About this project
This project is the 9th installment of my ongoing effort to re-create my old TSR / Dungeons & Dragons artwork – which was destroyed* by some thoughtless functionary to make room in TSR’s files. Last time, I re-created four drawings from the Nonhuman chapter of the original 1980 edition of the AD&D book called ‘Deities and Demigods’ - and I also created eight brand new drawings of nonhuman deities who didn't get 'em in the original book.
This time, I'm going all the way back to my roots. The illustrations I did in Professor M.A.R. Barker's article, "Legions of the Petal Throne Painting Guide" in Dragon Magazine Issue 6 were my first professionally published work - ever! This happened way back in 1977, before I'd even started art school.
This time around, I'm 're-visiting' (rather than exactly re-creating) these lost drawings. I'll draw the same characters, but I'll draw them the way I'd draw 'em today. For example:
That's a soldier of the Legion of Sérqu, Sword of the Empire, based on Professor Barker's own drawing from page 74 of the original Empire of the Petal Throne (EPT) rulebook. Click here to visit my DeviantArt page, where you can see lots of my more recent Tékumel® art!
In case you hadn't guessed, I love me some Tékumel. It's one of the first tabletop RPGs I ever owned or played, and it's still by far my favorite role-playing setting. I recently announced plans to publish my own Tékumel-based RPG with Béthorm: The Plane of Tékumel RPG. If you want to try gaming on Tékumel right away, lots of material is available online to help get you started!
Listen to an interview including a discussion of my efforts to re-create the lost TSR art here.The new artwork will be posted to my DeviantArt page (jeffdee.deviantart.com) as it's completed, so you can see how they turned out.
In the original Empire of the Petal Throne RPG rulebook, none of the underworld creatures received illustrations. Which was a tragedy, because EPT creatures are awesomely cool! So: every set of seven postcard prints - and every set of seven signed 8 1/2" x 11" prints - will ALSO include prints of my brand new drawings of these overlooked creatures when backing reaches the following levels:
UNLOCKED! $1800: Kúrgha (the Eaters of Carrion)
UNLOCKED! $2000: Mrúr (the Undead)
UNLOCKED! $2200: Qól (the Serpent-Headed Ones)
UNLOCKED! $2400: Hurú'u (the Howlers)
UNLOCKED! $2600: Shédra (the Eaters of the Dead)
UNLOCKED! $2800: Dlaqó (the Carrion-Beetles)
UNLOCKED! $3000: Ngáyu (the Eaters of Swords)
UNLOCKED! $3200: Biridlú (the Mantles)
UNLOCKED! $3400: Tsú'uru (the Illusion-Masters)
UNLOCKED! $3600: Marashyálu (the Whimperers)
UNLOCKED! $3800: Thúnru'u (the Eaters of Eyes)*
UNLOCKED! $4000: Nshé (the Flowing Ones)
UNLOCKED! $4200: Yéleth (the Angels of Doom) - plus all backers receive color tokens for use in virtual tabletops like Roll20!
UNLOCKED! $4400: Hrá (the Bloodsuckers)
UNLOCKED! $4600: Qumqúm (the Thunderers)
UNLOCKED! $4800: Ru'ún (the Demons of Bronze)
UNLOCKED! $5000: Hli'ír (the Beasts of the Unendurable Face)
UNLOCKED! $5200: Sagún (the Fungi)
$5400: Ngóro (the Whelks)
$5600: Aqá'a (the Worms of the Catacombs)
*A creature called a 'Thúnru'u' appeared in art on p. 5 of EPT. But it doesn't match the description on p. 69, nor have later artists used it as a guide. So I'm not using it as a guide, either.
One might ask how I propose to create accurate drawings of these creatures. Good question! The Tékumel Foundation has graciously offered to make some of Professor Barker's previously unpublished drawings available to me for reference. Which is freakin' awesome. Here's an example, showing a side-by-side comparison of a quick pencil sketch of a 'Hra' (aka Bloodsucker) by Professor Barker, and my own interpretation of the creature based upon his:
Where possible, I've included links to renditions of these creatures by later artists. Brett Slocum's GURPS Tékumel Conversion site also provides short text descriptions of all of these creatures and more.
This project is dedicated to the memory of Professor M.A.R. Barker, the visionary creator of the world of Tékumel.
Tékumel® and its related products and materials are copyright © 1975 and 2010 by Prof. M.A.R. Barker. Tékumel® is a registered trademark. Used with the permission of the Tékumel Foundation.
*Note: A few pieces are known to have survived, but in most cases there's no way to know. I am therefor re-creating everything.
Risks and challenges
This project essentially follows the same model as my 8 previous art projects. The only differences are: (1) I'm not directly re-creating the original artwork this time, and (2) I'm relying on the Tekumel Foundation for access to previously unpublished visual reference for the stretch goals.
#1 shouldn't pose any difficulties - I've drawn 'new' pictures, rather than re-creations of my previous work, throughout my professional career.
#2 could be an issue if the Tekumel Foundation isn't responsive to my requests. Still, quite a few of the creatures in the stretch goals have been depicted by artists other than Professor Barker in official Tekumel products other than the original EPT over the years, and I can turn to those for visual reference if need be.
In addition to those issues, I recently went through a period where I'd fallen behind on delivering backer rewards. I've been working hard to get back on track, and I foresee no difficulties in delivering the backer rewards for this project in December.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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