In this month’s episode of The God Learners podcast we are very happy to welcome Rick Meints, the president of Chaosium. He’s here to talk about collecting Gloranthan books, ChaosiumCon 2022, and more.
In the news section, Ludovic plugs the Journal of Runic Studies, our weekly newsletter. It features everything directly or indirectly related to Glorantha that we could find over the previous Red Moon cycle.
Joerg talks about the impending return of some of Ian Thompson’s Pavis materials by way of the Jonstown Compendium, Chaosium’s community content program on DriveThruRPG. These “remasters” might include things like the Pavis & Big Rubble Companions and/or A Rough Guide to Pavis.
From there we launch into a digression about Rick’s exhaustive collection, including the Pavic Tales issues pictured above. Some items from Rick’s collection will be available for sale at ChaosiumCon’s collectors auction.
Then Joerg mentions RuneQuest Year Zero, a limited-run podcast by Baz Stevens in which he delves into the RuneQuest Starter Set without much prior knowledge about RuneQuest and Glorantha. Along the 11 episodes of the show, Baz shares what he likes and doesn’t like about the rules, the setting, and other material found in the box.
The Jonstown Compendium has been quiet in the past few weeks. Rick once again has all the books available in POD so far already, and plugs Nick Brooke’s index as a good way to stay on top of the publications (the 2021 index is here, the 2022 index is here).
For the main topic, we start with Rick’s path from the automotive industry to the presidency of one of the most beloved RPG publishers in history. Ludovic then shares his own shorter and weirder path to Glorantha.
During his time as a Chaosium fan, Rick had an unofficial “subscription” to all released products. Ludovic asks if any official subscriptions might come to Chaosium but sadly the logistics don’t make that idea viable at the moment.
Next, we talk about Rick’s MIG book, the Meints’ Index to Glorantha. It previously had two editions, and a third edition is being finalized and printed. The next version is bigger, in colour, and includes all the Glorantha material released in the 21st century.
The back cover of MIG2 already had a format similar to the back cover of RuneQuest 2nd edition (picture above). MIG3 will even look more similar, from the book size to the colour scheme.
Here are some MIG3 pages Rick shared over the last few months on social media:
Rick also explains how the write-up for old material has gained in depth, thanks to his access to the Chaosium’s archives, and to his time spent interviewing many figures of the early RuneQuest eras.
Ludovic asks Rick about foreign licensees, which have been previously off-limits for the MIG since Rick can’t read them and it wouldn’t fit in the page count anyway.
We go on for a bit about the various styles of foreign RuneQuest covers, while Rick once again grabs a few books from his shelves to illustrate the point. MIG3 will have a small appendix dedicated to these foreign editions, but not much more.
Next, we talk about Wyrms Footnotes, why it hasn’t come back, and why it probably won’t, since most authors now get their Gloranthan writing fix through the Jonstown Compendium. This leads us to chatting about how great the Jonstown Compendium is, and how happy Chaosium is with their community content programs in general. Ludovic is a bit sad that the whole OSR zine revival passed by Chaosium without them paying much attention to it, but is also happy that they put their energy and resources into a good quality community content program.
And while we talk about Chaosium’s “master plans” (or lack thereof), Ludovic asks whether Chaosium intends for Glorantha and RuneQuest to be synonymous for the foreseeable future, or if Glorantha will indeed stay a bigger franchise that encompasses other game systems. Of course, 13th Age Glorantha is out of Chaosium’s hands, but Rick reveals that Chaosium does have the intention of having some Questworlds Glorantha books, even if some of it might only be conversion guides for using RuneQuest adventures in Questworlds.
There is a digression on Cthulhu Live and Gloranthan free-forms. Rick did include free-forms in MIG3, but shares why LARP books generally sell poorly. Ludovic talks about the opportunities of RuneQuest splatbooks that could sell more, but Rick reveals that Glorantha isn’t conductive to this because all the “character classes” (i.e. the cults) are too woven together to be handled independently. This is why the upcoming Cults books are so big and taking a long time.
We chat for a bit about the difficult task of juggling between the old cranky fandom of Glorantha and the desire to attract new people to the setting. Chaosium has, of course, the RuneQuest Starter Set for the latter, but also a few other ongoing projects, such as the Glorantha video-game still being developed, plus other initiatives such as VTT integration, which is taking longer than Chaosium intended.
Joerg asks about Gloranthan fiction, which is another good possible entry point. Although Rick would like to publish something, there just aren’t many (if at all) authors pitching Gloranthan stories to Chaosium. In the meantime, there’s old fiction such as Griselda’s tales still available.
Joerg also asks about the return of Gloranthan board games, which might prove to be another effective entry point for new people. Rick gives a small update on those, and what the design direction is. He also mentions the board games that never were, like the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death and Shadows Dance games.
Ludovic moves on to rare collector’s items, such as the RuneQuest playtest documents, the Roots of Glorantha series, or the Greganth Atlas (picture above), asking if these things would ever be available in some form or other. This is tricky to do for various reasons outlined by Rick, but he does reveal some upcoming booklet called “the Stafford House Campaign”.
The cover can be seen in the first picture above. This booklet contains Greg Stafford’s “Dragons Past” columns from a couple 70s and 80s magazines. These articles tell the story of his RuneQuest campaign. Rick also found in a binder a few unpublished stories about Greg’s Holy Country campaign.
As for other rare collections of Greg’s notes, a lot of that content is making it in a more polished and playable form through the new RuneQuest Glorantha line anyway.
Finally, Ludovic asks one of his burning questions about the “SP” denominations found on RQ2 supplements, and in particular why he has two PDFs of the Sea Cave labelled SP7 and SP8 respectively. Rick reveals the simple solution by pointing at the first edition cover for Cults of Prax (seen above).