[CONAN] Books to chase down?

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Cheomesh
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[CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby Cheomesh » Mon Sep 05, 2011 1:18 am

Other than the obvious core rule book (got the Second Edition), what expansion books are very good to have? Argos & Zingara I have (and I'm using the barbarian Variant for my player who is a gladiator), though I'm looking at the Warrior's Companion (hoping it either improves the Soldier or will help me formulate another "weapon man" class on my own), the Free Companies book (mentioned in Argos & Zingara) and the Bestiary. What others are good, and are those three good investments?

M.
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby Supplement Four » Mon Sep 05, 2011 4:17 pm

In my game, I use Fiercest, Cimmeria, and Cities of Hyboria the most, but that's due to the nature of my game (set in, and focussed upon, Cimmeria).

Without a setting implied, I would say that the three "F" books are the most useful supplements (Fiercest, Fallen, Finest).

Road of Kings/Return to the Road of Kings is necessary if you want a Gazeeter.

The Beastiary of the Hyborian Age is necessary if you want a stable of monsters to populate your games.

Scrolls of Skelos/Secrets of Skelos is a good supplement if you're going to delve into the mysteries of sorcery.

Faith And Fervour is a good fluff book if you want backgrounds on the various Hyborian Age faiths.

Then, pick your setting of choice, book or boxed set.

I'd also print out all the Conan articles from S&P. There's lots of great material there. The Compendium has articles that are hard to find and not available for download.



I, also, purchased the entire game line. But, you may not need it all, depending on the type of game you are running.



The Warrior's Companion is hit and miss. There is some good stuff in it, but there's also some broken rules and real crap, too. I probably wouldn't get this book until I was familiar enough with the game rules to pick and choose which to use and which to ignore from that book.



The news (good or bad, depending on your point of view) is that most of the Conan supplements are light on crunch and heavy on fluff. So, the books are more "idea and background" generators for your game than they are mechanically oriented bringing in new rules. I'd say the FFF books are probably the most "crunch" heavy, and even those are, at most, 50% crunch.

The vast majority of the Conan books are designed to help you bring atmosphere and color to your Hyborian Age game.

What area of the world are you interested in? You mentioned a gladitor and the Argos & Zingara book. Is that where you are going to base your campaign?
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby Spectator » Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:26 am

Core Rulebook (I still use the 1st Ed)
Skrolls of Skelos (my bad-guy sorcerers like it)
Beyond Thunder River (Pict-land is very scary)
Serpent of the South (who doesn't like snake worshipers, darfari cannibals, lotus swamps, and lost cities in either the jungle or the desert?)

Don't waste your money on the Fallen, Fiercest, or Finest (three Fs). They are just "ok."
-Do you really need a book to tell you that a multiclass (Temptress/ Scholar) is a "Vamp?" Whatever....

I don't own Free Companies, but I have no desire to anyway, since there is some stuff that doesn't make sense, eg: excessive slaughter will bring corruption pts, whatever...



Generally the Gazeteers are pretty good, but its really dependent on where you like your adventures to taking place (I prefer the wilderness/ semi civilized stuff).


Just my 2 cents
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby Cheomesh » Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:34 am

Thanks for the imput! We have had one small session so far. It is currently a one player game (I have lots of "RPG players" who are enormous flakes, so I'm going with the -one- that isn't a flake). He is playing as I mentioned an "Inland Argosean" "Barbarian Variant II". He gets none of the sailing/surviving traits, instead getting power attack and the like. Argos will probably be the main setting for a while, until he either earns his freedom (and will want to get far away from such memories...or open his own school D: ) or escapes (at which point he'll probably want to be in another nation). I'm still reading up on it now, and I've decided our first scenario probably took place near some town not far from Athos - he belongs now to some unnamed gladiator school (we decided to create our own gladiator style instead of the traditional ones) and was rented out to a private circus or something - first he was a poor thief (level 0 player), got caught and sold into slavery (where he became somewhat educated) before being sold off to some quarry (where he got strong and learned how to power attack things). Then after a stint as a corpse-collector during some plague (fearless, slept in the corpse cart) he got sold off to a gladiator school at 20.

Mostly I just had him fence a commoner with a short sword so we could get used to flowing through combat - probably going to do some more of this just to get it all down pact. Very little influence from the surroundings; if he gets good I'll even give him a shot in that Festival to (IIRC) Gita that is like one giant gladiatorial fight. If he does well I'll give him a shot at his wooden sword. If not, I'll give him an opportunity to either escape via some commotion - or not, and prove loyalty to his owner.

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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby Supplement Four » Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:26 am

I've had some really spectacular one-player games (not Conan) in the past. And, Conan lends itself well to just one PC if you scale the encounters appropriately.

I only have two players in my current game, and so far, it's been a blast.
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby Cheomesh » Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:13 am

Out of curiosity, do any of those splat books (looking at you, Finest) fix the flaws found in the soldier class? Do the class books in general present variants to suit different permutations (particularly first level) of their classes?

M.
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby tarkhan bey » Tue Sep 27, 2011 8:35 pm

The main rulebook and Scrolls of Skelos are the only crunch books I ever really found a need for. I own the 'F' series but would rarely have used them. The best Fluff book is,without a doubt, Across the Thunder River.
My group got nearly five months of gaming out of just those three and that was two x four hour sessions every week. Aaaaaaaaah,halcyon days............... :| :lol:
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby LucaCherstich » Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:37 pm

Cheomesh wrote:Out of curiosity, do any of those splat books (looking at you, Finest) fix the flaws found in the soldier class? Do the class books in general present variants to suit different permutations (particularly first level) of their classes?

M.
excuse me...but what are the "flaws" of the soldier class?
In any case, if you look for permutations, the soldier is your class, due to the variability given by free feats.

And regarding books...all you need is Core Rules + Return to the Road of Kings.
Secrets of Skelos if you like sorcery.
I like many other books (especially the regional ones by Vincent Darlage), but they are really not necessary.
Never buy Cimmeria, Khitai, Catacombs or Cities. They are the worse books in the series, in my opinion.
Last edited by LucaCherstich on Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby Supplement Four » Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:38 pm

I think it comes down to where your game is set and what interests you. I like a lot of the books. The books I use the most are, in order of "most use": Core Ruleboook, Cimmeria, The Beastiary, Fiercest, and Cities of Hyboria. Of course, my game features Cimmerian barbarians, centered in and around Cimmeria. If I ran a game in, say, Zamora, then I'd probably frequent the pages of a different set of books.
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby Spectator » Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:07 am

tarkhan bey wrote:The main rulebook and Scrolls of Skelos are the only crunch books I ever really found a need for. I own the 'F' series but would rarely have used them. The best Fluff book is,without a doubt, Across the Thunder River.
My group got nearly five months of gaming out of just those three and that was two x four hour sessions every week. Aaaaaaaaah,halcyon days............... :| :lol:

I own every book (except the Pirate book).
I AGREE WITH EVERYTHING HE SAYS ABOVE.
I would add that the Stygia book is the 2nd best Fluff book.

Really don't waste your time on any others.
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby tarkhan bey » Thu Sep 29, 2011 2:34 pm

I own just about everything in the whole line, well the 1Ed stuff anyway. Just missing Messantia box set and Argos/Zingara book. All I bought for 2ed was Cimmeria and Betrayer of Asgard.
I think that Cimmeria has been treated a little unfairly by the Conan gaming population on line.
It really is a very well written piece of work. I appreciate that purists feel it should never have been written but I can find bits in there to use, that resonate very well with my view of what Cimmeria is like.
Some of it is useful in other games too, Slaine for example or for giving character to Pikaraydian clans in my MRQ Elric campaign.
I also haven't noticed any reaction on here as yet to Mongoose admitting that they are back in bidding for the license again. :D
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby Supplement Four » Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:23 pm

tarkhan bey wrote:I also haven't noticed any reaction on here as yet to Mongoose admitting that they are back in bidding for the license again. :D
Really?

Didn't know that. I'd like to hear that Mongoose had the license. Hope they go back to the quality of materials for 1st edition, though. I agree that most of the 2nd edition stuff isn't as good as the 1st ed. material.

My guess is that they'll use the Runequest rules.

Maybe Vincent will get to write his epic, multi vol. Atlas of the Hyborian Age after all.

We can only hope.
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby Cheomesh » Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:19 am

I don't know anything about Runequest so I can't comment. However, I know Mongoose first from the wargaming side (starship troopers) where they have a terrible reputation - simply put, we know them as people who don't follow through with their plans. This was some years ago, however.

It would be nice to see Conan republished (though I admit part of me wants to see it GURPS-side again). Generally I like the d20 material that has been presented, but this is a setting I think would be fun regardless of the rules. Even a module for Barbarians of Lemuria wouldn't hurt.

M.
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby tarkhan bey » Fri Sep 30, 2011 9:42 am

Yeah, I know what your saying Cheomesh. I don't know what all their problems are but obviously Market forces are involved. I'm still stinging from the MRQ Slaine debacle. Having been promised a sourcebook/campaign setting called Baileoisin Chronicles my group purchased no less than four of the Slaine setting books. Guess what? We were treated like mushrooms for months before finally no more news or replies were forthcoming about the progress on Baileoisin and then Mongoose pulled the plug. :x
If they hadn't employed Loz on their Eternal Champion line, I might never have purchased another Mongoose publishing book.
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby tarkhan bey » Fri Sep 30, 2011 9:42 am

Yeah, I know what your saying Cheomesh. I don't know what all their problems are but obviously Market forces are involved. I'm still stinging from the MRQ Slaine debacle. Having been promised a sourcebook/campaign setting called Baileoisin Chronicles my group purchased no less than four of the Slaine setting books. Guess what? We were treated like mushrooms for months before finally no more news or replies were forthcoming about the progress on Baileoisin and then Mongoose pulled the plug. :x
If they hadn't employed Loz on their Eternal Champion line, I might never have purchased another Mongoose publishing book.
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby LucaCherstich » Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:06 am

Supplement Four wrote:
tarkhan bey wrote:I also haven't noticed any reaction on here as yet to Mongoose admitting that they are back in bidding for the license again. :D
Really?

Didn't know that. I'd like to hear that Mongoose had the license. Hope they go back to the quality of materials for 1st edition, though. I agree that most of the 2nd edition stuff isn't as good as the 1st ed. material.

My guess is that they'll use the Runequest rules.

Maybe Vincent will get to write his epic, multi vol. Atlas of the Hyborian Age after all.

We can only hope.
Sorry to go a it out of topic (and open again that old wound), but I cannot resist the temptation.

I always get so upset when I read the association Conan+RQ.
Rq was one of the reason this glorious Conan d20 line ended (together with the Atlas, which was outside their license...).
They tried to do a Conan RQ (and SW) in parallel to Conan d20, without asking Conan properties.
It's all documented in these forums and in the official comunication of the copyright holders.
Mongoose people can be fantastic: they created a wonderful Conan d20, they gave us so much for free (e.g. Empires) and I've often felt good as a customer buying online and hearing prompt replies to my problems.
However, they can also be irrational to the point of being (sorry to say) stupid, since the only way I can define their treatment of Conan d20 line is (at least to my view) crazy.
Maybe they got reasons for that (d20 not selling well? But RQ never reached and will never reach the popularity of d20!).
But those reasons did not ended well, but just killed Conan d20.

Another reason is that RQ is NOT the system for Conan.
The Hyborian Age is Sword & Sorcery: not high fantasy (like Faerun) neither over-realistic historical carnage.
If one wants to re-create REH flavour the game needs to be heroic.
Conan often faced 6 or 7 opponents taking great risks.
If that fight was paly with RQ rules Conan should be always dead or terribly maimed in such a situation.
In normal d20 Conan should smash all of them in 3 seconds.
In Mongoose Conan d20 there was a good balance: dangerous fight, risky one, but Conan can triumph!
RQ will NEVER mimic that level of heroism as Conan d20.

REGARDING CIMMERIA (and Khitai): AND WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER BUY A CONAN BOOK FROM L.WHITAKER
"Cimmeria" is good as a general Celtic setting...but it is not Hyborian Age!
It was written by the wrong person in terms of both crunch & fluff:
CRUNCH: he does not properly master d20
FLUFF: he never mention (if not in a very, very marginal way) previous Conan material on Cimmeria. I know REH never wrote so much about it, but there's a plethora of later information from books and comics...
...Lawrence Whitaker should have never have wrote that book.
Cimmeria was not the right sourcebook to publish (Turan or Koth should have been).
And if you want to write a proper fluff Conan book you needed Vincent Darlage.
His sourcebooks are magnificent: he makes so much reference to so much past Conan stuff: REH, Conantics and even old Marvel Comics!
Something which Whittaker does not do.
He just created a celtic-like Cimmeria, which is nice, but it is also hard to believe to be the Hyborian Age Cimmeria sicne you can just take it, change the name and play it in another planet, setting, age as a pseudo-celtic region.

Khitai is even worse, a pseudo-chinese setting with so many errors in d20 stats (sorcery and classes...)....
Khitai chronloogy is wrong (Hyrkanians try to invade Khitai thousands of year before Lemurians rebel...and we all know from REH that Lemurians are the ancestors of Hyrkanians...).
Whitaker create something nice but he is never concerned to link it with what we know of the Hyborian Age.

Compare it with Darlage work on Balck Kingdoms in Return to the Road of Kings.
He created a lot of fluff from African ethnography...but he takes great pain is linking it with what we knoe of teh Hyborian Age from previous sources.

If you compare with Cimmeria & Khitai, it is clear that Whitaker is a mediocre Conan author...I have doubts he really read carefully REH or any Conantics!!!!

If Mongoose got the license again and start publishing Conan RQ books I can only be interested in the fluff (and nto so sure to but non-d20 books)...but if "Lawrence Whitaker" is the name on the book I will certainly NEVER buy it.
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby tarkhan bey » Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:37 pm

Luca. I agree that the perfect person to write a book on Cimmeria would have been Vincent Darlage. Cimmeria is, however, a poisoned chalice. I would not be surprised if VD had refused to touch this particular book with a bargepole. There is very limited Howard information about Cimmeria and the rest of it would have to be invented by the author or lifted from non canon sources. Loz is a fantastically inventive author and was on the payroll. Hence, Loz gets the writing duties.
When Mongoose first mooted their Conan game they said that they were going to keep it as much for purists as possible and use as little from non canonical sources as possible. For me, I am not interested in the contents of comics or non Howard Conan tales. I don't know how much, if any was lifted from non canon sources and how much came straight off the top of Loz's head when he wrote the book. If some of it is lifted from other sources, then fine. If not, and most of the book is the product of his imagination, then he is simply doing what Mongoose promised from the outset.
I honestly don't see that if this book had been written by Vincent thatvit would have been that much different. There are a few things in it that I am not so keen on. A couple of the clans are a little to close to Being Picts and I don't like the spine tailed cat thing.
The book is very useful, as some of the other posters will verify and I think that the quality of Loz writing speaks for itself. You may not have read any of his Eternal Champion stuff, but I suggest you do so before dismissing his ability as an author.
I can't say for definite (obviously), but I would bet my last dollar that mongoose will be bargaining for this to be a flagship Legend release. Also, Loz is not employed at mongoose anymore, he is now at a different company. It is a sad loss for the EC gaming community.
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby Supplement Four » Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:45 pm

LucaCherstich wrote:Another reason is that RQ is NOT the system for Conan.
I don't know enough about the RQ system to reply. I've never given RQ better than a passing glance.



REGARDING CIMMERIA (and Khitai): AND WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER BUY A CONAN BOOK FROM L.WHITAKER
"Cimmeria" is good as a general Celtic setting...but it is not Hyborian Age!
Here, I can comment, because I've read Cimmeria forwards and backwards.

I think it's a good supplement. I agree it leans too heavily on a non-disguised, non-Hyborian-Age-ized, Celtic background. And, there is a lot not in the book that I think should have been in the book (for example, how about taking out that crap about Cimmerian marriages and putting in some neat stuff about Cimmerian steel and smiths. It's a missed opportunity to not focus on Cimmerian steel, and it would have been a good opportunity to put in some special rules for smiths).

OTOH, there is a lot in the book one can use to put a lot of flavor into a game. He did a great job describing the various Cimmerian clans, for example. Each feels Cimmerian enough, but most are not Conan-type-Cimmerian clones. You can see the differences between the various people.

I give him high marks for the clan treatment.


CRUNCH: he does not properly master d20
Agreed. There is very little crunch in Cimmeria, but what little there is, is not written well.

FLUFF: he never mention (if not in a very, very marginal way) previous Conan material on Cimmeria.
This isn't true. There's very little on Cimmeria to begin with. When I started my Cimmeria based campaign, I read all of the book set in and around Cimmeria.

Howard never wrote a story set in Cimmeria.

There's Turtledove's Conan of Venarium. There's the excellent Kern trilogy, from the Age of Conan line. And, John Maddox Roberts wrote about Cimmeria in the last half of Conan the Valorous.

I believe there's a little bit about Cimmeria in the beginning of Roberts' Conan The Bold, but I haven't read that one yet to find out.

In any case, when reading through the Cimmeria sourcebook, it is obvious to me that Whitaker did read and use some of these sources, especially the biggest source, the Kern trilogy, which is three novels all set in Cimmeria. Some of the major clans are even the same.


...Lawrence Whitaker should have never have wrote that book.
I do think that Vincent would have given us a fantastic Cimmeria book as opposed to the OK book we got from Whitaker.
Cimmeria was not the right sourcebook to publish (Turan or Koth should have been).
Although I hate that a book on Turan was never published (and, well, the rest of the world...Hyrkania, Hyperborea, Nordheim, besides Koth and places like Khauran, all come to mind), I am glad that Cimmeria was published. I've set my campaign there, and Whitaker's book has been helpful and worth the cover price.
And if you want to write a proper fluff Conan book you needed Vincent Darlage.
Amen.
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby Cheomesh » Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:57 pm

It is regrettable that Cimmeria was not well received. Fortunately Cimmeria in my head is simply the Scottish Highlands as shown to me in the beginning Rob Roy, except it is never, ever "sunny". Except maybe directly after a heavy rain storm.

Khitai I had taken a recent interest in, as I thought to perhaps base a future couple games there. Unfortunately I know very little about Ancient China, except that they had a period in which they were a bunch of ethnic states (warring states period) and were unified under what is probably the most heinous sounding dictator to tread the ancient world. Beurocracy seems to be the seperation between "China in the Middle Ages" and "Medieval Europe", with clear governmental positions instead of the more regular ad-hoc appointments (though that's not even true, as there were public offices throughout much of the middle ages in Europe). Hard to make something different that isn't just a renamed clone of the "Standard European Medieval Fantasy".

I had thought to possibly base it off of Wuxia films (which are suitably Heroic), with the players all being scholars AND fencers. Much spell weaving and jian-shu. I will read Khitai, but I will only keep what I think sounds fluff-cool, and maybe do some research on a period of Ancient China that seems to "fit the theme" better.

By the way, what's the difference between "Return to the Road of Kings" and "The Road of Kings"?

M.
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby LucaCherstich » Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:11 pm

tarkhan bey wrote:You may not have read any of his Eternal Champion stuff, but I suggest you do so before dismissing his ability as an author.
I've not said he is a mediocre author.
I've said he is a mediocre Conan author, which is quite different (it contradicts a lot of Conan, non-REH literature, especially in Khitai, see map and chronology, even if I must admit there's nothing on Khitai by REH).

Of maybe it's just me and my love for some of the old Marvel comics (the Shuma Gorath stuff, or many stories in Savage Swords on Cimmeria for example...) but maybe it's just me.

The reality is that Cimmeria was a wrong choice for a book.
Turan was the book to publish.
Cheomesh wrote:By the way, what's the difference between "Return to the Road of Kings" and "The Road of Kings"?
"Road of" is 1st edition official Hyborian Age setting and it includes REH sources (and few things more here and there) + a series of feats
"Return" is 2nd edition setting and it is more purely fluff (but a few monsters). The feats were re-published, corrected and updated in Players Guide.
I love "Return" since it includes ALL of "road of kings" + more conantics&comics material.
It is actually my favourite book.
If you have to buy just 1 book of the second edition, BUY "RETURN" without thinking twice.
The original, unpublished version by VD included also footnotes as it was a scientific work (I remember Darlage saying so somewhere in these forums) but these were deleted by MGP editors...but you'l get a biliography at the end anyway, with all Conan sources, from books to comics.
There is also a wider treatment of Black Kingdoms, again you'll see Darlage "created" as much as Lol "created" in Cimmeria...but his creation is more properly fitted in the Hyborian Age.
It's the work of a master, in my view.

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