Friday, March 26, 2021

OSR Commentary - Weird Tales Judges Guild Wilderlands of High Fantasy Campaign Idea

"Home to the City State of the Invincible Overlord and other classic Judges Guild products, the Wilderlands of Fantasy is the ultimate epic high fantasy setting. The Wilderlands of High Fantasy was the first campaign setting ever fleshed out in print for fantasy roleplaying and now Necromancer Games brings this classic Judges Guild setting to you!"

Recently the Bundle of Holding For Astonishing Swordmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea kicked off a run of Sword & Sorcery nostalgia at our table top. Alright not really. We just wanted to dust off the Judges Guild Wilderlands of High Fantasy

The following is very true according to Wiki;"
Wilderlands of High Fantasy is a supplement for fantasy role-playing games published by Judges Guild in 1977. It is part of the same world as their earlier City State of the Invincible Overlord setting materials."  Here's what they don't tell you about the Wilderlands of High Fantasy, the Wilderlands of High Fantasy means as much or perhaps the same as Greyhawk. It includes the following;  "Wilderlands of High Fantasy is a campaign setting that describes the locations of five large maps (Wilderlands Maps 1-5).[1]

The regions described are as follows: City State of Invincible Overlord (#1), Barbarian Altantis (#2), Glow Worm Steppes (#3), Tarantis (#4), and Valon (#5)[2] and are shown in full detail on the judge's maps and are roughly sketched out on the players' maps. The booklet describes and gives the location of many of the villages, castles, islands, ruins, relics, and monsters" 
What the Wilderlands really is part Frank Frazetta Sword & Sorcery art, part Robert E. Howard Conan, & a good portion of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. The Wilderlands of High Fantasy is Judges Guild at its best. 

Sometimes one has to separate the legacy of an rpg publisher with its current owners such is a the case with Judges Guild. The Wilderlands of High Fantasy has been our table top go to campaign setting since the Seventies. But the recent AS&SH bundle of holding means that some notes from an experiment we ran back in 2019. We wanted to see if AS&SH could run the Wilderlands a bit slicker then Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition. The answer was a resounding, 'Hell yeah!'.  The reasons for this is because many of the humancentric races of AS&SH have their Wilderlands counter parts already baked into the JG's Sword & Sorcery setting. 

Now why would a DM want to use AS&SH with Judges Guild's Wilderlands of High Fantasy?! The answer is that you have all of the Wilderlands monsters, high fantasy D&D demi human races, and none of the baggage of wrecking Hyperborea as a campaign setting. That's right the Wilderlands campaign setting is just another world floating near the red hot mess of a dying Sun of the AS&SH universe. So no messy planar travel & all of the advantages. Now this is going to piss off the Wilderlands of High Fantasy purists out there. But to Hell with them. Let's get back to the advantages. 
Now the Wilderlands shares a few things in concert with AS&SH, the fact that we've got a savage Sword & Sorcery campaign setting. But there's also a background dollop of Science Fantasy thrown into the whole Wilderlands affair. And there's this 'Weird Tales' Edgar Rice Burroughs post apocalyptic vibe going in the background of the Wilderlands  of High Fantasy. 
Several of the modules have some very interesting techno magical artifacts lurking in the back drop which fits the vibe of AS&SH.. Yes I'm quietly looking at Shield Maidens of Sea Rune here as a possible in for this style of campaign. 

This isn't our first romp with combining AS&SH with Judges Guild's Wilderlands of High Fantasy. Tonight we're gonna run it by our players. 

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