Sunday, October 14, 2012

I've Been Reading AS&SH - And I'll Play It, But I Won't Run It

Yep, I spent some time lounging in bed and reading Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. It reads well, and it looks like the classes would be a blast to play, but I don't see myself ever running it.


Over the years I've found that my tolerance for rules heavy games has waned. I'm not saying AS&SH is anywhere near Pathfinder crunchiness, but the classes have way more crunch than I'd want in a game I'd run, especially when you get past the core four. As a DM, you need a working knowledge of every class in play, and there's just too much for this poor DM to want to learn to run the game effectively.

Would i play it? In a heartbeat. I'd only have to really know my chosen class. The background material and setting for AS&SH is golden. Hell, I'm very tempted to mine it for for a future campaign. I think it would work very nicely to flavor a Labyrinth Lord or Weird Fantasy Campaign.

The monster section alone is probably worth the $10 cost for the rules in PDF, not because of all the new monsters (there aren't many) but the re-skinning and re-imagining of many classic D&D monsters. If you were to run a LotFP campaign closer to a classic style OSR game, but you wanted to flavor much with the weird, AS&SH would be the go to source.

I'm kind of disappointed in my personal lack of tolerance for extra crunch when I'm behind the DM Screen, but I know where it comes from. As a DM, I want to runa game with minimal referring to the rules. It needs to maintain it's flow. I can't see myself getting fluent enough with AS&SH to get to that point. I'll just have to extract the piece that I want for a less crunchy system.


  1. Yeah, I find myself in a similar situation. $10 bucks, though... hmm... that could fit in nicely with The Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad stuff.

  2. I'm in the same boat, my players are loving the Pathfinder Campaign I'm running, but I'm tired of all the rules. If I could I'd switch to Blood & Treasure or some other system that was much lighter on the rules.

  3. I had similar thoughts, but being really keen on playing AS&SH, I put together a referee's screen to make things easier. You can see it in the AS&SH section of the ODD74 forums.

  4. Personal styles differ and all that, but I have to admit being really surprised at this post. I didn't find AS&SH very crunchy as subjectively defined by my hazy definition of the term; certainly in line with the crunch level of your garden variety B/X-AD&D mash-up that most people ran for years, and actually probably lighter than that, even.


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