[[caption-width-right:350:Arioch! Arioch! Blood and Souls for my Lord Arioch!]]

->''"I have this feeling that [[WeirdnessMagnet my luck is none too good]].''\\
''This sword here at my side [[EvilWeapon 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 [[OrderVersusChaos the Law]];''\\
''That wizardry's my trade, and I was born to wade through gore.''\\
''[[IJustWantToBeNormal I just wanna be a lover]], not a red-eyed, screaming ghoul.''\\
''I wish it picked another to be its [[ArtifactOfDoom 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 sorceror-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]].
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.

[[AC: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)

[[AC:Later novels]]
* ''Fortress of the Pearl'' (novel, 1989)
* ''Revenge of the Rose'' (novel, 1991)

[[AC:Later trilogy]]
* ''The Dreamthief's Daughter'' (2001)
* ''The Skrayling Tree'' (2003)
* ''The White Wolf's Son'' (2005)

* ''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)

[[AC:Graphic Novels]]
* ''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)
* ''Elric: The Ruby Throne'' (2014)
!!These books provide examples of:
* 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.
* 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.
* BigBadEnsemble: Between Arioch, Darnizhaan 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: [[spoiler: Zarozinia]].
* ByronicHero: By the Gods, ''Elric''.
* CanonWelding
* 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.)
* ChickMagnet: Elric has had quite a few women after him, and he is canonically ''very'' good in bed.
* CosmicHorrorStory: It's set in that kind of universe.
* CosmicPlaything: Anyone who deals with the Gods ends up as one.
* {{Crossover}}: With ''ConanTheBarbarian'' in MarvelComics.
** And with all the other Eternal Champion characters.
* DarkFantasy: In spades.
* {{Deconstruction}}: Of ''TheLordOfTheRings'', ''ConanTheBarbarian'', and heroic fantasy in general.
* 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 [[YouBastard Total Bastard]] given proper motivation.
* {{Determinator}}: Oh, yes.
* 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
* 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]]''.
* EvilAlbino / HeroicAlbino: Elric jumps between the two.
* EvilCounterpart: Yyrkoon to Elric.
* EvilerThanThou: Stormbringer. See the quote at the bottom of the page.
* EvilPrince: Yyrkoon.
* EvilSorcerer: Theleb K'aarna, Yyrkoon and Jagreen Lern.
* 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.]]
* FranchiseZombie: The saga originally consisted of five short stories and the four novellas that became ''Stormbringer''. These nine stories, together, tell a more or less complete story. Then Moorcock decided to write the novel ''Elric of Melniboné'' as a prequel. Then he wrote some new short stories. Then he arranged all the short stories into fix-up novels. Then he wrote five more novels attempting to fill in the "gaps" in the original saga. Then the 12-issue maxiseries for DCComics and the prequel graphic novel ''Elric: Making of a Sorcerer''. And, of course, there's been talk of a FilmOfTheBook dating back to the '70s.
* 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.
* HappyEnding / EarnYourHappyEnding : [[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.]]
* HeavyMithril: Moorcock wrote the above-quoted ''Black Blade'' for Music/BlueOysterCult, and additionally saw his saga reworked by Hawkwind into the album ''The Chronicle of the Black Sword''.
** Deep Purple was aware of the Elric books when they wrote "Stormbringer" and chose the name for the song because of this, but the song itself isn't about the eponymous sword (they figured that Moorcock got the name from mythology, but he actually made it up himself).
** The PowerMetal band Domine has a large number of Moorcock related songs. Elric himself even appears on multiple album covers.
** Music/BlindGuardian also have a couple of songs based on the series.
** Spanish power metal band Dark Moor's "The Fall of Melnibone" is based on the saga.
** The title track of NewWaveOfBritishHeavyMetal band Diamond Head's ''Borrowed Time'' album is based on Elric. He also appears on the album cover.
** The song "Nadsokor" by cult metal act Cirith Ungol is about the City of Beggars from the saga. Elric has graced the cover art of several of their albums.
** DoomMetal band Doomsword have a few songs based on Elric, as well as a cover of Cirith Ungol's Nadsokor.
** US metal band Ra Pariah has "Bane of the Black Sword" based on the saga.
** Elric is the subject of "Steel Versus Steel" by heavy metal band Grand Magus.
** BlackMetal band Númenor has several songs based on Moorcock's work.
** "Elric, the Dragon Prince", by PowerMetal band Skelator, is a rock-operatic adaptation of roughly the first half of the Elric saga.
* 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.
* [[IllGirl Ill Guy]]: 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.]]
* 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.
* 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.
* MagiTek: In ''The Sleeping Sorceress'' Elric rides a sentient, talking mechanical bird.
* 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.
* 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.]]
* PlanarChampion: Elric, as an incarnation of the Champion Eternal, is one of the best-known examples, possibly even the TropeCodifier.
* 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.
* ShoutOut: more often shouted out to, than containing them. As a popular older work, it has been referenced in many places.
** Elric was parodied in the infamous comic book ''ComicBook/CerebusTheAardvark'' via the character Elrod of Melvinbone: Elrod ''looked'' like Elric (and at least claimed to have a similar back-story), but had the personality and mannerisms of [[WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes Foghorn Leghorn]].
** The Black Sword was also parodied in the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novel ''The Colour of Magic'', as the dread black sword Kring, which talks, or rather drones, incessantly, suffers from a mid-life existential crisis, and speculates on its being beaten into a ploughshare ("whatever one of those is"), which he has heard is the afterlife promised to all good swords.
** Arthas from the ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'' universe is a noble prince who sought the runeblade Frostmourne to defeat a demon lord causing a ZombieApocalypse in his kingdom of Lordaeron. He succeeded, but the blade's necromantic powers ended up corrupting him, eventually causing him to murder his father and rule over the hordes of the undead himself as the Lich King. After his corruption, his appearance also becomes nearly identical to Elric.
** Elric is also an obvious influence on the ''VideoGame/LegacyOfKain'' series of games, specifically main protagonist Kain himself (a member of an amoral race who has a soul-sucking sword and meddles in the affairs of gods and men and wants his race to flourish no matter what the cost, he's practically a displaced Elric).
** Creator/KieronGillen's run in ''ComicBook/JourneyIntoMystery'' comics [[WhatCouldHaveBeen was originally supposed to be inspired by the saga]], and while plans changed, one can still see some similarities [[spoiler: especially in the final fate of main characters]].
** The setting in Warhammer Fantasy, prior to the End Times, was heavily influenced by this series. Special mention goes to the dark elf Malus Darkblade, who's pretty much Elric with the serial numbers filed off.
** The series has also been influence on ''TheWitcher'' books.
** ''[[Film/HellBoy Hellboy II: The Golden Army]]'' also features an {{expy}} of Elric as its main antagonist.
** In ''UltimaVIITheBlackGate'' one InfinityPlusOneSword is a sentient black sword.
** The Magus class in ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' takes a lot of inspiration from Elric, particularly the Bladebound Magus archetype and Seltyiel's character design (he's a half-elf with white hair.)
** In ''Series/GameOfThrones'', when Joffrey Baratheon asks what he should name his new Valyrian Steel sword, one of his courtiers suggests "Stormbringer".
** In ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' on of [[AdiposeRex King Aegon the Unworthy]]'s [[HeroicBastard bastards]], the [[HeroicAlbino albino]] [[TheSpymaster spymaster]], [[AmbiguouslyEvil ambiguously evil]] [[EvilSorcerer sorcerer]] with a CoolSword and former [[EvilChancellor Hand of the King]] Brynden Rivers is clearly an {{Expy}} of Elric.
** In ''Literature/TailchasersSong'', a fantasy about cats, the feline creator goddess Meerclar Allmother shares her name with Meerclar of the Cats, one of Melniboné's Beast-Lords.
* SoulCuttingBlade: Stormbringer.
* SquishyWizard: Elric starts out as one, but gets better once he gets Stormbringer [[spoiler:and ultimately gives it up]].
* 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''.
** To be fair, 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 Melnibonians 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]].
* 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: You might say Elric has anger issues.
* VestigialEmpire: Melnibone.
* VillainProtagonist: Elric actually starts out this way; before "upgrading" to a Type V 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.
-->''"Farewell, troper. I was a thousand times more evil than thou!"''