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Runequest First Edition from Chaosium.

RuneQuest is a fantasy role-playing game, first published in 1978 by Chaosium.

RuneQuest quickly established itself as the second most popular fantasy role-playing game, after Dungeons & Dragons. The first and second editions were set in the mythical world of Glorantha, while the 3rd edition in the mid 1980s was more generic and much less successful. RuneQuest was the original Percentile Based and Skill Based rule set, which ushered in an era of Simulationist RPGs.

The game had been sold to Avalon Hill under a complex agreement that required all Glorantha-related content be first approved by Chaosium. In an attempt to also have a setting they could release freely, Avalon Hill also supported a new "default" setting, Fantasy Earth, based on fantasy interpretations of several eras of earth's pre-modern history. Later on, Avalon Hill published "generic"/"Gateway" fantasy material of very poor quality (Lost City of Eldarad, Daughters of Darkness).

Although both supplements for Fantasy Earth (Vikings, Land of Ninja) were well written, the popularity of RuneQuest as a system seems to have come from the strength of its original setting, reflected in the remarkably high sales of materials that were new editions of out-of-print Glorantha content. A proposed fourth edition was originally meant to return the tight RuneQuest/Glorantha relationship, but it was shelved in 1994, mid-project.

Glorantha is now served by a new rules system called HeroQuest, which is the successor of the intermediate Hero Wars. Part of the agreement that permitted a new Glorantha-based game was that Avalon Hill retained rights to the name "RuneQuest" but not to the RuneQuest game rules. An attempt was made to produce a new game called "RuneQuest:Slayers", that was neither Gloranthan nor used the original rules but it, too, was shelved. Eventually, Avalon Hill was bought by giant toymaker Hasbro. At some stage in 2003 the rights to the trademarked name "RuneQuest" were reacquired by Issaries, Inc.

In 2004, Chaosium began preparing the most complete version yet of Basic Role-Playing, derived from 3rd Edition "RuneQuest" and Chaosium's other BRP-based games. In addition, Mongoose Publishing is expected to release a new game called "RuneQuest" in June 2006, under a license from Issaries, Inc., and "developed under the watchful eyes of Messrs Stafford and Perrin".


The rules system developed in RuneQuest was widely reused by Chaosium and it is called the Basic Role-Playing System (BRP). It forms the basis of several of their other games including Call of Cthulhu, Stormbringer, ElfQuest, Superworld, and Corum. In 2004, Chaosium released a print-on-demand version of the 3rd edition RuneQuest rules under the titles Basic Roleplaying Players Book, Basic Roleplaying Magic Book, and Basic Roleplaying Creatures Book.

Steve Perrin, one of the authors of the original RuneQuest game, later developed a similar system known as Steve Perrin's Quest Rules, which some RuneQuest fans consider to be a successor to the original game.

Many other roleplaying games have elements influenced by Runequest, notably Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, Rolemaster, Palladium, GURPS and the Hero System.

External links

Original Wiki source: Wikipedia