Steve Perrin, a prolific tabletop roleplaying game designer best known for his work on the fantasy game Runequest, passed away earlier this week at the age of 75. The tabletop publisher Chaosium announced the news on their website on Friday. Perrin is best known for designing the original Runequest, a fantasy tabletop game that created the BRP/d100 rules system. Runequest was, at one point, the second-most popular fantasy tabletop game in existence after Dungeons & Dragons, and Perrin used his experiences as a founding member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, a medieval-themed living history group to build the skills-based system that help drive Runequest’s popularity.
Perrin also contributed to early roleplaying games like Call of Chthulu and Stormbringer, and he designed a tabletop roleplaying game for the classic fantasy series Elfquest. He also wrote several Dungeons & Dragons supplements for TSR, including Under Illefarn, the first Dungeons & Dragons module set in the Forgotten Realms. Perrin also wrote Dreams of the Red Wizards, which introduced the Red Wizards of Thay to players. Perrin also worked on the Star Trek: Starfleet Academy and Descent Into Undermountain computer games.
Perrin rejoined Chaosium in 2019 as a creative consultant. He was part of the design team for RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha, and designed scenarios for the RuneQuest scenarios The Pegasus Plateau and The Smoking Ruins. In recent weeks, Perrin started a GoFundMe for his wife Luise, as she had entered hospice care after a heart attack and pneumonia. At the time of publication, that GoFundMe had raised over $20,000, with many donations coming in after Perrin’s death.
In addition to his tabletop roleplaying game work, Perrin was also an early contributor and publisher of superhero fanzines, having worked on early zines like Bullseye and Mask and Capes. These fanzines were the precursor for other forms of comics journalism and criticism and helped laid the foundation for fan-driven comics sites such as our own.
In their obituary, Chaosium spoke of Perrin’s impact on the tabletop RPG industry. “Many of us grew up playing his games,” Chaosium wrote. “He was the uncle we admired, envied, and listened to for his wise counsel. In the last few years, as a new edition of RuneQuest was born he was there, his wisdom and experience reminding us of the simple, pure, and wondrous origins of the magic of roleplaying. How can you say thank you for that?”