An evaluation of Conan 1ed line

Discuss Mongoose RPGs here, such as the OGL rulebooks, Jeremiah, Armageddon 2089 and Macho Women with Guns

How do you evaluate the whole line of Conan 1ed?

Very Good
29
55%
Good
23
43%
Average
1
2%
Bad
0
No votes
Very Bad
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 53
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MGBM
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An evaluation of Conan 1ed line

Postby MGBM » Thu Aug 30, 2007 12:50 am

This is for all users of this forum:

How do you evaluate all the books you have from the 1ed line now that 2ed is coming out? All from the first printing up to the last book released before 2ed? What are the books that, to you, are amazing to read or the books which shouldn't have been released?

For me, I think the 1ed line has been a great one. There have been some bumps along the way, with the first printing being the worst of them. But then we have Road Of Kings, which is a spectacular sourcebook, we have Ruins of Hyboria and Stygia, which are great. All in all, there have been almost no stinkers in the line, although the editing should be improved a bit more.

Hopefully, someone from Mongoose shall look on this thread to get a general idea of what people like or don't like about the 1ed.

So, sum up 1ed Conan, do you like or dislike what you have of 1ed?
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Postby Majestic7 » Thu Aug 30, 2007 1:09 am

Road of the Kings, Free Companies, Pirate Isles, Across the Thunder River and Ruins of Hyboria are excellent. The thin regional books, like Argos & Zingara were, well, too thin for me to buy. They didn't offer enough bang for my buck based on browsing them in the store. I bought Faith & Fervor and I was disappointed because it was so thin. I ordered it online and didn't thus understand how small book it really is. The content it has is good, not excellent but good - it leaves a feeling that so much more could be said on the subject. Heretics of Tarantia is a good adventure, but others didn't spark my interest. Shadizar and Messantia books are interesting as they go in to details of daily life in those iconic cities.

One of my players bought Hyborias F -series. They have good fluff on different character classes and the wilderness rules from Fiercest should be part of the core rules - I hope they appear in the 2nd Edition. However, a few variant multiclasses of the F series are completely broken. For example, the stunning grapple ability of the barbarian/thief is just completely ridicilous. I generally found the pages spent on multiclass variants to be useless. Those pages could have been used on prestige classes or something else more useful.

Editing problems and lack of maps annoyed me a little on many products.
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Postby Strom » Thu Aug 30, 2007 2:21 am

What happened? Did Majestic break the poll? :lol: I haven't voted yet and it will not let me - just shows the results.

I blame UK technology. Damn Blimeys - write a sweet rpg like Conan and you forget to sweep out the server room. :lol: :wink:

I would've voted Very Good.

Often I will re-read different book every week or so still. That saids a lot to me.
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Postby Nagisawa » Thu Aug 30, 2007 6:09 am

Not sure I should vote. I only picked up three books, core, Scroll of Skellos and Free Companies, nothing else, as most of the pastiche doesn't interest me.
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Re: An evaluation of Conan 1ed line

Postby thulsa » Thu Aug 30, 2007 6:35 am

MGBM wrote:So, sum up 1ed Conan, do you like or dislike what you have of 1ed?
I have a complete collection of all the books released so far. I voted "Very Good" as the Conan RPG is very close to a perfect marriage between the Hyborian Age setting and the d20 System.

The Good

I've found something useful in every book, but the ones that stand out are the Atlantean Edition (can't live without the core rules!), Scrolls of Skelos, Pirate Isles, Ruins of Hyboria, and Hyboria's Fiercest/Finest/Fallen.

The regional sourcebooks will become more useful as my campaign moves into those areas, but so far it's been mostly based in Turan and the Black Kingdoms, for which no sourcebooks have been released. Tales of the Black Kingdoms was a pretty decent collection of adventures, by the way.

Most of the information in Road of Kings was already available on the web (on Dale Rippke's gazetteer site, my own site, and others), so in a way it is not essential, but of course it's nice to have a paper version that you can flip through away from the computer.

And the cover artwork of Quilliams absolutely rocks!

The Bad

Sloppy editing and proofreading, adventure maps with no scale, the Shadizar map fiasco, some broken rules (such as the defensive blast + opportunistic sacrifice combo), NPCs that don't even qualify for "their own" prestige classes (I'm looking at you, Master of Yimsha!), a somewhat complex sorcery system (the system of prerequisites could have been streamlined) and too few low-level spells, and the treatment the Conan line has been given in the Rulesmasters forum (after a few initial responses, I don't think there has EVER been an official answer to any Conan question in that forum.... why?!?).

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Postby The King » Thu Aug 30, 2007 11:29 am

I voted "good" only.

Though I have nothing against both Tito's trading post and the Compendium, I am absolutly against the 96-pages limits that was applied in the course of the series.
It may be an acceptable limit sometimes, but I think Faith & Fervour, Argos & Zingara and Shem should have deserved a better (detailed) treatment.

I hope the new printing facility at Mongoose will resolve these problems.

A last point: I wouldn't mind if Mongoose would also release more 32-page adventures (in addition to the schedules campaigns).

On the good side:
For someone like me who doesn't like the D20 system, I admit the Conan rules are very good and provide the feeling of the D100 rules (armor, spells, weapon points, etc.) and the epic of the D20 proper to any Conan adventures.

Moreover the fact that the books are written by "experts" in the field of "things and places Hyborian" also provides the feeling and the ambiance we might expect in an Howard-only setting, even if there is place to add the pastiche works for those who wish to include them.

A great job on the whole.
Last edited by The King on Thu Aug 30, 2007 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Da Boss » Thu Aug 30, 2007 11:55 am

As someone who has bought very many of the books but doeesn't use the system :shock: (I use Edens Buffy/unisystem) I have found them a mixture

Some truely excellent and ecocative books with beautiful covers that capture Conan perfectly. There is a great wealth of information in most and I am very pleased with most - except:

The two city box sets I was extremely dispointed with - virtually nothing in them - dire art and no real reason for them to be in a box - another excellent book would have been so much better. I was quite annoyed when i got them both at the same time

The Black Kingdoms - whilst an Ok scenario would have prefered a proper source book and some of the artwork was not very good - ok terrible - especialy when you compare to the fantastic cover! Given the standard of artwork available for free on the internet (hire some of them!) and the vast number of artists around I feel there is no excuse for this.

I guess its a D20 thing but I have never understood the need for vast quanties of generic NPCs with many pages of their stats - if need to have NPCs I would far prefer actual characters with a few lines of description and a name for each - almost plot ideas in their own right. But I guess many D20 people like/need them ?

Stillall in all its was a great attempt at a cool tiltle - thanks! :D
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Postby One Star Under Heaven » Thu Aug 30, 2007 3:30 pm

Free Companies and Pirate Isles (one of my favourite covers) are nice, but I could live without them.

Scrolls of Skelos is excellent, and had all the information ( and perhaps a bit more) than I would have expected regarding magic in the setting.

Hyboria's F is my "amazing read". I prefer the multi-class variants and variant rules to having prestige classes. (The prestige classes in Scrolls of Skelos are appropriate as well, though). The culture-by-culture treatment of each class is also a lesson to other D20 rpg settings.
I am also a fan of the Temptress class. It not only helps emulate another facet of the S&S genre, but it also provides an alternative (PC or NPC) to the noble in terms of manipulation through social graces.
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Postby Yogah of Yag » Thu Aug 30, 2007 5:03 pm

I didn't vote because my answer is twofold:

1) Fantastic, competent, generally thorough, imagination-inspiring writing! :D
2) Intermittently poor (sometimes dreadful) editing. :evil:
3) Compared to the AMAZING wealth of Frazetta and Vallejo Conan art out there, the art in the book is lukewarm. However Mr. Quilliams' cover art is spectacular! :?

My vote is "good", or 3 out of 5 battle-axes. 8)
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Postby tarkhan bey » Thu Aug 30, 2007 5:30 pm

I thought that the 1stEd was excellent. Only one or two gripes to spoil a perfect picture.
1) Shadizar Map :cry:
2) Cut and paste from book to book causing repetition.
3) Variable editing
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Postby Ichabod » Thu Aug 30, 2007 6:36 pm

A lot of the material has potential, but it seems underdeveloped and repetitive. Mysteries would be one example of something that should have a lot more information.

Quite a bit of the general info needs to be written, but it's just general information. Some of the spotlighted info, like what people wear, is much more interesting. While these sorts of things are narrow in application, at least it helps give a mental picture of what the world is like.

As for the Hyboria's F* books, while there are some very important bits in them for players (feats), a lot of the material just isn't very useful. The idea of having defined multiclasses is quite good, but the problem is that the classes aren't remotely balanced in the first place and the multiclasses don't do enough to balance things out.

The sections on different types of characters are just too broad; if you are going to talk about different character builds, build the characters and put them in as examples. I would find it really interesting to see some solid analysis of character builds, and it would help new players a lot since it's so easy to go wrong with character creation when you aren't up on d20 character creation. The bits about the different classes in different regions just seems entirely without any sort of relevant output. There should be some tie to mechanics (beyond the obvious provided by racial characteristics in the core book).

But, when you compare to other games, the material does seem respectable and entertaining.
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Postby Malcadon » Fri Aug 31, 2007 12:45 am

I just own the First & Atlantean editions, Scroll of Skellos, and Road of Kings.

I use to be disenfranchised with D&D and the way it was played. When I found the first Conan rulebook at the store and skimmed through it, I was like: WOW! It was the D20 rules, but better! It had good art and mature content! It was not another hight fantasy dungeon-crawl! And it was CONAN! So I snatched it up. I still play D&D because the Conan rule-set has made the game playable (Hyboria is a fine world, but still love to build my own worlds). As a fan of the Conan yarns, the rulebooks (at least the ones that I have) are vary detailed and true to the fiction. And the biggest plus of then all is having Vincent Darlage (who did dame good work with Conan on Inzeladun) as a major part of the game's development and writing.

On the other side, the Sorcery system is cool, but vary complex and hard to work-in or understand at times (all of the Spell requirement makes it difficult to plot out a Sorcerer, and I still dont know how Bonus Spells work!). And if your going to make a $50 book, then takes some time to do it right the first time!

In all, I love this game! I voted for Vary Good. And I'm looking forward to getting the 2ed edition. :D
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Postby Hervé » Fri Aug 31, 2007 9:43 am

I voted good for I'm somewhat disapointed with the line for the many reasons already written above.
I've bought every book as a good boy only to find I actually don't use them much in my campaign.
Rulebook, RoK, ATTR and Ruins rocks.
Black Kingdoms, Messantia and the adventures are OK.
Skelos and the Regional sourcebooks are just average.
I don't like much Pirates, Shadizar and Faith.
The Hyboria books and Free Companies just sucks.
and there no word in an earthly language that could describe how bad Tito is...
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Postby kintire » Fri Aug 31, 2007 10:11 am

I voted Good. Which is a shame, because I really wanted to vote Very Good. There are several sourcebooks which are definitely very good, and I haven't been disappointed with anything I've bought (which is most of them. I don't have Tito's, and I only have Tales of the Black Kingdoms from the adventures)

However, I just can't get past the quality assurance. Many of the statblocks are downright weird, not just in execution but the whole concept. The copy paste habit is clearly deeply ingrained, but the necessary checking isn't done (for example in Stugia the descriptions of the temple districts are clearly c/p jobs, but in several places they haven't changed the name of the city's deity in the "dominated by the temple of ... sentence") The maps are always dodgy. Its not just the general maps either, but the ones you actually have to use. Shadizar's overmap problem is well known, but there's a section in the adventure where you have a pursuit through a tunnel, and the map for that was just bizarre. It was a random spread of one square wide passages, with no markings at all. Where's the entrance? the exit? where's the temple mentioned in the text?

No, the Conan 1e had some great writers, superb ideas and some good artists but they need a QA section, badly.
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Postby argo » Fri Aug 31, 2007 7:03 pm

I voted Good. My vote would have been Very Good but for a few errors that are simply too big to be ignored. Specifically...

The editing :evil: From the first printing to the Shadizar map, plus some other general copy/paste errors, typos and statblock errors. The editing on the line just has not been up to snuff. This makes me sad because it is such a trivial thing but the truth of the matter is that Mongoose wants to be a big player in the game biz and this level of editing is simply unprofessional. I find myself in the uncomfortable positon of playing "Mongoose apologist" on other message boards, asking folks to look past the typos and see the great game beneath it. This is an issue that will continue to haunt the company until they get it right. :cry:

The maps this is really a subset of the editing complaint. I love good quality maps in RPG's and find them intensely usefull. Drawing maps myself is difficult and time consuming (I have zero artistic talent) so buying maps from a game company is a good use of my dollar. Reading the description of an area in a book, then looking at a map that doesn't match that description... thats frustrating.


Thats prety much my list of major complaints.

Overall I think that the mechanical design has varied from mediocre to truly excellent with the Atlentean Edition core rules being truly excellent. A few feats and spells have been stinkers but in contex of the d20 market I think the rules design has been quite solid.

The quality of the writting OTOH has been beyond excellent! Vincent's work in particular but prety much the entire line has been well researched, well written and well though out. It has left me with the impression that the driving force behind the line is a labor of love, by fans, with attention to detail. But they have shown a willingness to step beyond the canon material to include pastiche or even wholy origional material and that is good too since it gives more life to the line. Of course this just makes the editing errors all that much worse....

As for the art. Chris Quilliams' work has been the equall to Vincent's writting. The rest is mostly average.

So, that's my 2cp. Conan is still my favorite fantasy game bar none but I do hope it can do better.
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Postby Prof.Dogg » Sun Sep 02, 2007 2:35 am

I have way too much GOOD to say about this game. But forgive me but I am going to concentrate on what I think C1e went wrong.

My biggest complaint is the repetition of information. Too many reprinted feats... I like a source-book to include all new info so I don't feel like I'm wasting my dollar on something I already have.

My next biggest complaint is to not include overly excessive or complicated rules. I do not need to have additional rules on whether my Pirate Hoard will mutiny when the Leadership rules stand on their own. I do not need excessive rules on Social interaction while at the Messantia senate when the Diplomacy rules stand on their own. I also do not need excessive rules detailing environmental modifiers upon conditional modifiers upon situational modifiers, etc, etc. This seems to be a Mongoose thing (reference any of the Ultimate Class books for D&D you publish). I don't want a game to be dumbed-down but I like streamlined rules that can be estimated on the fly with few peeks at references. This is the difference between D&D 2e and D&D 3e. 2e had WAAAAAYYYYY too many rules. Most of them didn't mesh very well at all even. 3e had a simpler game mechanic than 2e that although certainly continuously adds lots of details in the archetypes (i.e. classes, races, feats, etc.) but never really changes the rules (1d20 plus modifiers, hit a target number). It seems Mongoose likes to publish D&D 2.5e rules (ok, well, more like 2.85 or such but you get the point). I like new classes. I like new feats. I don't like new ways to flesh-out the Diplomacy skill which is sufficiently fleshed-out enough. I prefer the rule-book be one book. I like support books to be fluff (I like fluff like setting descriptions, adventure hooks, etc.) or additional crunch like feats and races and such and especially NPC stats which are always welcome... Nothing makes my life easier as a GM than pulling out a critter someone else took the time to build so I could concentrate on other less-important things (like career and school, etc.)...

Now that I have ranted aboutt hose two things I hate the most about Mongoose products, let me reiterate I like everything else this company does. I think Conan d20 is the finest example of what the d20 system can do. You take a simple SRD and apply it to a specific world and make it fit well. Now if you had only used the d20 SRD for Lankmar instead of RQ... (sigh)...
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Postby throrII » Sun Sep 02, 2007 6:44 am

The Good
This is the game that d20 and DeedleDee should have been. The rules support making a character, not a magic item christmas tree. Combat is leathal and quick. DR instead of AC!!! Thought out classes. A magic system that makes (more) sense.

The Core Book. Scrolls of Skeolos. Road of Kings. Pirate Isles. Free Companies. Ruins of Hyboria.

Vincent, and the other writers, have labored with love to produce indepth and detailed sourcebooks.

The general attitude of Mongoose towards it's customer.

The Bad
Editing. Maps (or lack of). Repitition of feats and the general 'cut and paste' mentality pervasive in many books.

The Ugly
Hyboria's F series. The terrain rules from 'Fiercest' should have been in the Core book. A hundred pages combined on how to multiclass 9 different classes together. The 'F' series is generally a waste (for me at least).

Tito's. All the stuff to buy from all your other books, cut and pasted in to one book.
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Postby FailedSpotCheck » Sun Sep 02, 2007 6:58 pm

I voted 'good.'
Given the reeking landfill of useless d20 garbage out there we could have done worse. :D

Two out of three thumbs up! :shock: :lol:
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Postby Arkobla Conn » Mon Sep 03, 2007 12:58 pm

I voted good...despite wanting to Vote Excellent...here's why

The Editing, as has been stated.
The Interior Artwork....c'mon - commision something new please
Sorcery was just two complicated - we threw it out!
No book contains summary lists. Why wouldn't you do a summary list of feats or skills that you've added???

Of course, I love Conan, the writing, the ambiance, the grit of the combat...So many good things...so many things to still work on.

(Oh, and I love the F series of books. I think they are inspired. I love having those varients.)
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Postby The King » Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:32 pm

Arkobla Conn wrote:...
No book contains summary lists. Why wouldn't you do a summary list of feats or skills that you've added???
...
You're absolutely right and I forgot to mention it but even if Yogah did create such a list it should have been included in most of the books.
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