$2,693
pledged of $4,000pledged of $4,000 goal
45
backers
17days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, November 2 2018 3:56 PM UTC +00:00.

Joshua WiseBy Joshua Wise
First created
Joshua WiseBy Joshua Wise
First created
$2,693
pledged of $4,000pledged of $4,000 goal
45
backers
17days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, November 2 2018 3:56 PM UTC +00:00.

About

The Tales & Tomes Series is an idea for a free audio documentary series that started to reveal itself when we did an episode of our show the PDP-10 Podcast for our podcasting network All Ports Open. We were looking for pieces of early gaming history that we might be able to unearth for some of our listeners and we came across a fascinating piece of gaming history in M.A.R. Barker’s Tékumel. As we started looking into the complicated and fascinating history of Professor Barker’s world and games, we realized that a single episode of a discussion podcast wouldn’t be enough. The topic deserved a much greater level of research and production to give it its due. 

M.A.R. Barker running Tékumel
M.A.R. Barker running Tékumel

With that idea in hand, we started brainstorming what the best way to tackle the project would be. We realized that we could try to just do it on our own, and we could probably put something passable together. But the brass ring for this project is, for us, a very high level of production inspired by podcast documentaries like Serial and deeply researched podcasts like Hardcore History. To reach these levels of quality and content, we realized that we need some kind of backing. So, the idea of making this a kickstarter came to us. 

For Tales & Tomes, we want to bring you the stories of somewhat obscure games from gaming history. Now, there may be a lot of you who know the games we talk about. You might not even think they are all that obscure. But as gamers for most of our lives, we are picking games that have lived in our blind spots. We are willing to bet that there are educated and interested gamers who either haven’t heard of them or want to know a lot more. 

We are starting this series with Tékumel, the setting of M.A.R. Barker’s game Empire of the Petal Throne and subsequent publications, because it has an incredible story that needs to be told. Professor Barker began working on Tékumel as a child and continued to expand it over the next 70 years. We will be working closely with people who knew Phil Barker, were friends with him, played with him, and who have continued his legacy. We want to talk to the people who have kept this game alive in media, in research, and on their table-tops. 

Empire of the Petal Throne (TSR, 1975)
Empire of the Petal Throne (TSR, 1975)

Beyond that, we want to help keep the games we discuss alive ourselves. And so, with the documentaries we do, we want to produce accompanying PDFs, The Tome, that will be an homage to magazines like The Dragon and White Dwarf, featuring written pieces about the games, interviews, house rules, and gaming content. We’d also like your help on this (see the Creator level below). We want to make these games live in a way that pays the honor to them that they deserve. 

So, why us? Why should we make this? First, we have some material resources and personal contacts in the gaming world, particularly relating to Tékumel. Our team has extensive gaming experience (which isn’t that rare), but we also have a lot of experience with telling stories through the audio medium. Our producers include the writer and producer of the audio drama The Adventures of Lord Dinby Whitherspoon, Duke of Space, research documentary podcast episodes of the show Priestpulse, and the real-play podcasts Pod of Love  and Refugees of Esmerelda. Further, our team has extensive research experience, as it includes the editor of the book Past the Sky’s Rim: The Elder Scrolls and Theology.

The All Ports Open Network
The All Ports Open Network

We have laid out a series of exciting stretch goals. We will be unveiling them, one-by-one, as we move forward with this Kickstarter. We spent a lot of time coming up with stretch goals that we think the people interested in this project will love and we are excited to share them with you.

We have plans for further seasons, as well, which we will talk more about if there is interest in our first season.

Finally, we want to hear from you. If you play these games, if you played them in the past, or if you have special insight into them, we would love to talk to you! You can reach us at tomes@allportsopen.com or back the project at the Field Reporter level.

War of Wizards (TSR, 1975)
War of Wizards (TSR, 1975)

Episode 1: Tékumel, a Primer

Episode 2: The Good Professor

Episode 3: The game in the 70’s

Episode 4: The game in the 80’s and 90’s

Episode 5: The game in the 21st Century

Each documentary will be a collection of narrative, interviews, and play. We will delve into the history of Tékumel, its unique contributions to gaming, and the personalities that surround it. We hope to begin releasing the episodes in Fall of 2019.

Along with each documentary episode, we will produce a PDF zine called "The Tome" full of information, images, and  gaming content (characters, items, adventure ideas). 

The Tome (Mockup designed by Joshua Wise)
The Tome (Mockup designed by Joshua Wise)

Risks and challenges

Our project relies heavily on the participation and cooperation of others who we will be interviewing. This puts our project on uncertain ground if we cannot secure good, reliable interviews. However, we have mitigated this risk by securing good, reliable sources who have expressed enthusiastic interest in helping us with this project.

We currently do not have the express support of the Tekumel Foundation and thus cannot, in good conscience, use copyrighted materials in the documentaries without this support. However, we have reached out to the foundation and hope to secure their cooperation soon. As well, since we are relying on narrative and interviews, substantial use of copyrighted materials is not central to this project.

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    Participant

    We will list your name on our Thank You page on AllPortsOpen.Com.

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    Your name on our Thank You page and access to the documentaries’ discussion boards. We will also shoot you a thank you message on Twitter.

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    Named Scribe

    - Contributor rewards and access to our development blog where we will update the progress of the documentaries. - Send us the name of your Tékumel character and a bio (and a picture of the character if you like) and we’ll include that character and bio (pending minor editing) in one of the five issues of our magazine "The Tome" that we release with the documentary. (Released with each episode)

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    Historian

    Scribe and Contributor rewards as well as access to several unedited audio interviews from the documentary. These will become available within a month of the release of the last episode of the documentary.

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    Field Reporter

    You also have the opportunity to contribute to the documentaries. This backer level allows you to create a 3-5 minute segment for the documentaries that will (pending editing and review) be included in the documentaries themselves, or in a supplemental episode if we can’t find a suitable place for them. Historian, Scribe, and Contributor rewards included.

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    Sage

    A recorded online one and a half hour chat of game brainstorming that you get to keep with 2 of the producers of the show! Discuss your upcoming campaign, adventure, setting, characters, etc. Collaboratively create maps, settings, NPCs, and more.

    Includes Historian, Scribe, and Contributor rewards.

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    Old School Player

    Get involved in an old-school play by mail (real mail, real paper, real stamps) Tékumel adventure! Blaine or Joshua will GM a game for you and you’ll play together for at least 6 months. You can play as part of a party, or a solo adventure.

    Includes Historian, Scribe, and Contributor rewards.

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    Entrepreneur

    Do you have something you’d like to advertise during the documentaries? We will have two advertising spots available for each episode of the show, one at the beginning and one in the middle of the show. If you back at this level we will do an up to 30 second advertisement for your website, product, show, whatever, as long as it doesn’t fall under a few select categories (guns, alcohol, porn, drugs). You can provide us with the commercials, or with a script, or let us write one up for you!

    Includes Historian, Scribe, and Contributor rewards.

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    Game Master

    A recorded online (skype, gchat, etc) (or in person if you live in the Philadelphia area) adventure using Roll20.com of up to 4 sessions (up to 2 hours each) in a classic gaming system where either you DM for us, or we DM and play with you! Includes Historian, Scribe, and Contributor rewards.

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    Producer

    You will receive a Co-Producer credit for all of the first season documentary episodes. Producers will be listed at both the beginning and ends of the episodes. Includes Historian, Scribe, and Contributor rewards.

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