The numbering of RuneQuest editions can be confusing, but that can be broken down in this thread. I started out with Avalon Hill's version of RuneQuest labelled RQ3. Although it did have some flaws such as the complicated Fatigue Rules and the apparently broken Sorcery Rules (we didn't use them much anyway), I never really understood why RQ2 had such a devout following. However, I recently learned more about the sad story about the relationship between Chaosium and Avalon Hill:
Full story here: http://www.staffordcodex.com/the-chaosium-story/Greg Stafford wrote:Well, I told Avalon Hill I’d sell them the game, which was what they wanted, for a million dollars. And I would have, too—but Eric balked. So instead they discussed a license deal.
Back home we discussed the options, and decided that Avalon Hill might be just the right ticket to do the manufacturing and marketing for us. They were still one of the largest game manufacturers in the industry. Chaosium, meanwhile, would do the acquisitions, writing, design and layout — all our strong suits. Looked good!
We worked out a contract where they promised to spend such and such in advertising, etc etc. Looked great!
Of course, they wanted a new edition. We seized the chance to do a new edition and threw in every house rule we had, plus some more. The result was RQ3. One thing that I did insist on was keeping a close grip on the Gloranthan content. We didn’t license that to them. Thus the core game came out and was set in Fantasy Europe, a setting we planned to develop at length.
When we got the color proofs back for the first release of the game I hit the ceiling. In direct violation of the contract they’d taken the designer’s names off the box! I protested to Eric, who simply said, “We don’t do that at Avalon Hill. Want to kill the deal right now?” I should have said yes, but I chickened out. I backed down. Big mistake. From “dream come true" to “nightmare."
And from then on things just got worse and worse. They ignored our expertise and kept making demands that we tried to meet, and it never clicked. We made a set of character sheets, just to have a quick product. They demanded that they had to be in a box, and then they complained that it cost too much to make and sell. They demanded product come quickly, even if it was to be reprints, and then complained that they were reprints.
At one point Eric revealed he was going to have three RPGs available through Avalon Hill, and RuneQuest would be “the Cadillac” of the line. He sent me a manuscript of Powers & Perils and asked for an honest assessment. I told him it was awful, neither original nor well written. He accused me of professional jealousy. Go find a copy yourself and make your own mind up about which of us was right.
Relations got worse and worse. They weren’t spending the promised money on promotion, etc. Finally I told them Chaosium was going to withdraw from the deal. I sent a letter stating the contract violations they had committed, and we stopped working with them. They tried to do a new edition of RuneQuest, which never got into print for various reasons, but I had already forbidden them to use any Gloranthan content in their game.
It was pretty disappointing that Avalon Hill never did more with RQ3 and that the relations between them and Chaosium never worked out. I would have loved to see more done with RQ3. Anyone else here ever play RuneQuest 3?