Gaming in Hyboria

Endless Flight

SWO!
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
11,595
Reaction score
29,476
So, there is a new Conan game out there by Modiphius and I've perused the quickstart rules and I wasn't inspired. I did play the d20 version by Mongoose years ago and it wasn't bad. Is there something you would recommend? Maybe I should give Modiphius another chance? Maybe reskin something else?
 

OHT

Reviewer
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
684
Reaction score
1,627
You've probably got a few options. Barbarians of Lemuria or Primeval Thule come to mind. The latter is available in Pathfinder or d&d 5e, i think, if that's your poison. Not sure about the system for BoL. Atlantis: the Second Age is another that is meant to cover sword and sorcery. Knock up Skywalker to come over here and explain that one.
 

TristramEvans

The Right Hand of Doom
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
28,397
Reaction score
78,548
I played the original TSR Conan game back in the 80s (one of three of the "colour universal chart" games, the most famous being FASERIP, and also including an edition of Gamma World), which was a clever system and was continued by the free online game ZEFRS. Honestly, though, the system was probably more suited to the Marvel Conan comics than the gritty world of the original Howard stories. I don't know anything about the Modiphus game, but if I were to run a Conan game right now, I'd probably go with Warhammer Fantasy Role-play. If you ditch the profession system (which isnt integral to the game), you're left with a simple but deadly and brutal combat system.
 

Endless Flight

SWO!
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
11,595
Reaction score
29,476
You've probably got a few options. Barbarians of Lemuria or Primeval Thule come to mind. The latter is available in Pathfinder or d&d 5e, i think, if that's your poison. Not sure about the system for BoL. Atlantis: the Second Age is another that is meant to cover sword and sorcery. Knock up Skywalker to come over here and explain that one.

I'll check into Primeval Thule. Thanks!
 

Endless Flight

SWO!
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
11,595
Reaction score
29,476
Honestly, though, the system was probably more suited to the Marvel Conan comics than the gritty world of the original Howard stories.

Yep, it's all about the original stories for me. I read the Del Ray compilation that came out in 2003 so much that the book was falling apart.
 

CRKrueger

Eläytyminatör
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
6,845
Reaction score
13,600
Well, I'm not into games that have overt genre mechanics, cinematic rules or any type of OOC metagame currency and other narrative mechanics, so my choices would be rather basic.

For me, Mythras is the best engine for S&S in general, Hyboria specifically. Its lineage is d100 BRP/Mongoose Runequest 2/Legend/etc which fits the Hyborian Age very well, the combat system has teeth without being too bulky (although admittedly it doesn't do skirmish-level combats with a dozen guys on each side very well, but lots of games have that problem). The magic system and Cult system RQ has always been famous for is perfect for creating everything from the Black Ring and Black Circle, to the Red Brotherhood and the Black Dragons. The authors are S&S fans of Howard, Moorcock, Leiber, they "get it". Also since it's based on the Chaosium d100 system, you can hack in Mythos stuff from Call of Cthulhu, demon and elemental summoning from Stormbringer, high magic from Magic World if the PCs somehow awaken Thulsa Doom from the Kull days, alchemy from Clockwork and Chivalry, you have an almost limitless supply of building blocks.

If Mythras was a no-go, I'd probably look at Savage Worlds with a combination of Beasts and Barbarians, Totems of the Dead and Solomon Kane. Totems of the Dead is basically Conan North America with the serial numbers filed off. It's really one of my favorite gaming supplements.

Like OHT said, Atlantis Second Age is another good choice, although it has a lot of non-Hyborian races, and does have quite a bit of narrative rules, but the nice thing is, they are all 100% optional. The core engine runs the original Arcanum rpg as well as Talislanta and Jerry Grayson's other game Hellas, so it's proven itself useful and adaptable. It also has a nice Lifepath-type chargen.

I've got all those books, so could answer more specific questions if you have any.
 

CRKrueger

Eläytyminatör
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
6,845
Reaction score
13,600
Oh, forgot to add, the Modiphius game is very meta. The acquiring and spending of a metagame currency fuels the "Conan Action". Players choose when to be awesome by buying dice to give them success, which gives the GM points he can use to increase the danger. It can be very fun, but it's not a RPG in the same definition as the other games listed.
 

Endless Flight

SWO!
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
11,595
Reaction score
29,476
I do have Atlantis Second Age, and I could see how it could be worked to doing Hyboria. I might take a second look at that. I'll take a peek at those other ones you mentioned to see if they catch my eye.
 

The Butcher

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2017
Messages
4,447
Reaction score
11,135
Is there a recommended Conan-esque book for Savage Worlds?

The most useful book might be the Horror Companion, for a better ritual magic system (I didn't have it when I ran Savage Hyboria, but I used the guidelines from The Savage World of Solomon Kane). Skip the Fantasy Companion, it's crap.

Throw in a good setting resource like Mongoose (d20) Conan's Road of Kings and you're good to go.
 

Skywalker

Legendary Member
Joined
May 3, 2017
Messages
1,493
Reaction score
3,000
I am currently exploring and learning to like Conan 2d20 (thanks to CRKrueger's review). However, Atlantis the Second Age is almost perfect if you remove the non-human races for PCs. The cultures, religions, and magical disciplines match those in Conan well as they are based on similar real world origins.
 

Skywalker

Legendary Member
Joined
May 3, 2017
Messages
1,493
Reaction score
3,000
Thanks. Though I like the setting and adventure material of Xoth, I find 3e to be a poor system match for Conan style stories.
 

K_Peterson

former member
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
1,209
Reaction score
2,123
Around 5 years ago, I converted Xoth (and the Spider God's Bride adventures) over to the MRQ2 system. Generated cults, converted stats, tweaked a few things. It worked very well - and I'm sure it would work just as well with Mythras. My players had a blast in that campaign.

If I were to actually run a campaign in Hyboria, I'd use Elric! for the baseline, leverage Jason Durall's conversion notes (https://basicroleplaying.org/search/?&q=Conan&type=downloads_file&sortby=relevancy) to define the cultures, and a copy of Mongoose Publishing's Return to the Road of Kings for setting background.

But that's just what I would do. I'm not sure I'd recommend that anyone track down some out-of-print material on their own.
 

Tommy Brownell

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2017
Messages
3,387
Reaction score
8,557
The most useful book might be the Horror Companion, for a better ritual magic system (I didn't have it when I ran Savage Hyboria, but I used the guidelines from The Savage World of Solomon Kane). Skip the Fantasy Companion, it's crap.

Throw in a good setting resource like Mongoose (d20) Conan's Road of Kings and you're good to go.

If I may...

Beasts & Barbarians. A new Iron Edition (I think) is coming later this year. Then sprinkle your favorite stuff (like Horror Companion magic) as needed.
 

CRKrueger

Eläytyminatör
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
6,845
Reaction score
13,600
Beasts and Barbarians is good, but it's much more genre-aware and more Marvel Conan (it has Naked Armor rules for barbarians for example). Solomon Kane and Totems of the Dead would be more Howardian in nature.
 

CRKrueger

Eläytyminatör
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
6,845
Reaction score
13,600
Thanks. Though I like the setting and adventure material of Xoth, I find 3e to be a poor system match for Conan style stories.

All the Xoth stuff comes in Legend versions now, so good to go with Mythras.
 

Endless Flight

SWO!
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
11,595
Reaction score
29,476
I've been reading through the Modiphius version today to get a better handle on it. I think I like it better reading it the second time through. I might want to give it a spin in a play-by-post game sometime.
 

Skywalker

Legendary Member
Joined
May 3, 2017
Messages
1,493
Reaction score
3,000
They did a generator for Infinity too, which uses the same system. It's a lot of fun to use. I quite like the Lifepath system used in both RPGs. They allow for randomness and structure.
 

Endless Flight

SWO!
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
11,595
Reaction score
29,476
Yeah, this generator might have sold me on the game.
 

Endless Flight

SWO!
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
11,595
Reaction score
29,476
Well, I purchased Conan: Adventures In An Age Undreamed Of. I'll do a step-by-step character creation when I have time if anybody is interested.
 

Skywalker

Legendary Member
Joined
May 3, 2017
Messages
1,493
Reaction score
3,000
I am interested too. I can help out with my limited experience too.
 

Endless Flight

SWO!
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
11,595
Reaction score
29,476
Character creation is pretty detailed. It might take a few posts.
 

Skywalker

Legendary Member
Joined
May 3, 2017
Messages
1,493
Reaction score
3,000
The physical books are just about to drop and look well made.
 

3rik

(ᵕ̣̣̣̣̣̣﹏ᵕ̣̣̣̣̣̣) R.I.P. Hana Kimura (1997 - 2020)
Joined
May 13, 2017
Messages
3,589
Reaction score
6,085
D101 Games' Crypts & Things is an OSR swords & sorcery game. Might be worth checking out.
 

TristramEvans

The Right Hand of Doom
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
28,397
Reaction score
78,548
I recall hearing good things about Riddle of Steel, but it seems to have dropped off the face of the planet
 

Skywalker

Legendary Member
Joined
May 3, 2017
Messages
1,493
Reaction score
3,000
It recently got revived in spirit under a different name via KS IIRC.

FWIW, despite the title sharing a part of an Arnold quote from the movie, isn't really tailored for Conan style stories.
 

CRKrueger

Eläytyminatör
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
6,845
Reaction score
13,600
I recall hearing good things about Riddle of Steel, but it seems to have dropped off the face of the planet
The successor game Skywalker is talking about is called Blade of the Iron Throne. I guess the idea was to keep the tactical nature of the man to man combat of TRoS as well as the Passions system, but try and fix the major flaws of the system. I don't know how close it is.
 

CRKrueger

Eläytyminatör
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
6,845
Reaction score
13,600
isn't really tailored for Conan style stories.
We'll leave the "who wants to create stories in the first place?" by the wayside and focus on Conan.

What in your view is the "Conan Style" and what does a game system need in order to be to be tailored to "Conan Style Stories"? What makes it Conan/Hyborian Age/Howardian, whatever you want to call it?
 

Skywalker

Legendary Member
Joined
May 3, 2017
Messages
1,493
Reaction score
3,000
Ha! Show me on this doll where narrative mechanics have touched you, CRK :smile:

The fighting style, weapons and armour in RoS are high medieval from memory and the combat is so deadly that it would be hard to replicate the fights that Conan gets into and survives on a regular basis.
 

CRKrueger

Eläytyminatör
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
6,845
Reaction score
13,600
Ha! Show me on this doll where narrative mechanics have touched you, CRK :smile:

The fighting style, weapons and armour in RoS are high medieval from memory and the combat is so deadly that it would be hard to replicate the fights that Conan gets into and survives on a regular basis.

I do remember the combat in TRoS rewarded system mastery, you really needed to understand how it worked to win. As an example I read, Jake Norwood, the author, at a con could beat PCs who were the equivalent of Norse viking warriors with a shepherd and his crook, not because of bad luck, but because he perfectly knew the system. To me, that's a design failure.

But I don't mean TRoS in particular as much as I mean a general list of things that makes you look at a system and go..."Nah, not really Conan", or..."Holy Shit, this is it!" Tying the thread back to Hyborian Gaming in general.
 
Cthulhu Mythos - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com
Top