Greg Stafford is one of the most famous American game designers of role-playing games. He is well known as the designer for his masterpiece, the Arthurian chivalric role-playing game Pendragon, as the creator of the fantasy world of Glorantha and co-designer of the RuneQuest.
He established The Stafford Chaosium in 1975. That same year he published his first fantasy board game with White Bear & Red Moon set in the world of Glorantha. However, in a few years those had grown to be a series of board games and a company called The Chaosium. The Chaosium’s first roleplaying game, RuneQuest, was published in 1978. Runequest was based on the world of Glorantha, Greg’s fantasy world that he first discovered in 1966. A complete list of roleplaying games which he wrote or contributed to includes: RuneQuest, Thieves World, King Arthur Pendragon, Prince Valiant, GhostBusters, HeroQuest, and the computer game King of Dragon Pass.
Furthermore, he contributed to around 100 supplements and articles in the game industry. In 1998 he left Chaosium with the rights to Glorantha intact, and started a short-lived company called Issaries, Inc. which published Glorantha games. He sold the Glorantha game rights to Moon Design Games, which has continued the tradition of the fantasy world games. He continued and continues to work on King Arthur Pendragon up to this time.
Supported by Sandy Petersen, he returned to Chaosium in May 2015.
Greg is one of the biggest authors in roleplaying games.
Born in: Hartford, Connecticut, USA
Date of birth: 2/9/1948
Personal blog: http://www.staffordcodex.com/
Website Chaosium: http://www.chaosium.com/
Website Pendragon: http://www.gspendragon.com/
Favorite roleplaying club: A two-handed mace. Ha ha, just a joke on “club.” We don’t have clubs like you guys do.
Favorite book: Le morte d’arthur
Favorite role-playing game: King Arthur Pendragon
Favorite boardgame: Cthulhu Wars
Favorite wargame: Tactics 2
Juegos y Dados – Welcome Greg, thank you so much for your collaboration. It is an enormous pleasure that you are here with us.
Greg – Thanks to you as well.
Juegos y Dados – First of all, what was the first role-playing game that you played?
Greg – Original D&D. It was the only rpg that existed at the time. I played maybe four or five times. I enjoyed the social aspect but the game design left me cold.
Juegos y Dados – How did you begin in the world of role-playing games?
Greg – I played board games with my neighbor, Jan Pfeiffer. One day he brought D&D over and we played it a bit.
Juegos y Dados – I think that your first creation was a wargame set in Glorantha, doesn’t it?
Greg – My first published game was White Bear & Red Moon, a board game set in Sartar, a little corner of Glorantha.
Juegos y Dados – What was the first roleplaying game that you created? And why?
Greg – I contributed to RuneQuest as a designer. I had become a fan of roleplaying games but was not happy with any I saw. The chance to create one along my own vision of fantasy was very appealing.
Juegos y Dados – Why did you found you own company?
Greg – One day I did a tarot card reading. They told me, “Go get a job, save your money for a year, then found your own company and check back in 7 years.” I did all that and voila, Chaosium!
Juegos y Dados – You have different kind of games in Chaosium. Do you have any favorite game?
Greg – King Arthur Pendragon
Juegos y Dados – You have some of the greatest roleplaying games. What do you think about so many people having a copy of RuneQuest and Pendragon in their homes?
Greg – I am flattered and gratified to have brought so much pleasure to thousands of people worldwide.
Juegos y Dados – I suppose that you met some famous designers of that age. Could you explain any story?
Greg – Oh, we all knew each other in the early days. There was only a dozen or so of us—the dealer’s room at conventions were held in classroom-sized spaces. When I was at the first game convention I attended I met Scott Bizarre of Fantasy Games Unlimited. I told him, “Quite a company here, with a publisher named bizarre and a writer named Symbolist.” Scott whipped out his drivers license to prove it, which I actually already knew. I was just making puns on their names. Scott later became my brother-in-law when he married the sister of my first wife.
I remember that same convention were the two English game guys, Ian Livingston and Steve Jackson (as everyone used to say, “the English Steve Jackson”). They had been travelling the US and were staying in New York City while the convention was on Staten Island—a three-transfer bus ride. We let them sleep on our floor instead and we became great friends.
Juegos y Dados – Have you ever been master of your RPGs? I would like knowing funny moments in role-playing stories.
Greg – I recall one game where it is was very intense. People were fighting for their lives and everyone was thoroughly engaged. During the game almost every player managed to knock over his cola or his beer onto the floor so it took me a long time to clear it up. The next week I told them, “No more drinks on the game table. Keep them away from your elbows!”
“Why?” the all asked. I explained why. “Really?” the said. “We don’t remember that.”
That is how intense the game was—no one remembered what had happened at their own elbows. I was pretty gratified to have offered such an otherworldly experience.
Juegos y Dados – We interviewed Sandy Petersen months ago. It’s a nice person. You are working with him a lot of years ago. Could you explain any fun story?
Greg – We used to have a deck of cards for Trivia that was a special deck for wars, like who is this general or that general. Every day we would ask each other a question. He never missed a single correct answer. I missed quite a few.
Juegos y Dados – How often do you play games? Which ones?
Greg – My game playing is sporadic. When I play an rpg it is Pendragon. We are also playing Sandy’s name game, Cthulhu Wars, these days.
Juegos y Dados – Prince Valiant was a fantastic game also. Is there any chance that it will see print any kind of restyling?
Greg – Yes. The rights to make a game from the comic has just been acquired by Nocturnal, the publisher of Pendragon. They will be making it into a starter rpg for kids.
Juegos y Dados – Do you think writing any new role-playing game in the future?
Greg – I don’t have such plans. I am retired now and dedicate my time to making Pendragon materials.
Juegos y Dados – Is there anything else you would like to tell fans about the rebooted Chaosium?
Greg – I had planned to run it at first but after less than a week ended in a hospital. I have had heart trouble for quite some time, and I realized that running Chaosium was not the way to stay healthy and unstressed. So we have sold part of the company to the guys at Moon Design and they are doing a fantastic job of improving things and getting product out. I am very happy about that.
Juegos y Dados – I hope you feel better. Thank you so much for your time. We are very happy for your collaboration in this interview with Juegos y Dados.