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Greg Stafford Condolence Thread

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2 hours ago, MOB said:

Waha! Greg Stafford loved demoing Khan of Khans. At Gen Con last year he'd plonk down at the front of the booth and cheerfully play it with anyone. Some may not have realised it—Greg could be surprisingly humble—but dozens of people got to play a fun game with one of the greatest game designers of all time, set in the mythic world he created.

#WeAreAllUs

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The Great Shaman demoing Khan of Khans GenCon in 2016:

 

Greg demo Khan Gen Con 2016.png

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4 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

Sandy Petersen has posted his thoughts on the Gods War Kickstarter page:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/petersengames/the-gods-war/posts/2314521

Here is what Sandy said there about losing "the single most creative person I have ever met":

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Edited by MOB
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As I sit in my office cluttered with notes, sketches, and fragments of stories that I am trying to arrange, edit, and complete so that they can be published, I happily acknowledge that Greg Stafford has influenced by professional and personal life more than anyone else. Greg was my mentor, my teacher, and such a profound influence on me that I can't even imagine how to delineate where Greg ends and I begin. Greg introduced me to my wife (even gave us the key to a castle eyrie before we knew we'd need it); he was my business partner, writing partner, and friend. Greg entrusted me with his world - a world made up of fragments of his dreams, fantasies, nightmares, anxieties, hopes, and fears.

With just 24 magical symbols (two fewer than the Latin script, two more than the Major Arcana), Greg assembled an entire cosmos, large enough to contain multitudes. Greg's cosmos was deeply personal but also reflected universal human themes. Themes that embraced both our best and our worst aspects - hope and hubris, humanity's desire for unity combined with our drive for division and destruction, the need for each new generation to overthrow the last. The cycle of birth, new hopes, old fears, death, and rebirth. Greg did the monomyth better than Campbell, the Matter of Britain better than Mallory. Greg's mythology is both new and as familiar as half-forgotten dream. 

Greg Stafford is now part of the God Time. The God Time, for those unfamiliar with Greg's mythology, is that part of the cosmos that is endless and eternal. In the mundane world we are ephemeral - we all will die and disappear from the earth; but in the God Time we endure as part of the fundament of the cosmos. So although Greg the Mortal is no longer with us in Time, Greg the Immortal exists eternally, because Greg helped make our universe.

Maybe that is all just a metaphor for Greg's boundless creativity. Greg's works, his love, his thoughts, his dreams - they continue to inspire. Not just the stuff he's rightly celebrated for - Glorantha, RuneQuest, Pendragon, Nephilim, a lifetime of game design, and so much more - but all of it. Greg's thoughts on shamanism and the invisible world, discussions pre-Clovis habitation in North America, interpretation of Huichol art, thoughts on life and love, and so much more. All of that is still with us - part of the God Time.

Greg once told me shamans and heroes exist simultaneously in our ephemeral world of Time and in the immortal God Time. Like so many of the things Greg has told me over the years, even when I have been able intellectually grasp the concept, it takes experiences to truly understand it. In this case, it takes Greg's passing for me to truly understand the difference between Time and God Time. Greg's mortal self - that part of him confined by Time - is gone, but his immortal self is with us always in the God Time.

IMG_2586.jpg

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I only met Greg once, at a Games Day convention in London in 1987. 

I was supplementing my limited income as a student by selling RPGs to other University gaming groups, and brought over a large pile of books for him to sign.  Greg quickly spotted what was going on (asking for one Cults of Prax to be dedicated to Dominic, and two others without names, was probably a give away...), but signed them all anyway, was very good about it, and included full dedications on each one.

I still remember his kindness, and mourn his death.

Edited by Dominic
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Humanity is in its infancy. We dearly need to play. Besides the pleasures they bring, Greg Stafford and friends' games -teach us much : to understand, wonder at, and love other cultures – from imaginary worlds hence inevitably from the real one. Greg Stafford created and shared worlds, as a result enriching this one.

Laurent

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Finally managed to get myself signed up; thought I had an account, but apparently not. So ... very VERY sad to hear of Greg's departure to the Spirit Plane. I started corresponding with him in 1979, having been put onto White Bear and Red Moon by a fellow lover of complex board games, and quickly got into RuneQuest. I encountered him quite a number of times, at the Leicester cons and elsewhere, and always found him great company. As a long-time fan of fantasy, I have to say that Greg's world of Glorantha is a world-beater when it comes to complexity and originality, and I feel privileged to have been able to contribute to it a little with the Griselda stories. He lives on in this and his other creations, and it has been a richly rewarding experience to know him. Ave atque vale, Greg.

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Like everyone, I would like to express my condolences to Greg's family and to his friends and coworkers over the years.  I never had the chance to meet him in person, but it is clear that he left an overwhelmingly positive mark on all those who knew and loved him.  We none of us are perfect, but it seems clear that Greg was kind, thoughtful, loving and decent.

As a fan and someone who has been influenced by his work from childhood, I have to express my profound thanks to Greg, his family and friends for sharing so much.  His thoughts, imagination, philosophy and wisdom have all come through his many works, projects and videos, and he has had a profound impact on my life and he will continue to do so.  I will carry with me the lessons and loves of his enthusiasms which either matched mine or became mine, until it is my own time to move on to whatever is next.  

So thank you.  Thank you for giving a space to share an appreciation, and thank you Greg for profoundly changing the world for the better and uniting people from around the world to have fun, tell stories and be deeply and mythologically creative.

Good greetings in ill times, Friends!
No person can risk the world alone.
Join others you can share with,
They need not be like you.

Edited by eknarfer
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Greg was in my life since 1987, when my uncle had the best idea in his life: offer me Pendragon as a Christmas present.

Since then, Greg was always part of my life: I met my best friends around his games, travelled to attend conventions devoted to his creations and where I met new friends. And play, always.

I also set a convention in France basically dedicated to Glorantha and Pendragon, he made me the friendship to attend. Thanks to that event, I met more good people than I could have expected. I even found love.

Greg had been in my life for more than 30 years. I owe him a lot, far more than he ever knew. The pattern of friendship he created will survive him.

I'll do my best to spread it.

I'll miss his loud laughing, his soft voice, his kindness, even more than his talent, which was huge.

To Suzanne ("one in a million" he said to me one day about you) and his children, I send all my sympathy from France, a country he loved so much.

 

Philippe

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Greg, thanks for everything... Ghostbusters gave us WEG Star Wars, Prince Valiant created narrative gaming and Pendragon the best RPG game ever done.

Have fun playing on the other side!

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I came into contact with Greg’s creations a long time before I ever met him. When I discovered Pendragon, still in high school, I was stunned by its innovative approach to roleplaying and the masterful way in which the game adapts the Arthurian legends into a game that is exciting and easy to play while still being epic in scope. Although I never really became a big Glorantha gamer, the RQ/BRP rules system in its many flavors has always been my favorite system, and I always enjoyed hearing the stories about Glorantha and other people’s RQ and HQ campaigns set in that wonderfully unique world.
 
RuneQuest Vikings, by Greg and Sandy, was what inspired me to write Mythic Iceland. There would never be a Mythic Iceland, and I would never have gone into writing for the gaming industry, without Greg’s work.
 
From the first time I met Greg at one of the Tentacles conventions in Germany, I was struck by how friendly and approachable he was, always very generous with his time and willing to list and talk to anyone. I met him many more times in convention over the years, a few Tentacles, then The Kraken and then GenCon. We spoke many times, about so many things, from games to dogs to food and so much more, and it was always a pleasure him to sit down with him and hear his thoughts on just about anything.
 
Two years ago, Greg and his wife Suzanne visited Iceland and came to my house for lunch on the last day of their visit, and I drove them to the airport after. Always their warm and charming selves, Greg and Suzanne shared a few great stories over lunch and Greg was kind enough to sign a few books form my collection. I will always cherish the memory of that day.
 
I last met Greg two months ago at GenCon. Even though the Chaosium booth was always super busy, Greg took time to talk to me, to tell me about how he was excited to hear about the work I have been doing for Chaosium recently, and he made me feel so welcome as part of the Chaosium family.
 
His passing has struck me with tremendous sadness. My thoughts are with Suzanne and the family.
 
Thank you, Greg, for being so nice and warm with me always, and for all you have created and so generously shared with all of us.
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I discovered RPG with D&D in 83. The unlimited potential of imagination and creation. And then I bought Runequest, the first box set I acquired and I discoverered world building. Mr Stafford brought to RPG the same thing JRR Tolkien had brought to me in litterature. Credibility, coherence. An example of a convincing and believable universe outside of ours. He made it true. He made it possible. He made it like he was the narrator of a world that did exist, and not the inventor of a fantasy world. I never got to meet him, but I feel like I've been sitting beside him at the campfire while he was speaking of heroic tales that touched us, and opened our eyes to... more. And for this, forever, I am thankful.

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Although I never shared the same room with Greg Stafford, he shared his world with me - and thousands of others.  Entranced from that first moment over 30 years ago, I've lived part of every week since revelling in the richness of that vision - a bright and constant source of light and joy through life's occasionally dark corners.

So long Greg, and to paraphrase Douglas Adams, thanks for all the Ducks.

Edited by jeraldo
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Much has been said and I will not repeat it, but here are things I love most about Greg's contribution to rpgs and gaming, some of which I don't see people talking about.

 

The BRP booklet, my first rpg (it was included in the RQ2 box and I started with the BRP booklet, of course). With it Greg showed that rpg rulesets can be minimalist with depth. 20 years afterwards this kind of compact games would be all the rage, but the BRP booklet had done it first.

 

Prince Valiant. One of the two best-rpg-in-a-book (the other is Toon). Still almost unequaled. Any rpg designer should have a copy in his desk and try to be as good as (being better is just not feasible).

 

Chaosium, Issaries, etc. The companies. Any prospective manager of a rpg game company should look at the way Greg managed his companies. Other companies may be bigger, may have more money, may have more flashing lights. But none has such an extensive portfolio of products and can claim to be there after almost half a century. (And I still remember that attempt to turn Chaosium into a game design studio at the end of the 80s. Talk about being way ahead of the times...)

 

The HeroWars crowd funding. Yes, as far as I know, Greg launched the first rpg crowd funding, before Kickstarter, but already based on the www. And it was an enduring success.

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Nick Brooke always has words that offer a perfect balance of insight and humour. Here is an example from his own commentary on his memories about Greg: I attended his panel, drank in all the Gloranthan details he shared, and got to ask one of the great bleedin’ obvious questions at the end: in the final confrontation described in Cults of Terror, was Arkat or Nysalor victorious? He answered, kindly, along these lines: while the winner said he was Arkat, do remember that Gbaji is the Deceiver. I critted my Illumination roll.

This, for me, somehow captured the essence of the magic that Greg brought to the world, so, even though many here knew Greg better (and enjoyed more of his company) than I did, I wanted to share my experience too.

Greg touched the journey of my world in a profound and life-changing way, and Glorantha was really just the starting point. I am sure that this must be the case for many of us contributing to this growing corpus of heartfelt eulogies.

From one particular encounter, the second occasion I had spent time with Greg, I felt that I had touched (what seemed to me to be way back then, and still today in some respects) an unfathomable and incomprehensible world of magical experience (“with lots of juice,” as he once described it). Perhaps one could say that in his essence Greg was a shaman, neo-shaman, ritualist, or however you would choose to describe it, and that Glorantha (and so much else) was one way he shared this with all of us.

We had been at a Games Workshop convention in London, it must have been sometime around 1986 since I think it was when I was 18 years old or so. Most of the evening was spent in a pub. We didn’t talk about games: I recall us discussing global warming, showing love for Mother Earth (in precisely those terms – Greg memorably commenting upon how she provides for and embraces both our capriciousness and our ingenuity), and homosexuality. “My brother is gay”, Greg said, “what am I supposed to do, stop loving him?” Coming from a staid and emotionally-limiting Protestant and working-class background, in that second encounter, I caught the scent of liberation – something that I think I must have needed profoundly at that time in my life.

My journey became one of understanding how to make the magic (the sense of profundity somehow so overwhelming in the stories about Glorantha) ‘real’ in my life; even if, for most of my years that have followed since, I simply didn’t have a clue what that meant or how it was supposed to feel.

The first time I met Greg was a trip to California, about a year before the London event, to spend time with the Chaosium team – and that was all about gaming (I had been corresponding regularly by post with Sandy Petersen for years leading up to this). I went with a friend, William Nock: we hooked up with the Chaosium team at a games convention in LA, and then cheekily got a ride with them from there up to Oakland, where we spent a few days at the Chaosium office of the time. Greg let me photocopy all of his notes on Sartar, and from that was born the Greydogs game. In time David Hall took the reins of this; my own appetite for the collective creativity of Glorantha fading.

In my twenties, my quest for meaning listened more to my voice of reticence and incomprehension, seeking answers with my head and not really finding space for my heart.

I travelled for a year in Central America, some of the time trying to find wisdom, and quite a bit of the time seeking the comfort of female companionship – a fun but not entirely successful pastime, which involved some candid letters back and forth. Greg’s comments noted (with some humour) that I seemed to be growing up. Then I doubled-down on the route of intellect and not really of heart, and undertook a four-year undergraduate degree in the Study of Religions. This began with Joseph Campbell and more-or-less immediately became learning Biblical Hebrew, Classical Greek, and Aramaic, and reading some spectacular magical-thinking about the composition of works such as the Book of Zechariah or the first Book of Enoch.

I saw Greg and Suzanne periodically throughout this time, but my degree ended around the time Greg was back in the UK for a games convention (I think that must have been about 1998) when he and Suzanne hosted a sweat (more properly, a ‘sweatlodge purification ceremony’). This was the first time I participated in a sweat ceremony. (I have one or two people to thank for that, and I don’t think I ever did adequately thank them.) It was a mind-blowing experience that left a profound impression on me, but I still didn’t understand what, ‘making the magic real’, really meant. My life became career and successive girlfriends, and some other wonderful friendships to boot, most especially with Steve Thomas, still a brother to me and an old hand of the Glorantha games circle.

Girlfriends, most of them valued friends but none of them quite connecting, became a sincerely-but-ill-chosen marriage with a partner who was genuine and honest, but with whom I could never really find a meeting of minds. My contact with Greg lapsed as my interest in Glorantha waned, but he was there, when asked and somehow ‘on call’, as a friend and mentor, on the one or two occasions when I sought his advice (always characterised by humour, humility, and warmth).

For example, seeking options in a life I felt was atrophying, I contacted Greg when I signed up for a year’s training in neo-shamanism (in my native UK) with the Sacred Trust – around 2005 (he was enthusiastic). That engagement propelled me at rocket-velocity into a new acceleration in life – fatherhood (daughter, totally wonderful, Epona, presently ten years’), setting up a consulting business that quickly grew to 50 or so employees, and, eventually, attending regular sweats with a group called Deer Tribe.

I don’t think I met Greg again in person after that sweat in 1998. Perhaps I had learned enough from that to learn alone – after the Sacred Trust year this was certainly the case. But, in any case, in every sweat, visionquest, burial ceremony, or whatever, Greg has never been far from my thoughts. In life and in ceremony I have been walking my own journey held by the hands of many around me, but always following the magical path that Greg led me to discover; now a man and no longer a boy, a transformation that came from the growth and nourishment of a deep flower inside me, awoken and given life by a glimpse of what could be possible in a conversation in London in 1986.

These days, with many steps forward (and no few backward), a wonderful daughter and beautiful partner, I think I have finally understood how to make the magic ‘real’ in my life.

I can’t speak for you. I can speak for me. For me, ‘the magic’, has been to embrace experience, and to live experience, not belief, in ceremony (“with juice”) as well as in life. If you think about it, this is the difference between spirituality and religion: accepting the authenticity of, and learning from, one’s own experiences; versus accepting the authenticity of somebody else’s over your own.

Greg understood and lived this with far more clarity than most, perhaps all, that I have encountered both within and without neo-shamanic circles. ‘Question everything that anybody tells you,’ was advice I recall Greg offering I think on more than one occasion. For me, his observation that, “The teaching is more important than the teacher”, and that one’s own experience (deep, rich, transformative) trumps everything, was the essence of his profound and beautiful integrity, and is the key that, from time to time, opens my door and helps me rediscover who it is, and what it is, that I need to be.

Regrettably I can’t be in Arcata or Berkeley any time soon, but I will be joining sweat ceremonies in the UK, in the Sheffield area, on 3 November and 6 December. These events are not convened for this purpose, but anyway they are where I will say my prayers for Greg and his family, and where the gratitude and the reaching out will start for me. If any reading this post would like to do the same, please feel free to drop me a line.

Jonathan Quaife, 14/10/2018.

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To Suzanne and family, and everyone who knew and loved him, deepest condolences.

----

Marion and I first met Greg on a visit to Chaosium's old Oakland digs in 1990, and from that first encounter I was struck by the sense that his reputation and legend were, if anything, understated. From the start, he had this amazing capacity to make a couple of star-struck freelancers feel like we'd known each other for years, and put us at ease almost instantly. He was brimming with ideas, and never afraid to share them. He always treated you like an equal, which was wonderful and humbling at the same time.

We crossed paths quite a few times during the intervening years, and his kindness and generosity were always present, both to Marion and me, and to those around him.

There's a level of scholarship to Greg's work that I don't think has been often matched. When he was interested in something, he dove deep. The results were sometimes idiosyncratic, but always rich and fascinating. His design instincts were sound - Pendragon being perhaps the greatest exemplar of his skill - and his willingness to accept criticism and feedback only served to cement his credentials as a master of his art.

The Anderson library contains many works that are Greg's legacy - from Dragon Pass and Nomad Gods, through RuneQuest, to Pendragon, to his in-depth Glorantha monographs. I'll treasure them all, but not as much as I'll treasure the memory of the man, all he's done for our hobby and profession, and the positive impact he's had on me. Fare well, my friend; you will not be forgotten.

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Reading through this and elsewhere, I’m struck by two things: how many of us had deeply personal experiences with Greg; and how he remembered each of us and quite a bit about us and who we knew.

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New user to this forum.  I am saddened by Greg's passing.  I never had the pleasure of meeting him although I have been playing his games since the 80's.  I loved Pendragon and RQ.  It is great to see just how many people were inspired by his work and how much he meant to people he knew.  Rest in Peace Mr. Stafford. 

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The King has set sail over the lake to Avalon.

I got to know Greg through Pendragon. I'd just got back into gaming after a break of too many years, and discovering Pendragon, lapped it up. Greg emailed the Yahoo Pendragon group saying he was looking for someone to help him put together a website. No one else offered and so I found myself tentatively saying I knew a little bit of html and could give it ago if no one else came forward. And so it was that I found myself working with my gaming hero for many years on his original weareallus.com website and then gspendragon.com along with the original Round Table forum before it moved across to its current home with Nocturnal. Through this, I also got to work on a few projects with him, which was a privilege, wonderful watching this creative genius at work. Greg also supported a group of us who set out to run Pendragon scenarios at Continuum and a few other cons, 'The Pendragon Eschille', and regularly dropped in for a Skype chat, battling mightily with the many tech issues we encountered on the way. It was great getting to know him - he was always generous, patient and passionate.

Although good 'virtual friends' we only met once, at the last Continuum he came over for. He had long promised to run a game for me if our paths crossed, and so I seized the opportunity. A group of us rolled up characters. Mine was Sir Dafyd. We rode out on a quest from the GPC. The quest opened with a quick encounter. Dice were rolled. Possibly the first were by Greg against Sir Dafyd. In full view, as is traditional in Pendragon. Rolled up, dismounted, unconscious, out of the game, all within five minutes. Still, I got the pleasure of watching the rest of the game unfold, the only standard game I've ever played in rather than run. A treasured memory, along with my copies of KAP & the GPC, which he signed afterwards.

Thanks Greg, proud to have been one of your household knights!

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I discovered RuneQuest and Glorantha in 1982, and spent fifteen years in the Rules and the World. Thanks to you, Mister Stafford. You were, and still are, my mentor on RPG.

J'ai découvert RuneQuest et Glorantha en 1982, et j'ai passé quinze ans dans les Règles et dans le Monde. Merci à vous, "Monsieur" Stafford. Vous étiez, et êtes toujours mon mentor des JdR.

Sylvain Donnet

One of the French RPG club and tournament, in Toulouse, France.

 

 

Edited by mallatius
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I finally got to meet Greg Stafford at Gencon this year . 

 He was kind and generous with his time , and even remembered me the next day as we ran into each other later. I was not a friend , but I had hope to be, maybe next time. 

till then I Pray for peace for his house and his loved ones.

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Greg was a mentor, visionary, and evangelist. I followed him meekly, first into fandom, then into geekdom... then into craft and authorship, and finally into reverent service.

Personally, I recall his charm. I am honored to have been the butt of some of his most elaborate jokes. For example, I will always remember him for his moment of triumph here: http://www.staffordcodex.com/truetales/2015/12/16/why-i-love-bad-medicine-for-doctor-drugs

Publicly, I acknowledge his gift for creating institutions and traditions, and for bringing so many treasured friends and acquaintances together. His work is classic and eternal, but I most honor the communion of artists, friends, and fans he has brought together through his labors, his inspirations, and his sparkling personality.

 

We will meet... but we will miss him.

There will be a vacant chair.

Let us linger to remember him.

He has left so much for us to remember him by.

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