From Stone to Steel

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Supplement Four
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From Stone to Steel

Postby Supplement Four » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:45 pm

From Stone to Steel is, quite frankly, one of the best gaming weapon supplements I've ever had the pleasure of reading.

From Stone To Steel @ Amazon

It's out of print now, but the book is worth every freakin' dollar you pay for it. Instead of taking a normal fantasy equipment approach, this book shows you, with 3.5 mechanics, real weapons from history and ancient history. There is much description about these weapons giving the GM all the info he needs to complete understand these weapons.

It's an amazing book.

Special Note to Conan RPGers: You'll have to add in the Conan-specific stats yourself, like the AP value. Still, it's an exceptional book.
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Postby LucaCherstich » Sat Sep 11, 2010 7:34 am

Quite an interesting book!
Unfortunately we have to work on it (increasing damage dices and adding AP).
In general terms it is a fun book.
I'm an archaeologist and I see a few small inaccuracies.
I exkplain here one: e.g. page 67 the "Persian" kopis and page 75 the "Greco-Macedonian" falcata.
The problem is that both words refer to the same weapon: a scythe-like sword which was teh most diffused sword-type in the Hellenistic period.
It is the same erronoeus misconception on the "persian kopis" which appear in the players Guide to the Hyborian Age kopis" as the "Iranistani kopis"...Unfortunately the "kopis" is a Greek word and the weapon was used by Spartans and Athenians long before Alexander. The Persians used it also...but one must rememeber that a good part of western Persian armies was composed by Greek mercenaries.
"Falcata" is a Latin word and the Romans used to it to describe the "kopis-like" swords used by the Iberians in Spain (the Iberians probably acquired its use by Carthaginians and Greek colonists on the SOuthern coast.
Last edited by LucaCherstich on Sat Sep 11, 2010 7:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Supplement Four » Sat Sep 11, 2010 7:37 am

LucaCherstich wrote:Quite an interesting book!
Unfortunately we have to work on it (increasing damage dices and adding AP).
Yes, but I don't think that would be hard. At the end of the book, there's a section on creating stats for weapons! Never seen something like that before. One could just come up with a rule or two for AP and a tad higher damage.

Fantastic book, though. I think it should be required reading for GMs.
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Postby Clovenhoof » Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:22 am

Nice!
It seems to be out of print, but it's Open Gaming Content so should be available on the net easily.
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Postby Supplement Four » Sat Sep 11, 2010 3:40 pm

Clovenhoof wrote:Nice!
Yeah, since we know what proto-cultures the various regions of the Hyborian world will become later in the "real world", it's easy to use the book for the Conan RPG and have specific weapons and armor for specific Hyborian regions. The Celtic stone hammer, for example, would obviously be a (Primitive? Or Simple?) Cimmerian weapon. The Roman gladius would represent a Nemedian weapon. The Greek stuff would be native to Corinthia or Argos. The primitive African weapons would be well used by tribes in the Black Kingdoms. Etc.

Raise the damage a tad and throw in the AP score, and, boom, you've got youself a pretty dang good Conan supplement to use with your game.
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Postby Supplement Four » Sat Sep 11, 2010 3:44 pm

Clovenhoof wrote:It seems to be out of print, but it's Open Gaming Content so should be available on the net easily.
I don't follow...if it's Open Gaming Content and out of print, then its legal to get it for free?
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Postby Supplement Four » Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:18 am

I did a Google for the book, and whaddaya know, the second entry was this link:

http://www.mediafire.com/?jmkynkzcihm

I guess this is legal? It sure was easy to find. Google. Boom. There it is.
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Postby Clovenhoof » Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:19 am

You can get whatever content is designated as Open Gaming Content legally for free, if you can get hold of it. It's a publisher's business what parts of their works they declare as OGC and what as Closed Content. Usually, and this is just an observation, they make the crunchy bits Open (maybe they have to) and the fluffy parts Closed.
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Postby Jotenbjorn » Wed Sep 15, 2010 9:49 am

The artwork and presentation is not open content, everything else is. If you remove all art and such it's open content, a pdf scan of the entire book is not legal.
Looking for a game in Tempe, Az. E6 Conan ftw!

http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/hyborian-steel - Still looking for players!
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Postby LucaCherstich » Wed Sep 15, 2010 2:48 pm

Supplement Four wrote:
Clovenhoof wrote:Nice!
Yeah, since we know what proto-cultures the various regions of the Hyborian world will become later in the "real world", it's easy to use the book for the Conan RPG and have specific weapons and armor for specific Hyborian regions. The Celtic stone hammer, for example, would obviously be a (Primitive? Or Simple?) Cimmerian weapon. The Roman gladius would represent a Nemedian weapon. The Greek stuff would be native to Corinthia or Argos. The primitive African weapons would be well used by tribes in the Black Kingdoms. Etc.

Raise the damage a tad and throw in the AP score, and, boom, you've got youself a pretty dang good Conan supplement to use with your game.
OK, but there are 2 problems:

1)
The Hyborian/Real World connections are not always clear-cut.
You said that Nemedia should use Roman weapons...I prefer looking at Nemedians as kinds of Hellenistic Greeks with a Medieval-Age technology.....different feelings for teh same Hyborian peoples....the Hyborian Age is vaguely but not directly comparable to the real world!

2)
If we want to be firm in connecting real ancient peoples with the peoples of the Hyborian Age we must understand that this is NOT an academic, scientifically accurate book.
If you looking for some real world ancient weapons / Conan connections, you must be carefull about what you look for.
E.g.: See the problem of the kopis (see above, my first post).
According to this book the kopis is a Persian weapon, so we should give it to Iranistani characters....but in reality it was a Greek weapon, and it should be therefore given to Corinthians and Nemedians!

My conclusion is that, since this is a game and the Hyborian Age is a fictional age, we could give whatever we like to whatever Hyborian people....but we must understand that we are not dealing with accurately historical choices!
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Postby Supplement Four » Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:45 pm

LucaCherstich wrote:My conclusion is that, since this is a game and the Hyborian Age is a fictional age, we could give whatever we like to whatever Hyborian people....but we must understand that we are not dealing with accurately historical choices!
And, you forgot to mention, that Howard stole from different ages of history, too, combining tech that can be 100 years or more apart.

But, that doesn't make the book not useful. Just pick what you think the Nemedians should use--if it's not Roman stuff, and you prefer the Hellenistic Greeks, then no problem--you've got the source material in the equipment book to match to the Hyborian Age as you wish.

The more I read through this book, the more I'm enthralled with it. It's an excellent read--probably one of the best gaming books I've ever seen.
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Postby LucaCherstich » Thu Sep 16, 2010 6:20 am

yes, it is an interesting book....but I do not see its real usefulness for Conan.
We already have tons of weapons from Conan sourcebooks (Corerules, Pleyers Guide, Tito's, Warrior Companion, etc..) whose statistics are already "ready" for Conan.
In this case we get a book which is:
1) historically not accurate
2) weapons whose statistics must still be modified.
For me it is an interesting book....but not worth its price if you want to use it just for Conan.
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Postby LucaCherstich » Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:38 am

downloading from mediafire is definitevely free....but I do not think it is so legal!
As already said, things like illustrations are not "open game content"
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Postby Supplement Four » Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:53 pm

LucaCherstich wrote:In this case we get a book which is:
1) historically not accurate
Which means it should fit in nicely with the mix-n-match Hyborian AGe.
2) weapons whose statistics must still be modified.
There's a nifty chart in the back of the book to use if you want to beef up weapons. I notice that using that chart takes the guess work out of changing the damage. Now, all ya gotta do is slap an AP on the weapon, and you're RTG.
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Postby LucaCherstich » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:00 pm

Supplement Four wrote:
LucaCherstich wrote:In this case we get a book which is:
1) historically not accurate
Which means it should fit in nicely with the mix-n-match Hyborian AGe.
yes, but if you want an exact historical accent (e.g. the falcata, or the kopis) pretending to exactly mimic a peculiar cultural quotation (e.g.Greek or Roman), you cannot trust it...
However, I admit that to play in the HYborian AGe one does not need to be historically accurate.
Aquilonians and Nemedians maybe could resemble Romans and Greeks but they are not exactly copies, but they freely Mix Classical inspirations with Medieval ones.
In any case I still think this book is not very useful since all of the Mongoose supplements have enough good weapons
to mimic all of the cultural influences you like!
Andd you do not have to think about statistics: they are already OK!
Do you really need more than the 30 or 50 weapons which we have in all of the Conan Supplements?
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Postby Spectator » Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:54 pm

I enjoyed the bronze and stone age stuff, but I've been on an Ancient History kick recently.
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Postby Supplement Four » Fri Sep 17, 2010 4:11 am

LucaCherstich wrote:yes, but if you want an exact historical accent (e.g. the falcata, or the kopis) pretending to exactly mimic a peculiar cultural quotation (e.g.Greek or Roman), you cannot trust it...

However, I admit that to play in the HYborian AGe one does not need to be historically accurate.
Yep. And, I'm using it to supplement my Conan game.
Do you really need more than the 30 or 50 weapons which we have in all of the Conan Supplements?
I'm digging all the extras the book has--the commentary, the skills and Feats, the rules for creating weapons, the alternate rules. I think it's all good stuff.

I still recommend the thing. I think its amazing. I don't doubt what you say, but the bibliography seems to indicate that the book is well researched.
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Postby Spectator » Fri Sep 17, 2010 5:40 am

Totally agree w/ s4, but damn, the wimpy SLING rears its ugly head again!
Sorry, I'm a sling fanatic since 3 weeks ago.
I'm making my own for this weekend
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Postby Supplement Four » Sun May 01, 2011 5:24 am

I spent a lot of time today with this supplement, and I've got to tell you, this is a hell of a supplement for your Conan game. I highly recommend it. This is 352 pages of dense goodness.

I can't tell you all the good things this will bring to a game, especially a game with a foot in gritty reality, such as Conan, but I will hit some of the highlights for you.

The first seven chapters, about two-thirds of the book, are in depth looks at different eras in history: Sticks and Stones; Chariots of Bronze; Iron and Empire; Rome; The Far East; The Dark Age, A Golden Age; Pagentry, Platemail, and Pistols.

Depending on where you set your game during the Hyborian Age, you read the corresponding chapter, and it should not only act as a type of supplemental sourcebook for the area where you are gaming, but it will also give you a ton of ideas.

Let me give you an example: Let's say you have set your game in one of the more primitive, more savage areas known during the Hyborian Age. Maybe we're talking about Pictland. Maybe we're talking about The Black Kingdoms. Or, maybe we're talking about some lost civilization between Hyrkania and Khitai.

What's appropriate is that we look at the first chapter, titled Sticks and Stones. Therel, we're going to find all sorts of weapons and armor appropriate for that type of game. There's in-depth commentary on just about every weapon type and armor type that you can think of. The chapter is illustarated with weapon and armor examples, and there's notes on technological advances.

You'll never see more game-related info on a Net made of grass, I'll tell you!

And the commentary doesn't stop there. You get notes on stuff like arrow flights and the pack mentality of primitive man.

There's a bunch of new rules scattered throughout the chapter, too. For example, there's a system you can use for adding wound infections into your game. Also included are extended thoughts on First Aid and Healing.

If you want to get creative with Crafting skills, there's sidebars with information and game stats for things like barbs on weapons (they can get lodged!).

Plus there are Prestige Classes included, with full rules and new Feats for historically based character types. The Eagle Knight, the vanguard warrior of the Aztecs, would make a perfect prestige class for a Pict warrior.

There's plenty of notes, complete with game information, on different material types (for example, bamboo or obsidian), and those notes continue to include various peoples from around the globe.

And, that's just in the first chapter that covers primitive peoples!

Each chapter ends with a Armor and Weapon charts for the items covered in that chapter. I will mention, though, that you'll have some work to do here. You'll need to add the Conan stats not usually used in normal d20 games (like Armor Piercing ability), and you'll want to increase damage a step to make the weapons compatible with those in the Conan game (and this is easy to do because a chart in the appendix is provided for doing this very thing).

Other chapters include like in-depth material for various technological ages of the real world. There are extended riding rules; rules for enhancing weapons; chariot combat rules; in-depth notes on specific aspects of items like Greek Fire; morale; d20 common animal statistics; partial armor notes; new combat maneuvers; religion; history; weapon and armor materials; and notes on mass combat and sieges.

With this book, you can: make a flail more useful with the optional mechanics, engage in shield combat, expand the use of helms with new rules, and use a polearm to unseat a rider.

One chapter discusses Myth and Magic with a section on real-world mythical items like Excalibur and Thor's hammer.

Lastly, the book presents optional rules that you can pick and chose from for your game. For example, there's a whole system that you can use to create your own items. The book tells you enough about the materials and helps you assign stats to items based on how they are made. You can also use these rules to slowly degrade items that your characters use in a game--on anything from fabric to bone to gemstone to metal and all sorts of other materials.

Let me give you an example of a neat rule form this book and show you how to use it in your Conan game: Consider a Stygian Bow. The core rulebook says this weapon has a range increment of 60 feet.

But, what about bows that are strung for specific pulls? The sidebar rule on page 147 of that book discusses this.

From Stone to Steel presents a system for changing the range increment on such weapons based on their pulls. What you do is take the original base increment (60 feet) and subtract 20. This gives us 40. Then multiply the STR rating bonus by 10, and add them together. So, if a Stygian Bow has a pull rated for a STR 19 character, it's range increment would be 80 feet.

Pretty nifty.

Here's another neat rule. Let's say you've got a scholar character with a STR 10 who, for whatever reason, wants to use a big, heavy weapon. This book as a quick minimum strength calculation that will tell you if a character can effectively weild weapons based on the character's STR rating. Our STR 10 scholar can effectively weild (still needs to be proficient, of course) with weapons that weigh up to 8 lbs. For every pound over that, apply a -1 penalty to attack throws (plus any non-proficiency penalties).

It's a good rule, forgiving, and in the spirit of Conan as it really only penalizes the very weak as most weapons are 8 lbs or less.

How about a long term Fatigue System? This is a reality rule. Let's say your characters are in Argos and work the docks all day long for a little coin. When the work is done, they collect their pay and head for the dockside tavern to blow every coin they just made. There, the characters get into a fight with the local drunk bully.

Well, aren't the characters plum tuckered out? Aren't they tired from all that work at the dock that they've put in since dawn?

Some DMs may not want to use this reality rule because the characters are HEROES, and that's fine. The rule is here if you want to use it. If not, ignore it.

What this Fatigue rule will do, though, in this particular example, is penalize the PCs with a -1 penalty for every hour they worked at the docks. This penalty is applied to all skill checks and attack throws.

So, the next time the characters trek all day through the hot Darfari jungle with Heavy loads on their backs, whip out this rule. It will make them realistically rest before they start exploring the ancient ruin they just found.

If you're into Crafting, this book provides extended rules for the quality of the items you craft, above and beyond what you see in the Core rule book and in Tito's Guide.



OK, enough about this book. Suffice it to say that I think it is a must have item for any GM's library. What I've told you above is just a small sample of what this book has to offer.

I highly recommend it.
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Postby Supplement Four » Sun May 01, 2011 1:56 pm

Nialldubh wrote:Stone to Steel is a good source of knowledge, was reading it last week, but a lot of work to convert most of the stuff, but it good reference and can and will help converting some of the stuff I plan to work at in the future!
I disagree with the "lot of work" comment. The book gives you a lot of the tools. What were you trying to covert?

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