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Monday 22 March 2021
In March 2021 we presented the Hyperborea Bundle featuring the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea sword-and-sorcery FRPG from North Wind Adventures. The vividly dangerous, edge-of-the-world Hyperborea campaign setting takes inspiration from the weird fiction of Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, Michael Moorcock, and many others. Capturing the spirit of the original D&D and AD&D rules sets, AS&SH is compatible with old-school retro-clones such as OSRIC and Swords & Wizardry.

Hyperborea designer Jeffrey Talanian started his game design career working with no less than Gary Gygax, on the Castle Zagyg line Gygax published through Troll Lord Games under his “Trigee Enterprises” imprint (2005-2008). In 2008 Jeff started North Wind Adventures to publish his own modules such as Charnel Crypt of the Sightless Serpent. He published AS&SH First Edition in 2012. The October 2016 AS&SH 2E Kickstarter (897 backers, US$68K) was one of a procession of successful North Wind campaigns in May 2015, March 2018, October 2018, and July 2019.

In the vast geography of D&D retro-clones Hyperborea is, fittingly, an outlier. Though built in the traditional way (3d6 rolls for the usual six attributes, Fighter-Magician-Cleric-Thief), all player characters are human (no dwarves or elves), from an array of offbeat subclasses, flavorful cultures, and religions drawn from ancient, primeval, and Mythos sources. There’s a lot of the Mythos in Hyperborea. The game’s Hyperborea setting derives from Smith’s Hyperborean cycle more than from Greek legend or modern estoteric thought. (As for December’s Gotye Wokeuplikethis Hyperborea meme, not so much.) AS&SH focuses on a pulpish sword-and-sorcery experience, where mighty-thewed heroes and heroines match steel against sorcery, sorcery against steel as they plunder treasure and magic in a decaying world.

Timothy S. Brannan, reviewing AS&SH 2E on, called it “hands down one of my most favorite retro-clone/OSR/Old-School games.” For him the game is “the perfect balance between B/X D&D and AD&D 1E. This one leans more towards the AD&D side of the spectrum, but the power level, the grit, the overall vibe is far more B/X. Then you add in material from Lovecraft, Howard,and Clark Ashton Smith? Well, that is the perfect icing on the cake, really. […] I have run Zothique games and Pellucidar-style ones as well, where all of Hyperborea was either one continent in the far future or underground, inside the hollow Earth.”

This all-new offer presented the massive AS&SH Second Edition rulebook (2017) along with many exotic adventure modules that take your heroic cataphracts, pyromancers, runegravers, purloiners, legerdemainists, and sublunary Gnoph-Yikks from 1st level all the way to 7th and beyond. There were three titles in our Core Collection (retail value $34) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the 622-page AS&SH Compleat Second Edition core rulebook (2017), the Rogues Gallery II collection of pregenerated player characters, and the Referee’s Screen ,

Those who paid more than the threshold (average) price also got our entire Adventure Collection with seven ready-to-play modules worth an additional $70, including Rats in the Walls and Other Perils, The Anthropophagi of Xambaala, Ghost Ship of the Desert Dunes, The Beasts of Kraggoth Manor, Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess, Lost Treasure of Atlantis, and The Sea-Wolf’s Daughter. Together these scenarios take your characters from 1st level to 7th level and beyond.

Ten percent of each payment (after gateway fees) went to the charity designated by Jeffrey Talanian of North Wind Adventures, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. St. Jude Hospital advances cures and means of prevention for pediatric catastrophic diseases.