Sunday, June 21, 2009

Information Requested

Anyone out there know much about the latest version of the Elric RPG? I was a big fan of Stormbringer back in the day -- a game I still consider one of the best fantasy games ever written -- but I no longer have my copy and I have a strange hankering to re-acquire it. I suppose I could just hunt down a used copy on eBay or elsewhere, but, being the punctilious sort that I am, I prefer to buy only mint or near-mint copies of old games, which can get very expensive. If the new version of the game were any good, I'd be happy to pick it up (not to mention the Hawkmoon companion game, which is even more up my alley), but I'm reluctant to do so without some good word of mouth about it. I can't seem to find any reviews online and I know there were some complaints about the Mongoose RuneQuest game, which makes me wary.

So any inisghts or comments on the matter would be appreciated.

17 comments:

  1. There's an RPGnet review of it here:
    http://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/13/13418.phtml

    And a thread that goes into some details with the author here:
    http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=360560

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  2. If you can, try to pick up Elric! Rather than the newer Stormbringer. The latter is bigger, bloatier and too complete (if you know what I mean). Elric! Is slimmer and would jibe with your predilections more.

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  3. Another review here:
    http://www.soltakss.com/review9.html#Elric

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  4. Stormbring/Elric is one of my favorite games, and one I sadly never had the opportunity to play. I'd no idea that Mongoose was producing it, but, given my dislike of the company, I doubt I'll pick it up. My copy of the GW hardback, on the other hand is a prized possession.

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  5. I have the classic ELRIC! rules, the new BRP rules, the clone GORE rules, the Mongoose Runequest rules, and the Mongoose Elric rules. I read all of them closely over the last twelve months to pick which to use for a lengthy campaign set in a Million Spheres-like setting.

    I ultimately ended up going with the classic Elric! rules with some additional spells and equipment added in from GORE (with which it is fully compatible), and then built my campaign house rules up from that platform.

    The Mongoose rules set definitely had a lot of great rules. They were highly evolved amd slick with lots of facets.

    From everything I've read on your blog, your gaming taste is such that you'd prefer the leaner, simpler, and more open Elric! rules set.

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  6. The content of the Mongoose edition seems to be similar to - if less expansive than - that of the fourth edition (the one with the Michael Whelan cover art) but it lacks the soul of that book, IMHO. Like most Mongoose stuff, the content is adequate, but it all feels a little lifeless. (I also have issues with the design, which packs 100 or so pages of real content into a 168-page product. All due to extensive, space-hogging page backgrounds.)

    My advice: Pick up a 4th-edition copy on Amazon (there is a like-new copy available right now from Dragon's Trove for a very reasonable price) or sign up to be notified at Troll and toad when they get a copy in - they're listing near-mint copies at $19.99.

    IMHO, FWIW, YMMV, etc.

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  7. You could always sign up and ask the locals on the MGP forums. They have a sub-forums for Elric and Hawkmoon. I usually hang out at the Conan sub-forum, and my experience over there was always positive - with folks who are vary friendly, and helpful with whatever questions folks might ask.

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  8. One other place to check for opinions is The Tavern. Not only are there a number of long time Elric/Stormbringer aficionados there, but also Lawrence Whittiker, the author of the current edition and of previous supplements for Chaosium.

    - Neil.

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  9. I will third the motion to go with Elric! instead of the new edition. It is an awesome ruleset, concise and yet very complete; I picked it up at a local used bookstore last year and have been itching to run it ever since. I did some extensive research online into the differences between the editions and ended up glad that the one I picked up was Elric!

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  10. Hi,

    I am a huge Stormbringer fan. I own all the editions of Stormbringer/Elric!/Elric of Melniboné + various versions of Hawkmoon and Corum, and have played extensively (several campaigns) at least three of them.

    So, how good is the new Mongoose version? It is very good.

    The good: It manages to be very faithful to the Elric saga and, at the same time to revisit, in an intentional tribute, the awesome summonig rules of Stormbringer 1st edition. The devious "Pact" mechanic used in the cults is a great improvement with respect to the ways of dealings with the supernatural powers in the previous editions (Elan in Stormbringer and Allegiance in Elric!). The dreamthieves rules are sketchy but sufficient to fill this gap witth rsespect to the more recent Moorcock stories. The system remains pretty simple and quick to play.

    The not so good: Some cool material (but not essential) has been left out of the main book (runes and rules for summoning unique creatures such as those found in the saga, some npc and creatures writeups) and is published in the Magic book and in the Companion. If you are a 1 book guy this is a minus.
    The (now retired) hardcover printing is poor quality and will lose sheets very soon. The softcover one is good quality materially, but strangely contains an old and messy version of the combat rules. You have to download the player's update pdf from Mongoose to get the right rules. The good combat rules are found in the Hawkmoon softcover, however.
    Overall, the Mongoose RQ system is less smooth than Chaosium BRP - however they are very similar and maybe you won't notice the difference if you haven't played a lot of chaosium games.

    Hawkmoon is also good. A simple straightforward game. It manages to get right the "science-sorcery" feel (but here opinions vary a lot). It is less tragic and more escapist than Elric. Less doom, more pulp action. I love it.

    In sum, these are two simple and fun modern games inspired by Moorcock's stories and by their old school antecedents by Chaosium. They are by no means fully "old school" or fully "pulp" (Moorcock himself is not, in the newer stories). If you want pure unadulterated old school awesomeness buy Stormbringer 1st edition by Perrin & St Andre.

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  11. If you liked the old Stormbringer game then I suggest that you get the 4th edition of Basic Roleplaying instead, and then improvise. [The basic information is there in the Sorcery section, it just lacks the details that made Stormbringer such an excellent game.] And besides, in and of itself it is a worthwhile addition to any gaming collection.

    The original Stormbringer was one of my favourite games, and I much preferred it to it's descendants (although I do admit that I added witchcraft to my campaign [with effects based on Runequest battle magic] to simulate the minor hedge magicks that could be found in the Young Kingdoms). I felt the added magics of the Elric! game lacked a certain something, especially when placed against the beautiful sorcery/summoning system of the original.

    The Mongoose Elric of Melnibone is part of the company's fifth edition* Runequest line, although it is playable alone (you don't need the Runequest core books to play it), and its heritage shows, particularly with the idea of cults in the Young Kingdoms as a source of magical power. Something in me definitely rails against this idea. It also has the flaws of their reimagined system, as well as having that flat taste of something based on a "generic" system (as compared to the old Chaosium games, which, while using the same Basic Roleplaying system, implemented it differently with each game, so that Elfquest had a distinct flavour separate from Ringworld and both were distinct from Stormbringer or Call of Cthulhu). I've got it for completeness [I'm a compulsive collector], but I will never even consider playing it. [Although just typing this has me wanting to ressurect my old Stormbringer campaign...]

    So I suggest trying to get the 3rd edition of Stormbringer (functionally the same as earlier editions, with a few minor tweaks, such as variable power demon rules [each d8 of demon POW gives 1/3 the player's characteristics]), but with a binding that actually holds together [the only good first editions out there are the ones that have never been taken out of the box]. Failing that, grab an old copy of Elric! and use that with Basic Roleplaying (4th Edition) to recreate the Stormbringer you want.

    [*Yes, I do count the planned Avalon Hill reworking of the game as an edition, even though it never made it out of playtest.]

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  12. Carl wrote:

    "I will third the motion to go with Elric! instead of the new edition."

    This has been an interesting discussion. I've been surprised to see so many recommend Elric -- not because I think it's bad (it's my favorite version of the editions I've seen), but because I remember all the arguments that ensued on the Internet because Chaosium had added spells in addition to summoning. From the way some people reacted, you'd have thought moral outrage had been committed. Nice to see I'm not the only one who likes Elric. :)

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  13. James,

    I have found full-fledged reviews of Mongoose Elric and Hawkmoon for you: to find it follow this link and scroll down a lot.

    http://www.soltakss.com/review9.html#Mongoose

    The author of the review is a well known RQ/BRP fan and collector. (Well known by those souls that haunt RQ and BRP fora, I mean).

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  14. Having looked through these comments, I surfed off to NobleKnight and grabbed a copy of Elric!

    I already own a copy of 1st ed. Stormbringer but I loves me the S&S!

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  15. Elric! & Stormbring (current edition) are very similar (not different editions). Just different layout & some information from Elric! supplements added to the core book. I'd pick up wichever is easier to find/cheaper. I like having the Mongoose Elric material, but would purchase the Chaosium material first. I don't agree about simply buying BRP.

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  16. Just to add my two cents...I've owned and/or played the first three editions and the Elric! edition and thumbed through the current Stormbringer which seems in many ways to simply pick-up where Elric! left off...and I would say to you get one of the first three editions.

    If you have played and enjoyed the first edition of Stormbringer, then Elric! and the SB edition that follow will probably not be to your taste. At least they weren't to mine. The first three editions are delightfully random and fatal (game-wise)...beginning with Elric!, characters are much more "heroic" (I use this term as a pejorative to OS gaming) and a lot less true to Moorcock's fiction, in my opinion.

    The 3rd edition is much the same as the 1st, but with the edition of some actual spells (not just summonings) and more NPC write-ups (including Dr. Jest and most named characters from the first five novels).

    Good luck...I've been looking for a copy of the 3rd edition for awhile...but I still have my 1st edition rules (sold my Elric! rules and supplements to a used bookstore).

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  17. I didn't see this mentioned, but if you want Stormbringer, Chaosium still has a few copies on sale online.

    The fifth edition is basically Elric!, for what it's worth. I like the post-third edition Stormbringer/Elric!, but I will not part with my copy of the Games Workshop bound third edition for anything. I would run that in a heartbeat if I could find any players brave enough to roll up the characters and play.

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