Conan in your favorite system

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Moonglum

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Fine, but don't we have to leave a few points at the top of the INT and WIS scales for people like Gandalf and Mother Theresa and Nicola Tesla? Conan is smart in the sense that he's not as dumb as he looks. But let's not make more of that than it deserves.
 

David Johansen

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Well, I'm not sure his Charisma is all that fantastic, he's got the support of some factions in Aquilonia as a neutral candidate. He's got the ability to kick any immediate dissenter's ass. But smart? The guy speaks around half a dozen languages.
 

T. Foster

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I feel like some of the high Int ratings might be a pendulum-swing reaction to his lunkish depiction in the movies - essentially making a statement that "this is REH's Conan, NOT Arnold's!"
 

CRKrueger

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I think people are under-rating Conan’s Strength. He broke a bull’s neck when in his teens and wrestled two different forms of ape/man-ape for a spell (while getting his ass kicked and totally worn out in the process, but he did win). Right now I’m totally blanking out on a Howard story where Conan runs into a human who is flat-out stronger than him.
 

Dumarest

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Barbarian Leader
CDEA45. Age 34. 4 Terms
Stealth-3, Survival-3, Axe-2, Large Blade-2, Brawling-1, Carousing-1, Leader-1, Small Blade-1
Earl Dumarest would still take him. :hehe:
 

Bunch

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That's not any kind of meaure of intellect, though.
Yeah. Friends traveling to the outskirts of turkey commented everyone from children on up could do on the fly currency conversions for a dozen currencies and we're generally competitive with banks when he travelled there 25 years ago.
 

David Johansen

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I wonder if I should dig up my Reepicheep meets Conan fan-fic. I'm not really into fan fic but that one was so absurd that I had to write it. Sadly, I lost the last segment in a hard drive crash and can't find where I posted it back in the day.
 

Necrozius

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Sorry for the necromancy. But I had a question!

Is there a recommended single book that covers the Conan setting (Hyboria, etc) in a way that would be useful regardless of chosen game system?
 

AsenRG

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Sorry for the necromancy. But I had a question!

Is there a recommended single book that covers the Conan setting (Hyboria, etc) in a way that would be useful regardless of chosen game system?
Have you looked at Conan 2d20:grin:?

I kid, I kid...what you should do is look at the books produced by those who explored REH's works in-depth:thumbsup:. You know, "Howardologists", especially if they're fans.
As a bonus, they won't try to hoist the premises of their favourite system on you via the text...usually:shade:.
 
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Kobayashi

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Sorry for the necromancy. But I had a question!

Is there a recommended single book that covers the Conan setting (Hyboria, etc) in a way that would be useful regardless of chosen game system?

The Conan Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Savage Barbarian isn't too bad (not highly detailed though) and it's still in print.

The old Mongoose Road of Kings supplement was more thorough (and light on rules) but could be harder to find.
 

Necrozius

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Skywalker

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Mongoose’s Road of Kings or Return to Road of Kings are probably your best bets.

There is a copy for $68 on Amazon. I think it retailed at $50 so it’s not that crazy a price.

Amazon product
 

Moonglum

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Sorry for the necromancy. But I had a question!

Is there a recommended single book that covers the Conan setting (Hyboria, etc) in a way that would be useful regardless of chosen game system?
My favorite, by far, is GURPS Conan. It is really concise, complete, and aimed at keeping things focused on gameable information rather than blathering backstories and details you'll never use. The stats are obviously GURPS, but in keeping with their 3E setting book format, those take up little space and I would say are easily converted if you know a little about GURPS and a lot about the system you are using.
 

Kobayashi

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I'm guessing that the 2d20 books have their setting info spread out amongst many supplements, eh?

Yea indeed but as mentioned above GURPS Conan is pretty good too. A cheap alternative is to look online for the PDF of an old out of print Marvel book: the Official Guide to the Conan Universe. It's 38 pages long so it won't cost you an arm to print and it's a good setting primer to give to your players..
 

sharps54

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Yea indeed but as mentioned above GURPS Conan is pretty good too. A cheap alternative is to look online for the PDF of an old out of print Marvel book: the Official Guide to the Conan Universe. It's 38 pages long so it won't cost you an arm to print and it's a good setting primer to give to your players..
Honestly it and Barbarians of Lemuria are all you need for all your Conan gaming.
BA188111-30B7-412B-8541-6185374F5AD0.jpeg
 

Toadmaster

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Sorry for the necromancy. But I had a question!

Is there a recommended single book that covers the Conan setting (Hyboria, etc) in a way that would be useful regardless of chosen game system?

REH wrote an essay The Hyborian age that provides a good overview. Allegedly this was compiled from notes and documents he used for his own writing to maintain some internal consistency. It has been published numerous times and appears in many Conan collections.

In the early 2000s Del Ray published a 3 book series collecting all of the REH written Conan stories. This series is still available in print or Kindle, and includes the above mentioned essay. You can't do much better than the original stories for inspiration.
 

Chris Brady

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I don't have a 'favourite system'. What's really ironic is that Conan is just a Fighter, if you pick on D&D for his stats. He's no thief, he's no berserker. In the stories he's only 'Raged' a total of I think twice, and both times it was because he failed a saving throw. As for the 'thief' it's only because the stories had him climb places most civilized men couldn't. He's a skilled climber sure, but he doesn't pickpocket, he doesn't burgle or pick locks. And in at least 5e D&D all that means is that he's got Proficiency in Athletics.

He's got a good strength (I'd put it at 16), decent dexterity (The only reason it would be high is because D&D's silly AC system that makes armour into a binary dodge bonus), constitution also. But he's barely above average intelligence, high wisdom (He's cunning and savvy, not learned) and most of his charisma is less raw personality and more his upbringing as northern hill man.

Conan is a poster child for Single Class progression in a D&D style game, it's just that people get hung up on edge cases and words that make him into all sorts of things he's not.
 

Necrozius

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My favorite, by far, is GURPS Conan. It is really concise, complete, and aimed at keeping things focused on gameable information rather than blathering backstories and details you'll never use. The stats are obviously GURPS, but in keeping with their 3E setting book format, those take up little space and I would say are easily converted if you know a little about GURPS and a lot about the system you are using.
That seems like the ticket. Affordable and practical. And dense in content! Easy for me to use with Mythras. Thanks!

The other books mentioned here are all fantastic, but not affordable for me right now. The Marvel book is nice with that art (as a companion to the GURPS book) as a handout to the players.

Thanks for the recommendations everyone!
 

Raleel

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I don't have a 'favourite system'. What's really ironic is that Conan is just a Fighter, if you pick on D&D for his stats. He's no thief, he's no berserker. In the stories he's only 'Raged' a total of I think twice, and both times it was because he failed a saving throw. As for the 'thief' it's only because the stories had him climb places most civilized men couldn't. He's a skilled climber sure, but he doesn't pickpocket, he doesn't burgle or pick locks. And in at least 5e D&D all that means is that he's got Proficiency in Athletics.

He's got a good strength (I'd put it at 16), decent dexterity (The only reason it would be high is because D&D's silly AC system that makes armour into a binary dodge bonus), constitution also. But he's barely above average intelligence, high wisdom (He's cunning and savvy, not learned) and most of his charisma is less raw personality and more his upbringing as northern hill man.

Conan is a poster child for Single Class progression in a D&D style game, it's just that people get hung up on edge cases and words that make him into all sorts of things he's not.
Two things here

I find it interesting how he became easier to do in later versions of d&d. The addition of skills made it so. In 13th age, he’d get a lot of points in his Cimmerian background and have done with it.

I think you underrate his dex. He’s repeated described as Panther like in speed.
 

Necrozius

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Two things here

I find it interesting how he became easier to do in later versions of d&d. The addition of skills made it so. In 13th age, he’d get a lot of points in his Cimmerian background and have done with it.

I think you underrate his dex. He’s repeated described as Panther like in speed.
I do like OSE’s take on the Barbarian. Has a few thief skills (climb sheer surfaces, move silently and hide in undergrowth) as well as some wilderness abilities. Lastly at a certain level they gain an ability to harm creatures normally immune to non-magical attacks.

That’s the first time I’ve encountered a Barbarian class in D&D that I actually want to try out to be a Conan character.

Well, besides using Mythras.
 

AsenRG

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I don't have a 'favourite system'. What's really ironic is that Conan is just a Fighter, if you pick on D&D for his stats.
We've discussed it before, and that is still bullshit...:thumbsup:

He's no thief, he's no berserker. In the stories he's only 'Raged' a total of I think twice, and both times it was because he failed a saving throw.
He's able to spot traps better than most, he's great at sneaking and climbing. How good is he at sneaking? Well, good enough to impress the frontiersmen. Good enough to do what their "rangers" couldn't, that is, to sneak in his chainmail (Beyond the Black River).
In short, he's a thief that specializes in climbing and sneaking.
Also, he's able to read ancient languages, and that's explicitly mentioned as being due to him having been around adventurers and tomb-robbers in Zamora...enough to learn to read an obscure language, mind you (Hour of the Dragon).
He's also been able to cast a (ritual) spell that turned back the creatures chasing him by a magician's orders (Beyond the Black River).

As for the 'thief' it's only because the stories had him climb places most civilized men couldn't. He's a skilled climber sure, but he doesn't pickpocket, he doesn't burgle or pick locks. And in at least 5e D&D all that means is that he's got Proficiency in Athletics.
And in sneaking. And in whatver 5e even uses to represent language proficiency.
And in Ritual Magic:grin:.

Bottom line, if you want an example of a single-classed character, you could hardly do worse than picking Conan as your example...:devil:

He's got a good strength (I'd put it at 16), decent dexterity (The only reason it would be high is because D&D's silly AC system that makes armour into a binary dodge bonus), constitution also. But he's barely above average intelligence, high wisdom (He's cunning and savvy, not learned) and most of his charisma is less raw personality and more his upbringing as northern hill man.
No, his dexterity is high because he's repeatedly being described as closer to Cassius Clay than to Arnold. No matter who was picked to play him because bulging muscles make for a good visual - Hollywood fucks up all stories it touches, anyway.

Conan is a poster child for Single Class progression in a D&D style game, it's just that people get hung up on edge cases and words that make him into all sorts of things he's not.
No, Conan is the poster child for multiclass characters or classless games. It's only people who want to fit his square (jaw?) in D&D's round holes* that tend to ignore the "unconvenient" descriptions that are part of the source material:gunslinger:!


*...eww:skeleton:!
 

Moonglum

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It's a lot easier to play/run a Conan type character in D&D if you make liberal use of stat based rolls to resolve all sorts of things. This is recommended but never developed with detail in B/X and is clumsily over developed in the later era of AD&D, but I think the best approach is to just come up with your own one- or two-line house rule version of the concept and leave it at that. The important point is to use it as a mechanism for anyone to try anything. The only problem is niche protection for all the skill-like powers that show up in the Thief class and all the later overly elaborate classes.

I'm not sure what to say there, as your milage will vary with all the imagined solutions. My personal preference is to just use stat based rolls for everything and provide a bonus based on level if it seems like your class enhances skill at a certain ability. The only possible counter argument I can think of is that it means low level thieves are not really that much better at thieving than any other class. But that seems fair enough to me, as low level fighters aren't that much better at fighting than any other class. Another solution to that is to 'gate keep' some thief skills, like saying you can't try to lock pick through a DX roll if you aren't a thief because the skill is too specific and generally unknown, just like fighters can't learn spells and thieves can't wear plate armor and so forth. Those sorts of class boundaries feel silly to me, but they definitely work at niche protection.
 

AsenRG

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It's a lot easier to play/run a Conan type character in D&D if you make liberal use of stat based rolls to resolve all sorts of things. This is recommended but never developed with detail in B/X and is clumsily over developed in the later era of AD&D, but I think the best approach is to just come up with your own one- or two-line house rule version of the concept and leave it at that. The important point is to use it as a mechanism for anyone to try anything. The only problem is niche protection for all the skill-like powers that show up in the Thief class and all the later overly elaborate classes.

I'm not sure what to say there, as your milage will vary with all the imagined solutions. My personal preference is to just use stat based rolls for everything and provide a bonus based on level if it seems like your class enhances skill at a certain ability. The only possible counter argument I can think of is that it means low level thieves are not really that much better at thieving than any other class. But that seems fair enough to me, as low level fighters aren't that much better at fighting than any other class.
That is indeed how the Goblin Slayer TRPG works:thumbsup:! And because of it, you can multi-class easily in it (but you're subtly rewarded to specialize to a degree, too), making Conan an actually viable character.
 

Chris Brady

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We've discussed it before, and that is still bullshit...:thumbsup:


He's able to spot traps better than most, he's great at sneaking and climbing. How good is he at sneaking? Well, good enough to impress the frontiersmen. Good enough to do what their "rangers" couldn't, that is, to sneak in his chainmail (Beyond the Black River).
In short, he's a thief that specializes in climbing and sneaking.
Also, he's able to read ancient languages, and that's explicitly mentioned as being due to him having been around adventurers and tomb-robbers in Zamora...enough to learn to read an obscure language, mind you (Hour of the Dragon).
He's also been able to cast a (ritual) spell that turned back the creatures chasing him by a magician's orders (Beyond the Black River).


And in sneaking. And in whatver 5e even uses to represent language proficiency.
And in Ritual Magic:grin:.

Bottom line, if you want an example of a single-classed character, you could hardly do worse than picking Conan as your example...:devil:


No, his dexterity is high because he's repeatedly being described as closer to Cassius Clay than to Arnold. No matter who was picked to play him because bulging muscles make for a good visual - Hollywood fucks up all stories it touches, anyway.


No, Conan is the poster child for multiclass characters or classless games. It's only people who want to fit his square (jaw?) in D&D's round holes* that tend to ignore the "unconvenient" descriptions that are part of the source material:gunslinger:!


*...eww:skeleton:!
Thieves can't sneak in Chainmail. He can. He's not a Rogue/Thief. And impressing frontiersmen isn't all that big a deal, if you don't give every single NPC a Player Class. All it means is that he used a house rule rule to learn other proficiencies. Although admittedly, not being able to learn actual skills, just tool proficiencies in the base game is kind of a silly problem with 5e.

On the topic Dex, when I said, 'decent' I was thinking of at least 13+ Which is close to some of the great cats in 5e.

Conan is a Fighter with a broad set of skills, not some weird mashup of all classes. This was a problem back in 2e (I don't know 1e and earlier to make a comment on) and DEFINITELY 3e, with it's weirdo skill system that assumed that crafting was on the same power level as stopping time.
 

Skarg

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It's
I feel like GURPS Conan is the best published game version of the setting, though I'm not a fan of the super elaborate stat blocks and bazillion fiddly modifiers and rules that characterize GURPS - when I'm playing Hyborian adventures, I prefer a system that bounces along at a higher clip.
It's not really much more elaborate than TFT, especially if you are very familiar with GURPS, and if you group the traits by type. e.g. Put all the combat skills together in one place - even list the weapon skills right by the weapons. (Axe (17) 3d cut)

(That's one of my pet peeves with GURPS 4e and modern TFT - listing things like skills and talents alphabetically, rather than grouping them by logical subject, combat stuff first. It makes it so much less usable for me. e.g. See above: Skills Axe, Blacksmith, Boating, Bow ... argh!)
 
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Toadmaster

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Conan is harder to emulate in class / level systems because they tend to be more rigid. Anything outside the assumptions of the game are hard. Fiction is fiction, RPGs are games.

Gandolf is just as hard to do as Conan in most D&D because he doesn't follow the standard rule assumptions. Mongoose Conan worked better than most D&D for the world of Conan because it was made to do it.

Not nearly as hard if a class is created to match, or to do with a more flexible classless system or a class/level based system with optional abilities (skills, feats etc).

Another huge flaw comes about when the rules writers are only superficially familiar with the literature. Gurps Conan did well by recognizing young Conan was very different from prime Conan and older Conan as a king.
 

CRKrueger

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Sword and Sorcery characters are notoriously difficult to do in a Class system. Even minimalist DCC had to create entire subsystems in DCC Lankhmar just to get close to modeling the Twain. You pretty much need a "broad career as class" type of system like Barbarians of Lemuria, or a skill system game like Mythras or Gurps.

Mongoose Conan is 20lbs of awesome in a 5lb bag, but it's still a d20 variant. MRQII would have been much better.
 

Toadmaster

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Sword and Sorcery characters are notoriously difficult to do in a Class system. Even minimalist DCC had to create entire subsystems in DCC Lankhmar just to get close to modeling the Twain. You pretty much need a "broad career as class" type of system like Barbarians of Lemuria, or a skill system game like Mythras or Gurps.

Mongoose Conan is 20lbs of awesome in a 5lb bag, but it's still a d20 variant. MRQII would have been much better.

Agree Mongoose Conan was an excellent job despite the handicap of d20, but an RQ based Conan would have been perfection.
 

AsenRG

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Sword and Sorcery characters are notoriously difficult to do in a Class system. Even minimalist DCC had to create entire subsystems in DCC Lankhmar just to get close to modeling the Twain. You pretty much need a "broad career as class" type of system like Barbarians of Lemuria, or a skill system game like Mythras or Gurps.
I obviously totally agree...though I'd point out that BoL is more like "career as skillset", because everyone is the same class: S&S PCs:thumbsup:.

Mongoose Conan is 20lbs of awesome in a 5lb bag, but it's still a d20 variant. MRQII would have been much better.

Agree Mongoose Conan was an excellent job despite the handicap of d20, but an RQ based Conan would have been perfection.
Limbs flying ahoy:grin:!

Thieves can't sneak in Chainmail. He can. He's not a Rogue/Thief.
Oh, please! Chainmail had a lot of assumptions that didn't pass into D&D, like Hit Dice being used to attack. I was talking strictly D&D...and no D&D version that I'm familiar with has ever come close to emulating Conan (DCC is probably coming closest, but isn't quite there, and I'm unfamiliar with the OSE Barbarian).
But not even in Chainmail would a Fighter be allowed to use the ritual spell (and probably not in OSE). Sorry, when I say "no D&D variant ever had come close to making Conan a viable character", I mean it - and I'm not any less familiar with the restrictions of the d20 system than you. The difference is, I've chosen not to play it precisely because of said restrictions.
And impressing frontiersmen isn't all that big a deal, if you don't give every single NPC a Player Class.
It still means he could do something that nobody else thought possible. To me, that means "a skill from a Player Class is at work, not merely high DX"

All it means is that he used a house rule rule to learn other proficiencies. Although admittedly, not being able to learn actual skills, just tool proficiencies in the base game is kind of a silly problem with 5e.
If we start houseruling, I've got a few simple suggestions of several houserules for D&D which actually make it a great ruleset for S&S: Replace classes with careers or skills, replace AC with DR, remove levels (those would be just your career's number), replace HP with a damage save that doesn't increase with level, replace Vancian casting with spell points:angel:!

On the topic Dex, when I said, 'decent' I was thinking of at least 13+ Which is close to some of the great cats in 5e.
But the fact is, you should be thinking closer to 16 in natural terms, and probably 18 in system terms, due to how it interacts with AC (when you aren't using my houserules:shade:).

Conan is a Fighter with a broad set of skills, not some weird mashup of all classes.
Sorry, I'm still not buying it - as you can see above in my post.

This was a problem back in 2e (I don't know 1e and earlier to make a comment on) and DEFINITELY 3e, with it's weirdo skill system that assumed that crafting was on the same power level as stopping time.
Yeah, quadratic wizards were a problem in 3e, and not only for Fighters and Rogues (like Conan), but for the GMs as well:skeleton:!
 

Silverlion

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I guess I need to re-read my Conan collection so I could stat him in High Valor, but admittedly it would be book Conan and not comic or movie version. (Surprisingly I've good memory of the Conan movie but less of the books, which is the inverse of most of my worthless knowledge.)
 

Mankcam

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I ran Mongoose Conan (D&D 3E OGL) and more recently Modiphius Conan (2D20) - I can pretty safely say that for myself at the GM helm, any more forays into The Hyborian Age will certainly involve me reading those rpgs for setting inspiration, but as far as the rpg game engine goes, I'll definately be running Mythras.

With Mythras it's very easy to fit any Hyborian Age culture into one of the Culture backgrounds, and go from there.
Any of the BRP games plays quite intuitive for me, and I just love the gritty combat system, especially Mythras with all the various combat options.

If I want the flavour to run a bit more rollicking, then perhaps I'll hand out double the usual Luck Pts (or just use the Pulp Character Generation rules from the Mythras Companion).

But that's it, Mythras is pretty much designed for a setting like The Hyborian Age, just as long as the magic systems are adjusted accordingly to the setting material. Easy. Everything else is pretty much RAW and will run fine.

From now on, it's Mythras Conan all the way for me :shade:
 
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Mankcam

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I just realised this thread is not so much about what system to run a Hyborian Age game, but more about statting up Conan in different rpg systems.
Well in that case, I would be using BRP (Mythras) to stat Conan up, and I would have to look at doing two or three eras of Conan based on his age and role.
If I had more time, I would post some stat blocks, but alas I will just have to read the banter instead.
 

Raleel

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If I want the flavour to run a bit more rollicking, then perhaps I'll hand out double the usual Luck Pts (or just use the Pulp Character Generation rules from the Mythras Companion).
I think this brings up a good point. Many of the characters in the literature are pretty pulpy, so scaling at normal human is going to look off. Scaling to pulp will make them look normal

for my own game, I did 90 points, but I didn’t increase luck or use the pulp rules (they weren’t out yet). Next time around I probably will include some portion of that
 

Acmegamer

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Sword and Sorcery characters are notoriously difficult to do in a Class system. Even minimalist DCC had to create entire subsystems in DCC Lankhmar just to get close to modeling the Twain. You pretty much need a "broad career as class" type of system like Barbarians of Lemuria, or a skill system game like Mythras or Gurps.

Mongoose Conan is 20lbs of awesome in a 5lb bag, but it's still a d20 variant. MRQII would have been much better.
This, soo much all of this. Well posted.
 

SJB

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I recently analysed the Conan stories and then built my own d100 system (plenty of Mythras ideas) based on that reading.

There are 29 Conan stories with genuine Howard DNA. They are super gameable. By this “late” stage in his career Howard had honed his pulp method to perfection (some of his earlier stories were all over the shop). I’d say that one should start with the kind of adventures one wishes to create and work backwards to characters.

For character building the key is Conan’s claim that, “I have been a mercenary, a corsair, a kozak, and a hundred other things”. This suggests that characters should have a range of backgrounds defining their abilities.

The problem with GURPS Conan is that the late author was indiscriminate in using all the pastiches then extant, however crappy. They, and it, are not very Howardian.

If the challenge is to build Conan characters in D&D 5E I’d suggest stealing the system from Handiwork Games’s Beowulf.
 
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