Chaosium President Rick Meints shares stories from a life-time as a collector of all things Chaosium.
I assembled most of my Ral Partha miniatures collection in the late 1990s. Between eBay and the wonderful Leisure Games store in North London (Finchley) I purchased them all just after the Ral Partha miniatures license expired.
Completing the whole set took some time and money (mostly money), but I didn't realize I missed an important piece of Ral Partha RuneQuest ephemera until yesterday afternoon. Fellow RPG historian and friend Shannon Applecline (Designers & Dragons) shared with my Chaosium colleague Jeff Richard and I a wonderful newsletter that I had never even heard of, The Partha Pipeline.
In particular, page 4 of Volume III from May of 1986 surprised us. We never knew that Greg Stafford submitted a short piece called Broos of Glorantha to the "Ral Partha Ministry of Truth." As far as I know, this specific information never appeared anywhere else. Yes, I did check the RuneQuest 3rd Edition Creatures book (5), the Gloranthan Bestiary, the Games Workshop Monsters book, and a few other RQ3 publications.
Many people may not know that Greg Stafford loved painting miniatures for use in his games, especially for his RuneQuest and Pendragon campaigns. In this article he includes a number of tips on how to paint and customize Broo minis, well beyond the seven Broo miniatures Ral Partha ended up producing for the line (as shown above).
The article, shown below, may be a bit hard to read, so I include the text here (please do not copy it to share elsewhere):
BROOS OF GLORANTHA
The following is an article on broos — the loathsome goatlike creatures of the Runequest world — submitted to the Ral Partha Ministry of Truth by Greg Stafford of Chaosium, Inc.
Broos are the favored monster of Glorantha. They are good for gratuitous violence and for amusing a creative gamemaster.
They are a misbegotten and evil race with no redeeming values whatsoever. Although millions of these creatures are known to have been spawned, only two are known to have been good. And one of those is an NPC.
Broos come in every imaginable shape, thanks to their unique ability to fertilize any type of animal. Thus in marshes the dominant types are crocodile broos, while on the plains variations of bison broos roam. In lush regions, broos take on a variety of shapes, often intermixing the various features of animals as generations interbreed, perhaps resulting in a broo with an eagle’s head, one elephant’s forefoot, one tentacle. two tiger legs and a snake’s tail. Such monsters are one-of-a-kind (who needs two?). If such mixing goes too far, the breed either becomes formless, like a gorp or the original broo’s form of a carnivorous goat-like creature shapes itself from the parts.
Colors of broos vary. Left to themselves, broos are dark colors, black and brown. Startlingly bright colors sometimes splash across bodies, or limbs occasionally are metallic. The putrid diseases which they carry sometimes mark them with bilious boils and gangrenous wounds.
Creative gamemasters should fashion whatever type of broos amuses them and will challenge the player characters. Some should be -- try the broo with a scorpion’s tail that strikes with an electric bolt; 2d6 damage, no metallic armor protects from it.
Creative gamemasters can apply their imaginations to figures, too. Modifications to almost any extra figure can make a broo. I can imagine a broo with all legs, no other limbs probably lead- and epoxy-colored, since it would obviously not last out a single fight.
RUNEQUEST is a registered trademark of Chaosium, Inc. ©1986.
Mighty cool stuff. I tracked down a number of the other issues of The Partha Pipeline online, but none of them had any other RuneQuest content or advertisements. Ral Partha never included anything like this in any of the annual catalogs either, but I have not tracked down every single one for the years (1984-1997) when they sold the miniatures under license.
-- IMAGES --
Top: Pages 92-93 of the MIG3: Meints Index to Glorantha feature almost all the info I know about the Ral Partha RuneQuest miniatures line produced from 1985 to 1997. The two blister packs of minis that contained the 7 different broo they produced (18-002 and 18-009) are added for your closer inspection.
Bottom: Page 4 of the May 1986 installment of The Partha Pipeline. Looking back, I wish twenty-something me had become a member of the Ral Partha Collector's club. I had the $5, but I missed it. What an address:
Ral Partha Ministry of Truth
Extreme Lower Dungeon
5938 Carthage Court...