Chaosium announce withdrawal of HeroQuest products as part of trademark transfer agreement

PEN-and-paper RPG publisher Chaosium have announced that all HeroQuest products – both print and digital – will be removed from sale on July 15, and later rebranded to QuestWorlds, as part of a trademark transfer.

Chaosium’s licensing head Michael O’Brien said this was part of the HeroQuest trademark transfer from Moon Design Publications to Hasbro, announced last year.

“As part of that change of ownership we were able to continue selling our HeroQuest RPG products for a time, but that period comes to an end next month,” he said.

“These titles will be officially out-of-print permanently, so if you would like to make a purchase at Chaosium.com or DriveThruRPG please do so while you can.”

While the HeroQuest-branded products are being withdrawn, Mr O’Brien confirmed they would eventually return with QuestWorlds branding, and that the rules themselves would remain unchanged. In other words, if you have HeroQuest stuff, it’ll work exactly the same with QuestWorlds.

QuestWorlds isn’t so much a setting as it is a rules engine – much like GURPS – so the trademark and copyrights for the popular Glorantha setting are unaffected by the HeroQuest trademark transfer.

The HeroQuest trademark has a somewhat complicated history, essentially referring to two unrelated tabletop boardgames as well as the pen-and-paper ruleset.

Some of the HeroQuest rules system books which will be withdrawn from sale and publication by Chaosium on July 15, 2021.

As the press release from Chaosium explains:

HeroQuest the boardgame was published by Milton Bradley (a subsidiary of Hasbro) and Games Workshop from 1989 – 1994. The trademark having lapsed, Greg Stafford registered the HeroQuest trademark in 2002 for his HeroQuest tabletop roleplaying game. 

Note: in the 1970s, Greg Stafford used the term “heroquest” to describe a transformative journey in which a quester enters the realm of the gods to reenact a myth, returning with gifts or special knowledge, and began designing a roleplaying game exploring those themes. Greg Stafford’s HeroQuest tabletop RPG is completely unrelated to the Milton Bradley HeroQuest boardgame. 

Moon Design Publications became the licensed publisher of Greg Stafford’s HeroQuest RPG in 2006. In 2012 Moon Design Publications purchased the HeroQuest trademark and other related IP from Greg Stafford. 

In 2015 Moon Design Publications became part of the ownership of Chaosium Inc. Via Chaosium, Moon Design Publications has continued to publish the HeroQuest RPG, largely for tabletop roleplaying in Greg Stafford’s fantasy world of Glorantha.

In April 2020, Moon Design Publications published the Questworlds System Reference Document (SRD) so independent publishers could use the HeroQuest RPG core rules system for other game worlds and settings.

The sale and transfer of the HeroQuest trademark from Moon Design Publications to Hasbro was completed in July 2020.

For more about QuestWorlds, described by Chaosium as “the rules and prep-lite RPG system that facilitates beginning play easily, and resolving conflicts in play quickly”, see https://questworlds.chaosium.com

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