Thursday, June 8, 2023

Review & Commentary On "Stealer of Souls: A Quest For Vengeance in Ilmiora " By Ken Rolston For Stormbringer rpg

  The scenarios depict a woman’s quest for revenge against a deadly conspiracy of merchants in Bakshaan. The four merchants (rivals of the woman’s father, a man named Haver Nikorni hired Elric to storm his keep and kill him. That battle is chronicled in the Moorcock story entitled “Stealer of Souls”."

"Freyda Nikorn, the dead merchant’s daughter gathers together a group of adventurers and friends to embark on her mission of vengeance. The adventures in this book tell the tale of Freyda’s vengeance against the four merchants, and her success or failure is determined by the players."
"Stealer of Souls: A Quest For Vengeance in Ilmiora " By Ken Rolston came out in '85 & clocks in at only forty four pages. But this adventure set in motion a set of circumstances that killed off a major part of our players back then. Its this adventure that had one rule for playing the Stormbringer rpg, 'Never go after Elric'.  The contents for 'Stealer of Souls' is solid unto itself; "The gamemaster is provided with extensive information on the government, culture, and environment of Bakshaan. A complete description of a Bakshaan-Karlaak trade caravan is also included. Extensive character descriptions aid the gamemaster in storytelling.

" Four pages of player pullouts provide the players with all the information they need to start playing the scenarios. The pullouts include player-character knowledge of Bakshaan, a map of the city, and statistics for Freyda Nikorn."" 
Sound very straight forward, a daughter's vengence against Elric & Moonglum along a trail of adventure. Well yes & no.. The party is caught in the fall out of the the Moorcock story entitled “Stealer of Souls”.

 Over all Stealer of Souls as an adventure is a mid to upper teir adventure. It takes the concepts laided out in the Young Kingdoms and brings new Sword & Sorcery chops into it. The PC's are challenged to deal with the fall out of vengence & how it colours not only the NPC's lives but their own. 
Phil Frances from White Dwarf gave 'Stealer of Souls' an over all positive rating; 
"Phil Frances reviewed Stealer of Souls for White Dwarf #77, giving it an overall rating of 8 out of 10, and stated that "Stealer Of Souls is the first Stormbringer supplement that I respect (even reading it is enjoyable). Its freshness will revive the palate of many a jaded GM, and it will pose a healthy challenge to an experienced group of characters.""

 Freyda’s quest overall is interesting & very dangerous for the lives of the PC's. The feel here is that the player's PC's are along for the  quest. The dangers here are real & path of adventure is a long & bloody one. I don't agree at at all with the review of 'Stealer of Souls' from Space Gamer/Fantasy Gamer No. 81 by Michael R. Jarrell, Jarrell commented that "The game just doesn't cut the mustard. If you are a SBophile you'll want it. if you are looking for quality versus cash outlay you may be seriously disappointed as I was."Freyda’s quest  isn't disappointing & this adventure is a strong outta of the gate effort. The player's PC's become involved with the machinations & consquences of the actions of Freyda. This is high level stuff & remember Elric is a force of nature within the Stormbringer rpg universe. He's never the good guy. 

Jack Gaughan artwork for The Stealer of Souls by Michael Moorcock ...
What we have in 'Stealer of Souls' is the equivelant of a woman's vengence against the bastards who choose to take that away from Freyda Nikor the most precious thing in her life. Her father's love is gone & her soul swims in the darkness of the aftermath. Will the PC's make any difference to this vengence!? They may have to take care of many loose ends in the her wake. And this is just for starters. There will be choices & side quests to take care of. 
Stealer of Souls is a rare beast, an animal that goes about sorta rail roading the PC's but does it with a style all of its own. Many of the adventure elements within 'Stealer of Souls are solildly done but this adventure takes the 'rail road' to new heights. Over all Stealer of Souls is a four outta of five. The reason is simple this is only the first adventure in an over all trilogy of Sword & Sorcery adventure. More to come! 

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