How Do You Play Your Sorcerors ...?

LokiOne

Mongoose
I was just curious as to how other Conan GM's have been 'running' their NPC sorcerors.

I will be trying to play My NPC Scholars from the 'background', instead of letting the PC's Party to get too close and intimate with them, too soon. It would be fun to see how they delve into the source of power and control behind events in a region or city.

I'm also very interested in seeing the (magical) strategy used by both Sorceror PC's as well as NPC's. Particularly in relation to the maximization of combined spell effects - both long term, and short term (IE- Combat combinations).

I am too familiar with my NPC sorcerors getting knobbled too easily, too early. Fighting a cunning foe shouldn't be too much of a pushover ....

Can Anyone offer Me some Sorceror Survival advice please ???!

Also, there doesn't seem to be a kind of defensive 'physical barrier' type spell or wall, and I was thinking of writing some new ones to fit into the Prestigitation Style. Maybe something that creates a energy barrier where opposing warriors or heroes have to use their Strength stat V's the total conbined Magical defense roll of the sorceror (Rather akin to the 'energy shield' used in the DUNE movie). Burst Barrier creates a surge of magical force, so why not a static force around the mage (Concerntration roll required each turn maybe?).

Note: I still don't have AE yet, though I will get around to it ASAP.
 

Samvail1

Mongoose
In my experience, Sorcerers do well when they use a combination of alchemy and magic.

Take advantage of your NPC having (unlimited) wealth and buy some of the more expensive alchemical goodies like Kothic demon Fire. Combined with Telekenesis, this gives the Sorcerer a good ranged attack.

When push comes to shove, always keep a handful of power points available for a retributive strike.

Sam
 

sanseveria

Mongoose
I know what you mean about players clobbering NPC sorcerers, (particularly pict shamans...) it's happen to me on several occasions.

Sorcerers are not meant to be on the fly encounters, you really need to do your homework. In my game, I always make sure the important sorcerer fight's the players on his own turf, and this has improved his living chances. A room of mirrors, cleaverly laid traps, a bloodthirsty were-slave-creature, several thugs that will interpose themselves in front of harm, apprentices for extra power points :twisted: , etc...

In this case your sorcerer will probably have hidden compartments with extra alchemical items, and most importantly, an escape plan, secret door, hatch or hidden compartment. You really need to think smart when playing a civilized sorcerer, and also think big and extravagant. Make up unexplainable magical effects to confuse the players, and other creepy things like that.

My players have come to realize that when they're about to confront a sorcerer on his turf, and it's on his terms, they're in for a tough fight, (and someone is certain to die :evil: ), they take a little extra time in the planning. When it's on the fly, or more of an incidental encounter, (like they suspect the NPC is a sorcerer, but not sure) they simply all charge towards the enemy in a blind fit of rage before he can open his mouth to explain he's only an innkeeper... (this encounter usually ends with the players fleeing the town or city in question :D )

SS
 
In continuing with sanseveria's line of thought, I look at the 'toughest' sorcerers Conan had the face. Think of 'Rogues in the House' and 'The People of the Black Circle' for inspiration.

The priest in 'Rogues in the House' had a ton of special chambers and traps (even if he didn't cast any specific spells in the story) that could make for some fun challenges when combined with a sorcerers set of powers.

'Black Circle' combined a ton of cannon fodder, I mean apprentices, that had to be fought through before getting to the main sorcerer. These apprentices used some handy alchemical items in that story as well.

On the subject of your barrier that you were speaking of, a similar barrier was constructed in 'the Black Circle'. I would be careful in your application of such a barrier, however. You don't want it to come off as a wizard with a mage armor or wall of force spell that they can whip around. But you could use a type of barrier and still maintain the Sword and Sorcery feel of things.
 

LokiOne

Mongoose
Yes - Thanks Everyone for your thoughts. I must start reading back through my vast Conan Collection that I started up when I was 18yo (Now I'm 43!).

I have downloaded various collections of notes from other Hyborian sites, and I'm trying to recall the oldest and scariest Sorceror of them all ....
Was it not Thulsa Doom, who was 8000yo and of Atlantian or Acheronian decent ??? (I bet that Vincent knows this answer!). I have considerable variations in my 'research papers' ...

Obviously not the chief high priest from the Conan movie (Good old James Earl Jones), with the snakey appearance .... ("What is Steel, compared to the hand that whields it?!"). Hints that the Hypnotism Style (Mind Control) is the toughest and scariest style of them all. Nothing worst than pitting one PC against another ... ("Protect Me!!! with all your vigour!)

I like to craft very unique NPC's, hence they take some time to brew up. More encouragement for the range of NPC suppliments to continue (Sorcerors, Priests and Shamans?)

I haven't had the heart to unleash any of the top range sorcerors upon my poor PC's (Even from the fringe). They just flee in genuine horror. Even Conan knows when to quit a bad situation ... which He's done many a time.
 

Arkobla Conn

Mongoose
Without trying to get deep into the previous mire I was in for a previous discussion on the topic, this question itself makes my point. (I think). It's HARD to run scholars...both PC and NPC. It shouldn't be this hard. I do not think they are a balanced class. I have a task to identify where I think some of the weaknesses are...I haven't forgotten...just haven't gotten to it yet. Stay on track with the answers you are giving the question (as they are excellent) but keep an eye out for a new post soon on this subject.
 

sanseveria

Mongoose
I don't want to drag the other threat in here either, so I won't. :D

Back to the point of NPC sorcerers, (which I don't think are harder to play, you just need to take a few extra minutes to prepare) you need to keep in mind that when the fighting starts, (if your players are anything like mine) if the players know where the sorcerer is, they'll put there lives at risk to eliminate him quickly. That's the trick, you need to make them work for that, that's where you need to concentrate your obstacles, from Alchemy, to mooks, to something as simple as the surrounding environment.

SS
 

Bregales

Mongoose
Hyborian Apeman said:
In continuing with sanseveria's line of thought, I look at the 'toughest' sorcerers Conan had the face. Think of 'Rogues in the House' and 'The People of the Black Circle' for inspiration.

The priest in 'Rogues in the House' had a ton of special chambers and traps (even if he didn't cast any specific spells in the story) that could make for some fun challenges when combined with a sorcerers set of powers.
He also had Thak, that primordial, cunning ape-man!

I was all set to dive in with suggestions when I saw the thread title, then I opened it and everything I was going to say was pretty much said by sansevria. I just had to add Thak. Like sanseveria wrote, such sorcerers as the one in "Rogues in the House" will raise and train a primordial, were-, demonic or wierd beast (or have a bunch of acolytes in the case of "...Black Circle". :wink:
 

LokiOne

Mongoose
All good responses, thanks fellas.

Looking forward to maybe some expansions or class upgrades in the future - maybe as part of a Grand NPC Gazeteer or something like that.

Opportunistic Sacrifice seems to be quite the ticket. Maybe for a character who is devoted to a God or Demon dedicated to War. Then they could get some Power from those that they dispatch in (un)holy dedication ...

I have been trying to compile a list of all the Hyborian Deities that would fit into the 'War God' type. Some from Nordheim, and at least one from each of the major regions. Maybe the War Priest has to invoke the name of his Deity (Or Demon?) when administering the fatal stroke. Perhaps an future Conan Prestige Class ???

I must finish reading my Free Companies sourcebook.
 

Bregales

Mongoose
LokiOne said:
I have been trying to compile a list of all the Hyborian Deities that would fit into the 'War God' type. Some from Nordheim, and at least one from each of the major regions. Maybe the War Priest has to invoke the name of his Deity (Or Demon?) when administering the fatal stroke. Perhaps an future Conan Prestige Class ???

I must finish reading my Free Companies sourcebook.
Hey, I came up with a list in a few days of quickly scanning my old Ace/Lancer paperbacks when I was waiting for my Conan rpg book to arrive, so maybe this can help?:

· Adonis – a Shemite god (QotBC 2, pg. 98)
· Ajujo – the Dark One, god of Tombalku (DoT 5, pg. 169)
· Anu – a Corinthian god (RitH 1, pg. 132)
· Ashtoreth – a Shemite god (QotBC 2, pg. 98)
· Asura – an eastern god, god of Iranistan and Vendhya; there is a cult too in Aquilonia of Vendhyan immigrants from long ago, now Aquilonians, hidden due to western antagonism (HOS 3, pg. 38; tFK 4, pg. 132; PotBC 5, pg. 15)
· Atali – the beautiful daughter of Ymir, of elfin tresses, her eyes blue and gray, her body pale white, clad in but a wisp of gossamer; she is the sister to two massive giants clad in white scale armor and hoar frost (FGD 2, pg. 62)
· Baal, a Son of Set, a snake demon-child of the Stygian serpent god (tHotD, CCII, pg. 549)
· Badb, Cimmerian legendary hero (tPotS 8, pg. 200)
· Bel – god of all thieves, a Shemite god of ancient Shumir, who went forth with curled black beard and impish wise eyes, to steal the gems of the kings of old times (QotBC 2, pg. 98)
· Bori – a Hyborian chief who, according to legend, led his people into the North
· Chiron, a Son of Set, a snake demon-child of the Stygian serpent god (tHotD, CCII, pg. 549)
· Crom – chief of the Cimmerian gods, he lived on a great mountain, whence he sent forth dooms and death. It was useless to call on Crom, because he was a gloomy, savage god, and he hated weaklings. But he gave a man courage at birth, and the will and might to kill his enemies. (ToE 1, pg. 56)
· Dagon – a Black Kingdoms god, of Zembabwei (JoG 7, pg. 109)
· Derketa – the Kushite Queen of the dead, a goddess with snaky curls (SitD 2, pg. 164; RN 7, pg. 23)
· Derketo – a Shemite and Stygian goddess (QotBC 2, pg. 98; tSS 5, pg. 121)
· Erlik – god of death, god of the Hyrkanians (CotM 2, pg. 20; SiZ 4, pg. 63)
· Gullah – gorilla god (tFK 4, pg. 163; BtBR 7, pg. 197)
· Hanuman the Accursed, one of the demon-gods of Zamboula (SiZ 4, pg. 63)
· Ibis – a god of Aquilonia who has fought against Set since the dawn of the earth (GitB 1, pg. 119)
· Ishtar – goddess of Shem (HotD 1, pg. 97; BC 3, pg. 64)
· Jhebbal Sag – the ancient god of all creatures, worshipped by Zogar Sag. It is said that all men and beasts who worship Jhebbal Sag can speak together (BtBR 7, pg. 192)
· Jhil – a god of the Aphaki (mixed bloods) and Ghanatas (blacks) in the Black Kingdoms (DoT 5, pg. 142)
· Jullah – a Kushite god, whose temple is in Meroê (capital of Kush) (SitD 2, pg. 171)
· Khel – a god sworn by Vinashko, god of the Yuetshi and Hyrkanians (RoE 3, pg. 157)
· Khosatral Khel, god of Dagonia which stands taller than any man, cannot be killed by any known weapon, and is made of ironΨ, he demands human sacrifices (DiI 4, pg. 103), a god sworn by Vinashko, god of the Yuetshi (who rebelled against the isle of Dagonia a millennium ago) and of Hyrkanians (RoE 3, pg. 148)
· Macha, Cimmerian legendary hero (tPotS 8, pg. 200)
· Mannannan – a Cimmerian god (HotD 1, pg. 102)
· Mitra – the chief god of the hyborian western peoples (GotB 1, pg. 109; BC 3, pg. 64)
· Morrigan, Cimmerian legendary hero (tPotS 8, pg. 200)
· Nemain, Cimmerian legendary hero (tPotS 8, pg. 200)
· Pteor – a minotaur demon god sworn by Farouz and Shemites (HoS 3, pg. 19)
· Set – the arch-demon snake god of the Stygians (GitB 1, pg. 120)
· Tarim – an Hyrkanian minor god sworn by Farouz (HoS 3, pg. 19)
· Thog, the ancient, the god of Xuthal, a slithering shadow with a toad-like face which feeds on the inhabitants of the city, Thog dwells beneath the sunken dome in the center of the city (tSS 5, pg. 119)
· Ura – ghoul king of Yanaidar, in Iranistan (tFK 4, pg. 135)
· Yajur or Yota-pong – an eastern god of murder who delights in priests who strangle their victims (SiZ 4, pg. 71)
· Yakin-Ya, forebear of the Shemite kings, born by gods in ages gone (HoS 3, pg. 33)
· Yama – king of the demons who created Meru and it’s people, a colossal statue of jade thirty feet high with six arms and the eyes in it’s scowling face of rubies, father of the god-king of Meru (CoS 1, pg. 204)
· Yezud – the Spider God of Zamora (HotD 1, pg. 83)
· Yizil – Himelian curse “The curse of Yizil on them!” (PotBC 5, pg. 64)
· Ymir – the Frost Giant god of the Vanir and Aesir (BG 2, pg. 48, FGD 2, pg. 53; HoS 8, pg. 180)
· Yog, the Lord of the Empty Abodes, a Zamboulan demon appeased by victims fed to fires (SiZ 4, pg. 48)
· Yun – a god of Khitai (ToE 1, pg. 63)

Sorry, it's late and I didn't take the time to edit out my references of where I found the entries.
 

LokiOne

Mongoose
Well done ... Lots of effort made there - Some of which has been covered in Road of Kings and the base RPG book. However, a fair few extras to add into My Conan World there - thanks.

Glad I've provoked some discussion again ... I think that there's a Cimmerian War Godess called Morrigan, that sounds distinctly Irish/ Celtic to Me (Crom doesn't seem too exciting to worship).

Anyone got any Eastern Gods or Demonic Entities suitable for devotion in Khitai ??? We've had some excellent input from those aquainted with Ancient Middle Eastern Culture/ History (IE: 'Iranistani Fire Magic' posting)
 

Zen Ken

Mongoose
Some tips for running scholars (from a GM perspective):

-Scholars have to have lackeys. Otherwise they die REALLY fast, and especially if your PCs use Fate Points. :)

-Domination is your friend (it's fun to use on Soldiers and anyone with low Will). You can get them to beat up his friends for you.

-Be especially clever, devious, and mysterious. Half the time they can't tell if you casting a spell or just being creepy. Plus it doesn't necessarily work to be bold and out in the open. Those pesky PCs are tricksy!

-Good scare tactic: Death Touch.
 
LokiOne said:
Glad I've provoked some discussion again ... I think that there's a Cimmerian War Godess called Morrigan, that sounds distinctly Irish/ Celtic to Me

She's Celtic, but as a modern worshipper of her pointed out, the title Morrigan is plural not singular- a fact that REH likely didn't know. 8) Thus it refers to a class of Goddesses of War, Fertility/Sexuality, Magic, Prophecy and Death. They were also in the habit of claiming mortal lovers among the warrior classes of barbaric tribes, though refusing them was often fatal. 8) Exciting girls, if a little dangerous to know well. They were the type to start wars to relieve boredom, cull the weak and feed their sacred animals- wolves and Ravens, for two.8)

Macha, Badh, they are a couple of names of the Morrigan I can think off the top of my head. Also, they are likely the same class of Goddesses/Spirits know to the Norse as Valkyries(sp?) and the Greeks as the Furies. Later 'revisions' [read 'distortions'] of the myths by the Tired Old Men [patriarchs and kings] who ruled the tribes in later times downplayed their role, made them politically correct or turned them into monsters and 'evil witches/sprits' to be conquered by men with fire and sword. For example, the Morrigan devolved into Morgan le Fay of the Arthurian cycle and Valkyries became fat women on white horses. 8)

[There's a length PhD essay on that the net somewhere- give me a couple days and I'll locate it if it still there. Also look up the Celtic myth cycles- the older the better. The newer the stuff, the more New Agey the author gets. Get into the later half of the last century and suddenly an ancient war spirit is a 'spirit guide' to help you overcome adversity. 8) ]

(Crom doesn't seem too exciting to worship).

They'res a joke among our group that Crom's rituals must be just staring off into space because that's about all the characters from the two awful Conan films do....8)

And yes, as a modern worshipper of the Dark Maidens, I can say they are exciting to know- in both the good and bad versions of the word. 8)

Raven, :p
 

InsomNY

Mongoose
It would have to be a joke; Crom (Howard's version, not the minor funerary deity of Celtic myth) has no rituals, in all likelihood. His existence is acknowledged, but that's it -- the dude doesn't want to be bothered.
 

Bregales

Mongoose
Yeah, there's that whole "He sends dooms and death to those who plague him with prayers" thing.

When I read Raven's last post above, I got to thinking about Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins. And Jitterbug Perfume as well. :)
 
InsomNY said:
It would have to be a joke; Crom (Howard's version, not the minor funerary deity of Celtic myth) has no rituals, in all likelihood. His existence is acknowledged, but that's it -- the dude doesn't want to be bothered.

Yeah, I actually knew that. The comment was more intended as a comment on the poor quality of acting in the movie Conan the Barbarian than on what rituals Crom wanted. The movie gets it wrong though- Conan actually once prays to Crom in it.

Me, I'd gladly feast on the hearts of my enemies in the nature of My Lord and Lady, but the police would frown upon that. 8)

Raven, barabric and loving it
 

Scorpion13

Mongoose
My friend wondered if he could play a cleric of Crom. I told him I would make his head explode if he did that . No joking. Explode.

But you know, it seems to me thast if Crom would entertain any prayer, it would have been the one Conan did in the first movie. It was just cool.

Anywho, sorcerors should use fear and trickery to put off foes as muc as possible. Prestidigitation is great for this. Think of how scary your wizard would be if he gave himself a deep, unearthly voice, or glowing red eyes?

Play with the shadows. Make your players think it might be a supernatural creature rather than just a wimpy mage.
 
A little off topic, but something that happened last game you might find amusing. Finishing a Conan one-shot, one of players- a priestess of the snake cult of Ishanti mentioned in Road of Kings, was about to come to the final battle with her long time rival. Down to her Base Power Points and hearing vague rumors of mutiny on the pirate ship she commendered, in true facist style she picks the most untrustworty PC as a scapegoat claiming he was the leader of the would be mutiny and sent her loyal minions to beat him unconscious. Sacrificing him in an impromtu Ritual Sacrifice netted her a hefty 17 PP and quelled the rumors quite effectively. The player of the PC was a good sport [he normally plays the Noble/Scholar mentioned elsewhere] and played another PC's cohort for the rest of the game. The ironic thing was, that without that extra PP, the priestess wouldn't have beaten her rival though she did die in the process herself. So the joke ran through the group that this was an example of teamwork in action. 8)

Raven
 
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