I just found out that Professor Muhammad Abd-al-Rahman Barker, passed away. His world, Tékumel, was one of the first rpg settings ever made. Arguably, it is still one of the most original and alien, thanks to its non-western basis.
Tékumel was always one of those settings that, like Arduin, was semi-mythical to me. I heard drips and drabs from various gaming products (mostly old dragon magazines) and came across references to it, but had great difficulty putting my hand on a copy. Then, thanks to extreme luck, I came across a copy of the old TSR Empire of the Petal Throne somewhere (I want to say a yard sale, but maybe I found it in a bargain box at a convention, I don’t quite recall). I found it fascinating, though I never actually tried to play it. The alien world was just too alien for me to wrap my head around. But I loved to read it and loved his religions and how different the world felt. Since then, I think I’ve picked up nearly every version of Tékumel game that’s come out (barring the most recent BESM version, though I do want to get it). I read A Man of Gold which I greatly enjoyed.
I think the depth of his world influenced my own world creation quite strongly.
He’s another great from the beginning of the hobby, and I’m sad to hear he’s passed.