Monday, June 4, 2012

My Latest Acquisition

As a general rule, I have very bad luck when it comes to eBay auctions for old school gaming products. Part of it is that I'm not a collector; I'm not willing to pay absurd amounts of money for a rulebook or module just for the distinction of owning it. At the same time, I prefer that anything I do pick up be in decent condition -- not mint, mind you, but usable without falling apart in my hands. The combination of these two facts, therefore, conspire against me and I've seen more than my share of RPG finds slip through my fingers because I won't plunk down large sums to acquire them.

Fortune sometimes smiles on me, though, as it did recently. I was, at long last, able to obtain a terrifically well-preserved 1987 Games Workshop printing of Chaosium's Stormbringer RPG for a song.
For those of you too young to know this, back in the '70s and '80s Games Workshop often produced amazing hardcover editions of American RPGs for the UK market. Besides being hardcovers, they often incorporated supplemental material along with the rulebook, creating a unique "complete" edition that gave you everything you needed under one cover. This Stormbringer volume, for example, also includes The Stormbringer Companion, too, along with full color art plates.

It's easy to forget that, early on, Games Workshop acted as a mail order service for British gamers who wanted to get hold of the latest releases from North America. Later, they produced UK editions of popular games, such as this one and a Call of Cthulhu third edition I also possess. I still consider some of these editions to be the best ever made for their respective games, which is why I like to snag copies of them when I can do so at a reasonable price. This copy of Stormbringer, as you can see from the photo, is in superb condition. It's binding is still strong and the pages are clean. The only flaws are some slight whitening along the spine and the careful removal of four perforated character sheets at the back.

I was incredibly lucky to get hold of this one. I think I'll need to find some way to run it this summer, if only as a one-shot or short campaign.


  1. Is that a Rodney Matthews' cover?

  2.  It's by Peter Jones, who did a lot of Fighting Fantasy covers, as I recall.

  3.   It's by Peter Jones, who did a lot of Fighting Fantasy covers, as I recall.

  4. I have that book; the GW hardbacks really had smoe marvelous art. One of my goals is to find (without paying an arm and a leg) their versions of RQ3.

    And Stormbringer is one of my favorite games. I'll look forward to reading the game reports, if you ever do run it.

  5. I love those GW editions. I  have the Call of Cthulhu and I took my copy of RuneQuest out tonight to our game to show off, even though we're using the more recent Mongoose version.

  6. I picked up the GW Advanced RQ and RQ Monsters books from eBay not so long back, and I didn't pay too much for them at all. Lost the basic RQ3 book from the same seller, so, pah!

    My copy of GW Stormbringer is falling to bits, though.

  7. Awesome find! 

  8. I used to have a set of GW hardcovers of RuneQuest III. It was split up into several thin hardcovers for some bizarre reason. The monster book was quite nice, though.

  9. Nice find! Careful with it though, the binding was not so good and they tend to fall apart quickly :) great fun to run!

  10. Very nice!  My own copy, one of my first eBay purchases many years ago unfortunately is not in as good shape.  

  11. My copy also had poor binding- one of those books that didn't like to be opened...

  12. Nice!!! Congrats!

    Call of Cthulhu 3rd hc happens to be my fave. Love that book, AND the wonderful Stormbringer find you found.

  13. Lucky dog! I've had 2 green cover 3rd editions stolen out from under me...

  14. My original  copy suffered from the usual GW binding issues and now lives in page protectors in a ring-binder! I did pick up another off eBay for 99p a couple of years ago though to replace it.

    Even at the time I thought this was a curious things for GW to print as they were heading at full speed ahead into their "our toy soldier games only" phase.

    If you can find them (I believe other sources are available...) White Dwarf 95 through 98 had a four-episode Stormbringer campaign that GW published in order to give the game a marketing push. I think it's the only material for SB that the Dwarf ever featured.

  15. Rock! I love the GW editions of the Chaosium books, and remember being very sad indeed to (a) never see them on CT store shelves as a kid because (b) I was getting the GWs. The GW RQ III issue of WD had me in a particular envious mood (during high school chemistry, as I recall).

    Likewise with the WD 95 - 98 campaign.

    I managed to acquire the GW hardbacks for Stormbringer, RQ (whole line), and CoC a few years ago. Great books!

  16. I have that campaign. I could never figure out why they didn't print more SB stuff ... and of course, then WD converted to its minis-only incarnation not too long after.

  17. This is going to be re-published by Chaosium soon under a different name (Magic World) and without the references to Moorcock's works.

  18. Blood and souls for my Lord Arioch!

  19. Not exactly. 'Magic World' will be a revised version of Chaosium's 'Elric!', which is the 5th edition of 'Stormbringer', and quite different from the GW 3rd edition.

  20. Nice find!

    I managed to get a copy of this about two years go. It's nice to have both SB and the SB Companion in a single volume.
    Although my copy is still bound, I have to handle it carefully, as it looks like serious use would cause it to fall apart.

    The cover and internal full-colour plates are great.

  21. I grabbed this a few years ago. Getting my hands on it makes me want more of the GW books from that era.

  22. I ran a one-shot for my friends.  It's a wonderfully flavorsome game, but just ludicrously brutal.  For instance, if you want to increase in power as a sorceror, you can learn to do so from a book.

    Should you roll under your Power stat (times three), you, um, die instantly.

    That's like a 40% chance of instant death from going up a level.

    Hardcore, yo.

    There's also the crit rules (10% chance of a crit on each blow, 50% chance of being hideously maimed whenever you receive a crit) and the way that you can roll a beggar in character creation (which is totally random) and the GM is advised to think up new ways in which you are completely revolting and loathed by everyone as well as being stupid, unskilled, poor and smelly.
    Also the utter randomness of character creation is pretty fun.

  23. Ha, I found my intro text for that session in all its 70s heavy metal cheese-glory:

    It has been raining for hours, and the road is a sullen quagmire under granite dark skies, though the sun should be well up by now.
    You have been riding for nearly three days, winding up a treachously narrow path through the K'rakur Peaks from the coastal city of Jhalmir.  There is an icy feel to the drops that hit your face, now, and you suspect they might soon turn to snow.  Your destination, and the possibility of a fire and a bed, lie ahead but you are cursed if you know how far.
    Little did you suspect when you sat down at your table in the Flaming Axe tavern in Jhalmir that your lives would be taking such a turn!  But after the sudden unexpectedly vicious brawl, and the brutal way in which the town guards swept in to shut it down and arrest all the participants, you were thinking that you might be lucky to see out the week.  'Jhalmir Justice' is proverbial after all - and not for its lenience.
    It therefore came as a surprise when the heavy ironshod door creaked open and the heavyset eunuch servant waved you and your companions out of your cell!  Less surprising, perhaps, when you realised that you had simply moved from one form of imprisonment to another...
    "I have a proposition."  The fat Pan Tangian had grinned sardonically, revealing, through luxuriantly sculpted whiskers, teeth stained bright red with the cursed juice of the Nuurx grub.  "Should you accept it and bring me what I seek, you will be richly rewarded.  Should you refuse... well."
    He reached down to the golden bowl beside him, picking through the squirming larvae with fussy precision, then popping one into his mouth.  A droplet of red out and he dabbed thoughtfully at it with a gold napkin.  A n4ked servant girl rushed to pick the napkin up as he let it drop to the richly inlaid floor.
    "I plan to bind a Demon of the fourth order before the New Moon, and good ... assistants .... are always hard to find for such challenging feats of sorcery.  So I suspect you will help me either way.  Which is it to be?"
    You stuttered your agreement, and he outlined his task.  It seemed that a valuable relic was being held in a small village somewhere in the mountains, near the dreadful Forest of Troos.  He wished you to go there and obtain it for him and would provide money to bargain with its holder.  In any event, he would allow two weeks to obtain the relic and return.
    You nod, and turn to leave at his languid gesture.  As the door opened, he called out to you.
    "Should you cheat or fail me, of course, I will unleash my pets upon you.  An amusing diversion for them, a soulrending nightmare for you.  There will be nowhere in the world you can escape, and your deaths will be as slow and painful as can possibly be imagined."
    And now, your saddlesores aching, your destination was nearly upon you!  According to the map the sorceror's factotum had provided, the village of Morrg lay somewhere ahead! 
    Suddenly a scream cuts through the air!  You grasp your weapons - and ready yourself to fight for your lives!!!

  24. I always wanted to run a mega campaign based around the (futile) search for Cymoril, by a team of Melniboneans dispatched by Elric himself! The game calls for the grandiose!!