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Steal your strength and guard your soul: this week, the Vintage RPG Podcast looks at Chaosium’s Stormbringer RPG. Designed by Ken St. Andre, Stormbringer is a high power and high risk RPG set in the world of Michael Moorcock’s Elric stories (for our money, perhaps the greatest fantasy series ever written). One of the more straightforward of the games using Chaosium’s Basic Role Playing system, it has piles of fatalistic atmosphere and dark themes, perhaps most notably the magic system that relies on mind altering substances and is entirely arranged around summoning and binding demons and other supernatural entities. Most Stormbringer games end in death or corruption – the fun is in figuring out which is the better fate.

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2 thoughts on “Stormbringer

  1. This game of Stormbringer is a lifelong love for me, from the first time my eyes stayed on that wonderful cover of the 2nd edition (and 1st edition) box. Very nice that you mention the overall chaotic and unbalanced magic-system which – at least in my eyes – fit this setting like a glove! It’s exactly because of how unpredictable it is that underlines the already chaos-infested world of The Young Kingdoms. This is also mirrored by how you generate your character. So much fun, and with just a small amount of house ruling, you get a wonderful game!

  2. Fear not! Stormbringer did in fact get noticed by the Satanic Panic. Bob Larson’s _Satanism: the seduction of America’s youth_ includes about a page on it in “Appendix A: A parent’s guide to occult games.” The same appendix calls out Powers & Perils and Warhammer FRP, as well as some board games (Parker Brother’s Prediction Rod, Ouija boards, and something called “Universe Tell Me”), the choose-your-own-adventure book Warlock of Firetop Mountain, and the Kabbala (?!).
    But you are right: D&D was always the biggest and most recognizable target. I can think of only a couple of other books that mention other games: Playing with Fire by Weldon & Bjornstad, and Children at Risk by Porter)

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