These two box sets, PAVIS & BIG RUBBLE, are old school Chaosium at its finest. The creativity and thorough production standards are evident throughout, and I adore the classic thin-profile boxes that Chaosium used in the early Eighties.

As I alluded to in the title, these two sets are a married couple. You could use each alone at your game table, but why?

Pavis (more correctly “New Pavis”) is a settlement attached to the periphery of Big Rubble (“Old Pavis”). The ruins are of gigantic proportions (literally!), still mostly-walled by defenses 25 meters high. Humans eke out a living among the rubble, along with trolls, elves, ogres, barbarians and other creatures. New Pavis represents an outpost of civilization, loosely speaking.

…if one still wishes to argue that RuneQuest is fundamentally different than Dungeons & Dragons, Pavis might be a good place to make that argument, for, while it’s true that the Rubble is essentially an above ground megadungeon, its context is unlike that of a traditional megadungeon.

Grognardia – Retrospective: Pavis (See also the Big Rubble post there)

Pavis: Threshold to Danger [BOX SET] 1983 … Chaosium 4021-X Steve Perrin & Greg Stafford

Wayne’s Books | eBay | DriveThruRPG (PDF is only $15)

Big Rubble: The Deadly City [BOX SET] 1983 … Chaosium 4022-X Greg Stafford & Steve Perrin

Wayne’s Books | eBay | DriveThruRPG (PDF is only $15)

Classic Glorantha Runequest detailed at my RPG reference site

Booklet Contrast

Still doubt these box sets are a pair?

Common Knowledge Pavis (40 pages); Big Rubble (8 pages, unstapled)

Guide for the Gamemaster Pavis (40 pages); Big Rubble (32 pages)

Episodes for the Gamemaster Pavis (64 pages); Big Rubble (96 pages)

A printing error: The back of the Pavis box boasts of a number of adventures, including Temple at Feroda and Krang’s Table. These scenarios are actually in the Big Rubble set.


The poster map in Pavis is large, depicting mostly New Pavis. Big Rubble’s map is half the size, revealing the expanse of the ruins of Old Pavis. The settlement of New Pavis is visible in the NW quadrant. The Big Rubble is vast!

Boxes and Catalogs

See Also:

LANDS OF INTRIGUE (1997): Explore South of Baldur’s Gate – The Great Ruins of Shoonach are a similar adventuring locale in AD&D.

DRAGON PASS: Runequest in a Boardgame (1980)

Griffin Mountain (Runequest, 1981): US and UK editions

DICE from classic Call of Cthulhu box sets: Some reference pics (1981-5)

Thieves’ World as a Rosetta Stone of early RPGs