Posts Tagged ‘Dictionary of Mu’

A good Sorcerer game needs interesting NPCs: complex people with their own motivations and hang-ups.  I need to generate some Young-Kingdoms rulers, Melnibonéan potentates and loose cannons, and supernatural agents with agenda.  But I don’t feel that I can really nail down any interesting characters and their motivations until we’ve had the player-character generation session: until I know the PCs’ kickers.

So in the meantime, a compromise.  I’m going to send out NPC character sketches, one a day until our char-gen session. For inspiration.  The players can set up their characters in alliance, opposition or imitation of any of these.  Or just ignore them if they have better ideas.

This is definitely not “required knowledge.”  I don’t want to overwhelm the players with stuff that they “have to” learn in order to play.  If a player ends up using one of these NPCs in their backstory or kicker, then great, it’s in the game.  The rest can be forgotten.

Here’s the first one…


Duke Senodjar of House Jifar’a.

Melnibonéan courtier and patriarch of the Jifar’a family. Oiled bald head, stocky build, indeterminate middle age. Confident stride. Grandly styled clothing with built-up shoulders and giant curving collars that reach up to his ears, highly illuminated with gold thread (even at orgies: heavily brocaded floor-length vest, worn open). Always at court, has his fingers in all the pies. House Jifar’a owns the taxation rights to the whole Western Continent, but doesn’t collect the taxes itself, the family doesn’t maintain the ships or man-power anymore. In the spring, each kingdom is assessed and informed of its tax obligation by a single assessor (a family member). Come autumn, should a kingdom fail to deliver its taxes to Imrryr, no matter the reason, Duke Senodjar sells pillaging rights to another family (as often for political favours as for gold or goods).

House Jifar’a is wealthy, and Duke Senodjar’s family is a large one. He is a sorcerer, of course. The family heirloom demon is Herpios,The Ring Of Serpent-Kin, a big gold ring with an iridescent green gem like a snake’s eye. Abilities include: Shapeshift (conveyed; giant green snake); in ring form, Boost Lore; when user is in serpent form, Special Damage (constriction).

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The game starts in 10 days, with the character-generation session.  Here’s my introduction to the world of The Elric Saga, in three parts.  This is taken verbatim from my Dictionary of Elric (link to full document at the end of this post).


Melniboné, The Dragon Isle, once the centre of an empire that spanned the known world, grows decadent and senile like a doddering old senator. Her emperor, mourning these last ten years, no longer leaves his apartments. Her people, the oldest mortal race, assured of their continuing dominance and wealth, occupy themselves with orgies and luxuries and casual cruelties while the world slips from their grasp. The emperor neglects the prescribed rituals and pacts, blaming the demon-gods for the death of his wife and child, and compounding The Dragon Isle’s woes.

The Young Kingdoms of Man openly defy imperial decrees. Without a strong emperor on the Ruby Throne, no Melnibonéan noble dares send his navy abroad for fear of weakening his position at home. A few recognize their empire’s decline and counsel remedies – a new and bloody age of conquest, a return to the old rituals – but the emperor does nothing. There is talk of regicide, a change of leadership. The emperor has no heir, and mutual mistrust prevents any consensus as to who should take the throne. The noble families of Melniboné are sharpening their knives. The emperor’s ban on bound demons is increasingly ignored. (more…)

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I am about to kick off a Sorcerer game set in the world of The Elric Saga novels by Michael Moorcock.  Since none of my players have read the saga, I wrote them a little primer.  That’s how all this got started… but I’m not good at doing things by halves.

The primer is becoming my Dictionary of Elric: a Sorcerer mini-supplement (like a “module” in D&D parlance, with important differences) for playing an Elric role-playing game using the Sorcerer game system, and with props to Judd Karlman’s Dictionary of Mu.

So now I’m really working on two things: running an Elric game for my friends, and creating this Dictionary of Elric for posterity.  I’ll be blogging about both.  Comments welcome… especially from Elric fans.  🙂

-Johnny 0.

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