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Steve Perrin


Rick Meints

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Vale and farewell, Steve Perrin!

When the world of Roleplaying Games was still waiting to be born, you and your closest friends conjured up the Society for Creation Anachronism (SCA) from the realms of your collective imagination. Bump, bump, bump down the stairs, indeed. Shortly thereafter Steve and Luise joined the fledging Chaosium as it spread its draconic wings in the mid 1970s with White Bear & Red Moon, and a little known RPG called RuneQuest, born on the 4th of July in 1976. Steve’s canny understanding of gaming mechanics and Luise’s artistic vision helped forge an iconic game still played around the world today. 

But a few hours ago we learned that Steve was taken from us, even as he worried that Luise’s health situation was more dire than his. He was a loving and devoted partner to the end. To sum up all that Steve was to the Chaosium family cannot be typed up in a few sentences. He is one of our Great Old Ones. An innovative genius that helped pave the way for us to exist today, delighting gamers while they sit around a table, in person or online, exploring stories and adventures together, weaving new tales of derring-do. RuneQuest and Superworld were his children, and his imprint on so many of our other games is indelibly present. Many of us grew up playing his games. He was the uncle we admired, envied, and listened to for his wise counsel. In the last few years, as a new edition of RuneQuest was born he was there. His wisdom and experience reminded us of the simple, pure, and wonderous origins of the magic of roleplaying. How can you say thank you for that?

We grieve with all of those who knew him, especially his family. We thought we might have been able to entice him to be with us at one more gaming convention in the near future, but now we know that gathering will have to wait. Saying farewell is never easy. Dear friends depart, and we remember them for all the richness they brought to our lives. We at the Chaosium cherish all the decades you sat with us at the gaming table and the stories you created with us.

Vale, and farewell, Steve. 

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Hope that Helps,
Rick Meints - Chaosium, Inc.

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Well. Hmm, at a big loss of words here. I will try...

Thanks Mr Perrin for all the great games over the decades!  I have heard it said we are not Homo Sapiens (Wise Man) but Homo Fabula (Story Man)! If so, you and Greg were our shamans to that wonderful place where stories became real! Thanks for everything and my deepest sympathies to your friends and family!

 

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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My deepest condolences to Perrin’s family, friends, and colleagues - his loss is profound. 

Just as The Perrin Conventions for D&D are widely acknowledged as a pivotal point in the early days of the hobby, last month I was discussing online how important his founding role in the Society for Creative Anachronism was for fantasy gaming.

And it should go without saying that the evolution of his RuneQuest house rules into Basic Roleplaying is why we’re here now.

Thanks and farewell to an RPG titan,

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In 1982, when I was 10 years old, I was already way over D&D/AD&D (where do you go, once you have conquered the Queen of the DemonWeb Pits? Ok, Tomb of Horrors, but beyond that?)... And I had played enough with Melee/Wizards/In The Labyrinth that MetaGaming had released for The Fantasy Trip. I even tried Tunnels & Trolls, but thought it was too silly. I had bought RuneQuest after being inspired by watching my elders play the game when I was 7, but did not yet grasp the depth (I recall being disappointed that such a large box was so strangely empty inside). I liked Snakepipe Hollow (the dungeon crawl probably felt more familiar); but I thought the other scenario that came with it was Apple LaMe. I guess the baboons just didn't work for me as fearsome foes at that time (I see it, now)! It wasn't until years later, in 1986, that I found a gaming group that enabled me to find illumination through exploring the world of Glorantha: those silver/ruby slippers were already in my possession... they just needed a little polish & the right incantation! But I had already shelved RuneQuest for the time being. Yet, my peers and I were still hungry for new blood!

 
Then, we found everything we were looking for in 1982, when Worlds of Wonder was released! Our minds were on fire... and we have Steve Perrin's universal game design to thank for that: the percentile system just works so well for everything! For our purposes, it seemed that Traveller & Space Opera were needlessly bogged down in minutiae that made them annoying, but WoW's Future World was as fun to play as Gamma World, and not so immersed in the dystopian Post-Apocalyptic setting (while Star Frontiers was like a fancy straightjacket). Meanwhile, with WoW's Magic World, we could expand those realms that we had so enjoyed exploring with the Expedition to the Barrier Peaks module from AD&D... Arthur C. Clarke would have been proud of us, questioning the illusionary boundaries between any sufficiently advanced technology & actual magic!
 
And then there was WoW's Super World... Now that was what we had been looking for! We had tired of the Champions/Hero system, and moved on through V&V (which seemed fun at first, but we had grown bored with its limitations, too). Super World was totally freeform and the percentile system enabled us to accomplish the perfect balance of realism & fantasy in storytelling that we had been seeking, even in its original barebones form in WoW (we hungrily bought the boxed set when it was released, also)! Once, I even tried to convince my crew to play Pendragon, and another time I tried to introduce Stormbringer, but they were done with medieval fantasy settings.
 
I briefly dabbled with other attempts to produce universal systems, but none of them impressed me as much as BRP's percentile system. I had high hopes in 1985 when Man to Man was released in advance of GURPS, but the system just felt clunky to me. We even briefly experimented with Palladium Fantasy & Heroes Unlimited, but everyone agreed that they were an awful mess of formulae that felt needlessly complex.
 
Next, my peer group & I moved on to Call of Cthulhu, which held our fascination for the unknown, and confronted us with the idea that you cannot always win by battling monsters! Acting as Keeper for CoC games eventually led me to playing with a group of adults who formally initiated me into the deeper mysteries of RuneQuest in 1986. By that time, RQ was in it's 3rd edition form, published by AH; but our group was still firmly entrenched in Glorantha! That experience eventually offered me the rites of passage into my adulthood.
 
And now that both Steve & Greg have passed through their last rites in this world...  "gather(ed) into the artifice of eternity" as Yeats described it in _Sailing to Byzantium_ ...and reunited with the rest of the ancestors in the Great Beyond, I want to again stress how overwhelmingly indebted I am to them both for their lives of service to & in collaboration with their communities, from the SCA to RQ & beyond!
 
And oh, wow! I just read that the Wild Cards anthology series was originally inspired by a Super World campaign! And that GRRM rejected Neil Gaiman's idea for a story about a superhero based in the Dream World... I guess I'm not the only one who misses a diamond in the rough, occasionally? (Curiouser still that Morpheus is tangentially related to Super World, albeit through a sort of exile of origin?)
 
But now I am finally in tears; reading that just a couple of weeks ago, Steve was able to use the last check from his story that appeared in Joker Moon (the most recent Wild Cards mosaic/anthology), to pay for his wife's medical care: may she find comfort in the honor of his legacy! And although you can read Steve's story included in that book in the GoogleBooks preview... Now that we know for certain that Luise does indeed have access to the money in the GoFundMe account that Steve set up for her, we can go and donate to her directly there...
Edited by aethyrflux
Confirmed that Luise has access to GoFundMe
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No-one has been a bigger influence on my gaming, and gaming has been a big part of my life since my teens. I know he has been ill for some time (as Luise still is), but I shall miss his presence terribly.

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Dreamscape Design: Crafters of the Finest Tabletop Roleplaying Games

Dreamscape Design: My Corner of BRP Central ... Mine, All Mine! 

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Oh no!  I only knew Steve from his games, but I feel personally diminished by his death.

It goes without saying that every BRP-derived game is indebted to him, but fewer know that by authoring the Perrin Conventions, Steve had a huge effect on how D&D was played in the '70s and afterwards.  His design work on RQ, Stormbringer, and Worlds of Wonder permanently expanded the understanding of what RPGs could do.

To me his name stands for realism combined with elegance in game design. 

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I didn't know him, but he was the RQ person that I (eventually learned) was the game mechanics master.  It took me a long while to realize that he and Louise were a husband wife duo (I was pretty young for RQ2 era stuff and a lot sailed by me).  After learning more about RPGs in general I admired his work more and more.  He contributed something badly needed to the world, then and now -- organized fun. 

 

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I'm floored and flabbergasted.  My heart is broken and bleeding. 

I brought Steve in as a Guest of Honor to our local convention in 2008.  The original Gaming GoH (Steve Long, for the record) had to back out at the last minute due to a family medical emergency.  So, since it was my call, I decided to contact the creator of my favorite RPG... the one that introduced me to gaming.  I hunted Steve down, and he accepted with less than a week's notice.

He was a tremendous Guest of Honor.  A top-o-the-line, grade A superstar Guest.  Those old enough to remember flocked to see him; youngers were thrilled with every story, and every game.  The SCA folks even came to celebrate him. He was a hit.

It wasn't until the closing ceremonies, when Steve asked to say a few words... in tears... that we learned that it was his first GoH gig... EVER.  My jaw hit the floor.  It was absolutely unthinkable that one of the founders of gaming, and such an awesome author, game designer, etc  had never before been invited as a Guest of Honor!

We'd been friends ever since.

So, when I saw the post announcing his passing, my heart sunk, and I didn't want to believe it.  I tried, unsuccessfully, to contact him... so that he could tell me it was wrong.

I will miss one of the greats of my childhood, and an even greater piece of my adulthood.  I still run RQ, to this day.  Now, every game will be be dedicated with fond memories to Steve Perrin.

He was beyond question a joy to have known.

😭

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The Great Table has another chair filled and the Old Geeks get fewer on the ground.

Like a great many of you, I was also an SCA'er and a gamer so like you I have two things to thank Steve's memory for.

For those who knew and loved Steve, I can only offer a prayer given to me by my Episcopal priest:
 

"May He that rules in Heaven hold you in the palm of His hand,

May the pain of your grief be mercifully short,

And the warmth of your memories be blessedly long..."

 

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Thank you, Steve Perrin, for the game that has dominated so much of my gaming life. Fare well, and heartfelt condolences to your kin.

 

On rpg.net I came across the thread "when were you last excited about an RPG system?" l wasn't quite sure what to answer, but it was easy to answer when was I most excited about an RPG system: when I discovered the RuneQuest game system first hand (in the guise of Games Workshop's RQ3).

When I learned about RuneQuest (in the same book that taught me about multi-player roleplaying games, after I had discovered the solo adventuring books from the UK), what drew me to it and actually made me sit down to translate the game as soon as it finally became available to me were the elegant rules that did away with such unnecessary ballast as classes or levels. and with very few algorithms that allowed me to improvise a very gritty system without having to consult the rules book very much.

I learned to associate Steve's name with that rules system when I bought the Swedish adaptation Drakar och Demoner, which credited Steve Perrin as the only non-Swedish contributor.

All of that happened pretty much in local isolation, as there were no early adopters of RuneQuest left in my home town, and the nearest big convention was dominated by AD&D and Das Schwarze Auge, with hardly any other system in evidence (not even Basic D&D, which was considered inferior by the AD&D crowd).

Unlike many other people from the Chaosium family, Steve never made it to any of the conventions I managed to attend, so regrettably I never met him in person. But then, the design spoke (and continues to speak) for itself.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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7 hours ago, smiorgan said:

😢 Is there anything we can do to support Luise Perrin? Does she have access to the donations that Steve had collected to cover healthcare costs?

I hope she is now receiving proper care.

Best,

Smiorgan

 

 

I was going to ask a similar question.  If I donate to the Gofundme, will Luise be able to access those funds promptly?  Or is there a better way to donate now that Steve has unfortunately passed on?

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12 hours ago, ingot said:

I was going to ask a similar question.  If I donate to the Gofundme, will Luise be able to access those funds promptly?  Or is there a better way to donate now that Steve has unfortunately passed on?

Unfortunately, we just don't know. Steve was the primary person handling the GoFundMe, so who even has access now is unknown.

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Hope that Helps,
Rick Meints - Chaosium, Inc.

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This saddens me and I am just sad. The world went a little darker. But I know Steve would want me/us to carry on and think of the good times. He’s such a kind soul with a big heart. His rules changed my life. I defended the Tin Inn and went into Snake Pipe in the early 80s and never looked back or stopped.

I met Steve about 4 years ago when I ran the RQ quickstarter for Free RPG Day in Garden Grove CA. He strolled into Brookhurst Hobbies, with his familiar hat, and I was so excited. Then I was like, oh man, I hope I remember the rules, uhh… but he was so cool and down to earth. I remember I wanted to just talk to him more than run the scenario. He hung around after and our whole table just talked with him for over an hour. (It turned out we all lived in about a 10 mile radius from one another in Orange County CA.)

A little later on we started gaming at his friend Marsha’s house or at my friend John’s and that’s when I really started to get to know him. Sometimes we played RQ, play tested his super’s or Urvantan’s tower and other times it was board games. I found out he loved playing naval miniatures which excited me because I do as well. He mentioned he had a load of ships up in the Bay area and we were going to try and get them somehow. He shared the story about the origins of Ducks and the figure maker in the Bay area. I also asked him how Luise came up with the iconic RQ cover, then if he remembered anything about the Sea Cave scenario, and on and on. He was always happy to talk, fun and kind. He was so generous with his invites to game.

He also said one of the funniest things. One time I was running the group through the Foot Print and I used a shoggoth as a chaos creature. He leaned over and asked in a low voice if I ever played RQ with Sandy Peterson… he paused then said, you’re really playing Call of Cthulhu. I started laughing, I mean I wouldn’t know but I thought that was so funny and he was grinning.

I remember Steve always brought a tub of ginger snaps to game night, from Trader Joes to be exact. And he had so many different game nights going on. He also liked desert wine, like moscatos. I think the next time I game in person, we’ll toast to him with a moscato.

And one last memory, Steve loved Luise with all his heart and it was so warming to see. My last conversations with him were trying to help get a truck so we could pick up a special bed for Luise. She was always first and foremost in his mind and she came before anything.

Steve, I miss you man. Your friend Gil.

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52 minutes ago, Rick Meints said:

Unfortunately, we just don't know. Steve was the primary person handling the GoFundMe, so who even has access now is unknown.

Hi folks, as of this weekend Luise was able to gain access to the GoFundMe. She was really touched by it. I didn't speak with her personally... a local close friend of theirs went over to help her start sorting things out. 

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On 8/17/2021 at 4:46 AM, 10baseT said:

Hi folks, as of this weekend Luise was able to gain access to the GoFundMe. She was really touched by it. I didn't speak with her personally... a local close friend of theirs went over to help her start sorting things out. 

Thanks for letting us know. A lot of people were worrying about that.

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Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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Specifically, this gofundme:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/care-for-the-phoenix

...just so people don't have to scroll back to find it.

@Rick Meints can you link it in the first post? I didn't contribute to this when it first came around but I will now. Once I can get the damned web page to not error on me.

*Edit* Couldn't get it to work in Chrome, kept erroring, so did it in a not-logged-in Firefox and that worked.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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