Conan for Legend = perfect match?

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froggymojo
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Conan for Legend = perfect match?

Postby froggymojo » Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:17 am

I am currently running the 'Betrayer of Asgard' campaign for my group. We initially used the D20 OGL system but recently switched over to Legend and I must say: the fit seems, thus far, perfect.

I was never a fan of the D20 license. While the Conan version did the material credit, it still retained some of the uglier mechanics of its D20 ancestry.

Now keep in mind that I am totally new to the Runequest/Legend system so perhaps my observation will get the 'duh!' reaction it deserves... But if there was ever an ideal union between universe and system, I think this Hyboria/Legend matrimony may be it. :)
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Re: Conan for Legend = perfect match?

Postby Lemnoc » Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:45 am

froggymojo wrote:if there was ever an ideal union between universe and system, I think this Hyboria/Legend matrimony may be it.
This also strikes me as correct. I've been running a campaign in a gritty historic setting for some time—no demi-humans, fairly mundane monster roster, magic mostly as a plot device—and the gritty combat system seems to give something back to players that the absence of high fantasy elements in my campaign takes away.
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Re: Conan for Legend = perfect match?

Postby Dan True » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:07 am

What of the magic systems? Which fit into Conan and which does not?

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Re: Conan for Legend = perfect match?

Postby froggymojo » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:19 pm

Replying to the above post concerning magic.

I ignore common magic but allow both divine and sorcery magics. However, I make them restrictive in the sense that securing pacts with a divinity and finding a grimoire would require a great deal of time and coin.

This is what I am envisioning anyway, as none of my current players are playing magic-users... Which I think works well considering the low-magic setting and the fact that sorcery is usually the domain of the 'opposition' (if going by canon).
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Re: Conan for Legend = perfect match?

Postby Lemnoc » Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:45 pm

Dan True wrote:What of the magic systems? Which fit into Conan and which does not?
Sorcery quite obviously does, with all its degenerative effects on the spellcaster. Divine magic less so, as the gods are remote and indifferent—if not openly hostile in a Lovecraftian sense.

Spirit magic can fit in in limited form, as the binding force of demons and other critters of the netherworld. ...Use sparingly...

It is a central trope to REH that anything that takes material form can be struck with material weapons, and so you would want to tune down any creatures that can be struck only by enchantments. Offering Countermagic as an innate Heroic Ability could simulate the force of iron will with which Conan resists (and detests) magic.

EDIT: I probably would rely heavily on the Necromancy sourcebook and cast Hyborean sorcerers as necromancers, wielders of death magic.
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Re: Conan for Legend = perfect match?

Postby Lemnoc » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:57 pm

One thing that would need flesh put on its bones to match Conan for Legend would be an ophidian race. AFAIK, Legend doesn't really have one of these, but snakemen of the mundane sort, in various forms (think naga / yuan-ti), are bumped into somewhat frequently in Hyborea. Not too difficult to whip one up, I think.
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Re: Conan for Legend = perfect match?

Postby danskmacabre » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:00 am

I would buy a Conan Supplement for Legend.
I think Legend would be a perfect fit.
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Re: Conan for Legend = perfect match?

Postby AKAmra » Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:20 am

froggymojo wrote:I am currently running the 'Betrayer of Asgard' campaign for my group. We initially used the D20 OGL system but recently switched over to Legend and I must say: the fit seems, thus far, perfect.

I was never a fan of the D20 license. While the Conan version did the material credit, it still retained some of the uglier mechanics of its D20 ancestry.

Now keep in mind that I am totally new to the Runequest/Legend system so perhaps my observation will get the 'duh!' reaction it deserves... But if there was ever an ideal union between universe and system, I think this Hyboria/Legend matrimony may be it. :)
Duh! (just kidding). I think the rules would be a great match for Conan and have been saying so for years. I wish we could have gotten an official version; but it seems that ship has sailed.

Homebrewing rules for Conan shouldn't be too hard, especially if you draw from the larger BRP family of rules.

Call of Cthulhu's Malleus Monstrorum has serpent people and there may be other write-ups in other books. The CoC rules for magic might be a good source of inspiration for a Conan game too; wizards being driven insane by gaining and using knowledge "man was not meant to know".
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Re: Conan for Legend = perfect match?

Postby Mankcam » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:58 am

If you buy the RQ Lankhmar book you'll find it has a great 'Corruption' mechanic for Sorcery, and some good advice on how to run a sword n sorcery game - highly recommended if you are doing this genre justice
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Re: Conan for Legend = perfect match?

Postby froggymojo » Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:10 pm

AKAmra wrote:Homebrewing rules for Conan shouldn't be too hard, especially if you draw from the larger BRP family of rules.
On my end, I have purchased most of MGP's OGL/D20 Conan products so I plan to use those extensively for my campaign. In addition, between the Monsters' book, the upcoming Spider God's Bride adventure book, and the most excellent NPC tool provided by one of our great contributors, I think there is a lot of material here to support any Conan/Hyboria campaign.

... And yes, if MGP ever decided to produce more Conan/Hyboria material for the Legend system, then I would gladly give them more of my hard-earned $$$. :wink:
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Re: Conan for Legend = perfect match?

Postby Rurik » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:47 pm

The hangup was Licensing. MGP no longer holds the license, and even when they did the licensor held that it was only for ONE game system - since they used it for d20 then RQ was a no go.

My purely between the lines speculation not to be taken as fact is this: When the new Conan movie was in the works the licensor (REH Enterprises or somesuch) perceived the value would increase and the cost of licensing Conan became prohibitive.

Maybe now that the movie has come and gone without really doing much the license will become viable again, who knows.

But yeah, Legend Conan would be pretty cool.
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Re: Conan for Legend = perfect match?

Postby Dan True » Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:44 pm

Mankcam wrote:If you buy the RQ Lankhmar book you'll find it has a great 'Corruption' mechanic for Sorcery, and some good advice on how to run a sword n sorcery game - highly recommended if you are doing this genre justice
My copy is on its way now.
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Author of the Eberron for Legend/MRQ2 conversion:
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Re: Conan for Legend = perfect match?

Postby Doc Martin » Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:56 am

I'm in my fourth Conan/Hyborian campaign using some sort of version of Runequest and I agree that it is an excellent fit - never come across a game that severs limbs so satisfyingly!

One alteration I have made with MRQ 2/Legend is when the PCs are fighting mooks/minions, rather than use the rules as written I simply reduce the number of combat manoeuvres the NPCs get my one. The effect of this is that tough PCs can often wade through where they are outnumbered and come through with several injuries without being overpowered by the extra combat actions (and consequent combat manoeuvres) of their opponents. However, on the occasions when the NPCs roll criticals (or the PCs fumbles) and they get CMs I tend to choose something like trip, grip, disarm rather than more immediately damaging CMs so as to produce desperate and dangerous struggles for the PCs (usually trying to stay alive until the big barbarian has hacked everyone else to pieces and can come and help). The resulting fights feel very much like those in Howard's original books - the heroes cutting their way through numerous foes but collecting injuries along the way.
"You are a better warrior than I," said Cet. "If Anluan were here, he would give you another kind of contest."
"Oh, but he is," said Conall, and taking Anluan's head from his bag he threw it at Cet.
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Re: Conan for Legend = perfect match?

Postby Lemnoc » Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:37 pm

Doc Martin wrote:stuff.
This is good advice in any campaign. I'd say in general players should come out of combats feeling bruised and battered and like they've really had a scrap, but not in need of rolling up a new character.

REH describes some combats where bodies are stacked in mountains after Conan wades through, so the mook rules for Underlings should be applied generously.
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Re: Conan for Legend = perfect match?

Postby Dan True » Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:58 pm

I am going to be a player in a Conan campaign in a few weeks, playing a sorcerer. I'm gonna hide it mostly, also from the rest of the party (at least in the beginning), as I am told they tend to be burned on the stake.

But, can anyone point me to some cool spells? With cool I mean spells that scream "Conan-universe" in their use, not necessarily powered spells.

I've been thinking mostly going with spells for finding/sensing stuff, and then a single low-profile spell that can aid me in combat.

- Dan
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Re: Conan for Legend = perfect match?

Postby RangerDan » Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:35 am

Well, it's not completely clear what exactly Hyborian sorcerers can actually do, ie what the limits of their powers are. Pretty much all sorcerers in the stories are evil, which affects the type of magic they do. Some examples I can think of:

* Thoth-Amon summons an ape-demon to kill Conan in "The Phoenix on the Sword."
* The sorceress in "Red Nails" plans to perform a ritual on Valeria which is pretty much a modified Tap Youth spell (ie absorb youth into oneself).
* In "The People of the Black Circle" the Black Seers of Ymsha use something that looks like actual "battle-magic" on Conan and his allies, some kind of fire. It is unclear if this is their magic or something more like alchemy (and in the Conan stories these two fields are quite closely related).
* In "The Black Colossus" the sorcerer Natohk pretty much blows up a charge of heavy cavalry by himself, though again it is unclear if this is actual magic or some form of alchemy.

I'm not really familiar with the non-Howard stories nor the comics though, so there might be more (or better!) examples of sorcery there.

As a whole though I think that the sorcery for Conan-like S&S games is pretty much defined by the tropes of what sorcerers cannot do.
Typically I would avoid spells that can do:
* Instant transportation like teleport.
* Instantaneous miraculous healing.
* 'Superhero'-style like flying.

I also don't think 'buffing'-style spells like Enhance are on-trope.

In my opinion the Grimoires could focus on spells that are subtle or tricksy:
Phantom (Sense), Form/Set or Animate (Shadows/Flame/Steel/...), Dominate (Bat/Ape/Beast/Slave/Apprentice/Coward/...), Sense (Fear/Power/Greed/Lies/Purity/...), Abjure (Poison/Food/Air/Age/...).
Tap (Youth/Beauty/Purity) is central to the trope (though squarely evil). Double points if the pure, young beauty is also a princess.
Common spells like Demoralise are pretty on-trope as well, perhaps you could engineer them into Sorcery.

For actual attack spells Wrack is a good one, though you might house-rule it to be Touch-only.
Animate (Alchemist's Fire) is how I always envisioned some of the flashier effects in the stories.

Hope this is (even remotely) useful... :?
Last edited by RangerDan on Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Conan for Legend = perfect match?

Postby Prime_Evil » Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:29 am

RangerDan wrote:* Thoth-Amon summons an ape-demon to kill Conan in "The Phoenix on the Sword."
I reckon that Legend could use a few more summoning-type spells for Sword & Sorcery games, but these are heavily linked to the cosmology of the individual campaign setting - what works for Elric probably won't work for Conan or Glorantha...
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Re: Conan for Legend = perfect match?

Postby Dan True » Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:42 am

I am not above playing towards evil.. I think it will fit the GMs idea of the campaign nice if there are a lot of moral grey-zones and mix-and-match.

I have heard the world 'Necromancer' being used extensively in the movies. Is this just the movies being weird, is it a way of making the word 'sorcerer' more dark or do they in fact raise undead creatures?

Uh, and combining with alchemy.. totally gonna do that :)

- Dan
Check out my RuneQuest 6 blog!. It now has an adventure idea generator :)

Author of the Eberron for Legend/MRQ2 conversion:
http://runequill.com/files/Eberron_Legend.pdf
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Re: Conan for Legend = perfect match?

Postby RangerDan » Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:11 pm

Bah just realised I mixed up two sorcerers in my last example... edited and fixed in the original post.

In any case, I don't recall off-hand any instance of literal Necromancy in the sense of raising dead creatures as skeletons or zombies to serve the Necromancer.

Sorcerers do seem to have the ability to delay or deny death somehow though, perhaps it refers to this?
Thoth-Amon is pretty much hundreds of years old.
Natohk is thousands of years old, although he has spent most of those in some kind of sleep until accidentally awoken.
Xaltotun, one of the most powerful sorcerers, is somehow resurrected after thousands of years by the artifact The Heart of Ahriman, like a kind of mummy or lich. Xaltotun refers to himself as a Necromancer among other things.
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Re: Conan for Legend = perfect match?

Postby Lemnoc » Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:20 pm

RangerDan wrote: Typically I would avoid spells that can do:
* Instant transportation like teleport.
* Instantaneous miraculous healing.
* 'Superhero'-style like flying.
Yes, magic is not instantaneous in REH. Instead, bathed in ritual and theatrics. That's what makes it more of a cinematic plot device.

Magic is quite powerful, but mostly amounts to Charming and Commanding snakes and demons. The Necromantic arts make sense, in terms of raising and commanding armies of Undead. Also, I'd imagine many of the sorts of spells noted in CoC would be appropriate, as REH was a fan and pen pal of HPL and wrote a few approving pastiches in homage to the Eldritch Gods.

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