Astonishing ACKS

I’m calling my current gaming obsession Astonishing ACKS. It’s an old-school RPG mashup set in the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea (AS&SH) campaign world using the Adventurer, Conqueror, King System (ACKS) ruleset.

Here’s the setting in a nutshell:

Hyperborea is the default campaign setting for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. This “flat earth” realm is hemmed in by the mystical boreas (“North Wind”), and under the scarlet light of a bloated, dying sun, its roiling seas spill eternal over the world’s rim. Hyperborea is in a perpetual state of decay, populated by disharmonious men, hostile monsters, and weird, alien beings.

When I get some free time I’ll create a campaign page like I did for my previous Affiliation game. For now, check out my Astonishing ACKS posts.

Hyperborea HR

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Wrath of the Ape King

I stumbled across another rotoscoped wonder from Gorgonaut, the creator of Exordium (which I praised earlier). This one is an earlier video, entitled “Mongrel & the Wrath of the Ape King“:

(There’s also a “prelude” video: Mongrel: Prelude to the Wrath of the Ape King)

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Serpent-Men Custom Classes

Yuan-Ti_PurebloodLong before humans struggled up from the lowly depths of apedom, the Ophidians – prehistoric snake-men of brilliant intellect – reigned during ancient epochs.

In their declining æons, the Ophidians kept human slaves as servants and feedstock. As they degenerated in numbers and power, they were compelled to create Serpent-Men hybrids of various castes to serve them.

Eventually, these servants outnumbered their Ophidian rulers. In the ancient realm of Valusia, the humans (and Serpent-Men) overthrew their Ophidian overlords and created their own civilisation.

In the end, Valusia was itself subject to destruction and chaos. Volcanoes and earthquakes rent the land asunder, and great storms swept across the land creating impossible cyclones and whirlwinds that swept fragments of Valusia – and its Serpent-Man descendants – away to far-flung Hyperborea.

Hyperborea HR Continue reading

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Valusia and the Serpent Isles


Æons ago, before Atlantis disappeared below the waves of Old Earth, the lost civilization of Valusia was itself subject to destruction and chaos. Volcanoes and earthquakes rent the land asunder, and great storms swept across the land creating impossible cyclones and whirlwinds that swept fragments of Valusia away to far-flung Hyperborea. Now, this Valusian remnant – known as the Serpent Isles – exists in a dimensional anomaly at the ultimate edge of Hyperborea, where the seas spill into the Black Gulf.

Those wishing to reach the Serpent Isles from mainland Hyperborea face the ceaseless windstorms that surround the archipelago and the deadly pull of the Rapids at the End of the World. Coupled with the Valusians’ isolationist mentality, the Serpent Isles remains a place of mystery to the varied peoples of Hyperborea.

Regardless of the dangers involved, Hyperborean adventurers might be lured here by tales of Valusian splendour and the wealth of its cities: the valuable jade, emeralds, and pearls and the rare silks and fruit wine that Valusian traders bring to Khromarium. Alternatively, they may have heard of the vine-shrouded ruins and probable wealth hidden in the Valusian jungles…

Hyperborea HR

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Atlanteans in Hyperborea

Atlanteans(I recently read The Wars of Atlantis and am on a bit of an Atlantis kick. Here’s some more info on Atlantean Custom Classes; starting with the flavour text repeated from an earlier post.)

Atlanteans are medium-built men of glaucous complexion, black or brown hair, aquiline features, and pale grey or yellow eyes. These are the scattered remnants of a nearly extinct race whose origins trace back to Old Earth’s antediluvian Atlantis. The Atlanteans of old produced many wonders of super-science, and their descendants are skilled in crafts and lore.

Hyperborea HR

Atlantean Classes

The following four custom classes can be used for Atlantean characters in a Hyperborean campaign:

  • Atlantean Dungeoneer: Many Atlantean half-breeds show a predilication for mechanical devices; Dungeoneers are skilled in all manner of traps and locks.
  • Atlantean Craft-Priest: Craft-Priests revere the knowledge and craftsmanship of their people to the point of gaining divine powers.
  • Atlantean Artificer: The ancient Atlanteans were a scientifically advanced race, creating artefacts of amazing power; Artificers are the heirs of this lost knowledge.
  • Atlantean Alchemist: Alchemists follow ancient Atlantean traditions, seeking enlightenment and mastery of physical and chemical processes.

Dungeoneers are a variant of my Delver class (itself adapted from the Dwarven Delver). Craft-Priests and Artificers are reskinned from their Dwarven class counterparts. Alchemists are a variant on the Specialist Mage (but due to their narrow focus may be better suited as NPCs).

Hyperborea HR

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Astonishing ACKS – Hyperborean Ghouls

Hyperborean Ghoul

I love ghouls. But I don’t picture them quite the same way as in the standard D&D rules. I’ve had this post in “draft” forever, but the PCs ran into ghouls tonight so I’m posting my rough notes. (I’ll clean this up later.)

Hyperborean Ghouls are an (undead) race. They can breed with humans. They have their own language (consisting of hisses, meeps, and mews). They’re inspired by “Lovecraftian” ghouls (such as from Pickman’s Model).

Hyperborean ghouls do not possess the ability to paralyze their victims. In partial compensation, I’m increasing their bite damage to 1d6.

Hyperborean ghasts are known as “elder ghouls” They do not incapacitate by stench. Any successful attack, however, induces paralysis on a failed save. They can also move quickly with a weird leaping gait.

All characters who are subjected to the charnel stench of a ghoul warren are required to make a saving throw versus Poison, or suffer -2 to attack throws due to the disgusting, horrid odour.

Cool ghoul links:

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Bakshi Vhuurmis

Bakshi VhuurmisIt’s been a little while since I’ve posted here – all the action is over at the Hyperborean Murderhobos community right now.

I figured it’s time for more Bakshi art. This time it’s an alternate take on the Vhuurmis. (The resolution sucks, so I’m posting it small. Click to embiggen.)

In my current campaign, the PCs have developed a degree of respect for the Vhuurmis (Vhuurmi?) after suffering significant losses in the first session.

As always – keep it weird, my friends!

Hyperborea HR

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Hyperborean Murderhobos

I’ve run four sessions now on Google Hangouts now and have set up a Community for the campaign. I’m still looking for new recruits…

(It’s a private group so you’ll need to ask to join.)

Hyperborea HR

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