When I saw the Kickstarter page of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea 2(ASSH) , what convinced me of backing it was the artwork, and mainly what is now the book cover artwork. It's like everything about the game is on it. Like a good old pulp comicbook artwork. You can write dozens of stories with just this image in mind.
So I backed it for the PDF version, hoping the game would be as great as the cover.
Then, I received my PDF copy. Right from the first pages, I knew it wasn't great. It was AMAZING. A few days later I was setting up my first game with some friends, including a beginner. And it was as astonishing as expected.
First, the book itself.
It's separated in 6 volumes, covering everything you can expect in a huge RPG book: rules, monsters, universe, adventures... It also includes an introductory adventure and pre-created characters. More than 600 of content.
The interior artwork is overall pretty great. Since it's been made by several illustrators, you got different styles. I don't like all of them, but most of it is good, and it really helps you to feel like you're part of the weird universe of Hyperborea.
Then, the rules.
It's basically AD&D, with a lot of improvements; So if you've already played it, you won't be lost. And if you haven't, it's easy to learn! Even for beginners, it's very quick to learn the basic mecanims of the game and enjoy the adventure! What I particularly like is the fact that your character is what you want him to be, from level 1. You don't have to wait for levels 6 or so to choose a specialization and finally enjoy your hero. You can pick a class, or one of the many subclasses if it matches what you want, right at character creation. And if you love spells, you'll be happy, as the book contains many, many powers for all kind of spellcasters.
IN a few words: it's easy to learn, while offering a great depth for veteran players.
And finally, the universe.
It's clear from the beginning, the rules are made to be played in any universe. But it'd be a shame to not play in the fantastic universe of Hyperborea. It mixes pulp with weird fantasy. Think Conan the barbarian, Masters of the universe, Call of Cthulhu and legends from our world. It opens all kind of possibilites, while offering a huge and detailled universe. Hence, you can create all kind of adventures, taking inspiration from the book or not.
The last campaign I did was a D&D4 adventure, more than 5 years ago. But thanks to ASSH, I'm going to create a new one. And it might be the best one of all!
Thanks North Wind Adventures for creating one the best RPGs of these recent years!
[5 of 5 Stars!]