Conan Style Sorcery in non-Conan Setting


Banded Mongoose
My love-fest with the Conan RPG continues - I just got the Free Companies, Pirate Isles, and Road of Kings in the mail. Fantastic books! Of course, in my apparently ever-present desire to do all things the hard way, I use the Conan rules in a traditional D&D setting (Kalamar). However, the Sorcery rules are too good not to use but don't seem to fit all of the races/cultures found in a more "traditional" D&D/d20 setting. So here's a post I submitted on another gaming board.

If anyone else has used Conan with other d20/OGL products, specifically with regards to magic, any advice, suggestions, or horror stories are appreciated.

Here's the post:

Tailoring magic to fit this type of world

Ok, I've got to say it.

The base D&D spell system, Vancian magic, spell slots - whatever you want to call it.... sucks.

I know it's functional. I know it works. But it completely robs me and my games of any sense of wonder, risk, or satisfaction.

I know there is a large number of alternative magic systems on the market. Based on the posts I've read, some feel that they are completely incompatible. Others might just require tweaking. My d20/OGL library isn't extensive enough for me to know for sure. So for those who have looked at various alternatives, here's what I'm trying to accomplish:

Cultural or racial differences to magic. For example:

Humans, with their shorter lifespans seek the most power they can grab in the shortest period of time. My front-runner for this style of magic would be Conan's OGL Sorcery system. Humanity's frequent willingness to enter into pacts with demonic forces puts them at odds with some of the other races, such as the elves.

Elves - magic heavily influenced by or wholly based on nature-magic or the manipulation of elemental forces. Not necessarily limited to druid-style magic, but I just don't see the majority of elves tossing fireballs around the forest. The magic should be either harder to learn than sorcery or more subtle.

Dwarves - rune-magic. Slow to create, yet powerful in execution. As with the elves, at odds with the humans' desire for quick gain and/or high power.

Humanoids - perhaps sorcery ala humans, but probably with the demonic influence/corruption factor turned up to 11.

Conceivably, any race could learn any style of magic, but these are the arcane styles that the races tend to gravitate towards.

So any ideas? I'd be willing to work at tweaking and combining d20 variants, but I'd like to have a sense of where the strengths of the variants lie in achieving my goal. (Thanks to Turanil for his "variant magic" post.)

I'd even go along the lines of class-based magic. Humans are Scholars using Sorcery ala Conan, Elves are <insert class from d20 variant> using <magic system from d20 variant game>, etc. For example, I can extrapolate Conan-style Parry and Defense values to overcome compatibility issues.

Or am I better off house-ruling/redefining the base magic system? I.e. altering casting times, restricting spell availability, using spell points from UA, etc.

Has anyone else tried something similar?