Follow TV Tropes


Tabletop Game / Stormbringer

Go To

Stormbringer is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game published by Chaosium in 1981, based on the Elric of Melnibone series by Michael Moorcock and built on Chaosium’s Basic Role-Playing System.

The first edition was written by Ken St Andre and Steve Perrin, and was followed by a 2nd (more of a tidy-up than anything else), 3rd (Games Workshop’s Hardcover book) and 4th edition (Chaosium’s single book format ~ which also included material from the Stormbringer Companion). The Elric! edition was published in the 90s with the 5th edition of Stormbringer (a revised and expanded Elric! edition) published in 2000. With the rise of Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition, a Dragonlords of Melniboné D20 version was released in 2001.


  • Adjective Animal Alehouse:
    • Adventure Stealer of Souls. The four merchants who hired Elric to kill Nikorn ask Freyda Nikorn to meet them at the Purple Dove Tavern in Bakshaan.
    • Stormbringer Companion adventure "Hall of Risk". One of the possible adventure rationales, "Quest for the Sybil", has the PCs meet their patron at the Screaming Gull Inn.
    • Demon Magic: The Second Stormbringer Companion adventure "The Velvet Circle". The PCs are sent to the town of Fakash, where they are to meet a man named Chunloom at the Black Camel Inn.
  • Alchemic Elementals: The standard four types: Fire/Salamanders, Water/Undines, Air/Sylphs, and Earth/Gnomes.
  • Beastly Bloodsports: In the adventure “The Velvet Wall”, the Velvet Circle hosts a cockfighting establishment called the Rooster’s Wail.
  • Bland-Name Product: One of the shops in the Velvet Circle is Froderik's Millinery, which sells "stunning garments of silk and cotton" that are "unsuitable for treks through the wilderness, but handy for an evening’s pleasure." (In our world, this would be Frederick's of Hollywood, known for creating lingerie.)
  • Build Like an Egyptian: Temples to Goldar (one of the Lords of Law) are built in the shape of a pyramid.
  • Combat Tentacles: The Kyrenee monster is made up of tentacles covered with an acid-based poison that causes serious damage to its victims and corrodes weapons that strike it.
  • Comic Sutra: The Serpent's Coils (a brothel in Ilmar) has prostitutes who know a Dharijorian love technique called "The Slithering Serpent."
  • Dark Fantasy: As with the source novels, the world is doomed by an idiot sorcerer king and his Evil Weapon.
  • Duel to the Death: In the Stealer of Souls supplement, after 4 merchants have Elric of Melniboné kill Nikorn, one way for Nikorn's daughter Freya to get revenge is to challenge each of the merchants to a duel. If she takes too long dealing with them, one of the merchants will seek her out for a duel. In the sequel Black Sword, Freya can duel Elric himself.
  • Dying Race: In the adventure "The Crystal of Daerdaerdarth", Valyk's Island holds a race of creatures known as the Kay, who were created using sorcery by the Melnibonean wizard Earl Valyk thousands of years earlier. They're in decline because 80% of their breeding females die soon after birth.
  • Extra-Dimensional Shortcut: The adventure "Sorcerer's Isle" introduced Gateway Opener demons, which could create a gateway to the Infinite Planes. The adventuress Lysansiptra was so familiar with the planes that she could use a gateway to travel to another plane, wait there for a while until the alignment changed, then create another gateway and return to the desired location on the Young Kingdoms plane.
  • Fungus Humongous: In the Forest of Troos are the Fungus Groves, which have mushrooms whose stems are as wide as a house and whose caps are large enough to build a castle upon.
  • Glowing Gem: Supplement The Stormbringer Companion, adventure "The Crystal of Daerdaerdarth". The Crystal of Daerdaerdarth is a perfect 1,000 carat ruby that glows with magical energy.
  • Implied Death Threat: Tormiel's house has a Demon of Protection that is required to give two warnings before attacking intruders, such as, "Gee, this is an unhealthy place to visit without an invitation," or "Do you know where your blood comes from?" If the intruders ignore his warnings, he's free to kill them.
  • Instant Mass: Just Add Water!: When placed in water, a waterhorse wafer will swell up and become a full sized waterhorse (a demon from the Plane of Probability).
  • Kill It with Fire: The Kyrenee monster has only one weakness: flame. If it is set on fire it will shred into many fragments and dissolve, returning to its own plane of existence.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: The adventure "Sorcerer's Isle" has a Megalodon that could sink ships by biting through their hulls and a giant whale-like demon named Lvthn.
  • Liminal Time: Mordaga's Throne gives anyone sitting in it the chance to contact the Lord of Chaos named Arioch. The attempt must be made at twilight, when the world seems to be both dissolving and reforming.
  • MacGuffin Guardian: In “The Velvet Circle”, the box the adventurers are seeking is guarded by a demon named Tyik Tyva. Inside the box is a Melnibonean Wheel worth 500,000 large bronze pieces.
  • Poison Is Corrosive: The Kyrenee monster's Combat Tentacles are covered with an acid-based poison that causes serious damage to its victims and corrodes weapons that strike it.
  • Possession Presumes Guilt: In “The Velvet Circle”, while the Player Characters are in the Velvet Circle, a man who has just stolen the famous fighting cock Desert Spur runs into one of them. He clumsily drops the bag holding the rooster and runs away. A few seconds later, a group of angry thugs shows up looking for the thief. If one of the Player Characters has picked up the bag, the thugs assume he's the thief and attack him and anyone who helps him.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning:
    • The Golden Icehound has eyes of red demon-fire.
    • Adventure "Hall of Risk". The demon lord Baaleer has burning-red eyes.
    • Adventure "The Crystal of Daerdaerdarth''. The demon guardian Trunchuss has red eyes.
  • Summon Magic: Almost all the magic in Stormbringer involves summoning supernatural creatures like demons and elementals or even higher beings. Even enchanting an item is simply summoning a creature with a useful trait and binding it to an object. The Elric! rpg moves away from this by greatly limiting summon magic and adding a large repertoire of spells to learn.
  • Supernatural Fear Inducer: One of the powers usable by certain demons is Fear. A demon can use it to cause panic in any creature (other than a deity) within 10 meters by succeeding in a POW vs. POW conflict. A creature affected by Fear can only cringe, whine and whimper helplessly until the demon moves out of range.
  • Super-Scream: Two notable examples:
    • The Crimson Xoar is a gigantic (60+ feet high) water buffalo whose bellow could damage the blood vessels and tissues of anyone within a mile of it.
    • The None Such is a cross between a blink dog, a Greater Demon and a phase spider. It can give off a scream that causes 1-12 Hit Points and stuns opponents for 1-3 melee turns.
  • Swallowed Whole: The adventure "Sorcerer's Isle" has a megalodon haunt the water around the island. It attacks and sinks ships, and anyone unfortunate enough to end up in the water is in big trouble. If the megalodon makes a critical hit when biting a victim, it swallows them alive.
  • The Tell: From the description of the pirate Janar Ra:
    When she is angry, she goes into the jungle and hacks away at trees; when she is very angry, she sullenly sharpens her axes. The rest of the pirates do not disturb her when she sharpens her axes.
  • Timmy in a Well: The Kelos family dog Rover is a clear Shout-Out to Lassie.
    The Kelos family pet is a collie with an almost psychic awareness of trouble. When she senses danger she goes through elaborate pantomimes to warn her owners. Most of the family act as though they understand everything the collie tells them.
  • Wheel of Decisions: The Wheels of Fortune in the Hall of Risk are all octagonal in shape, two meters wide, hung on a wall, cannot be removed or damaged and are split up into eight wedges, with each wedge having a number on it from one to eight. When all bets are placed, the Wheel spins on its own.
    • One of the rooms in the Hall holds the Wheel of Fortune. It is made of gold and silver and its numbers are inlaid with precious stones. A Player Character can bet coins or gems on a specific number. If the Wheel of Fortune ends up on that number, the Player Character receives 1-8 times his bet back. If not, the bet is lost.
    • One room in the Hall holds the Wheel of Life and Death. It is constructed of steel and ebony, is colored grey and black and its numbers are colored blood red. When the wheel spins, the result decides which creature the Player Character must fight to the death. If he wins, he receives one or two points of bonus Strength, Constitution, Size or Dexterity, depending on which creature he fought.
    • One room in the Hall holds the Wheel of the Gods. It is made of a bone-white material the Player Characters have never seen before and its numbers are all the colors of the rainbow, changing constantly. A Player Character can bet their Power, Intelligence and/or Charisma. If they win they gain 1-8 times the amount of the bet, if not they lose their bet.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: In “The Velvet Circle”:
    • The PCs are summoned by the gods themselves to a fateful meeting with the Melnibonean sorcerer Kolan Tal. The meeting takes place at the Dark Pearl in the city of Ilmor at midnight.
    • In the town of Fakash, the Human Sacrifices to the Chaos Lord Hionhurn the Executioner begin at midnight.

Alternative Title(s): Elric