Conan RPG Acheronian Edition

Majestic7

Mongoose
Conan RPG Acheronian Edition

Here is a set of modified rules aimed to repair certain mechanical imbalances that have proven to be very annoying in my Conan campaign. High level play (10+) has sorely needed several fixes. This set of house rules, done together with my player group, is what I hoped the Second Edition to be like. Thus behold this Acheronian aberration that slithers forth to blast your sanity with its unholy rules....

Attack and Defences

Attack and defence progression has been radically changed. Now it follows 4E/Star Wars Saga guidelines. Every character receives +1 to Attack, Parry, Dodge, Magic Attack, Fort, Ref and Will every even level. (+1 at 2,4,6,8,10 etc) The first character level gives certain basic bonuses. You can only receive a basic bonus once - so multiclassing does not grant basic bonuses from the other classes. Prestige classes give no additional benefits to defenses and attacks. Monsters and animals count their HD as levels for defence and attack progression. Most animals should get +1 Fort & Ref, while small creatures may get +2 Ref and big monsters +2 Fort. Every characters gets an extra attack every fifth level, starting from 5. (So a level 5 character has attacks with +5 and +0.)

Barbarian: +1 Dodge, +1 Fort, +1 Ref
Borderer: +1 Fort, +1 Ref, +1 Will
Noble: +1 Fort, +1 Will
Nomad: +1 Fort, +1 Ref
Pirate: +1 Fort, +1 Ref - Seamanship bonus to both attacks and dodge
Scholar: +1 Magic Attack, +2 Will
Soldier: +1 Attack, +1 Parry, +2 Fort
Temptress: +1 Ref, +1 Will
Thief: +2 Ref

Code of Honor grants +2 to Will, +4 vs Corruption. Faith gives +1 to Will.

Hit Points

Characters receive HPs worth of full class HD + Constitution score from the first level. Yes, this means that a Soldier with Con 18 will get 28 HP at the first level. Further levels grant 1/2 HD + Con modifier up to level 10 (9 HP per level for a Soldier with Con 18). Levels after 10 grant +1,+2,+3 to hit points according to the Atlantean Edition rules. Supernatural monsters are not limited by 10 HD rule!

Skills

Certain skills have decided to marry and form a happy union. Balance + Escape Artist + Tumble = Acrobatics. Climb + Jump = Athletics. Disable Device + Open Locks = Mechanics. Hide + Move Silently = Stealth. Listen + Spot = Perception. Bluff has brutally murdered, cooked and devoured Disguise, om nom nom nom. Forgery is now a Craft skill. Someone hanged Use Rope. Acrobatics can't be used for escaping Grapple, but one can use Dex as a base for an escape check instead of Str. (It would be too easy to get extremely high Grapple escape check.)

New skill: Knowledge (Demonology)(or Knowledge (Cthulhu Mythos) if that is your preference). This is knowledge for fell sorcerers and madmen about things from Beyond. It can be used to identify demons, know stuff about Mythos and so forth. It gives far more accurate and detailed information than Knowledge (Arcana). However, the more you know, the more susceptible you become to the Corrupting effect of those same forces. Every three ranks in this knowledge grants -1 penalty to Corruption and insanity saves.

Thieves have their skill point gain reduced to six per level, since many of their class skills have joined together.They still profit from the change, perhaps encouraging some cross-class skill picks.

Healing wounds works a bit differently. Heal check to treat a wound so it doesn't get infected is DC 15. In addition, first aid heals the character as the skill check, -15. So a Heal result of 30 will heal the character 15 hit points. A second check can be made for additional healing as the wounded character has a chance to rest.

No synergies, they are too messy.

Feats & Sorcery

MAB requirements for feats, spells and prestige classes are now requirement x 2 = level. In other words, Dread Serpent (Prerequisite: MAB +4) now requires eight character class levels or monster HD. Any class will do, so Scholar 2/Barbarian 4 may gain access to spells that require MAB +3 or six levels in Acheronian Edition. All classes except Scholar count as a half caster level - Scholar 2/Barbarian 4 has four caster levels in regards to spell effects.(Scholar levels provide full caster level.) BAB requirements are replaced with an equal level requirement. For example, Improved Critical requires BAB +8 and in the Acheronian Edition this converts to eight character levels regardless of a class.

Dabblers may select any Sorcery Style that does not require other Sorcery Styles as a requirement. Thus Immortality and Cosmic Sorcery, for example, are not available for a Dabbler, but Summonings and Necromancy are. Sorcery is available once per week, not once per month.

New feat: Student of Sorcery
Requires: Dabbler or one or more Sorcery Styles
If a Dabbler takes Student of Sorcery, he gains a basic spell in the type of sorcery he had been dabbling in. Effectively, he has gained access to the Sorcery Style and may learn further spells from it through other means. (Sorcerous tomes, demonic instruction, feats and Scholar levels.) If a proper sorcerer takes this feat, he gains one Advanced Spell.

New feat: Sorcerous Training
Requires: Student of Sorcery
Taking this feat grants the character access to an additional Sorcery Style, immediately granting its basic spell. This feat can be taken multiple times to gain access in several extra styles.

Master Alchemist. This feat is based on the Savant variant of the Scholar class. Scholar may take either Knowledge is Power or Master Alchemist on the first level. MA allows the character to choose 1 + Int modifier alchemical recipes. He may then produce them at half the usual cost. A Scholar that has chosen KiP may take MA with a feat or the other way around.

Power Attack & Magic Power Attack. The limit for both is character level / 2. (Max -5 to hit with PA on level 10 and so forth.)

(Improved) Feint. Bluff check is taken as an opposed roll versus level + Sense Motive. So if a thief tries to feint a second level Soldier, he rolls against the bluff check result with 2 + Wis + Sense Motive ranks.

Parry bonus gained from Intricate Swordplay does not stack with parry gained from shields. Shields still grant dodge bonus against missiles, if a character with the feat chooses to carry one.

Critical Hits & Massive Damage

We use Paizo critical hit card deck -
http://paizo.com/gameMastery/accessories/v5748btpy7wv9&source=top
Critical hits are handled as per the deck.

Failed fort save after Massive Damage results in a critical hit as per a critical with the attack that caused MD. Results of this critical card may not cause a new MD, no matter how much damage it inflicts. If a normal critical hit causes a Massive Damage and the save is failed, the victim suffers additional hurt worth the attacks maximum damage. (20 + modifiers for a greatsword etc.) This additional damage may not cause a new MD even if it is 20+ points.

Hero Points & Fate Points

Four classic uses for Fate Points - Left for Dead, Destiny, Might Blow and curing Corruption. These work according to Atlantean Edition. Fate Points are received only for great heroics, reaching major goals and surviving against incredible odds.

In addition, every character has one Hero Point per adventurous scene or one week of downtime. Thus if two thieves go to rob tombs at two nights in a row, they have one Hero Point during each robbery. If an alchemist spends four weeks in a laboratory, he has one Hero Point per week. GM may allow players recover used Hero Points at whim when they seem to need an edge and deserve it. Hero Points can be used for following purposes:

Gain immediately +5 to Dodge and Parry for one round
Reroll one d20 roll, such as an attack roll, initiative, skill check or save
Immediately recover hit points equal to Constitution score
Ignore Terror of the Unknown
"Reset" Dabbler, allowing another use of sorcery

Random Tweaks

Crossbows have AP 6 and do 2d8 damage. Arbalests have AP 10 and do 2d10 damage. Both are simple weapons.

No arcane spell failure for wearing armor.

No High Living rule enforced.

Followers gained through Leadership can be "spent" to gain followers of higher level in 3-to-1 conversion. For example, three first level followers can be "converted" to a one second level follower. Converting first level followers in to level four followers would thus cost a lot as the multipliers stack. It should still be possible if the player wants a small elite group of henchmen rather than a horde of peasants as his entourage.

Thief gains Sneak Attack dice every third level, starting from first. (1 - 3 - 6 - 9 etc.)

Purpose of the Acheronian Edition

Repairing attack and defence progression is the single most important tweak. It accomplishes two things - first, characters who are at the same level can no longer hit each other trivially with every attack. Second, Power Attack is no longer the guaranteed way to defeat every opponent. Third, everyone has a chance to succeed in almost every save even without a natural 20. Together with hit point progression, massed amount of lower level NPCs are now a much greater threat. They endure more punishment and multiple attacker rule gives them significant bonuses to hit. Combat and adventure in general are more exciting at all levels.

Sorcery tweaks make it more possible for every character to learn a little sorcery if desirable. This makes it easier to build characters (NPCs and PCs) that can, for example, be pure Nobles but still have a Demonic Pact without a need for a third party sorcerer. Attack progression gives Dabblers a chance to succeed in, say, a random Counterspell against a real sorcerer. Pure Scholars will still always be better in sorcery than feat-based tricksters and multiclassed Scholars. Only Scholar levels provide more Power Points, multipliers for extra PPs, "free" spells and 1-to-1 caster levels.

Edit - Added Heal changes, sneak attack nerf for thieves
Edit2 - Added no synergy, multiple attacks
 

Edhel

Mongoose
I approve this message - although this is still a work in progress and needs playtesting.

I'd mutilate the skill system more to make it comparable with attacks and defenses just to give more uses to it - especially in combat. Some maneuvers and even spells could benefit from it.
 
Majestic7 said:
Characters receive HPs worth of full class HD + Constitution score from the first level.

This part, for what its worth, was adopted into the 2E rules.

Levels beyond 1st, though, have HD rolled for HP, as usual, until 11th level.
 

Trodax

Mongoose
Interesting stuff... I also think that the balance between attack and defense progression is slighty off in Conan, and this is even though I've never actually run a game above 10th level. I don't know, it just feels like attacks are landing a little too frequently when everyone is hitting on 8+ or so, and with weapon damage being quite brutal, combat can actually be just a notch too deadly for my taste (I enjoy the deadliness, but I would rather that it took a round or two extra to get there). I also do think the simplicity of D&D 4th when it comes to this stuff is attractive (haven't played the game yet, though). Therefore, I do like the direction you're taking this.

However, I'm a little concerned that the classes will be somewhat unbalanced if these are the only changes you're making to them. For example, I'm thinking that thieves will be particularly deadly because they still get their scary-as-hell sneak attack progression, but are now on almost equal ground with the 'fighty' classes when it comes to attack and defense. Have you had the chance to playtest any of this yet?

Majestic7 said:
Someone hanged Use Rope.
It was certainly about time someone did this! I heartily approve of this execution.

I also like many of the other small changes you're making, such as the tweak to Intricate Swordplay and the use of Hero points.

Supplement Four said:
Majestic7 said:
Characters receive HPs worth of full class HD + Constitution score from the first level.
This part, for what its worth, was adopted into the 2E rules.
The Constitution score is new. In Conan (both editions) you get maximum amount on the die + Con modifier at first level.
 

Majestic7

Mongoose
Trodax said:
Interesting stuff... I also think that the balance between attack and defense progression is slighty off in Conan, and this is even though I've never actually run a game above 10th level. I don't know, it just feels like attacks are landing a little too frequently when everyone is hitting on 8+ or so, and with weapon damage being quite brutal, combat can actually be just a notch too deadly for my taste (I enjoy the deadliness, but I would rather that it took a round or two extra to get there). I also do think the simplicity of D&D 4th when it comes to this stuff is attractive (haven't played the game yet, though). Therefore, I do like the direction you're taking this.

Yeah, I like deadly combat very much - but more precisely, I like that effects of a good hit are deadly. I don't like it if every attack is pretty much guaranteed to hit. This should fix that problem while keeping the combat lethal. Critical cards may cause permanent damage, such as a character losing eyesight or a limb, which should be much fun.

However, I'm a little concerned that the classes will be somewhat unbalanced if these are the only changes you're making to them. For example, I'm thinking that thieves will be particularly deadly because they still get their scary-as-hell sneak attack progression, but are now on almost equal ground with the 'fighty' classes when it comes to attack and defense. Have you had the chance to playtest any of this yet?

Playing today. It might be that sneak attack has to be nerfed - mainly a few extra damage dice removed if it seems too effective. However, it still requires a set of special conditions to use. The thief (or a pirate or a temptress) needs to catch the enemy unaware or flank him. The basic damage from the attack needs to punch through enemy DR before sneak attack dice are added - if it doesn't penetrate, no sneak attack, so heavily armored foes are much harder to stab. Weapon finesse & Improved Feint are most likely still very powerful. They don't help against monsters though - you get that -4 or -8 to Bluff when trying to feint strange creatures and nasty monsters have a lot of HD which goes directly in to Sense Motive roll as a bonus.
 

Teriudin

Mongoose
I like this, it takes all the good stuff from 4E and applies it to the game we love.

Especially the combination of skills and the change to Massive Damage.
 

warzen

Mongoose
Majestic7,
I think you should add the healing surge from 4E. The second wind, at least, is a nice option.

W.
 

Majestic7

Mongoose
warzen said:
Majestic7,
I think you should add the healing surge from 4E. The second wind, at least, is a nice option.

W.

I think the healing surges make it far too easy to endure a lot of damage without dying. There is Hero Point use for receiving some hit points that fills the same slot, but isn't as overpowering.
 

seanbickford

Mongoose
I love it!

I think you and I have very similar game philosophies... this mimics a lot of Cthulhu games, deadly combat included. As far as hero points go, I really like the game mechanic that is found in Hyboria's Fallen where characters use Fate Points that are recovered the next day. This is cool because it creates a risk for characters who use their last Fate Point on abilities to permanently die. I also like a varation of healing surge, although I don't think it should be an ability that one gets a certain number of times a day.

They really need to hire us to work on Conan 4, throw d20 the wind, get Vincent to provide historical/literary background, and hire a talented artist to provide consistent art for the series (much like DiTerlizzi did for Planescape), and bring back color interiors. Let's do it!

Sean
 

quigs

Mongoose
It's interesting to note that all the issues you are correcting are based off the d20 system in general.

I'd highly recommend the Savage Worlds - Explorer's Edition rules for a Conan game. I ran one for a while with only 2 players and it was one of the most fun games I've every played, both for the players and the GM.

Personally, I tend to prefer game rules that don't require house rules to make them fun or playable.
 

Majestic7

Mongoose
quigs said:
It's interesting to note that all the issues you are correcting are based off the d20 system in general.

I'd highly recommend the Savage Worlds - Explorer's Edition rules for a Conan game. I ran one for a while with only 2 players and it was one of the most fun games I've every played, both for the players and the GM.

Personally, I tend to prefer game rules that don't require house rules to make them fun or playable.

These rules are very much based on D20 system - just not on D&D 3.5. Rather, the base is 4th Edition and Star Wars Saga Edition. The base of these rule changes is laziness. I want to keep running my current Conan campaign with as little trouble as possible. Thus it is easier to convert the system a little than start converting characters to an entirely new system - not to even mention learning how to use that system myself. Means that I don't need to buy new books too.
 

Majestic7

Mongoose
seanbickford said:
I love it!

I think you and I have very similar game philosophies... this mimics a lot of Cthulhu games, deadly combat included. As far as hero points go, I really like the game mechanic that is found in Hyboria's Fallen where characters use Fate Points that are recovered the next day. This is cool because it creates a risk for characters who use their last Fate Point on abilities to permanently die. I also like a varation of healing surge, although I don't think it should be an ability that one gets a certain number of times a day.

Glad if you like it. The purpose of Hero Points is to give some edge to the player characters, while keeping Fate Points special. I think they fill that bill pretty nicely. I wanted to limit healing potential of the characters. I like it very much that there is no (easy) magical healing available in Conan, but the characters must just bear under their wounds. Heh and it would be fun to make Conan 3rd Edition, too bad it will never come true. I was very disappointed with the Second Edition, especially the poison rules showed how little Mongoose staff seem to understand D20. Fluff contents of the products have been excellent, but much of the crunch has been pretty bad.
 

Spectator

Mongoose
It would be great if you could compile these rules into a WORD document, and then let it be known through some PMs.

Great job!
PS I loved reading your adventure summaries as well.
 

Sutek

Mongoose
I'm still not sure I like it, but I can't tell yet.

I'd have thought you'd jsut delay the advancement of BAB by cranking back classes getting bonuses until about 3rd level or so. I'm not sure I agree with making all of the values even accross the board with only the minor tweaks depending on class. I'd have to see how it works out in gameplay, but it seems like you're throwing out the baby with the bath water.

Honestly, I've also never been a huge fan of skill coalscance. There's always a time when someone must move silently but hiding is impossible, or vice versa. And I have Rope Use used quite a lot. Skill plus die roll amounting to setting a DC to defeat the knot/restraints. I'm not quite sure why anyone would ever want to get rid of it.

If attacks are hitting too easily, then increase the number of enemies oming in at the group. Then you have outnumbering putting your PCs in jeopardy. I don't think that these changes are really necessary, and they steer the game away from a "Conan Feel".

I'll look at it more closely with the book open, but so far, I'm not on the same page with you. But, obviously, if your players like the changes, then great.
 

Hervé

Mongoose
Spectator wrote:
It would be great if you could compile these rules into a WORD document, and then let it be known through some PMs.

Just select the text you want on the forum, copy it and paste it on a empty WORD document and you'll have your compilation. I've been doing this for years on this forum, stealing all other people nice ideas I could never have had by myself! :wink:
 

Edhel

Mongoose
Sutek said:
I'm still not sure I like it, but I can't tell yet.

I'd have thought you'd jsut delay the advancement of BAB by cranking back classes getting bonuses until about 3rd level or so.

What would that solve? The math would stay the same.

Sutek said:
I'm not sure I agree with making all of the values even accross the board with only the minor tweaks depending on class. I'd have to see how it works out in gameplay, but it seems like you're throwing out the baby with the bath water.

Please elaborate.

I wrote this piece earlier to the 'repairing attack / defense progression' to explain the decisions.

The values are NOT even. E.g. the soldier's attack bonus is easily +2-3 better than anyone else's. Feats and formation combat take care of that.


Sutek said:
Honestly, I've also never been a huge fan of skill coalscance. There's always a time when someone must move silently but hiding is impossible, or vice versa. And I have Rope Use used quite a lot. Skill plus die roll amounting to setting a DC to defeat the knot/restraints. I'm not quite sure why anyone would ever want to get rid of it.

Sure, you can keep it in your game if you like. Just like 3.0 skills Read Lips, Intuit Direction and others - or you can just include the Use Rope to some other skill to have a more elegant skill list. You could also make tying a rope a Dex check, with bonuses from good ropes or relevant professions (eg. sailor).

The skill list is pretty arbitary and you can edit it to suit your gaming needs.

Sutek said:
If attacks are hitting too easily, then increase the number of enemies oming in at the group. Then you have outnumbering putting your PCs in jeopardy. I don't think that these changes are really necessary, and they steer the game away from a "Conan Feel".

I'm all for hordes of enemies and 4e style minion rules but Majestic doesn't like them. It's debatable but I think our current system makes combat more interesting and challenging (which equals fun for me). Bad math and poor game mechanics doesn't make Conan rpg feel any more Conan for me.

114_SNAKES.jpg
 

Sutek

Mongoose
The low masive damage value of Conan is, in essence, the Minion Rule from 4e. At a certain point 20+ points of damage is happening nearly every strike, resulting in rolling heads and bisected bodies galore. It is a factor of the high instance of attack/hit frequency that makes Cleave/Great Cleave work.

By delaying BAB bonuses, I mean pushing things up to 3rd level, or whatever level you like, such that a Barbarian, for example, wouldn't get a +1 BAB until 4th. Yes, the math stays the same, but not so early in level progression, so that at higher levels, there's no +14 BAB or whatever.

As it is now, gaining +1 to all (BAB thru WILL) at every even level, every class gainst an additional attack at 12th level, also. At least if you're sticking to iterative attacks mechanics (every +6 BAB adds an additional +1 iterative attack). You don't address that in these rules. Now, I'm okay with that applying to martial classes, but Nobles and Sorcerers shouldn't get that progression. Nether should Thieves or Borderers, really. That's why there are three progressions, even though as they stand they allow for (ahem) high accuracy and easy hitting. You will want a broader variation between classes combat wise, otherwise a Srcerer is just as good in close combat as a Barbarian, and that breaks the Feat system, not to mention being rather unrealistic.

Making Rope Use a DEX check is valid, one could choose to do that. But for that matter, Hide/Stealth could be as well. WHy have the skill list at all? Yes, please do pick and choose and glom them all together, but remember this: One problem we had with 4th edition was that there's no Appraise Skill. Yes, really. We looked it up for about an hour before finally coming to the un-aied conclusion, through deduction rather than any explicit rule, that gems had only four values, and weapons and armor were worth whatever they were in the equipment lists...and everyone in the world has just memorized that crap. It's a silly 'delete' and took a large portion of Role Playing my Thief completely out of the game, because I could no longer have the abiltiy to dupe my fellow party memebers in character with my high Bluff Skill, etc.

Honestly, connection between skills is handeld just fine with Synergy in my opinion, and I allow Synergy Bonuses to stack, so that Tumble, Climb and Balance all end up boosting a single Climb check. I just feel like stripping it all back to just a few skills doesn't allow for the customizability that I like, or that the game works really well with. If you enjoy not having the Appraise, Rope Use or Forgery skills...knock yourself out. I just think it's an unnecessary rule change.
 

Ichabod

Mongoose
Sutek said:
The low masive damage value of Conan is, in essence, the Minion Rule from 4e. At a certain point 20+ points of damage is happening nearly every strike, resulting in rolling heads and bisected bodies galore. It is a factor of the high instance of attack/hit frequency that makes Cleave/Great Cleave work.

Interestingly, there doesn't seem to be a lot of higher level Conan play. Majestic 7 is trying to address one problem that I think a number of people see as characters get up in level - everything connects. Massive damage might be the PCs' friend in mid levels where a GM may be more inclined to throw hordes that can't do massive damage or big bads that don't do it in every shot, but the kind of opposition we see at higher levels is hordes of 24 STR, Power Attackers or monsters with like 36 STR. In such cases, MDSs suck for PCs as it's extremely difficult to get Fort saves up high enough that it isn't better than a coin toss whether Diehard kicks in.

Including our experiences, I'm aware of at least three groups that have complained about how there's something broken in the offense to defense ratio. I don't recall anyone playing 12th+ level games that has said everything is cool.

Rather than M7's rewrite of the game, since if you are going to rewrite the game, I'd fix tons of other things first, I'd be inclined to try Clovenhoof's DV progression bump to see if it works.

As for consolidating skills, while there are certainly times when Listen is different from Spot and Hide is different from Move Silently, the number of instances is too small in my mind to justify players having to waste precious skill ranks. Furthermore, it's just as implausible to have specialists as it is to have everyone be equally good at the related skills. The number of awesome Listeners who suck at Spotting is, um, not so high. Such things would be better served with some sort of quirk or disadvantage mechanic.

The fewer things that someone is forced to spend ranks on, the more they can toss ranks into more flavorful skills, like performs, professions, crafts (mundane). Those three are never not going to be a problem given how inferior they are to adventuring skills, but as a patch on the game before doing a major overhaul some consolidation of the excessive adventuring skills seems appropriate. Of course, another house rule could be to simply go through the skill list, prune everything that isn't adventuring effective in terms of being something that you assign ranks to, and assign values in those skills based on character concept and player/GM agreement.
 

Majestic7

Mongoose
Sutek said:
I'm still not sure I like it, but I can't tell yet.

I'd have thought you'd jsut delay the advancement of BAB by cranking back classes getting bonuses until about 3rd level or so. I'm not sure I agree with making all of the values even accross the board with only the minor tweaks depending on class. I'd have to see how it works out in gameplay, but it seems like you're throwing out the baby with the bath water.

Let me elaborate on what this fixes with an example.

Two level 10 barbarians are hacking at each other with greatswords. Let's say that they both have Str 20 and Dex 18. That means their primary attack bonus is +15 while their Dodge is 21. It means they hit other with a roll of 6 from d20. They can safely use four points of Power Attack and still have a roughly 50% chance to hit. This results in 2d10+15 damage per strike. It means causing massive damage with pretty much every blow (without DR and armor would get damaged by the first such strike). Using two points of Power Attack is most likely the sweet point, with 2d10+11 on damage and still hitting with more than 50% chance. It is almost like flipping a coin to see who dies and who lives.

In the Acheronian Edition those barbarians have +10 to hit and Dodge 20 with the same abilities. It means they now need to roll 10 to hit. Using Power Attack is no longer a no-brainer. Rather it is a tactical decision dependant on the circumstances, since the chance of hitting starts to get so much lower.

At the same time, a first level soldier may still easily have +6 to hit, meaning a hit with the result of 14 against a nine level higher target. This makes it challenging to hit them, but keeps it within the realm of possibility.

The thing about two high level barbarians being able to hit each other with ~every blow is what bugs me about RAW. I must ask - have you played or ran level 10+ game in Conan? If you have, why you haven't found this to be annoying? I think it to be both unexciting and foolish if combat between two high level characters is so trivial and mainly decided through initiative. It is foolish both through a gamistic point of view and Howardian view - if you look at the stories, there are many long duels there where chance (= d20) really solves it in the end.

Honestly, I've also never been a huge fan of skill coalscance. There's always a time when someone must move silently but hiding is impossible, or vice versa. And I have Rope Use used quite a lot. Skill plus die roll amounting to setting a DC to defeat the knot/restraints. I'm not quite sure why anyone would ever want to get rid of it.

Meh, you can just use Profession (Sailor), Profession (Bounty Hunter) or whatever for that. Use Rope is just so specific that it is like demanding there to be Weather Sense, Foraging, Hunting and Navigation instead of Survival. However, to each their own. Point of the Acheronian Edition is that specialist skills can be handled through Craft and Profession since they are used so rarely. I'm not saying that you should remove Use Rope from your games, I'm just trying to open up the logic behind removing it.

If attacks are hitting too easily, then increase the number of enemies oming in at the group. Then you have outnumbering putting your PCs in jeopardy. I don't think that these changes are really necessary, and they steer the game away from a "Conan Feel".

Hordes of minions were never the trouble. It is combat between two or several high level dudes that is broken. Throwing twelve ten level enemies at the players would simply feel silly when equal number or even fewer should be enough for a challenging exciting battle. Perhaps the game was designed thinking that only PCs will be at high level, endlessly fighting against human mooks or monsters... if that is the case, it is a design flaw. I think it is just an oversight and testing was mainly done with lower level characters and not much character class vs character class.

Oh and please explain me, how this away from "Conan feel"? Really, I have no idea how actually being possible to miss with a strike against an equally good (or better!) opponent makes the game less Conan.
 
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