Sunday, February 12, 2012

Elric The Balance Lost by Roberson-Biagini-Downer


FIrst off, let me talk about two things I don't like in the marketing of this book. The first is the dreaded "Michael Moorcock's" bit here. I love Michael's work and owe a huge nod of thanks to White Wolf when they reprinted a ton of his work many years ago. Having said that, this is NOT written by Michale Moorock but is just kind of noting that you know, Elric is Michael Moorcock's character. Don't want to put the actual author on the cover or anything you know because who the hell is that guy?

The other thing is the 'Afterword by Neil Gaiman." Uh... no. That is not an afterword. That is a lie. That bit by Neil is from a book published in 2008 and reprinted here talking about how awesome Michael Moorcock is.

I get the need for marketing but people aren't blatantly stupid and that marketing is. It's just bad and pisses people off.

On the other hand, the company Boom made a free issue for free comic book day so that's not all bad.

But what about this trade draws inspiration? For one, the book collects the covers of the series and they are awesome. Some great talent here. Art is not always an inspiration for me, but when it strikes, it can motivation me in ways that text alone cannot. It's one of the reasons I'm always puzzled by people who would rather have RPGs with minimal design and no art in exchange for a lower price. I live visual candy. It's one of the reasons I still watch those Walking With X series. (Just finished the Walking With Monsters, only three episodes but hey, giant scorpions with two sets of claws!).

Another thing I thought interesting though, was that as more characters are introduced and some die, the idea that the 'Eternal Champion' doesn't always win, and that whole worlds if not universes are destroyed thanks to these failures, that if the players fail to do something in your own campaign, you should allow that failure to stand. I've seen some Dungeon Master's who are so concerned with their setting that they won't allow anything big to happen to it that derail's their 'story'.

While I can understand that thinking process and lord knows, when I was much younger, was probably in that boat myself as I tended to use the same campaign setting with the events of previous campaigns evident upon it, as I get older and game less constantly in one campaign, I'm more willing to see where things go. To see what happens when characters fail.

Such options for failure are also great when running a one shot that's high powered. If the player's are given individuals who have rune drinking swords, can summon demon gods, and have alliances with higher powersl eft and right, allowing them to fail and letting them know that such failure will cause the end, can put some extra motivation on the players.

This volume of the Balance Lost is well illustrated if somewhat slow going and I'm curious to see where it winds up. If the e-versions came in a collected edition or were less expensive, I might go that route but as long as I can get the trades for cheaper than buying the individual issues and I continue to churn through my own collection to make space... well, those e-versions will just have to wait.