M.A.R. Barker 1929-2012
March 19, 2012 5:35 AM Subscribe
Role Playing Game pioneer Mohammed Al Rahman Barker died last week
(PDF). Inspired through playing dungeons and Dragons
, M. A. R. Barker created what is possibly the world's second RPG, Empire of the Petal Throne
, set in the world of Tekumel, a world he would continue to keep building for the rest of his life.
For Tor.com SF/fantasy author and RPG writer Jo Walton has written M. A. R. Barker's obituary
, in which she called him "one of very few people to have a profound influence on fantasy in which fiction is secondary. He wrote novels and stories, but he was primarily a worldbuilder."
That worldbuilding was infused by his knowledge of both Meso-American and South Asian cultures, his linguistic knowledge and more traditional sources of inspiration like Jack Vance's writing. The end result was a highly detailed world
, that was still being improved at the time of his death.
Tekumel was an inspiration for quite a few fantasy writers, most infamously for Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar
series, as discussed here