82: Hawkmoon by Michael Moorcock (the Tale of the Eternal Champion vol. 3)

Hawkmoon by Michael Moorcock

Millenium edition, 1992 HB ISBN 1 85798 027 1

Ralph with Dirk the Dice from the Grognard Files podcast

Show Notes

Introductions 00:07
The Cover 04:46
The Foreword 09:44
Synopsis 10:41 (The Jewel in the Skull, The Mad God’s Amulet, The Sword of Dawn, The Runestaff)
Favorite bits 23:43 (Count Brass, Soryandum, the Black Jewel, Granbretan, the Multiverse, gods)
Sequence 43:33
Dirk’s Eternal Champion 51:59

Art Notes

Rodney Matthews page on Moorcock inspired art including the magnificent Hawkmoon defends Castle Brass
Cover of The Jewel in the Skull by Bob Haberfield from the blog Good Show Sir “only the worst Sci-fi/Fantasy book covers”

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is that you or are you you?” from Reappear // “Another version of you” from Thoughtless

79: The Eternal Champion by Michael Moorcock (Tale of the Eternal Champion vol. 2)

The Eternal Champion by Michael Moorcock

Millenium edition, 1992 HB ISBN 1 85798 026 3

Show Notes

Intro 00:07 // The Cover 00:39 // Foreword 01:15 // Summaries 02:18 (The Eternal Champion, Phoenix in Obsidian, The Dragon in the Sword) // Favorite bits 19:10 (Arrival of Erekose, The Good One, no good deaths, endings) // 31:48 This volume in sequence // Mirenburg FC (thanks John Hagan) 34:27

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is that you or are you you?” from Reappear // “Another version of you” from Thoughtless

78: Von Bek by Michael Moorcock (Tale of the Eternal Champion vol 1)

Von Bek by Michael Moorcock

Millenium edition, 1992 HB ISBN 1 85798 023 9

Show Notes

Intro 00:07 // Preface to this edition 02:30 // Summaries 05:17 (The Warhound and the World’s Pain, the City in the Autumn Stars, the Pleasure Gardens of Filipe Saggitarius) // Favorite bits 15:01 (Demon in the Sphere at Bakinax, The Eagle in the Sword, Antichrist Ritual, Arrival in the City // Mirenburg as Viriconium 22:24 // Von Bek in sequence 24:40

Music Credits

Music is by Chris Zabriskie: chriszabriskie.com // bandcamp // free music archive

Samples: “Is that you or are you you?” from Reappear // “Another version of you” from Thoughtless

StormHack Beta v3

This is the third draft of my OSR game StormHack. From the introduction:

This is my OSR game. There are many like it, but this one is mine. It’s supposed to emulate a classic 1980s RPG based on the multiversal fantasy of a British fantasy author.

It’s also a remix of familiar OSR system objects and names from the Worlds Favourite Fantasy Game (such as Ability Scores, monster stat blocks, etc.). That should make it easy to use other OSR resources while repurposing some game elements.

Inspiration

Whitehack by Christian Mehrstam
The Black Hack by David Black
Beyond the Wall by Flatland Games
The Stormbringer RPG (1st edition) by Ken St. Andre and Steve Perrin

The Google Slides version is here. Or you can get the pdf here.

I plan to run this with the classic Stormbringer campaign The Madcap Laughs from White Dwarf issues 95-98.

Two books to follow:

  • The Book of Decans will be a bunch of random tables for both generating characters, and game situations based on the almanac of the 36 stations of the night sky. Inspired in part by Rats and Gargoyles by Mary Gentle.
  • Knights of the Husk will be a city and campaign tool of the city above and the Husk below. Inspired by Ombria in Shadow by Patricia A. McKillip, and of course Viriconium by M. John Harrison, and taking cues from the RPG equivalent In Corpathium from the Last Gasp Grimoire.

Comments welcome, watch this space.

Back to the beginning.

My two influential authors are Clive Barker, and Michael Moorcock. Of those, Barker had a bigger effect on roleplaying, first with Call of Cthulhu and then with the World of Darkness.

I didn’t think of applying Moorcock to fantasy gaming until later, but I was influenced in more subtle ways; the idea of an eternal champion, of avatars adopting the same roles in multiple realities, and of bloodlines that fed into significant cosmic events throughout time and space… that was always my jam.

The first Moorcock I read was Hawkmoon, in the gorgeous oversize Millennium edition from the early 90s. I took that as my reading list — I was cash poor at the time so where I couldn’t buy the new imprint heavily discounted I found previous editions in libraries and remaindered bookshops. I read Corum in the Grafton editions from the mid 1980s, including this omnibus edition of the first trilogy:

So by frugal purchasing and borrowing I read pretty much all of the 14 volumes; but never in the order in which they were published. Which is where this series comes in.

This podcast has become a little serious. It’s always worked around themes, based on the games I fancy running or designing at the time, or the topics I need to discuss. But I feel the need to step back a bit and reflect.

This is what I’m going to do. Having now closed the remaining gaps in my Millenium Moorcock editions (thanks to certain online 2nd hand sellers) I’m going to read them in sequence, and do a ‘cast about each one.

This won’t follow the usual format… with 14 volumes, each with at least 3 novels this would take too long and no doubt I would run out of steam. So this is the proposed format for this occasional series:

  • in the first part, I’ll summarise each novel on an index card to encourage brevity. This will form an overview, rather than a detailed synopsis
  • in the second part, I’ll pick out key scenes or chapters that are worthy of note
  • and finally in the third part, I’ll discuss how each book in the sequence contributes to the overall arc of the Eternal Champion, starting with Von Bek and concluding with Count Brass.

There will be other episodes. But I wanted to write this as a way to commit to the project. Do these novels still capture my imagination nearly 30 years on?

This won’t be the only thing I read — I intend to pace myself and read other books in between each volume. All told this is going to take a year at least, quite probably two.

Let me know what you think, and if you have a similar relationship with Moorcock.

OK, that’s it. Speak soon.