Tales of Mythic Adventure Episode 02

GUEST: Rob Heinsoo



Introduction of Today’s guest Rob Heinsoo (Yaaay, Kermit hand waving), or to be more accurate, introduction by Rob of the Panel and production team.

Some disquisitions on the pronunciation of Heinsoo, Richard, O’Brien and Love, only one of which is in any way difficult. For the record, Heinsoo rhymes with,’ain’t so’. Some unfortunate comments are made on alternate meanings for the abbreviation MOB, which my delicate sensibilities will not allow me to repeat here.

FERAL CAT (2:00-5:58)

Rob Heinsoo was an occasional member of the Seattle Farmers Collective, with David Dunham and Jeff Richard among others. Rob wishes to be remembered as the ‘feral cat of the Seattle Farmer’s’ collective.

David Dunham hired Rob to do QA on King of Dragon Pass (1999 version) and he spent two years living part-time in David’s guestroom, after a period working at Chaosium as right hand man of Greg Stafford. Rob was responsible for the heroic warfare vignettes in King of Dragon Pass, his biggest Glorantha project until (Drum Roll, trumpet fanfare, gasps of astonishment) the Glorantha version of Thirteenth Age (coming soon!)


13th Age is the level-based D20 storytelling RPG, produced by Rob and Jonathan Tweet. Jonathan Tweet was lead designer of Third Edition D&D and Rob did the Fourth Edition. Rob had the initial idea that 13th Age could be converted to Glorantha, and Moon Design very much agreed. Jonathan was very energised by the Gloranthan setting.

13th Age Glorantha was successfully Kickstarted – Rob learned an awful lot from the Kickstarter, which he says is often a euphemism for ‘Gosh, that was a disaster,’ but not in this case.

This project gave Rob an interesting break from his career as something of a hermit, and it blew through all sorts of stretch goals, with some very interesting requests being made by backers.

Currently Rob is getting the core elements finished, before getting onto the stretch goals.

MOB asks how many buyers of the thirteenth age base game will come over to the Gloranthan version? – Rob hopes that there will be a three-way split: Guide to Glorantha supporters, 13th Age supporters, and people who supported neither. This makes the crossover audience kinda difficult to predict, though Rob feels that the 13th Age books will provide a ‘long tail’ of converts to 13th Age Glorantha over time.

13TH AGE. THE ONE UNIQUE THING (13:01-25:40)

The One Unique Thing is something that the players to add to their characters, that the GM then incorporates into the game.

Rob’s advice to players is to picture yourself as a hero one day, and think of the thing that you want other players to know about you, allowing you to incorporate yourself into the world and put a bit of alternate history into the playing scenario.

Jonathan and Rob are creating the game that they want to play. The mechanics are also set up so that Heroquesting is not something that needs to be done by super powerful characters, but that even first level characters can have a go. Their spin on the story is to allow people to interact quickly with interesting elements. Heroquests are the Gloranthan equivalent of dungeon delves.


Rob feels that the Argrath stuff in King of Sartar was a big box of ‘whatever’, so he has become much clearer on the character.

He enjoyed the naming of new elements in 13th Age Glorantha, especially the Hell Mother class of trolls, which are in no way a sanitised version of trolls.


Rob the Producer raises the question of whether the more recent products are better produced than those produced thirty years ago. Rob the Heinsoo answers that, for a start, modern productions have an art budget, and the cost of publication has decreased significantly.

Rob also feels that the rise of Indi games and mobile gaming has led to a rise in the level of general population sophistication about games to a higher level, to the extent where almost everyone has some exposure to games. This means that the games coming out now are more sophisticated and simply better than the games of the 70’s. Forums like Kickstarter help, but so has the ‘gamification’ of the world, and the world has moved on from the game building of thirty years ago. The example of Jeff spending several hours combatting a large hog in GURPS is given as an example of how games have become cleaner and simpler.

Complex games are trying to actually simulate the world, whereas games like Hero Quest and thirteenth age are not trying to mechanically engineer the world, but to provide an enjoyable story experience.

All agree that simulation games do allow a common language for players, and that is a good thing, but 13th Age does not follow that path.

A general discussion on Kickstarter tactics segues into the Maximum Game Fun questions:

Q: What is one thing you are worse at than the average gamer?

A: Finish campaigns that I start running.

Q: What is one thing you are better at than the average gamer?

A: Game design

Q: What is one thing everybody knows about you as a gamer?

A: Rob has a higher tolerance for chaos than many of his fellow games

Q: What is one thing nobody knows about you as a gamer?

A: That Rob’s current secret aspiration is to be able to attend a miniatures gaming convention and just have fun without working


  • King of Dragon Pass
  • D&D Fourth Edition
  • 13th Age
  • 13th Age Glorantha


Producer: Robert Love
Music by: audionautix.com
Introduction: Rick Meints

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