What are your 3 top and bottom Mongoose Conan books?

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aethelwulf22
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What are your 3 top and bottom Mongoose Conan books?

Postby aethelwulf22 » Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:17 am

And why?
Last edited by aethelwulf22 on Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby VincentDarlage » Thu Dec 18, 2008 12:17 pm

Are you talking about our least favorite REH Conan collections, least favorite pastiche books, least favorite RPG books, least favorite Conan comic books, or what?
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Postby aethelwulf22 » Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:26 pm

VincentDarlage wrote:Are you talking about our least favorite REH Conan collections, least favorite pastiche books, least favorite RPG books, least favorite Conan comic books, or what?
Oops. Sorry. I had actually spent ages sorting out a poll with every published book and which specifically said 'least favourite Mongoose Conan book' only to be told there were too many options. :x

So to be clear: your 3 least favourite Mongoose Conan books. The reason I ask is I'm interested to see if there is a consensus (and if so why) or if the response is varied and, therefore, a matter of taste. Of course, if there is a consensus then the reasons why should be informative for Mongoose as well. Anyway, I'll go and amend the question.
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Postby VincentDarlage » Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:35 pm

Oh. Well, I won't answer that one lest I step on toes (mostly my own, as I wrote the three I would choose, although it was editing choices that caused two of the three onto that list), plus I wouldn't want to discourage anyone from buying anything. Why such a negative topic? Why not ask for everyone's favorite? Why invite a bunch of bitchin' and moanin' instead of finding out what is best in life?

As an author, I think it is better to write what people like instead of avoiding what they don't like, so I am not sure how informative this topic would be, other than to hurt the feelings of the authors. Constructive criticism is one thing, but no one really wants to read that what they wrote is considered by consensus the worst of the bunch.

Since I wrote the majority of the supplements to date, I guess I better get ready for the slamming about to happen. :cry:
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Postby aethelwulf22 » Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:43 pm

VincentDarlage wrote:Oh. Well, I won't answer that one lest I step on toes (mostly my own, as I wrote the three I would choose, although it was editing choices that caused two of the three onto that list), plus I wouldn't want to discourage anyone from buying anything. Why such a negative topic? Why not ask for everyone's favorite? Why invite a bunch of bitchin' and moanin' instead of finding out what is best in life?
Good question. Firstly, I was planning on following this with a 'your favourite three' thread. But the reason I ask is as I said above...I'm not looking to start a bitchin' and moanin' fest but rather trying to find out if there is a consensus among fans as to what makes bad (and good) Conan books and, if so, what that is. Apart from my just being interested I would have thought this kind of 'constructive' criticism would be helpful to the powers that decide what sourcebooks to commission and to those who write them. Perhaps I should amend the title again, though, to 'favourite three and three least favourite' and reasons why...I'll take that on board and amend the title again. Third time lucky.
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Postby VincentDarlage » Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:50 pm

I will happily answer to my favourites (other than the brilliant core book): Across the Thunder River, Return to the Road of Kings, and Ruins of Hyboria. Why? Because I had the most fun writing them.

As for what others wrote (again, excluding the brilliant core book), I really enjoyed Greg Lynch's Heretics of Tarantia, Gareth Hanrahan's Secrets of Skelos, and Shannon Kalvar's Pirate Isles.

Why? Heretics of Tarantia was fun to play. I rarely use modules and usually find them uninspiring, but this one was the opposite. The Secrets of Skelos includes rules on cults and updates the best things about the Scrolls of Skelos (which, until the release of Secrets... was my second favorite book of the line not written by me). As for Pirate Isles - that book is simply brilliant, better than anything I have written or could have written. I use this book even for non-Conan RPG games. This is my favorite of the supplements, hands-down.

(NB: I have not seen any books more recent than the Player's Guide to the Hyborian Age, so I have not seen Lawrence Whittaker's work nor Bryan Steele's work yet - so, guys, don't take your absence badly. I just haven't gotten copies yet).
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Postby aethelwulf22 » Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:58 pm

VincentDarlage wrote: Why invite a bunch of bitchin' and moanin' instead of finding out what is best in life?

As an author, I think it is better to write what people like instead of avoiding what they don't like, so I am not sure how informative this topic would be, other than to hurt the feelings of the authors. Constructive criticism is one thing, but no one really wants to read that what they wrote is considered by consensus the worst of the bunch.

Since I wrote the majority of the supplements to date, I guess I better get ready for the slamming about to happen. :cry:
I'm honestly not looking to start a major 'slamming' of a particular author or hurt anyone's feelings but I do think that constructive criticism is not only useful but essential to good writing.

As for you having written the majority of the supplements to date I can only say I hold you in the utmost admiration and while some of your books may end up in the bottom three others will certainly end up in the top three, too.

You also mention that you would put three of your own books in the bottom three but that this is because of editing decisions...well, surely, if those three end up being in the bottom and for those very 'edits' then surely that is sending some sort of message to Mongoose that you know your stuff and they'd best leave you alone to get on with your sterling work?

If, on the other hand, the responses are extremely varied then it is purely a matter of taste and that is no discredit to an authors work or Mongoose.
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Postby VincentDarlage » Thu Dec 18, 2008 2:08 pm

aethelwulf22 wrote:I'm honestly not looking to start a major 'slamming' of a particular author or hurt anyone's feelings but I do think that constructive criticism is not only useful but essential to good writing.
I agree, and I got a lot of that as the books were released. I could probably give a laundry list of what is considered good and bad about each of the books that I have already read on these (and other) boards. Although I am pretty sure which book will plummet to the bottom, seeing the books "definitively ranked" will still be rough.
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Postby kintire » Thu Dec 18, 2008 2:25 pm

I am especially fond of Stygia, Across the Thunder River, and Pirate Isles. All three provide very useful adventure hooks and background. Secrets of Skelos is useful, but not especially exciting.

As for dislikes, I have never been motivated to get Tito's trading Post. Not because of any flaws in it, but because equipment just isn't very important in my campaigns.
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Postby Hervé » Thu Dec 18, 2008 3:24 pm

Top: Road of Kings/Return to the RoK, Across The Thunder River, Ruins of Hyboria.

Bottom: Tito's Trading Post, the Hyboria's Series.

Essentially, I'm generally happy with fluff books and disapointed by crunch ones, being more of the storytelling type.
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Postby flatscan » Thu Dec 18, 2008 4:21 pm

Top: C:tRPG main book (sees use every game :D ), Bestiary of the Hyborian Age (because while most of the foes in my game are human, it's nice to have a resource for all the nasty critters that stalk the dark), Aquilonia (am using the fluff portions for the current adventure I'm running and used the crunch stats over the course of several adventures in the Hyborian Kingdoms).

Bottom: Lurking Terror of Nahab (thought the adventure was too rail-roady and could only be taken off the tracks with difficulty), Khitai (hate, hate, hate the cover, there's no Conan and no blood. Most of the info is not REH, mainly because he didn't write much about Khitai. Would have been better if more established countries had been written of first.), Tito's Trading Post (equipment isn't that much of a focus in my game. It's nice to have, but the book rarely gets used.)
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Postby Spectator » Thu Dec 18, 2008 5:53 pm

I LIKE (I play only 1st ed.)
-Ruins
-Stygia
-Skrolls of Skelos (I like the bestiary in there, as well)
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Postby The King » Thu Dec 18, 2008 6:13 pm

No opinion about the recent books?

As far as I am concerned, I'm no fan of the Hyboria's F series (though they would be great books if I appreciated the D20 rules somewhat more).

I disliked:
- the Scrolls of Skelos (former version of the Secrets of Skelos) because it was unfinished IMO (lacking a lot of things)
- the Conan and the Lurking Terror of Nahab adventure (too unrational).
- Shadizar boxed set (interesting content but not very useful IMO).

Though I couldn't read all books yet, I was very positively surprised by
- the Heretics of Tarantia (a really great Conan adventure, the best short Conan adventure until now IMO)
- Pirate Isles which only has useful and great contents though we doesn't learn anything on the military fleets of the Kingdoms.
- Reavers of Vilayet was an excellent adventure but should have been presented as a campaign and this would have rocked!
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Postby flatscan » Thu Dec 18, 2008 6:36 pm

The King wrote:I disliked:
- the Scrolls of Skelos (former version of the Secrets of Skelos) because it was unfinished IMO (lacking a lot of things)
- the Conan and the Lurking Terror of Nahab adventure (too unrational).
- Shadizar boxed set (interesting content but not very useful IMO).
I'm still getting use out of the Shadizar boxed set, ok, just the counters out of the box set. I'd buy a 32 page booklet of sheets with punch out counters like those found in Shadizar and Messantia for $14.99. :wink:
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Postby Demetrio » Thu Dec 18, 2008 8:20 pm

I really like the ... F____est books, they were much better than I'd hoped. The core book apart they're probably the three books I've found most useful. I confess I was rather disappointed by the Player's Guide and that is probably the only book I have purchased so far that I've been rather unhappy with.

Edit:

I suppose I should answer the why? also...

The F____est books had a very good mix of extra rules and background information. But the best thing for me was the insight into how to mix and match classes to get a desired result. Personally I haven't followed the 'take one level of fighter and then another of scholar, rinse, repeat' approach but rather assume that if a soldier multiclasses into scholar at any point then they may perhaps become a Contemplative if the background story so far makes that a plausible choice. And that's how it's meant to be worked I think.

The Player's Guide on the other hand had too much padding. Stuff like the Character Packages (over 15% of the book just about what minor gear a starting character might have...), ten pages of naming charts... really, for me, the useful stuff was limited to the Feats (a dozen pages) and the eight pages of 'Hyborian Voices' was reasonably interesting and was well enough written. But not enough to compensate for the colossal amount of material that was really of marginal use or interest to me.
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Postby VincentDarlage » Thu Dec 18, 2008 9:48 pm

Demetrio wrote:And that's how it's meant to be worked I think.
That is exactly how it's meant to be worked. You have the right idea. The tables are a sample progression and for quick NPC use.
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Postby Arcadayn » Sun Dec 21, 2008 6:49 am

Although I don't use D20, the core book is still the most useful and well done book. Shadizar was hit and miss, but the main book kept me going for over a year. Both the Road of Kings books are great.

The only negatives for the entire sereies I can come up with are related to editing (Shem was completely butchered), physical qualities of the books (early 2nd Edition), and the jaw droppingly horrendous maps in every single damn book! :x
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Postby DaveNC » Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:29 pm

TOP:
Pirate Isles : I have a lot of pirates in my campaigns and adventures, so this one is a must!
Across Thunder River : Probably my favorite supplement in the entire line. Extremely well researched and written. Plus, Picts are just cool.
Return to the Road of Kings : Very useful, containing the basics for each country, when you just need a quick one off adventure in any country.

BOTTOM:
Tito's Trading Post
Beastiary
My least favorite are the real stat heavy books...
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Postby bradius » Sat Dec 27, 2008 8:53 am

I like all the sourcebooks. Also F&F. and Ruins of Hyboria.

Not so keen on Player's Guide, Tito's and Cities of Hyboria.
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Postby cbrunish » Wed Jan 07, 2009 5:50 am

Top: Shadizar, I personally love Zamoria and found this very useful, Heratics of Tarantia, IMO an excellent adventure where skills are very important plus enough combat to make a barbarian happy, & Secrets of Skelos, because I like the scholar class and like the creatures in the end of the book.

Least: Player's Guide, read it but didn't find it useful so I did not buy it.
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