[CONAN] Books to chase down?

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tarkhan bey
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby tarkhan bey » Fri Sep 30, 2011 8:46 pm

Luca, I really can't see what the difference is between something made up by Loz and something made up by VD. The fact that VD and Darkstorm are renowned scholars of Howard's work doesn't mean a thing when the whole thing has to be invented from scratch. There's little to nothing canonical and AFAIC,VD's imaginings are no more canon than Loz or mine(for that matter). Howard wrote little about Cimmeria. Loz made it pseudo Celtic. I would have too, if I'd been asked to write it and I suspect that a tome by VD would have been much the same.
Thus I think that the book and the author have been treated somewhat unfairly. if VD had written exactly the same book, there are posters who would have acclaimed it as a work of genius.
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby LucaCherstich » Fri Sep 30, 2011 9:12 pm

Maybe you are right about preconceptions.
But there's a series of things (facts, no preconceptions) I do not like in Conan LOL books:
- crunch errors in dealing with d20 (NPC stats, sorcery, etc..)
- Shield wall mechanism which in theory is interesting, in reality is lacking sense (why the picts in the example in Cimemrai page 87 should be force to make shield wall rather than guerrilla?
Shield wall simply isn't Pict way of fight!)
- chronology errors (especially Khitai)
- lack of reference to previous Conan material (non-REh material for Cimmeria).
- ecologistic nature-rubbish (flower power??) at Cimmeria page 115
For example: ...It brings tears to the eyes and heart to see the waste in the cities...
When Conan came to Southern cities he noticed decandent wealth to plunder and nice prostitutes to meet...I do not think he ever cared about ecology...

Excepting these things Lol books are good pseudo-celtic and pseudo-chinese books, but they really have no real link to the Hyborian Age.
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby tarkhan bey » Fri Sep 30, 2011 9:28 pm

Ok, I do apologise for accusing you of dismissing him completely as an author.
Upon re-reading your post, it is clear that you are actually only referring to his Conan books. :)
Apart from that, though, I stick by my opinions in my previous post. I am a Conan Fan for nearly 35 years. I've read loads of stuff in comics and pastiches, some of it good, some mediocre and some complete drivel. As a (sort of) purist, I would rather see someone write something, almost,completely original for the game, than trying to shoehorn in a load of old bollo**s, just because some pastiche writer had previously penned it.(Conan of venarium anyone?)

You probably have just listed most of the things that are a little out of sync.
I agree that Picts wouldn't form a shield wall, at least not until the time of Gorm anyway.
Not so sure about the tree hugger bit either. :?
Mongoose publishings are full of 'crunch errors'. This is not just a problem in the Cimmeria book. You are lucky you don't play RQ2 :roll: .(equipment guide)
But really, that was a full on attack on the author for a handful a handful of minor glitches.
:(
Sorry, rant over..... :oops:
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby Supplement Four » Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:17 pm

I've got to side with Luca on this one, having read a lot of Vincent's Conan material and Lawrence's work on Cimmeria. I find Cimmeria useful, but in a lot of ways, I'm disappointed by the book in a lot of ways, too. I wished it would have encompassed more. Besides a section on Cimmerian steel and Cimmerian smiths that I mention above, I sure would have liked to have seen some Cimmerian-specific weapons and gear--maybe even a little bit about jewelry and clothing with examples (more than what is already in the book).

I do believe that had Vincent written Cimmeria that it would have been a fantastic book and a must-buy. I think he would have done a much better job than what Lawrence gave us.
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby Cheomesh » Sat Oct 01, 2011 1:21 am

Well, I don't think I've ever seen anything in d20-land that -hasn't- had some kind of flaws in its crunch. See the Class Tiers of 3.x for example, or the Fast class in d20M. Speaking of which, did anyone ever do a Conan d20 Class Tiers thing?

Chronology is fairly important, but that aside was there any cultural stuff salvageable from Khitai? My current game takes place far away, but it would still be nice to know something about the place, especially if I want to include characters from Khitai.

I'll check out Return; is the "Road of Kings" in the Conan-verse like the Silk Road or thereabouts? It hasn't come up in anything I've read other than that it exists.

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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby tarkhan bey » Sat Oct 01, 2011 6:56 am

As far as I recall, it was common knowledge at the time that Vincent was not interested in writing a Cimmeria book.Loz got the job and did a more than adequate job. One of his best? No. Glorantha and Eternal Champion for those. Certainly not deserving of some of the bile that's been heaped on it(I'm not referring to you here, Luca).
Would a VD book have been better? That is questionable given the paucity of canon material and reasonable pastiche.
I am not bothered about the whole Cimmerian steel thing. It is pastiche and not particularly well considered.AFAIR its from the Ahnuld movie. Loz touches on it in one of the clan descriptions. My Cimmeria would have weapons beaten from bog iron except near the Borders where steel weapons might have been stolen or traded from the Nordheimr or Hyborians. I just can,t accept a Hyborian world where the Hyborians don't know the 'riddle of steel'. :wink: :roll:
Anyway,as the saying goes, one man's meat is another Man's poison. :)
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby LucaCherstich » Sat Oct 01, 2011 8:48 am

The Road of Kings links Turan to Messantia crossing all of the Hyborian nations.
But the sourcebook (especially the "return" version) describes all of the nations in the world.
Buy this book before you buy Khitai.
And if you must choose one, choose "Return."
You'll be amazaed by the level of detail (I'm specially fond of the Black KIngdoms, the Hyrkanian and Turanian parts).
There are bits I like about Khitai (the demon gods, for example), but theirs rules for use in spells are very problematic.
Reh never wrote about Khitai, so some of the Lol fluff bits in Khitai are nice and can be used as inspiration...even if some of them are too high fantasy for my version of the Hyborian Age.
Another crazy thing in Khitai is the map.
Recent scientific litarature on REH intentions recostructed the profile of Khitai quite different than what we used to think, with a long jungle peninsula, and not a straight coast.
Check here:
http://hyboria.xoth.net/maps/index.htm
http://hyboria.xoth.net/maps/vd_khitai.jpg
Return uses a map which is better than the one in Core Rules.
But "Khitai" (published 2 years after "return") uses again a map which is more "China" than the Khitai which appears in Return to the road of kings.
You are advised.
If you use that book you must also choose which map to use and where to put every place.
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby Supplement Four » Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:52 am

Cheomesh wrote:I'll check out Return; is the "Road of Kings" in the Conan-verse like the Silk Road or thereabouts? It hasn't come up in anything I've read other than that it exists.
The road of kings stretches from Zamora all the way to the Great Western Ocean (via Argos). It's mentioned in many Conan stories, and there's even the Wagner book that uses the term as its title.

Karl Edward Wagner novel.



Vol. 11 of the Dark Horse Conan series
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby tarkhan bey » Sat Oct 01, 2011 1:38 pm

Yes Cheomesh, I believe that it is something like the silk road. I think it actually starts in Agraphur and ends at Messantia. I have always taken it to be a defined trade route rather than a road per se.
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby Cheomesh » Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:48 am

What's the general consensus on Tito's Trading Post?

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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby Spectator » Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:16 am

Not sure if you can do a search function here on this forum, but I and many others said it was not worth it.
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby Cheomesh » Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:28 am

I did, actually; I got nothing :/

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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby Supplement Four » Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:16 am

The bad press on Tito's is because it's basically a cut-n-paste collection of equipment and weapons from different sources already published in the game.

I like the book and think it's worth having the stuff all in one place. I find myself using the Equipment section in the Core rulebook more than Tito's, but Tito's does have a lot more equipment and stuff in it than what is shown in the Core book.

Plus, there's some reprint stuff, like Chariots and Chariot combat, from the early editions of S&P before the magazine went electronic.

All-in-all, I'd say the book is worth it. But, if you're strapped for cash, then just stick with the Core rulebook.
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby LucaCherstich » Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:12 pm

Tito's is not too bad, even if there are limits

I like:
- a few new weapons, like the Assegai and the Jambiya
- Complex Craft Rules
- Section on Hyborian boardgames

However, if you care about the few differences between Atlantean and 2e, you must be carefull:
- Damage for 2-handed swords and axes changed in Conan 2e (from 2d10 to 1d10+d18), so you should also change the dmg of Nordhemeir Axes and Flamberges (2 new modifications of bardiches and greatswords).
- Poison rules slightly different in 2e
- Some alchemical items and Lotus rules are changed in Conan 2e Core Rules & in Secrets (not scrolls) of Skelos.
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby LucaCherstich » Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:47 am

Another book to chase down is Players Guide by V.Darlage.
It is not as necessary as "return" but I like it since it is good for customizing PC and NPCs according to their own culture.
And cultural differences are one of the best things in the Hyborian Age (since it allows a lot of inspiration from real world history).

There are a few new races, rules for half-breeds, ruels for PC's backgrounds, personalities, equipment packages by culture, names, noble titles, new spells and comprehensive lists of feats/spells/manoevers published in previous books.

It also updates the feats of the original "road of kings" (Return is almost pure background, it does not loses space on feats), even the famous "Explosive power" that so many people in these forums dislike (I like it, and I already explained why I think is a balanced feat, if properly and literally interpreted).

The equipment section is also interesting.
Although there are a couple of detail I would change (Change the Kopis's cost with the Yataghan cost and make the Kopis a weapon used also by Hyborians).

Concluding, my suggestion of books to chase down is:

ESSENTIALS:
- Core Rules (2 e)
- Return to the Road of Kings

PREFERABLE:
- Secrets of Skelos (if you like sorcery)
- Players Guide to the Hyborian Age (to give some more detail and flavour to PC/NPC).
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby Supplement Four » Tue Oct 11, 2011 12:21 am

Although I think the Road of Kings and Return are both great books, I don't know that I'd call them "essential". The section in the 2E core rulebook is really good enough for a lot of gaming uses. I'd recommend both the Kings books, but I just wouldn't call it essential.

I think the only essential book, really, is the core rulebook. Everything else just "specializes" a topic.
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby LucaCherstich » Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:16 am

Maybe it's not essential for you, but if you put ALL of the Conan sourcebooks in a line, Core Rules comes first, "Return" comes second, at least to me.
I say "return" more than the original "road of" since "return" includes all of the previous version background + a lot more.
I agree there's a lot of non-canon, non-REH, but it's of great quality.
If you consider all of the MGP Conan line, "Return" is the only book you can define as near to the (odd) concept of an Hyborian "academic" book.
I personally found that book of enormous inspiration for writing adventures.
If I obliged keep just the Core Rules and burn all my Conan books but one, "Return" will certainly be that book.
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby Spectator » Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:26 pm

LucaCherstich wrote:Maybe it's not essential for you, but if you put ALL of the Conan sourcebooks in a line, Core Rules comes first, "Return" comes second, at least to me.
I say "return" more than the original "road of" since "return" includes all of the previous version background + a lot more.
I agree there's a lot of non-canon, non-REH, but it's of great quality.
If you consider all of the MGP Conan line, "Return" is the only book you can define as near to the (odd) concept of an Hyborian "academic" book.
I personally found that book of enormous inspiration for writing adventures.
If I obliged keep just the Core Rules and burn all my Conan books but one, "Return" will certainly be that book.
I agree, but I'd make Secrets of Skelos one of the books i'd have to pull out of the fire, after I unwillingly threw it in.
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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby Cheomesh » Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:07 am

I am certainly going to try and start on "Return" this weekend. My time for Conan d20 stuff has been split between re-reading the core rule book and trying to get all the rules down and going back through Argos & Zingara / Messantia, City of Riches trying to get Argos "right" in my head.

Speaking of A&Z, was the Zingaran school of fence taken well?

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Re: [CONAN] Books to chase down?

Postby Kev » Wed Oct 12, 2011 3:51 pm

I would certainly make a case for Hyboria's Fiercest being a good supplement to have on hand. Even if you don't care about the multiclassing options or whatnot, the wealth of environmental and survival rules are worth the price of admission. Even if you don't use them all the time, I think it's worthwhile to have them available just keep you PCs on their toes. Plus, there's some pretty good feats in there as well. My two cents anyway.
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