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Tekumel vs. Talislanta

Talislanta vs. Tekumel

  • Talislanta

    Votes: 60 37.0%
  • Tekumel

    Votes: 79 48.8%
  • "T" is for "Traveller." No elves!

    Votes: 12 7.4%
  • Wait a minute! "Glorantha" doesn't start with a "T"!

    Votes: 23 14.2%
  • Other

    Votes: 6 3.7%

  • Total voters


New member
Both are highly detailed off-beat fantasy settings from the early days of role-playing and have been through multiple editions. Both have fanatical fans willing to take on all comers. Both give Tinkerbell and Co. the boot. Both start with a "T." One is free and the other is out of print.

Compare and contrast! :D


The ONLY way to be sure.
Validated User
I'd choose Talislanta. But I have no experience with Tekumel at all. I've heard it can be "complicated." :cool:


Active member
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Talislanta, while interesting to the extreme, is still a rather light setting other than sheer number of races.

Tekumel? Takes the weird, turns it up to 11. And casts it in the light of a setting built by an actual scholar. The setting books (At least Swords and Glory) read like VERY good Anthropology books, if not flat out ethnologies and histories. It is a world with an amazing atmosphere. It might be more than a lot of people want, but for those willing to put the time into it, it's beyond awesome.

Elder Evil

Lurking Horror
Validated User
Talislanta is nice and all, but compared to Tekumel? No contest. Tekumel is up there with Middle Earth and Glorantha. Demanding, though, for GM and players. Talislanta is much more accessible. And it is a fun read. It just doesn't make, ya know, sense.


New member
I chose Talislanta, because it opens up doors for mad adventures.

I never got such doors from Tekumel which seemed more about "closing fun mad things down because the world doesn't work that way.." Nothing wrong with that, but I prefer freedom to limitations. Tekumel might be a great setting for novels/stories, but I never got much about it that gave PC's a lot of room to explore that wasn't metatextual "look at this strange world" style stuff.


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Personally, I think Tekumel deserves a lot more recognition amongst geeks in general than it gets. Yes. Middle Earth is very detailed. But honestly? Tekumel blows it out of the water in terms of how much there is. Tolkein did a few languages... Barker made many even crazier ones. Not to mention the world itself really is THAT detailed. After all, it was a world built to build a world. Middle Earth was a world built around novels.

Sadly, the Tekumel novels, while fun reads, aren't exactly anything beyond standard Sword and Sorcery, which probably doesn't help. Though god damn would I love to be able to RP with the Barker Group, not that it will ever happen.


Registered User
Validated User
Originally Posted by Richard R.
Jesus...this is so eccentric, personal, trippy, bizarre, jagged, beautiful, crude, and imaginative. It's Edgar Rice Burroughs meets 1960's psychedellic culture meets Imperial China meets the Aztecs in a dark alley behind a brothel in Tangiers, where they bump into a drunken Tolkien and violently sodomize him on a pile of garbage while he begs them not to stop. I can f**king smell the hash smoke coming through the screen of my monitor.

This old version is raw, uncut T'ekumel: You are savage barbarian adventurers living among the dregs of an ancient, racist empire on a world with no white people, no horses, and no stars in the sky.You crawl down into the Underworld with your wicked zig-zag swords and fight acid-trip nightmares for glory, citizenship, and the awesome power of ancient technology. Then you crawl back up to blow all your gold on sex slaves and drugs at the temples of insane gods in teeming, decadent cities. f**k that wannabe Dark Sun... this is the real deal.
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Esoom G Noj
Validated User
Tekumel and Talislanta are two different beasts in my mind. Admittedly all I know of Tekumel is a brief once-over of the Tri-stat book (of which I need to find a copy for myself), and of Talislanta is reading a few pages of the pdfs.

Anyway, for me, Tekumel fits in the Middle Earth kind of niche: fun world, but you're there to experience the detail, and live in the world. Talislanta is more like D&D worlds (especially Greyhawk): here's a world, go explore, and have fun inventing shit that you think would be fun.

They scratch different itches, and there's definitely room for both. Now, mind you, Talislanta gets a bit higher preference for me at the moment due to being free.



Gritty AF
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