Right so how do you keep up momentum for a long term retroclone or OSR campaign as both a player & dungeon master? One of the ways that over the years that I have is through classic cult films. For a game such as Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea this is pretty easy or so it would seem. Well yes & no, the first film that springs to mind is of course the Arnold Schwarzenegger Conan film.
And yes its a classic but if we look deeper into AS&SH then we see PC types such as cataphracts, lighter armored knights, etc. as the upper end of the sword & sorcery technology level in the game. This is where another classic of the genre comes in. This is where we've got the Old Earth Keltic influence coming in heavy with Roman sprinklings playing the part of cultural influence. But what about the Old Earth Vikings?
Well for that one I've got to go with an old favorite of my dad's here and I'm speaking of the 1958 Tony Curtis film Vikings. Yes I realize that there are tons of newer films out on the market & even a television show but I've never gotten into it. So I'm going with this cult classic here.I mentioned sustaining interest over the long haul & I meant that. Players & DM's have a tendency to drift in their interests unless the DM knows to dip into the deeper wells of imagination for twisting in the wind the various classic adventures to their modes for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.
Any of the Ray Harryhausen Sinbad or his sandal & sorcery films are solid resources to go back to time & again for any of AS&SH's sea epics or island hopping adventures. These can be used as point crawling exercises for players & DM's. This all starts with," the first of three Sinbad feature films from Columbia,The 7th Voyage of Sinbad from 1958 the much later two being The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974) and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977).
I know that a ton of bloggers speak with some sort of authority & expertise when it comes to their campaign worlds & settings. This is how my version of Hyperborea is set up and your mileage may very. For sustained play over months that turn into years, I've seen dungeon masters change, adapt, & roll with the punches that his players bring to the table. This became very evident to me when a friend's Greyhawk campaign went from the Bakshi's Lord of the Rings animated style straight into our next film influence. Yeah, I'm speaking of Bakshi's Fire & Ice which might as well be 'Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea the film'.
Fire & Ice brings up one of the setting conceits of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea that seems to get let out on in the cold with OD&D, B/X, and even AD&D first edition. That is the inclusion of cavemen, Neanderthals, and the various species of men, near men, and relatives from the Age of Mammals that have been a part of D&D for a long time. These monsters finally get their due in AS&SH & can be used as some of the most dangerous & menacing foes that a party can face. I've made an effort to include far more of these types of human & subhumans as NPC's monsters, random encounters,etc. The effects have been interesting to say the least. Nine times out of ten the players have been a bit put out because most of these men can be adventurers, outlaws, etc. within any of the classic D&D games & their retroclone systems. They can easily out class goblins, orcs, & half orcs in malice & evil.
As always your mileage may vary but these films are classics for a reason & have been big influences on my games including Hyperborea. More to come!
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