Thursday, May 1, 2014

Revisiting The Free OSR Resource '&' Magazine Issue #5 For The Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea Rpg System

& Magazine #5 Cover
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The blurb On Issue #5 According To The Website:
Weapon of Change

The Use of Apprentices and Assistants
Catching the Magic
The Druid’s Club
Thief Rings by Lenard Lakofka
Mini-Adventure I: The Shrine of Hecate
Mini-Adventure II: Wengreth’s Hoard
 Magic in Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea is a very tricky mix of relics from a lost age, items from hoards, and the secrets of magic seem to growing harder to divine. This issue of '&' magazine is stuffed to the gills with magic and magic items, it seems an unlikely issue to use. But this is exactly what makes it useful. 

Scattered throughout this issue are fifteen swords and items that make perfect fodder for items created before the Green Death ravaged Hyperborea. Scatter these items throughout adventures sparingly however. While they are in the OSRIC or AD&D First edition mold it should be a snap to convert these items over to AS&SH.

The article Weapon of Change by Bryan Fazekas was another article that might work well with AS&SH given the sword and sorcery tone of the game.  Items & treasure  which are unique to PC's and grow with them as they increase in level isn't a novel approach but it can add a very distinctive flare to a DM's NPC's and PC's. This approach individualizes the PC's even more. The ideas of the article might have to be tweaked quite a bit given the back systems of AS&SH. 
The Use of Apprentices and Assistants by Andrew Hamiliton has very interesting points and the theories about apprentices. I'm reminded of some of the pulp sword and sorcery stories where apprentices were key to solving wizardly issues and problems. A good article for devising something extra for an AS&SH adventure.
The article 'Catching The Magic' by Nicole Massey address a very interesting issue that might have come up during Hyperborea's age of sorcery. 
Here's the gist of the article: 

One of the things missing in the AD&D game is the
nearly ubiquitous wizard's staff or dagger used to
cast spells. Along with that are questions about how
some magic items, like the bardic instruments, came
about. This article attempts to address some of this
in an effort to return some of the flavor from classic
fantasy fiction back to the game.

The article could be used as a back history for AS&SH magic items. Since those items haven't seen the light of day in hundreds of years. There is  a strong possibility  that some of the issues raised in this issue might come into possible play as part of an item's history.

The Thief Rings by Lenard Lakofka are one of the highlights of this issue for me. But using these magic items might get you killed in certain parts of Hyperborea. These items remind me of some of the magic items that cropped up in Newhon and it's environs. 

The Druid's Club by Nicole Massey is a great overview of one of my favorite weapons of a Druid.This article give some great insights into back history and background for an iconic weapon of the Keltic protectors and tenders of nature. Use this material with caution however. 
Creature Feature II: Ecology of the Bereaver 
by Bryan Fazekas, this is a nasty piece of work and it fits the tone,ideas, and pulptastic ideas of AS&SH. These horrors might be guarding a wizard's tower or other Hyperborean ruin. 
Friend or Foe: Quaven Renquist 
by Andrew Hamilton- An NPC patron with the perfect urbane flavor of some of the more cosmopolitan of Hyperborea. He's going to get a work out in an upcoming campaign. 
Friend or Foe: Quinn's Bookbindery 
by Andrew Hamilton- A book binding service and enterprise to go along with the NPC. Yes please given the amount of lost treatises, items from fallen times and so forth in AS&SH. This is a must in my opinion but your mileage may vary. 
The Toybox I: New Weapons II, Primitive Weaponry 
by Nicole Massey An article on primitive weaponry is always welcome but these might have to be converted to AS&SH.
The Toybox II: Lots of Toys for Adventurers - A myriad of treasures for AS&SH but use these very, very, sparingly. Some of these are very dangerous to a DM's tricks and traps in the game. 
The Toybox III: Ulan Dhor's Magical Swords for Thieves by Ian Slater- Another neat set of toys that is perfect for thieves but these blades have some very interesting powers and properties. They fit the pulptastic nature of the game but some of these blades need some solid Hyperborean history behind by Lee Connor & Nicole Massey- These have more use as adventure background then as actual PC spells.
Spellcaster's Paradise II: Ditties – Cantrips for by Nicole Massey- Bards have a very sinister air to them in AS&SH. And these might do if your style tends towards that aspect of  your bards in AS&SH. These I've found pretty useful. 
Domiciles & Emporia: The Enchantress Korda Frostfire Magical Items Made To Order
by Nicole Massey- This might make an excellent treasure trove from before the Green Death rather then as a working business in AS&SH. 
Mini-Adventure I
The Shrine of Hecate  by M.W. Poort aka Fingolwyn- This adventure could work out very nicely for AS&SH with a bit of tweaking. The tone is perfect for an Astonishing Swordsmen adventure and I loved the maps. 
Mini-Adventure II: Wengreth's Hoard
by Andrew Hamilton - This is the second adventure that really fits the tone of AS&SH very nicely.  All in all this ninety one pages of very useful free AS&SH resource and you can't beat it with a stick. 

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