Sunday, 23 November 2014

Bethorm - It's Out Of This World!

Now, whilst I have been gaming for a little over 35 years, and in that time having played a LOT of RPGs, I confess that I was never part of an 'Empire Of The Petal Throne'  game.

EPT as it is known by it's fanatical followers was the second RPG system but the first complete game world, being set in the world of Tekumel, the creation of on Professor M.A.R Barker.

To me it always seemed to be something of an urban legend, and I had never actually known anyone in my city who played it.

So, I dutifully went through the various games; D&D, AD&D, Runequest etc, gaining my 'gaming cred' and having a lot of fun along the way.

Fast forward to 1995 when I am head hunted to manage the Sheffield branch of Dungeons & Starships, the details of which I will not bore you with here, but rather would direct you to my gaming memoir 'Real Life's A Bu**er!'  (ISBN10:1471643875).

Around that time Theatre Of The Mind Enterprises released a Tekumel based system by the name of Gardasiyal, which looked promising but frankly it was awful, mainly because you had to try and find one book from a previous T.O.M.E Tekumel system to be able to play it. And so, I decided that it was not to be and resigned myself to dying a Tekumel virgin.

It's 19 years later and I have just taken delivery of a hard back tome by Unigames with the title of 'Bethorm' co-authored by the now late Professor Barker and Jeff Dee, the illustrator whom I would argue (along with perhaps Errol Otus) inspired me in my early gaming days with his black and white illustrations in many TSR products.

Bethorm is a return to Tekumel, but rather than trying to tackle the entirety of the truly vast planet of Tekumel, it focusses on the largest human portion, the Tsolyanu Empire.

The book was vaunted as being pretty much all you needed to explore this rich gaming world. Being a natural sceptic, I was somewhat cautious, but reached into my bag of holding and shellled out a few gold pieces.

The book arrived on Friday evening and so, on Saturday, I climbed the stairs of the Dark Tower to my studio and the comfort of the armchair therein (which I thought, would be a great investment but which has had little use, as I invariably end up sitting at my desk and working).

The description of the book was not hyperbole! Seldom have I seen so much information packed into a single books. Jeff Dee's artwork abounds, but it is in small panels which enhance rather than detract from the stunning amount of text. It makes the old TSR AD&D books look like pamphlets.

Today will be spent delving into it again, and familiarising myself with the rich and vibrant world described within those pages.

If you have ever been curious about Tekumel or just fancy a cracking good read as a change from your normal gaming diet, then you really, REALLY need to buy Bethorm.

You can find out more at

Go there - NOW. Here, you can borrow my Chlen Beast...