Cut It Open And See If It Swallowed Any Gems Part 7: Stormbringer

As I mentioned before, I got Paranoia free through a White Dwarf subscription as GW got rid of their stock of their UK printings of US games. Also offered was Stormbringer, which a friend got. I think I played this once or twice as a player. There was an adventure called “Madcap Laughs” in White Dwarf that we played through. Eventually through various swaps, it ended up my possession (I think I still have it today).

I’ve neglected to mention so far that this is a RPG based on the Elric novels of Michael Moorcock. And that I’ve never read an Elric novel. I remember borrowing a Corum novel from the library around this time, and not being overly keen. I’ve since come to realise that I’m not the biggest fan of fantasy in the world. But despite my vague ignorance of Moorcock’s work (though I think I’ve read some of his comic work since) and my disposition towards fantasy, I got some decent games out of this. While not being familiar with the source material, the themes appealed to me at the time, having been exposed to them via other creators who had been inspired by Moorcock (mainly Grant Morrison).

And the game mechanic is a nice one. It’s the pared down version of the Runequest rules that were used by Chaosium for various games such as Call of Cthulhu (more on which later), combined with a magic system centred on the summoning of various entities, and the binding of said entities. There’s a scenario in the rule book that would be a key adventure in my second groups’ games, based around a cosmic gambling parlour. I now wonder if my fellow GM in that group, Barry, had taken to heart the bizarre random occurances in said adventure, as the games he’d run for years to follow were heavy with items and situations that created hundreds of unpredictable events. Stuff, like halls of mirrors where each mirror would have a different set of random effects for the person looking in it. He must have spent ages writing up chart after chart of this stuff.

Annoyingly we kind of lost contact with the chap after he said he was moving Cardiff, he then rang me a week later, while I was out, saying he was actually living in Edinburgh. And as he never left me a number, that was the last we heard of him.