Friday, January 15, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea
Another favorite game that came out of the Old-school push was Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.  A game that took us back to the pulp-fantasy roots of the RPG hobby. 

The Game: Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea

I am very, very fond of this game. There is just so much potential here that I become overwhelmed with ideas.  Do I want to do the dawn-time of humanity when the Old Ones have left the Earth?  Do I want to do an older, colder Earth of the far future under a dying sun?  Or just smoosh it into my current games? I want to do it all, to be honest!!

I have mentioned in the past that I see AS&SH as a good combination of B/X and AD&D rules.  Essentially it is what we were playing back in the early 80s.  Where I grew up it was not uncommon to come to a game where people would have an AD&D Monster Manual, a Holmes Basic book, and a Cook/Marsh Expert Book.  The rules we played by were also an equally eclectic mix.

AS&SH is like that. It favors the AD&D side more, but there are enough B/X influences that I smile to myself when I see them.

For me, it is another example of striking the perfect balance between B/X D&D and AD&D1.  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.

Of course, it is nearly perfect out of the box, but it can also lend itself to so much more than what is given us to use between the covers.  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 hollow earth (respectively).

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea

The Character: Xaltana

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea has its own witch class and it really is quite excellent.

Ok, admittedly this one is a bit of a cheat since she is not only not my character, she is a pastiche of other characters.  Xaltana appears in the adventure HS4 The Lost Caverns of Acheron which I talk about here.  She is an evil witch/vampire lord found in the central part of the adventure.  She combines various characters including Drelzna and Iggwilv as well as any number of evil witch and evil vampire type characters found in Conan.  In the adventure, her stats are for 3.x edition. AS&SH is a much better fit for her really.

While I have a number of other Witch-y Vampire Queens, this one is a bit different in that she is designed to be a one and done sort of bud guy.

Xaltana, the Witch-Queen of Acheron
Xaltana, the Witch-Queen of Acheron
Female Witch, 12th level, Chaotic Evil

Race: Human(Common, but could be Hyperborean) Vampire 
Secondary Skill: Scribe

Abilities
Strength: 16
Dexterity: 20
Constitution: 10
Intelligence: 14
Wisdom: 14
Charisma: 20

Casting Ability: 12
Fighting Ability: 5

Hit Points:  36
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
AC: 5 

Powers
1st level: Brew Potions, Familiar
3rd level: Brew Philtre
5th level: Dance of Beguilement, Effigy
7th level: Animate Broom
9th level: Witch's Apprentice

Vampire Powers

Spells
First: (5) Burning Hands, Charm Person, Locate the Dead, Shocking Grasp, Sleep
Second: (5) Cause Blindness, Ghoul Touch, Hold Person, Infernal Tongues, Ray of Enfeeblement
Third: (4) Black Cloud, Explosive Runes, Phantasm, Witch Fire
Fourth: (4) Black Tentacles, Charm Monster, Mirror Mirror, Sorcerer Eye
Fifth: (3) Control Winds, Magic Jar, Sleep Everlasting
Sixth: (2) Disintegrate, See

Magic Items
Bracers AC1


Xaltana, the Witch-Queen of Acheron
Xaltana, the Witch-Queen of Acheron
Female Witch, Malefic Tradition 13th level, Chaotic

Abilities
Strength: 16
Dexterity: 20
Constitution: 10
Intelligence: 14
Wisdom: 14
Charisma: 20

Hit Points: 29
AC: 1 (Bracers)

Occult Powers
Familiar: Bat
7th level:  
13th level: 

Spells 
Cantrips: Alarm Ward, Black Flame, Daze, Detect Curse, Object Reading, Open
First: Cause Fear, Everlasting Candle, Ghostly Slashing, Increase Sex Appeal, Minor Curse
Second: Bewitch II, Burning Gaze, Enthrall, Evil Eye
Third: Feral Spirit, Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, Tongues
Fourth: Dance Macabre, Intangible Cloak of Shadows, Phantom Lacerations
Fifth: Death Curse, Dreadful Bloodletting
Sixth: Death Blade, Mass Agony
Seventh:  Wave of Mutilation

Magic Items
Bracers AC 1

Both versions are good. I might rethink my plan to make her a one-shot villain!

Character Creation Challenge

Tardis Captain is the originator of this idea and he is keeping a list of places participating.  When posting to Social Media don't forget the #CharacterCreationChallenge hashtag. 

RPG Blog Carnival

This month's RPG Blog Carnival is being hosted by Plastic Polyhedra. They are doing Characters, Stories, and Worlds, so that fits right in with everything we are posting this month.

Check out all the posts going on this month at both of these sources.


2 comments:

Brutorz Bill said...

AS&SH is an awesome game!

mabon5127 said...

Great character!