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This article was actually based on a report commissioned by Avalon Hill itself in prior to the decision to publish Eldarad. The original report was written by an award-winning game designer. RuneQuest is a great game. We all know that. We all know that too. We, the Tales of the Reaching Moon staff present here our thoughts about the history of the game, the hole RuneQuest is currently in, and what action we think Avalon Hill should take to dig its way out again.
We have no intention of pointing bones at either Avalon Hill or Chaosium; our intention is just to lay the facts as we see them on the table and suggest remedies. You will find our position is a conservative one. However, we believe it would be more useful for Avalon Hill to consolidate the present position before they try to expand. Comment on this article is sought after and welcome. Perhaps you have ideas of your own. Let us know.
More importantly, let Avalon Hill know what you think! The golden period for RuneQuest players was without doubt from — , when the game won most of its fans. The latter three boxes were a trilogy of adventures on the same geographical setting. Pavis was cited by Ken Rolston in Dragon as still one of the best all-time City supplements for roleplaying.
After this frenetic publishing burst, RuneQuest went into hibernation while the Avalon Hill edition of the game was prepared. Players waited on the edge of their seats. The time delay was too long, and some started to drift off.
When the game did come out in , it was bigger and better, but many were disappointed. The price was prohibitive; the physical quality could have been improved; and the rules had gained new complexities which some players were unable to cope with.
But at any rate, RuneQuest was back. Some loved it, some decided to live with it, some deferred judgement, and some dropped it. Glorantha was inseparable from RuneQuest in the earlier Chaosium editions; in the Avalon Hill edition it became optional. What was more important to gamers, the world or the rules? We are still finding out. Those who stayed around looked eagerly for the first supplements, to get their hands on some new adventures to try out the revised rules.
These days you can buy RuneQuest in four different flavours, and this has its own problems. In particular the advent of a watered-down version, Standard Edition , has created a number of extra hassles, although its principal aim — to make RuneQuest available at a lower price — has been realised.
Give no ground, let them sink or swim. This is unsatisfactory, as it betrays the trust of those who took the carrot and bought Standard in the first place. It will be annoying to use, because players will find themselves needing two sources to look up the same information; but no more inconvenient than the current situation for Standard Edition users. However, it would be cheaper than having to start all over again by purchasing Deluxe.
Of the four, we think this is the preferred option. Discounting the different versions of the rules, from — Avalon Hill has published 19 supplements for RuneQuest.
In fact, in the last two years, the rate has dropped to two per year. Many of the supplements have failed to catch the imagination of the original RuneQuest players, who have seen them before. New and Reprint are blurry categories; some of the New products contain old content, some of the Reprint products contain new information. Our rule-of-thumb for the distinction between New and Reprint is whether or not an old RuneQuester would feel compelled to buy it.
By useless material, we callously mean products of little use or value. By our reckoning then, only 5 supplements have contained substantially new material, less than one third of the total output, or less than one per year. If we further differentiate between Glorantha and Alternate Earth , there has been only one brand new Gloranthan supplement out for every two years.
We think you may start to see why RuneQuest has failed to charge ahead. Here are our thoughts on the 18 things thus far released. We do not have access to full records of RuneQuest sales, although we do know which ones have gone well in shops we have worked in or are familiar with.
Still, we are fairly confident that our assessments are close to the mark. A general comment applies to all the boxed sets. Paper-covered books are not sturdy enough for roleplaying use, which is more vigorous than that of a set of boardgame rules. This has been a constant problem and complaint.
Here we go. We use the copyright dates, even though they are not necessarily the year the item came out:. An arena combat supplement. The maps and components were handsome, but players were simply unlikely to get a lot of use out of it.
The game itself provides you with character sheets to photocopy. The first Alternate Earth supplement, a great set. Many hours of solid play was available from it. We know of one Vikings campaign which now five years old, and still going strong a saga in the making! Old adventures transplanted to a new setting; even so, people who had played Griffin Mountain were unlikely to get use out of this.
Second and perhaps last of the Alternate Earth supplements. Despite its somewhat misleading title the ninja are only a peripheral element in the game , a fine set. As the majority of roleplayers are more accustomed to Eurocentric adventuring, Land of Ninja was perhaps of less universal appeal than Vikings. This makes us wonder about the commercial viability of Aztecs , a manuscript currently in the hands of Avalon Hill.
A classic adventure, but an old one. The first of the book releases, bringing the price of the average RuneQuest item a little closer to the pocketmoney budget. The first of the trolls. Somehow the single boxed set Trollpak was turned into four separate reprints. Owners of the original were usually unlikely to buy any of them. Unlike the other reprints, this supplement was not a RuneQuest one in its original publication.
The one everyone was waiting for, the strong launch that Gloranthan fans had been looking for since A great pack, rich in background details. And more trolls. This one is significant because of the poor quality of the artwork. Prior to this, although much of the material was familiar to them, players and collectors had been enjoying a sound aesthetic feel in all RuneQuest products in both layout and art — you might buy them just to have them. Troll Gods eroded confidence in new product.
Like Glorantha , a box that Glorantha fans were waiting for. Like Troll Gods , it was marred by unforgivably bad artwork. Still, it did sell well. A total turkey, this non-Gloranthan supplement fails on almost every level.
Unoriginal concept, execrable writing, uninspired layout and poor artwork. Background material enriches a game, and it is the quality of the background material on which the fame of RuneQuest is based. Nevertheless, players also have a need of something they can buy off the shelves, flip open the cover, and start running on a Friday night.
Avalon Hill RuneQuest has had some releases of this type, but it has all been reprints. As gamemasters, we have a need of things we can use with minimum effort. Over the last eight years we have had no new commercial campaigns to use excepting Eldarad and Daughters of Darkness. Those of us who can, have had to use the background in the material, or have written our own.
RuneQuest as it stands is a great fantasy roleplaying game. I remember seeing very positive reviews of some of the boxed sets in Dragon Magazine, and I did pick up a couple of them at one point or another, but not enough to really wrap my head around the setting. I cut my teeth on the Avalon Hill version and Games Workshop releases of the same. So for me this I never grew up with the Interlocked With Glorantha setting.
One merely has to ask any RQ 2nd ed fan about this and they will get glossy eyed and wax lyrical before winging about RQ3 Avalon Hill. But for sure, even the RQ renaissance that saw Avalon Hill publish Shadows on the Borderland, Sun County, River of Cradles and strangers in Prax, all possibly some of their best material, was a little too late the damage had been done so to speak. I think there are a lot of opinions out there, as well as some genuinely scary stories, but from a pure business perspective I think Avalon Hill had caught the classic corporate disease and become alienated from its customers.
They were never really a RPG house and I reckon they misread the market and in effect alienated their existing inherited customer base while failing through aforementioned dismal tactics to bring in a huge influx of new punters. One sees this kind of thing in many industries. Comment by Tony Den - December 27, pm. Forgot to mention. I still play RQ, the draw card for me was always the system. In RQ your character can die with ease. No clerics wandering around raising party members every few steps.
Series: Avalon Hill RuneQuest boxes
RuneQuest is a fantasy role-playing game created by Steve Perrin and others, set in Greg Stafford 's mythical world of Glorantha , and first published in by Chaosium. RuneQuest is notable for its system, designed around percentile dice and with an early implementation of skill rules, which became the basis of numerous other games. There have been several editions of the game. In , game designer Greg Stafford released the fantasy board game White Bear and Red Moon later renamed Dragon Pass , produced and marketed by Chaosium , a game publishing company set up by Stafford specifically for the release of the game. A second edition, with various minor revisions, was released in In order to increase distribution and marketing of the game, Chaosium made a deal with Avalon Hill , who published a third edition in
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This article was actually based on a report commissioned by Avalon Hill itself in prior to the decision to publish Eldarad. The original report was written by an award-winning game designer. RuneQuest is a great game. We all know that. We all know that too. We, the Tales of the Reaching Moon staff present here our thoughts about the history of the game, the hole RuneQuest is currently in, and what action we think Avalon Hill should take to dig its way out again. We have no intention of pointing bones at either Avalon Hill or Chaosium; our intention is just to lay the facts as we see them on the table and suggest remedies.
Series: RuneQuest Third Edition - Avalon Hill
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