Vale Greg Stafford
October 12, 2018 9:45 AM   Subscribe

Legendary game designer Greg Stafford has passed away.

His credits include the RuneQuest, King Arthur Pendragon, and Ghostbusters role-playing games, as well as the delightful fantasy world of Glorantha.

Outside of gaming, he was known for a strong interest in mythology, shamanism, and archaeology. He leaves behind a family, including three children.
posted by Alensin (25 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

posted by bonehead at 9:48 AM on October 12, 2018 [6 favorites]

Pendragon is EXCELLENT.

posted by triage_lazarus at 9:48 AM on October 12, 2018 [3 favorites]

posted by Mogur at 9:52 AM on October 12, 2018

I literally just a couple of days ago received my copy of the newest edition of Runequest, and I'm still awaiting shipment of the "Guide to Glorantha". Both of those purchases were getting-reacquainted moves, because back in the day I had the RQ second edtion boxed set, as well as boxed sets of "Call of Cthulhu" and "Stormbringer". Stafford's own work was brilliant, absolutely foundational, and having founded Chaosium on top of all that makes him Gygax's only real rival for importance to the hobby, and I'm not sure that Gygax doesn't come in second.
posted by Ipsifendus at 9:55 AM on October 12, 2018 [7 favorites]

posted by Pope Guilty at 10:01 AM on October 12, 2018 [5 favorites]

posted by Gelatin at 10:09 AM on October 12, 2018

I encountered Stafford's RQ2 and Cults of Prax as a barely teen. It showed me how wild and strange the hobby I'd just started to enjoy could be. It's no exaggeration to say that changed my life, engaging me deeply in the hobby. I firmly believe that Stafford's vision, and the intrinsically empathic, emotive role-play his work engendered has made me a much better person than I otherwise might have been. I'm so glad I once got the brief chance to speak with him and tell him thanks, back when he was fund-raising for the Issaries group.
posted by bonehead at 10:12 AM on October 12, 2018 [3 favorites]

I met him a couple of times and corresponded with him on some projects. He was a very kind, interesting man who will be missed.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:12 AM on October 12, 2018 [3 favorites]

I've been #teamchaosium for almost 40 years, and this hurts. The fact that he passed away while in his sweat lodge leads me to believe that he was doing something he found spiritually comforting and important when he left us. We should all be so lucky.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 10:38 AM on October 12, 2018 [7 favorites]

posted by Wobbuffet at 10:40 AM on October 12, 2018

I never met Greg Stafford, but I have to thank him for introducing me to one of my closest friends anyway. I found his world of Glorantha through the delightful computer game King of Dragon Pass, which he did some consulting for. Several years ago, they re-released the game for iOS, and I was given the chance to beta test it and make sure it was accessible for the blind. One of the other beta testers has since become a dear friend, and I've had the chance to do some paid work on a second Gloranthan computer game. None of that would have happened without Mr. Stafford.

posted by Alensin at 10:48 AM on October 12, 2018 [5 favorites]

posted by isauteikisa at 11:09 AM on October 12, 2018

Call of Cthulhu first led me away from AD&D... Into far more interesting universes and gaming styles...
posted by jkaczor at 11:16 AM on October 12, 2018 [2 favorites]


Glorantha is an amazing setting. For so many years it's been tantalizing and maddening to hear scraps of such evocative places and things. Stuff like the God Learners gives me like meta myth euphoria...
posted by fleacircus at 11:27 AM on October 12, 2018 [3 favorites]

posted by Pendragon at 12:00 PM on October 12, 2018

for all that has been written down about Glorantha, there must have been so much more in Stafford's imagination that never made it onto paper or even into a conversation with another human being.

an entire world has passed away

posted by murphy slaw at 12:08 PM on October 12, 2018 [5 favorites]

I think, more than anything else about roleplaying games, I loved world building most. Nothing entranced me like a well-developed setting. There are many wonderful RPG worlds that have been created through the decades, but I haven’t found anything that has combined the richness, creativity and delightful weirdness of Glorantha.

Tolkien had an idea of artists as subcreators, creating secondary worlds that reflect creation in beautiful ways. I don’t have Tolkien’s religious faith, but I’ve always found merit in his idea. A supreme subcreator has passed, but he left behind an amazing world for the rest of us to explore. What a great gift to humanity.

posted by Kattullus at 1:19 PM on October 12, 2018 [4 favorites]

posted by edheil at 3:46 PM on October 12, 2018

I should say I just recently bought the Guide to Glorantha which has been the thing I've wanted all these years. Someone on another site pointed out the foreword (written in 2012) and I thought I would paste part of it here:
I was pretty strict concerning publications set in my world. I’d been writing about it for a decade to clarify my own vision, and I was determined to make that vision understood by the contributors. I nearly rewrote every early Gloranthan supplement to match my vision. Slowly other people got it too, and my revisions lightened up after about 20 years as the published material began to flesh out the setting. My confidence in other peoples’ understanding grew. So did my compilation of notes.

The game business of those days heavily affected how material was published. Over and over I attempted to publish a single work that would provide a single clarified vision of the world. Over and over I was sidetracked to create something to sell instead of what I wanted. With Sandy’s help we got one version together, published as Glorantha: Genertela, Crucible of the Hero Wars. It was chopped up to meet publishing deadlines, and so Glorantha continued to appear in bits. Contributory subcreators pieced together the overview, and helped build the bits. My file cabinet full of notes of cool stuff actually made my job more difficult for me to keep a reasonable size for publication of the whole world.


This book in your hands is one that I have been attempting to write for 40 years. The circumstances of chance and design denied me the chance to write it. Jeff has injected tremendous vitality and energy to it through curiosity and effort to learn more in such strength that he has read the 40+ years of notes, fragments and incomplete ideas. He has reported things to me that I had forgotten I wrote.

I am not only flattered and pleased by this work, but am genuinely excited to see it come together in my lifetime. Here in your hands is a work that people have told me they have wanted for decades. Me too. In reviewing portions I have experienced a thrill like that which newcomers have told me they feel upon discovering Glorantha.

So here I give my dearest gratitude to Rick and Jeff of Moon Design for this work. I see that the invisible hand of creativity has folded about them and the many other contributors to this work. The same time and distance that kept me from doing the work has given them the power to do what I could not. This book is a dream come true for me – the manifestation of a lifelong vision in beauty and power. I am pleased to present you, the reader and fan who has supported my fragmentary efforts for so long, with this treasure from the hearts and hands of so many good people.

Thank you, everyone.
posted by fleacircus at 5:04 PM on October 12, 2018 [9 favorites]

posted by filtergik at 3:24 AM on October 13, 2018

I mostly know Greg as the Pendragon guy, which is cool enough. I’ve heard about Glorantha before but never really checked it out, but I think it’s time I do tht based one what fleacircus just quoted. I didn’t even know he founded Chaosium from which we were bequeathed Call Of Cthulhu. Thanks Greg. I’m sorry I haven’t checked out your work more before you passed.

posted by Caduceus at 6:29 AM on October 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

posted by Canageek at 8:17 AM on October 13, 2018

posted by porpoise at 4:03 PM on October 13, 2018

posted by foleypt at 5:46 PM on October 13, 2018

posted by faceplantingcheetah at 2:55 PM on October 14, 2018

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