Monday, December 2, 2013

Five 'Essential' Films As Inspiration For The Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea Rpg

Here are five of my favorite films that seem to be great inspirations for this sword and sorcery retroclone. These are not my official or essential anything , they're five very underrated films that I always seem to come back to over and over again. 

Krull is pretty essential in my book for AS&SH game. I've taken a lot of heat for Krull over the years but it remains a constant on many OSR forums I've noticed. 

The Lovecraftian Beast, the kingdoms, knights in Italian style armor with swords, The Slayers, did I mention the Slayers, glass giant spiders, weird rites, half forgotten artifacts and more.
Fire and Ice by Ralph Bakshi remains one of my all time favorite Rotoscope fantasies. There is so much that Frazetta and co. packed into this one. This is pretty much what came to mind when I was reading AS&SH.

The action and weirdness abound in this one and its a nasty little gem of a film. Fun for the whole sword and sorcerer crowd. 

 "Let me show you a trick that Mother showed me when you weren't around." or words to that effect has always stuck in my mind in one of the best 'Wizard's Duels' in an animated movie.
Wizards has a lot going for it. Weird mutants, drug, religion, and political references all couched in fantasy tropes. The movie is way ahead of its time and another Bakshi effort. 

The original Beast Master has much of the feel and visual look of Hyperborea in my mind.
The "ziggurat", the proto humanoid races, the weird religions, Rip Torn's cleric from hell, and lots of 80's cheese. 
The original Dragon Slayer pretty much covers how I visualize certain ancient kingdoms of Hyperborea, the wizard's reaction to the changing world, the ignorance and weirdness of the various characters in this movie echo certain ideals I see in the game. 

This is a fan made trailer and by no means reflects this great movie nor is this list solid reference. Its a quick snap shot of my imaginings of my version of Hyperborea. Take this list for what its worth. Your mileage may vary. 


  1. Great post--you do this sort of thing very, very well. your retro-active reviews of inspirational videos are wonderful, and inspiring...and could cost unwary readers hours upon hours spent watching some of this stuff...which can only be a good thing for the hobby...

  2. Well, I've got to thank many,many, hours of VHS for this stuff but remember one man's treasure is another man's campaign inspiration. The 80's were a pretty lean time for fantasy movies. These retroactive reviews really are not retroactive for me. I just watched these last Thanksgiving week :-).
    Thanks for the comments and there will be more stuff coming up!

    1. It just sounded like a good title for a series...

  3. I consider KRULL a better inspiration for "sword & planet" gaming; a witch-world where spider automatons, bionic horses, and laser lances appear to be supernatural. The film itself proclaims the child of King Corwyn to be a future "ruler of the galaxy". Very few productions are fantastical enough to mimic both magic and ultra-science.

  4. Krull could be used for either 'sword and planet' or sword and sorcery. One man's spider automaton is another man's Widow Of The Web. King Corwyn's son might become ruler of the galaxy once Krull regains its place among the universe's interstellar community after its people become more attuned to the forces of Krull itself. Your right though its because of the productions fantastical nature that allows it to mimic Clark's law but which side though. For what men once called magic is now science. So is it with Hyperborea.

  5. Fantastic! I have to admit reading this blog has put me into the mood the watch some 80s fantasy.