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I see that there have been four major editions of Tekumel/Empire of the Petal Throne (via Wikipedia) and a pre-TSR edition is also now available. All known releases include the following:

  • "Green Cover," a.k.a. "mimeo," version: produced in the Spring of 1974 in a limited and confidential run of fifty copies.
  • Empire of the Petal Throne, published in 1975 as a boxed set by TSR, Inc. and reprinted later as a single book by Different Worlds Publications in 1987.
  • Swords & Glory, published in 1983/4 in two volumes by Gamescience.
  • Gardasiyal: Adventures in Tekumel, published in 1994 by Theater of the Mind Enterprises.
  • Tekumel: Empire of the Petal Throne, published in 2005 by Guardians of Order.

What are the major differences between each edition?

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According to tekumel.com/gaming_rulesTEPT.html the 2005 Guardians of Order version uses "GOO’s Tri-Stat rules and a highly sophisticated character generation system". –  Joshua Drake Dec 29 '11 at 18:46
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The original manuscript for Empire of the Petal Throne is now available, being released by the Tékumel Foundation (see bit.ly/ept-available). The press release notes: this version is a precursor to the game published shortly later by TSR, Inc. and contains a number of significant differences. However, it is in many ways is substantively similar to the later TSR publication, and is being produced more as a historical document than as a different product. That seems a bit contradictory, but a worthy purchase for those interested. –  javafueled Feb 20 '12 at 21:50

1 Answer 1

I found the Rules and Game Systems - Official Rules section of the Tékumel Official Site and History of the Empire of the Petal Throne RPG, by Brett Slocum, useful in preparing the following. All quotes taken from History of the Empire of the Petal Throne RPG, except where noted.

1975 - Empire of the Petal Throne (EPT) has "a relatively simplistic rules set based on Dungeons & Dragons" - Official Rules - Empire of the Petal Throne

1983 - Gamescience reprints the original EPT and Swords and Glory Volume I: "a complete description of the world with no rules."

1984 - Gamescience prints Swords and Glory Volume II: "Player's Handbook, giving the character generation, combat and magic rules (completely new mechanics, plus an 8-page character sheet)." This edition was "incomplete" having no Referee's Handbook because in...

1989 - Gamescience gave up on ETP when "Hurricane Hugo [destroyed] the galleys [for Volume III: Referee's Handbook] and all remaining warehouse copies of Volume II."

1992-1994 - Theater of the Mind Enterprises published "the Adventures on Tékumel series, including Tékumel Bestiary, character generation... and Gardásiyal, the rest of the game rules". Disappointingly, "[t]he Adventures on Tékumel books [are] required for source material such as new characters." - Official Rules - Gardásiyal: Deeds of Glory

2005 - Guardians of Order publish a "a complete game in one book," "based on the Tri-Stat system of BESM." For more on the Tri-Stat dX see Wikipedia.

Brett Slocum also appears to have links to the majority of the rules at RPG Rules for Tékumel, where you may be able to pick out more detailed differences between the editions. Finally, both Brett and Rules and Game Systems - Unofficial Rules have alternate rules and links to conversions in other systems.

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