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Convention and Game Day » Gary Con X (2018) » 1/20/2018 7:13 pm

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Very good news Chainsaw, looking forward to seeing you again

General Discussion » Downtime adventures » 1/10/2018 12:09 pm

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Grimm, check out the Tome of Adventure Design by Matt Finch.  Not only is it one of the best books for adventure inspiration and dungeon design in general, it has a section specifically on generating missions, including generating the Villain's Plan, which could be help you generate outcomes for downtime missions.  Just the section on the Villain's Plan includes 25 tables (the book has 405 tables total).

General Discussion » Timekeeping and Encumbrance » 1/09/2018 11:06 am

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I track time, both campaign and dungeon, quite meticulously.  I've got a campaign calendar in Google Drive that I update between sessions, marking important notes and rolling up the next week's weather.  In the dungeon, my players know their travel rate based on worst movement speed and I check for wandering monsters on set intervals, tell them when their light sources are running out, and so on.  I think careful time tracking is vital for maintaining tension in the dungeon, or else the players would spend an entire session searching every nook and cranny of every room.

Encumbrance is harder.  I kind of handwave it but check on the PCs regularly and will tell them if they're getting unreasonable (last night I realized one of the warriors, wearing banded mail, had a full suit of scale mail in his backpack, and told him that's a no go).  I have warned my players that as they acquire more stuff they need to start thinking of long term storage.  I'd like them to track weight and encumbrance better, but it's just not an element of the game that interests them, so I have to just police it as best as I can.

Adventures » List adventures that would fit the Hyperborea setting » 1/06/2018 9:14 am

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It's not yet released to the public, but the final pdf draft of Operation Unfathomable just went out to backers this morning, and I think I found the perfect entry to Underborea.  It is full of strange new monsters, weird, alien, and ancient.  A nice mix of psychic sorcery and technology.  And the map is appropriately chaotic, with a dozen or so exits to other parts of the underworld, so you can just keep adding stuff onto it with ease.

Convention and Game Day » Gary Con X (2018) » 1/03/2018 11:46 am

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I am attending Gary Con for the first time this year and am working on travel arrangements.  It seems like the most sensible thing to do is to fly into Chicago and rent a car to drive to Lake Geneva.  Is anyone else here doing that that would want to share a car?

General Discussion » Dungeon Prep » 12/31/2017 11:21 pm

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Are you using blackadder's random encounter tables?  They're really great.  You could very easily do a zero prep, just wander around and face what Hyperborea throws at you style game with just those.

General Discussion » AS&SH Reviews » 12/31/2017 11:17 pm

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Bat, Black Company is definitely on my to-read list.  I keep hearing it referenced in the best ways.

I do think that dragons are an interesting point for discerning high/low fantasy.  I'm not sure that dragons have to be considered high fantasy.  The Hobbit was pretty low fantasy, although more whimsical than usually mined for swords & sorcery fiction, and it had a singular dragon, who might as well be the only dragon in Middle Earth.  On the other hand, the closest thing to a dragon I can recall Conan facing was the great lizard in Red Nails, but that was very different from the image usually conjured by the name "dragon".
Still, I don't think dragons cannot be in a swords & sorcery/low fantasy game.  But it's easier to think of examples that are decidedly not low fantasy (Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms) than the alternative.

General Discussion » AS&SH Reviews » 12/31/2017 10:51 pm

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Of all places, I forgot to post it here, but here's my review.  Although, does anyone here need convincing?  If you want to skip reading my master's thesis: it's great.

General Discussion » Dungeon Prep » 12/31/2017 10:17 pm

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Tonight I wrote a 35 room top level of a dungeon.  I used the 1e DMG for room stocking.  I ended up with 10 monster room, for which I used the S&W dungeon level encounters, assigning monsters to the various CL levels based on a theme I had picked out (mix of undead and swampy stuff).  For treasures , the AS&SH treasure tables were sufficient on their own, although I did make some substitutions to consolidate treasures where I wanted.  For empty rooms, special, and tricks/traps, I used Courtney Campbell's 'Tricks, Empty Rooms, & Basic Trap Design', Michael Curtis's 'Stonehell' appendix on dungeon decor, and Matt Finch's Tome of Adventure Design, to put together some interesting rooms, weird puzzles, and devious traps.

I moved a few things around and overuled a couple random rolls that just didn't fit in, but the overall result, I think, is pretty damn good.  We'll see how it works out in play.  I'm curious to hear what tools everyone here uses to create their dungeons.  I'm pretty happy with my current repertoire but always want to add in new stuff.  I do need help with dungeon layout.  I currently mostly swipe other maps and redraw them.  Haven't found anything for randomizing a dungeon layout that I like yet.

Campaign » AS&SH Roll20 Campaign » 12/26/2017 10:23 pm

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Jimm.Iblis wrote:

Do you have room for another player? http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/confused.png

We actually usually run with 5, but lost one of our guys due to switching jobs, requiring a late shift.  The current group and I have been playing together weekly for almost 2 years now - DCC and S&W mostly.  We use Discord these days for audio.  Would you like to join us next Monday?  We're currently in town, getting ready to set out looking for a witch to learn about some ruins in the bogs.

Rules Discussion » House Rules? » 12/21/2017 4:37 pm

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Replies: 74

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I'm all for players using poison.  It's expensive and hard to get and using it is almost always an evil act (acts of survival against giant draco lizards aside), but I like the danger it brings to the game.

As for monster venoms, I can't say I've read every entry but it seems the ones I have read are consistent in that they do damage/some effect now and death some days later.  That, to me, is just adventure material.  The race against time for a cure while your buddy is puking his guts up every step of the way.  Yeah, poison's great for players and monsters alike.

Rules Discussion » Rolling Attributes » 12/21/2017 4:30 pm

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They say there's nothing new under the sun, but I've honestly never heard that one before Jimm.

Announcements » Welcome! » 12/21/2017 12:00 pm

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Ar'Pharazon wrote:

The 2e book is a masterpiece!

Yeah, you really cannot tell from pictures online how high quality this book is in its physical production.  The heavy paper weight, the quality of the binding, and the texture of the cover all make it a joy to hold.  I wasn't sure how much I'd be able to sit around reading from a book of this size, but I keep finding it in my hands.

General Discussion » Introduction Thread » 12/19/2017 12:09 pm

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Jimm.Iblis wrote:

That said, I already feel that the arbitrariness of Dungeon World starting to chafe a bit. We quickly had to abandon much of the collaborative world- and adventure-building because, go figure, the players want to explore and be surprised, to feel badass when they wreck your dungeon and feel smart if they figure out what you're up to--you know, play. They want enough control of the narrative to establish their characters in the world, but don't want to tell you what's behind door number 2... most of the time. 

This really sums up well why I've never been able to wrap my head around the PbtA games (and probably a host of other games I haven't tried).  I played in one once (the Sprawl, a cyberpunk take on it) and the whole player group actively resisted all collaborative activity.  Myself included; I was not a good player that game.  But I think this is why.  Our whole group went in looking for a challenge to take on and kept being asked to make our own problems.  It ended up just pissing everyone off.

That said, I always see people reference DW as being one of the best DMing books outside the 1e DMG, so maybe I need to give it a read sometime and see what all the fuss is about.

Campaign » AS&SH Roll20 Campaign » 12/19/2017 9:25 am

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Crawling for Coppers
I'm behind on campaign updates.  We've had three more sessions of AS&SH, playing weekly on Mondays, although I had to cancel one session due to travelling.

The Party
The party is unchanged.  No one has died, leveled up, or acquired any hirelings/henchmen yet.

Badulf: Kimmerian Shaman, follower of Krimmer, level 1.
Ingolf: Viking Death Soldier, level 1.
Hogsalt: Kelt Berserker, follower of Yoon'Deh, level 1.
Sheela: Amazonian Ranger, follower of Artemis, level 1.

The Adventure
Following their last adventure, the party spent a few days relaxing and celebrating in Swampgate.  They were soon contacted by the mayor, Connar Nill, who they'd sold their treasure to earlier.  He explained the difficult situation in Swampgate and why he needed people with an aptitude for sneaking into difficult places.  The town was being pressed by Khromarium to deliver an ever increasing supply of peat, but payments were stagnant.  The region's trade minister, Korrhil Xai, was responsible for setting the price of such commodities.  Korrhil had a manse outside the town of Pella's Wish, two day's south of Swampgate.  The adventurers were hired to sneak into the manse and impress upon the minister the wisdom of conducting fair trade.  They were also asked to gather any useful information that Connar might use for leverage, but to avoid any unnecessary bloodshed.

On the road south to Pella's Wish, they encountered another adventuring party being overrun by a large group of half formed dwarves - Worms of Ymir.  The adventurers rushed in to help.  Sheela took a high ground position and set arrows, proceeding to rain hell on the Worms.  Hogsalt rushed straight into their midst, wreaking carnage in his enraged blood mist.  Ingolf noted the stream the creatures were crossing to engage the strangers, and cast his Shocki

Rules Discussion » Rolling Attributes » 12/18/2017 6:16 pm

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My players are mostly newer players.  A guy that started with 4e and still considers it his favorite.  A guy that plays mostly 5e outside of my game.  A guy that plays lots of story games.  And one guy that was entirely new to RPGs but has happily latched onto the OSR games I introduced him to.

We've played our share of DCC funnels, but overall they do prefer to be able to play the characters they want to play.  I strongly prefer a certain amount of randomization in chargen, so it's a compromise.

Rules Discussion » Rolling Attributes » 12/18/2017 11:19 am

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Yeah, that's true mabon, I'm specifically trying to allow all subclasses without inflating average stats much.  Which could be achieved easily enough by ignoring the requirements.

I'd be curious what Ghul's intention for attribute requirements are.  I think in a lot of old school games they are meant to make certain classes more unusual, due to their greater power or assumed rarity in the setting, but I'm not sure that would be the case here.  Berserker is one of the toughest to roll up, but berserkers are common enough in the setting to be a monster.

Rules Discussion » Rolling Attributes » 12/17/2017 5:57 pm

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@Ynas, yeah, that's a good point.  The highest overall average of my characters was the Berserker, with a 13.8.  The Berserker requires 2 attributes of 15.  I don't remember the original roll, but I believe both of required stats were below minimum and got bumped, and then he added 1 to ST with the Age bonus.
Players overly concerned with attributes could just pick the classes with highest minimum attribute requirements.  I don't think most players are that ridiculous though, and mostly just want to play the archetype they're in the mood for.

As for the 4d6 drop lowest, with or without swapping, as I said before, it always feels like a bit too much of a power creep to me, and unless you allow assigning as you like, there's still no guarantee that you'll hit high enough in required attributes.

Rules Discussion » Rolling Attributes » 12/17/2017 12:02 pm

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I know this is discussed to death elsewhere with warring factions between the 3d6-in-order grognards and the point-buy/array-why-don't-you-just-give-them-a-holy-avenger-at-level-one hippies, but what the hell.
When we started up our AS&SH campaign a few weeks ago, I wanted to come up with something that allows my players to play the class they want to play but still allows for the randomization that makes for interesting characters.  4d6 drop lowest, arrange as you like, is the common go-to, but I feel like it has a number of problems.  Average roll goes up to 13, which is high enough to have a positive modifier, so the overall power level feels significantly higher.  And it also pretty much guarantees certain a certain distribution of attributes, where the fighter will put his highest in strength, then dexterity/constitution, dump intelligence/wisdom, etc.  Just kind of boring.
Anyway, what I came up with was having my players pick class first, and then they roll attributes in order, 3d6 for non-primes, 2d6+6 for primes, and if you get lower than required attribute for your class, bump that attribute to the minimum.
Here's the resulting party.

Shaman
ST 9, DX 18, CN 13, IN 16, WS 13, CH 10

Death Soldier
ST 13, DX 15, CN 11, IN 13, WS 12, CH 12

Berserker
ST 16, DX 15, CN 15, IN 12, WS 11, CH 14

Ranger
ST 13, DX 13, CN 10, IN 12, WS 11, CH 7

This array includes 1 point added to each character for being adults, so the average attribute rolled, modified by minimum requirement, was 12.5, right between 3d6 and 4d6 power level.  Everyone got to play the classes they wanted, but we still have some unconventional builds, like the 18 DX shaman.

I feel like it worked out really well for what I wanted.  I hadn't seen this method elsewhere, so I figured I'd share, since AS&SH has such a wonderful assortment of classes, I'm sure a lot of players go in really wanting to try out something specific.

The Tavern » Metro Atlanta » 12/16/2017 8:59 pm

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Hey blackmote, I moved to Atlanta a couple months back.  Still getting to know the city and it'd be nice to meet some other gamers in the area.

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