My first attempt at collecting Stormbringer and Elric RPGs occurred back in the late ‘80s when I purchased the hardcover third edition. That copy is long gone, however, as a combination of time and several enthusiastic gaming sessions rendered it worthless as a centerpiece of my collection. But I still like to follow the game’s value on sites such as eBay and Troll and Toad, and reading the Michael Moorcock stories that inspired the RPG have only served to make me more passionate about the subject.
Set in a land of swords and sorcery, Stormbringer centers around adventure and intrigue in the Young Kingdoms, a land ruled by warriors, wizards, and wealthy merchants. But the ancient world still lives in the form of Elric of Melnibone, an albino emperor with a soul-drinking runesword (the game’s namesake) and the ability to call down destructive physical manifestations of law and chaos.
Collectible RPGs Featuring Stormbringer and Elric!
If you’re just starting to build your Stormbringer RPG collection, be sure to take a look at the following list of editions released over the decades. As you might imagine, the older volumes tend to bring a higher price, but newer products may also fetch a decent value based on their availability and popularity. Unless otherwise mentioned, all Stormbringer and Elric products were released by the folks at Chaosium.
Stormbringer First Edition (1981) – Released in a boxed set, this original Chaosium version features cover art by Frank Brunner and the writing of Ken St. Andre. (Ken St. Andre is better known as the creator of Tunnels and Trolls.) I found one first edition selling on eBay for $65. Potential collectors of Stormbringer merchandise should be aware that only one supplement was released before the second edition, although the game did go through four printings (1981, 1983, 1984, 1985).
Stormbringer Second Edition (1985) – St. Andre and Brunner once again team up for this boxed second edition of the game. Similar in design to the first, I found a boxed edition selling for $22.49 at the Troll and Toad website. The Octagon of Chaos supplement, however, is even more valuable, largely because it was given a limited print run and published by a small design house known as Theatre of the Mind. On eBay, this was selling from $32 to $75. The Stealer of Souls supplement, meanwhile, can be had for as little as $8.99 at Troll and Toad. French and Japanese editions of the game were also released.
Stormbringer Third Edition (1987) – Chaosium and Games Workshop teamed up to present a hardcover version of the rules, and this was my first experience with the world of Michael Moorcock (I’ve been hooked ever since). Similar in design and gameplay to the first two editions. Troll and Toad carried this edition for $23. A German edition of the game was also released.
Stormbringer Fourth Edition (1990) – For the fourth edition of the game, writer Ken St. Andre was joined by John Monroe and Steve Perrin. The most valuable supplement I found for this edition was 1992’s Sea Kings of the Purple Towns, which listed on eBay for $85. Titles such as Sorcerers of Pang Tang and Rogue Mistress could be purchased online in the $20 range. This edition was also released in the following languages: Spanish, Finnish, French, and Italian.
Elric! (1993) – A whole new group of creators were brought in for this one, although Frank Brunner did return to provide the cover art. The exclamation point was added to distinguish the roleplaying game from a number of boardgames based on Moorcock’s famous melancholy albino (more on those later). Many of the rules were reworked, and this would lead to the creation of the fifth edition. Troll and Toad sold a softcover edition of the rules for $15, while Elric! collectibles such as The Unknown East, Atlas of the Young Kingdoms, and Black Sword: Pursuit of the White Wolf could be had for around $20. Japanese, French, and Spanish editions are also available.
Stormbringer Fifth Edition (2001) – Yet another edition of the game, this time offering revised rules that would become the standard for gamers seeking to adventure in the Young Kingdoms. The fifth edition rulebook I found on eBay was listed at $60, while the supplement titled Corum was selling on Troll and Toad for $40. Serious Stormbringer collectors should also search out the Japanese and Spanish editions, although I was unable to find them myself.
Dragon Lords of Melnibone (2001) – Using the d20 system, this version of Stormbringer is compatible with the Dungeons and Dragons 3rd edition rules. I found the main rules, as well as the supplementary Slaves of Fate, to be selling for less than $10 apiece.
Elric of Melnibone (2007) – Using the rules system developed in RuneQuest, this Mongoose Publishing edition once again offers an update to the popular fantasy role-playing game. Even though it’s only a few years old, I couldn’t even find it for sale on Amazon (which should give an indication of its success–or lack thereof).
Other Stormbringer and Elric Collectibles
While this article is dedicated to collecting Stormbringer and Elric RPGs, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out a few other items that have grown in value over the years (more than the roleplaying games, in fact). The first edition of the Elric board game sells for $250 on Amazon, while the Elric: Battle at the End of Time game sells for $55 or more in good condition. Finally, there’s the Elric: Young Kingdoms Adventure Game from Avalon Hill, which is available to collectors on Amazon at a price of $50.