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Elric, Stormbringer and did the writers read the source material?

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I recently took some of the recommendations about SB5th Edition and bought the game and have been reading it, alongside reading Michael Moorcocks Elric stories.

Who wrote this game? 880% for Elric weilding Stormbringer. 17D10 damage. You ahve got to be kidding me.

Having read 4 of the stories now, Id give him no more then a 80% with the weapon and people survive hits from Stormbringer on a regular basis (granted, not all human, but given their stats the sword should kill everything on a single hit).

The stats are so ridiculous that the background material in the books is barely noticed as I keep glancing at these outrageous and inaccurate stats.

Were all editions of the game like this? Does anyone play it at this level? DO you houserule the stats and abilities?

Rant over.

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I recently took some of the recommendations about SB5th Edition and bought the game and have been reading it, alongside reading Michael Moorcocks Elric stories.

Who wrote this game? 880% for Elric weilding Stormbringer. 17D10 damage. You ahve got to be kidding me.

Having read 4 of the stories now, Id give him no more then a 80% with the weapon and people survive hits from Stormbringer on a regular basis (granted, not all human, but given their stats the sword should kill everything on a single hit).

The stats are so ridiculous that the background material in the books is barely noticed as I keep glancing at these outrageous and inaccurate stats.

Were all editions of the game like this? Does anyone play it at this level? DO you houserule the stats and abilities?

Rant over.

This is something that changed with Elric/SB 5e. Before this, he was in the 100% range. Also, Stormbringer was 2d8 + 3d6 + 1d6 in Elrics hands. In addition it could drain 1d100 POW. Every 10 points of POW drained increased its own skill by 2% or Elric's STR or CON.

I'm not sure why the change was made, but a guess would be to enable the "cinematic" sequences. But today it does seem odd rather than introducing a mook rule.

SDLeary

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still draining 1d100 POW should kill anything it wounds.

Yes, but Stormbringer didn't have to drain, it could choose. This would explain why some foes survived.

SDLeary

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Also, the 880% allowed for him to attack and parry multiple times extremely easily, something he does seem to do often in the source material. Failing that, a single attack is almost always a crit (and therefor ignores normal parries or dodges).

Still, I agree that it's always seemed a bit high. I guess it depends on if you see the system as stopping at 100% or going well beyond, and if it goes beyond, what do those levels of mastery mean?

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I suspect that those ratings were meant to address Elric's ability to handle himself in the middle of a gigantic mess of warriors, such as the Kelmain Host, attacking and parrying multiple times a round and wiping out dozens, if not hundreds of foes, single-handedly.

Giving him a ludicrously-high weapon skill is one way to handle it... it's not necessarily the way I would have done so, but it does emphasize his quality of deus ex machina.

Remember that though there are a lot of similarities, Call of Cthulhu and Stormbringer aren't entirely compatible. How they handle skill %s is a huge difference.

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Not only did the 880% allow for more parries (and ripostes), but it also

allowed for more criticals and major wounds, even if the attacks were

split and Stormbringer did not drain all of the foe's POW.

Concentrating on the mechanics as opposed to the effects will pretty

much trash any game adaptation of any novel or movie. It's no the

number that's important, it's the results that are derived from it.

-V

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This was the reason I never got into Elric!/Stormbringer. Everyone starts with combat skills above 100%, and the demon weapons did enormous amounts of damage.

SGL.

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Yeah and everyone has a demon weapon, unlike the novels.

I think if the reason for the 880% was for multiple attacks and parries, then they should have used a different game mechanic. As it is, with 880% that mist gian, as written lasts one round.

Lets Say Elric hits with no critical. His max damage is 198 (2D8+1D6+17D10+1D6) for lets say an average damage of 99. Halved for the special defenses of the mist giant and you inflict 49.5 (so either 49 or 50 points) of damage against the mist giants HP equal to its CON of 47.

You are sacrificing the one on one battle flavor in exchange for mass combat effects. It would make more sense to have Stormbring have special defense benefits instead of such a high attack bonus. Say something like "Stormbringer only suffers a -5% per each additional parry it takes in a round instead of the normal -30%".

Im just saying, the RAW make the game very unapproachable to me. And I hate to say it, but MRQ Elric seems more in line with what I would imagine the Melnibone setting being like, stat wise. Course the Chaosium books do have some good background material in them that I will still use, just not stats.

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I think you are confusing stormbringer's stats with Elric's, which are pretty reasonable. The problem is that stormbringer is the central plot mcguffin in the saga - it is quite capable of doing what ever the author required, and frequently did: up to and including killing gods or even refusing to help the hero at all, if that moved the plot forward. At its most effective, it is pretty much 880% and +17D10 damage (Jason has already made reference to the Kelmain host incident - there are others), but on other occasions it is not hugely more effective than a normal greatsword.

And here's the real, absolute kicker - there is no consistency to this variation in power level beyond what Mike Moorcock thought would make a good story at the time... It's not actually possible to model Elric and Stormbringer accurately in any rule system more complex than "GM fiat" - the Elric! / SB5 version at least had the advantage that the Young Kingdom's incarnation of the Eternal Champion is not "off the shelf" out classed by player characters on a routine basis , which in my experience happened rather a lot in SB I /-/ IV ...

Cheers,

Nick

Edited by NickMiddleton

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Lets Say Elric hits with no critical. His max damage is 198 (2D8+1D6+17D10+1D6) for lets say an average damage of 99. Halved for the special defenses of the mist giant and you inflict 49.5 (so either 49 or 50 points) of damage against the mist giants HP equal to its CON of 47.

Sure, but in this one instance, he could have "rolled poorly" and done the

minimum 21 HP. Even with a crit, that's a measly 42 HP damage. Halved

for Bellbane, and it's back to 21 HP. Without the crit, it's a measly 11 HP

rounded up.

You are sacrificing the one on one battle flavor in exchange for mass combat effects. It would make more sense to have Stormbring have special defense benefits instead of such a high attack bonus. Say something like "Stormbringer only suffers a -5% per each additional parry it takes in a round instead of the normal -30%".

But now you have created a different set of mechanics. Why not keep it

unified? Again, examine the effects, not the numbers. The effects work

out very well.

And yes,Nick - that is Stormbringer's skill, not Elric's. Stormbringer can kill

gods after all.

-V

Edited by vagabond

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In that case the 880% should be listed under the Stormbringer entry not Elric's. And with your explanation, Elric's player must be the worst roller in the world.

I understand the Deus Ex Machina concept of writing and even gaming, but the fact is the Stormbring RPG presents stats and entries that do not match up with the setting and source material.

You can include and entry under Stormbringer that states something like "Stormbringer's powers wax and wane as it pleases and desires. A wielder the the chaos blade can have anywhere from a -30 to a +200 to his/her combat skill and may have his or her damage altered by up to 10D10 in either direction (bonus or penalty) depending on how chaotic the act is, how much the act furthers the swords ambitions and whether or not Stormbringer feels like being a boon or a bane at the moment. The maximum and minimum benefits and drawbacks are tied directly to the wielders allegiance to Chaos and or Law as provided by blah blah blah blah"

Sure it may seem like a different set of characteristics, but it fulfills the McGuffin angle and Deus Ex Machina abilities of the sword without giving a "definitive" set stat.

Of course this is all my own opinion. Ill just stick with the MRQ Elric version. I was just stating my observations.

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In that case the 880% should be listed under the Stormbringer entry not Elric's. And with your explanation, Elric's player must be the worst roller in the world.

Elric doesn't have a player, hes a character in a novel. Genre novels do not emulate gaming its the other way around.

Ultimately it doesn't matter, you shouldn't really ever be near Elric and other iconic characters in an RPG IMHO. Some smart ass is always going to try to shoot Luke Skywalker in the back before he can destroy the death star in "a new hope".

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Elric doesn't have a player, hes a character in a novel. Genre novels do not emulate gaming its the other way around.

Ultimately it doesn't matter, you shouldn't really ever be near Elric and other iconic characters in an RPG IMHO. Some smart ass is always going to try to shoot Luke Skywalker in the back before he can destroy the death star in "a new hope".

True, but in that case, IMHO, they should just not list his stats. As we learned form the Deities and Demigods AD&D book, "If it has stats, we can kill it!"

In the basic core rules for Star Wars no major character stats are posted, just general and generic templates, archtypes and lesser "made up for the game" which is fine.

And you are right, gaming emulates the novel, only, IMNSHO, this one does not do it well.

D6 Star Wars did. Stormbringer 5th doesnt.

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You may or may not be correct, still doesn't change the fact that Stormbringer 5th edition is a great dark fantasy game.

Im not arguing that. It just ets me riled up as I flip through the book working on a character or adventure and I see these stats and just shake my head.

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Its the eternal dilemma of the RPG writer. Leave out the stats of the sagas protagonists: howls of protest. Put them in: howls of protest because they either don't a) fit how individual readers see that hero in their mind's eye or B) the stats have difficulty fitting with the character's actions in the books.

You can try and get close - I think I did with MRQ Elric - and I still got some flak from some people who thought I'd devalued Elric's prowess with a sword...

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In that case the 880% should be listed under the Stormbringer entry not Elric's. And with your explanation, Elric's player must be the worst roller in the world.

Stormbringer has its own entry. Elric has two entries, one with Stormbringer,

and one without (150% Greatsword - for supposedly the first or second

greatest swordsman in the known world according to Tanglebones). And,

I only provided an example of how what happens in the book can be

represented in the rules. You were the one so intent on the 880% attack

and 2d8+1d6+17d10+1d6 damage. I just showed how the mechanics

could emulate what happened in the saga within the rules.

I understand the Deus Ex Machina concept of writing and even gaming, but the fact is the Stormbring RPG presents stats and entries that do not match up with the setting and source material.

I find it actually does a decent job while staying within the system design.

Sure, there could be some changes made, but overall, it works very well

and consistently.

You can include and entry under Stormbringer that states something like "Stormbringer's powers wax and wane as it pleases and desires. A wielder the the chaos blade can have anywhere from a -30 to a +200 to his/her combat skill and may have his or her damage altered by up to 10D10 in either direction (bonus or penalty) depending on how chaotic the act is, how much the act furthers the swords ambitions and whether or not Stormbringer feels like being a boon or a bane at the moment. The maximum and minimum benefits and drawbacks are tied directly to the wielders allegiance to Chaos and or Law as provided by blah blah blah blah"

Sounds like over complication to me.

Sure it may seem like a different set of characteristics, but it fulfills the McGuffin angle and Deus Ex Machina abilities of the sword without giving a "definitive" set stat.

Of course this is all my own opinion. Ill just stick with the MRQ Elric version. I was just stating my observations.

Again, and effort was made to represent the major characters and powers

within the system design. And, again, I find it does a solid job of this. There

are things I like about MRQ Elric as well, but there are also things in that

ruleset that I don't. So, I play a mix. Do I use the 880% Stormbringer attack?

No - because Stormbringer never enters play. Do I limit beginning characters by

not allowing initial to hit 100%, yes - unless a good reason is supplied.

Even so, with the given 250 points and all of the beginning skill levels, you

might hit one skill above 100% at the get go, but if you try to bump up

another that high, you are seriously limiting your other skills.

-V

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Throwing another hat into the ring...

I think Mick hit on something when he mentionted that Moorcock was interested in what would make a good story at the moment, rather than making something consistent for RPG purposes.

Furthermore, I7ll also note that the RQ/BRP game engine is not the best fit for the Elrig saga too. Much the same problems that crop up with Glorantha and RQ. The settings and characters are larger than life while the game mechanics lean towards "gritty realism".

I do think that the earlier versions of Strombringer had better stats than Elric/SB5, though. I also expect that it is easier to work Elric up in some other systems. Unfortunately, just getting Elric and Strombringer represented properly means bypass rewrting quite a few of the RQ/BRP rules. FOr instance, Elric often uses Streombringer one handed when "pumped up".

I think that Elric might work better in some systems than others.

As for not listing the stats in the core rules: Well people do want to see them, or at least some intetpretation. While D6 Star Wars didn't list the stats for the main characters in the rule book, said stats appeared in mulitple supplments (3 movie sourcebooks, a trilogy source book, Han Solo in the Coporate Sector, etc.). West End'S other d6 based systems DID put the stats for the main characters in the book.

D20 SW did put stats for the main characters in firsrt two edtions-I'm not sure about the current edition.

As for Elric7s skill-well he was consided to be one of the best swordmen on Melnibone, supposedly second only to Prince Yrkoon. That would put him in the "mastery" range (90%+) in most RQ based RPGs. Elric!/SB5 being the exception since people need over 100% to get multiple parries. SB1 put Elric at 100%, and had Strombger at +3d6 damage. Still brustal but it does allow for the occasional survivor (most people do die when hit by it, Yrokoon gets nicked, but everyone else usually gets killed).

Personally, I consider limiting the POW drain to the damage inflicted. That would help hanbdle the Elric and Yrkoon battle in the first novel.

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Throwing another hat into the ring...

I think Mick hit on something when he mentionted that Moorcock was interested in what would make a good story at the moment, rather than making something consistent for RPG purposes.

Furthermore, I7ll also note that the RQ/BRP game engine is not the best fit for the Elrig saga too. Much the same problems that crop up with Glorantha and RQ. The settings and characters are larger than life while the game mechanics lean towards "gritty realism".

I do think that the earlier versions of Strombringer had better stats than Elric/SB5, though. I also expect that it is easier to work Elric up in some other systems. Unfortunately, just getting Elric and Strombringer represented properly means bypass rewrting quite a few of the RQ/BRP rules. FOr instance, Elric often uses Streombringer one handed when "pumped up".

I think that Elric might work better in some systems than others.

As for not listing the stats in the core rules: Well people do want to see them, or at least some intetpretation. While D6 Star Wars didn't list the stats for the main characters in the rule book, said stats appeared in mulitple supplments (3 movie sourcebooks, a trilogy source book, Han Solo in the Coporate Sector, etc.). West End'S other d6 based systems DID put the stats for the main characters in the book.

D20 SW did put stats for the main characters in firsrt two edtions-I'm not sure about the current edition.

As for Elric7s skill-well he was consided to be one of the best swordmen on Melnibone, supposedly second only to Prince Yrkoon. That would put him in the "mastery" range (90%+) in most RQ based RPGs. Elric!/SB5 being the exception since people need over 100% to get multiple parries. SB1 put Elric at 100%, and had Strombger at +3d6 damage. Still brustal but it does allow for the occasional survivor (most people do die when hit by it, Yrokoon gets nicked, but everyone else usually gets killed).

Personally, I consider limiting the POW drain to the damage inflicted. That would help hanbdle the Elric and Yrkoon battle in the first novel.

For starters, Elric in SB1-4 is in the 90%s for both attack and parry without

Stormbringer. Still a Master by the rules, but not 100%.

Secondly, in Elric's epic battle with Yyrkoon, one must remember two things.

1) Yyrkoon is wielding Mournblade. As a result, he benefits from the significant

enhancement Mournblade provides with respect to parrying and sustenance.

Yyrkoon receives a number of "mortal" blows.

2) Elric actually starts "pulling" his blows - wishing both to be in control over

Stormbringer (as opposed to Stormbringer running the battle) and to spare

Yyrkoon's life. This is when Yyrkoon gets nicked.

Again, I have found in my experience that BRP as found in Elric! is a pretty

good fit for the saga. My biggest gripe is the sorcery - this is where I find

Mongoose's version to be a better match. But, combatwise, I find BRP to

work quite well.

-V

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I suspect that those ratings were meant to address Elric's ability to handle himself in the middle of a gigantic mess of warriors, such as the Kelmain Host, attacking and parrying multiple times a round and wiping out dozens, if not hundreds of foes, single-handedly.

Giving him a ludicrously-high weapon skill is one way to handle it... it's not necessarily the way I would have done so, but it does emphasize his quality of deus ex machina.

How would you have handled this problem/design quirk?

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How would you have handled this problem/design quirk?

I would use mook rules (hordes having greatly reduced HP), judicious use of counter-attacks and riposte rules, and probably have just ascribed much of that battle-frenzy to some characteristic of the weapon.

Wading into a horde of warriors and slaying them by the score is not something mortals can do very easily... it's certainly not something Elric could have done without Stormbringer, so I have little problem with giving Stormbringer an extra four or five attacks per round when its wielder is pitted against multiple foes.

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PK Games, Elric Kin Slayer has a tendency to eat gods for breakfast. You’re looking at him at his peak. He should be a monster. You’re also mistaking Elric’s abilities for Stormbringer’s abilities. Two separate entities with divergent goals. I think Elric and Stormbringer are pretty spot on. If I were to take issue with NPC write ups, I’d be howling about Moonglum’s demon weapons.

Looking at Elric proper, he certainly has a breadth of skills that couldn’t be matched by a beginning character, but take Stormbringer out of the equation and take Elric without time to prepare and a beginning character has an incredibly good chance of taking him down! An experienced PC has a much better chance of dancing straight on with Elric.

Remember, Stormbringer spends the novels playing Elric. The White Wolf is a tool, dependent on the Blade, and Stormbringer greatly enjoys letting Elric know it.

Having read 4 of the stories now, Id give him no more then a 80% with the weapon and people survive hits from Stormbringer on a regular basis (granted, not all human, but given their stats the sword should kill everything on a single hit).

Groking Elric!/SB5 means embracing the question of whether to ride on your criticals or splitting your attacks or lining up a riposte. Failing a skill on a straight roll really isn't an issue. It's whether you've allocated enough resources to overcome the opponents defense. Sometimes this means cleaning up the mooks so they are not a drain on you, sometimes this means splitting your attack three times so that your opponent is operating at a -90 when your buddy moves in for a heavy blow.

When you wrap your mind around it and really get a chance to put it through it's paces, you'll find that it leads to epic play. I think you may just be used to other BRP games pegging skill levels differently.

As for the question if anyone plays at that level. I would run a game at Elric's level, yes. Between the Actorios and Elric's sorcerous prowess he would have an insane amount of resources to bring to bear on a game. You'll note though that there's no way Elric can bind Stormbringer. Stormbringer gets to be the GM's toy.

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