Argos & Zingara\ Conan COmpendium-Poor Book Quality

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Argos & Zingara\ Conan COmpendium-Poor Book Quality

Postby therion666 » Mon Oct 29, 2007 4:41 pm

I had bought a number of books in the past for the Conan Setting:-

Conan Atlantean Edition
Scrolls of Skelos
Road of Kings

I would say that these books were generally of good quality and value for money. However I have bought the books Argos & Zingara and Conan Compendium and rate them as follows.

Argos & Zingara- limited or Non existent info\detail on NPCs, country maps. Poor Value for money.
In short I will need to do a considerable amount of work to run a game in this area.


Conan Compendium- limited info, small book, adverts used to take up space. Very poor Value for Money.
In summery I have had a Copy of Dragon magazine and a Copy of Dungeon Magazine ( total cost under £10) which would provide about 3 times the amount of useful campaign info, Adventures, NPCs and maps.

The last two books has made me generally very hesitant about buying further books from Mongoose or for the Conan Campaign. Please let me know if others have found this as well.

I'm sorry to have to complain but I am very disappointed by this from mongoose.

Steve
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Re: Argos & Zingara\ Conan COmpendium-Poor Book Quality

Postby thulsa » Mon Oct 29, 2007 5:09 pm

therion666 wrote:The last two books has made me generally very hesitant about buying further books from Mongoose or for the Conan Campaign. Please let me know if others have found this as well.
In my personal opinion, the following are all very good books (in addition to the three "core books" you listed at the beginning of your post):

Ruins of Hyboria
Pirate Isles
Stygia

(You may get them in the listed order...)

- thulsa
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The Hyborian Age d20 Campaign Site
http://hyboria.xoth.net/

The Spider-God's Bride and Other Tales
http://xoth.net/publishing/xp1/
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Postby MongooseMatt » Mon Oct 29, 2007 5:20 pm

Also worth pointing out that the Compendium has been one of our most popular books in the series!
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Postby VincentDarlage » Mon Oct 29, 2007 5:30 pm

Across the Thunder River is a personal favorite of mine, but Thulsa's list is a good start for a "best of." Pirate Isles is simply a fantastic book (Like Across the Thunder River, I am somewhat biased toward Ruins of Hyboria as well).

Unfortunately, IMHO, Argos & Zingara suffered much in the editing (on the order of 75 pages or so cut out of it). I was told the cut material would show up in S&P, but that hasn't happened (yet, anyway; there is always hope for the future). The original submission for Argos & Zingara included nine pages of NPCs. Thulsa has since put up some of my maps, including a regional map for Argos. Hopefully that helps somewhat.

Anyway, as the author of Argos & Zingara, I feel bad that you consider the volume to be of poor quality. What kind of NPC detail would you like? Other than the map issue (which I had no control over), what else could I have done to make the book valuable to you?

As for maps:
Argos
Zingara
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Postby greenjelly » Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:44 pm

I second the Across The Thunder River book. It's a great read even if you never use it to run a game (though obviously it's more than enough to run a game as well).
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Postby The King » Mon Oct 29, 2007 7:00 pm

msprange wrote:Also worth pointing out that the Compendium has been one of our most popular books in the series!
Exactly! And it's a great book for those who don't have the S&P issues.

I would have appreciate though if all Conan related articles had been included.
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Postby therion666 » Mon Oct 29, 2007 7:12 pm

To clarify the Argos and Zingara part of my post I was hoping for a basic rundown of provinces, lords, barons, princes etc. The funny thing is for my style of play it only requires something like.

Prince Zhondaron, a thin 6ft 2 man of his mid 40's with a trim beard and moustache of brown hair flecked with grey.
Personality: Devious, but dedicated to his child, quick to anger and not known to be a man of the people due to his high taxation of the populous.
Goals: Secure the province to the south from Baron (name)
Allies:
Enemies:

Something like this, worked into the details within the book about the province would have been excellent. Thing is stats are very unimportant to me and the details like above are more important to a campaign.
I hope this helps for future productions.

As for the Conan Compendium being a best seller I can only assume there are many people like me who bought the book without being able to read it before hand and ordered it.
I will take peoples recommendations to mind but as previously stated will be very dubious about buying without reading first which will likely be once per 5 years due to the nearest stockist of Conan books being too far for a casual trip.
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Postby VincentDarlage » Mon Oct 29, 2007 7:31 pm

therion666 wrote:To clarify the Argos and Zingara part of my post I was hoping for a basic rundown of provinces, lords, barons, princes etc.

Prince Zhondaron, a thin 6ft 2 man of his mid 40's with a trim beard and moustache of brown hair flecked with grey.
Personality: Devious, but dedicated to his child, quick to anger and not known to be a man of the people due to his high taxation of the populous.
Goals: Secure the province to the south from Baron (name)
Allies:
Enemies:

Something like this, worked into the details within the book about the province would have been excellent. Thing is stats are very unimportant to me and the details like above are more important to a campaign.
I hope this helps for future productions.
Ah. I always presumed people could come up with that as needed for the plot they are running. Inventing a bunch of NPCs with hair color and so on causes one to end up with a book filled with stuff I made up and may or may not be useful for a campaign/story/adventure. Also, it makes the NPCs so static, when IRL nobles made and broke alliances and enemies with alarming fluidity. Even the lands and fiefs they control change quickly and constantly. To make a comprehensive list would be near impossible, as some lords may only control small fiefs. Further, at what time period do I set the list? If a person plays just a few years ahead or behind whatever year I set the list, then the list will be completely invalid. To make a truly useful list, I would have to delve into geneology - and then to have to describe them all and list their alliances and enemies?

It is just easier to let the GM do that as needed, IMHO.

Also, what do I do with the character once he has achieved his goal as listed in the book?

That stuff I can make up as needed (or even on the fly), but making up stats on the occasions I find I need them is tedious, so I would rather have some stock stats that I can apply the personalities to.

I will keep this in mind for the future though, but I honestly can't see how such a massive list would be useful for most people - and it would be a complete bear to compile. Do some research on the Bathory family, for example. Just one noble family is hideously complex, controlling lands in Hungary, Transylvania, Wallachia and even Poland! The detailing out of just one Zingaran family only half as complex would involve marriages of state, fiefs and kingdoms transferring hands, and may even include Aquilonian, Nemedian and other Hyborian lands... Now, try to detail ALL of the Zingaran noble families. Then try and detail all of the Argossean Houses... Then list all of their heights, hair colors, allies, goals, friends and enemies (for each year). Hopefully you can see the magnitude of what you are asking for.

And that doesn't even consider that I would have to make all of that up whole-cloth. And GMs (or players) who make up their own Zingaran count might have to try and shoe-horn it into the geneologies.

You may find the upcoming Player's Guide useful for quickly creating NPCs in the detail you want, because I don't think I can write what you want without statically setting it in one particular year - and if you aren't playing in that particular year, then most of the book would become valueless again - and as soon as the PCs start interfering, the book again becomes valueless.
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Postby therion666 » Mon Oct 29, 2007 7:46 pm

I'm afraid I can't agree with your assessment. It would take a couple of pages to list the sort of details that I am suggesting and would allow a GM to launch a campaign quickly with all the strongest characters involved.

I'm not suggesting listing every border guard but major figure's in the countries. With Zingara there is a great deal of scope for this kind of detail IMHO.

I'd like to make sure people reading this post understand, I was impressed with the 1st edition of Conan RPG even with the errata's, so much so I immediately bought two copies of the Atlantean Edition.
I am also not a beginner to roleplaying having run numberous D&D campaigns, Pendragon, Vampire the Masquarade, Shadowrun, Werewolf, mage, Legend of the five rings all over the past 20 years.

Gaming compaies fail due to lack of production of good quality, value for money materials for campaigns. I would suggest keeping that in mind in the future.
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Postby VincentDarlage » Mon Oct 29, 2007 8:25 pm

therion666 wrote: I'm not suggesting listing every border guard but major figure's in the countries. With Zingara there is a great deal of scope for this kind of detail IMHO.
Most of those got cut: Prince Castrio, Prince Ariostro, Godrigo, the King's Pet Philosopher, Princess Chabella, and Olivero de Hareje are a list of notables cut from the text.

But as for other major figures? Can you suggest a list of characters I could have outlined without infringing on the GM's who want to populate the Hyborian age with their own nobles instead of ones I would have to make up since they do not appear in the books?

I guess I just believe in generic NPCs that can be modified and made unique instead of a static cast of characters. Give me a few days and I will see what I can whip up for you.
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Postby therion666 » Tue Oct 30, 2007 8:13 am

Many thanks for that, it would be appreciated. I am still reading through the Conan books and have yet come across Argosian characters to populate , my setting with.

To be honest the Conan setting, character classes, combat system blows the D&D system out of the water in my mind with a style that is rich in content and possibilities. Other settings using the same system would be a godsend.
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Postby Hervé » Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:55 pm

For those interested in Argossean setting, don't forget the Messantia Boxed Set. Although not written by Vincent, the box complements the regional sourcebook pretty well. I even found it more useful than the book when it comes to Argossean background!
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Postby Trodax » Tue Oct 30, 2007 3:41 pm

therion666 wrote:As for the Conan Compendium being a best seller I can only assume there are many people like me who bought the book without being able to read it before hand and ordered it.
This would actually be my guess as well; I didn't hesitate at all at buying the Compendium, because it sounded great, but didn't end up liking it very much. It is probably my least favorite book in the entire line (well, I hear Tito's Trading Post ain't too hot either, but I never bought that one so it doesn't count :wink: ).

A lot of the books are good, though; I can only concur in the praise of gems such Across the Thunder River, Ruins of Hyboria and Stygia (and many others).
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Postby Yogah of Yag » Tue Oct 30, 2007 4:31 pm

All a noobie needs is the main rulebook, REH's original tales, and perhaps access to the SRD to fill in a few gaps. That's it. (And Savage Sword, when it comes out soon!). 8)

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