Thursday, January 2, 2014

Commentary &Review of AFS Magazine Issue #4 For The Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea Rpg

 Purchase any of the AFS Magazine products right

 AFS Issue #4 arrived today along with some other packages full of swords and sorcery goodness! There were two issues of the magazine(Issues #3 & # 4)  along with a really lovely note from Scott Mosley. Thanks for extra issue. Alright right off the bat these were well packed and pretty heavy for a fanzine! They're on a really nice stock of paper and the spiral bounding isn't the crap one you get in some cheap print places ( you know the ones I'm talking about here).
I've had less then a day with issue #4 of ASF and I can tell already I'm going to want the back issues of the magazine! 

AFS Magazine #4   - Table of Contents

New Monster – The Gurondu by Tim ‘Turgenev’ Hartin
This isn't isn't simply a new monster but a new race of ape like monsters with a few interesting twists and turns in them. 
Variant Class – The Burglar by Scott Moberly (written for Holmes Basic)
Sword & Sorcery games always need more thief varients and this is a well put together class for a basic OD&D style game or your favorite OD&D retro-clone. Very solid and easily adapted to just about any sytle of campaign  

Artifact -  The Iounic Loop – Reimagining the Ring of Gaxx by Allan T. Grohe Jr. (grodog)
This is a nasty and dangerous magical artifact and should be used with the utmost care in a S&S campaign that being said its a very well done dangerous artifact by a solid writer. 

Fiction – A Blizzard in the Sahara by Aleister Crowley (1911)
A travelogue from the Great Best himself. This put me in mind for running a desert adventure 

Table of Items – High Value Treasures by Scott Moberly
Some very rare and valuable loot for an S&S game. 

Variant Class – The Purloiner by Jeff Talanian & Colin Chapman (written for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea)
This is a solid thieving character class with more twists and turns for AS&SH. Believe it or not, I've already got a use for these guys. This class wouldn't have been out of place in certain Robert Howard stories at all.  Well put together and balanced. 
Adventure – The Lamia’s Heart, An Adventure By Jeff Talanian (set in Hyperborea
For 2–5 Zero Level Thieves)
A nice solid introductary adventure that is very well written for a group of zero level starting characters who are going to get in way in over their collective heads fast. That being said the adventure is well done and the encounters balanced for fast play. 

Table – One Sentence Plot Hooks for Sandbox Gaming by Various (named) authors
These could prove a DM a few well placed plot hooks to really get players going into a fast play right this evening  style situation. Simple, easy, and concisily conceived.
Adventure – Theme for a Jackal (an adventure set in Hyperborea for character levels 2-3) by Scott Moberly
This is a highly written, tightly packed adventure that can be linked to other adventures in the series that the author has done or simply an evening's entertainment with your AS&SH players. The adventure is tightly packed, well done, and the encounters somewhat deadly if the players don't think the situation through carefully. AS&SH might seem combat heavy but in actuality there is a lot of thought into avoiding harrowing situations.
Article- Crawling Without Hexes by Chris Kutalik
Crawling without Hexes is an article that intrigued me. This article is written from the perspective of a wargamer and DM making a very solid idea about the Hex system vs the point to point method of wargaming. This goes along with its use for old school rpging. Some very interesting ideas in this one.
Map – The Nooks & Crannies Level by Allan T. Grohe Jr. (grodog)
One thing I have to say is that the maps are very well done and easy to read. I love maps especially old school module style adventure maps. 

 The text in the magazines was easy to read, the spacing well done, and the content pretty damn good for the price. 
Fanzines are a tricky balancing act and this one is dedicated to Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea. That being said there are a few retro-clone things stuck in here and there. That's not a bad thing at all. The variety makes this a very useful magazine for any DM as well supporting the game even further. The production values are top flight and having worked on a few local fanzine recently I can appreciate the labor of love that is AFS. As for issue # 3, I'll cover it coming up on Saturday with more AS&SH material in between. I have to say that Scott Moberly provided me with excellent customer service and a great product. The writing was top and ideas very old school. The magazine makes a great supplement for Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea. Colour me satisfied with my purchase! 


  1. Thank you for the nice comments about my two pieces in the issue, Eric :D


  2. Hey they're really nice pieces and will be utilized much to horror of my players!
    Thanks for the comment!
    Now I need to get issues one and two next!
    Sorry folks I'm a bit late to this party never fear though.