Red Sonja in Conan RPG: Phase 2 (the stats. p.4) CC Welcomed

Discuss Mongoose RPGs here, such as the OGL rulebooks, Jeremiah, Armageddon 2089 and Macho Women with Guns
Boneguard
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 249
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:37 pm

Red Sonja in Conan RPG: Phase 2 (the stats. p.4) CC Welcomed

Postby Boneguard » Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:59 pm

As some of you have done so far, I'm planning to include Red Sonja into my Hyboria setting.

I've done a quick search here and found some stats and info and it's all good, but I would like to do my own version of Red Sonja, however the only thing I've go about her is the 1985 movie and the 6 novels by David C. Smith and Richard L. Tierney eg:

#1 The Ring of Ikribu
#2 Demon Night
#3 When Hell Laughs
#4 Endithor's Daughter
#5 Against the Prince of Hell
#6 Star of Doom

So my question would be: How canon are these 2 sources compared to the various Red Sonja comics?

Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks
Last edited by Boneguard on Sun Jan 24, 2016 12:18 am, edited 5 times in total.
Sting52jb
Mongoose
Posts: 137
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2007 2:30 am
Location: Christmas Valley, OR

Postby Sting52jb » Sat Nov 13, 2010 1:09 am

The only part of the Red Sonja movies that is similar to the Conan comics is that she is raped at the beginning and that's how she gets her drive to become a great swords women.

The books I've never read. but there are major differences between the Red Sonja Comics done by Marvel and Dynamite and even the different Dynamite titles don't match up well.
Boneguard
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 249
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:37 pm

Postby Boneguard » Sat Nov 13, 2010 1:59 pm

Ok. So essentially you're telling me not much is canon per say, however the early part of the movie relatively Canon and usable for the character genesis, the rest not so much.

As for the novels I know the 1st one was turned into comics in the Savage sword of Conan (IIRC) if this can help. If anyone else got some feedback on those novel it would be much appreciated.
Mach5RR
Stoat
Posts: 88
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:33 am

Postby Mach5RR » Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:04 am

Sonja is an odd duck with respect to canon. With Conan when you ask that question, you can always point back to the Howard stories, and then merely debate from there.

If we're talking Marvel Comics continuity, the books are as canon as Star Trek Novels are to the TV series. While the books may respect what happens in the comics, the comics are under no obligation to respect what happens in the books. If this is your only exposure to Sonja, I'd call it about 60-75% accurate.

Since Sonja was sold off, she is no longer associated with the Conan estate, and IDW has to ignore what Marvel did before. I believe their workaround (according to Wikipedia) was to call the current Sonja a distant descendant of the Marvel one. YMMV.

For the love of God, and all that is holy, ignore the movie.

Anyhow if you go off of canon, realize that no stories have actually been told of Sonja at the current time. Sonja's chronicled adventures took place during Conan's younger years. Conan is now King with children. No Sonja tales have taken her to that age.

What I'm saying is, use the Sonja you think is Sonja. She has such a flexible backstory, that a few tweaks won't hurt it, and may end up surprising your pcs.

I, myself, don't use any of the main characters. I don't need the constant aggravation of the PCs trying to get one over on Conan (and the thoughts of a Temptress PC placing a binding contract on him makes me nauseous). Better, in my mind, to use similarly styled characters that you don't have as great an attachment to.

Besides, Sonja is supposed to be Hyrkanian. Which, the last time I checked, are Asiatic people. So if you play in a few unique differences, you may keep your pcs guessing as to who they are really dealing with. (Remember, the chain-mail bikini look is optional - her first outfit was a chain shirt & hotpants)

PS. Vincent did update her stats for Conan - they can be found at
http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/phpBB ... ight=sonja
Boneguard
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 249
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:37 pm

Postby Boneguard » Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:23 pm

Thanks to both of you.

Those are both very useful link and they will help greatly. I did recall that she was Hyrkanian but I was unaware that she was active in the earlier years of Conan's adventure. I also knew that she was not a REH character per say but named after one.

And if the novels are about 60-75% accurate then it's a good source for my version of Sonja.

In my campaign, most of the NPCs especially those higher level or high profile one are more of a background character having the spotlight on the PC and the changes they bring in. So it would be more of hearing news and rumor of Conan and Sonja in the background.
Mach5RR
Stoat
Posts: 88
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:33 am

Postby Mach5RR » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:43 am

Its funny, but I have come across the only known Red Sonja module for AD&D; RS1 - Red Sonja Unconquered. It came out in 1986, a year after the movie. For references it suggests the Marvel Comics, and the six novels Boneguard listed, as good references for Sonja. It makes no mention of the hideous movie.
Boneguard
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 249
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:37 pm

Postby Boneguard » Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:30 pm

Oh yes, I remember thatmodule. Like the 2 Conan modules it did not do to well. The reception wasn't great, which is a shame because it wasn't that bad.
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3705
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

Postby Supplement Four » Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:55 am

I'm following the Chronicles of Conan series--the reprints of the Marvel comics published today by Dark Horse. The first two books in the series aren't that great--they're "OK". But, at book 3, the series starts to take off. And, at book 4, called The Song of Red Sonja, the series is down right addicting. Books 5, and 6 are better than the last--I think to the quality of the new Dark Horse Conan series.

I mention this here because the very first appearance of Red Sonja is re-printed in the book I link above. Plus, if you read the essay at the back of the book, Roy Thomas discusses how he came to create Red Sonja from Howard's original non-Conan work.

Note that online, the books seems fairly rare now and expensive. I found it easily at my local comic shop for cover price.
Spectator
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 874
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2006 4:02 am
Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Postby Spectator » Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:03 am

The interesting thing about the Red Sonia DnD module is that I have played that numerous times and it is IMPOSSIBLE to Die, short of impaling yourself on your own spear.
RAILROADED is the best verb to describe it.
IF you don't have the adventure, Pmail me w/ your email and I'll zap you the PDF.
Boneguard
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 249
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:37 pm

Postby Boneguard » Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:43 pm

@ Supplement 4.
Ooooh thanks, I'll look at my local comic book shop to see if I cannot get it. And insight in the creators mind would help a lot.

edit:
I just went and bought it off, as well as Volume 7 (which got 3 including her first Solo adventure). With those 5 Red Sonja adventure and the novel it sohlud help me. Again Thanks

@Spectator
Thanksfor the offer, but I already have it somewhere at home tucked away with the 2 Conan AD&D modules. I think there are hidden in my TRS' Conan RPG box (Yes I have the original Conan RPG at home).
Mach5RR
Stoat
Posts: 88
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:33 am

Postby Mach5RR » Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:14 am

I've been thinking on this a lot lately, and this seemed a good place to follow up on.

How 'canon' should someone like Sonja be?

One of the cool things about Howard's Hyborean Age vs standard fantasy trope is that it is VERY humanocentric. There are no fantasy races and, while deities are mentioned, you're just not quite sure if they're real or not. sure, there are great and powerful things in the outer dark, but mostly they don't like you and possibly want you dead (or worse).
The Howard characters; Conan, Kull, and Valeria greet this with a grim smile, bared steel, and an attitude of bring it. They've sweated and bled to have the skills to defy whatever odds are tossed at them.

Then we have Sonja. Sonja was 'created' as the victim of rape (an added on backstory to her original, mercenary, introduction) gifted with fighting abilities by her goddess, and the geas set on her that she could not have a man who has not defeated her in combat.
The short of this is, Sonja proves the gods are real and that skills need not be worked for, but merely grafted on by kind deities. I know the Hyborian deities were show to be "real" in the pastiches, but that is an element I have struggled to ignore. (since the only pastiches I bother to read anymore are the comics, this has worked out fairly easy).
Sonja, as is, is just not a good fit to the classic Howard feel. Gifted abilities and no free will to her love life jar against this.

Now, I LIKE Sonja, and this came about when I was reading the stories with Janissa the Widowmaker, who strikes me as Dark Horse's answer to Sonja. Janissa, I don't care for, as she has all of Sonja's faults (rape backstory, magical granted abilities) and none of her charm.

So, how can she be "fixed" to fit in.
a) Sonja is lying. Nothing like deities looking out for you, and a "geas" as an easy out for turning someone down.
b) Sonja is crazy. Having the kind of backstory she had, would shorten most peoples marble count.
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3705
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

Postby Supplement Four » Wed Dec 01, 2010 3:58 pm

Mach5RR wrote:How 'canon' should someone like Sonja be?
Personally, I don't find Sonja to be "canon" -ish at all. IRL, when it comes to swining swords and blocking blows with a heavy table top-like shield, it's a man's world. Howard wrote it that way. In Howard's writings, there are no women that can compete with men physically. That's not to say that Howard didn't write about female heroes. He did. He just made them heroes by capitalizing on a woman's strength's. Belit is a good example.

Now enter Sonja, who wears a chainmail bikini (why?) and is the best swordswoman to have ever lived--that can rival Conan himself. I doubt those thin, feminine arms can deliver blows like the mighty barbarian.

If I ever allow Sonja in my game, I'd have to tone down the fantasy a bit and make her more believeable. She'd be a finesse fighter using a light weapon, and I'd have her in more functional clothing.
Boneguard
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 249
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:37 pm

Postby Boneguard » Wed Dec 01, 2010 10:04 pm

If/when I will introduce her in my universe, I will go with her earlier clothing (Chail mail for her torso and leather pants) which is a bit more logical then the bikini mail.

Feat wise, I'll see I might go for a combo of finesse work and potentially raw power...For her Geas I might go for a Feat or combo of feat to illustrate that.

But first I got some reading about Red Sonya and Dark Agnes to see how Howard saw his women, as well as some of the comics to give me a better idea of the character.
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3705
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

Postby Supplement Four » Thu Dec 02, 2010 3:16 am

Boneguard wrote:...For her Geas I might go for a Feat or combo of feat to illustrate that.
The point made by Mach5RR is valid. In Howard's Hyborian Age, as in the real world, there is no "proof" that the gods exist. The gods worshipped by those of the Hyborian Age are no different from the gods worshipped by the Romans, Ancient Greeks, or any of the other gods of the real world. A man believes through his faith alone.

That view causes problems with a standard fantasy world, where the gods are obviously real, and the sometime cross-over into the Hyborian Age by writers other than Howard. Sonja's "goddess" is a crossover that Howard would have never written.

But...

Demons and other ilk do exist, manifest themselves, and have visible, proven effects on the world. So Sonja's "goddess" has to be changed. Like some demons, maybe she is worshipped as a goddess but, in reality, is an angel, devil, or some other like entity in order to cast the "spell" that she does on Sonja making her the "greatest swordswoman".



In my game, I sometimes play around with this sort of thing. For example, a Cimmerian hunting party runs into a Vanir warband at the base of the Eiglophians. Two of the five Cimmerians are killed in the encounter. The Cimmerians are outnumbered three to one.

The Cimmerians are firece, spitting in the faces of their murderers. But, a cooler head prevails, convincing the other three that there is honor in retreating into the Eiglophians, where the three of them can turn their mountai skills into an advantage against the horde of Vanir.

An ambush is set up. The Vanir lose some men, but not enough. Again, the Cimmerians are pushed to a higher altitude.

This is where one of the Cimmerians speaks of how close they are to Crom's sight. What they do know will echo into eternity. No one will know how they died--but Crom will. He'll see the three of them take on the rest of the Vanir horde (who are no slouches in the mountains, either).

The Cimmerians don't pray, though. It's not their way. Crom does not answer prayers. They will let their actions speak for them.

As the Cimmerians set up their last stand, the weather changes abruptly. Lightning strikes, loudly, causing an avalanche, that wipes out most of the Vanir. The Cimmerians swoop down to take care of the survivors.

I let my players wonder. Was that an act of god? Did Crom cause that avalanche? Or was it just luck, as all know how fast the weather can change in these mountains.

It depends on the character's faith. For those that believe, it was Crom rewarding the bravery and actions of his chosen people in the face of certain death.

It's not magic. The players can, in no way, count on something like this occuring.

It's like true life. One man's miracle is another's example of pure luck.

That's the way I use the gods in my game, anyway.
Boneguard
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 249
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:37 pm

Postby Boneguard » Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:58 am

Supplement Four wrote:
Boneguard wrote:...For her Geas I might go for a Feat or combo of feat to illustrate that.
The point made by Mach5RR is valid. In Howard's Hyborian Age, as in the real world, there is no "proof" that the gods exist. The gods worshipped by those of the Hyborian Age are no different from the gods worshipped by the Romans, Ancient Greeks, or any of the other gods of the real world. A man believes through his faith alone.

That view causes problems with a standard fantasy world, where the gods are obviously real, and the sometime cross-over into the Hyborian Age by writers other than Howard. Sonja's "goddess" is a crossover that Howard would have never written.

But...

Demons and other ilk do exist, manifest themselves, and have visible, proven effects on the world. So Sonja's "goddess" has to be changed. Like some demons, maybe she is worshipped as a goddess but, in reality, is an angel, devil, or some other like entity in order to cast the "spell" that she does on Sonja making her the "greatest swordswoman".
Great mind thinkn alike, I was actually considering this as a possibility, what if Sonya's Goddess is in fact a (Lesser) Demon...more out to cause mischief war and violence then anything else. In Sonya she has a wonderful tool.

Thus she gains extra feat and maybe a Demon template and voilà.
kintire
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 967
Joined: Thu Jun 15, 2006 1:48 pm

Postby kintire » Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:42 am

One of the cool things about Howard's Hyborean Age vs standard fantasy trope is that it is VERY humanocentric. There are no fantasy races


Queen of the Black Coast
Cast in the mold of humanity, they were distinctly not men. They were winged and of heroic proportions; not a branch on the mysterious stalk of evolution that culminated in man, but the ripe blossom on an alien tree, separate and apart from that stalk. Aside from their wings, in physical appearance they resembled man only as man in his highest form resembles the great apes. In spiritual, esthetic and intellectual development they were superior to man as man is superior to the gorilla
Also Thak.
while deities are mentioned, you're just not quite sure if they're real or not
In Howard's Hyborian Age, as in the real world, there is no "proof" that the gods exist
I have a few things to say to that, of which the first is
"Yagkoolan yok tha, xuthalla!"
A spoken by:
a figure stood before the slayers, as if materialized out of empty air. The form was of a man, but no mortal man ever wore such an aspect of inhuman beauty. There was an unmistakable resemblance between him and the youth who dropped lifeless in his chains, but the alloy of humanity that softened the godliness of the youth was lacking in the features of the stranger, awful and immobile in their beauty.
Not to mention:
And in that instant she flung her arms toward the lights that glowed in the skies above her and cried out in a voice that rang in Conan's ears for ever after: "Ymir! Oh, my father, save me!"

Conan was leaping forward, arms spread to seize her, when with a crack like the breaking of an ice mountain, the whole skies leaped into icy fire. The girl's ivory body was suddenly enveloped in a cold blue flame so blinding that the Cimmerian threw up his hands to shield his eyes from the intolerable blaze. A fleeting instant, skies and snowy hills were bathed in crackling white flames, blue darts of icy light, and frozen crimson fires. Then Conan staggered and cried out. The girl was gone. The glowing snow lay empty and bare; high above his head the witch-lights flashed and played in a frosty sky gone mad, and among the distant blue mountains there sounded a rolling thunder as of a gigantic war-chariot rushing behind steeds whose frantic hoofs struck lightning from the snows and echoes from the skies.
and also:
He saw a head and a pair of gigantic shoulders grow out of the twilight doom. There was no sound of footsteps, but the great dusky form grew more distinct until Conan recognized the figure of a man. He was clad in sandals, a skirt, and a broad shagreen girdle. His square-cut mane was confined by a circle of gold. Conan stared at the sweep of the monstrous shoulders, the breadth of swelling breast, the bands and ridges and clusters of muscles on torso and limbs. The face was without weakness and without mercy. The eyes were balls of dark fire. And Conan knew that this was Khosatral Khel, the ancient from the Abyss, the god of Dagonia.
In Conan the gods DO exist. But they are, for the most part, indeed very much like the gods of the Romans and Greeks, and the Norse. They have, or can assume, physical forms, they can be fought, wounded and even in some manner killed. They are not abstract spirits, but real entities. For a good overview of Howard's view of gods, you can't do better than:

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Cairn_on_the_Headland

which while not a Conan story is well worth a read.

On the other hand, if you don't want active gods in your game, I would point out that Sonja haad her divine encouter immediatly after a traumatic rape. You can perfectly well explain it as a hallucination born from trauma.
IRL, when it comes to swining swords and blocking blows with a heavy table top-like shield, it's a man's world
Apart from all the women who have historically fought of course. Usually in extremis such as at the siege of Tortosa in 1149, or of Beauvais in 1472, but also aggressivly. 20% of Sarmatian/Scythian warrior burials are women, for example, and the Celts maintained a similar tradition to a late perion (697 among the Picts, whose warrior women were famous enough that the Tain has Cuchulain being trained by one). That's not to mantion other cultures such as the warrior women of Dahomey or Tomoe Gozen and the Japanese examples.
Howard wrote it that way. In Howard's writings, there are no women that can compete with men physically.
Oh really?
this was Valeria of the Red Brotherhood, whose deeds are celebrated in song and ballad wherever seafarers gather.
The other three swarmed on Valeria, their weird eyes red as the eyes of mad dogs.

She killed the first who came within reach before he could strike a blow, her long straight blade splitting his skull even as his own sword lifted for a stroke. She side-stepped a thrust, even as she parried a slash. Her eyes danced and her lips smiled without mercy. Again she was Valeria of the Red Brotherhood, and the hum of her steel was like a bridal song in her ears.
Valeria fought beside him, her lips smiling and her eyes blazing. She was stronger than the average man, and far quicker and more ferocious. Her sword was like a living thing in her hand.
and, of course;
It was Red Sonya who had come to his aid, and her onslaught was no less terrible than that of a she-panther. Her strokes followed each other too quickly for the eye to follow; her blade was a blur of white fire, and men went down like ripe grain before the reaper. With a deep roar Gottfried strode to her side, bloody and terrible, swinging his great blade. Forced irresistibly back, the Moslems wavered on the edge of the wall, then leaped for the ladders or fell screaming through empty space.

Oaths flowed in a steady stream from Sonya's red lips and she laughed wildly as her saber sang home and blood spurted along the edge. The last Turk on the battlement screamed and parried wildly as she pressed him; then dropping his scimitar, his clutching hands closed desperately on her dripping blade. With a groan he swayed on the edge, blood gushing from his horribly cut fingers.

"Hell to you, dog-soul!" she laughed. "The devil can stir your broth for you!"

With a twist and a wrench she tore away her saber, severing the wretch's fingers; with a moaning cry he pitched backward and fell headlong.
Boneguard
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 249
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:37 pm

Postby Boneguard » Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:53 pm

Despite it's were-creature (cursed humans), Man-Ape (Devolved humans btw), Vampire and mummies (undead human) and Atali (A Goddess who appears in dream) as well as her Frost giant brothers, we can still consider Hyboria to be Humanocentric, because while real, these monster are originally from human stock or the produce of human or statues possessed by the Soul 's of Vile sorcerer.

Yag is a byproduct from his Cthulhu mythos era and Lovecraft universe influence. There's a few such story with several of his characters.

As for the Women thing. Aside from a few notable exception, most of the women in Howards story (and I'm looking beyond the conan too) were no match for man and were simply defenceless girls.
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3705
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

Postby Supplement Four » Sat Dec 04, 2010 5:53 pm

Boneguard wrote:As for the Women thing. Aside from a few notable exception, most of the women in Howards story (and I'm looking beyond the conan too) were no match for man and were simply defenceless girls.
Agreed. Once exception doesn't change the flavor of Howard's universe. And, Howard certainly had some of his women capitalize on their feminine strengths--recognized with a class all their own in the form of the Temptress.
kintire
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 967
Joined: Thu Jun 15, 2006 1:48 pm

Postby kintire » Mon Dec 06, 2010 2:26 pm

Despite it's were-creature (cursed humans), Man-Ape (Devolved humans btw), Vampire and mummies (undead human) and Atali (A Goddess who appears in dream) as well as her Frost giant brothers, we can still consider Hyboria to be Humanocentric, because while real, these monster are originally from human stock or the produce of human or statues possessed by the Soul 's of Vile sorcerer.
Its much more humanocentric than the normal Fantasy world, but it does have nonhuman races. Most of them are mostly extinct, however.
Agreed. Once exception doesn't change the flavor of Howard's universe
I quoted two there. Valeria and Red Sonya, and you can probably add Belit as well. Not to mention, on the less heroic side, Tascela. And while it is certainly true that there are plenty of women who use "feminine" strengths, and plenty of women who use no strengths at all Howard's is certainly not a world where men have a monopoly on heroism, even sword swinging heroism.
Yag is a byproduct from his Cthulhu mythos era and Lovecraft universe influence. There's a few such story with several of his characters

Indeed, Howard's gods are much more active than in many fantasy series, in Conan and out.
Boneguard
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 249
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:37 pm

Postby Boneguard » Mon Dec 06, 2010 10:12 pm

kintire wrote:.
Yag is a byproduct from his Cthulhu mythos era and Lovecraft universe influence. There's a few such story with several of his characters

Indeed, Howard's gods are much more active than in many fantasy series, in Conan and out.
The Same goes for the Snake-people. HPL had a relatively big influence with Pict and Kull era story with these being.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 15 guests