[4e] Sword & Sorcery

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[4e] Sword & Sorcery

Postby rabindranath72 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 1:42 pm

Here are some ideas to use D&D 4e in a S&S campaign. Perhaps not of immediate use to Conan players, but I know there are people here who enjoy 4e, so it might be worth to give it a look.

http://www.pelgranepress.com/SeePageXX/ ... rcery.html

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Postby kintire » Mon Apr 20, 2009 2:58 pm

I enjoy 4e. And I am profoundly unconvinced that it will work for a S&S campaign. That article has done exactly nothing to change my mind, either.

Too much magic (yes I know they call the Martial versions "maneuvers" but they look like spells to me), too many hitpoints, too few skills, and in fact a general high fantasy mindset. Nope.
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Postby rabindranath72 » Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:19 am

Don't know. I would have to try it to assess how it works. The resilience of characters is a good thing, quite in line with what one would want in a S&S game. If you remove healing magic things can get pretty nasty if PCs are involved in prolonged actions. Players can get quite cocky when they realise how healing surges work, and this can spell their doom; it has happened in my first 4e games; we had two TPKs in 4 sessions.
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Postby Hervé » Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:37 am

Too much magic (yes I know they call the Martial versions "maneuvers" but they look like spells to me), too many hitpoints, too few skills, and in fact a general high fantasy mindset. Nope.
This looks like a fairly decent description of every D&D version so far... Nothing's really new in 4th Ed...
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Postby rabindranath72 » Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:32 am

Hervé wrote:
Too much magic (yes I know they call the Martial versions "maneuvers" but they look like spells to me), too many hitpoints, too few skills, and in fact a general high fantasy mindset. Nope.
This looks like a fairly decent description of every D&D version so far... Nothing's really new in 4th Ed...
I agree. The strongest hindrance I have seen/read about until now to use (A)D&D for S&S is the perceived "need" for clerical magic so that characters could have at least a small chance to survive the low levels. The AD&D Conan modules have a special healing rule to handle the lack of clerics.
At least with 4e one does not need to add new rules.
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Postby kintire » Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:39 am

This looks like a fairly decent description of every D&D version so far... Nothing's really new in 4th Ed...
Except oddly, it does not apply to D20 Conan...
I agree. The strongest hindrance I have seen/read about until now to use (A)D&D for S&S is the perceived "need" for clerical magic so that characters could have at least a small chance to survive the low levels.
How about the inflexible class system rendering it impossible to produce many S&S archetypes, inappropriate and non genre fitting magic, and the absolute dependence on magical items as the characters rise in levels?

Edit: By the way, I see you have sideslipped from 4e to (A)DnD. They are actually not very similar games...
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Postby rabindranath72 » Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:09 am

kintire wrote:
This looks like a fairly decent description of every D&D version so far... Nothing's really new in 4th Ed...
Except oddly, it does not apply to D20 Conan...
I agree. The strongest hindrance I have seen/read about until now to use (A)D&D for S&S is the perceived "need" for clerical magic so that characters could have at least a small chance to survive the low levels.
How about the inflexible class system rendering it impossible to produce many S&S archetypes, inappropriate and non genre fitting magic, and the absolute dependence on magical items as the characters rise in levels?

Edit: By the way, I see you have sideslipped from 4e to (A)DnD. They are actually not very similar games...
Well, if I use a Fighter and a Rogue in a 3e D&D game, and rarely use magic (if at all), what's the difference between this game and a d20 Conan game? I ran such a game (a campaign, actually) long before using the d20 Conan rules, and the end results are essentially the same, down to the high mortality rate for the lack of healing magic. You may want to check the Sword & Sorcery toolbox rules by Bill King, too; they do a good job at modeling S&S within the 3e rules. The only great innovation of d20 Conan is in sorcery, which IMO however does not provide the feel of Howardian/Lovecraftian sorcery (most of the spells also exist in D&D in one form or another). But this is a subject for another thread.

Actually, the 4e skill system seems better suited at modeling the apparently wide expertise of S&S characters without using multiclassing at all, what with the automatic improvement in ALL the skills with level. Any kind of fighter type I can imagine can be created with the basic 4e fighter. If you want a borderer or nomad you could take a ranger or even a fighter, and if you want a thief you can take a rogue. With the added benefit that you do not need to tweak the rules to improve the survivability of the characters, and that hit points in 4e are way more abstract than in 3e. You can file off the descriptions of the Maneuvers and invent new names, or even "justify" why some maneuvers only work once per day or once per encounter (luck, stress etc. anything which suits your fancy, really).

I took AD&D as an example of the usual D&D paradigm of an high magic world populated with class archetypes, various races etc. Obviously there are mechanical differences, but the core idea is the same. D&D without elves, dwarves, fighters, wizards and clerics would be something else, I think. With 4e I see a benefit in the fact that characters are generally more resilient, and the cleric can finally be discarded completely if one is so inclined.
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Postby kintire » Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:52 am

Well, if I use a Fighter and a Rogue in a 3e D&D game, and rarely use magic (if at all), what's the difference between this game and a d20 Conan game?
I'm finding your habit of leaping like a gazelle from system to system as it suits you slightly frustrating. The point I made was in regard to your second landing point (ADnD) and also refers to your first (4e). I have no idea why you now expect me to defend it regarding you third (3e).
The only great innovation of d20 Conan is in sorcery, which IMO however does not provide the feel of Howardian/Lovecraftian sorcery (most of the spells also exist in D&D in one form or another).
And the abolition of all restrictions on multiclassing, and defence rising with level, and armour as DR, and the removal of the need for equipment bonuses, and the preparation of a variety of classes with no magic.
Actually, the 4e skill system seems better suited at modeling the apparently wide expertise of S&S characters without using multiclassing at all, what with the automatic improvement in ALL the skills with level.
There is an argument for that, but I find the skills to vague and generalised. I prefer the flexibility of the 3e, and the existance of skills based characters.
Any kind of fighter type I can imagine can be created with the basic 4e fighter.
Except the type that doesn't use magic...
With the added benefit that you do not need to tweak the rules to improve the survivability of the characters,
You don't in D20 Conan either. If you have a concern, you just start the players at 3rd or 5th level.
that hit points in 4e are way more abstract than in 3e.
Eh? How so? I haven't noticed any difference.
You can file off the descriptions of the Maneuvers and invent new names, or even "justify" why some maneuvers only work once per day or once per encounter (luck, stress etc. anything which suits your fancy, really).
I can call a dog's tail a leg too, but it'll still have four legs. There is no way to justify why a non magic using fighter can use a maneuver one round, but not the next. 4e fighters are not sword and sorcery fighters, they are Wuxia warriors using Ki moves. Any effort to explain them in purely physical terms is profoundly unconvincing.
D&D without elves, dwarves, fighters, wizards and clerics would be something else, I think.
yes. Conan.

I have exactly the same problem with using 4e for Conan as I do MRQ, but the other way. 4e is written with a specific genre in mind: Magic heavy high fantasy. It does that genre extremely well, but that isn't Conan's genre. You will be much better off using a system which fits the genre, like Conan d20 or Savage Worlds, or a system flexible enough to handle it, like FUDGE. Trying to ram a square peg into a round hole will work to a degree, but it'll never be a good fit.
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Postby rabindranath72 » Tue Apr 21, 2009 1:34 pm

kintire wrote:
Well, if I use a Fighter and a Rogue in a 3e D&D game, and rarely use magic (if at all), what's the difference between this game and a d20 Conan game?
I'm finding your habit of leaping like a gazelle from system to system as it suits you slightly frustrating. The point I made was in regard to your second landing point (ADnD) and also refers to your first (4e). I have no idea why you now expect me to defend it regarding you third (3e).
The only great innovation of d20 Conan is in sorcery, which IMO however does not provide the feel of Howardian/Lovecraftian sorcery (most of the spells also exist in D&D in one form or another).
And the abolition of all restrictions on multiclassing, and defence rising with level, and armour as DR, and the removal of the need for equipment bonuses, and the preparation of a variety of classes with no magic.
Actually, the 4e skill system seems better suited at modeling the apparently wide expertise of S&S characters without using multiclassing at all, what with the automatic improvement in ALL the skills with level.
There is an argument for that, but I find the skills to vague and generalised. I prefer the flexibility of the 3e, and the existance of skills based characters.
Any kind of fighter type I can imagine can be created with the basic 4e fighter.
Except the type that doesn't use magic...
With the added benefit that you do not need to tweak the rules to improve the survivability of the characters,
You don't in D20 Conan either. If you have a concern, you just start the players at 3rd or 5th level.
that hit points in 4e are way more abstract than in 3e.
Eh? How so? I haven't noticed any difference.
You can file off the descriptions of the Maneuvers and invent new names, or even "justify" why some maneuvers only work once per day or once per encounter (luck, stress etc. anything which suits your fancy, really).
I can call a dog's tail a leg too, but it'll still have four legs. There is no way to justify why a non magic using fighter can use a maneuver one round, but not the next. 4e fighters are not sword and sorcery fighters, they are Wuxia warriors using Ki moves. Any effort to explain them in purely physical terms is profoundly unconvincing.
D&D without elves, dwarves, fighters, wizards and clerics would be something else, I think.
yes. Conan.

I have exactly the same problem with using 4e for Conan as I do MRQ, but the other way. 4e is written with a specific genre in mind: Magic heavy high fantasy. It does that genre extremely well, but that isn't Conan's genre. You will be much better off using a system which fits the genre, like Conan d20 or Savage Worlds, or a system flexible enough to handle it, like FUDGE. Trying to ram a square peg into a round hole will work to a degree, but it'll never be a good fit.
I cited 3e because you cited d20 Conan, which is essentially D&D 3e without all the magic. Why? Because practically all the things which make d20 Conan not D&D (according to you), can be found in Unearthed Arcana, which IS a D&D product: spell points, variant massive damage thresholds, armor as damage reduction, reputation, taint\corruption, honor, alternative skill systems, defense bonuses, magic ratings. Did I miss something? I guess not. So, yes, take D&D with UA and you get 90%+ of d20 Conan. If you still believe that d20 Conan is not another form of D&D...

You can start at 4th or 5th level, but then you also give them more skill points, more feats, more class abilities etc. not a simple increment in hit points. You can definitely do it, but it's different than having more hit points at the start (but, again, you can have a look at UA for a number of solutions). Which begs the question, then, if d20 Conan is a good model for Heroic Swords & Sorcery. It's as good as 3e with tweaks is, no more, no less.

Hit points in 4e are more abstract for a number of reasons. The first being that you can recover them by expending a Second Wind; that would be like "catching your breath" or something similar. The abilities of the Warlord, which could be seen as "morale boosting" (so, the Warlord does not heal you, he restores hit points). Then, the fact that there are lots of damage types (necrotic, psychic etc.) which refer to completely different things, yet impact the same "pool". I find this level of abstraction quite elegant and a very useful and flexible model to play with descriptions.


Finally, how a DM wants to explain the ability of a character is strictly "syntactic sugar", and needs no more explanation than the myriad other game bits, or the existence of monsters. Name it luck, opportunity, openings, Ki, stress etc which need not be necessarily "physical", like hit points are not only physical. We are not talking realism or simulations here, it's all about fantasy.

BTW, I am running a perfectly serviceable Conan game with the Elric! rules (also Sword & Sorcery), and it works infinitely better than d20 Conan, especially for sorcerers. Here, too, I could do a reasoning similar to yours regarding realism/explanations: a sorcerer who studies spells, but cannot learn more than what is written on the table, is not what I consider a good model for Howardian sorcery. 4e rituals work much better and they are closer to a Lovecraftian/Howardian view of magic.

In the end, as always, YMMV. If you do not like 4e for S&S, no one forces you to try it, but arguing that it won't work without even trying is not an explanation.
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Postby kintire » Tue Apr 21, 2009 2:19 pm

I cited 3e because you cited d20 Conan, which is essentially D&D 3e without all the magic. Why? Because practically all the things which make d20 Conan not D&D (according to you),
dubble-yew tee eff?

So let me get this right. You have taken a quote from me about 4th edition. You have countered it with an argument based on 3rd edition. And when I point this out, you respond that it doesn't matter which edition you pick, because I'm claiming D20 Conan isn't D&D at all?

:?
can be found in Unearthed Arcana, which IS a D&D product:
Unearthed Arcana is a 3rd edition D&D product. Which NO ONE HAS MENTIONED IN THIS THREAD BEFORE. So why am I supposed to have been talking about it?
If you still believe that d20 Conan is not another form of D&D...


Are you still beating your wife?
You can start at 4th or 5th level, but then you also give them more skill points, more feats, more class abilities etc. not a simple increment in hit points. You can definitely do it, but it's different than having more hit points at the start
It is, but there's more to survival than Hit Points. But you can just increase the starting hit point pool if that is all you want.
It's as good as 3e with tweaks is, no more, no less
Point one: there are quite a few tweaks. Including some carefully balanced classes. Point 2. Who cares? Thequestion in this thread is about FOURTH edition, not Third. I said that FOURTH edition was unsuitable for Conan. Why are we still talking about Third?
The first being that you can recover them by expending a Second Wind; that would be like "catching your breath" or something similar. The abilities of the Warlord, which could be seen as "morale boosting" (so, the Warlord does not heal you, he restores hit points).
That's cropped up in various 3rd edition supplements too. Take Star Wars Saga for example.
Then, the fact that there are lots of damage types (necrotic, psychic etc.) which refer to completely different things, yet impact the same "pool".
You mean like Negative Energy, Elemental, Force...
Finally, how a DM wants to explain the ability of a character is strictly "syntactic sugar", and needs no more explanation than the myriad other game bits, or the existence of monsters.
No, its not. Syntactic sugar goes only so far. Its fine for the fluff and special effects, but not for the actual parameters. If you have a move that does d10 damage at range, then it doesn't matter whether you describe it as a fireball or thrown knife, but if you can only do it once per day, the second guy is going to be asking why he can't buy another knife or two...
BTW, I am running a perfectly serviceable Conan game with the Elric! rules (also Sword & Sorcery), and it works infinitely better than d20 Conan
Ooo... infinitely better eh? Thats incredible! But why do you feel the need to tell me this?

Actually, I can take a guess. I suspect you are countering my point that it is impossible to play Conan in any system other than D20 Conan. The fact that I have never said this in any thread, don't believe it, and have specifically denied it (and, in fact, have played Conan in systems other than d20 Conan) bothers you not at all!
In the end, as always, YMMV. If you do not like 4e for S&S, no one forces you to try it, but arguing that it won't work without even trying is not an explanation.
Actually, I did provide an explanation. And the fact that your response to my explanation that 4e is a poor fit to S&S was "But 3e IS!" has not yet converted me to 4e Conan, funnily enough.
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Postby treeplanter » Tue Apr 21, 2009 2:58 pm

for my personnal opinion, please refer to Kintire post
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Postby rabindranath72 » Tue Apr 21, 2009 3:06 pm

Ok, since you enjoy being, well, not so subtle, let's go the full throttle.

I will pass on the comment on my wife since that would require speaking de visu.

FIRST, re-read the 4e PHB, page 55, for the types of damage. At least have the decency of knowing the subject matter before speaking. But judging from your other posts on many threads, you have a strong habit of speaking without knowing.

SECOND, you said in different places that RQ does not work for Conan. Elric is 90% RQ and it works. So what? Can you decide whether RQ/BRP works for Conan or not? Have you tried it? I suppose also here you are speaking without knowing the facts.

FOURTH, It seems logic passages are not your forte. Let me iterate again. I mentioned 3e since it seems you BELIEVE that d20 Conan is better at S&S than 4e or any other version of D&D. Now, 90%+ (excepting the fluff, of course) of d20 Conan IS akin to D&D + UA. SO, if d20 Conan is a good model for S&S (implying that ALSO 3e is a good model), the case rests that also 4e IS a good model for S&S, or at least as good as 3e (and d20 Conan) since most of the characteristics are the same.

FIFTH, if you are not a good enough GM to introduce descriptions to handle a game, it's not my fault. So, yes, the character could not throw another dagger to the same effect as before (in the past they called it Saving Throw, which could produce half effect or full effect).

SIXTH, do not bother responding since I am not reading your answer.

Thanks,
Bye
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Postby kintire » Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:22 pm

I will pass on the comment on my wife since that would require speaking de visu.
It is a reference to the classic version of the leading question.
FIRST, re-read the 4e PHB, page 55, for the types of damage. At least have the decency of knowing the subject matter before speaking. But judging from your other posts on many threads, you have a strong habit of speaking without knowing.
Ironic, given your comments on my lack of subtlety, that when I use it, you miss it. The types of damage I quoted are correct, according to the 3.5 SRD. Let me put it more simply: the damage types in both editions are almost entirely the same, they just changed the names. "Negative Energy" became "Necrotic" for example.
SECOND, you said in different places that RQ does not work for Conan. Elric is 90% RQ and it works. So what?
I said it was a poor fit, because the assumptions behind the design are different. I'm not familiar with any iteration of Elric (I'm not a Moorcock fan) but if the game is that similar it will have similar problems. Of course, you CAN run Conan games in it. You can run Conan games in Bunnies and Burrows if you really want to, but you'd be better off using a system designed for the purpose. If you don't like d20 Conan there are others.
It seems logic passages are not your forte.
I don't get much practice around here.
d20 Conan is better at S&S than 4e or any other version of D&D
riiight. See that bit in bold? You made that up. Out of your own head. The first bit is right, but you're the one who has been quoting AD&D and then 3rd edition all over the place.
So, yes, the character could not throw another dagger to the same effect as before (in the past they called it Saving Throw, which could produce half effect or full effect).
Further irony: claim that logic is not my forte, and then produce ANOTHER utter non-sequiter. Description cannot overcome the fact that limiting a character to one knife per day is absurd, and immersion breaking, and what that or anything else in this thread has to do with Saving Throws is anyone's guess.
do not bother responding since I am not reading your answer.
No change there it seems.
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Postby Hervé » Tue Apr 21, 2009 6:19 pm

kintire sure has a knack to make friends all over the internet... :wink:
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Postby Clovenhoof » Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:04 pm

Awesome flamewar, guys.
kintire wrote:It is a reference to the classic version of the leading question.
For those who would like to look it up: it is more commonly known as "loaded question". Another version is "To how many years of jail were you convicted for beating your wife?" which is even more tricky to get out of. ;)
It seems logic passages are not your forte.
I don't get much practice around here.
*bing* Score!
Further irony: claim that logic is not my forte, and then produce ANOTHER utter non-sequiter. Description cannot overcome the fact that limiting a character to one knife per day is absurd, and immersion breaking, and what that or anything else in this thread has to do with Saving Throws is anyone's guess.
TBH I didn't get the one about Saving Throws either.
do not bother responding since I am not reading your answer.
No change there it seems.
Beautiful :twisted:

Let's just cut to the chase and apply the generic internet flame war template:

<Donut[AFK]> HEY EURAKARTE
<Donut[AFK]> INSULT
<Eurakarte> RETORT
<Donut[AFK]> COUNTER-RETORT
<Eurakarte> QUESTIONING OF SEXUAL PREFERENCE
<Donut[AFK]> SUGGESTION TO SHUT THE **** UP
<Eurakarte> NOTATION THAT YOU CREATE A VACUUM
<Donut[AFK]> RIPOSTE
<Donut[AFK]> ADDON RIPOSTE
<Eurakarte> COUNTER-RIPOSTE
<Donut[AFK]> COUNTER-COUNTER RIPOSTE
<Eurakarte> NONSENSICAL STATEMENT INVOLVING PLANKTON
<Miles_Prower> RESPONSE TO RANDOM STATEMENT AND THREAT TO BAN OPPOSING SIDES
<Eurakarte> WORDS OF PRAISE FOR FISHFOOD
<Miles_Prower> ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND ACCEPTENCE OF TERMS
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Postby Demetrio » Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:34 pm

To how many years of jail were you convicted for beating your wife?
I have never been in jail, and never married.
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Postby kintire » Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:42 pm

Awesome flamewar, guys.
Well, i didn't mean to! But if anyone can clarify what exactly happened there, I'd appreciate it. As far as i can see, I made a comment about 4e, and was told that ADnD was great for Conan, there's even a supplement. I rather bemusedly replied that ADnD and 4e were not as good as D20 Conan, and was told that was nonsense, as D20 Conan and 3e are mostly the same anyway. When I tried to pin down which version we were talking about, I was told it didn't matter, because I thought that Conan D20 was better than any version of DnD, 3e included.

I'm just confused!
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Postby Hervé » Wed Apr 22, 2009 6:37 am

kintire wrote:
Well, i didn't mean to!
Oh yes you did... :wink:
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Re: [4e] Sword & Sorcery

Postby warzen » Sat Apr 25, 2009 11:28 am

rabindranath72 wrote:Here are some ideas to use D&D 4e in a S&S campaign. Perhaps not of immediate use to Conan players, but I know there are people here who enjoy 4e, so it might be worth to give it a look.

http://www.pelgranepress.com/SeePageXX/ ... rcery.html

Cheers,
Antonio
I agree. Healing surge and the warlord are nice intermediate solutions between "no healing, run!!" and the clerical mobile bacta tank.

W.
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Postby Hervé » Sat Apr 25, 2009 11:33 am

We did some playtests of the 4th Ed lately and it's not so bad as some would like to think. It remains to be seen if the system could fit to Conan gaming, however... It would probably need heavy changes, but perhaps not more than there was between D&D3.5 and Conan D20.
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