Q&A with Greg Stafford
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Post Posted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:40 am 
 

FormCritic wrote:Don't let length stop you.

This is the very thing we all live for and a major joy of this forum.


We'll have the link posted here, when it appears. Next month, I think?


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Post Posted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 11:58 am 
 

Greg Stafford wrote:
We'll have the link posted here, when it appears. Next month, I think?


The new issue of the magazine will be out in November, but please consider it's in Italian  :P I could, if Greg concurs, post the original English text here.

  


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Post Posted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 12:50 pm 
 

Alexander1968 wrote:
The new issue of the magazine will be out in November, but please consider it's in Italian  :P I could, if Greg concurs, post the original English text here.


Heck, I'll post it here then. Do you want me to wait until after it appears in Italian?


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Post Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 4:43 am 
 

Greg Stafford wrote:
Heck, I'll post it here then. Do you want me to wait until after it appears in Italian?


No, no problem at all It will be an interesting preview  :D

  


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Post Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 10:23 am 
 

Alexander1968 wrote:No, no problem at all It will be an interesting preview  :D

OK!

The bold face text is by Alexander, the answers are by me.

Remembering Giovanni

I have started again a magazine called DM Magazine. We plan to publish in issue 19 (out in September) a profile on Giovanni Ingellis, founder of PEI first and Stratelibri after. I'm sure you remember him very well and September, 21 is the tenth anniversary of his passing. So here are the questions:

1) When you met him for the first time?

I first met Giovanni at one of the early Origins conventions that I attended, oh, some 30 years ago or so. In those days the game industry was still quite new and every year there would be another batch of new strangers poking around trying to find out how to get in on it. I recall meeting this little Italian guy and wondering if he would make it past the first year. Well, of course he did, and soon we began doing business together, and would meet every year at the conventions. After a while we became friends.

2) When you had an agreement making his company the Italian distributor for Chaosium products?
I don't recall the precise date, but it was pretty early. He was eager to import all the best games to Italy.

3) When did he approach you for the rights for Call of Cthulhu and then Stormbringer?
Giovanni was pretty sharp. He approached us fairly early to publish these games, although I do not recall the dates. It was decades ago!

4) Were there any plans to publish an Italian edition of other Chaosium games, for example Pendragon (a masterpiece!)?
Chaosium and Stratelibri worked pretty closely on many project. I don't recall if there were plans for this game in particular, but I would not be surprised if it was so. I wish it had been done!

5) When you came to an agreement for producing miniature games set in the Glorantha universe?
Please forgive me that I am bad at dates, but towards the end of his life Giovanni had grandiose plans for the Italian game market. He had expanded his production facilities for Italian-language games, and also his importation. He was planning t open a chain of stores through Italy, and also t set up a miniatures company. He'd bout the casting machine and molds for a defunct company. Since we'd become fast friends, as well as business associates, we were in that miniatures plan from the start.

6) Why weren't the games published?
Giovanni was ambitious, and as with many plans success depended upon his personal attention. He was spread pretty thin on all fronts, and so many projects languished.
When he got quite ill, and was diagnosed with leukemia, he was unable to pay attention to everything and many of his plans unraveled as the disease got worse. He did have a bone marrow transplant and that rejuvenated him considerably and he dove right back into his grandiose plans. Yet, in the end, illness caught up with him and he was unable to complete them.

7) When did you hear from him for the last time?
Naturally, his illness made it difficult for him to communicate with everyone. My last real contact was at a game convention in Milan that he sponsored, and that I attended. I spent some time with him in Italy at that time.

VIII) What was your reaction to Giovanni Ingellis' passing?
Sadness, of course. He was a lively friend whose company I always enjoyed. I still miss him.

9) What are your memories of him? Any anecdotes?
I am happy to share some of my memories. Here are some from the tie around the Imaginaria convention, in 1996, when I visited Italy.

Giovanni was my age, and one day we were discussing our lives in the 60's. At the start we considered our lives to be pretty much similar, until we started talking about political protests. I'd spent a lot of time protesting the war in Vietnam and various college campus affairs, like trying to get dormitories shared between men and women, and also a bar on campus. He told me about how he'd been in organizations that were rioting and fighting the police, protesting against fascism and social injustices, and how many of his friends had been "disappeared" in the night, never to be heard from again. Afterwards I told him, "We weren't really doing the same things at all! You were fighting for social justice, and I was just trying to get laid."

During my trip to Italy as his guest he was a generous and gracious host. He made sure I got to see some of the sights in Milan that were of interest to me, even though we sometimes had to visit them at night due to the hectic schedule he had to keep since he was getting the convention ready to go.
We spent a lot of time every day beforehand visiting this government office or that one because he didn't have some form filled out. Each time we had an espresso beforehand. Each time he had a tremendous sheaf of papers to show, and would patiently go over them again and again with the officials, then be given one more form to fill out. Every day. And we would have an espresso afterwards.
Then on the day before the convention was to happen he was told the whole thing would be cancelled because he forgot to pay a fee to cover the costs of hiring firemen to stand duty at the convention center. We got up extra early that day, had double espressos when we set out, another after paying the fee, and went to the convention.
I had a great time meeting with all the Italian fans of Chaosium games, talking and signing autographs. Conventions are always fun, and the first one in a place is always a bit more fun, and of course all the people I met were great people because they were all gamers. Celebration in Italy, with Italians—there is the winning formula to make fun and pleasure for me. We ate dinner at a Brazilian restaurant where they walked around with meat on swords to serve. Twice. I hardly slept. I drank so much espresso that I thought my pee would turn black.
After the convention Giovanni wanted to take me to see Lake Como, so (with Luigi, one of his chief administrators) we set off. "It's off season," he said, "We won't need reservations." The drive there is gorgeous, along those winding roads and long tunnels, and I was rather stunned to see how quickly the Alps rise up.
Well, as it turns out there was some kind of fisherman's conference in the city, and none of the hotels that he wanted to stay in had any vacant rooms. We started looking in some less classy places, and finally found the last room available in the city. Giovanni was embarrassed to be in such a dive, although I thought it was not as bad as some places that I had stayed in. We got one room for the here of us on the top floor, with shared toilet facilities down the hall. Giovanni was apologetic, always the gentleman in such circumstances. For me—well, I as in the town of Como, and everything had that special kind of glow that happens when everything is rich and new and wonderful.
So we went to a restaurant and sat overlooking the picturesque lake at sunset, ate top notch food and drank a bit too much excellent wine, of course. The convention was a success, and more importantly, it was over. We staggered back to the hotel, up the three or four flights of steps and to the room.
Everything was perfect. Until Giovanni got up to visit the toilet. He unlocked the door, turned the knob, pulled, and nothing happened. The door was jammed, or the lock was stuck. Two tried pulling it, than all three. Giovanni was more anxious now. Giovanni tried to call the front desk, but it didn't work. Everyone tried dialing the number. It didn't work. I tried to use a credit card to open the lock, then to pick the lock with my pocket knife. Giovanni was starting the "I gotta go" dance. I told him, "Use the sink. We'll look the other way." He refused. I said, "OK, I'll take apart the hinges." Giovanni got on his cell phone again. I had just set upon them with my knife when I heard thundering feet racing up the stairs. We all stepped back (isn't this the moment that the bandits break into the room of the adventurers?) and the door swung open. Effortlessly.
The hotel staff  stood there and the desk clerk said, "What's the problem?" Giovanni bolted from the room for the toilet. Luigi began explaining that the door was broken, and for a moment there was an argument which was (of course) in Italian, but basically said, "It works."
"No it doesn't."
"We just opened it." And so on and on. Until Giovanni came back, spoke with the staff the same way he had spoken to the government officials, and a little while later a workman came and kept us (and probably everyone in the hotel) awake for another hour or more as he banged around the fixed the door. At last, though, we went to sleep.
It turns out that what Giovanni did was to call his wife at home, in Milan, who then called the front desk and told them that their customers were in trouble on the top floor room.

In that same visit I was introduced to pasta putanesca. I really enjoyed the spicy flavor. Just before I was to go I told Giovanni hat I'd like to have the recipe for it. His wife sat down with the cook book and read the recipe, and Giovanni wrote them down for me in English. Suddenly he looked up and said, "You can't make this."
"I can't? Why not?"
"It requires virgin olive oil."
"And so…."
"You can't make this. It requires virgin olive oil."
"I can get olive oil."
"That's not good enough."
"Well, there is an Italian deli nearby and they sell olive oil and on the label it says, "Imported from Italy extra virgin olive oil. Do you think that will do?"
"Maybe," he said. And the finished copying the recipe. I made it after I got back. Giovanni was right. It didn't taste at all like the putanesca I had in Italy. Maybe it was the oil!

Sorry if the questions are so many, but Giovanni Ingellis was a truly seminal figure here and so I want to offer a complete view of him. Having Greg Stafford remembering him would make him surely proud and pleased. He always had such a great opinion of you and of Chaosium!  

I am flattered to hear that. Thank you.
Giovanni was always ambitious and always exciting to be around. We became friends and I got to know him to be an honest, hard-working family man who really did care about the gaming community.

He was, in fact, a gamer, and thus just like you and me.


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Post Posted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 10:24 am 
 

Hi Greg. The interview has been translated and it's being prepared for publication. Ah, I noticed you started small printing  8)  books for the new Pendragon game: would you kindly autograph and dedicate (is this the right English word for the French dedicace???  :oops: ) the books I'll most surely buy?

  


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Post Posted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 11:13 am 
 

Hello all,

Being of historical interest, I'd like to bring some attention to the fact that I have posted a bit of my recollections, which can be reached from
http://weareallus.com/whatsnewglorantha.html

As usual, I will be glad to field any questions provoked by this.


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Post Posted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 11:20 am 
 

Alexander1968 wrote:Hi Greg. The interview has been translated and it's being prepared for publication. Ah, I noticed you started small printing  8)  books for the new Pendragon game: would you kindly autograph and dedicate (is this the right English word for the French dedicace???  :oops: ) the books I'll most surely buy?


Yes, absolutely, as it says on the site!
"If requested upon payment, Greg Stafford (the author of these books and the game designer and author of King Arthur Pendragon and The Great Pendragon Campaign) will autograph the title page and dedicate each copy purchased, according to the instructions of the buyer."

I want to encourage anyone who wants these to act quickly, as licensing is often a tricky, and sometimes short-lived, phenomena.

http://weareallus.com/pendragon/pendrag ... tions.html


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Post Posted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 4:32 pm 
 

Greg, that site did jog my memory about something I wanted to ask you.  (Unless I already have; it's notoriously spotty, but I don't think so.)

So, the topic in question: Hawkmoon.

I seem to recall there being some story related to the manuscript of said game.  (Stolen and therefore needed to be rewritten close to deadline?)  Curious as to what it was.


"Reader, Carthegena was of the mind, that unto thoſe Three Things, which the Ancients held Impoſſible, there ſhould be added this Fourth ; To find a Book Printed without Errata's."

  


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Post Posted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 10:00 am 
 

g026r wrote:So, the topic in question: Hawkmoon.

I seem to recall there being some story related to the manuscript of said game.  (Stolen and therefore needed to be rewritten close to deadline?)  Curious as to what it was.


Wow, that was a long time ago. I do not really recall it exactly, and I checked with the author too, who did not recall it either. Your letter did sort of remind me of what might have been something (I hope that conveys the magnitude of my uncertainty).
I do think that it manuscript was lost or stolen (it might maybe have been the author split up with her boyfriend and he tossed the manuscript out.)

Sorry about not being more concrete. :(


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Post Posted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:23 pm 
 

Ray Turney generously wrote a few words for my web site about making RuneQuest. If curious, you can see it here:

http://www.weareallus.com/chaosium/rayturneyrq.html


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Post Posted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 6:31 pm 
 

Greg Stafford wrote:Ray Turney generously wrote a few words for my web site about making RuneQuest. If curious, you can see it here:

http://www.weareallus.com/chaosium/rayturneyrq.html

good link as is rest of site thank you and for getting all that online :) :)

http://rpgreview.net/sites/default/file ... view_1.pdf linked there with steve perrin interview unfortunately light but happy to see. ot on that zine lev lafayette - d&d was not rpg until >1976 - and disjointed rant on rpg features they dislike was fun to read

  

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Post Posted: Mon May 23, 2011 10:20 am 
 

Sorry for the thread necromancy (and on my first post, too  :oops: ), but the news today caught me by surprise. Mongoose will no longer publish RuneQuest or Glorantha 2nd Age.

I don't know if you're still watching this space, Greg, but would you care to comment? Will the RuneQuest name be licences out again?

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Post Posted: Mon May 23, 2011 3:04 pm 
 

Vile wrote:Mongoose will no longer publish RuneQuest or Glorantha 2nd Age.

I don't know if you're still watching this space, Greg, but would you care to comment? Will the RuneQuest name be licences out again?


Yes, I will be more than happy to entertain interests in the RQ TM.

--Greg


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Post Posted: Fri May 27, 2011 9:09 pm 
 

Thanks Vile, I didn't know this thread existed!

A few questions for Greg:

1. How did the Friends of Glorantha initiative work out, from your perspective? Did it result in a finished manuscript? (I was a member for a while, but stopped getting updates/reminders and just forgot about it...)

2. There have been scattered references over the years to an updated version of the Gloranthan boardgame Dragon Pass - is this still being worked on?

  


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Post Posted: Sun May 29, 2011 4:56 pm 
 

MonkeyBees wrote:Thanks Vile, I didn't know this thread existed!
1. How did the Friends of Glorantha initiative work out, from your perspective? Did it result in a finished manuscript? (I was a member for a while, but stopped getting updates/reminders and just forgot about it...)


Do you mean the GTA, Glorantha Trading Association?
Where I collected money to publish Heroquest?

2. There have been scattered references over the years to an updated version of the Gloranthan boardgame Dragon Pass - is this still being worked on?


Yes it is
It's a nice game and I like it
It is stalled at finding a publisher right now


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Post Posted: Sun May 29, 2011 6:30 pm 
 

Greg Stafford wrote:Do you mean the GTA, Glorantha Trading Association?
Where I collected money to publish Heroquest?


Sorry for being unclear. I believe Fabian Kuechler was the driving force behind Friends of Glorantha, which contributed to work on "Harmast's Saga".

Glad to hear a new release of Dragon Pass is a possibility, and I hope to see the day when I can buy a copy or three  :wink:

  


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Post Posted: Mon May 30, 2011 2:04 pm 
 

MonkeyBees wrote:
Sorry for being unclear. I believe Fabian Kuechler was the driving force behind Friends of Glorantha, which contributed to work on "Harmast's Saga".

Ah, of course.
Yes, it helped a lot. The results of it were: 1. Some money coming in when I really needed it; 2. a finished first draft of a Gloranthan novel.  
Glad to hear a new release of Dragon Pass is a possibility, and I hope to see the day when I can buy a copy or three  :wink:

Believe me, your urge is no greater than mine, and much much less than that of the designer.


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Post Posted: Mon May 30, 2011 9:37 pm 
 

Greg Stafford wrote:Believe me, your urge is no greater than mine, and much much less than that of the designer.

Can one ask who the designer is, if it's not hush-hush?

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Post Posted: Tue May 31, 2011 10:27 am 
 

Vile wrote:Can one ask who the designer is, if it's not hush-hush?

a gentleman named Steve Hope.


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