Stormbringer Tales is an actual play I have been trying to get off the ground for about three years now. It has had its up and downs, but an appreciation for the source material and fondness for the system (especially Chaosium’s 1st edition) has kept me motivated. However, my prep and expectations have changed over time, and I wanted to share a bit of that before play gets started in earnest. Right now, I have one player who has finished their character and expect a few others soon.
Just to keep things simple, I will break down some of the original and subsequent prep into something easily digestible.
- Original intent was for 10 episodes of 1-2 (or 3) sessions each, depending. But I realize 30 sessions is a lot of commitment. Even for me.
- Start the characters in media res in a situation where they are not boxed into a corner but danger is afoot. (This has not changed much).
- Be heavy handed with “Fate” the way Elric is sort of pushed around in the stories. I have softened this a bit, but fate is still out there. I feel like moments will present themselves and the cosmic forces being ever present is not the same as throttling play.
- Sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll. Remains unchanged.
- I was going to go with Stormbringer 5th/Magic World for ease of finding it. However, I have decided to use SB 1st ed, because it is my favorite and original. However, I have copies of most versions (except the French Mournblade but I want it) and will look to them for inspiration as needed. There is a lot of Eternal Champion material out there, though much of it regurgitated from version to version. I even have some of the Mongoose stuff and Dragonlords of Melnibone’, the d20 version.
I am going to work it session to session and see how far we want to take it, maybe all the way to the end of the world (spoilers) and allow for large intervals between in-game time. One to three or four years maybe. However, I was contemplating how to work some character content into the sessions and realized that I could a) have statements/questions like games like Sorcerer or Champions Now to frame the play; and b) I did not have to come up with them, that I already had them. In the advert for the game, I asked three questions:
- How will you live?
- How will you love?
- How will you die?
I intend to ask each player this before each session, to see if the answers change at all. I anticipate that this will create characters and ideas that I can draw into the current situation. And that some of these answers may lead to the next adventure / point in time.
I have made three important NPCs whose relevance may well fade after the session depending on what happens. I have also sketched out a few locations in Tarkesh. I have backed off the heavy prep of the previous incarnations and I feel more comfortable with this not over-prepping.
3 responses to “Stormbringer Tales: Romancing the End of The World”
I was contemplating how to work some character content into the sessions and realized that I could a) have statements/questions like games like Sorcerer or Champions Now to frame the play; and b) I did not have to come up with them, that I already had them. In the advert for the game, I asked three questions:
Reading your pdf, it has a section called Situation, that provides a highly constrained situation already. Kickers from Sorcerer don't seem to me to have worked at all in this case, because that situation you describe there is, for all practical purposes, a common Kicker for the characters already. It's just that you made it for them.
The two-statements from Champions also seems not a good idea. The idea is that you provide the two statements and, based on what the players hand you back, you build the situation (and everything else) for play. But you did all that already in advance in your pdf. I don't see what the two statements could add of any substance. Plus the game is Stormbringer: much of what the statements would give you is built-in already into the game's setting, tone, and aspirations.
Your three questions aren't really stand-ins for Kickers, nor, I think, for the two statements. But they do help creating mood and giving some common creative direction, which is great. So yeah, like you said, I think you have all you need.
I’m chiming in with Pedro,
I'm chiming in with Pedro, perhaps more generally: why not just jump in and hit'em with a situation, with exactly the hard-ish scene framing you're implying, and that's all? I don't see the point of all this contextualizing either, as far as the player-characters are concerned. They are who they are, as per the sheets, and they'll be played as however the players play them, during the session. I don't see any reason to front-load more insight about them; in fact, the less the GM knows "about" them in this sense, the better.
Rediscovering the Joy of Playing
I look forward to playing just a guy. Just a guy with a poleaxe and a great set of ears.