Q&A with Greg Stafford
Post new topic Reply to topic Page 2 of 1512, 3 ... 131415
Author

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 6720
Joined: Jul 16, 2005
Last Visit: Feb 02, 2021

Post Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 2:38 pm 
 

Another question:

What is the relationship between the Chaosium game, Elric, and the Avalon Hill version...and/or the Japanese company's version.?

Also, is Elric, Battle at the End of Time another version of the same game, or a different game?

Mark   8)


"But I have watched the dragons come, fire-eyed, across the world."

  


Prolific Collector
Valuation Board

Posts: 681
Joined: Oct 13, 2003
Last Visit: Apr 29, 2022
Location: Denver, CO

Post Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 3:17 pm 
 

Hi Greg, welcome to the forums.

First off, I'd like to say that Chaosium was, to me, the paragon of quality RPG design.  I always had disagreements with the rules, but I never found the lore, source material, and encounter design in Chaosium products to be lacking.  Back in the early 80s, Call of Cthulhu introduced me to Lovecraft, now one of my favorite authors.  Pendragon encouraged an exploration of the mythic and historic underpinnings of the Arthurian legends that persists to this day.  Glorantha was my first introduction to a deep, breathing fantasy world that wasn't Middle Earth, and greatly influenced not only my own campaign, but also my entire creative process.

So in short, thanks!
8)

And now on to the possibly uncomfortable, long-answer-encouraged question (you knew it was coming).

Can you speak at any length about the average print runs Chaosium products went through?  Average number of copies produced, sell-through, reclamation, editions etc.?  Even something as simple as the average print run (excluding sales if need be) of an average CoC, Pendragon, Elric or RuneQuest supplement vs. ruleset would be very helpful.

The reason why I ask is this:  It's of immense interest to collectors, because print runs directly influence surviving copies and therefore rarity.  Some RPG items (cough TSR Demigods w/Cthulhu cough) tend to develop a mystique that causes their perceived value and rarity to go through the roof, when the actual print history tells another story entirely.  For Chaosium products specifically, I've often gotten into long and fruitless debates over just how rare XYZ is and how much/little we as collectors should be buying and selling it for.  The financial and rarity aspects of the hobby are of interest not only to sellers, but also to collectors on a budget.  It's one of the first questions newcomers to the hobby always ask me, and my answer is always necessarily partial and ambiguous.

I do realize that this information is sensitive to procure, because it speaks directly to a company's profitability.  For some, it's tantamount to releasing the financials for public and competitive consumption.  Others in the past (notably GDW, Mayfair and to a limited extent post-TSR WotC) have been amenable to giving answers to help collectors out, while others have been silent, especially if they're still in the business.  If you can give us some idea of how many copies of various things may be out there, that would be great; if not I fully understand.

Personal items of particular interest would be:
RuneQuest 1st Ed
CoC 1st Ed
Masks of Nyarlathotep boxed
Pendragon Knights Adventurous

Thank you for your time.

  


Prolific Collector

Posts: 107
Joined: Jun 12, 2006
Last Visit: Aug 19, 2015
Location: Arcata, CA

Post Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 7:25 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:Could you comment on Moorcock's contention that the license contract no longer applies?

No, I don't know anything about the current state of Chaosium's licenses.
I've not been involved with them for over seven years. I don't even know what Chaosium is publishing these days.
Sorry.


Greg Stafford
Game designer, Creator of Glorantha

 WWW  


Prolific Collector

Posts: 107
Joined: Jun 12, 2006
Last Visit: Aug 19, 2015
Location: Arcata, CA

Post Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 7:31 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:What is the relationship between the Chaosium game, Elric, and the Avalon Hill version...and/or the Japanese company's version.?

When Chaosium became successful with rpg's we decided that we couldn't spend any more energy on boardgames. They took twice as long to create as an rpg, cost twice as much to publish, and sold half as much.
I'd always dreamed of having a boardgame published by Avalon HIll. I played my first AH game in the 50's I think--I'd have to look up the date (it was U-Boat. I still have it, with the little metal ships!).
We thought it'd be a waste to leave the boardgames to die, so we went to AH to sell them to them. We made the deal and they began publishing the games. Then the licensed it to the Japanese. I never actually saw a copy of the Japanese version. Wish they'd sent us some.
Also, is Elric, Battle at the End of Time another version of the same game, or a different game?

Hmmm, I don't know off hand. I'd rather expose my ignorance on the subject than act out of ignorance. So, what can you tell me of it? Date, publisher, etc?


Greg Stafford
Game designer, Creator of Glorantha

 WWW  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 6720
Joined: Jul 16, 2005
Last Visit: Feb 02, 2021

Post Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 8:22 pm 
 

http://cgi.ebay.ie/1981-Chosium-wargame ... dZViewItem



    Here is a link to an Ebay sale for this item.  It certainly looks like the Elric game.



    Was there more than one Chaosium edition...possibly under a different name?



Mark   8)


"But I have watched the dragons come, fire-eyed, across the world."

  


Prolific Collector

Posts: 107
Joined: Jun 12, 2006
Last Visit: Aug 19, 2015
Location: Arcata, CA

Post Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 8:57 pm 
 

darkseraphim wrote:First off, I'd like to say that Chaosium was, to me, the paragon of quality RPG design.  

That was always our object. We often had an internal struggle of Art vs. Business. IN general, Art won. It's too bad hat Business had to lose--it'd have been nice to have some commercial success too. :)
So in short, thanks!

You are welcome. As the Art Guy, it's gratifying to know we were successful.
Can you speak at any length about the average print runs Chaosium products went through?  .

You're asking or info from decades ago, and I never much memorized that data. I have no access to the ancient records, but I still recall the most pertinent facts.
Average number of copies produced, sell-through, reclamation, editions etc.?  Even something as simple as the average print run (excluding sales if need be) of an average CoC, Pendragon, Elric or RuneQuest supplement vs. ruleset would be very helpful

Here's the basic data: For the first decade or so that we were in business, when we got out of the ziplock bag era (which was pretty quick) our average initial print run was usually 5,000 copies. We almost always sold at least 2,000 on the autoship, and almost always sold it out in the first year or less. We reprinted at that level for quote a while, then we learned about that strange thing called cash flow, and generally cut down the reprints to 3,000. Nonetheless, we generally sold that in a year too. When we couldn't anymore, we realized the market had started to decline.
The reason why I ask is this:  It's of immense interest to collectors, because print runs directly influence surviving copies and therefore rarity.  Some RPG items (cough TSR Demigods w/Cthulhu cough) tend to develop a mystique that causes their perceived value and rarity to go through the roof, when the actual print history tells another story entirely. For Chaosium products specifically, I've often gotten into long and fruitless debates over just how rare XYZ is and how much/little we as collectors should be buying and selling it for.  The financial and rarity aspects of the hobby are of interest not only to sellers, but also to collectors on a budget.  It's one of the first questions newcomers to the hobby always ask me, and my answer is always necessarily partial and ambiguous.

Yes, I understand that. I wish I could rattle off all the numbers you want. So it goes, though. Of course, the answer is "However much you can bear, and how badly you want it." And of course, some people just don't want to let go of their prizes, so that raises the price too. But yes, I understand.

I do realize that this information is sensitive to procure, because it speaks directly to a company's profitability.  

Profitability? Gee, it'd have nice to have some of that! :)
Exaggerating, actually. We were a strange little company in those days, and we did make a good profit for decades. We went broke twice, but becasue we were strange, we got through it anyway.
If you can give us some idea of how many copies of various things may be out there, that would be great; if not I fully understand.
Personal items of particular interest would be:
RuneQuest 1st Ed
CoC 1st Ed
Masks of Nyarlathotep boxed
Pendragon Knights Adventurous

I am pretty sure all of hose had an initial print run of 5,000. I can't make a realiable estimate of how many times they were reprinted, but I know there are experts out there who could tell me that.
Thank you for your time.

You are welcome. I hope these vague answers are helpful.


Greg Stafford
Game designer, Creator of Glorantha

 WWW  


Prolific Collector

Posts: 107
Joined: Jun 12, 2006
Last Visit: Aug 19, 2015
Location: Arcata, CA

Post Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 9:00 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote: Here is a link to an Ebay sale for this item.  It certainly looks like the Elric game.
    Was there more than one Chaosium edition...possibly under a different name?

Ah yes, that was another version of the same game.
The interior never appreciably changed, just the box.
I remember that for that one we never had a finished box cover, just a black color separation and the colors on another one.


Greg Stafford
Game designer, Creator of Glorantha

 WWW  

User avatar

Verbose Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 1290
Joined: Nov 24, 2002
Last Visit: Jun 16, 2022
Location: Brescia, Italy

Post Posted: Fri Jun 16, 2006 2:15 pm 
 

Greg Stafford wrote:Thanks!
I'm here to answer questions about Chaosium products from the time that I was president there, share stories from the "old days" and offer whatever else I can that is of value to this group.

GREG STAFFORD!  8O  :D Wow! Internet never stops to surprise me!

  


Prolific Collector

Posts: 276
Joined: Feb 26, 2005
Last Visit: Feb 28, 2011

Post Posted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 8:58 pm 
 

Greg Stafford wrote:
Ethesis wrote:Pendragon is still ground breaking, after all these years.

Thank you. I think so too. :)
And if anyone hasn't seen the new 5th edition from White Wolf, go out and get it! There will be naother of my "life works," The Great Pendragon Campaign coming out for it soon, too.


I always wanted to do a grail quest for Pendragon -- with the grail having a Christain, a Celtic and a Viking meaning, and whoever brought it home determining the future history of England along the model of the meaning that was brought home.

I'm glad to hear the new 5th edition is praiseworthy, thanks for the tip.


Regards,



Stephen

  


Sage Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 2884
Joined: Nov 04, 2004
Last Visit: May 09, 2020

Post Posted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 1:09 am 
 

Ethesis wrote:I always wanted to do a grail quest for Pendragon -- with the grail having a Christain, a Celtic and a Viking meaning, and whoever brought it home determining the future history of England along the model of the meaning that was brought home.

Meaning no disrespect at all to Rob Kuntz and his latest project, but this idea I would pay to see developed.

 WWW  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 6720
Joined: Jul 16, 2005
Last Visit: Feb 02, 2021

Post Posted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 2:06 am 
 

But, of course, the Viking Age was 200 years in the future in Arthur's time...and Celtic England was Christian England....they were the same thing.  How about Saxons versus Celts versus Picts?

Mark   8)


"But I have watched the dragons come, fire-eyed, across the world."

  


Prolific Collector

Posts: 152
Joined: Mar 29, 2006
Last Visit: Aug 03, 2022
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Post Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 12:19 am 
 

Hi Greg,

If you are still responding to questions, I would be interested to know whether you are a Carlos Castaneda fan, and whether he had any influence on Glorantha.

  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 6720
Joined: Jul 16, 2005
Last Visit: Feb 02, 2021

Post Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 4:38 pm 
 

grubbiv wrote:Hi Greg,

If you are still responding to questions, I would be interested to know whether you are a Carlos Castaneda fan, and whether he had any influence on Glorantha.


And, if you are a fan, how did the album Hotel California affect the development of Runequest?

Mark   :lol:


"But I have watched the dragons come, fire-eyed, across the world."

  


Prolific Collector

Posts: 107
Joined: Jun 12, 2006
Last Visit: Aug 19, 2015
Location: Arcata, CA

Post Posted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 10:03 pm 
 

grubbiv wrote:If you are still responding to questions,

Sorry to take so long to reply. Somehow or other (my new window washer program?) I got bumped off of the "automatic notification" for this forum.
I would be interested to know whether you are a Carlos Castaneda fan, and whether he had any influence on Glorantha.

As for Carlos' books, I was a fan, back in the 60's when it was new stuff. But I noticed that the books were always so trendy that it made me suspicious.
AND as I studied shamanism and practiced more closely, they got even more dicey. I never finished reading the series.


Greg Stafford
Game designer, Creator of Glorantha

 WWW  


Prolific Collector

Posts: 107
Joined: Jun 12, 2006
Last Visit: Aug 19, 2015
Location: Arcata, CA

Post Posted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 10:05 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:
grubbiv wrote:If you are still responding to questions, I would be interested to know whether you are a Carlos Castaneda fan, and whether he had any influence on Glorantha.

And, if you are a fan, how did the album Hotel California affect the development of Runequest?
Mark   :lol:

Actually, I was even less of a fan of the Eagles than of Carlos.


Greg Stafford
Game designer, Creator of Glorantha

 WWW  


Active Collector

Posts: 61
Joined: Nov 07, 2005
Last Visit: May 09, 2022

Post Posted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 11:34 pm 
 

Hi Greg -

If you're still on this thread...I was wondering about a couple of things relating to your relationship in the early days with Dave Hargrave. First, it's sometimes rumored that the first Arduin Grimoire was meant to be a system for Glorantha/Runequest that you opted not to use (sensibly IMO - Hargrave's strong suit was bursts of imaginative vision and re-vision, at least to judge from his writings - I'm a huge fan of his work but have never been tempted to use most of his mechanics, even back in the seventies).

Second, did you two have a falling out? I remember an article from New West in 1980 that sort of implied that. Did you ever patch it up afterwards? Any interesting anecdotes to share about Hargrave in general?

Any light you could shed would be much appreciated. You two (along with EGG and Paul Jaquays) were pretty much my gaming heroes when I was a kid, so I've always been curious about this.


Looking for your old-school fantasy roleplaying fix? Don't despair...Fight On! Check it out at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/FightOn.

  


Prolific Collector

Posts: 107
Joined: Jun 12, 2006
Last Visit: Aug 19, 2015
Location: Arcata, CA

Post Posted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 12:09 am 
 

Calithena wrote:I was wondering about a couple of things relating to your relationship in the early days with Dave Hargrave. First, it's sometimes rumored that the first Arduin Grimoire was meant to be a system for Glorantha/Runequest that you opted not to use

Dave was a local guy, so I knew him through the early D&D circle here. Just about all the RPGers knew each other in those days (Perrin, Pimper, Henderson, Hargrave. Not me, really...)
When Chaosium began began publishing rpg material I asked Dave about Arduin (in which I had played a bit) and he assured me it was a "complete game system." I said I'd publish it then, but when I got the manuscript it clearly was not a complete game system. I went ahead and had someone start to lay it out (which, in those days, meant using a selectric typewriter), but the typist found it to be impossible, what with all the tables, his horrid spelling and the general awkwardness of a non-gamer trying to write not just game but Arduin stuff. He kept promising to turn in the rest of the complete system. It never came, and coupled with the typist's problems, I told him I wasn't going to publish it.
Second, did you two have a falling out?

Yes. He was pretty angry about me "backing out." He stopped talking ot me and pretty much badmouthed me afterwards for years. People--you know the troublemaking sort of gossipers--would tell me about it. I just let it slide. Oh yea, look in one of his spell lists too, for somethign about "Staffor'd Selective Rainbow" or somethign, which drops people out of the sky when they least expect it.
I remember an article from New West in 1980 that sort of implied that.

Local then, are you? Great article, eh? Moria Johnson, it was. She wrote that thing to make me a hero of RPG and Dave a villian (remember his comment about bodybags? He was never very tactful)
Did you ever patch it up afterwards?

Years went by. One day we wanted to do a sort of commemorative Call of Cthulhu supplement, so I contacted him and asked him to contribute. He'd been having a pretty bad time--divorce, bad health. He was surprised, but sent in a sort of Cthulhu dungeon. It was almost rejected, but I wanted it in even though it was really contrary to the game. Then next time I saw him he came up and apologized, etc. I was glad for that. Why hold grudges for pete's sake? He died a short while after that.
Any interesting anecdotes to share about Hargrave in general? ... Hargrave's strong suit was bursts of imaginative vision and re-vision, at least to judge from his writings - I'm a huge fan of his work but have never been tempted to use most of his mechanics, even back in the seventies).

Your analysis is pretty good, though his "bursts" could be pretty sustained.
As I said, Dave was a local gamemaster and, frankly, one of the best. He could narrate really well, keeping just enough suspense and surprise to make everyone enjoy it.
He had a regular group he played with and they got to umpty-ump levels of power. I remember one of my friends telling me about the climax of an adventure wherein they were in a bolo tank fighting off Smaug and Shelob. I think that was the one where the player, Rory Root who owns a local comic store now, rolled three or five criticals in a row and destroyed the monsters and brought the entire umpty-levels of the dungeon crashing down on them all.
Dave's Arduin had just about everything in it. You'd just tell him what kind of adventure you wanted and he'd direct the characters to wherever was appropriate. He also had the Arduin Sex Tour, a rather gross but nonetheless amusing series of encounters across the land, before which you would roll for certain body part stats for all the characters. But that was just a lark, not the emphasis.
He didn't give a hoot about realism or consistancy, except within the terms of the game. No one who played in his games cared about that anyway. It was great fun.
Also, as you said, his style didn't appeal to me too much either, and I was into RuneQuest and didn't play too much with him.
You two (along with EGG and Paul Jaquays) were pretty much my gaming heroes when I was a kid, so I've always been curious about this.

Thank you.


Greg Stafford
Game designer, Creator of Glorantha

 WWW  

User avatar

Grandstanding Collector
Acaeum Donor

Posts: 6720
Joined: Jul 16, 2005
Last Visit: Feb 02, 2021

Post Posted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 1:34 am 
 

I wonder if you have any recall of the early versions of Stormbringer.

The first box was two inches thick.  

The second box was a one inch box and the contents had been combined in a single book.

As far as I can tell, the two versions were published very close together.

Can you recall why the change between editions, or any other details?

Mark   8)


"But I have watched the dragons come, fire-eyed, across the world."

  
PreviousNext
Post new topic Reply to topic Page 2 of 1512, 3 ... 131415