Today’s topic for #RPGaDay2015 is a difficult one: Favorite RPG Publisher. This is difficult for a couple of reasons: One, there are a metric ass-ton of games publshers out there, and quite a lot of them are truly excellent, which would make narrowing the choice down to a single publisher much more effort than I’m willing to expend for a brief blog post. Two, I work in the industry, and most of the publishers out there are either owned by my friends, or have friends of mine working for them in some way. This, as you might imagine, makes the choice difficult because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by saying that Friend Company A is my favorite, while Friends B through ZZZ are not. There are precious few rewards to working in this business, and I don’t want to add to anyone’s burdens by saying “sorry, pal, but I like this other guy’s stuff better than yours.”
It seems that Dave Chapman has given me a good way out of this though, in his video entry:
Dave, smartly, chooses a publisher from the past. So, I’ll go with that… sort of.
For me, my Favorite RPG Publisher is, hands-down, Chaosium of the 1980s. I’d probably extend that into the early 90s, but for me, the heyday was the 80s. Not only the seminal CALL OF CTHULHU (obviously), but other games that I devoured at the time: SUPERWORLD. THIEVES’ WORLD, STORMBRINGER (whose cover I chose to illustrate this entry, rather than going for the obvious Cthulhu boxed set), HAWKMOON, RUNEQUEST, RINGWORLD, DIFFERENT WORLDS magazine. My fudging of the timeline to allow for the early 90s is entirely due to the launching of the Chaosium fiction line in 1993, whose collections of Mythos stories still grace my shelves, 20+ years later.
So why do I say “sort of?” Well, because the news broke, right around GenCon, that Greg Stafford, founder of Chaosium, and Sandy Petersen, designer of CALL OF CTHULHU, have taken back control of the company, and are looking to bring it back to prominence, aided by an ownership group which includes the fine folks from Moon Publications, the most recent publishers of Stafford’s Glorantha setting. So, yes — My favorite publisher is Chaosium of the 80s/early 90s… but I’m holding out hope that the NEW/old Chaosium will return to that glory.