How RuneQuest was Made

Runequest 2nd Edition coverI was living in Albany, CA when I published my first Chaosium games.

I met a high school kid who lived nearby who was an avid D&Der. He was Hendrik Jan Pfeiffer, the and was the person with whom I played my first D&D game. Hendrik and two of his friends, Art and Ray Turney, made an attempt to make some D&D stuff out of WB&RM. It was ineffective.

Then one night I was at a party at Paul Zimmer's house, called Greyhaven. Paul is the brother of Marion Zimmer Bradley, and a SF writer in his own right. Greyhaven was a center of all kinds of California Bay Activity in those days—paganism and science fiction being prominent. That is where I first met Poul Anderson, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Diana Paxon.

That night was a fairly regular party for the place, swarming with science fiction folks. I met Clint Bigglestone, who recognized me as the creator of White Bear & Red Moon, told me some friends of his wanted to do some D&D stats based on the board game. I told I didn't like D&D, but that we could talk.

I met his D&D players, who included Steve Perrin, Steve Henderson and Warren James. They were all big SCA fans, charter members. I played a game with them, little 1st level me with their Big Guys. I got taken over by a sword. They told me they didn't especially like D&D either. I sketched out the requirements I'd want for a Gloranthan RPG (no character classes, magic systems, etc.), and they wanted to try to make a game. I got them together with the original team, and out of that group only Ray Turney wanted to continue on and so he joined the new team.

Steve Perrin did most of the game system work, and he and Steve Henderson did the combat system out. Ray worked most of the magic system out). Warren was backup, general commentator. Later they joked that his original contribution was the snakes and Kakston’s Art Museum (which was never done.)

Anyway, the result was RuneQuest.

They worked hard on it, but being amateurs with real lives, of course missed the deadlines. Of course. None of us knew what a job it was going to be. Remember—this was the days before computers.

But we had to get it done. One day I told them the book was done enough for me and we rushed it into publication to get it to Origins (maybe GenCon, but I am not sure GenCon existed in those days). We were so hurried that we actually misspelled Glorantha on a interior map, and misspelled Chaosium on the back cover!

Well, it was good enough. We were off and running.

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