Give the Common Man a Fighting Chance!

Leonidas

Mongoose
Greetings everyone, this is my 2nd or 3rd post here on the Conan boards, but the first in which I've gotten to introduce myself. I am the DM for my group (one of the other players GMs a very nice Post-Apocalyptic d20 Modern/Future game) who just started up a Conan campaign a few weeks ago with a day's notice.

With what little time I had, I decided to have the campaign start in Zingara, and I whipped up some generic stats for Pict barbarians and Zingaran soldiers. I had only two players come that day, but it helped the character creation process along nicely. The two of them both made Barbarians, but it took some time for them to decide what race they were going to be (one player wanted to be a Nordheimer because he has some Scandanavian blood in him, but at the same time wanted to play a Cimmerian because of their reputation for bluntness). They all rolled stats using a 10+1d8 (Yeah, high I know) and got the rest of their character sheets filled out. They began at level 2.

I only had a vague idea about what I was going to do at that point, but both of them had whipped up a background involving them being captured as prisoners of war and somehow being transported to Zingara. With that, they started in a crude dirt and clay brick underground prison in a border fort on the Pictish/Zingaran/Aquilonian border. After raising some trouble with the guards (Nordheimer: "I pick up my food bowl and throw it at one of the guards." Me: :? "Are you sure you want to do that?"), the two of them notice that there are guards mobilizing outside and that those they can see are equipped in heavy battle gear. The Cimmerian guesses that the guards are under attack and convinces the captain of the fort to set all the prisoners free to help in the defense of the fort against the invading Picts.

The Nordheimer (A real nice, polite guy. A don't know why he picked a Barbarian to play in the first place :p . We can call him Mr. T), the Cimmerian (the earlier guy who was trying to pick between the Nords and the Cimmerians, he eventually succumbed to the many insults and bluntness of speech of old Conan; we can call him Mr. J) and 4 other guards are quickly equipped with leather armor and some good weapons, probably too good (Mr. T got a warsword and a few different axes, Mr. J immediately grabbed the greatsword) and are sent to the defense of the Western wall of the keep.

I pity those damn Picts. The first wave of 8 die in an incredibly brutal manner; Mr. T and J were almost always killing them in a single hit (which certainly put their Cleave feats to good use). As soon as they learn of the main attack at the North gate, the two barbarians and their fellow prisoners leave the West gate with a smattering of guards, and procede to kick a trail of ass from here to the Outer Dark and back. The two of them were keeping track of the Picts they killed (Six.. Seven... Eight... a la Gimli and Legolas); between the two of them they killed 30+ of the poor guys, and thats not counting what the other prisoners killed either. I ended that session on a dark note, with the captain, his remaining guard, and the former prisoners evacuating the fort in order to warn the nearby Castle Valensias of an impending attack by the other 5 (yeah, 5) Pictish tribes.

The basic plotline that I have scoped out is that a Pictish warlord who spent many years among the more civilized nations of Hyboria is starting to put his accumulated knowledge to good use. These attacks on the border forts are merely a test of his strength. If his plan's are allowed to advance, he will soon begin full-scale attacks on Zingara and Aquilonia. At the climax of a great battle that will decide the fate of Zingara, he plans to sacrifice the souls of his tribesmen and the Zingarans alike to allow the servants of the Jhebbal-Sag to inhabit their mortal shells, until the time when they can shed their pitiful forms and emerge as the true chosen of their god.

Anyways, it was a pretty awsome session, and I was pleased with myself at what I could do with so little advance notice. The one thing that was glaringly obvious to me, however, was how quickly the Picts were slaughtered at the hands of Mr. T and Mr. J's characters. Fun for the PC's, but not so much for the Picts :lol:. So without any further adieu, I proclaim this the Unofficial Combat Guide for the Doomed Mook in the Conan RPG (tm).

This is a thread to post your best strategies for mooks fighting against PC's. If you'd like to share them, post them here!
 

Arkobla Conn

Mongoose
Nice beginning...remember that multiple foes on one target garner bonuses in addition to flank bonuses. One on one, the red shirts die quickly....put them in a horde and hurl waves of bodies at our heros and it's gonna get real dicey!
 

Qjedi

Mongoose
Having the picts throw tomahawks/hatchets and follow up mass grapples and knife/club attacks. Also remember that it is okay to give these picts archery because they are led by a Pict who has walked in the Hyborian lands. They aren't likely to have precise shot, but you will LOVE the player reactions the first time a pict archer wastes 'that guy who keeps getting lucky with his dagger and stabbing me!' It's a moment that will live for months.

The biggest thing about hordes of mooks dragging a hero down is when he shakes them all off and rises back to his feet in a crimson mist of blood fury ;)

Now, ways to make picts really deadly:
1. Put them in trees with nets, longspears and short bows, with traps along the trail.
2. Put them at the top of a ravine and drop bigass rocks on our heroes.
3. Give them Chakan pets to distract the heroes while they bring up the shaman.
4. Give 1/3 of them long spears/reach weapons, 1/3 of them daggers, and 1/3 of them bows. If you want to follow a theme, go for hunting bow, staff, club as the combo instead.
5. Poison, think about it.
6. Snakes and demons to work the PC's over for a couple of rounds will soften them nicely for the horde of doomed mooks.
7. Put in one advanced (same level as) NPC for each player, in addition to a dozen or more mooks.
8. Stick a couple underwater and have them sink the heroes boat or cut lashings on their raft. Give spot checks to be fair, but it's great fun!

That should get you started ;)

Remember the Multiple Attackers rules, they are excellent. Your players will really have a feeling of satisfaction if... I mean when they mow down these scenarios.
One warning, do NOT get overly attached to these scenarios and do not fudge in the favor of the bad guys here, you have already done all of the fudging in the set up. It can be hard watching the PC's walk through something when you have set it up, especially if one of them is working on the 'loudmouth ass' aspect of his character too much.
 

Leonidas

Mongoose
Qjedi said:
Having the picts throw tomahawks/hatchets and follow up mass grapples and knife/club attacks. Also remember that it is okay to give these picts archery because they are led by a Pict who has walked in the Hyborian lands. They aren't likely to have precise shot, but you will LOVE the player reactions the first time a pict archer wastes 'that guy who keeps getting lucky with his dagger and stabbing me!' It's a moment that will live for months.

The biggest thing about hordes of mooks dragging a hero down is when he shakes them all off and rises back to his feet in a crimson mist of blood fury ;)

Now, ways to make picts really deadly:
1. Put them in trees with nets, longspears and short bows, with traps along the trail.
2. Put them at the top of a ravine and drop bigass rocks on our heroes.
3. Give them Chakan pets to distract the heroes while they bring up the shaman.
4. Give 1/3 of them long spears/reach weapons, 1/3 of them daggers, and 1/3 of them bows. If you want to follow a theme, go for hunting bow, staff, club as the combo instead.
5. Poison, think about it.
6. Snakes and demons to work the PC's over for a couple of rounds will soften them nicely for the horde of doomed mooks.
7. Put in one advanced (same level as) NPC for each player, in addition to a dozen or more mooks.
8. Stick a couple underwater and have them sink the heroes boat or cut lashings on their raft. Give spot checks to be fair, but it's great fun!

That should get you started ;)

Remember the Multiple Attackers rules, they are excellent. Your players will really have a feeling of satisfaction if... I mean when they mow down these scenarios.

All excellent suggestions, thank you. I'll be using them in the future. I also plan on revealing the warlord's heritage over the course of several sessions, as the players realize that this is no run of the mill upstart warlord that they're dealing with.

Qjedi said:
One warning, do NOT get overly attached to these scenarios and do not fudge in the favor of the bad guys here, you have already done all of the fudging in the set up. It can be hard watching the PC's walk through something when you have set it up, especially if one of them is working on the 'loudmouth ass' aspect of his charactr too much.

Luckily, I've never been tempted to fudge rolls in favor of NPC's, but I have been in several sessions where the game was a total railroad. By that, I mean the GM having invulnerable DMPC's, the GM setting up "moral" situations that where impossible to win with no goal either way, arrow and bullet dodging mooks... etc. I even had a GM write up entire background characters for all the players once. After having been through all that, I decided to make my games neutral ground.
 

Netherek

Mongoose
Picts do use bows, just hunting ones. You should get AtTR, it'll really help you with the Pict. Also, since your leader is somewhat influenced by civilization, they could obtain Long bows, though not many. Native Americans took to using enemy equipment when they could get it, why wouldn't the Pict, they are no less intelligent than Cimmerians, only less developed technologically.
 
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