[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Elric_of_Melnibone.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Arioch! Arioch! Blood and Souls for my Lord Arioch!]]

->''"I have this feeling that my luck is none too good.''\\
''This sword here at my side don't act the way it should.''\\
''Keeps calling me its master, but I feel like its slave;''\\
''Hauling me faster and faster to an early, early grave;''\\
''And it howls! It howls like hell!''\\
''I'm told it's my duty to fight against the Law;''\\
''That wizardry's my trade, and I was born to wade through gore.''\\
''I just wanna be a lover, not a red-eyed, screaming ghoul.''\\
''I wish it picked another to be its killing tool."''
-->-- "Black Blade", as performed by '''Music/BlueOysterCult'''

Originally a six book series by Creator/MichaelMoorcock, the story follows its title character, Elric of Melnibone, in his journey from a sickly sorcerer-king to a top class warrior involved with the affairs of the gods. His weapon is Stormbringer, one of two evil demonic runeblades that feast upon the souls of those their wielders slay with them, have wills of their own, and tend to take over their wielders on occasion.

The TabletopRolePlayingGame ''Stormbringer'' is based on these books.


[[IThoughtItMeant Note that it has nothing to do with]] [[Manga/FullmetalAlchemist the saga of the Elric Brothers]].
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!!Installments:
The series contains many books and stories, not written in the same order as the internal chronology. Additionally, several of the Elric novels are fix-ups of short stories published years or decades earlier.

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Original series ]]

* ''Elric of Melniboné '' (novel, 1972)
* ''The Sailor on the Seas of Fate'' (collection, 1976)
** ''Sailing to the Future''
** ''Sailing to the Present''
** ''Sailing to the Past''
* ''The Weird of the White Wolf'' (collection, 1977)
** ''The Dream of Earl Aubec'' (aka ''Master of Chaos'')
** ''The Dreaming City''
** ''While the Gods Laugh''
** ''The Singing Citadel''
* ''The Sleeping Sorceress'' (novel, 1971, also released as ''The Vanishing Tower'')
* ''The Bane of the Black Sword'' (collection, 1977)
** ''The Stealer of Souls''
** ''Kings in Darkness''
** ''The Flamebringers'' (aka ''The Caravan of Forgotten Dreams'')
** ''To Rescue Tanelorn''
* ''Stormbringer'' (novel, 1965)

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Later novels ]]

* ''Fortress of the Pearl'' (novel, 1989)
* ''Revenge of the Rose'' (novel, 1991)

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Later trilogy ]]

* ''The Dreamthief's Daughter'' (2001)
* ''The Skrayling Tree'' (2003)
* ''The White Wolf's Son'' (2005)

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Collections ]]

* ''Elric at the End of Time'' (1984)
* ''Michael Moorcock's Elric: Tales of the White Wolf'' (1994)
* ''Pawns of Chaos: Tales of the Eternal Champion'' (1996)

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Graphic Novels ]]

* By P. Craig Russell
** ''Elric of Melniboné'' (with Roy Thomas and Michael T. Gilbert; Pacific Comics) (1983-1984)
** ''The Dreaming City'' (Marvel/Epic Comics) (1982)
** ''Stormbringer'' (Dark Horse) (1997)
* ''Michael Moorcock's Multiverse'' (with Walt Simonson and John Ridgway) (1999)
* ''Elric: Making of a Sorcerer'' (with Walt Simonson) (2007)
* ''Elric: The Balance Lost'' (2011)
* Titan Comics
** ''Elric: The Ruby Throne'' (2014)
** ''Elric: Stormbringer'' (2015)

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!!These books provide examples of:
* AdaptationalVillainy: The Titan Comics graphic novels have essentially made Elric a VillainProtagonist who kills hapless slaves, innocent civilians and his own, loyal followers on a whim, making his canonical moments of mercy and insight come off as whimsical, rather than moral, as well.
* AllYourPowersCombined: In ''The Sailor on the Seas of Fate'', Elric fuses with the other eternal Champions and they turn into a giant warrior in order to fight two eldritch abominations.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: The Melniboneans, who are almost all decadent sadists.
* AnachronicOrder: As one can see from the list above, the conclusion of the saga was the ''first'' part to be published in novel form.
* AntiHero: Elric jumps between PragmaticHero, UnscrupulousHero and VillainProtagonist throughout the series.
* ArtifactOfDoom, {{BFS}}, CoolSword ''and'' EvilWeapon: Stormbringer and its twin sword Mournblade.
* BadassBookworm: Elric has read every book in his library, which in turn taught him the ways of the sorcerer.
* BalanceBetweenGoodAndEvil: Elric's eventual destiny, as the last king of a chaotic race, is to use the weapons of Chaos in order to fight the forces of Chaos, to as to restore Balance to the Earth and allow the powers of Law a chance to create something safer for the younger races.
* TheBerserker: When Elric gets under Stormbringer's influence in the heat of a battle no one is safe.
* BigBadEnsemble: Between Arioch, Jagreen Lern and Stormbringer itself, depending how you view its relationship with Elric.
* BittersweetEnding: Elric apparently fulfills his destiny at the end of ''Stormbringer'' but he [[spoiler:dies in the process... after which Stormbringer assumes its true form as the force of chaos in the new world order.]]
* BodyHorror: Jagreen Lern and the forces of Chaos do this to most of their victims, converting them into abominations covered in reptilian and insectoid scales. [[spoiler: Zarozinia, Elric's wife, becomes a worm-like being with only her human head when Elric reunites with her. She uses her remaining will to impale herself on Stormbringer, so that her soul can give strength to her husband]].
* ByronicHero: Elric.
* CanonWelding: The novel ''The Sailor on the Seas of Fate'' is the first Moorcock novel in publication order to feature characters from difficult subcontinuities interacting together.
* CartwrightCurse: both of Elric's major love interests died tragically.
* CharacterAlignment: [[InvokedTrope Invoked]]; the original alignment system of the very first edition of ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' was based on The Elric Mythos' concepts of [[OrderVersusChaos Law vs. Chaos]] and [[BalanceBetweenGoodAndEvil Good Vs. Evil]], with the original D&D alignments being Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic, with Lawful being roughly equated with Good, and Chaotic with Evil. The addition of the second Alignment Axis of Good/Neutral/Evil, which allowed for such concepts as characters being both Chaotic AND Good (such as rebel freedom fighters) or Lawful AND Evil (such as Nazis) wasn't added until later, with the release of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (First Edition.)
** The original alignment system for the ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' Fantasy Role-Playing Game was also largely cribbed from the Elric Saga, as were many other elements.
* ChickMagnet: Elric has had quite a few women after him, and he is canonically ''very'' good in bed. Though once he meets Zarozinia, he becomes surprisingly serious and faithful to her, and tries to be a good husband.
* CosmicHorrorStory: It's set in that kind of universe.
* CosmicPlaything: Anyone who deals with the Gods ends up as one.
* CrapsackWorld:
* {{Crossover}}: With ''ConanTheBarbarian'' in MarvelComics.
** And with all the other Eternal Champion characters.
* DarkFantasy: A major TropeCodifier of the genre.
* DeathOfAThousandCuts: [[spoiler:Jagreen Lern is killed by Elric in this fashion, with Elric cutting him with Moonglum's sword, because he doesn't want to use Stormbringer and give Jagreen a quick death and have his soul part of him. The text states that he kept him alive for nearly a hour by cutting him piece by piece until Moonglum asked Elric to kill him. The P. Craig Russell version of Stormbringer shows a panel where Elric ''cuts the lower lid of his eye'']].
* {{Deconstruction}}: Of ''TheLordOfTheRings'', ''ConanTheBarbarian'', and HeroicFantasy in general.
** Rather than a fight between Good and Evil, it's a fight between Law and Chaos, both entities having ideas closer to BlueAndOrangeMorality. The fantasy setting suffused with magic, rather than an area of wonder and mystery is an unstable and horrific world filled with monsters, sorcerors, demons and kingdoms which makes the entire landscape feel inherently dangerous and wild.
** Stormbringer, the titular CoolSword is a parody of the very trope, its power derives from its victims rather than its shininess, its hilt and scabbard or the metal, unlike other tropes in fantasy fiction. It reminds readers that the first purpose of any sword is to kill people.
** Elric himself is an attack on TheHero and other associated tropes of mythological and fantasy stories, which featured such figures as prophetically pre-destined to save the world. Here Elric is a barely stable sorceror who [[spoiler:is little more than a puppet for fate, and whose death has none of the grandeur and majesty of fantasy fiction]].
* DefeatEqualsFriendship: Elric all but cites this trope as his reason for sparing Yyrkoon after his first attempted coup. [[spoiler: It was a bad idea.]]
* DefectorFromDecadence: Elric, who has to fight his cousin for his throne, as he was seen as being weak and unworthy of his title since he was less willing than his countrymen to indulge in pointless cruelty.
** The key word here being ''pointless''. Elric could be a total bastard given proper motivation.
* DefectorFromParadise: The troubled hero finds and experiences the secret city of Tanelorn which stands outside Chaos and Law, a place of peace and tranquility where heroes may find rest and the Eternal Champion may lay down his burden. He later decided that he could not settle down there and became the only person to renounce Tanelorn and return to the world outside.
* {{Determinator}}: No matter how much Stormbringer and the universe craps on Elric, he never gives up in his quests.
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: Stormbringer can even kill gods.
* DisproportionateRetribution: Elric also uses this from time to time. Evil cousin take your throne, and, more importantly, your girl? ''Burn the entire nation to the ground, abandoning your race and countrymen to the men of the Young Kingdoms''.
* DoomMagnet: Woe to anyone who becomes Elric's companion and/or love interest.
* DyingRace: Elric's.
* EldritchAbomination: The Chaos Gods qualify.
** One of the Sailor On The Seas Of Fate stories also includes two creatures even more alien, from outside of the multiverse entirely. [[spoiler:The heroes mistake them for buildings and wander through a WombLevel before they figure it out]].
** In one short story, ''[[NotSoDifferent one of the Gods of Law]]'' is this. However, it's also mentioned that that particular Law God had [[HeWhoFightsMonsters been fighting Chaos for far]] [[KnightTemplar too long]].
* EmpathicWeapon: Elric's sword Stormbringer is sentient and capable of compelling Elric to certain actions.
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: Initiating this is Elric's final act, destroying the current world in order to create a new one -- ''[[TheFourthWallWillNotProtectYou ours]]''.
* EverybodysDeadDave: Elric at the end of the Last Battle [[spoiler: just before Stormbringer kills him]].
* EvilAlbino: Elric jumps between this trope and HeroicAlbino.
* EvilCounterpart: Yyrkoon to Elric. Elric is a DefectorFromDecadence while Yyrkoon relish on the perversions of melnibonean society and they both use a magic souls sucking sword.
* EvilOverlord: Jagreen Lern, the ruler of Pan Tang and high priest of the chaos gods. Yyrkoon tries to be one but Elric gets in the way.
* EvilerThanThou: Stormbringer. See the quote at the bottom of the page.
* EvilPrince: Yyrkoon.
* EvilSorcerer: Theleb K'aarna, Yyrkoon and Jagreen Lern, all powerful sorcerers. Elric tries (not always successfully) to not be this.
* EvilWeapon: Stormbringer even admits such [[spoiler: as it turns on Elric and kills him]]. See EvilerThanThou.
* TheFairFolk: Melniboneans are beautiful, elfin amoral hedonists that traffic with the Lords of Chaos and are universally feared by ordinary humans. AlwaysChaoticEvil is almost putting it mildly. Sadism is in their blood to the point that they make music in which each note is a scream from a tortured (human) slave, whose vocal cords have been mutilated such that they can produce only that particular note.
* FogOfDoom: Yyrkoon invokes it to escape Melniboné after his first defeat.
* FourthDateMarriage: [[spoiler:Elric and Zarozinia decide to get married after knowing each other for about a day.]]
* FullFrontalAssault: The Elenoin, a race of extradimensional women warriors, fight naked.
* GenocideFromTheInside: In the short story ''The Dreaming City'' [[spoiler:Elric leads an attack on the capital of Melnibone that winds up completely destroying the people, the city, and his own betrothed]].
* GodIsEvil: The Gods of Chaos are pretty much AlwaysChaoticEvil, though one may come up now and then that's ChaoticNeutral.
* TheGodsMustBeLazy: The Lords of Order are too weak to intervene in the collapse of the universe itself until the very end of the saga.
* {{Gotterdammerung}}: Elric's ultimate destiny is to create a world free of the influence of gods or cosmic powers, resulting in TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt.
* HappilyMarried: Elric and Zarozinia, they enjoy it while it lasts.
* HappyEnding: [[spoiler:In Michael Moorcock's Multiverse Elric and Moonglum are resurrected along with most of the other incarnations of the Eternal Champion (with no explanation given), and after fulfilling a quest Elric is finally given the opportunity to take control of his own destiny.]]
* HereThereWereDragons: Most of Melnibone's dragons have died off, and the few remaining are weak to the point that they must sleep for ''centuries'' between flights.
* TheHeroDies: [[spoiler: At the end of ''Stormbringer'']].
* HeroKiller: [[spoiler: Stormbringer at the very last page of the sixth book]].
* HistoricalInJoke: [[Literature/TheSongOfRoland Roland]], the semi-mythical French paladin who served under Charlemagne, is implied to be a future incarnation of Elric.
** Tie-ins from other Moorcock stories indicate that so is KingArthur.
* HungryWeapon: The sword Stormbringer is hungry for souls, often moaning when it wishes to feed. When it hits an opponent, it drains their soul and LifeEnergy, killing them. It can force Elric to strike at other people by controlling his mind.
* IllBoy: Elric is anemic and has various other ailments. Until he acquires Stormbringer, he requires constant medicinal treatments just to be able to stand upright or dress himself.
** His personal assistant and mentor, Tanglebones, reminds Elric that he was able to become an accomplished fighter as a young man. So the drugs and spells were fine, but they had to be taken/renewed regularly, probably several times a day, making it impossible for him to travel. With Stormbringer, he could see the world.
* {{Jerkass}}: Elric often acts like one. His patron god, Arioch, is also a major Jerkass. In fact, [[JerkassGods all the Gods pretty much are Jerkasses]]. For a Melnibonéan he's positively humanitarian. That's not saying much, of course, but his cousins hated him and plotted against him for being too philosophical and soft-hearted and insufficiently sadistic and maniacal to be worthy of the throne.
* KillEmAll: [[spoiler:By the end of ''Stormbringer'' the world has been basically destroyed, and the only thing left "alive" is the titular sword.]]
* KillTheOnesYouLove: Elric [[spoiler:accidentally murders Cymoril with Stormbringer, and her soul enters the blade and gives Elric strength. Later Zarozinia and Moonglum impale themselves on Stormbringer so as to help Elric fulfill his destiny]].
* KingOfTheHomeless: There's the Beggar King of Nadsokor. A whole city where everyone has the kind of defects that characterize the worst of the lumpenproletariat beggars, and the story is about their king stealing Elric's imperial jewels.
* KissingCousins / IncestIsRelative: Elric's betrothed, Cymoril, is actually his cousin. Apparently this isn't unusual for Melnibonean royalty -- Yyrkoon, Elric's rival and Cymoril's ''brother'', also lusts after her (to spite Elric more than anything else). It's not been all that uncommon for real-world royalty, either.
* KingTropeTheNth: Elric VIII, 428th emperor of Melnibone, son of Sadric LXXXVI.
* LastOfHisKind: Elric, eventually; [[spoiler: [[GenocideFromTheInside mostly self-inflicted]]]]. Some few other Melniboneans survive their nation's destruction, but in the end Elric is the only one left alive of his people [[spoiler: and soon after of his entire world]].
* LifeDrinker: Elric, via Stormbringer.
* LoyalToThePosition: Valharik, the captain of the guard in Melnibone in the first novel, claims this as his reason for betraying his mistress Cymoril and following Yyrkoon's evil orders when he takes power in Melnibone, including cutting down one of his own men who tried to defend her against Yyrkoon and feeding the poor guy to Cymoril's slaves. Needless to say, Elric doesn't buy it.
* MagicKnight: Elric and Jagreen Lern are skilled in both spell casting and sword fighting.
* MagiTek: In ''The Sleeping Sorceress'' Elric rides a sentient, talking mechanical bird.
* NemesisWeapon: Elric's signature weapon is the magical sword Stormbringer. One of his opponents is his EvilCounterpart cousin Yyrkoon, who wields Stormbringer's "brother" sword Mournblade. Later, in ''The Revenge of the Rose'', Gaynor the Damned (a Chaotic EvilCounterpart not just to Elric, but to all versions of the Eternal Champion) wields a "leach blade" which drains the power from magical weapons, including Stormbringer.
* NewWaveScienceFiction: Elric was born out of this movement (which also covered fantasy); in fact, Moorcock was one of the leaders of the movement.
* OneManArmy: Pretty much anyone who wields [[ArtifactOfDoom The Black Sword]], be it Mournblade, Stormbringer, or one of their equivalents in other stories of the Champion Eternal. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]], since the Black Sword is a LifeDrinker and can pass on the stolen vitality of its victims onto the wielder, providing them with supernatural strength and endurance for [[EvilWeapon as long as they keep killing]]. Elric, however, takes it UpToEleven, since not only does he have SummonMagic, he's also known as one of the most powerful sorcerors in the world, effectively making him a PersonOfMassDestruction.
* OrderVersusChaos: The Melniboneans follow the Lords of Chaos; Elric does, too, until he realizes he's upset the BalanceBetweenGoodAndEvil and begins to serve the Lords of Order, or maybe fated to restore the BalanceBetweenGoodAndEvil, or both.
* OverlyLongName: When Gaynor started to appear in non-heroic fantasy novels, he often used the name Paul von Minct or van Minct. ''The Dreamthief's Daughter'' reveals that his original version, a NaziNobleman, was named Gaynor Paul St Odhran Badehoff-Krasny von Minct.
* PerpetualStorm: In the Young Kingdoms, the area called the Weeping Waste is so named because it has constant rain.
* PerspectiveFlip: Elric is essentially the kind of character who would be killed by [[Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian Conan]]: a physically weak, evil, sorcery-wielding ruler of a decaying empire.
* PhysicalGod: The Lords of Chaos and Order both qualify; it's only because of ancient treaties that they don't meddle more directly in the affairs of mortals. Once or twice, it's explicitly stated that the Young Kingdoms are a kind of SpaceColdWar territory in the cosmic struggle between the two powers... until Elric's actions change things [[spoiler: for the worse.]]
* PleaOfPersonalNecessity: Darnizhaan tells Elric and Dyvim Slorm that killing him will begin the death of the world they know. When they decide to do so anyway, he says, "Fools! In destroying me, you destroy yourselves!"
* PoweredByAForsakenChild: Pan Tang's war machine is fueled by conscripting the adult men of their tribute states, then ''sacrificing their wives and children'', on arcane altars which are in operation 24 hours a day, ''depopulating an entire continent in the process'', to summon the Lords of Chaos
* {{Precursors}}: All the civilizations of the "Young Kingdoms" were built on the ruins of the old Melnibonean empire.
* PrehensileHair: The Elenoin, extradimensional female demons, have this.
%%* RedEyesTakeWarning
* RisingEmpire: Unlike in the books, where Melniboné is portrayed as a VestigialEmpire, the {{prequel}} comic, ''Elric: Making of a Sorcerer'', tells the story behind the rise and descent of the empire. The four issues mostly concentrate on Elric gathering new allies among the [[ElementalEmbodiment elementals]] and the peoples of the Old Kingdoms. At the same time Elric (or rather his ancestors whose role he gets to play on the dream quests) gets to meet Arioch as well as wield [[EvilWeapon Stormbringer]] for the first time.
* SoulCuttingBlade: Stormbringer.
* SquishyWizard: Elric starts out as one, but gets better once he gets Stormbringer [[spoiler:and ultimately gives it up]].
* StartOfDarkness: ''The Dreamthief's Daughter'' finally provides an origin for Moorcock's recurring villain Gaynor the Damned.
* StormOfBlades: At one point, Elric and his comrades are set upon by three Chaos Gods - ''including Arioch'' - and in order to [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu kill them]], Elric uses [[EvilWeapon Stormbringer and Mournblade]] to summon ''over one hundred of their brother and sister swords from alternate realities''.
* SuddenSequelDeathSyndrome: [[spoiler:Smiorgan]] in ''Weird of the White Wolf'' is a weird inversion, since the story that [[spoiler:Smiorgan]] died in was written before the one in which he was introduced. You could call this "Sudden Prequel Life Syndrome" instead.
* SummonMagic: All magic in Elric's world is based upon summoning various demons and elemental spirits, and asking them for a favor. Elric is lucky that the Melniboneans have made ancient pacts with practically every single spirit and demon.
** It's also noted that Nature Spirits have ''much'' lower "costs" than Gods of Law or Chaos, and indeed Elric calls for help from the former more often than he does the latter.
%%* SummonToHand
%%* TanksForTheMemories
* TheFourthWallWillNotProtectYou: [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt The End of Elric's World]] triggers the birth of ''ours''. [[OhCrap And Stormbringer's still alive in it]].
* TogetherInDeath: [[spoiler:A transformed Zarozinia commits suicide by falling on Stormbringer, so that her soul can join Elric's]].
* TortureTechnician: Doctor Jest is the chief torturer of the Melnibonean empire, in charge of making spies spill their secrets for the Emperor in nightmarish fashion. He also serves as chief carver for the Emperor's table, using those same spies before they die. They must be able to see the parts he removes being cooked and devoured.
%%* UnstoppableRage: Elric
* VestigialEmpire: Melnibone is one; in fact, one of the reasons why the Young Kingdoms are called such is because they liberated themselves from Melnibonean tyranny only relatively recently (a few centuries back, versus the Melnibonean Empire's ten ''millenia'' of history at the saga's start). Unsurprisingly, their fall from grace was due as much from the Melniboneans' growing decadence turning inwards - they are a DyingRace due to internal attrition and hedonistic ennui by Elric's time - as from uprisings from their vassals.
* VillainProtagonist: Elric actually starts out this way; before "upgrading" to an AntiHero.
* WalkingTheEarth: Elric
* WhereIWasBornAndRazed: It takes three books, but Elric's eventually the one who destroys Melnibone.
* WombLevel: Elric's quest into the Pulsating Cavern - the womb level.
* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds: Elric of Melniboné just can't get a break. Every time he kills it makes him stronger and it also makes him hate himself more. On top of that every girl he loves (each of whom wants to wrap him in the proverbial blanket and feed him the proverbial soup) dies, which usually leads to him needing to wreak revenge on someone. And kill them with his sword and take their soul, and then hate himself. It's a vicious cycle.
* WretchedHive: There's a city made up of thieves, murderers, and beggars.
* YouJustToldMe: How Elric discovers [[spoiler: Yyrkoon's plans about the two Black Swords.]]
* YourSoulIsMine: What Stormbringer and Mournblade do to anyone killed with them.
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-->''"Farewell, troper. I was a thousand times more evil than thou!"''
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