Challenge Ratings?

Red Tulwar

I noticed that the statistics for the Man-Ape in Preview 2 was missing a Challenge Rating value. Was this a misprint? If it was intentional, how is experience calculated in the Conan game? And how do you calculate a challenge level for a given scenario?
No it's not a misprint, creatures in Conan aren't given CRs.

Experience is awarded by the GM on a sessional and accomplishment basis. In essence, unlike D&D the reward mechanism is more narrative driven.

As for calculating the challenge level, it's made more flexible for GMs than in standard d20/
Good to hear, I prefer it that way.
Helps to prevent some players to "munchkin" too much, like "Great, these nasties offers an excellent XP/difficulty ratio". Keep it narrative driven, as D20 have enough heavy mechanics as it is. (for my tastes anyway) :)
I like the idea of awarding xp based on narritive accomplishments, but CRs are still useful for determining how challenging an encounter might be for a party. Even though people might complain about them, I consider them one of the strengths of D20 - especially considering that most games don't have anything like it. Removing them from the game just removes a helpful tool from the GM's arsenal.

Is there some sort of alternate system to determine how tough an encounter might be?

If a monster proves too tough, the characters should just run away, as Conan ran from Akivasha in Hour of the Dragon. I don't think there needs to be a system to indicate difficulty.

CR's were always screwy anyway. Depending on how you played the critter, the toughness varied. Most of my players would rather tangle with a high CR ogre than with a simple alligator in my campaign, despite CRs.
VincentDarlage said:
CR's were always screwy anyway. Depending on how you played the critter, the toughness varied.
That's exactly my point, I always provide my players with a detailed description of the environment where the combat takes place, providing subtle hints as to what can be used. If they dispatch their foes using some cunning tactics, then I reward them extra XPs for their trouble. That way, it makes for more dynamic and cinematic fights instead of your standard "Here's my to hit roll, it's a hit; here's my damage roll, now it's the turn of the nasties..."
VincentDarlage said:
If a monster proves too tough, the characters should just run away, as Conan ran from Akivasha in Hour of the Dragon. I don't think there needs to be a system to indicate difficulty.

Exactly, I played D&D for many years with no CRs. When I ran 3E for a group, I ran it just like I ran games back in the day - you encounter things and you decide how you will interact with them: talk, fight, run, etc. For instance, those PCs encountered a manticore at 2nd level, and later, while still 2nd level encountered a beholder. They elected to fight neither (spoke with the manticore, ran from the beholder), though did fight various lesser minions, e.g. orcs and ogres. While the manticore and beholder were obvious examples, PCs sometimes do have a hard time discerning what they should do, since they have paper courage (the character is merely represented by paper), so I try to elaborate the nature of the danger to represent what the character would be perceiving, so the PCs can make informed choices (e.g., when 2 3rd level characters encountered a troll, and were considering fighting initially).
Although I certainly can enjoy the Conan RPG without CRs, I still wish they had been included.

I enjoy using CRs in my D&D campaigns, and appreciate the time and care taken in providing a CR for each encounter. While there are times the relative challenge rating did not mesh well in some instances, I have found the CR system in D&D 3.0 and 3.5 to be an invaluable tool in creating adventures. In fact, I can follow the encounter creation rules in the Dungeon Master's Guide to the letter and craft a well balanced, yet challenging adventure for my players with ease. All-in-all, CRs are a good thing.

I am in agreement that a Conan adventure need not play in the same fashion as a D&D dungeon crawl. Still, CRs wil be sorely missed. As most RPGs lack reliable challenge rating systems, I am used to doing without. I can gauge relative strengths well enough on my own, but still appreciate useful information compiled by game designers and play testers.
I always had a problem with 'well-balanced' adventures. I put whatever is appropriate for the situation into an adventure, regardless of the character level. It was up to the players to decide their capabilities, not to trust me to be fair. If a situation or scenerio called for something extremely powerful, and the PC's were low level, so be it. Likewise if the High Level PC's venture someplace where it is appropriate to have weak things, then that is what they found.

Otherwise, it seems like monsters of certain CRs wait around, lurking, hoping, longing for the chance that a group of PC's can rise up in level high enough for them to come out and play.

Just put the monsters that are appropriate to the place there and go on.
I can see what you're saying Vincent. I just think that CRs make the job easier. You, the GM, know exactly how tough a creature is when you put him in the game. That does not mean you have to design perfectly balanced characters, but it does help you pick the best creatures for the job at hand.

Mongoose'd have to find a new way to calculate CR because the traditional means would not work as they are based on characters having a certain amount of magical equipment, something no Conan RPG character will have, at least not in those quantities.
You know, I've written some professional d20 stuff, and am not convinced that CRs work very well at all.

I think they're a nice ballpark figure, but clever strategy from players, or cunning use of a monster's special abilities can make all the difference and can make CR values moot. Even simple use of terrain and cover by a monster can make a low-CR monster immensely difficult to handle.

As for implementation in Conan, I think the GM will have to be the best judge of what is suitable for the encounter - using its purpose as a judge for how tough it should be.

I should note that I'm definitely of the "fudge the results if the story calls for it" school of GMing, so I don't miss them in Conan.