announced the mutual termination of Mongoose's license to the Runequest and Gloranthan Second Age properties. The Game Formerly Known As Runequest 2 will become Wayfarer (and I have to say that is an awful choice). Gone are the handsome A4 leather-bound editions. In their place will be pocket-sized rulebooks at a much more affordable price. All the promised expansions like Monster Island appear to have been canceled apart from the potentially brilliant Age of Treason (which, from what I've seen, looks fantastic). Mongoose will send the next 6 months selling off existing stock, it appears. The reason for the split appears to be simply disappointing sales of the Gloranthan line, and a feeling that Glorantha's undeserved reputation as "weird" has been holding back sales of the generic books.
Meanwhile, the authors of the MRQ2 rules, Loz Whitaker and Pete Nash, have both been hired by Issaries/ Moon Design to write new Gloranthan publications. Mongoose's loss is Moon Design's gain. The timing of the Moon Design announcements, we are told, is coincidental.
What does this mean for MRQ2 fans? I fear it means an orphan system. The reaction of the RQ Gloranthaphiles has been one of dismay, while those who like the system but who have nothing invested in Glorantha have been sanguine, but regret the loss of Loz and Pete. I think there are three possible outcomes:
1. Mongoose is serious about the system becoming a generic rules system. They release it under the OGL and allows outside publishers to use it (they are apparently considering this option). In house, Age of Treason is a success and other writers of the caliber of Loz and Pete are commissioned to produce great material. The system reaches its potential.
2. Mongoose releases the system as promised, but without the OGL. It withers on the vine and is canceled after a couple of years and some half-hearted new releases. The system is orphaned.
3. The promised Wayfarer system never materializes. The system dies.
I think at the moment it could go any of these ways, but I fear Newt is right when he suggests that people aren't going to shell out again. Mongoose has expended significant amounts of goodwill in the way they have handled the system. In my opinion, release of this excellent system under the OGL is the only way to regain that lost goodwill.
But I could be wrong. Perhaps Glorantha and the Runequest name were truly albatrosses around the neck of the system, but given where Loz and Pete have ended up, it suggests that the game designers don't think so.
What does this mean for the fanzine, which I've been doing feasibility work for over the past few weeks? I don't know. We've picked a name - Impale! - and assembled an editorial team, and even got some content being written, but if the system is to be orphaned I'm not sure whether the project is worth us investing time and money in. I'll be seeking assurances from Mongoose about this. Otherwise, there are other options.
We d100 gamers live in interesting times...