Age of Conan

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rabindranath72
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Age of Conan

Postby rabindranath72 » Tue Jul 01, 2008 1:15 pm

After reading the Alternate Hyborian Age thread, I started thinking that actually the idea might not be that bad.
If one looks at the Age of Conan computer game, for example, one gets a picture which is a bit different from the usually accepted canon, but it may be fun to play, nonetheless.

So, I came up with this (just a sketch of the races and classes). Something which is not completely D&Dish (no demihumans nor wizards, for example), but is definitely "heroic" in theme (although not superheroic: it should be limited at the heroic level of play).
Still need to workout which magic items are appropriate, and which monsters are fit.

AGE OF CONAN

A D&D 4e campaign (heroic level)

PC races (only humans)

Aquilonian

The Aquilonians are a people divided behind a front of unity, and threatened behind a show of dominance. Their kingdom, the so-called Flower of the West, is the unrivalled jewel of Hyboria.
Available classes:
· Soldier: Conqueror, Dark Templar, Guardian
· Priest: Priest of Mitra
· Rogue: Assassin, Barbarian, Ranger


Cimmerian

The Cimmerians live under a shroud of impending doom. As the Hyborian Age enters its final centuries, few people feel it as acutely as the northern barbarian clans.
Available classes:
· Soldier: Conqueror, Dark Templar, Guardian
· Priest: Shaman
· Rogue: Barbarian, Ranger


Stygian

The Stygians are an ancient, decadent people, born of a culture more than fifteen hundred years older than any of their neighboring kingdoms to the north.
Available classes:
· Mage: Demonologist, Herald of Xotli, Necromancer
· Priest: Tempest of Set
· Rogue: Assassin, Ranger


PC classes

Barbarian
Fighter (great weapon)

Priest of Mitra
Cleric (devoted). Channel Divinity feat: Ioun’s Poise (renamed: Mitra’s Poise)

Ranger
Ranger (archer)

Assassin
Rogue (trickster)

Guardian
Fighter (guardian)

Shaman
Warlock (fey pact, deceptive)

Conqueror
Warlord (tactical)


NPC classes (or at least, not suggested for PCs)

Herald of Xotli
Warlock (star pact, scourge)

Demonologist
Warlock (infernal pact, scourge)

Tempest of Set
Cleric (battle, replace damage type Radiant with Necrotic)

Dark Templar
Paladin (avenging, replace damage type Radiant with Necrotic)

Necromancer
Warlock (infernal pact, scourge, Death Master template)
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Vortigern
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Postby Vortigern » Tue Jul 01, 2008 11:09 pm

Why do people always try and restrict the interesting mage types for the NPCs? :?
V/R,
Vortigern

"Hatred is gained as much by good works as by evil."
Sting52jb
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Postby Sting52jb » Tue Jul 01, 2008 11:36 pm

Vortigern after reading the major reason people like to play in the Hyborian age of Conan is the lack of magical items, and demi-humans I agree that not only should the interesting mage types should be only NPC's all magic users in my opinion should be NPC. Unless you are running a campaign where you are trying to conquer the world or some such.

My reasoning for this is I have read every Conan story, Howard and all the other authors, and probably more than half of the comics, and in each of these stories their is only a hand full of magic users, probably less than a 100 in total in every story i have read. There are quiet a bit more introduced in the Comics than the books though.

out of all these stories the only good mages i can think of are Epimetrius The Sage of Aquilonia.

Pelias who aided Conan against Tsotha-Lanti but if i remember right was in Conans opinion quiet crazy, and of questionable loyalty. Some one correct me if I'm wrong.

and Kalanthes one of the highest ranking priests of Ibis, who Conan aids against Toth Amon.

I'm not saying that these are the only good Mages just the only ones that come to mind. IMHO Howard meant for magic useres to be few and far between and if you allow every other player to be a mage you are not really gaming the Hyborina Age of Howard.

Just my two cents.

Rabindranath. You have some good ideas flush them out and keep us informed I'm always interested in giving advice.
rabindranath72
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Postby rabindranath72 » Wed Jul 02, 2008 5:50 am

Vortigern wrote:Why do people always try and restrict the interesting mage types for the NPCs? :?
personal preference, and because those are strictly evil prototypes, not very "heroic". But those are only my suggestions :)
Last edited by rabindranath72 on Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Vortigern
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Postby Vortigern » Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:50 am

Sting52jb wrote:Vortigern after reading the major reason people like to play in the Hyborian age of Conan is the lack of magical items, and demi-humans I agree that not only should the interesting mage types should be only NPC's all magic users in my opinion should be NPC. Unless you are running a campaign where you are trying to conquer the world or some such.

My reasoning for this is I have read every Conan story, Howard and all the other authors, and probably more than half of the comics, and in each of these stories their is only a hand full of magic users, probably less than a 100 in total in every story i have read. There are quiet a bit more introduced in the Comics than the books though.

out of all these stories the only good mages i can think of are Epimetrius The Sage of Aquilonia.

Pelias who aided Conan against Tsotha-Lanti but if i remember right was in Conans opinion quiet crazy, and of questionable loyalty. Some one correct me if I'm wrong.

and Kalanthes one of the highest ranking priests of Ibis, who Conan aids against Toth Amon.

I'm not saying that these are the only good Mages just the only ones that come to mind. IMHO Howard meant for magic useres to be few and far between and if you allow every other player to be a mage you are not really gaming the Hyborina Age of Howard.

Just my two cents.

Rabindranath. You have some good ideas flush them out and keep us informed I'm always interested in giving advice.
Just because there are PC scholars in the group <even more than one, they tend to congregate I think.> doesn't mean that it increases the occurence of magic in the greater world. In short... I don't think having PC scholars / sorcerers makes things 'un-Howard'.

It may be a different type of story than the ones he usually told... the protagonist being a sorcerer. Or even the story being told from a somewhat 'evil' point of view if you will. But still doesn't make the entire thing any more 'un-Howard' than any other campaign if you stay true to the feel of the world.

To me, personally, it is more 'un-Howard' to expect all PC characters to be heroic. But I gather there is some dissent to that view. :wink:
V/R,
Vortigern

"Hatred is gained as much by good works as by evil."
rabindranath72
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Postby rabindranath72 » Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:56 am

Vortigern wrote:
Just because there are PC scholars in the group <even more than one, they tend to congregate I think.> doesn't mean that it increases the occurence of magic in the greater world. In short... I don't think having PC scholars / sorcerers makes things 'un-Howard'.

It may be a different type of story than the ones he usually told... the protagonist being a sorcerer. Or even the story being told from a somewhat 'evil' point of view if you will. But still doesn't make the entire thing any more 'un-Howard' than any other campaign if you stay true to the feel of the world.

To me, personally, it is more 'un-Howard' to expect all PC characters to be heroic. But I gather there is some dissent to that view. :wink:
I agree, it is not about the frequency of magic, or it being un-Howard (well, most of the sorcerers we see in the books always end on the wrong side of a sword :), so we do not get a true appreciation for what a sorcerer could really do). It is more about fighting vs. the unknown and terrible dangers that sorcery should pose. By "heroic" I do not mean being necessarily "good", doing the "right thing" etc. (although quite often Conan behaves like this), but rather, modeling a kind of "over-the-top" action like in the Conan stories. Villains should be clearly identifiable, and the above archetypes guarantee this fact.
Again, YMMV :)
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Verderer
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Postby Verderer » Wed Jul 02, 2008 10:00 am

NPC (or PC for that matter) archetypes are not very interesting, are they though? NPC should be more than that, surely? An archetype might be a good starting point, but to make a memorable NPC villain (as many sorcerors are), they need to be individuals.

I allow scholar types, and I don't see them as any problem or even too 'un-Howardian.' Besides, if we start limiting the game strictly according to Howard's stories, we soon find ourselves in trouble as far as Conan the RPG is concerned. :wink:

I think it will be interesting to see how the PC scholar in our group evolves. If he turns out to be too corrupt or 'evil', he might become an NPC, and either an enemy ro an ally to the group. It all depends on the player's actions... which makes this class one of the most interesting ones, I think.

As to the heroic nature of the PCs, I hope my players won't stick too much to the 'we're the good guys' mode of thinking. They might find themselves the bad guys occasionally, and not give a damn.

It's your game, however, and you decide what to concentrate on and what type of play you like. I am just pointing out that there are many ways of playing out the Hyborian Age adventures.
rabindranath72
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Postby rabindranath72 » Wed Jul 02, 2008 10:54 am

Verderer wrote: It's your game, however, and you decide what to concentrate on and what type of play you like. I am just pointing out that there are many ways of playing out the Hyborian Age adventures.
]
I would like to avoid the "sorcerer-turned-evil-becomes-NPC". Either one allows ALL kind of characters, or some "barrier" is best set at the start.
Obviously the character need not be the Lawful Good types. But the other opposite is true.
So, definitely there are many ways! That's why I choose to use 4e for this run :) (actually, my friends asked me to DM a 4e game, but I also wanted to give some "taste" of the Hyborian Age setting; this is the easiest way to do both).
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Vortigern
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Postby Vortigern » Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:30 pm

rabindranath72 wrote:
Vortigern wrote:
Just because there are PC scholars in the group <even more than one, they tend to congregate I think.> doesn't mean that it increases the occurence of magic in the greater world. In short... I don't think having PC scholars / sorcerers makes things 'un-Howard'.

It may be a different type of story than the ones he usually told... the protagonist being a sorcerer. Or even the story being told from a somewhat 'evil' point of view if you will. But still doesn't make the entire thing any more 'un-Howard' than any other campaign if you stay true to the feel of the world.

To me, personally, it is more 'un-Howard' to expect all PC characters to be heroic. But I gather there is some dissent to that view. :wink:
I agree, it is not about the frequency of magic, or it being un-Howard (well, most of the sorcerers we see in the books always end on the wrong side of a sword :), so we do not get a true appreciation for what a sorcerer could really do). It is more about fighting vs. the unknown and terrible dangers that sorcery should pose. By "heroic" I do not mean being necessarily "good", doing the "right thing" etc. (although quite often Conan behaves like this), but rather, modeling a kind of "over-the-top" action like in the Conan stories. Villains should be clearly identifiable, and the above archetypes guarantee this fact.
Again, YMMV :)
I think there we have our primary difference in preference. I personally very much dislike a too distinct line between good and evil. I prefer simply to have stories about people... and people sometimes do not get along. If that makes sense without further elaboration? Basically the whole idea of 'heroes' fighting 'bad guys' is something I don't like in my games.
V/R,
Vortigern

"Hatred is gained as much by good works as by evil."
Sting52jb
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Postby Sting52jb » Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:01 pm

I like to keep my PC from becoming to much the heroes archetype. I try and make sure they each have some kind of flaw. I really like them to be more ordinary people that some times have to deal with more then ordinary situations. My take on the Hyborian world is that it is more realistic world.

When I want to game a world in which magic users abound and I want my PC to be more Heroic I game in a world of my own design. The great part of my world is any adventure I run in Conan can easily be converted over to my worlds with little difficulty and adventure I run for my world can be converted to Conan with a little more difficultly but not that much.

The way I picture the world of Hyboria is probably very different from many of the people on here.
rabindranath72
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Postby rabindranath72 » Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:02 pm

Vortigern wrote: I think there we have our primary difference in preference. I personally very much dislike a too distinct line between good and evil. I prefer simply to have stories about people... and people sometimes do not get along. If that makes sense without further elaboration? Basically the whole idea of 'heroes' fighting 'bad guys' is something I don't like in my games.
Agreed. I too prefer when characters are like "real" people, with their "good" and "bad" sides, although I like to think that when one deals with sorcery, it is not "good" vs. "bad" anymore, rather human vs. inhuman; "bad" becomes a form of evil which perhaps is not comprehensible to humans at all. In this respect, I see as "heroes" any characters who are not utterly corrupt; some of them may be "good", others "bad", but "heroes" nonetheless.
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Postby Krushnak » Wed Jul 02, 2008 5:00 pm

I think alot of gamers need to get over their idea of heroes being these selfless do-gooders. I think of heroes and heroic behaviour in the same vain that the ancient greeks did. it's about being exceptional, doing something no one else has done or something just down right awesome. whether you killed a hundred foes single handedly or saved a boy from drowning in a flooding river it doesnt matter.
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Postby Ichabod » Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:02 pm

Krushnak wrote:I think alot of gamers need to get over their idea of heroes being these selfless do-gooders. I think of heroes and heroic behaviour in the same vain that the ancient greeks did. it's about being exceptional, doing something no one else has done or something just down right awesome. whether you killed a hundred foes single handedly or saved a boy from drowning in a flooding river it doesnt matter.
Funny. What I see in most RPing has little to nothing to do with selfless do-gooding. I'd find it a pleasant surprise to have players actually play good characters when the genre calls for it rather than falling into the norms of chaotic neutral gamer or neutral self-absorbed or "gee, if you really think about what we've done and how we've done it, I'm no different from the bad guys" neutral evil.

I'm sure it's happened on various occasions, but I have a hard time thinking of any game ever where the party actually acted good rather than just acted to oppose evil. Fighting evil certainly doesn't make one good, evil fights evil all of the time, though most parties fall into neutral to chaotic neutral where things like greed, ego, or self preservation drive them to oppose obvious evils. There's some lip service paid to saving someone or the town or whatever, but it's mostly about either showing off one's awesomeness (most con games) or getting XP (campaigns). And, I've played a fair number of games in genres where traditionally the characters are intended to be good, such as 4 color superhero games.

I think it's a far greater role-playing stretch for someone to play someone who is truly good correctly than it is to play a normal person. Pretty much anyone can do good deeds. Good people do them on a regular basis - how many of us can relate to or emulate that?

"But, I'm a paladin. I must be Lawful Good."
"No, you're just a prick."
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Postby Vortigern » Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:17 pm

Most people aren't so very selfless even if they might be what we would consider a 'good' person. Selflessness isn't a requirement for 'good'. Or at least not in my opinion. It does seem to be what the stereotype 'Prime Directive!' following - must risk all and save the damsel type of hero people are used to is however.

As for human/inhuman...

That makes a certain kind of Howard-type sense I will grant. But I don't think all Scholar/Mage types in the Hyborian Age world are that 'in-human' kind of sorcerer. There are plenty of 'good' or at least 'gray' mage-types to pick from.

Even Aquilonia has the priests of Asura for example.

I don't see sorcery, even in flavor and following of Howard as inherently inhuman or alien. It is knowledge. Some 'choose' to embrace the outer dark as it were and pursue the inhuman path to darker and darker power... and these by far the most common types in the Conan stories because they make good 'bad guys' that need skewering. But Asurans make a good example of a non-alien more human/'good' sorcerous tradition that still has an otherworldy hyborian style to it.
V/R,
Vortigern

"Hatred is gained as much by good works as by evil."
rabindranath72
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Postby rabindranath72 » Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:30 pm

Vortigern wrote: I don't see sorcery, even in flavor and following of Howard as inherently inhuman or alien. It is knowledge. Some 'choose' to embrace the outer dark as it were and pursue the inhuman path to darker and darker power... and these by far the most common types in the Conan stories because they make good 'bad guys' that need skewering. But Asurans make a good example of a non-alien more human/'good' sorcerous tradition that still has an otherworldy hyborian style to it.
I was speaking about sorcery for "villains". Definitely there is space for "good" sorcerers (or at least, not corrupt). Asurans perhaps would be clerics, like the Priest of Mitra above.
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