[CONAN] The Citadel Beyond the North Wind by Thulsa

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Supplement Four
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[CONAN] The Citadel Beyond the North Wind by Thulsa

Postby Supplement Four » Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:19 pm

When Thulsa announced that he had released XP 2: Song of the Beast-Gods, I went directly to Lulu and bought a hard copy, sight unseen. I assumed XP 2 would get the same treatment as XP 1, that is, Thulsa would release a Conan RPG conversion document.

When he refused, it incensed me. I just naturally assumed he'd do it for his love of Conan and the Hyborian Age. But, it looks to me as if Thulsa has moved on from Conan, focussing now not on the Hyborian Age but on his own Sword & Sorcery game setting called Xoth, using Pathfinder rules.

I guess I was spoiled by the massive adventure that XP 1 is, and the lengthy pdf Thulsa provided that helps make XP 1 a perfect adventure set in the Hyborian Age. I swore that XP 2 would be the last Thulsa adventure I'd buy, and I'll admit, I'm still a bit miffed that XP 2 never got a good "Conan-isation" from Thulsa. To me, his adventures went from "specifically written for the Conan RPG" (with the conversion document) to something close that the GM can convert--like other adventures.

But...

Here I am, breaking my oath. I bought Thulsa's next installment in the XP series: XP 3 - The Citadel Beyond the North Wind.

Why'd I do this? Well, I guess the pros outweighed the cons.

And, what are the pros and cons?

I haven't read the adventure yet--only flipped through it. In my opinion, here are the relevant points....



PRO

There are few adventures out there that fit well as adventures during the Hyborian Age. Thulsa writes his adventures for his own Sword & Sorcery world, so the tone and feel of this adventure is much more akin to the Hyborian age than most other adventures that present too many fantasy elements.

Thulsa is a very good adventure writer.



CON

It's expensive. $15 bucks for a 40 page adventure.

It's written for the Pathfinder game and Thulsa's Xoth game world, thus some conversion is required by the GM. And, there's no Conan conversion (and there will most likely never be).




THE SKINNY

The adventure is expensive ($9.99 would be a more fair price, I think), and some conversion to the Hyborian Age is required. But, I think the Pros outweigh the Cons, especially if you're looking for an easier adventure to convert to your Conan RPG game.

I hear that some of Thulsa's adventures will be converted to Mongoose's RQ/Legend/Wanderer system and sold by Mongoose.

Thulsa has announced his next adventure: XP 4 - Land of the Silver Lotus. I'm sure I'll buy that one, too, when it comes out.

XP 3 - The Citadel Beyond the North Wind is designed for Pathfinder characters, level 8-10 (which should equate to Conan RPG characters, level 8-10). The adventure is designed in the sandbox style, where characters are free to roam around in any direction their nose takes them, bumping into keyed adventure locations. The adventure is set in a "northern, barbarous" land. It would probably be excellent set somewhere in Hyrkania.
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Re: [CONAN] The Citadel Beyond the North Wind by Thulsa

Postby thulsa » Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:18 am

Hi, Supplement Four
Supplement Four wrote:It looks to me as if Thulsa has moved on from Conan, focussing now not on the Hyborian Age but on his own Sword & Sorcery game setting called Xoth, using Pathfinder rules.
Well, I remain a great fan of Howard and the Hyborian Age, and my website will continue to host material relevant for all RPGs set in Conan's world. But the World of Xoth has taken on its own life and significance, and I find it rewarding to develop it further, with full creative freedom.
Supplement Four wrote:Thulsa is a very good adventure writer.
Thank you! I hope you will like the adventure.
Supplement Four wrote:The adventure is expensive ($9.99 would be a more fair price, I think)
The 40-page PDF is priced at USD 7. (For the printed version, the difference in price goes to cover the printing costs and Lulu's share of the purchase.)

The 28-page PDF for XP2 is priced at USD 5.

I think those are the price ranges I'll use going forward as well, with books in the 50-60-page range going for USD 9 or 10, and so on.

And by the way, starting from XP4, I will pay a professional cartographer to do the maps as well, so not only do you get original artwork, but also high-quality maps instead of my own hand-drawn maps, and the price will be at the same level as before.
Supplement Four wrote:I hear that some of Thulsa's adventures will be converted to Mongoose's RQ/Legend/Wanderer system and sold by Mongoose.
That's right, Mongoose will publish XP1 - The Spider-God's Bride for the Legend system. It has been delayed several times, but is apparently in layout at the moment, so it should be here "any day now"... :

viewtopic.php?f=79&t=49143
Supplement Four wrote:Thulsa has announced his next adventure: XP 4 - Land of the Silver Lotus. I'm sure I'll buy that one, too, when it comes out.
Thanks for the endorsement. XP4 will be about the mysteries, monsters and treasures of the Silver Lotus Isles, the jungled islands just off the coast of the land of Zadj. It can be run as a pure sandbox exploration, or a more focused/story-driven adventure, depending on the GM's preference. And since it takes place on an island (actually a cluster of small islands) it should be very easy to drop into any setting.

- thulsa
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The Hyborian Age d20 Campaign Site
http://hyboria.xoth.net/

The Spider-God's Bride and Other Tales
http://xoth.net/publishing/xp1/
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Re: [CONAN] The Citadel Beyond the North Wind by Thulsa

Postby Spectator » Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:56 am

Great Stuff.
Thulsa I still love looking at your hyborian webpage. YOU and Vincent were the mob bosses of this community (in a good way).
Keep in touch with us few that still frequent here.
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Re: [CONAN] The Citadel Beyond the North Wind by Thulsa

Postby thulsa » Mon Aug 27, 2012 11:21 am

Spectator wrote:Great Stuff.
Thulsa I still love looking at your hyborian webpage. YOU and Vincent were the mob bosses of this community (in a good way).
Keep in touch with us few that still frequent here.
I'm still here, but mostly just lurking (for the reasons given in my previous post). And you can be sure that the Hyborian Age material will remain on the website "forever" !

- thulsa
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The Hyborian Age d20 Campaign Site
http://hyboria.xoth.net/

The Spider-God's Bride and Other Tales
http://xoth.net/publishing/xp1/
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Re: [CONAN] The Citadel Beyond the North Wind by Thulsa

Postby Supplement Four » Mon Aug 27, 2012 2:20 pm

Thulsa,

If you have any "Conan-ization" comments, just off the top of your head, that you'd like to express in this thread, I'd like to hear them. For example, do you think Hyrkania is a good transplant for XP 3, or is there another piece of the Known World where you think it would be more fitting? Maybe in mountainous regions of Brythunia?
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Re: [CONAN] The Citadel Beyond the North Wind by Thulsa

Postby thulsa » Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:05 pm

Supplement Four wrote:If you have any "Conan-ization" comments, just off the top of your head, that you'd like to express in this thread, I'd like to hear them. For example, do you think Hyrkania is a good transplant for XP 3, or is there another piece of the Known World where you think it would be more fitting? Maybe in mountainous regions of Brythunia?
Well, as you probably know, the phrase "beyond the North Wind" is derived from the Greek word "Hyperborea"... which of course Howard used as the name of the first Hyborian nation. He did not provide a lot of detail and never set a story there, but de Camp turned it into the land of the Witch-Men of the White Hand, and the Dark Horse comics had yet another take on the Hyperboreans, more based on classical mythology. (I should also mention that Clark Ashton Smith wrote several stories set in another, more "fantastical" Hyperborea.)

The land of Yg presented in XP3 is somewhat inspired by all of those sources, but of course also adds some unique elements. Personally, I would probably place it somewhere on the border between Hyperborea and Asgard, although with a little more "re-skinning" it could certainly be set on the border between Hyperborea and the northern Turanian steppe/tundra as well (perhaps near the the northern peaks of the Kenzakian mountains). A certain female featured in the module could very well be from Hyrkania.

Hope this helps,

- thulsa
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The Hyborian Age d20 Campaign Site
http://hyboria.xoth.net/

The Spider-God's Bride and Other Tales
http://xoth.net/publishing/xp1/
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Re: [CONAN] The Citadel Beyond the North Wind by Thulsa

Postby Spectator » Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:50 am

Okay, Thulsa; simple question:
I was reading the pathfinder online resource: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/base-classes/witch
(I posted the link with a witch) but I am not sure why you "left" the Conan d20 system. It seems a little (maybe a lot) more geared to the grim fantasy/ low magic campaign you seem intent on running. In Pathfinder there are so many numerous little perks to the sorceror with bloodlines that it would appear to be contradictory to your goal of low magic, look for example:
http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/core-cl ... -bloodline
The sorceror can eventually turn into a dragon!

I applaud your low magic mindset (thank goodness the pendulum seems to have swung in tastes as, well e.g.: Game of Thrones (almost non-existent magic).

I'd be curious what are the good points to Pathfinder and some negatives, because it seems like you to rework it back to the conan gritty standard.
Thanks, in advance.
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Re: [CONAN] The Citadel Beyond the North Wind by Thulsa

Postby Supplement Four » Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:11 am

@Thulsa

You know, all the time I was saying Hyrkania but thinking Hyperborea. So, we're thinking along the same lines.


Spectator wrote:Okay, Thulsa; simple question:
I was reading the pathfinder online resource: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/base-classes/witch
(I posted the link with a witch) but I am not sure why you "left" the Conan d20 system.
I'm sure Thulsa can answer for himself, but I've thought about this as well. And, I've come up with two "reasons".

First, Thulsa is selling his adventures, and Patherfinder is in print with many more players than the Conan RPG. That sounds like a business decision.

But, also, I think Thulsa went to Pathfinder before making the above business decision with his own, personal game. My take, from looking through the window from the outside, is that Thulsa had some issues (some of these I don't share) with the Conan RPG system, and he likes the more generic Pathfinder system to mold and craft to his liking. At the beginning of each of his three adventures in the XP series, there is a section that describes the Pathfinder rule changes and GM attitude adjustments that are needed for a sword and sorcery game.

And...though Thulsa's adventures are probably some of the best available for conversion to the Conan RPG, they are still not 100% interchangeable with the Hyborian Age. Some conversion is necessary.

Which is why I would love to see conversion Conan RPG conversion docs come with each of his releases. The one he wrote for XP 1 really does help change the adventures into those that can be set during the Hyborian Age.
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Re: [CONAN] The Citadel Beyond the North Wind by Thulsa

Postby thulsa » Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:24 am

Spectator wrote:I am not sure why you "left" the Conan d20 system. It seems a little (maybe a lot) more geared to the grim fantasy/ low magic campaign you seem intent on running.
I've answered the same question before in this discussion. To summarize: The intentions of the Conan d20 rules were good, but the implementation was often quite broken. Pathfinder is a more robust system, and it is currently in print.
Spectator wrote:In Pathfinder there are so many numerous little perks to the sorceror with bloodlines that it would appear to be contradictory to your goal of low magic, (...) The sorceror can eventually turn into a dragon!
If you look at my house rules you can see which classes I allow; the sorcerer is not among them (neither is the wizard). Most spellcasters are either witches (who have a spell list, and powers, that actually fit very well with more low-magic sword and sorcery) or cultists (based on the oracle, from whose class features I can pick appropriate powers for each cult that I create). I also allow druids (without shapeshifting) because their nature magic also fits a "low magic" setting.

- thulsa
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The Hyborian Age d20 Campaign Site
http://hyboria.xoth.net/

The Spider-God's Bride and Other Tales
http://xoth.net/publishing/xp1/
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Re: [CONAN] The Citadel Beyond the North Wind by Thulsa

Postby thulsa » Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:40 am

Supplement Four wrote:You know, all the time I was saying Hyrkania but thinking Hyperborea. So, we're thinking along the same lines.
All right, let's go with Hyperborea then. :-)
Supplement Four wrote:But, also, I think Thulsa went to Pathfinder before making the above business decision with his own, personal game. My take, from looking through the window from the outside, is that Thulsa had some issues (some of these I don't share) with the Conan RPG system, and he likes the more generic Pathfinder system to mold and craft to his liking.
This is correct. The issues I had with the Conan d20 system are detailed in the link I gave in my previous post. I went back to "straight" 3.5E with some house rules (many inspired by the Conan d20 rules) and I finished writing XP1 just before WotC announced 4E, which led Paizo to create Pathfinder. So XP1 was written in a transition period when I had "one foot in 3.5E, and one foot in Conan d20", so to speak. That's why the conversion document exists for XP1.

So I currently prefer Pathfinder both for practical reasons (that's the system me and my friends play regularly and are familiar with) and for business reasons (it's the system which is currently in print, and it's very popular, perhaps even more popular than 4E). Is Pathfinder perfect? Certainly not, but every system has its strengths and weaknesses. In the end, the important thing is to be with friends and have fun around the gaming table.

This link is perhaps also relevant to include here.

- thulsa
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The Hyborian Age d20 Campaign Site
http://hyboria.xoth.net/

The Spider-God's Bride and Other Tales
http://xoth.net/publishing/xp1/
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Re: [CONAN] The Citadel Beyond the North Wind by Thulsa

Postby Hervé » Wed Aug 29, 2012 6:48 am

Hi Thulsa, though I've not been active on these boards for the past two years or so (due to lack of time), I still hang around from time to time. I think the last time I posted was for the release of XP2... I just ordered my paperback copy of XP3 from Lulu and I can't wait to read it!

Of course, the 15 bucks price may seem a bit steep for a 40 pages b&w book, but as a game editor, I can understand that printing a small quantity of books can be expansive. And of course, greedy Lulu wants her share too... So I guess it's ok for me, as long as I get access to new material for the world of Xoth!

As for the choice of the game system, I think you chose wisely, even though I'm far from a being a D20 system lover, as I'm sure all the old timers around remember! (well, actually, I kinda loathe its "crunchier" aspects...) Pathfinder is a very popular and generic system, and Paizo is doing great stuff with it, actually far better than WOTC ever did. I can confirm the sales of Pathfinder around the world are far better than the ones of DD4 and I also agree that the game is better balanced than Conan ever was.

I couldn't agree more when you say: "The intentions of the Conan d20 rules were good, but the implementation was often quite broken. Pathfinder is a more robust system, and it is currently in print.". That reflects perfectly my point of view. Tha basic idea of making a "grittier" game was basically a good one, but the result was unfortunately completely flawed, probably due to the lack of extensive playtesting. Even if I still think that the D20 system is clumsy and somewhat silly (a personal point of view), I must admit than Paizo did a great job with it, taking a system that was already efficient, and having it tested by thousands of people around the world before the official release. I wish all editors could afford this!

Anyways, thanks for the new book and good luck for XP4!
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Re: [CONAN] The Citadel Beyond the North Wind by Thulsa

Postby Supplement Four » Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:40 pm

I don't think I see the flaws in the system (the Conan System). Maybe they happen at the higher levels (my PCs average 3rd level right now), and, to be fair, I only have experience with the Barbarian class (as I've had little use for any other class in my game to this point).

But, from that exposure, the Conan RPG looks to deliver what it promises--an excellent set of RPG mechanics for use in games set during the Hyborian Age.
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Re: [CONAN] The Citadel Beyond the North Wind by Thulsa

Postby Spectator » Wed Aug 29, 2012 10:37 pm

It makes a lot of sense to use the Pathfinder OGC.
Its generic, you can strip it down to its basics, after all that is the hallmark of a good system.
Conan, was popular but man oh man did it have some serios teething problems such as 1st ED scholar bombs and their Jihadist tactics of with the primal defensive blast.
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Re: [CONAN] The Citadel Beyond the North Wind by Thulsa

Postby Hervé » Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:25 pm

Supplement Four wrote:I don't think I see the flaws in the system (the Conan System). Maybe they happen at the higher levels (my PCs average 3rd level right now), and, to be fair, I only have experience with the Barbarian class (as I've had little use for any other class in my game to this point).
Some of the problems of the system have been reviewed numerous times on these boards. The two handed weapons/massive damage flaw is one of those, for instance. Two handed weapons have greater damage value in the Conan system than in standard D20. Massive damage is set at 20 instead of 50. Also, in Conan, characters tend to have higher strength values and armor classes tend to be lower. All this, combined with Power Attack or some maneuvers can transform every attack in a killing blow, saving throws against Massive Damage being very hard to make. Thus, with a proper build, if you get the initiative, you kill your opponent, whatever his level, size or whatever. Period. Of course, Improved Initiative becomes the most prized Feat after Power Attack…

Armor values are also pretty much unbalanced, though they may seem a good idea at first. A well armored fighter can cross a battlefield of 200 average 2nd level fighters without having a single scratch, as low strength opponents won’t get a chance to pass through his armor… And more, as there are no rules for fatigue or endurance, our warrior can slay the entire opposing army just by himself, if given time!

On the other hand, high level/high strength/big weapon characters make armor completely useless due to the armor penetration rules, ripping through their foes as through butter.

These are some examples and you can find many more when you delve deeply in the system and it can get really ugly when you begin to get a close look at the magic system…

The Conan RPG was full of good intentions and at first, I was really pleased with the direction taken, setting the game apart from the standard “high magic” D20 games. But the more we played the game, the more the flaws of the system were becoming apparent. The game is OK until level 4-5, but problems begin to appear around level 6, when characters become more powerful. So we finally moved to another system, but I kept buying the books, as most of the time, I found the material proposed by Mongoose really interesting.
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Re: [CONAN] The Citadel Beyond the North Wind by Thulsa

Postby Supplement Four » Thu Aug 30, 2012 2:18 pm

Hervé wrote:Some of the problems of the system have been reviewed numerous times on these boards. The two handed weapons/massive damage flaw is one of those, for instance. Two handed weapons have greater damage value in the Conan system than in standard D20. Massive damage is set at 20 instead of 50. Also, in Conan, characters tend to have higher strength values and armor classes tend to be lower. All this, combined with Power Attack or some maneuvers can transform every attack in a killing blow, saving throws against Massive Damage being very hard to make. Thus, with a proper build, if you get the initiative, you kill your opponent, whatever his level, size or whatever. Period. Of course, Improved Initiative becomes the most prized Feat after Power Attack…
Hm. I haven't found this to be true in my game. I've run one campaign so far, taking the PCs from 1st to 3rd level. Not once has a character had to use the Massive Damage rule, either way (against enemies or against the PCs).

I wonder how many of these perceived problems happen from mis-perception of the game or by not playing the game as written with House Rules (or even the Heroic rules).

For example, the default stat generation method is to roll 4d6, take the best three, one time, for each stat. Or, the option is there for the same with the player's choice to re-arrange the sums to the characteristic of choice.

This system doesn't create super powered stats each time. There's a real chance that a PC, created using this method, will end up with a stat under 10 and a negative modifier.

One of the main PCs in my game is Caelis Redbirth. Here's his stats, generated using the default rules of 4d6, drop lowest, arrange to taste.

STR 17 (+2 Racial) = 19
DEX 13
CON 9
INT 14 (-2 Racial) = 12
WIS 7
CHR 6

I know that many GMs will adjust rules so that players have better numbers. But, this is what the default system generates. And, I think it's to be expected that the system might be broken if you use rules that generates more powerful characters.

The second part is that the game is really designed to be played at the lower levels. This is mentioned in the rulebook in the description of what character levels mean and in the NPC suggestions in the beastiary. Most "people" seen in the Conan stories are 1st or 2nd level. Your average Pict or one of Belit's pirates fall within those levels.

Once you start getting to higher level, you gradually become a heroic character that should be lopping off heads every swing (causing Massive Damage).

So....I still say, I don't really think the rules are broken if they are played as written and not house ruled.


Armor values are also pretty much unbalanced, though they may seem a good idea at first. A well armored fighter can cross a battlefield of 200 average 2nd level fighters without having a single scratch, as low strength opponents won’t get a chance to pass through his armor…
I have found armor to be a strong impact on combat, but I think the game would should limit the type of armor available to the PCs. In the Conan stories, you'll see a chain shirt here and there, stuff like that. In many stories, no armor is used stronger than a leather jerkin.

So, I think it's the GM's place to keep the availability of armor limited to what is normally available during the Hyborian Age.

And, just because a character has a steel chest plate doesn't mean that he wears it all the time. He'll probably just wear it when he knows he'll be in a battle. Otherwise, the guy is walking around in a leather jerkin, most likely.
And more, as there are no rules for fatigue or endurance, our warrior can slay the entire opposing army just by himself, if given time!
Yes, I've thought about this, too. There are some armor endurance rules (sleeping, for example), but not for combat and exhaustion from swings. I don't know if it's necessary, given the S&S gernre (Conan is an adventure character that swings hard in battle and never seems to tire as he hands out death to all that appear in front of him), but I have thought along the same lines for my own game.


These are some examples and you can find many more when you delve deeply in the system and it can get really ugly when you begin to get a close look at the magic system…
I haven't looked at the magic system, but the problems you cite haven't come up in my game. I've been very happy with the system.

From my experience, the Conan RPG system remains a fantastic example of rules meant for use during the Hyborian Age.
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Re: [CONAN] The Citadel Beyond the North Wind by Thulsa

Postby thulsa » Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:46 pm

Supplement Four wrote:I only have experience with the Barbarian class (as I've had little use for any other class in my game to this point).

...

I've run one campaign so far, taking the PCs from 1st to 3rd level.
Honestly, don't you think this is a rather limited basis from which to make general statements about the entire system?
Supplement Four wrote:I wonder how many of these perceived problems happen from mis-perception of the game or by not playing the game as written
"Misperception", or actually using more than an extremely limited part of the rules?

Supplement Four wrote:One of the main PCs in my game is Caelis Redbirth. Here's his stats, generated using the default rules of 4d6, drop lowest, arrange to taste.

STR 17 (+2 Racial) = 19
DEX 13
CON 9
INT 14 (-2 Racial) = 12
WIS 7
CHR 6

I know that many GMs will adjust rules so that players have better numbers. But, this is what the default system generates. And, I think it's to be expected that the system might be broken if you use rules that generates more powerful characters.
OK, this Caelis has Str 19. He takes Power Attack as his first feat and wields a Bardiche (base damage 1d10+1d8).

At third level, he can subtract 3 from his attack roll and add +6 to his damage roll when he Power Attacks. Since the bardiche is wielded in two hands, he deals x1.5 his Strength bonus (+6). This gives a total damage output of 1d10+1d8+12 per attack. On average, he will deal 21 or 22 points of damage per attack, forcing a Massive Damage save for every successful attack, at a minimum Fort DC of 20.

No house rules, no difficult optimizations. Just high strength, power attack, and a big weapon.
Supplement Four wrote:So, I think it's the GM's place to keep the availability of armor limited to what is normally available during the Hyborian Age.
Howard's stories has armies full of knights in plate armor. If you place your PCs in Cimmeria and keep them there for the entire campaign, that's one thing, but there are plenty of more civilized nations where the PCs should be able to buy advanced armor.
Supplement Four wrote:And, just because a character has a steel chest plate doesn't mean that he wears it all the time. He'll probably just wear it when he knows he'll be in a battle.
I would say that in most campaigns, the life of an adventurer (PC) consists of "going on adventures" and he can pretty much expect to be in danger/battle all the time. Your campaign may be different, of course.
Supplement Four wrote:I haven't looked at the magic system, but the problems you cite haven't come up in my game. I've been very happy with the system.

From my experience, the Conan RPG system remains a fantastic example of rules meant for use during the Hyborian Age.
Let's see: You are using 15% of the available level range (1-3 of 20), 11% of the available classes (1 of 9 - Barbarian only), 0% of the sorcery system (about 50 pages of the core book), and a limited selection of the equipment (leather jerkin only, etc.). Yet you say that "the system" is fantastic. I think you could change that to "the limited sub-system I have used in one campaign has worked well for me". (But hey, you are obviously happy with it, so by all means stick with it.)

- thulsa
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The Spider-God's Bride and Other Tales
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Re: [CONAN] The Citadel Beyond the North Wind by Thulsa

Postby Supplement Four » Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:08 pm

Honestly, don't you think this is a rather limited basis from which to make general statements about the entire system?
I made it no secret that I've run my campaign with only Barbarian classed characters thus far. I do have limited experience with the other classes and the sorcery system. But, from scanning them, here and there, I've seen no problems.

And, I did run a story-arc (mini-campaign) that took about 12 sessions to play. There was quite a bit of combat. At first, I was scared that the game would be too deadly, but I found out quickly that it's a pretty doggone good combat system with lots of options.

I should note, too, that to this point, I've run the entire campaign by the book. I've flirted with House Rules but never really implemented much. Combat has been strickly RAW (although, I think when I pick up my game for the next story-arc, I may throw in a Fumble Chart that I've been tinkering with).




"Misperception", or actually using more than an extremely limited part of the rules?
Extremely limited? I haven't used most of the classes and the sorcerery, but I used the ENTIRE rest of the game. I don't think that's limited.

Becoming familiar with classes really means becoming familiar with the Feat choices and a few other limitations and perks. If you understand one class, you start to understand the others pretty easily.

Are the mechanics involved in playing a Barbarian that much different from playing a Soldier or a Nomad or a Pirate or a Borderer? Not really.




OK, this Caelis has Str 19. He takes Power Attack as his first feat and wields a Bardiche (base damage 1d10+1d8).


Yeah, everybody goes to the bardiche example. There are few weapons that do that kind of damage. I look at these weapons as more as a Hyborian weapon, thus my Cimmerians haven't seen a bardiche yet. But, I won't bar the weapon from the game when they eventually venture out of Cimmeria and into the the Hyborian kingdoms (or maybe even into Hyperborea).

But, for argument's sake, let's say Caelis does do as you say. He finds a Bardiche and makes it his own. He takes Power Attack, and now he's a bad-ass when it comes to combat...

...at the expense of a lot of other choices.

Look at those stats again...

STR 17 (+2 Racial) = 19
DEX 13
CON 9
INT 14 (-2 Racial) = 12
WIS 7
CHR 6


Caelis is weak in hit points (-1 per hit die), and although he's got an average number of skill points, he's got a lot of negatives to overcome in his class skills.

He's good at the physical skills of Climb, Jump, and Swim. He's got a +1 to Craft (mundane), Craft (herbalism), Hide, Move Silent, and Ride. But, he's got a strong negative to some very important class skills: Bluff, Handle Animal, Intimidate, Listen, Perform, Profession, Spot, and Survival.

In my Cimmerian based game, the highlighted skills are what has proved to be the most important (Bluff for the Demoralize Opponent function).

Caelis is giving up a lot by putting his high score in STR. It fits the Cimmerian character, but this guy is weak on hit points, doesn't use Demoralize Other or Intimidate, and is quite poor at some basic skills needed in the game like Listen, Spot, and Survival.

That's a lot to give up to be a killing machine with a bardiche.

Yes, I still maintain that I think the game, although not perfect, is not broken as you've been suggesting.




No house rules, no difficult optimizations. Just high strength, power attack, and a big weapon.
But, that's an extreme example. As I've shown, if you stick by the default character generation rules, a player will have a lot of choices to make, and many players will choose a different path, not going with Power Attack.

For example, the real Caelis in my game did not go with Power Attack. He's opted to specialize his character in throwing weapons, so, with the few Feats he gets, he's choosing those that would lead him to that goal.




Howard's stories has armies full of knights in plate armor.
Really, only in mass battles, from the stories I've read. Do you have an example of a Howard Conan story that has a knight in full plate armor where the story doesn't include a large battlefield with many hordes of men clashing?

If the Howard story is not about a "war", then there aren't a lot of knights in plate walking around. You see more chain shirts and leather jerkins than the heavier stuff, if armor is used at all.




If you place your PCs in Cimmeria and keep them there for the entire campaign, that's one thing, but there are plenty of more civilized nations where the PCs should be able to buy advanced armor.
My campaign has been set solely in Cimmeria so far, but when they venture out, I'll allow them to buy advanced armor. Heck, one of my Cimmerians has a breastplate now. But, as it should be, he only dons it when he knows he's going to war.

Which means: In the spirit of Conan's universe (and the real world), he doesn't wear his breastplate that often. It has to be an upcoming battle that he knows about or a dangerous envirorment where battle is likely. If he goes hunting, the breast plate stays in the village.

You don't see Conan (or really any Howard character) out piddling around in heavy armor.




I would say that in most campaigns, the life of an adventurer (PC) consists of "going on adventures" and he can pretty much expect to be in danger/battle all the time. Your campaign may be different, of course.
That thinking to me is more "D&D", more fanasy oriented thinking. I've tried to create a universe akin to the Conan stories. In my game, as in the stories, people don't walk around in their best armor all the time. They have to have a reason to do so. Most guards can't afford heavy armor. As I said above, that stuff is reserved for mass battles. Heavy armor is hot and uncomfortable and not something you'd want to wear everyday like a pair of jeans.
Let's see: You are using 15% of the available level range (1-3 of 20), 11% of the available classes (1 of 9 - Barbarian only), 0% of the sorcery system (about 50 pages of the core book), and a limited selection of the equipment (leather jerkin only, etc.). Yet you say that "the system" is fantastic. I think you could change that to "the limited sub-system I have used in one campaign has worked well for me". (But hey, you are obviously happy with it, so by all means stick with it.)
I purposefully am keeping the game in the lower levels by being stingy with Experience Points. According to the game (pg. 11-12 of 2E), most people the characters meet will be in the level 1-3 range. A 3rd level Soldier is considered a highly experienced combat veteran.

A level 4 character--a level 4 nomad, the book says--is one of the finest warriors in the war band. 8th level characters are those famed across the land. For example, the chief of my PC's clan is an 8th level character.

Any character over 10th or 12th or so should be extremely rare. These characters are legends.

Thus, the game is really designed to be run at the very low levels. When a character gets to 4th level or higher, then reaching the 20 point Massive Damage threshold often should be expected.

So, yes....I still think that, if you run the game as written, it's a damn good game system.
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Re: [CONAN] The Citadel Beyond the North Wind by Thulsa

Postby Hervé » Fri Aug 31, 2012 11:58 am

Getting back to the topic: I just received my copy of XP2 at work (in no time!) and it looks really nice... More about it later.

Now I go back to work... on games unsurpringly! I t could be worse I know... ;-)
I talk to planets, baby.
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Re: [CONAN] The Citadel Beyond the North Wind by Thulsa

Postby thulsa » Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:52 pm

Supplement Four wrote:So, yes....I still think that, if you run the game as written, it's a damn good game system.
I see you have created a separate thread for this, which is a good idea.

Let's keep this thread on the topic of XP3: The Citadel beyond the North Wind.

- thulsa
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The Spider-God's Bride and Other Tales
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thulsa
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Re: [CONAN] The Citadel Beyond the North Wind by Thulsa

Postby thulsa » Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:53 pm

Hervé wrote:Getting back to the topic: I just received my copy of XP2 at work (in no time!) and it looks really nice... More about it later.
I assume you mean "XP3", not "XP2" ?

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http://xoth.net/publishing/xp1/

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