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5/04/2018 9:34 pm  #1


A question about the setting as a whole

I am certain this is a bit of a dumb question. I've read through much of the REH Conan material and I've perused a bit of the 2e AS&SH book and I'm a little confused on something and trying to reconcile this for my own home campaign setting.

Simply, why are some things different in the world setting?

Example, the map (that I believe was drawn by REH) in my book (Complete Chronicles of Conan) which is very different than the AS&SH Hyperborean map on the resource page or what is sold in the store (or sent with the Kickstarter). And then in the gazetteer, there are some notable gods missing etc.

Is this simply that the AS&SH default setting is only based on REH's Hyborea (and the later pastiches) [and obviously then expanded upon] and so some things are different for licensing purposes, etc?

Just curious so I can piece this together. Thanks!

FYI: sorry, I tried to add links to show the differences, but I'm a newb and can't post links yet ;)

 

5/05/2018 3:39 am  #2


Re: A question about the setting as a whole

Hey man, welcome to the boards. As a big fan of Howard's Hyborian Age, at first glance I was also confused. Long story short, there is no connection as far as I can tell with Howard's Hyborian Age or Clark Ashton Smith's Hyperborea.

I cannot speak for Ghul, the author of AS&SH, but I am guessing it was a deliberate choice not to tie Hyperborea directly to any existing canon to ensure every DM could more easily make the setting their own. Details have purposely been left vague and most of the background material is written from the perspective of fallible mortal sage. This isn't Golarion or Forogtten Realms with a vast body of work objectively describing every nook and cranny (thank goodness!); a random selection of 100 DMs will have 100 different visions of Hyperborea. 

That all being said, I have purposefully made my Hyperborea connect with the works of Howard, Lovecraft, and C.A.S. There is nothing preventing you from doing that, either. It a simple matter to rule that the Kimmerians descended from a lost tribe in the Hyborian age, the Ixians are the Stygians invigorated with the blood and culture of other races, and the Vikings are in fact Howard's Aesir and Vanir. Hell, in my world Lovecraft's Yig and Howard's Set are one and the same, just as Tlakk-Nacha is the true name of Zath. One of the perks of being a DM is fine-tuning settings and background to make that perfect blend! 

 

 

5/05/2018 3:59 am  #3


Re: A question about the setting as a whole

Cool. Got it.

There's some awesome stuff in this book. I'm gonna use as much as I can, but I'm also very motivated after reading through REH and HPL stuff (CAS is next on the list!) to draw heavily from these books. I think everything else you're saying is spot on what I'm wanting to do to.

Brock Savage wrote:

a random selection of 100 DMs will have 100 different visions of Hyperborea.

Right on. Now I'll be number 101 ;)

     Thread Starter
 

5/05/2018 10:11 am  #4


Re: A question about the setting as a whole

There is no particular relationship between the setting and the Hyborian Age, and in fact I would say Howard's overall influence on the setting is the weakest of any of the three Weird Tales authors*. It resembles Smith's Hyperborea (with some elements from Smith's Zothique) much more, but only in a very vague and general way. It's a pastiche, but - as Mr. Savage aptly notes - that just means it belongs to YOU now. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/smile.png

* - I would eyeball the author influences at about 40% Smith, 30% Lovecraft, 15% Howard (at most), and 15% other (Vance, etc.). The people who refer to it as "Conan the RPG" are pretty far off-base, in my opinion, and setting up a burden for the setting it was never intended to meet. For example, in my experience people have an exaggerated view of how rare and weak magic was in the Hyborian Age. But even to the extent that it was rare and weak in Howard's stories, the Hyperborea setting was clearly inspired more by the much more magical Smith settings. So complaining that the magic in AS&SH doesn't work like it does in the Conan stories (even assuming the critic does in fact have much knowledge of the Hyborian Age, which is not necessarily the case in my observation) is rather missing the point.

ETA: These are just my observations as a fan of the game and all three authors. I have no special knowledge of Jeff's intentions with the setting, other than what he's stated publically.

Last edited by Blackadder23 (5/05/2018 10:13 am)


Michael Sipe 1979-2018
Rest in peace, brother.
 

5/05/2018 12:01 pm  #5


Re: A question about the setting as a whole

Great thread!  Not much to add except the game drove my reading of CAS and Lovecraft, and further reading of REH. I would get an aha moment each time I ran across a name or place in CAS with a similar term in AS&SH.  Fun stuff!


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

5/05/2018 12:39 pm  #6


Re: A question about the setting as a whole

There is also a etymological difference between Hyboria and Hyperborea. While I'm not sure of Hyboria I am sure of Hyperborea: Above the North Wind. Which if you look at the latitude of the map you can see that the furthest south is 18N. The bulk of the land mass is North of 60 degrees.

As others have written, Hyperborea is more beholden to CAS then REH for setting and vibe. I've only read a little bit of CAS and I can definitely see the influences.


What? Me worry?
 

5/05/2018 12:59 pm  #7


Re: A question about the setting as a whole

gizmomathboy wrote:

There is also a etymological difference between Hyboria and Hyperborea.

The land of Hyperborea and the sorcerous Hyperborean race is a thing in Howard's work so, at least for me, that is where the initial confusion lay. In fact, the mention of Hyperborea in the title is what led me to check out AS&SH in the first place!

 

5/05/2018 8:02 pm  #8


Re: A question about the setting as a whole

Great thread! Yes, besides the Big Three (REH, HPL, CAS), a variety of authors have influenced the work, including but not limited to J. Vance, F. Leiber, M. Moorcock, E.R. Burroughs, A. Merritt, K.E. Wagner, and so many more. Mythology plays a vital role, too, particularly when Hyperborea is noted by the likes of Pindar, Herodotus, and Pliny the Elder. Not to be overlooked, is the mythology that grew from the fertile imaginations of Dave Arneson, Gary Gygax, and Gary's many contributors and developers. What emerged from their evolving collaborative efforts became, in my estimation, a mythology of its own right. 


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
 

5/06/2018 12:38 pm  #9


Re: A question about the setting as a whole

None of which is to say that you couldn't use the mechanic of the game for your own campaign set in Howard's Hyborian Age, which I and a few other refs here have done with great success. Truly, the game mechanics work well for any gritty Sword and Sorcery setting. I'm betting that in the next few years some third party publishers may capitalize on the idea and introduce alternate or converted settings using the AS&SH rules.


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

5/15/2018 6:14 pm  #10


Re: A question about the setting as a whole

Jimm.Iblis wrote:

None of which is to say that you couldn't use the mechanic of the game for your own campaign set in Howard's Hyborian Age, which I and a few other refs here have done with great success. Truly, the game mechanics work well for any gritty Sword and Sorcery setting. I'm betting that in the next few years some third party publishers may capitalize on the idea and introduce alternate or converted settings using the AS&SH rules.

Hiss! North Wind Forever!


3d6 straight.
 

5/15/2018 6:31 pm  #11


Re: A question about the setting as a whole

Jimm.Iblis wrote:

I'm betting that in the next few years some third party publishers may capitalize on the idea and introduce alternate or converted settings using the AS&SH rules.

I believe that will happen over Jeff's dead body. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/shocked.png


Michael Sipe 1979-2018
Rest in peace, brother.
 

5/16/2018 3:43 am  #12


Re: A question about the setting as a whole

Jimm.Iblis wrote:

Truly, the game mechanics work well for any gritty Sword and Sorcery setting.

Indeed: I don't use the Hyperborean setting alone, but it is part of my "Atlantean Age Earth" or "Old Terra" setting, loosely based on various S&S novels/stories/ideas/games.
 


"Enough of this intolerable inanity! I propose that such loquacity passes beyond the scope of nuisance and over the verge of turpitude."
Jack Vance, Rhialto the Marvellous
 

5/16/2018 8:17 am  #13


Re: A question about the setting as a whole

Blackadder23 wrote:

Jimm.Iblis wrote:

I'm betting that in the next few years some third party publishers may capitalize on the idea and introduce alternate or converted settings using the AS&SH rules.

I believe that will happen over Jeff's dead body. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/shocked.png

Yeah, it's not an open source game for anyone to develop. But anyone can use the same open source materials that we use, as found in the SRD, to come up with their own stuff. If you read the small print in all North Wind's publications, everything that we've uniquely created is considered Product Identity, and everything we utilized from the SRD is open to anyone (e.g., armor class, hit points, saving throw, aboleth, rust monster, stirge, ring of shooting stars, rod of lordly might). The idea is to preserve and control the quality of the setting. If I ever do initiate a third-party publishing license for AS&SH, it would likely be for the creation of adventures that do not include setting development: sword-and-sorcery adventures with suggested (not specific) locations on the map.  
 


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
 

5/16/2018 1:24 pm  #14


Re: A question about the setting as a whole

Ghul wrote:

Yeah, it's not an open source game for anyone to develop. But anyone can use the same open source materials that we use, as found in the SRD, to come up with their own stuff. If I ever do initiate a third-party publishing license for AS&SH, it would likely be for the creation of adventures that do not include setting development: sword-and-sorcery adventures with suggested (not specific) locations on the map.  
 

 
That's kinda what I was driving at. I wouldn't suggest anyone should touch the packaged setting of "Hyperborea" outside of Northwind with intent to sell. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/nervous.png


An example of what I was talking about was like how Kobold Press uses the Pathfinder rules for their own setting of Midgard. They don't develop anything related to Paizo's Golarian setting, which, other than the stuff from the OGL, is PI.

 

Last edited by Jimm.Iblis (5/16/2018 1:30 pm)


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

6/11/2019 3:52 pm  #15


Re: A question about the setting as a whole

Blackadder23 wrote:

There is no particular relationship between the setting and the Hyborian Age, and in fact I would say Howard's overall influence on the setting is the weakest of any of the three Weird Tales authors*. It resembles Smith's Hyperborea (with some elements from Smith's Zothique) much more, but only in a very vague and general way. It's a pastiche, but - as Mr. Savage aptly notes - that just means it belongs to YOU now. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/smile.png

* - I would eyeball the author influences at about 40% Smith, 30% Lovecraft, 15% Howard (at most), and 15% other (Vance, etc.). The people who refer to it as "Conan the RPG" are pretty far off-base, in my opinion, and setting up a burden for the setting it was never intended to meet. For example, in my experience people have an exaggerated view of how rare and weak magic was in the Hyborian Age. But even to the extent that it was rare and weak in Howard's stories, the Hyperborea setting was clearly inspired more by the much more magical Smith settings. So complaining that the magic in AS&SH doesn't work like it does in the Conan stories (even assuming the critic does in fact have much knowledge of the Hyborian Age, which is not necessarily the case in my observation) is rather missing the point.

ETA: These are just my observations as a fan of the game and all three authors. I have no special knowledge of Jeff's intentions with the setting, other than what he's stated publically.

The boldened part is the part that has disturbed me.  I am first and foremost a Howard fan when it comes to sword & sorcery and expected this game to ooze that Howardian feeling but in the few sessions I have ran yet the setting just is not feeling like it to me.  It seems much more weird fantasy than Howardian sword & sorcery.  I am conflicted as to if I should keep pushing on with AS&SH or go back to Barbarians of Lemuria Mythic Edition or Beasts & Barbarians Steel Edition for Savage Worlds, which seem to be influenced more heavily by REH.
 

 

6/11/2019 4:11 pm  #16


Re: A question about the setting as a whole

Spellbinder wrote:

The boldened part is the part that has disturbed me.  I am first and foremost a Howard fan when it comes to sword & sorcery and expected this game to ooze that Howardian feeling but in the few sessions I have ran yet the setting just is not feeling like it to me.  It seems much more weird fantasy than Howardian sword & sorcery.  I am conflicted as to if I should keep pushing on with AS&SH or go back to Barbarians of Lemuria Mythic Edition or Beasts & Barbarians Steel Edition for Savage Worlds, which seem to be influenced more heavily by REH.
 

You may do as I did and make AS&SH more "Howardian". My version is a mixture "pagan Europe" with Conan tropes. The reason I loved the AS&SH so much is its capaciousness (I really hope I use the right word here). Now I'm running this my way, if I'm gonna go more Howard-style a year from now I just do it without losing a pinch of immersion. I decided to present derelict spaceship of ancient race or forgotten weaponry? I go for it and don't have to change the system, the setting. Maybe you are looking for precise instructions about the setting instead of just guidelines?

Last edited by kane (6/11/2019 4:11 pm)


Non-native English speaker - I apologize for any unclear phrasing
 

6/11/2019 4:14 pm  #17


Re: A question about the setting as a whole

The tag line for the game is "A Rolplaying Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy. " There should be some expectation of elements of weird fantasy.

I think the game will ooze the elements you stress in play. It may give you lots of tools for weird fantasy but you dont have to use them.

I do like Barbarians of Lemuria and I think it represents Lin Carters world of Thongor and Lemuria very well. But for a campaign tool I have my doubts.


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

6/11/2019 4:19 pm  #18


Re: A question about the setting as a whole

The setting is very detailed on what it is it seems but leaves a bit that you can customize but overall it is pretty defined.

 

6/11/2019 7:13 pm  #19


Re: A question about the setting as a whole

Spellbinder wrote:

Blackadder23 wrote:

There is no particular relationship between the setting and the Hyborian Age, and in fact I would say Howard's overall influence on the setting is the weakest of any of the three Weird Tales authors*. It resembles Smith's Hyperborea (with some elements from Smith's Zothique) much more, but only in a very vague and general way. It's a pastiche, but - as Mr. Savage aptly notes - that just means it belongs to YOU now. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/smile.png

* - I would eyeball the author influences at about 40% Smith, 30% Lovecraft, 15% Howard (at most), and 15% other (Vance, etc.). The people who refer to it as "Conan the RPG" are pretty far off-base, in my opinion, and setting up a burden for the setting it was never intended to meet. For example, in my experience people have an exaggerated view of how rare and weak magic was in the Hyborian Age. But even to the extent that it was rare and weak in Howard's stories, the Hyperborea setting was clearly inspired more by the much more magical Smith settings. So complaining that the magic in AS&SH doesn't work like it does in the Conan stories (even assuming the critic does in fact have much knowledge of the Hyborian Age, which is not necessarily the case in my observation) is rather missing the point.

ETA: These are just my observations as a fan of the game and all three authors. I have no special knowledge of Jeff's intentions with the setting, other than what he's stated publically.

The boldened part is the part that has disturbed me.  I am first and foremost a Howard fan when it comes to sword & sorcery and expected this game to ooze that Howardian feeling but in the few sessions I have ran yet the setting just is not feeling like it to me.  It seems much more weird fantasy than Howardian sword & sorcery.  I am conflicted as to if I should keep pushing on with AS&SH or go back to Barbarians of Lemuria Mythic Edition or Beasts & Barbarians Steel Edition for Savage Worlds, which seem to be influenced more heavily by REH.
 

Only you can decide that. The setting is heavily titled toward Clark Ashton Smith (it might even be more than 40% - perhaps not surprisingly, since he was the one who actually wrote a series of stories set in Hyperborea) but you could really change the setting to anything you want. Mechanically the game is not that different from 1e AD&D, but I personally think 1e AD&D is already a sword & sorcery game.

Only you can decide what works for you.


Michael Sipe 1979-2018
Rest in peace, brother.
 

6/11/2019 7:30 pm  #20


Re: A question about the setting as a whole

Spellbinder wrote:

Blackadder23 wrote:

There is no particular relationship between the setting and the Hyborian Age, and in fact I would say Howard's overall influence on the setting is the weakest of any of the three Weird Tales authors*. It resembles Smith's Hyperborea (with some elements from Smith's Zothique) much more, but only in a very vague and general way. It's a pastiche, but - as Mr. Savage aptly notes - that just means it belongs to YOU now. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/smile.png

* - I would eyeball the author influences at about 40% Smith, 30% Lovecraft, 15% Howard (at most), and 15% other (Vance, etc.). The people who refer to it as "Conan the RPG" are pretty far off-base, in my opinion, and setting up a burden for the setting it was never intended to meet. For example, in my experience people have an exaggerated view of how rare and weak magic was in the Hyborian Age. But even to the extent that it was rare and weak in Howard's stories, the Hyperborea setting was clearly inspired more by the much more magical Smith settings. So complaining that the magic in AS&SH doesn't work like it does in the Conan stories (even assuming the critic does in fact have much knowledge of the Hyborian Age, which is not necessarily the case in my observation) is rather missing the point.

ETA: These are just my observations as a fan of the game and all three authors. I have no special knowledge of Jeff's intentions with the setting, other than what he's stated publically.

The boldened part is the part that has disturbed me.  I am first and foremost a Howard fan when it comes to sword & sorcery and expected this game to ooze that Howardian feeling but in the few sessions I have ran yet the setting just is not feeling like it to me.  It seems much more weird fantasy than Howardian sword & sorcery.  I am conflicted as to if I should keep pushing on with AS&SH or go back to Barbarians of Lemuria Mythic Edition or Beasts & Barbarians Steel Edition for Savage Worlds, which seem to be influenced more heavily by REH.
 

I totally agree with Blackadder23 here and just reading what you write in your posts, I don't think I'm going out on a limb to say that it seems like you'd be happier with Howard in the those other systems you are familiar with. Gaming should be fun and not this much of an inner struggle. Go where your heart lies and have a great time!


3d6 straight.
 

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