Howard's Monsters

Flecha

Mongoose
Ok, I'm writing this because it's a topic I wanted to discuss some time again and just remembered it now... :roll: but I haven't made an eshaustive research yet. :roll: :roll:

As much as I remember Howard's tales of Conan, all the monsters that appear in them are human, humanoid or simian. It's clear the connection with the Cthulhu mythos because the author said so, but nontheless his writings are optimistic, contrary to Lovecraft. Again as much as I remember, there's no Chtulhu mythos type monsters in Howard's tales of Conan.

That made me conclude (however rushly) that creating new monsters for the Conan rpg that really sounds like Howard's would mean casting monsters that resemble humans or apes. And that trying to introduce Chtulhu type monsters is cool, sounds logical, but it's not conclusive. Not so Howard-like as getting another variation of the man-ape, another race of serpent-men, other flying-apes-men or even mer-folk-ape-men (but NOT deep ones, who aren't humanoid or simian enough, too fishy, and pardon by the pun).

What do you think? Anyone remember any example from Howard that contradict my hypothesis?
 

Faraer

Mongoose
Sounds like you could do with rereading the Conan stories. Many of them have unearthly Things from beyond (which the RPG calls 'demons' -- PS, SC, BC, VLW, and DI in the first Wandering Star/Del Rey volume), and ghosts and spirits, terrible non-humanoid beasts, risen dead, aliens and horrific pre-human 'gods'...

'Optimistic'? Compared to Lovecraft, but Howard's writing is bleak and melancholic as a rule.
 

René

Mongoose
There's a collection of "Cthulhu"-stories by REH available (I don't know the title by heart, but someone here surely can help...?). In this volume every story gets a short introduction, how it is connected with the Mythos (sometimes it's clear without explanation, sometimes the introduction really helps).

Having read a lot (most?) of REH's stories I got the firm opinion that all his stories take place in 1 coherent universe, so it may be justified to introduce Cthulhoid beings into CONAN.
 

Faraer

Mongoose
The Chaosium-published Nameless Cults.

It's not that Howard wrote in any formalized 'Cthulhu Mythos' (a dubious idea at best), but that he had a partially shared weird sensibility with HPL and CAS with some similar concepts, entities, and imagery, and a few shared (almost as an in-joke) proper names.

Certainly one coherent universe, though not without changes of perspective over time. Thoth-amon's ring occurs in the contemporary story "The Haunter of the Ring", and there are many other such direct connections.
 
There are two possible connections to Mythos beings in Howard's work that I can recall. The nightgaunt of The Vale of Lost Women may or may not be the same as the monsters of Lovecraft's Dreamlands. The entry for them in Mongoose's sourcebook The Scrolls of Skelos seems to suggest it though. In addition in The Phoenix and the Sword Conan sees statues of the "The Old Ones" in his dream vision that causes the brave barbarian to avert his eyes and shudder.

Neither is conclusive- you can play it either way. I've made some inroads in adapting Call of Cthulhu's Mythos creatures to Conan statistic in the now well buried 'Conan and Cthulhu' topic buried somewhere in this forum if you want to take a look at my ideas about it. And yes, Deep Ones were included- they were the first entry.

On the other hand if you aren't picky about how 'Howard' it is you can just take any d20 monster, rename it, strip it of most of it's intellect and magical abilites, make its appearance more sinister and give it a appropiate Defense Value and Damage Reduction and use it. I've even used sci-fi monsters this way. Thus you have access to so many more resources for creating monsters. It's not like most players are going to quiz you on the footnotes of the creatures they fight. They just want a good fight. 8)
 

Faraer

Mongoose
As I say, there are many 'Mythos'-style entities in the Conan stories. If you're looking for outright references to Lovecraft's creations in Howard's work, stories like 'The Fire of Asshurbanipal', "The Children of the Night", "The Thing on the Roof", "Dig Me No Grave", "Worms of the Earth", and the first draft of "The Phoenix on the Sword" mention Alhazred's Necronomicon, Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth, Yuggoth, and R'lyeh.
 
Crichton said:
What do you think? Anyone remember any example from Howard that contradict my hypothesis?

Thog from "Xuthal of the Dusk" (The Slithering Shadow")
Thaug from "A Witch Shall Be Born"
The monster from "Vale of Lost Women"

Just a small sample.
 
Faraer said:
the first draft of "The Phoenix on the Sword" mention Alhazred's Necronomicon

Lucky that Howard removed the reference- Alhazerd wouldn't be born for millenia by Howard's timeline. If going by the core Call of Cthulhu game the only major Mythos tomes at Conan's time are The Book of Eibon from the earlier Hyperborean Age and the earlier pre-Hyborian or even pre-human books mentioned briefly in Lovecraft's short story The Other Gods. I'm not home so I can't name the later off the top of my head but I'll look it up. Dark Age Cthulhu might have a few more listed Hyborian Age tomes so I'll look there as well.
 

Damien

Mongoose
And there you have it. Still, you'd be right to say that the non-humanoid monsters in Hyboria aren't encountered with any great frequency. Of course, creating humanoid monsters isn't really all that difficult either. I have Green Ronin's "Bastards & Bloodlines" for just that purpose. Really great monster-creatin' book, despite its title.
 

Mournstorm

Mongoose
The book "Cthulhu, The Mythos and Kindred Horrors".
Author: Robert E. Howard
Edited by: David Drake
Publisher: Baen Books
Copyright 1987 by Alla Ray Kuykendall and Alla Ray Morris
First Printing: May 1987

Contains the stories:
Arkham
The Black Stone
The Fire of Asshurbanipal
The Thing on the Roof
Dig Me No Grave
Silence Falls on Mecca's Walls
The Valley of the Worm
The Shadow of the Beast
Old Garfield's Heart
People of the Dark
Worms of the Earth
Pigeons from Hell
An Open Window.

Well worth acquiring if you can find one. Quite Tasty. :twisted:
 

Yogah of Yag

Mongoose
ARKHAM

Drowsy and dull with age the houses blink
On aimless streets the rat-gnawed years forget--
But what inhuman figures leer and slink
Down the old alleys when the moon has set?


------REH, From Weird Tales, August 1932


--------------------
I found this on the conan.com boards.
Many others are there, too. 8)
 

René

Mongoose
Mournstorm said:
Well worth acquiring if you can find one. Quite Tasty. :twisted:

Most of these stories plus some additional are in the already mentioned Nameless Cults, too (for the case, you can't find the other one :wink: )
 

Zul Daire

Mongoose
I was reading The People of the Black Circle today from The Bloody Crown of Conan and came across an interesting sentence.

"But Conan sat easily, almost carelessly, in the saddle, riding like a centaur."

Now this reference certainly made me curious. Are there references like this in other works that others have come across? Being a Conan fan for 20 years I nearly fell out my chair when I read this.

I wonder what sort of reason there is for a reference like this to exist?

1. Centuars exist (snicker) in Hyborea. :lol:
2. Centaurs did exist at one time. :roll:
3. Centaurs are part of Hyborean, or older, myth or urban legend but never existed and were never really referenced again.
4. REH figured people knew what centaurs were so whether they exist in Hyborea or not doesn't matter, all that matters is the reader knows Conan is good in the saddle.

Naturally 1&2 are out I just had to throw them in.

Thoughts?
 

Mark Dunder

Mongoose
"But Conan sat easily, almost carelessly, in the saddle, riding like a centaur."

Do you know for certain if that is the exact quote word for word?

I ask because the sentence could also read that there are people "called" by the name centaur, but may not be part horse at all. They may be a group of people who are just excellent riders, that are known as "centaurs."

Just a spin I wanted to begin.
 

Zul Daire

Mongoose
dunderm said:
Do you know for certain if that is the exact quote word for word?

I ask because the sentence could also read that there are people "called" by the name centaur, but may not be part horse at all. They may be a group of people who are just excellent riders, that are known as "centaurs."

Just a spin I wanted to begin.

Yes I am certain, this is how the sentence appears in print.

I do not know all there is to know about REH Conan stories but I am quite certain there was not a group of riders called the centaurs the author was referring to. Even if there were a said group calling them centaurs while ignoring the actual definition of the word and not offering your own meaning seems contrived.
 
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