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Future of Stormbringer?

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Yes the setting is very interesting, but the book itself is invaluable as a RQ6 game mechanics expansion. A very worthwhile investment, even if not intending to run a game using the Arkwright setting.

Edited by Mankcam
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I would like to put an end to the idea that the Witcher books by Andrzej Sapkowski are in any way derived from Moorcock.

They are clearly strongly influenced by the D&D tropes, elves, dwarves, gnomes, half elves etc. There is a very broad attribution of nasty monsters as caused by a conjunction of Chaos, but that's it, it has no story relevance or is mentioned more than once per book, and only in passing. There is no concept of a cosmic battle between Law and Chaos with Balance as the middle way, none.

The name of the Witcher is the White Wolf, or the Wolf. He has grey hair. He is a monster killer. He has nothing to do with a decaying Empire of demi-elves. 

That's it. It's a very nicely described, funny, foul mouthed and very very grim fantasy sequence in which political and military battles resemble the 30 years war in their brutality. In fact, given that Andrzej Sapkowski is a Pole, it wouldn't be a stretch to say they're influenced by the history of Poland and Central and Eastern Europe in the 20th Century, the setting easily maps onto a fantasy Germany-Prussia-Poland-Lithuania-Ukraine. The politics, the pogroms, the hypocrisy and the brutal killing all feel much more like the Eastern Front 1939-1945, or even 1956 than anything in Moorcock.

Just saying..

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I would like to put an end to the idea that the Witcher books by Andrzej Sapkowski are in any way derived from Moorcock.

Having read all the Witcher books except the last, I agree ... to a point.

Better. I agree with everything you have said about the inspiration of the Witcher except that there is no Moorcock in that. Let me articulate.

Very true about the Eastern European / Baltic vibe. Northern kingdoms are Poland, Prussia Lithuania etc. Nilfgaard are the Germans. The Holy Roman Empire or the Nazi. Dwarves are Jews. Also a lot of slavic folklore, etc.

True about the D&D tropes. There are Tolkien-like halflings. Dragons of various colors. Doppelgangers that look very D&D and so on. To a large extent Sapkowski does to Fantasy what Sergio Leone did to Western. It's your usual Tolkien-land but everyone is dirtier and badder and there's a lot of gallows humor. It's spaghetti fantasy or, given that he's Polish, pierogi fantasy :)

True that it's not a Moorcock rip-off, as some ill-informed Moorcock fans that clearly have not read the books have said. The stories have not much of cosmic struggle and are not very Moorcock.

That said. Well.. He is still a anti-hero type. He is an albino, as repeated several times. His hair (in the books) is white, not grey. He is a mutant and regarded as not fully human by people. He is called the White Wolf. He uses drugs to enhance his combat capacities. He is superhmanly quick with the sword and has command of magic. He is regarded as somewhat of a jinx and feared by the common folk who recall fearsome episodes of his career "the Butcher of Blaviken" a bit like "Elric womanslayer". So, I find it difficult not to think that Elric was an inspiration for the 'character' of Geralt of Rivia, as opposed to the stories.   

 

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I haven’t read the Witcher novels, but this character doesn’t seem to me to be any less egregious an Elric knock-off than the Steve Erikson half-demon in the Malazan books, or the ludicrous Kaleb D’aark from Warhammer.

In fact, fantasy is filled with knock-off characters and pastiches. It’s all part of the heritage.

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Greetings,

I've always felt that there are no new stories or characters. What we have are new story-tellers and that the uniqueness in a tale is truly in how it it told. Many authors mimick, consciously or unconsciously, their mentors, and because readers crave more of the same in the same sense that many take comfort in a Starbucks or McDonald's, there are ears who will listen and be satisfied. Once in awhile, however, a George Lucas will come along and, in the first film at least, take something old and tell it in such a manner that it blows us all away. I believe, it's the storyteller that counts more than the story; indeed, just like it's the GM who is ultimately responsible for a good campaign.

Cheers!

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I haven’t read the Witcher novels, but this character doesn’t seem to me to be any less egregious an Elric knock-off than the Steve Erikson half-demon in the Malazan books, or the ludicrous Kaleb D’aark from Warhammer.

In fact, fantasy is filled with knock-off characters and pastiches. It’s all part of the heritage.

Yes. To bring it to the extreme. Turin son of Hurin in the Silmarillion bears many similarities with Elric. Doomed guy? Check. Black sword? Check. Kills friends? Check. Dragon helm? Check. Consanguineous/incestous lover? Check (Nienor sister/ Cymoril cousin), Dies by falling on his sword? Check. Sword finally speaks when he dies? Check.

I've always found that quite ironic, considering how much Moorcock despises Tolkien. Actually, the story of Turin is the perfect counter-example of Moorcock's view of Tolkien as sanitized / comfort food fantasy.

Probably the similarity depends  on the fact that both Tolkien and Moorcock took inspiration from the character of Kullervo in the Finnish Kalevala.

I did not know about Kaleb D'aark. But they (GW) also perpetrated the embarassing High Elf Gilead!

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/75899.Gilead_s_Blood

 

 

 

Edited by smiorgan
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I did not know about Kaleb D'aark. But they (GW) also perpetrated the embarassing High Elf Gilead!

In that hideous interregnum when White Dwarf ceased to be a roleplaying magazine and was morphing into a Warhammer catalogue (something the disingenuous editors at the time denied, whilst also denying that WD had ever been anything other than a GW mouthpiece), here was a dreadful comic strip drawn by either Brett Ewins or Brendan McCarthy and featured Kaleb D’aark, some sort of murderous high-elf thingy with a soul-sucking axe shaped like the jawbone of a very bad ass. It truly was bad, and quickly became known as Kaleb Cliche.

Mind you, GW were ripping off Moorcock and Tolkien wholesale and simultaneously for Warhammer, so one shouldn’t be surprised.

 

Edited by lawrence.whitaker

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I still have a Kaleb D'aark figure somewhere! IIRC my FLGS was giving them away with every purchase of X numbers of figures at one point.

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Just popping in to say hello. It's quite delightful to see people still loving Stormbringer after all this time...

Hi Richard! It's great to have you here.

 

P.S. Just yesterday I was thinking about selkies and I remembered Calisander, the Old Hrolmar monograph, and all. I am still super-proud to have contributed two or three NPCs to that book.

 

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Just popping in to say hello. It's quite delightful to see people still loving Stormbringer after all this time...

Or even Elric! (still my game choice).

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Yes. To bring it to the extreme. Turin son of Hurin in the Silmarillion bears many similarities with Elric. Doomed guy? Check. Black sword? Check. Kills friends? Check. Dragon helm? Check. Consanguineous/incestous lover? Check (Nienor sister/ Cymoril cousin), Dies by falling on his sword? Check. Sword finally speaks when he dies? Check.

I've always found that quite ironic, considering how much Moorcock despises Tolkien. Actually, the story of Turin is the perfect counter-example of Moorcock's view of Tolkien as sanitized / comfort food fantasy.

Probably the similarity depends  on the fact that both Tolkien and Moorcock took inspiration from the character of Kullervo in the Finnish Kalevala.

I did not know about Kaleb D'aark. But they (GW) also perpetrated the embarassing High Elf Gilead!

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/75899.Gilead_s_Blood

 

 

 

Except that Stormbringer was printed in 1965 and the Silmarillion was printed in 1977, but written decades earlier.  So they were truly independent and the parallels were coincidence and more to do with common source inspirations.  Tolkien's characters in the Silmarillion are not given much depth as the book is more akin to King of Sartar than an actual story.

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Except that Stormbringer was printed in 1965 and the Silmarillion was printed in 1977, but written decades earlier.  So they were truly independent and the parallels were coincidence and more to do with common source inspirations.  Tolkien's characters in the Silmarillion are not given much depth as the book is more akin to King of Sartar than an actual story.

Yes, sure. It's just common sources. 

King of Sartar. This is exactly what I was thinking when reading it: "This is like the Silmarillion".

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Hypothetically, if you (meaning anyone reading this) could start over with a game based on Moorcock's Elric books, what would you do? 

How would it differ from Stormbringer 1-4, Elric!/Stormbringer 5th edition, and the Mongoose editions? 

 

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26 minutes ago, Jason Durall said:

Hypothetically, if you (meaning anyone reading this) could start over with a game based on Moorcock's Elric books, what would you do? 

How would it differ from Stormbringer 1-4, Elric!/Stormbringer 5th edition, and the Mongoose editions? 

 

I think I would combine d100 with some narrative Indie gaming ideas. 

  • Characters would not start out as new adventurers ever. So you could begin life as a beggar, but by the time of the game you are have at least a year of "the road" under your belt. 
  • Character generation would also be cooperative. One player would create a character who is the focus of the game, at least for a part of the campaign. The other characters would be related to that character in a way that was meaningful and gave the entire troupe a reason to be together, 
  • A growth mechanic, providing improvement and new abilities would replace traditional experience. It would also introduce new wrinkles to the current relationships and allow for a change in focus character from chapter to chapter or book to book.  It would also allow the GM to up the stakes as the campaign progressed. 
  • It would need to include a multiverse aesthetic, if the characters moved forward into different time periods / universes they would need to retain their flavor and relationships. The game would and should be firmly young kingdoms, but with a strong appendix on Dreamthief's Daughter and Skrayling Tree adventures, pending how well it sold which would allow full blown expansions into that territory. 
  • We live in a post "We love it when no one wins" world even though Supernatural (TV Show) has not figured that out yet.  There may be some fatigue with such a depressing and nihilistic approach. So I think you would need to sell the game and ideas on the notion that although no one ever wins, they never lose either. The struggle is eternal and it is the struggle that matters, that defines you, and defines how posterity (readers and players) will see you. 

Yet with all of that, still a firm and functional fantasy rpg.  Any such licensed game would definitely need more than a nod from Mr. Moorcock, I dare say it would need a little direction or input from him. 

 

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Also an examination of the sword Stormbringer and other such artifacts as characters in the game in their own right. Possibly even as far as player characters who can help or hinder the puny mortals who pick it up to swing around?

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On 11/14/2015, 7:48:43, ReignDragonSMH said:

I think I would combine d100 with some narrative Indie gaming ideas. 

  • Characters would not start out as new adventurers ever. So you could begin life as a beggar, but by the time of the game you are have at least a year of "the road" under your belt. 
  • Character generation would also be cooperative. One player would create a character who is the focus of the game, at least for a part of the campaign. The other characters would be related to that character in a way that was meaningful and gave the entire troupe a reason to be together, 
  • A growth mechanic, providing improvement and new abilities would replace traditional experience. It would also introduce new wrinkles to the current relationships and allow for a change in focus character from chapter to chapter or book to book.  It would also allow the GM to up the stakes as the campaign progressed. 
  • It would need to include a multiverse aesthetic, if the characters moved forward into different time periods / universes they would need to retain their flavor and relationships. The game would and should be firmly young kingdoms, but with a strong appendix on Dreamthief's Daughter and Skrayling Tree adventures, pending how well it sold which would allow full blown expansions into that territory. 
  • We live in a post "We love it when no one wins" world even though Supernatural (TV Show) has not figured that out yet.  There may be some fatigue with such a depressing and nihilistic approach. So I think you would need to sell the game and ideas on the notion that although no one ever wins, they never lose either. The struggle is eternal and it is the struggle that matters, that defines you, and defines how posterity (readers and players) will see you. 

Yet with all of that, still a firm and functional fantasy rpg.  Any such licensed game would definitely need more than a nod from Mr. Moorcock, I dare say it would need a little direction or input from him. 

 

Some thoughts: 

  • What about a number of campaign options, where the GM and players could pick whether they'd like to play novice characters, seasoned adventurers, or Sphere-hopping badasses? 
  • Another option would be a campaign mode where the players could do the "one Champion" and the rest could be a Companion and other associated heroes/associates of varying levels of competence. 
  • Maybe an option where a player gets to play a sentient weapon, borne by the Champion? 
  • I think Passions and Personality Traits are a must. 
  • I agree that a proper Eternal Champions game should have a degree of planar travel, though how much would be up to the campaign framework chosen, I suppose. 
  • To me, the doom-haunted aesthetic of the Young Kingdoms is one of its more interesting selling points. Perhaps different campaign settings, such as when Sadric is on the throne and Melnibone has not yet fallen? 
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On 11/14/2015, 8:50:52, ReignDragonSMH said:

Also an examination of the sword Stormbringer and other such artifacts as characters in the game in their own right. Possibly even as far as player characters who can help or hinder the puny mortals who pick it up to swing around?

I should have read your second post before making my own! 

A French game called Bloodlust is based on the premise that the players do in fact take on the roles of the weapons, and their human bearers are subsidiary vessels. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloodlust_(roleplaying_game)

IIRC, Derek Pearcy (of Steve Jackson Games at the time) was working on an English translation of it, but I don't think it ever got very far. 

 

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Yes, having options for a more traditional campaign is a good thing. Maybe the players do not want to be part of the eternal struggle this go around, which works fine. The world can tumble towards its doom around them, without their help or hindrance. 

A kingmaker mode might not be a bad idea either.

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On 14/11/2015, 19:05:38, Jason Durall said:

Hypothetically, if you (meaning anyone reading this) could start over with a game based on Moorcock's Elric books, what would you do? 

How would it differ from Stormbringer 1-4, Elric!/Stormbringer 5th edition, and the Mongoose editions? 

 

I think I'll go for a game bringing together some of what I think are the best features of each "incarnation" and then add on it with things that have nevere been properly explored.

I'll start with Stormbringer 1-3 and 4. They were amazingly flavorful games. Here is what I see as the strong points:

- The simple, fast and furious d100 engine. Brutality and randomness.

- Random character generation. Regional traits. A reasonable but limited number of professions.

- Magic centered on summoning and invocations rather than on anything remotely similar to RQ battle magic or D&D spells. Magic is violent, powerful and crazy. When you do magic you are never fully in control. As rooted as they may be in the actual saga, the Mongoose Elric "runes" don't really work for me.

- Demon weapons. Yes there was demon weapon inflation and that should be addressed, Demon binding should probably be more restrictive. But losing demon weapons in the Mongoose version was a big loss of flavor. Here I'd go towards the Bloodlust route. The weapons should have passions and goals and affect the character who will be as bound to the weapon as it is to the character.

From Elric! / Stormbringer 5 I'd take

- The smoothed combat system. Still fast and brutal.

-  Possibly, some necromancy from Bronze Grimoire and chaos magic from Corum.

-  The way Law magic is handled in the Lords of Law monograph.

From the Mongoose versions I'd take severa things:

- Passions!

- Pacts with the Lords of the Higher Worlds and other supernatural entities.

- Random life events at chargen.

- The cleverly designed economy of magic points in summoning (much better than in Elric!)

- Dream magic and dream realms.

Al this for a game centered on the Young Kingdoms and the Elric Saga.

I'd like to see 4 levels of play:

1) Scoundrel. You play a beggar from Nadsokor or a farmer from Vilmir. And try to survive.

2) Adventurer. You play the Smiorgans and the Avan Astrans of this world. You rub shoulders with champions and supernatural heroes but your destiny is tied to this plane.

3) Minor Champions. Say, Rackhir you visit strange interplanar places and maybe end up in Tanelorn

4) Eternal Champion and Companions.

 

    

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On 11/17/2015, 4:17:21, smiorgan said:

 

-  The way Law magic is handled in the Lords of Law monograph.

 

It was done pretty well in Corum too; no actual magic just perfectly crafted objects.

I like the rest of your list though.

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On 19/11/2015, 03:34:50, Questbird said:

It was done pretty well in Corum too; no actual magic just perfectly crafted objects.

I like the rest of your list though.

Now that I think of it, Law in Corum was even better! Contrivances!

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I've got RQ6 and MRQII's Stormbringer books... would be nice to see them updated to RQ6, and to see some of the awesome art and layout that you see in French publications, but really what more do you need?

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