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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea RPG 2nd Edition Kickstarter

Screenshot from the Kickstarter Page showing the cover for the 2nd Edition rulebook

As I write this, 12 hours remain in the kickstarter for the 2nd Edition of the Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea RPG. The kickstarter currently over 800 backers with over $64K raised, meaning that all stretch goals have been unlocked. I've backed the game at the $59 level (plus shipping), which includes a hardcover book, pdf, and the stretch goals, many of which are improvements to the book itself.

This game was written by Jeff Talanian, who has professed deep admiration for Holmes Basic. See this post from September where I transcribed some quotes from his interview on the Dead Games Society podcast. The second sentence in the kickstarter states that the game is "Inspired by Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, and Clark Ashton Smith!". These are three "Weird Fiction" authors whom J. Eric Holmes was very fond of. As he wrote in his widely read 1980 article in the magazine Psychology Today, " players have wandered through bits of Barsoom and Hyperborea, through worlds created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, H. Rider Haggard, A. Merritt, H.P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith".

The AS&SH RPG includes the 4 standard D&D classes, as well as 22 subclasses, among which are all of those originally promised for AD&D in the Holmes Basic rulebook: paladins, rangers, illusionists, monks, druids, assassins and even the witch. Plus many others. Instead of demi-humans, the game includes a variety of fictional human cultures from which to create a character.

Peruse the Kickstarter page and this update thread on the OD&D Discussion Forum for many examples of the fantastic art commissioned for this new edition by at least ten artists, including Russ Nicholson of Fiend Folio and Fighting Fantasy fame. Nicholson's artwork remains very much in the style of his Fiend Folio work (which I love), for example see this piece posted in the OD&D thread:

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