Glorantha and gaming
Greg Stafford began wargaming after picking up a copy of U-Boat by Avalon Hill, and in 1966 as a freshman at Beloit College he started writing about the fantasy world of Glorantha.:82 After rejection from a publisher, Stafford created White Bear and Red Moon set in Glorantha, and after three different companies were unable to publish the game he created Chaosium.:82 He derived the name partly from his home, which was near the Oakland Coliseum, and combining "coliseum" with "chaos". White Bear and Red Moon (1975) was Chaosium's first published game.:82 Stafford also designed the wargames Elric! (1977) and King Arthur's Knights (1978).:82
Stafford wanted the world of Glorantha to be part of an original role-playing game, which ultimately resulted in Steve Perrin's RuneQuest (1978), which was set in Glorantha.:83 Stafford and Lynn Willis simplified the RuneQuest rules into the 16-page Basic Role-Playing (1980).:85 Stafford considers his 1985 role-playing game King Arthur Pendragon his masterpiece.:88 Stafford designed the Prince Valiant roleplaying game, published in 1989, which featured a strong storytelling basis and other innovations.:90 Stafford decided to produce a fiction line for Call of Cthulhu after he realized that many Lovecraft fans of the early 1990s had never actually read Lovecraft's fiction but were only familiar with him through Call of Cthulhu.:91
Stafford left Chaosium in 1998, taking all of the rights for Glorantha, and founded the game company Issaries.:94 Stafford approached Robin Laws to create a new game based on Glorantha, which became known as Hero Wars, published in 2000 as the first fully professional product for Issaries.:361 Stafford published the second edition in 2003 under the name he always wanted HeroQuest, as Milton Bradley's trademark on the name had lapsed.:362 Stafford moved to Mexico in 2004, bringing production from Issaries to an end.:363 When Hasbro let the RuneQuest trademark lapse, Stafford picked up the rights to the game and licensed Mongoose Publishing to publish a new ediiton in 2006.:363 After White Wolf acquired the rights to Pendragon, their ArtHaus imprint published The Great Pendragon Campaign (2006), in which Stafford detailed the massive RPG campaign from the years 485 to 566.:228 After Nocturnal Games picked up the rights to Pendragon, Stafford created a 5.1 edition of Pendragon (2010).:230
Stafford is perhaps most famous as the creator of the fantasy world of Glorantha, but is also a prolific games designer - he was designer of Pendragon, he was co-designer of the RuneQuest, Ghostbusters, Prince Valiant and HeroQuest role-playing systems, founder of the role-playing game companies Chaosium and Issaries, designer of the White Bear and Red Moon, Nomad Gods, King Arthur’s Knights and Elric! board games, and co-designer of the King of Dragon Pass computer game.
Greg Stafford's interest in roleplaying and gaming originated in his adolescent fascination with mythology. During his adolescent years he read anything he could find on the subject, and when he exhausted the libraries, he started to write his own stories in his freshman year at Beloit College, in 1966. This was the start of the world of Glorantha.
Around 1974, Stafford created White Bear and Red Moon, a board game about the violent struggle between several cultures in the Dragon Pass region of Glorantha. In essence the game centered around the conflict between the barbarian Kingdom of Sartar and the invading Lunar Empire, which has remained a central theme for Gloranthan publications since then.
Not able to find a publisher, Stafford founded a company of his own, Chaosium, in November 1975. At the same time the game of Dungeons & Dragons (and the concept of tabletop role-playing games) was becoming extremely popular — role-players wanted to use the setting of White Bear and Red Moon in their own games, so Chaosium published RuneQuest, which was written by "Steve Perrin, Ray Turney, and Friends". He left Chaosium in 1998. He moved from Berkeley, California to Arcata, California in 2007, having lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for some years.
Despite Glorantha being the focus of his life's work, Greg considers his masterpiece to be the Arthurian chivalric role-playing game Pendragon, which was published in 1985 by Chaosium, and republished in 2005 by White Wolf. Stafford won the Diana Jones Award, 2007, for his work on Pendragon.
Stafford is also a practicing shaman and member of the board of directors of Shaman's Drum, a journal of experiential shamanism. He has had some short articles of Arthurian interest published. Stafford recently lived in Mexico for 18 months, tutoring English as a foreign language, exploring places of archeological and shamanic interest.
For some years, Stafford has been slowly writing several novels set in Glorantha. Novels that he is known to have been working on are Harmast's Saga, Arkat's Saga, and his "Lunar novel". He is currently finishing his first part of the Harmast Saga with the support of Friends of Glorantha.
Fantasy author David A. Hargrave pays homage to Stafford in the Arduin series of supplements, the most widely know example of this being the Stafford's Star Bridge 9th-Level mage spell (Arduin I, page 41).
- Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
- Interview with Greg Stafford on Phantasie website. URL checked 2008-02-13.
- Haring, Scott D. (1999-12-24). "Second Sight: The Millennium's Best "Other" Game and The Millennium's Most Influential Person". Pyramid (online). Retrieved 2008-02-15.
- Biography page from Glorantha.com. URL checked 2006-04-27.
-  URL checked 2011-01-14.