Famed RPG Designer Greg Stafford Dies At 70

The founder of Chaosium, publishers of acclaimed RPGs RuneQuest and Call of Cthulhu, passed away on October 11.

Chaosium has confirmed the passing of their company founder, Greg Stafford. He was 70 years old.

"As one of the greatest game designers of all time; winner of too many awards to count; and a friend, mentor, guide, and inspiration to generations of gamers, "the Grand Shaman of Gaming" influenced the universe of tabletop gaming beyond measure," Chaosium's blog post reads.

Stafford created Chaosium in 1975 to publish and market his first professional board game, White Bear and Red Moon.

This game was set in Stafford's fictional universe Glorantha, and, in 1978, Steve Perrin used Glorantha as the foundation of his tabletop-RPG RuneQuest. Published by Chaosium, RuneQuest built an infrastructure of mechanics that would be used in many other games.

In 1980, Stafford and Lynn Willis released Basic Role-Playing as part of the second edition of RuneQuest. This booklet outlined a skill system wherein players would roll percentile dice to determine if an action is successful.

This system would become the foundation for many of the "d100" games Chaosium would publish thereafter, including Stormbringer (1981), Elfquest (1984), and, perhaps most famously, Call of Cthulhu (1981).

This game, based on H.P. Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu (written in 1926), remains one of Chaosium's most popular releases and is currently in its seventh edition.

Outside of gaming, Stafford was a practicing shaman.

"He died as he lived," Chaosium's blog post states, "on a spiritual quest of enlightenment."

Chaosium has created a Condolence Thread at BRP Central for those that wish to celebrate and remember Stafford.


A stay-at-home-dad with a passion for meditation and video games.

Published Oct. 13th 2018

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