09 February 2011

Young Kingdoms Campaign Background

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'll be taking part in a RuneQuest II campaign over the next several months, set in the Young Kingdoms (the setting described in the famous 'Elric' stories by Michael Moorcock).

Below is a brief overview of the Young Kingdoms during the time of the campaign (a century before the birth of Elric) written by our Game Master, Lawrence Whitaker (yes, the same Lawrence Whitaker responsible for the MRQII corebook, the Elric corebook, and many others!).

No Reasons for Waking

This is a story of Melniboné’s slow decline and retreat from its Bright Empire. Some things are still to come to pass, but will not do so for many years. Here is a synopsis of things that have yet to happen, are happening and have happened…

• Prince Elric, 428th Emperor of the Dragon Isle will not be born for another 100 years.

• The twin demon blades, Stormbringer and Mournblade have been lost to Melniboné’s emperors for over three centuries.

• The Young Kingdoms are rising in power. Two hundred years ago Earl Aubec of Malador led the first revolts that weakened Melniboné’s grip on the world and allowed the new kingdoms of men to emerge from the Bright Empire’s embers.

• Some Melnibonéan Lords cling to their ancient holdings across the Young Kingdoms, but most have retreated to the Dragon Isle, to slumber amongst the dreaming spires. The few that remain are besieged by those humans who would overthrow Melniboné’s power completely. Some remain defiant; some seek clandestine means of escape. Occasionally they have human allies but, for the most part, they are surrounded by enemies.

• Melniboné’s current ruler is Empress Sathril VIII, a beautiful and enigmatic ruler descended from Empress Terhali’s dynasty. She has personally decided that the world of men is an increasing irrelevance and Melniboné can find strength within its dreams and amongst its own, shining spires. She, more than anyone, has hastened the return of the Dragon Lords to Imrryr.

• Empress Sathril’s First-Husband-Concubine, Prince Quire, advocates forging new empires in worlds parallel to the Young Kingdoms, where the people are of a degenerate state much as the early humans once were in this world. His ideas are gaining credence in the court although Empress Sathril has yet to be fully convinced.

• The island of Pan Tang, always jealous of Melniboné’s glory, has forged its own alliances with Chaos and seeks an empire of its own. The nations of Dharijor and Pikarayd have become vassals of Hwamgaarl, eager to benefit from Pan Tang’s growing power and its pacts with the Lords of Hell.

• Pan Tang’s ruler is Torquada Varenkor, Theocrat of Pan Tang, and a man who has pledged his soul utterly to the Sword Rulers. His will is devoted to expanding Pan Tang’s influence and to the purging of Melniboné from the face of the world. But his hatred of the Dragon Isle is not so great that he finds their knowledge of sorcery abhorrent: Varenkor goes to extraordinary lengths to secure whatever sorcerous knowledge he can and employs his feared Revealers to scour the world for Melniboné’s treasures.

• In response to Pan Tang’s relationship with Chaos the land of Vilmir, a new kingdom of the northern continent, cleaves ever more deeply to the Lords of Law, forming its own pacts as a countermeasure to the influence of Chaos. Vilmir’s ruler is King Alarest, a pious and intolerant man constrained by severe personal codes and an addiction to self-chastisement.

Soon I'll post some notes on our characters, including the brilliant family background for two of the characters (also written by Lawrence), and a summary of our first (very brief) session.


  1. Hmm, I can't seem to get the formatting of the quote quite right. Oh well, at least it is readable.

  2. Sounds like an exciting opportunity! I look forward to snippets and updates on the campaign.

  3. Thanks for your interest, Taketoshi!

  4. This looks the perfect start for a campaign in the Young Kingdoms. It's only a short write-up but it's pregnant with gaming potential.

    I think I will steal it. :)


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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who lives primarily in Toronto but teaches in Milwaukee (sometimes in person, sometimes online).