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Manchu

Future of Stormbringer?

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To the best of my knowledge, no company currently holds the English-language license to publish a Young Kingdoms RPG. Is that correct?

Any rumours going around about what the future might hold? Chaosium's new management has an apparent appetite to get product moving. Could we see Stormbringer return? Or how about a translation of Mournblade published and distributed by Chaosium? Is there another publisher who you think is more likely or would do a better job?

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I'm pretty sure this is a topic best directed at Michael Moorcock himself. Moorcock's Miscellany might be a good place to inquire. I seem to recall MM was somewhat displeased with Chaosium over the handling of his IP, but who knows what his stance is now?

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Moorcock seems to be very happy with what the French are doing with Mournblade, or so it seems from his posts on Multiverse.org. So, I guess he would support an English translation/ adaptation of that game, provided that it's done by a solid company capable of paying regularly the royalties.

 

 

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Given the history of Chaosium and Mr Moorcock I'd suggest that it is very, very unlikely that Stormbringer will ever come back into the fold. However, the possibility of Mournblade being translated has potential - although I question the value of the Eternal Champion IP 50-odd years after they were first published.

That's not to say I don't love the stuff (as the admin of the only SB site on the net, I probably shouldn't need to say that), but I think the property isn't the draw card it was in the 80s.

Just my ten cents worth...

 

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...capable of paying regularly the royalties.

This is exactly the issue. I'd happily be a person to invest in publishing an Eternal Champion RPG (be a translation or a whole new game), but I'm not sure I could ever make a return on the investment (to Mr Moorcock - let alone myself).

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I'm pretty sure this is a topic best directed at Michael Moorcock himself. Moorcock's Miscellany might be a good place to inquire. I seem to recall MM was somewhat displeased with Chaosium over the handling of his IP, but who knows what his stance is now?

His fallout with the old Chaosium was very public, I'm not sure he can be convinced to grant a new license to the new Chaosium. I'd say the change of management at Chaosium might help. 

If I remember correctly the reasons of his dissatisfaction were two: 1) financial reasons 2) the graphical quality of the product (art, layout, etc.).

Obviously we cannot say anything about the financial matters not being privy of the contracts. On the second issue he honestly had a point especially if one consider the monographs and some of the later Elric! titles. Mongoose did not serve him much better though in the graphic department. Especially the MRQ2 Elric products are very iffy as far as layout is concerned and art was sparse.

The Mournblade products put out by Département des Sombres Projets are graphically goregous and very evocative. As far as rules are concerned its mostly the magic system of Elric MRQ2 ported to a non-brp engine (their in-house "Choose your dice system).

In my dreams of dreams, Chaosium gets the licence for doing Stormbringer 6, with revamped RQ rules by Loz and all the art and layout from Sombres Projets!

A man can dream, no?

 

 

 

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Smigoran wrote " [...] provided that it's done by a solid company capable of paying regularly the royalties."

It seems like Département des Sombres Projets manages to deliver. How hard can it be for an American or British company? That's an honest question; I am not discounting the possibility that some kind of wrinkle actually does make it more difficult for American or British publishers. As for it being the IP itself:

Marcus Bone wrote " [...] I think the property isn't the draw card it was in the 80s."

It certainly isn't, I agree, and largely because so much of what we take for granted in fantasy today has taken inspiration from aspects of Moorcock's work. OTOH I think there is something about this IP that stands out and remains very marketable.

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It seems like Département des Sombres Projets manages to deliver. How hard can it be for an American or British company? That's an honest question; I am not discounting the possibility that some kind of wrinkle actually does make it more difficult for American or British publishers. As for it being the IP itself:

My guess is that Moorcock's demands are very reasonable. At the same time, it should not be forgotten that Stormbringer was a bigger game in France than it was in the USA. 

It certainly isn't, I agree, and largely because so much of what we take for granted in fantasy today has taken inspiration from aspects of Moorcock's work. OTOH I think there is something about this IP that stands out and remains very marketable.

Even if it's an ubiquitous inspiration the younger generations might not know it. For one, I'm not sure that many fans of Sapkowski's Witcher novels (let alone video games) are aware that Moorcock is a major inspiration.

BTW if I had to bet on one successful license for a dark fantasy pen and paper rpg in the European market, I'd say the Witcher. 

 

 

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Licensed RPGs are a fickle thing. We are lucky to live in an age where so many old games are now available as PDFs or PODs, licensed game just disappear from sale when the license dries up. Chaosium has had some success with licensing, but it also means that large amounts of its back catalog and now cannot be sold. 

I wouldn't be upset to see a new version of Stormbringer, but I just don't know if it's a better business strategy than creating and supporting original settings. 

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If you want to bid for a competitive license, you need to have a in-and-out business model. You need to know what the resulting product line will look like, roughly speaking, in terms of costs and revenue over its entire lifespan, considering a major risk is affording to renew the license. That applies to IPs like Star Wars. I don't think it applies as much/at all to an IP like the one in question. In this case, the problem was that Chaosium went into a nosedive -- not that the license was too hot/expensive. If Chaosium maintained/improved its quality over the years, does anyone think Stormbringer would be OOP? I mean, Mongoose got the license after Chaosium, after all.

That said, I guess a production company could snap up the license and the IP could suddenly become hugely valuable out of nowhere. That wouldn't hold me back from picking up the license if I had the capacity to sell a Stormbringer reprint and a solid basis for believing it could be at least marginally profitable.

FYI - CD Projekt RED and R. Talasorian plan to release a Witcher RPG mid-2016. I have no clue why it ended up being R. Talasorian. Maybe they were the only company that asked? I don't have high hopes.

Edited by Manchu
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FYI - CD Projekt RED and R. Talasorian plan to release a Witcher RPG mid-2016. I have no clue why it ended up being R. Talasorian. Maybe they were the only company that asked? I don't have high hopes.

Mike Pondsmith of R. Talsorian has been working with CD Prokect on a Cyberpunk 2077 game since 2012, so there was already a working relationship there. 

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Licensed RPGs are a fickle thing. We are lucky to live in an age where so many old games are now available as PDFs or PODs, licensed game just disappear from sale when the license dries up. Chaosium has had some success with licensing, but it also means that large amounts of its back catalog and now cannot be sold. 

I wouldn't be upset to see a new version of Stormbringer, but I just don't know if it's a better business strategy than creating and supporting original settings. 

Today's 'original settings' are tomorrow's licensed intellectual properties. The difference is merely degrees of reputation and potential income. Glorantha itself is an example of a game world which has turned into a licensing behemoth. M. A. R. Barker's Tekumel is another which seems to me rather precious about its licensing to the extent that no one can actually make a game of it. Edgar Rice Burrough's Mars books are out of copyright even in the United States, but still a company manages to hold on to John Carter et al. as trademarks, making game production difficult.

There are some great and original settings for BRP written by the fine folks on this forum: The Green and Swords of Cydoria are two of my personal favourites, but of course there are others. Those two were published (but unfortunately, not particularly supported) by Chaosium. I guess if those settings were ever to become wildly popular, their authors (I cannot speak for them) might also riddle them with trademarks, licensing agreements and intellectual property tags. Though I hope not.

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Personally, I'd love to see a situation where the new Chaosium mends the fence there and Moorcock grants a new license, allowing access to the entire Eternal Champion IP. 

I'd happily work on such a line. 

It's odd that in two days at Essen, I had two completely different conversations with people who said they'd love to see a Jerry Cornelius-based RPG, which was amazing to me because (superficially, at least) it feels the least approachable of his settings. 

 

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FYI - CD Projekt RED and R. Talasorian plan to release a Witcher RPG mid-2016. I have no clue why it ended up being R. Talasorian. Maybe they were the only company that asked? I don't have high hopes.

I've never played anything by Talsorian and I know nothing about the FUZION system, so I really don't know what to expect. The blurb on their website is kinda sad. I hope they don't botch it, because the Witcher's world deserves a really good game.

 

Edited by smiorgan

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Personally, I'd love to see a situation where the new Chaosium mends the fence there and Moorcock grants a new license, allowing access to the entire Eternal Champion IP. 

I'd happily work on such a line. 

It's odd that in two days at Essen, I had two completely different conversations with people who said they'd love to see a Jerry Cornelius-based RPG, which was amazing to me because (superficially, at least) it feels the least approachable of his settings. 

 

Let's hope it happens! A fully fledged Eternal Champion line would be great! 

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I have to say I've always preferred the Luther Arkwright derivative to the Jerry Cornelius original, so I'm quite happy with TDM's work on that front.

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Since Elric has been optioned again, this time for a TV series, at a time when networks are keen to find darker, grittier fantasy to ride on GOT's coat-tails it may well be that the IP is about to become very current again. Whoever has the rights to an RPG in that eventuality might do a bit better.

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I have to say I've always preferred the Luther Arkwright derivative to the Jerry Cornelius original, so I'm quite happy with TDM's work on that front.

It would probably a bit of overkill to have both a Luther Arkwright and Jerry Cornelius game going in the same system at the same time. Preferences aside, I think Luther Arkwright is the more easily gameable of the two properties. 

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It would be nice to have an active Stormbringer line. It's been my favourite setting for many years. I'm finishing a YK/Elric rpg in the next months, following a Hakmoon adaptation and then a Dancers at the end of time adaptation also. It is not BRP but the core mechanics that make it a better Elric game, IMHO, can easily be incorporated into BRP: Player driven adventures, Reactive GMing, Resonances (like PCs repercussions), a balanced Law and Chaos point mechanic that also tempts PCs, and some others. It will be fanmade and free, and in spanish. Hope it gets played enough to grab attention.

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Elric! or SB5 as pdf would be very much appreciated...I would buy everything for those editions. I have pretty much everything in book-form, but have gotten used to searchable pdf:s. Very convenient. Maybe Ill have to buy another set of books, and make really nice scans for personal use. I calculated I have scanned around 200000 images for print :)

Edited by Hasseo66
misspelled

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I would love to see an update of MRQ2's Elric using the current RQ6 mechanics, but yes I think production needs to be better for a setting like this. 

The new Elric graphic novel series is simply gorgeous, and is both familiar yet fresh at the same time. After the success of Game of Thrones in recent years, dark fantasy has made a resurgence. It is only a matter of time before we see the doomed albino prince wandering the screens of a HBO series (much better than a Hollywood blockbuster trilogy). So the IP will be hot property at some stage within the coming decade, and it would be great to see it done again with Chaosium.

Edited by Mankcam

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I have to say I've always preferred the Luther Arkwright derivative to the Jerry Cornelius original, so I'm quite happy with TDM's work on that front.

If you think some of the concepts behind Jerry Cornelius weren't in my mind as I was writing my parts of Luther Arkwright, you'd be sadly mistaken. Oswald Bastable as well. Possibly even more so. ;)

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