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Mark Smylie is the 2023 recipient of the Greg Stafford Memorial Award for Gloranthan Fandom

Posted by Michael O'Brien on 11th Oct 2023

The Greg Stafford Memorial Award for Gloranthan Fandom was established in November 2018 in memory of Chaosium's revered founder and original creative visionary Greg Stafford. With the blessing of Greg's family Chaosium will occasionally and irregularly present the award to recognise a significant and exceptional contribution to Gloranthan Fandom in a current year.

This month marks the fifth anniversary of Greg Stafford's passing, and we are pleased to present the 2023 award to the artist Mark Smylie.

Chaosium community ambassador Nick Brooke said, "Mark’s beautifully-detailed artwork has brought community content authors’ imagined Gloranthan scenes vividly to life on the Jonstown Compendium. His most recent contribution is a massive amount of meticulous technical artwork showing all stages of Gloranthan shipbuilding, along with a diverse range of stunning nautical portraits, for Martin Helsdon’s 2023 magnum opus Ships & Shores of Southern Genertela."

Mark’s art can be seen in several other Jonstown Compendium releases including Martin Helsdon’s Armies & Enemies of Dragon Pass and Men of the West, and Chris Gidlow’s ENNIE Award-nominated Citizens of the Lunar Empire.

As with many other community content creators, Mark Smylie’s work has since featured in Chaosium’s own books (see the cover of the Red Book of Magic and many illustrations in the RuneQuest Starter SetPendragon Starter Setand RuneQuest Weapons & Equipment). When not in Glorantha, Mark develops his own Renaissance-era fantasy world of Artesia, and is working on a BRP-derived role-playing game in that setting.

On receiving the award, Mark Smylie said:

I’m surprised and honored to be offered the 2023 Greg Stafford Memorial Award. I don’t know how many people currently at Chaosium know this but my very first art submission to a publisher was to Chaosium in 1983 when I was still in high school, and somewhere in my files I still have a very kind (and well deserved) rejection letter from Lynn Willis and a very brief letter from Greg describing some of the events that were going to mark the end of the Third Age (a letter that made my friends and I realize we really had no clue about the scale of what was going on as this was years before King of Sartar would see the light of day). 

Greg’s ongoing work on Glorantha, RuneQuest, and Pendragon was an enormous inspiration in my own creative endeavors—in no small part because it was and is always ongoing—and it’s been an honor and joy to be able to contribute artwork to all three in recent years, particularly for Martin Helsdon’s Ships & Shores book (and let’s face it, really I am getting this award because they can’t give it to Martin a second time) as well as to some of the as-yet unpublished books on Dragon Pass and Sartar that are in Chaosium’s extraordinary pipeline of material that continues to grow Greg’s legacy. 

Many, many thanks and I hope my small contributions bring some of that same joy to Greg's and Glorantha’s many fans. 

Previous recipients of the Greg Stafford Memorial Award for Gloranthan Fandom are:

  • Lev Lafayette (2018), the driving force behind successfully bringing back RQ Con Down Under after a hiatus of twenty years.
  • Martin Helsdon (2019), author of the monumental fan work The Armies and Enemies of Dragon Pass, based on Greg's writings.
  • Nick Brooke (2020), for his passionate advocacy of the Jonstown Compendium, Chaosium's community content platform for Glorantha on DriveThruRPG.
  • Katrin Dirim (2021), for her vibrant Gloranthan art, inspired by art styles from antiquity and the middle ages and capturing the essence of mythology.
  • Andrew Logan Montgomery (2022), creator of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Six Seasons in Sartar trilogy in the Jonstown Compendium.

All art featured on this page is by Mark Smylie and appears in Martin Helsdon's 2023 community content title Ships & Shores of Southern Genertela, available at the Jonstown Compendium, Chaosium's platform for independent creators for RuneQuest and Glorantha at DriveThruRPG.