GenCon 2023 Chaosium Interview with Creative Director Jeff Richard on “Cults of Runequest”
At GenCon 2023, Chaosium’s Creative Director, Jeff Richard, was interviewedby Nathan of The Advanced Age Roleplaying Gamers about the iconic RuneQuest role-playing game. He introduced himself as the RuneQuest product line’s lead author and art director.
RuneQuest holds a venerable place in the history of tabletop role-playing games. The foundational RPG birthed the Chaosium company, giving rise to other renowned games such as Call of Cthulhu and Pendragon. Set in a Bronze Age fantasy universe, RuneQuest immerses players in a world where deities are real, every character possesses magic, and the intricate combat system promises excitement. Each character’s psychology and attributes are influenced by runes, which form a core part of the game’s identity.
One of the remarkable aspects of RuneQuest is its starter set, priced at $30 but rich in content. The starter set introduces players to the game and is designed to onboard newcomers seamlessly. It starts with a solo quest, teaching the rules and the setting without needing any prior reading. Following the solo adventure, there’s a streamlined overview of the game’s rules and a three-part campaign that immerses players in the RuneQuest world. Richard proudly acknowledges the comprehensive nature of this starter set, noting that it offers far more pre-built characters than most other RPG starter sets on the market.
A significant recent addition to the RuneQuest lineup is the “Cults of RuneQuest” series. In RuneQuest, a character’s primary defining characteristic is the cult or god they devote themselves to. These new books delve deep into these cults, detailing their myths, histories, and the unique spells and abilities they grant to their followers. The series touches upon various pantheons, such as the Earth goddesses, which span aspects of fertility, the cataclysmic force of earthquakes, and vengeful deities.
Richard expresses pride in these new books’ artwork and visual aesthetics, which maintain the high standards that Chaosium is known for. In addition to these cult-focused books, Chaosium offers numerous world books that dive into the land of Glorantha, the primary setting for RuneQuest. These provide an expansive backdrop for adventures, yet Richard stresses that players can choose the depth of their immersion. The starter set alone, for instance, contains enough content for several gameplay sessions.
In his closing remarks, Jeff Richard emphasized RuneQuest’s longevity and timeless appeal. Notably, RuneQuest stands out as one of the oldest active game systems that remains largely compatible with its original edition. Although Dungeons & Dragons predates RuneQuest by two years, RuneQuest has the unique advantage of backward compatibility, allowing enthusiasts to use original game materials with the current edition. Richard ended the interview by expressing gratitude and wishing everyone a wonderful time at GenCon.