Amazingly, the RuneQuest roleplaying game setting of Glorantha, is nearing its 50th anniversary. In celebration there’s a Moon Design Publications Kickstarter currently running to bring the classic second edition of the RuneQuest rules back to print. I have to admit I remember buying the very same second edition rules and it was my first Chaosium purchase. The funding project has already blasted past the goal and plenty of stretch goal goodies have been reached. You can get a copy of RuneQuest: Classic Edition for a $15 pledge (PDF) or $30 (hardcover and PDF) and the project runs through December 21st.
About the project:
In July of 1978, the Origins Game Fair was held in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Over 3500 people attended what was the largest gaming convention in the US at that time. In the main hall gamers could pick up the latest games from all the major publishers: Cross of Iron by Avalon Hill, Atlantic Wall by SPI, and The Hall of the Fire Giant King module by TSR. In one small booth near a corner you could also purchase RuneQuest, the first Roleplaying game published by The Chaosium, a quirky 3 person company from the Bay Area. It sold out over the weekend, and every print run continued to do so for the next several years.
RuneQuest took the young world of roleplaying games by storm; it cast aside many of the approaches most other games took. It had no character classes, no experience points, no levels, and far fewer restrictions on how weapons, armor, and spells could be used. Instead of a D20 it uses a percentile 01-100 system. It also has the built-in fantasy world of Glorantha.
During what many consider to be the golden age of roleplaying, the second edition of RuneQuest enjoyed its greatest popularity, second only to AD&D in sales. It won numerous awards, starting in 1978 with the Strategist’s Club Award for “Outstanding Miniatures Rules”, which may sound quirky, but that was because the industry had yet to create award categories specifically for roleplaying games.
The second edition went out of print in 1983, and the rules went on to be licensed to a series of other companies that published several more editions, but sometimes fate has a funny way of having things come full circle…
Here we are in 2015, the 40th Anniversary of Chaosium as a game company. In a few months Glorantha, Greg Stafford’s fantasy game world, celebrates its Golden 50th anniversary. We feel the time is right to bring the celebrated classic second edition of RuneQuest back into print. Gaming is going through a bit of an Old School renaissance as of late, and we want RuneQuest to be a part of it. We hope you’ll join in on the fun!