14 December 2015

Chaosium Comment Confusion

In response to my last post  in which I criticized Chaosium’s decision to abandon RuneQuest 6 and instead develop yet another version of the game (the fourth one in less than a decade) – I received the following comment from 'MOB', Vice-President of Chaosium:

You are of course welcome to voice your opinion about Chaosium's plans for the new edition of RQ. But what's with the OTT headline? Anyone reading just that could come away with the impression the company has been mortally wounded and is about to go under. Which is absolutely not the case. Not cool at all. 
Despite whatever "insider knowledge" you say you have, the ongoing relationship between Chaosium and TDM continues to be completely amicable: we are not just professional colleagues but long-standing friends. Someone's already posted the link to our Q&A about the new edition, which makes clear it is far from being just a "modified version of RuneQuest 2" and in fact retains many core elements of RQ6. Loz and Pete will rightly feature in the credits of the new Chaosium edition, and we have wished them well for the direction they are taking with the TDM successor to RQ6 (just as they have wished us well). While Chaosium and TDM have mutually decided to work on our own things for now, we all agree the door remains firmly open for future collaborations. 
MOB  VP – Chaosium
While I’m grateful to MOB for his contribution to the discussion, I found this to be a rather strange comment, for a few reasons:

1. I can’t imagine that anyone who read my previous post would interpret it, or its title, as commenting on Chaosium’s financial condition. I think that it’s obvious that my remarks concern only Chaosium’s decision regarding the future of RuneQuest. I cannot control how others interpret what I write, obviously, but Chaosium’s interpretation does not strike me to be a very plausible one at all. (And anyone remotely familiar with Chaosium would surely know that the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game is far more popular, and thus presumably far more important for Chaosium’s financial health, than Runequest.) 

2. As for my “insider knowledge,” I didn’t reveal any of that knowledge in this post – except for the timing of Chaosium’s decision not to use RQ6 in the future (which MOB obviously does not dispute, as it's knowledge that I did in fact have).   

3. Chaosium goes to great pains in the comment to emphasize how amicable things are between them and the Design Mechanism. That’s wonderful. But it has no connection to anything that I stated in the post. At no point did I claim or even suggest that relations between the two companies are now unfriendly or hostile. 

In any case, RuneQuest aside, I certainly do hope that the new Chaosium succeeds, as I am a huge Call of Cthulhu fan. Moreover, I actually am pretty happy with the (somewhat controversial) 7th edition of CoC – as is clear from my review of it (the RPGsite version), and my ongoing use of it in my current CoC campaign. I was a backer of the kickstarter, and am grateful that the new management has taken charge of sorting that out. My impression is that they’ve been doing a very fine job with it. I’m also excited about Chaosium’s reinvigorated Cthulhu Mythos fiction line.

To conclude: (a) I don’t intend to post anything more about Chaosium’s new direction for RuneQuest here (unless something especially newsworthy occurs); and (b) I wish them well, and likely will continue to support (and blog about, etc.) their work on Call of Cthulhu. So that’s that.

15 comments:

  1. FWIW, I also found the blog title (but not the actual contents of the post) to be a tad hyperbolic. The word "fatal" hits pretty hard (and not just because of The Game That Shall Not Be Named... :P). But this is obviously an issue you feel pretty strongly about, and, like I said, the content of your post didn't match the same tone as the title.

    I love CoC 7e too! Looking forward to running Horror on the Orient Express next year.

    I did appreciate MOB's clarification that all's well between Chaosium and TDM. Perhaps we'll see some crossover material for TDM's version of Runequest, or vice versa?

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    1. If I were to write the post today, I likely would leave the "fatal" out of the title. But I think that it's bad form to revise posts later on, so I'm leaving it as it is. I'm sure it'll fade into the mists of time soon enough.

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    3. Essentially, it was the use of the word "fatally" in the title that I thought was unneccessarily gratuitous. Good to see you've reflected on that too, cheers MOB

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    4. I sometimes find alliteration alluring, alas.

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    5. Should have gone with fumble...

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  2. I wasn't at the Chaosium seminar at Dragonmeet, but someone who did attend said it was mainly about RQ, with a little Cthulhu discussion.

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    1. That's understandable, since RQ is Chaosium's "new" project. I expect (and hope) that CoC will remain their main focus.

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  3. Not that my voice matters in all of this, but I felt the post perfectly mirrored my frustrations about the situation and had no deeper meaning or had any boasting qualities about "insider information". I think its great that Chaosium and TDM are buddies, but we have yet another edition of RQ is too short a time.

    When the new game comes out, I'll look at it, but until them I'm out of the loop.

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  4. I'll back Mark on this, too. Too many Runequest editions in too short a time, and a rekindling of what I can only describe as the "Runequest fans vs. the Glorantha fans" has resurfaced for the first time since MRQ was gestating. For many, we already had the Runequest we wanted, and now we're (almost) losing it again....delegated to the same corner as Legend, effectively. I don't fault Chaosium for this, but the BRP/RQ/CoC too-many-systems burnout is imminent for me....

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    1. Also: only Chaosium/BRP/RQ fans could be so polite with commentary like that from MOB. Instead of reading your article (and the many others out there) and saying, "We might need to approach our interaction with the public to avoid sending the wrong messages constantly" you are getting criticized for being OTT. Not cool.

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    2. Hmm by which I meant "Chaosium might want to rethink their interaction with the public to stop sending mixed, confusing and gloom-ridden messages," and maybe recognize that a lot of change has happened to this system since 1982, and a lot of people are invested in editions with much longer shelf lives than RQ2 ever had. But eh. Like Mark, I'm out. Gotta stop paying attention and check back in 1-2 years.

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    3. Re.: "only Chaosium/BRP/RQ fans could be so polite with commentary like that from MOB."

      Ha! I firmly believe in living up to all stereotypes concerning Canadians.

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  5. Also, Nicholas Bergquist's post on the "Glorantha problem" is (IMO) spot on: http://realmsofchirak.blogspot.com/2015/12/the-glorantha-problem-or-defining.html

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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who divides his time between Milwaukee and Toronto.