Lacking Natural Simplicity

Random musings on books, code, and tabletop games.

Gaming in the World of Elric

Why Role-play In the World of Elric?

There are a number of good reasons for role-playing in the world of Elric.

The setting provides a background where moral questions are important enough to be interesting: uncertain enough for a GamesMaster to avoid the simplistic dualism of Good vs. Evil, but not so complicated that everything becomes amoral. The amount of uncertainly is also easily tailored to the preferences of the GamesMaster and players.

The “Young Kingdoms” just before and during Elric's adventures are in a period of great growth, socially, religiously, politically, and commercially, providing many opportunities for interesting adventures as the each of the Young Kingdoms strives for wealth, power, and prestige. Characters might promote or oppose the Churches of Law on the Isle of Purple Towns or in Vilmir, or the Churches of Chaos in Dharijor or Pikarayd, or they might reject both and look to the Balance. They might involve themselves in the mercantile or political struggles of the merchants of the Isle of Purple Towns or of Ilmiora's city-states.

The remnants of the Melnibonéans and their predecessors provide abundant examples of the fantastic underpinings of the world, while the machinations of the Lords of Chaos and Law can provide long-term continuity and challenges to even the most powerful of characters. Characters may choose to search for these fantastic treasures, or investigate the otherworldly entities frequently summoned by Melniboné in its prime, or directly approach the Lords of Law or Chaos.

Moreover, via Michael Moorcock's concept of intersecting realities, the “Million Spheres”, Elric's world is connected to just about any setting one could imagine, ranging from Hawkmoon's mad world of decaying science to the polymorphous near future/past of Jerry Corniellius or Corum's world of subtle art and science over-run by barbaric Mabden.

Finally, the impending doom of the Young Kingdoms at Elric's hand can help lend an air of tragedy and urgency to the game. (Without unwanted excesses of angst!)

Other Million Spheres Gaming!

Early in the Spring of 2001 Chaosium released Dragon Lords of Melniboné as the first item in the Worlds of the Eternal Champion series of D20 products, compatible with the new version of Dungeons & Dragons from Wizards of the Coast. Dragon Lords of Melniboné adapts the background and some of the mechanics of Chaosium's Elric! role-playing game to the D20 system, making it easy for D&D players to game in the world of Elric and Stormbringer. It also adds some news detail to the setting. At least two D20 adventures and a sourcebook are planned. The first adventure, Slaves of Fate, was published, but as far as I know none of the others ever were.

Later in the year, Chaosium released Stormbringer, 5th Edition as the successor to Elric!, using the same mechanics as Elric! and the new details from Dragon Lords of Melniboné.

The long awaited 1 Corum supplement for Elric! was been published under license from Chaosium in June 2001 by Darcsyde Productions. Unfortunately, they never got to publish their Hawkmoon supplement.

Mongoose Publishing published various Million Spheres games for their versions of RuneQuest-derived.


This supplement was originally written for Stormbringer, then revised when Stormbringer was replaced by Elric!, and and was finally published in a form compatable with Stormbringer, 5th Edition, which replaced Elric!. Got that?