Friday, April 30, 2021

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea 3rd Edition FAQ

The following was originally shared by Jeff Talanian here:

What makes it a Third Edition?

Posted by Ghul 

Greetings HYPERBOREA friends,

This list is intended to provide you with a decent idea of what is different about the Third Edition of HYPERBOREA. This list is not intended to be exhaustive; rather, it's a sort of highlights list of what is being changed. I plan to update this post as time allows. I won't for example, list things like a spell's range changed from 30 feet to 60 feet. This list is intended to show the more significant alterations; the Cliffs Notes version if you would.

Physical Changes

- Two hardback set (same Smyth sewn binding, high-quality paper)

- Possibly a slipcase as an add-on. It's being quoted for.

- Map reworked by Glynn Seal and to be presented in atlas format and special poster version.

- New layout, fonts, etc.

- Indexes in both books.


- Simplifying the branding and naming to HYPERBOREA, but "Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea" remains part of the scheme and is shown as a back cover subtitle.


- The game has been revised by the author.

- Editing by George Sedgwick.

- New cover art painted by Charles Lang (both books).

- Interior colour plates by Charles Lang, David Miller, Peter Mullen, and Val Semeiks (with Daisey Bingham)

- 26 new character illustrations by Diogo Nogueira.

- Chapter frame art by Del Teigeler.

- Gynn Seal has recoloured the map.

- More to be announced!


- Cataphract new ability: shield sacrifice.

- Huntsman new ability: harvest venom.

- Paladin: Introduction of the fell paladin, LE version of the paladin. Also, cleric scroll reading ability at 7th level. High wisdom now grants bonus spells.

- Ranger now has scroll reading ability at 7th level. High wisdom now grants bonus druid spells cast per day, high intelligence grants bonus magician spells cast per day. 

- Illusionist new ability: coloured globe.

- Witch brew decoction ability simplified and expanded. Also, certain detection spells can be cast through familiar.

- Monk has a decent overhaul to the entire class. It is the most changed class for 3E.

- Shaman new ability: harvest venom. Also, spells per day slightly improved.

- Assassin new ability: harvest venom.

- Bard spells per day slightly improved.

- Scout new abilities: disguise (like assassin) and run (like monk).

- 12 new playable character races (Anglo-Saxon, Carolingian Frank, Esquimaux-Ixian, Greek, Lapp, Lemurian, Moor, Mu, Oon, Roman, Tlingit, Yakut).

- Languages: More available languages available.

- Several new spells.

- Sorcerer types can learn a known spell from another caster type’s spellbook, so long as it is on their list of learnable spells. For example, an illusionist can copy an invisibility spell from a magician’s spellbook, but he can’t copy a magic missile spell, because that contains proprietary language. However, we separate thaumaturgical sorcery from ecclesiastical sorcery. So, a druid can copy a detect magic spell from a cleric’s prayer book, but he can’t do the same from a witch’s spellbook. 

- Characters need not memorize the regular spell or its reversed form; rather, they can decide at the last moment to invert the incantation and thus cast its reversible form. We have so many examples of spells in which the caster is deciding which version of the spell is being cast, and I realize resource management is part of the allure of a game like this, but I don’t see why a cleric can’t elect to use cause moderate wounds on a whim instead of cure moderate wounds, and so forth. 

- Scroll-using characters can now invoke a scroll that is on their spell list, as long as it was not created by one who practices the opposite form of magic, which we are defining as thaumaturgic sorcery (magicians and subclasses) and ecclesiastic sorcery (clerics and druids), so a magician can indeed use a fireball scroll created by a pyromancer, and vice versa.

- Streamlined combat system (no more phases).

- New monsters.

- New magic items.

- And more!

All of the above shows you why it is a "3E" yet the game remains backwards compatible. I'll be revealing more in the coming weeks. Thanks for your interest!

- Jeffrey Talanian

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  1. The name change may be for the best. The inevitable contraction to "Asshype" is memorable but somewhat off-putting for many people. :)

  2. I really hope Canadian shipping is offered in the Kickstarter campaign despite the ridiculous rates right now.

  3. Anyone know if this will have option for AAC? I never read the 2E version but I heard it was Descending Armor Class, not sure if it provided AAC option.


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