Monday, June 15, 2009

Mournblade! Wait A Sec...Mournblade?


It should come as no big surprise that as a D&D-playing child of the 80's, I had an obsessive love affair with the video game known as The Bard's Tale. I'm sure that any Old-Schooler worth his salt took a run at this game at some point, with an Apple or a Commodore 64.

Actually, I didn't get the game till high school, along with my first personal computer, an Amiga 500.  But I had seen (and sampled) the game earlier on at two separate friends homes (by "early on," I mean years previously), and so when I saw the chance to get the for the family's new Amiga...well, I shamelessly begged my parents to buy it.

Money well spent, says I...it provided hours of summer (and winter entertainment) as I groomed an adventuring party and mapped every single dungeon level of the game...which was quite a few, actually (somewhere between 16 and 21).  All right, all right...I skipped mapping the first 1-2 levels of "the Sewers" (the earliest dungeon)...those I just wandered around in, learning the game, until I found the entrance to "the catacombs."  Anyhoo, with strong mapping skills and a kick-ass party, I was easily able to triumph over y.Mangar and his minions...well, after several hours of game play.  

I was totally bummed when the Amiga failed to offer any of the follow-up sequels to the game...and eventually Amiga folded and I was left with nothing but an old copy of Word Perfect and a dot matrix printer with which to finish my college career. Boo!

So anyway, in the delvings of my youth I found numerous magical items, from fire horns to crystal swords, many of which were sold to good old Garth's equipment shop.  One thing I never sold, and frankly never could figure out, was a little item called Mournblade.

Mournblade, of course, is the sister sword of the infamous blade Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock's weapon of choice for his protagonist, Elric...and the inspiration for Blackrazor.  As a magical weapon in literature (as well as RPGs), Mournblade has duplicate characteristics of the the sorcerer's runesword...heck, they even look alike.

Personally, I was always more interested in Mournblade than Stormbringer. First, while both have cool names (sorry, I'm a sucker for that kind of thing), I prefer Mournblade to Stormbringer...it just feels more like the individual swordsman is going to inflict the suffering...rather than bring chaos down upon himself and everyone else. Which is probably why Moorcock named the blades such.

Secondly, Mournblade was infinitely more available than Stormbringer...after all, Stormbringer was wielded by Elric who had a disturbing tendency of slaying...um...everyone.  Mournblade was frequent lost in the books, and, hey, no one would really miss it if I found it and absconded with it, right...?

SO here's a "Mournblade" sitting in Bard's Tale (and I found more than one...maybe two or three).  But was it meant to represent THE Mournblade?  No idea.  It never demonstrated any special soul sucking or life-giving powers. It never flew around or talked. I had it equipped to my Hunter character (a combo ranger-assassin class), but he was such a high level he critically hit every round anyway.  Neither my sorcerer, nor my wizard could wield the blade...neither could anyone else in my party (later on, I tried developing a warrior, but I don't remember if he ever tried using Mournblade or not).

Ahh...I miss old Mournblade, though.  Bard's Tale was the only game that allowed me to use her in a game!  Even if she didn't really do anything...how many folks can say their DM allowed them to wield a Stormbringer, or Mournblade...or a Blackrazor?



3 comments:

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  2. I remember that at some point I allowed a character to forge a sword using a sphere of annihilation as raw material... but nope I never got to play a character, until about a decade later, and people get too serious as they age to allow someone to use a ridiculously overpowered item.

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  3. Ahh...the whimsies o youth...
    : )

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