Monday, April 23, 2018

The Lovecaftian Thing a Day (2018) No.113: Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea (Second Edition)

This is something of a return visit to the rather floridly-titled Astonshing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea rpg, whose first edition featured in 2016’s iteration of this blog; since then, a second edition has appeared in the form of this massive 600+ page hardback.

Part of the Old School Renaissance rpg movement, Astonshing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea uses an interation of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons to reproduce an experience of old time sword-and-sorcery by way of the Weird Tales triumvirate, Howard, Smith and Lovecraft. Of all the OSR products which attempt to replicate this specific mode of weird fantasy in rpg format, Astonshing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea is rhe most convincing (although I do have a soft spot for Crypts and Things which, however, owes far more to Moorcock than Lovecaft, et al); the second edition is also chock full of new art depicting the Lovecraftian realm of Hyperborea, - my personal favourite being the Old School piece by Peter Mullen shown above: wonderfully capturing the feel of Hyperborea, this panoramic piece depicts a parade of that world’s strange inhabitants dutifuly making obeisance to the Great Old One Tsathoggua (attended by its formless spawn), and forms the book’s endpapers. The huge, fold-out map of the world of Hyperborea which comes woth the book has also been upgraded to full colour. Nice.

Astonshing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea is available in hardcopy here, and in pdf format here. Right, that’s enough of that - it’s time to put on a pair of furry underpants, unsheath my broadsword, and prepare to do battle with ancient horrors from beyond time and space.

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