Devils advocate - Why should I play Conan instead of D&D

Azgulor said:
Only in a lip-service kind of way. The D&D core books primarily use Greyhawk window dressing to provide examples of how D&D can be used/applied (such as deities, etc.). The setting doesn't receive anything close to the support that Forgotten Realms or Eberron receives, so it's very questionable to some whether Greyhawk is truly an actively supported setting. You do still see the occasional Greyhawk-specific aritcle or adventure in Dragon and Dungeon magazines.


That's true. Greyhawk is laid out as the generic example, but there's no map, no real gazeteer and no real description of the kingdoms except what appears in modules. There was a Greyhawk gazeteer some time back (early 3rd edition) but nothing has been followed up on.

There's nowhere near the thuroughness in D&D that exists with Conan unless you dealve into Forgotten Realms or, maybe, Ebberon. I personally think Ebberon is one of the weakest ideas I've ever seen for a "unique campaign world". I honestly have no idea how that guy won except that he must have just had a goodf pitch and noone else did. It's still humans, elves and dwarves with the few new, odd races tossed in, and it has no real unique feel to it. It's just a different D&D world with diferent spells and monsters to level up on. Boring.

FR at least has a rich social structure to it and a huge pantheon of gods which most of the world really feeds off of.

Conan just has that "grounded in reality" sensibility to it and offers a modicum of consistancy that soem player might find appealing. There's always that moment wher ethe players know they're powerful and so does the GM. Suddenly he whips out a dragon on them to teach them a lesson. That's because he can based soley on CR and appropriate threat level and encounter level. There's none of that to rely on in Conan, and that's on purpose. The result is that big, bad baddies will only show up for story reasons, and that's a lot more conducive for role -play. That's not to say that a good D&D GM can't pull off a really sweet role playing adventure that involves dragons; far from it. What I mean is that in Conan, that's about the only way to play: putting story ahead of hack/slash. And that's even though the hack/slash element is super high in Conan and super deadly.
Hammer of Ulric said:
I bought the rulebook and a couple of supplements, and all I could say is, it's D&D without nonhumans.

So sell me on it.

What's special about this RPG over all the others out there? Don't say Conan himself, because we've all seen Conan type players and NPCs in other settings.

I want to like it, I really do, so sell me!

Now that a dozen or so people spent their time and gave you first hand info, it would have been a polite thing to say "thanks, guys!"...
Better yet, do you think we're wrong? Probably didn't think you get all these responses, but do any of them appeal to you; make you want to set up a game?

Outside the human race-only setting that is foundin Conan, the essentiel difference lies in magic. While in DD a mage can do almost everything with spells, Conan RPG has only dark sorcery. It touches the soul and the mind and summons demons, but you won't have such things as invisibility, fireball, and all the flashy spells.
In Conan everything you do is done with the strenght of your arms and the wits of your mind.
As a consequence, there is also practically no magic items.; there are at least very rare.
But you stil can say it's DnD without non human races and without high fantasy and magic...

Now about being a devil's advocate I may laugh because the kings and religion weren't involved in any of the recent war over the last 200 years.
The differences are HUGE!

To be honest I'm worried about that, the system is very different, Combat and Magic are a lot different than the combat and magic in D&D.

I'm still studying the rules.

But the bigger difference is the world itself, I couldn't ask for a more complex world, it has everything I could ask for. And I also think about Conan RPG as a mature RPG.
Right. The magic system is VERY different and does not negate important aspects of the game like DnD magic does.

For example, skills are important in Conan. Therefore, you won't find spells that negate the need for skills. Why would anyone take ranks in Heal if someone can cast Cure Light Wounds? Why bother to take ranks in Move Silently, if a spell or magic item can give a +10 or +20 bonus to the skill?

Combat is also important to Conan. Combat via swords, that is. Therefore, you will not find many general melee-functional spells, like lightning bolt and magic missile. Scholars can use any simple weapon, so they may as well use a hunting bow and a mace to get by in combat, and use the spells for other things.
VincentDarlage said:
Right. The magic system is VERY different and does not negate important aspects of the game like DnD magic does.

For example, skills are important in Conan. Therefore, you won't find spells that negate the need for skills. Why would anyone take ranks in Heal if someone can cast Cure Light Wounds? Why bother to take ranks in Move Silently, if a spell or magic item can give a +10 or +20 bonus to the skill?

Exactly, with this magic system, you still have place for skills and imagination to solve "problems".

THATS what I like.
I have read some Conan books when I was younger and have always liked the world and setting and after I read this thread I ordered Conan the Atlantean Edition :)

I looks awsome and I can't wait until I get the main book.

Btw, does anyone have any suggestions what books I should buy after the core book (I'll mostlikely buy them all, but the best ones to start with)?
Use the search function at the top of the forums to look for key words for that topic. There have been a lot of threads covering what books to buy and in what order. One of the longest is here.
Hello Folks,

Decided to finally reply for thins one.

What sells me on Conan is the conssitant setting. I personally have no problem with high fantasy with heavy magic. The domination of magic in such can be mitigated by good GM (magic dead zones and Dispel Magic traps anyone :twisted: ), but as some have said, most settings are looking for a reason to exist it seems. Worse, most are 21st century "PC" wonderfests with castles and funny clothing. Basicly, modern world sensibilities with medieval trappings!
This game is different.
Conan is a living, breathing world with very different sensablities and not a drop of "PC"-ness. In fact it can make even I, the very un-PC (and famous for it) former jarhead wince! The Players are going to have to definitely read at least one REH authored book to get the "feel" of the place on top of the material from the game book.
Many have said the combat can be deadly. It is, but only if you're stuck in "D&D" mode. A GM of mine once ran a GURPS fantasy adventure and players dropped like flies, not because they were stupid (well, yeah they were :roll: ) but rather they were stuck in the said mode. You know: "Twenty orcs, four of us? Not even a workout!" Well, after a couple BLED TO DEATH after winning, they learned. From now on we had to USE OUR BRAINS! egads. Worse we had to actually figure out if the fight was actually worth it! The horror :shock: ! In Hyboria, you can die. For good. This is the really real world, there is no coming back. If you really want to be mean, throw in gangrine!
Lastly the setting; due to it's deepness and cultureal quirks such as racism, sexism and slavery; will push real roleplaying. For example, a Kushite is nothing like a Hyborian in outlook. Sure a elf and dwarf are SUPPOSED to be different, but other than the dwarf being rude, how many bother? A Kushite is from a tropical land were he grew up in a small village and everything is out to get you (seen a Africa nature documentery!). The Hyborian, no matter how poor, sees himself as a highly civilized and a member of the greatest civilization on Earth (or where ever). Everyone else is second best, or worse, Barbarians (like said Kushite). Plus, he's going to let everyone know it.
Now you, as the GM, can make that Kushite character realize he's not the Realms anymore! Every Hyborian is going to treat him like dirt, as an ignorant savage. This will piss him off likely, but the minute that Kushite gets in someone's face, he's going to learn what it's like to be Rodney King. If he's lucky. And no wizard to pull his butt out of this one either! Oh yeah, all that treasure he's accrued? It's now been unaccrued, plus everything else but the loin cloth around his waist. Hey, it happened to Conan, alot (and happened to MY Kushite). So much for Monty Hall folks 8)! Back to square one. And getting out of this cage :? . Gasp, the player is going to be forced to actually play something besides a early 21st century fellow geek! Even if it's playing a stereotype, at least it's ROLEplaying :shock:. BTW, I have done research into the Maasai and Sotho in order to play Sanga well.
Maybe your players will not like all this, but few in my group minded once they started getting points for real roleplaying (not for killing, our GM is real chary on such: it's got to be a REAL threat) and for character development (drawings, histories, ect.). Do this and see them bloom I expect. A little rambling but there it is.
welcome to the boards old boy time I feel time to put in my ideas for what their worth :shock: conan is low fantasy instead of high I came from CoC and planescape stuck on slaine but preparing for conan and its the gritty non pc horror is horror feel :twisted:

if you want celtic go slaine but be prepared to do alot of the work yourself if you want high fantasy go lone wolf if you dont mind the work or wait for rune quest with its promised support,but conan for support is king and their is alot to come campains that span the world and books on shem have been written and we are awaiting them :wink:

skills and multi-classing means you can have very complex creatures as pc and non pc after all conan is a barbarian/pirate/noble mix which is some example had played some tasters and they seem to love the anti-monty haul feel money is for wenching not saving seems to strike a cord with my lot

didnt mean to write this much but conan is worth it play it and see :twisted:
D&D is not a bad game... I've had some great D&D sessions in the past, until I ran my first Conan games. However, soon it turns into a constant loot frenzy where you try to accumulate more magical items, weapons, armour, money and of course XPs so you can survive... Conan has none of that crap. When one of my players made a big fuss about his horse getting killed I started the next adventure with the whole party as chained slaves with no property and a bleak future (which put things into perspective real fast)...

Conan is not about material possessions or power combos. Its about atmosphere. Having a +3 sword of wounding doesn't mean much. Walking into a the camp of a Shemitish asshuri with a simple sabre with a silver or gold pommel will have a much greater effect. Its about making choices and living with the consequences. You never know if you'll be able to take the mercenary eyeing you across a crowded room, or what powers a sorcerer has. You have to decide whether to take him on and know that it's him or you...

Conan is fun. Admittedly there is a steep learning curve where PCs learn that running away is definitely an option, but that's to be expected. I've found that thinking of Conan as a TV series makes my life easier. If I want the PCs to be somewhere they start the adventure off without any of the boring downtime involved in travelling. If I want the players to start right in the middle of the action, that's even better. I keep throwing stuff (challenges, decisions, demons, rampaging armies) and force them to react fast. Conan is fast, neckbreaking action and it should be run that way. It makes your life as a DM simpler (no stupid random encounters or endless haggling at the baazar), it makes a much much more interesting game, and its true to form. You can concentrate on evocative description, really strong characters and the action without bothering about the non-essentials. D&D just doesn't do this as well... someone said:"there's no magical healing". that means that you need to hide yourself for a while after a combat. hide and cure happens very often. (hide and pray) often loose all the equip and it is not a problem. immagine the same thing in D&D: you could commit suicide for something like this.

24.Massive damage at 20 dmg and not 50!!the save roll on fortitude is often hard to pass.

25. i havent yet found a res scroll. am I right? If you are gone you are gone, thats' all. Bye bye my good friend. We will miss you.
For me, it is the fact that the Hyborian age, by design, feels like it is deep with rich and plausable history. Playing in the world harkens back to the feelings of mystery and the unknown that was experienced upon first reading the Lord of the Rings.

And if that is not enough....

A.) Mongoose Publishing - Putting out high quality material by a profitable, committed publisher is KEY. Ready to run material is also a key ingredent for any longevity in the RPG market place and they are getting to it.

B.) If you enjoy REH or the Marvel Comics version of Conan, than this game will bring those stories to life. They also bring in the element of infinite story lines, NPC's, and encounters into the game. If you do not, than play something else that you do.

C.) Rules - Conan the RPG improves upon the already awesome d20 rule system (Dunderm please refrain from a response on this one...) -especially the combat rules.

D.) Scantily clad women in all the source books...

Have fun with it.


I've been a Conan/REH fan since before the movie & I have most of the Conan --REH-- stuff & most of his other stuff (kane, Kull, Mythos stories, etc.). I have found this RPG (even tho' it's D20) the closest to REH's vision.

About the setting & it's "truth" to REH's vision:
Mongoose has endeavored to get the REH (right) "feel" in Conan (dark & violent world with plenty of human follies & failures against a few brave souls who are the only ones that stand up to stop the (inevitable) evil. Without the PCs (& a few NPCs) the darkness would certainly flood everything NOW). Rage against Hell!

Also, it's almost like a horror game (if you dig those):
I have run a couple of Conan adventures (I recall a harrowing & horrible one in the Border Kingdom), that were as close as REH's Cthulhoid stories as they could be (because of the rules permitted me to make them so (I smiled & smiled when I was reading Conan's Sanity rules))! I think it's as close as you can get to Chaosium's excellent vision (with COC-- as you get without the great BRPS).

Remember REH was HPL's pal!

Mongoose's game is not D&D Conan. If you wanna experience the REH stories, play it.