Elric! and d20
by Lawrence Whitaker
I had misgivings at first. Stormbringer became Elric! and now yet another game
set in the YK, but this time with a completely new rules system and the one used for D&D at that. But, as things have developed, and Chaosium defined their logic, I see it as a positive move.
Roleplaying suffered somewhat with the rise in collectable card games, and even the mighty D&D suffered in the aftermath. However, things go in cycles, and 3rd edition D&D
has sold incredibly well, which signals a resurgence in the hobby of roleplaying.
No games manufacturer can afford to ignore this new turn of events, especially a company
like Chaosium which, although very popular with its fans, has never attracted the same kind of attention D&D has, or even systems like the old West End Star Wars. With an open
platform like d20, Chaosium and other companies have the opportunity to market their systems and worlds to gamers who might otherwise cocoon themselves in D&D and stray no further.
Chaosium's strength has always been in producing books and games of exceptional quality, vision, and value for money. The system used is irrelevant. If Chaosium can
produce a parallel version of Elric! aimed at the d20 player, then it's a good move - financially for Chaosium, and for the hobby as a whole.
I think there was a lot of scepticism and cynicism when Wizards of the Coast announced that d20 would be an open platform. However, for a major player like Chaosium to commit
to the 'Dragon Lords of Melnibone' project, its shows confidence in a move that can really only benefit the hobby. There's probably too much prejudice for one game system over
another, and that shouldn't be the case. All systems have something of merit - it's how you apply them that matters.
I doubt 'Dragon Lords...' will replace Elric!, and Chaosium have provided that committment
too. Darcsyde is already preparing Corum for publication and Hawkmoon will follow later in the year. Both are designed for Elric! and whilst we might incorporate (somehow) d20
conversion mechanics, Elric! is still - and will continue to be - a supported system. If players of d20 games decide to convert to Basic Roleplaying having sampled the world of the
Young Kingdoms, it will be a bonus and we will welcome them with open arms.