22 March 2012

Magic World is Coming

A few years ago, having become somewhat disenchanted with the ‘d20’ system and 3.5 D&D after having run two long-ish campaigns using those rules, I started to reconsider Chaosium’s classic Basic Role-playing system (‘BRP’).

I had owned Elric! Since it was published in 1993, and thought that it was a great game. Alas, I never had the opportunity to run a campaign using it, or, for that matter, earlier versions of Stormbringer (I did run, however, some Hawkmoon games in the late 1980s).

Chaosium lost the licence to publish games within the ‘multiverse’ of Michael Moorcock (the worlds of Elric, Corum, Hawkmoon, and so forth) in 2007. Given the strength of the Elric! system, independent of its setting, I wondered why Chaosium didn’t simply scrub off all the Moorcock references, and publish the system as a ‘generic’ fantasy role-playing game.

Well it looks like that finally is happening! Coming soon from Chaosium: Magic World.

MAGIC WORLD is a self-contained fantasy roleplaying game using the classic "Basic Roleplaying" system. The game allows you to play characters in a world of fantasy, adventure, and excitement. The rules of MAGIC WORLD are simple to grasp, while having enough options and complexity to suit any gaming style. Characters grow in experience organically, without relying on artificial constructs such as classes, levels, etc. Any sort of fantasy character you can imagine, you can play. MAGIC WORLD contains:

· Full rules for creating characters in a world of magic and fantasy.

· A robust magic system with nearly one hundred spells. Any character may become a spell caster with the right combination of raw talent, and training!

· Detailed, yet streamlined skills and combat rules.

· Complete rules for nautical adventures.

· A bestiary of more than sixty creatures to use as foes for the characters, or as the characters themselves! Play as any species imaginable: Human, Elf, Orc, Centaur, Troll, Talking Beast, and more!

· Gamemaster advice, and resources.

· A gallery of enchanted items which might be found in your characters' adventures.

· A complete sample campaign setting, "the Southlands", to jump start your adventures.

· And more!

While the title hearkens back to the fantasy booklet within Chaosium’s 1982 box set Worlds of Wonder, the new Magic World, including its magic system, is based primarily on Elric!, albeit with some tweaks and updates from the recent ‘Goldbook’ version of BRP.

More information on Magic World can be found in this interview with the editor of the game, Ben Monroe (ak.a. ‘zomben’). And here is a thread discussing the game.

With OpenQuest, Legend (MRQII), and, soon, RuneQuest 6 available as well, there exists a wonderful surfeit of BRP-based fantasy role-playing games. I always liked the relative simplicity of Elric!, including its magic and allegiance systems, so I look forward to adding Magic World to ‘the stable’.


  1. This will probably be the fantasy Basic Role Playing book I buy. I had a lot of fun with Stormbringer back in the day.

  2. Glad to hear you're excited for this game! I think it's going to be a lot of fun, and hope it's well-received.

    1. Best of luck with the game, zomben. I'm looking forward to reading it!

  3. Very interesting. I like BRP a lot, but always found RuneQuest a touch too heavy, whereas Elric! was more to my tastes.

  4. Based on what I've been reading in the BRP Central thread this has zoomed up my 'most-anticipate' chart... now sitting right below Interplanetary.
    I'm really looking forward to it.

  5. I thought that I should mention that there's a RPGnet thread on this game, in case anyone is interested:


  6. I really enjoyed the original MagicWorld way back when. With BRP basic booklet it was really all the fantasy RPG someone with a little imagination needed who wasn't in the mood for true D&D.
    I'd be happier to see the new core book clocking in under 100 pages and adding on later in supplements. But I liked the recentish giant BRP goldbook so I'm not really complaining.

  7. JD: THe book could have easily been trimmed down to under 100 pages, actually. But, what I was more interested in doing was a completely self-contained RPG core book, which can be expanded with supplements, but does not rely on them.

    As it stands, the book includes more than 60 creatures (all of which can be PCs, if you're so inclined) nearly 100 spells, numerous enchanted treasures, a full system for nautical adventuring, and more.

    Trimming/dropping some of that could have got it down to 100 pages, but then it would have -needed- supplements later.

    I hope you enjoy the game in any case. I'm very much looking forward to what people have to say about it when it comes out.


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