maps were dog-eared with constant use. Earlier this year I bid £60 in an auction so as to get a pristine copy of that beautiful original boxed set. Yeah, you could say I’m a Tékumel nut.
Tékumel to me is the pinnacle of fantasy creation. Having enjoyed sixteen years exploring its countless wonders, I decided it’s time I put something back in. Hence this ’zine.
I ought to make it clear that The Eye of All-Seeing Wonder is not an official Tékumel magazine. I can’t guarantee that everything we print is correct according to Professor Barker’s original. All you’ll find here is food for thought—use it, change it, discard it as you like. Even heresy isn’t a crime, after all. (We’re not living in Livyánu yet.)
Glancing through this Issue you can’t help but notice how well represented GURPS is, and you might conclude that it is my preferred game system. It isn’t. I admire many aspects of GURPS design and enjoy the sourcebooks, but unfortunately it’s a system that favours roll-playing over role-playing. I’d rather read GURPS than play it. Why feature all this rules hardware, in that case? The answer’s simple: The Eye of All-Seeing Wonder has a mission to proselytize. I aim to present Tékumel material in a form that can appeal to an interested outsider, not hermetically esoteric items exclusively for the aficionado. That’s why there’s also a RuneQuest item. If it encourages somebody to dip in and try Tékumel, it’s done its job.
My own preference is for rules that are streamlined and simple, with the minimum dice-rolling necessary to keep an arbitrary referee in line. To this end I started working on my own system for Tékumel about ten years ago. The end result was TIRIKELU. This reached its current form four years back and has been in use by several groups in the UK since then, so it has been pretty thoroughly playtested. I had hoped that one day it would be published as a single-volume introduction to Tékumel rolegaming, but the new wave of Adventures on Tékumel books from Theatre of the Mind makes that unlikely. Well, I am a professional writer and TIRIKELU is the best game I’ve ever designed, so it’s a shame to let it go to waste. I expect I’ll rip out all the Tékumel stuff, stick in a Trojan Wars background or something, and hawk it around the publishers. That will give me little pleasure, but c’est la vie. In the meantime, TIRIKELU will appear as a regular pull-out supplement, so eventually at least a few Tékumel enthusiasts will have the opportunity to play it in its original form.
The Eye will continue to feature material for any and all game systems. In an upcoming Issue we hope to have a Time Lord scenario by Ian Marsh, for instance. Translating a setting like Tékumel into several different systems is only like translating a book into different languages, after all. It makes sure more people get to see it.
I hope to get The Eye out at least three times a year, but I’m not making any promises. We’re a non-profit magazine, and everyone involved has other jobs to do besides this. If you’d like a copy of the next Issue, send £2.50 (£3.00 if outside the UK), which includes postage. Just don’t hassle me if you don’t hear anything for six months! Oh, and I’d be pleased to receive letters of comment, but be warned that you probably won’t get a personal reply. The Joyful Sitting Amongst Friends column is where I’ll conduct my correspondence.
Brumazik! Dave Morris