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Press [Chaosium] An unexpected magazine ad ('Out of the Suitcase' with Chaosium president Rick Meints)

Michael O'Brien

Glorantha Ad in 'The Best o Dragon Magazine' (1980)
Chaosium President Rick Meints shares stories from a life-time as a collector of all things Chaosium.

I enjoy discovering unknown gems in unexpected places. The latest discovery came via a facebook collector's forum colleague, and it qualifies as a "never thought to look there" event. Of all places, this "glorantha" (lower case 'g') ad by Chaosium appeared on page 43 in Best of the Dragon, published in 1980. The ad starts out with the bold statement "glorantha: The most detailed fantasy universe in existence" and the reading experience only improves from there.

The first section on the left deals with Gloranthan boardgames and it includes a rare mention of the third game in the White Bear and Red Moon series, MASTERS OF LUCK AND DEATH. I love the overly optimistic "DUE 1980." Just above and to the left of that sits information on THE HERO WARS supplement, also "DUE 1980." Lastly, rounding out the trifecta of "what never was" we find information on HEROQUEST, with the slightly more realistic "DUE 1983."

As far as I know, this ad only appeared once. I've never seen it anywhere else, including Wyrms Footnotes and Different Worlds nor any of Chaosium's catalogs. I appreciate the time sensitive nature of ads, and this one probably got created a few months before FOES debuted in March of 1980. Wyrms Footnotes #10 (Fall 1980) included Heroquest and MoLaD in the "rumored" section on page 6, but with entirely different descriptions.

As the summer convention season got underway Greg probably took a break on finishing any of these advertised forthcoming projects. In the latter half of 1980 Chaosium's RPG production efforts focused on the layout of the Gateway Bestiary, Plunder, and Rune Masters. As for wargames, only the revised Elric: Battle at the End of Time came out in 1980.

I have to remind myself that RuneQuest was Chaosium's only RPG at this time if you set aside the three volumes of All the Worlds Monsters they also published. Chaosium had just started their transformation from being a wargame publisher. Chaosium had only formally incorporated in February of 1980 as well.

I wish I had seen this ad in 1980, but I didn't buy the Best of the Dragon until last month, 43 years too late (yeah, on eBay). Fourteen year old me loved playing RQ back then, and would have been looking forward (to this day) for those unpublished items.

[RPGnet] An unexpected magazine ad ('Out of the Suitcase' with Chaosium president Rick Meints): {filename}.{extension}
Here's the full text of those items on the ad that are hard to read.
  • MASTERS OF LUCK AND DEATH: Quest for immortality in the mysterious Holy Country. Begin with capabilities and allies, then vie to become the leading deity in the game. DUE 1980.
  • THE HERO WARS: Gloranthan history, mythology. Focuses on Peloria, the Lunar Empire, and Dragon Pass. Cultures, armies, religions, heroship rites, etc. Many maps, charts, illus. DUE 1980.
  • HEROQUEST: An ultimate in FRP: walk with legendary heroes in a quest for immortality! Plunder the realms of the gods, defy the deadly curses of foes, conquer the immutable forces of Death and Fear. Explore beyond the mundane with magics that turn the course of history. DUE 1983.
NOT THE ORDERIUM UPDATE: Oddly, whomever put this ad together really didn't verify item pricing. FOES and Cults of Prax were never sold for $9.95. By the time the Best of the Dragon was printed Chaosium had raised their prices on many items, including both of those to $11.95. The RuneQuest rulebook had gone from $8.95 to $11.95 as well. This makes me believe the ad was submitted to TSR in late 1979.

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