Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Retooling - "Thunder Rift" (1992) by Colin McComb for Basic Dungeons & Dragons For Astonishing Swordmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea Rpg

Thunder Rift was created as a standalone campaign that could be slotted into any fantasy world. But the intention of the designer, Colin McComb, was always that it was part of Mystara, somewhere in the mountains bordering Karameikos (source). This beginners' campaign was then designed to lead players to the more complex world of Mystara, and the adventure Escape from Thunder Rift provided this link explicitly."

What if  
"Thunder Rift" (1992) by Colin McComb came out for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. Before you tar & feather me because the third edition AS&SH Kickstarter is coming out today. Hear me out, the Thunder Rift setting has several things going for it. This book is a mini setting for the game & it packs a lot into its thirty two pages.You've got self-contained little setting in a valley about thirty miles long. All of the familiar Basic Dungeons & Dragons monsters are in here including a dragon, elves, dwarves, goblins, & lots of human settlements. This is thr e perfect isolated setting to transport PC's from your traditional Dungeons & Dragons world into Hyperborea. The set up is simple  & easy in its exacution. There is & has been a two way portal from Mystara into the Thunder Rift setting. Beyond this is Hyperborea. 

Everything from the lost & the damned from Mystara winds up across the dimensional & planar threshold. And no one is the wiser until the evidence begins to mount. There's several reasons for using Thunder Rift & it breaks down as follows: 

  • history - You've got a ton of background on the world setting of Thunder Rift.
  •  population - All of the towns & villages are broken down by population, location, etc.
encounter charts-The encounter charts are all here for the dungeon master  to pull from. 

So this makes it the perfect product to show case what a lower tier setting can do for a 1st through 4th level set of adventurers. The Thunder Rift area is perfect as a bread basket for Hyperborea due to the volcanoic activity of that fuels & surrounds it.  The D&D Cycolpaedia Screen which includes Escape from Thunder Rift,this adventure links up the Thunder Rift area to Mystara. But Thunder Rift can easily be dropped into any campaign setting with a bit of work. 
Because Thunder Rift was a return to the Medieval of D&D settings & adventures. The whole cloth of the region is perfect for starting adventurers of Hyperborea who want a bit of that peusdo European vibe but mixed with the Sword & Sorcery asthetic of AS&SH. Personally I'd set the isolated location of Thunder Rift right near the heart of Hyperborea. This allows the DM to bring home some of the familiar D&D elements while being able to isolate it from from the goings on of AS&SH's Sword & Sorcery bigger adventures. Because Thunder Rift is perfect for 1st & 2nd level adventurers then the PC's can easily be moved on to other AS&SH adventures such as 'Rats In The Walls & Other Perils'. 

With a bit of work Thunder Rift could actually be one of the most influencial & dangerous places on Hyperborea. And we'll explore why coming up! 

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