[CONAN] GM's Closet

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Supplement Four
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Re: [CONAN] GM's Closet

Postby Supplement Four » Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:50 am

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Supplement Four
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Re: [CONAN] GM's Closet

Postby Supplement Four » Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:52 am

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Supplement Four
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Re: [CONAN] GM's Closet

Postby Supplement Four » Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:45 am

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Supplement Four
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Re: [CONAN] GM's Closet

Postby Supplement Four » Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:03 pm

THE KEEPERS OF NERGAL



There's an interesting use of sorcery in The Spider-God's Bride adventure one, The Necromancer's Knife. I've tweaked this a bit for my game.

The Keepers are priests of Nergal. They keep and maintain the dead that are in the crypt below the city. When someone is killed on the streets, the dead are left where they fall. That is the custom. For, at dusk, a thick cloud of fog will roll into the city and cover where the dead lay. If anyone looks close (and most lock themselves inside a safe place, as far away from the Keeper's Fog as they can get), that person will probably see vague movement of what looks like dead people moving inside the fog. The dead have come to claim the newly dead, taking them into their new existence. Any who actually see the fog and/or the shapes moving within are subject to the Terror Check from the core rulebook.

What's really happening (and this is a GM secret that the players may or may not discover) is that those moving in the fog are quite alive. They are men. Priests of Nergal who have asked for and gained a blessing from their god (they cast a sorcerous spell, though they don't think it as sorcery). Specifically, they are using a version of the Prestidigitation (Conjuring) spell to create the illusion that the priests are walking dead in a cloud of sorcerous fog.

The priests, called "The Keepers", under cover of this spell, come in a group, pick up the dead, and take them under ground to the Crypts of Nergal.



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Prestidigitation (Conjuring): The specifics of this particular spell, since the spell can be tuned to react in a number of outcomes, is that the Priests of Nergal only know this specific use, and they look at the outcome as a combination of religious faith, specific dogma, and a blessing from Nergal.

The fog is created through alchemy. A fairly easy to create (but with secret ingredients only known to The Keepers) liquid that is poured on the ground. The substance immediately begins to bubble, foam, and create fog.

Once the fog is dense enough, and a large enough cloud is created to encompass the required number of Keepers, the spell is cast in the manner of a blessing (verbal component, with casting time as one standard action). The spell requires 2 power points be spent, one for each effect. The fog is moved as per the spell, surrounding the Keepers. And, each Keeper casts the spell individually to give himself the appearance of walking dead. Those Keepers not controlling the fog spend only 1 power point to their appearance.
Supplement Four
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Re: [CONAN] GM's Closet

Postby Supplement Four » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:05 am

GELID BONES



Do you want to put the fear of the gods into your players? Do you want to show them why sorcerers are so feared during the Hyborian Age? If so, take a look at this spell. It's a doozy.

Gelid Bones is a spell that Howard shows us in his story, The Hour of the Dragon (a novella also called Conan The Conqueror). A Khitain sorcerer throws the spell....
A black-sleeved arm shot out, extending the long staff. Its end but touched the Shemite's brawny breast and was instantly withdrawn. The stroke was horribly like the dart and recovery of a serpent's head.

Gebal halted short in his headlong plunge, as if he had encountered a solid barrier. His bull head toppled forward on his breast, the sword slipped from his fingers, and then he melted slowly to the floor. It was as if all the bones of his frame had suddenly become flabby. Publio turned sick.


This spell only requires 1 Power Point. It's a somantic component only. And, it requires only one standard action to cast.

What does the spell do? It paralyzes the target for the duration of the spell as if their bones become jello and are unable to support the body.

How long does the spell last? One hour per sorcerer level. Wow!

A sorcerer could cast this spell, one per round, taking out foe after foe. A paralyzed target is at the mercy of the sorcerer. The sorcerer must touch the target, and the target does get a saving throw.




REQUIREMENTS: The spell requires the sorcerer to have a +2 Magic Bonus, which means the sorcerer must be level 4 Scholar. And the other prerequisites are that the sorcerer must know Lesser Ill Fortune and Calm of the Adept (which means the sorcerer must also have WIS 13+).



As shown in the Howard story, The Hour of the Dragon, Gelid Bones is a spell known by some in the far east. A Khitain sorcerer threw the spell in the story, but in the game, the spell is considered a curse.
Supplement Four
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Re: [CONAN] GM's Closet

Postby Supplement Four » Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:45 pm

WEAPON BREAK!



The game includes an optional rule for laying damage on things used to block your foe's strikes. I highly suggest that you use it as it is very easy to implement and provides that extra bit of Hyborian Age taste to your game.

The rule is this: When ever an attack roll is exactly equal to the defender's Parry AC (defender must be parrying), then, instead of a hit, the damage is applied to either the defender's shield or the weapon used to parry.

Basically, the target must be using his Parry defense (not his Dodge), and if the attack = Parry AC, then roll damage normally, subtract hardness, and apply remaining damage to the weapon or shield.

In practice, I always default to the shield first. If the target is not using a shield, it is then that I apply this sunder damage to the weapon.

GMs can get quite creative and vivid describing these hits. "Sparks fly as your foe's swing rails against your blade, eating out a nick in your blade!"

PCs will have to find weaponsmiths and spend their hard earned coin to get their weapons repaired, if the PCs don't have the skill and equipment to do it themselves.
Supplement Four
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Re: [CONAN] GM's Closet

Postby Supplement Four » Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:25 pm

SOCERERS AND RARITY


I've mentioned before that Sorcerers should be rare in a Hyborian Age campaign. It's easy to make the mistake that Sorcerers in this game are just another version of the mages in D&D and Pathfinder. That would be a complete mistake. More often than not, Sorcerers should be bad-guy NPCs that the GM uses as opposed to player characters.

To support this, just look at the various Conan stories from comics, short stories, novels, and movies. The Sorcerer is almost always a foe. The choices of spells in the core rulebook support this as well. There are several spells that probably would not be that helpful to a PC Sorcerer, but the GM can use the spell as a guideline governing how the NPC bad guy Sorcerers operate.

Take for instance the spell Blessing of Fate from the Divination School. This spell takes 10 minutes to cast with the successful result being the transfer of one Fate Point from the Sorcerer to another character. I'm sure there are some instances where a PC Sorcerer would do this, but Fate Points are precious. So, I don't see PCs giving them away to other characters to help them be heroes that often. I can more easily see an NPC gypsy-type, reading cards for a PC, and transferring the Fate Point to him--to the hero.

The very next spell on the list is Dream of Wisdom, and on the whole, it's an interesting spell. It takes an hour to cast and requires the Sorcerer to sleep (and dream) for an entire night. But, that's only if the Sorcerer knows a lot about what he's divining about. If he doesn't, the spell could require 2-12 nights, with the spell cast every day...or, it could even require 20-120 nights, with the spell cast every day. And, this spell costs 6 Power Points (which will most likely be reduced due to the Rule of Success). If/when successful, the spell will reveal legendary information about a person or a place or an object--information that has been lost to the ages.

It's a cool spell, but I doubt it would be used that often by a PC Sorcerer. Instead, I see it being used in a game more like this: The PCs hear of a local legendary mage, Namtu-Ra, who lived a thousand years ago. In order to find out more about the mage, the PCs must first seek out a Sorcerer who knows this specific spell. That, in and of itself, is an adventure. And, once they find a Sorcerer that can help them, the Sorcerer must go through the ritual to cast the Dream of Wisdom spell for a number of days, while the PCs wait for him to help them.





Now, am I saying that the Conan RPG shouldn't have Sorcerers in the PC party? Absolutely not. I'm only saying that Sorcerers don't grow on trees during the Hyborian Age. Their population is certainly not like Magic Users in the Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Mystara, or Dragonlance's Krynn. Instead, PC Sorcerers tend to be characters like priests, who don't look at the miracles that they can bring forth as Sorcerery in the first place. Or, maybe the entire PC group is focused on Sorcerers. The other players may play the Sorcerers' body guards and henchmen. The game could focus on a single PC sorcerer, hungry to find power. Or, the game could focus on a cabal of Socerers, with several players playing them. Your imagination is the limit.
Supplement Four
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Re: [CONAN] GM's Closet

Postby Supplement Four » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:24 pm

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Supplement Four
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Re: [CONAN] GM's Closet

Postby Supplement Four » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:26 pm

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The King
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Re: [CONAN] GM's Closet

Postby The King » Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:39 pm

Could you read the material I sent you?
An American-style kitchen is a kitchen in the living room.
A French-style toilet has toilet in the living room.
My neighbours combine both styles.
Supplement Four
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Re: [CONAN] GM's Closet

Postby Supplement Four » Sat Oct 14, 2017 11:30 pm

The King wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:39 pm
Could you read the material I sent you?
I eyeballed some of it. Good stuff.
Supplement Four
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Re: [CONAN] GM's Closet

Postby Supplement Four » Thu Oct 26, 2017 1:16 am

CONAN AS A CHARACTER!


According to sources in the Mongoose game, Conan starts the game as a 1st level character at age 15 when he participates at Venarium. He's a 2nd level Barbarian by the time of The Frost Giant's Daughter.

Down south, among the civilized lands, Conan picks up his third character level and becomes a multi-classed character. He's a 2nd level Barbarian/1st level Thief during The Tower of the Elephant.

By the time Conan travels across the continent, racing down the pier of Messantia, to begin his three year marauding career with Belit in the story, The Queen of the Black Coast, Conan is a 6th level character: 5th level Barbarian/1st level Thief.

Note how Conan is not comfortable in the Heavy Armor bestowed upon him in the story Black Colossus. In game terms, this is because Conan does not have the Heavy Armor feat. His levels as a Barbarian give him the Light and Medium Armor feats, so, at the time of that story, Conan suffers from the armor check penalty being applied to his attack rolls and all skill checks that involve moving. This is why Conan sheds the Heavy Armor in the story to armor that he is more accustomed to wearing.

After this story, Conan starts a period of selling his sword as a mercenary. He has picked up a level as a Pirate for his time at sea, and now he picks up a level as a Soldier. By the time of A Witch Shall Be Born, Conan is a 12th level character: A 9th level Barbarian, 1st level Thief, 1st level Pirate, 1st level Soldier.

If you read the section about Advanced Characters on pages 11-12 of the 2nd edition rulebook, it makes sense that Conan, a legendary Zuagir Chieftain, would be 12th level (That commentary about character levels is only included in the 2nd edtion rulebook. You won't find it in the other Conan RPG rulebooks.)

By the time of Howard's tales of Conan the King, such as The Hour of the Dragon, the barbarian has attained the highest level in the game. He's a 20th level character: A 15th level Barbarian, 1st level Thief, 2nd level Pirate, and 2nd level Soldier.



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One thing to take from the above, Game Masters, is to realize the number of years that Conan spends between levels. Although the game does not spell this out specifically--and GMs are always free to craft their own games to their own taste--most GMs will realize that the game is meant to be played at the lower levels, with PCs growing in levels much slower than they would in a standard 3.5E D&D game.

You can see this is various aspects of the game. Noting Conan's advancement, above, it takes the barbarian somewhere around 30 years or more--a life time, to make it to 20th level. Look at the Bestiary in the main rulebook, and specifically, look at the levels given to Picts on the Warpath (1st level Barbarians), Belit's Black Corsairs (2nd level Pirates), Turanian Light Cavalry (2nd level Soldiers), typical City Guardsmen (2nd level Soldiers), and the other humans listed in that section.

Picts are fierce, blood thirsty savages, and you might be surprised that in an average encounter, the Pict you face will only be a 1st level character. Remember, though, that a 1st level Barbarian is a fierce, amazingly tough character when compared to a normal person--a 1st level Commoner.

Speaking of Commoners, listed on page 351 of the 2E Core Rulebook Beastiary chapter, note how those characters max out at 10th level. Use that, and the level discussion on page 111-12 of that same book, and it will become clear to you that most of the Hyborian Age world is filled with characters in the level 1-10 range, with an emphasis on the lower levels.

Look at XP awarded in the Mongoose Mega-Adventure, Betrayer of Asgard. You'll see XP awards of 25 and 50 points! Which I think is about right to maintain the Hyborian Age as a low level, gritty, deadly world.

In my games, I do XP awards very simply. A foe is worth 100 XP per HD times character level. Therefore, a standard 1st level Pict is worth 1,000 XP. I will usually add in as a bonus, too, the number of Hit Points the foe had. So, the pict would be worth about 1,010 XP. A 2nd level Pict with 15 hit points would be worth 2,015 XP. And so on.

This seems extremely low for a D&D game, and for a D&D game, it is. What this does, though, is keep the PCs low level for a long time, giving slow progression, for the reasons I have explained above. Using this system, a man will have to defeat 10 foes to go up one level.



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Another thing I want to draw your attention to is how Conan obtained his advancement, as shown above. Most of his levels he devoted to his original class, that of Barbarian. And, he took no more than 2 levels in any Mutli-Class. What he did was open up the skills so that he has no skill that requires double skill cost as a cross-class skill. That, and he got the minimum benefits from becoming first level in areas that are greatly different from his base Barbarian class.

Conan never gets higher than 1st level as a Thief, but he combines his Barbarian skill at Climb to help him in that endeavor. Conan is not a lock picker. He's more of a second-story man, entering homes in the hot Zamorian clime from the top, where victims keep open windows in order to catch the breeze.

The point here is that there is more way than one to skin a cat. Make the character levels work for you, in a combination that exactly fits the type of character that you want to create.

The way that Conan Multi-Classed is not the only way to Multi-Class, and it may not be the best strategy for every character (but it certainly works for Conan). It all depends on the player's goals with his character.
Supplement Four
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Re: [CONAN] GM's Closet

Postby Supplement Four » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:53 am

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Re: [CONAN] GM's Closet

Postby Supplement Four » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:17 pm

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Re: [CONAN] GM's Closet

Postby Supplement Four » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:20 pm

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