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1/10/2019 4:03 pm  #1


I'm starting a new Hyperborea game. Any advice?

I'm an old schooler, go way back to 84 with Basic and AD&D.  I'm now looking to run a game of ASSH.  Any advice?  what do I need to be aware of in terms of differences in either style or rules? What surprised you guys the first time out? What should I look forward to, good or bad? Any input is appreciated! Thanks!

 

1/10/2019 4:19 pm  #2


Re: I'm starting a new Hyperborea game. Any advice?

Welcome to the forum! http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/smile.png

AS&SH is similar to AD&D in a lot of ways, with some quirks (like the alignments) and a lot of extra classes. If someone has played AD&D the way it's typically actually played (i.e., as a cross between Basic and AD&D) then I don't think they'll find too much that surprises them. The differences are more in flavor elements (classes, spells, monsters, etc.) than the actual rules.


Michael Sipe 1979-2018
Rest in peace, brother.
 

1/10/2019 4:23 pm  #3


Re: I'm starting a new Hyperborea game. Any advice?

If you're familiar with Basic and AD&D then there should be few surprises in the rules, though AS&SH's phased initiative has sparked some long discussions. Clerics and their subclasses also don't know every clerical spell: they're limited in their repertoire like Magicians. Also keep in mind all magic in AS&SH is "sorcery", and should be more mysterious and weirder than D&D. I find it easy to run and pliable to house-ruling.

The biggest thing to be aware of is how weird the setting is: while I don't use the literal Hyperborea setting I do use all of it's tropes, human-only PCs, classes, creatures, sorcerous items and "vibe" in my weird Atlantis setting.


"My own concepts in this regard are easy and clear, and I am sure that the word 'simplistic' will be used by my critics. These folk are callow and turgid of intellect; I am reassured by their howls and yelps."
Jack Vance, The Face
 

1/10/2019 7:29 pm  #4


Re: I'm starting a new Hyperborea game. Any advice?

I decided to use simple d6 initiative.  The whole initiative system in ASSH hurt my brain.    
 

     Thread Starter
 

1/10/2019 7:30 pm  #5


Re: I'm starting a new Hyperborea game. Any advice?

     Thread Starter
 

1/10/2019 11:40 pm  #6


Re: I'm starting a new Hyperborea game. Any advice?

Welcome to the game and this board!

I ditched the initiative too (we use d10), but as the others have noted, you can play it pretty much like straight D&D if you like.  The single saving throw is convenient and make sure you keep track of fighting and casting ability, since they don't always correspond to level.  One thing I'd recommend is trying out the sub-classes.  Our character party consists of a huntsman, a berserker, a scout, a shaman, a pyromancer, and a cryomancer.  So it feels a bit different, but familiar enough to what we all grew up playing.  There are some cool spells available for these sub-classes that add a different vibe to the game that our group has enjoyed a lot.


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
 

1/10/2019 11:49 pm  #7


Re: I'm starting a new Hyperborea game. Any advice?

I should add that our group has played several of the official published adventures, including "Black Moss Hag of Lug," (in the rulebook), "Anthropophagi of Xambaala," "Ghost Ship of the Desert Dunes," and "Mystery at Port Greely" and these are great in helping convey the flavor of the setting.  So you might want to check some of those out, especially if you don't have time to create a bunch of your own scenarios.  (Note: Jeff/Ghul did not put me up to this

My current plan (I'm the DM) is to complete all the published scenarios, then, at the higher levels, put the party into my own adventures, which will be tied into a Labyrinth Lord campaign I'm running simultaneously with many of the same players.  It will be like those cross-over TV shows.  Throughout the earlier stages of these campaigns I'm dropping clues that will eventually bring the two PC parties together for a grand finale (I hope).


"Behind closed eyes,realize your sight."--Blue Oyster Cult
 

1/11/2019 5:09 am  #8


Re: I'm starting a new Hyperborea game. Any advice?

Spider of Leng wrote:

I should add that our group has played several of the official published adventures, including "Black Moss Hag of Lug," (in the rulebook), "Anthropophagi of Xambaala," "Ghost Ship of the Desert Dunes," and "Mystery at Port Greely" and these are great in helping convey the flavor of the setting.  So you might want to check some of those out, especially if you don't have time to create a bunch of your own scenarios.  (Note: Jeff/Ghul did not put me up to this

I second this: I've also run several of the published adventures, and they are both excellent and exemplars of the setting's vibe.

Spider of Leng wrote:

My current plan (I'm the DM) is to complete all the published scenarios, then, at the higher levels, put the party into my own adventures, which will be tied into a Labyrinth Lord campaign I'm running simultaneously with many of the same players.  It will be like those cross-over TV shows.  Throughout the earlier stages of these campaigns I'm dropping clues that will eventually bring the two PC parties together for a grand finale (I hope).

Interesting: I'm also the Ref, and am also planning on transitioning my party to my Epic Atlantean AS&SH, wherein they finally make it to Hyperborea and from there to Carcosa, Kadath, the Dreamlands or ancient Mars (where my whole Atlantean race was rooted, millenia ago). To that end I've extended the AS&SH attribute tables into the old Deities and Demigods range from 19 - 25.


"My own concepts in this regard are easy and clear, and I am sure that the word 'simplistic' will be used by my critics. These folk are callow and turgid of intellect; I am reassured by their howls and yelps."
Jack Vance, The Face
 

1/11/2019 1:02 pm  #9


Re: I'm starting a new Hyperborea game. Any advice?

joethelawyer wrote:

I decided to use simple d6 initiative.  The whole initiative system in ASSH hurt my brain.    
 

The initiative is simple d6, each side rolls and high roll goes first. Now if you mean the two-phase combat system then yea I'm with you on that.
 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

1/11/2019 1:15 pm  #10


Re: I'm starting a new Hyperborea game. Any advice?

joethelawyer wrote:

I'm an old schooler, go way back to 84 with Basic and AD&D.  I'm now looking to run a game of ASSH.  Any advice?  what do I need to be aware of in terms of differences in either style or rules? What surprised you guys the first time out? What should I look forward to, good or bad? Any input is appreciated! Thanks!

I wanted to make sure they knew they were in Hyperborea and not a generic, high-fantasy, troupe.  I reinforced things like the environment (cold, red sun, two moons), the cultures (decadent cities, primitive wilderness human-centric races), the gods (dark, alien, unsympathetic), magic (eclectic, despised, rare), and the mood (gritty, dangerous, maybe hopeless).  There are things in Hyperborea that strain modern notions like slavery, human sacrifice, dark magic, and routine cruelty. 
 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

1/11/2019 2:21 pm  #11


Re: I'm starting a new Hyperborea game. Any advice?

mabon5127 wrote:

joethelawyer wrote:

I decided to use simple d6 initiative.  The whole initiative system in ASSH hurt my brain.    
 

The initiative is simple d6, each side rolls and high roll goes first. Now if you mean the two-phase combat system then yea I'm with you on that.
 

The initiative is THE simplest since basic and I adore 2 PHASE combat!!!

 

1/12/2019 3:49 pm  #12


Re: I'm starting a new Hyperborea game. Any advice?

I recall that the only issue my last group had with 2-phase combat was how much ground one could cover in each phase, in regards to their Movement rate (MV). The charts say "1/2" move, so it seamed that if your MV was 30, then it was 15 in Ph1, 15 in Ph2. But! You can move your full MV in each phase by double moving, and taking a -1 AC penalty nd most everyone did. The Backpedaling rules were a little confusing in play, but tended to come up a lot so figure those out. If you use critical hits, the game's optional rule will slow things down as it has an extra roll and possible look-up. I just ruled max damage on crits to keep them exciting but quickly resolved.

Make sure your players understand that saving throws are a last resort and don't often succeed; optimally they should always try to avoid having to make a saving throw in the first place. In fact, if your crew are coming from newer editions of the "parent" game, the 13 pages of "A Quick Primer for Old School Gaming" by Matt Finch might save them some culture (and survival) shock. Encourage your sorcerers to develop tricks other than their spells, they don't get many. But this jives well with sword & sorcery wizards using alchemy and minions before falling back on magic.

Last edited by Jimm.Iblis (1/12/2019 3:50 pm)


"Role-playing isn't storytelling. If the dungeon master is directing it, it's not a game."  ~ Gary Gygax
 

1/13/2019 4:31 am  #13


Re: I'm starting a new Hyperborea game. Any advice?

Hyperborea is a unique setting and it's easy to overload players by trying to describe it all in one go. My elevator pitch stuck to a few salient descriptive points and I made a FAQ based on Jeff Reint's twenty questions that my players could peruse at their leisure.  If I had old school players I'd pitch it as playing Daemons & Deathrays instead of Dungeons & Dragons.

The setting lends itself wonderfully to old school modules and modern OSR material with minimal reskinning. You can break out all your old favorites along with the good new stuff. At the risk of sounding like a shill I also recommend the published AS&SH adventures. 

 

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