Thursday, February 29, 2024

I Have It!

 It is decidedly grubby, but no complaints for $50.

Behold the beauty!

Friday, February 9, 2024

Stormbringer Redux Collected - EDITED!

 Hi all,

The collected Stormbringer Redux was looking HIDEOUS, so I went through it and added title links to make it easier to navigate.



Stormbringer redux #21 Theology & The Alignment (Agent Elan) System

OK, since I keep banging on about Stormbringer mechanics that emulate or support the cosmology of Moorcock's fiction, this is the one mechanic that most fits that description, and thus merits a closer look. Honestly, I've never had recourse to use it, as no player in any of the short-lived games I ran ever needed it or insisted on it.


As I remarked in the BitR podcast, Stormbringer is all about theology, not cosmology so much. This makes sense since it is emulating a whole gameworld of believers. This is how the rules delineate them:

1 Believers - Can have multiple cults if not in opposition. Don't get Elan, cannot invoke divine invention (see houserule at the end for one suggested exception).

2 Priests - Manage business, conduct services & sacrifices, build temples, collect knowledge, scheme on behalf of deity, speak directly to god & representatives. Get Elan, can invoke divine intervention.

3 Agents - Souls promised to deity, work in their interest, get Elan, an amulet, special powers, and can invoke divine intervention. May also be priests.

No objections here, except the houserule at the end to give non-priest / non-Agent characters a little skill boost for their faith.

There can be only one Agent of Law!


Although the rules state, "Any character may become an Agent for a god" [6.5], in keeping with Moorcock's fiction, I would say only Nobles can do so. Thus if a Beggar character wished to become an Agent, they would first have to carve out their own title and demesne. This is a wonderful roleplaying hook, in my opinion, and so I'll stick with it.

I would also add that characters can only be agents of a god listed in their Nationality description, to reflect the 'ancient bonds' mentioned in the Elric books. Remember, I suggested letting nationalities with no descriptions use Beast Lords or appropriate Elemental lords instead. As I wrote,

"Note that all entries of ‘None’ on the table should instead be considered Elementals & Beastlords. Entries of ‘Other’ should include minor or local deities and godlings the GM should create, such as the undead ancestor worship in the Forest of Troos."


The procedure is simple:

1) Find a temple to the deity you wish to serve, have the priests make preparations

2) Declare the number of POW points you wish to sacrifice

3) Roll for success

The simple formula for the roll is CHA + number of POW points sacrificed. In a way, this makes as much sense as Arioch being charmed by Elric, so I like it. Usually, I would suggest replacing a random attribute roll like this with a skill roll, such as Persuade, but I think the riskiness of the roll as it is works fine.


Again, these all make sense - the agent gets a boon (supernatural aid) and is protected from the element or followers of his god.

Let's just take a quick look through these:


Elemental Agents - Get one appropriate elemental, can get a new one if destroyed for 1 Elan; can't be attacked by elemental of their god.

Law - Double CON and HP, unaging but sterile. Gods only intervene when directly fighting Chaos. Get one Virtue.

Chaos - Divine intervention or message of inability, never have to make a demon POW vs POW over 50%. Get one free weaker demon.


All Elemental Agents - All can't worship other elements, mustn't lose amulet on fear of death or punishment.
Grome - Can't dig up or defile buried corpses.
Strassha - Originally can't eat fish, but I prefer can't eat land animals (see below).
Lassha - Never eat or kill birds.
Kakatal - Can't extinguish flames.

Law - Cannot worship Chaos or elementals, cannot lose amulet on pain of losing Agenthood, must take orders from priest of own deity, cannot cooperate with Chaos Agents, must kill them.

Chaos - Cannot worship Law, cannot lose amulet on pain of demon attack, must take orders from priest of own deity, cannot stay in any location more than a month.


The rules for amulets are spread all over the shop, so I thought I'd try and review them all here.

All - Although this is only noted in the Elemental section [6.6.6], we can assume that an amulet is needed for any divine invocation by an Agent of any cult. Also, amulets only work for the Agent they belong to.

Elemental - Although there is no reference to elemental amulet powers, I think the following should be allowed:

Grome - Can detect any undine within 100 yards, take 1/10 landslide damage.
Strassha - Can detect any gnome within 100 yards, take 1/10 drowning damage.
Lassha - Can detect any salamander within 100 yards, take 1/10 falling damage.
Kakatal - Can detect any sylph within 100 yards, take 1/10 fire damage.

Law  - Glows and warms if Chaos forces within 100 ft vicinity (take 1 Elan to hide)

Chaos - Detects Chaos gods within 100 miles via rainbow swirl
             Detects Lawful Agent within 1 mile via chill
             Detects harmful intent within 100 feet via electric shock

NB: I really dislike putting ranges on these effects, and just generally handwaive them as the story demands. Also, Chaotic amulets seem to have a little edge in sensing abilities, so I would just make both able to detect their own or opposing forces as appropriate for the adventure.


As I noted in a previous post, Agents set themselves up as center of the story. As such, the following GM rules of thumb are suggested:

1 Agents are ALWAYS targeted by the opposition, companions are often ignored.

2 Agents CANNOT refuse the call of their faction, companions may come and go as they please.


As noted, characters from minor nations should also have the chance to become an Agent of Elemental or Beast Lords. Now, let's look at a sample Beast Lord Agent.

Becoming - Once again, a Noble of any aligned nation should be able to be an Agent of a Beast Lord.

Amulet - The amulet is made of some precious metal (gold or silver) plated to a part of the animal. A skull for a small animal, a fang or talon for larger ones. The amulet allows divine intervention, but should also allow the character to use a skill from the animal's description. For instance, an Agent of a tiger god could take the animal's heightened senses or stealth ability percentage, but doing so negates any skill check for improvement. If the amulet is lost or destroyed, the Agent can no longer access these abilities.

Advantages - The Agent cannot be attacked by the animal in question, and he can summon a swarm (2D20) of small animals or group (1D6+1) of larger ones and give them commands that they may follow if it serves their interest and the character makes a successful Persuade skill or entices the animals somehow. Summoning animals costs 1 Elan each time.

Disadvantages - The Agent can never harm one of the animals, and must try to protect the animal and its natural habitat at all costs. Failing to do so will lose them Agent status.


Elan ranges from 0 to 100, equals percentage the god intervenes when called upon by Priests or Agents. A character must be devoted to one god to get Elan.

50 Elan can be converted into 1 POW at any time. I don't know if this is a bad or a good thing, so leaving it as is.


I have no objections to any of the rewards listed, but would also add GMs should reward any roleplaying that fits with a follower of the cult. The only issue I see is that keeping track of Elan for multiple priests or agents seems like a hassle for the GM, who should inform players it is their responsibility to declare when they are doing Elan-worthy actions.

INVOKING DEITIES (Priests and Agents only)

Roll D100 vs Elan. 

Success (equal or below Elan) means wish is granted, the number rolled is subtracted from Elan.

Failure (above Elan) means wish is not granted, Elan halved..

NB: I would add the following levels of success to spice things up:


Critical Success (1/10 Elan) - Deity is pleased, solves the character's problem in style. 50% it leaves a useful boon (companion or item of power) until the end of the session. Can try again this adventure.

Success (Equal or below Elan) - Deity grants a boon in an indirect or understated way. Can try again next adventure.

Failure (Above Elan) - Deity ignores the demand, Elan reduced by half. Can try again after a year of gametime.

Fumble (99-00 if Elan is 50 or below, 00 if above) - Deity is angered by the petty demand, Elan reduced to 0. Deity won't answer any demands until the character has recovered at least 50 Elan. Also, can't try again until character has done some service for the deity and been forgiven for presumption.

One more thing I would add is that the deity themselves can offer to assist if the character is a necessary pawn in their game. However, there will be a HEAVY price to pay for accepting such assistance.

PROFESSIONS FAVOURED BY DEITIES (Houserule for non-Priests or non-Agents)

I don't agree entirely that non-priest or agent characters should have no benefit for having a cult. Also, the long list of gods who are patrons of certain professions is rendered window dressing if there is no mechanical incentive behind it. Instead, here is a simple houserule that I'd like to playtest at some point that adds a small advantage for mundane characters being in a cult.

If a character follows a deity that is a patron of their profession, they can add their CHA to a professional skill if it is used in an activity that somehow favours the deity or its supporters. For example, Strassha is patron of sailors, fishermen, laundry workers (?), painters, and also farmers to a degree. If a non-agent Sailor character is fighting a group of Pyaray cultists, he can invoke his god and get a CHA bonus to use any of his profession's skills (first weapon, Swim, Tie Knot, Climb, Balance, or Navigation for mates) if it supports Strassha or opposes Pyaray. 

However, if using this rule, characters are also bound by the rules of the cult. This requires some modificatons, since some of the restrictions make little sense. For example, banning followers of Strassha from eating fish when the god is patron of Fishermen would seem counterintuitive, and instead it would be more evocative and restrictive if followers of Strassha were permitted to eat no LAND animal, and subsist on fish alone, in accordance with their opposition to Grome and his followers.