Campaigns w/ King Conan


Reading the Aquilonia book, it has stats for high level NPC's (including King Conan) and places the 'campaign' at a few years after the events in 'Hour of the Dragon.

I was just wondering what kind of 'timeline' is being used by other GM's. Before Conan, after, no Conan at all?

I have read most of the Conan stories, but if I start a campaign, I don't think my players are that familiar with them. I am wondering where to place my campaign, as I am a little leery as whether I want someone such as King Conan in the picture.
I started my games off at the same time as 'The Tower of The Elephant', with a couple of intro adventures. Conan is around and maybe their paths will cross, but mostly he is "somewhere else". I decided on this for various reasons. Firstly, I can use the background material from the books (most of my players haven't read them, or if they have it was a long time ago.) If the PC's tackle the Tower of the Elephant and defeat Yara then the Tower falls down, which is the same result as in the story. If they fail, then Conan comes along and does it later. Along similar lines, Xaltotun was raised by the Heart of Ahriman; a long-lost artifact. What if the PC's had been instrumental in finding it during a long game that took them to Khitai? In 'Hawks over Shem' it would be easy to insert the PC's as aprt of a rival faction. Setting the games at this time allows for some foreshadowing based on the actual stories.
Also, it does allow me to use Conan as an NPC to liven things up. Imagine a sea voyage where the PC's ship is attacked by a band of reavers led by Conan. Many a PC would be proud to boast that he fought Conan. Maybe the PC's ship sinks and they are washed up on the shores of a mysterious island along with a black haired, blue-eyed giant of a man... Now they have to be allies against the mysterious Black Monks.
The main trick here is not to let Conan dominate; after all, it's the Players who are here to enjoy themselves Maybe the Monks capture him? Now the PC's must either mount a rescue or concentrate on saving themselves. Conan will, of course, escape eventually, but he may not be so friendly towards the PC's next time they meet.
I am setting mine when King Valerious III has just died and King Numedides has taken the thrown of Aquilonia. Conan is serving as a mercenary with Captain Almeric of the Free Companies. The PCs are in Messentia, and will have a few years of adventuring, at which I don't anticipate them encountering Conan.

One of the PCs is a noble, whose father was given part of Conojora to settle, but his father was from a central province. During the civil war where Conan goes for the thrown, the PCs will be forced to chose sides: follow the foreigner who helped fight to defend his lands from the Picts, or given to the pressure of the local barons and follow the tyrant.

Up until then, there is plenty I want to do that won't overlap with Conan's adventures.
Interesting replies on all.
Im trying to run mine with Conan, as king right now. I think I was in middle school when I read any of the Conan books, so I dont really remember much... But so far, I've yet to have any of the PCs demand to see Conan, or really bring him up for that matter. The only question I recieved was, "Will our paths ever cross" and my reply was a simple " :) "
I'm running two campaigns that barely touch on Conan's life, but I set them in what I call 'Conan the Rogue' periods where everyone's favourite Cimmerian is still out wandering the streets of Hyborian, a danger to property and life. 8) My players aren't really ever interested in meeting him [after as they are a sorcerer heavy party he'd likely try and kill them all] so I just play it by ear.

I guess another concern would be not to let the legend of Conan overshadow the PC's and make their exploits seem meager. At the same time, remembering all of Conan's adversaries, their locations and plots, might become a bit of a chore.
I was thinking of going with Conan not in the picture, maybe have the action take place before Conan, or possible say he never existed. Thus, I would have to consider who is in power in say Aquilonia and Nemedia for example.
I haven't found keeping track of the stories a problem as such. The episodic nature of the game makes it easy to 'jump around', there's no need to stick to the official chronology. For example, my first game involved the PCs arriving in Khorshemish, then travelling to Arenjun, having heard rumours of the Tower of the Elephant. They tackled it and all but one died (in various ways.) The survivor decided to take it on again and did some recruiting in the Maul. That is where Conan got to hear of it. The PC's tried again, got some minor loot but ran away from Yag-Kosha (without actually investigating him/it.) Before they could try again, Conan paid the place a visit and the rest is history. There was no need for me to have stuck to the timeline but it was a convenient way to 'draw a line' under that particular adventure.