I've got the D&D PHB, why opt for the Conan RPG?



The title pretty much sums it up. For those of you that bought it, what is it about the Conan RPG that would make you want to use that over the rules that are already present in the D&D 3E PHB? I understand there are new combat mechanics and a new magic system. But is this really enough to warrant buying such an expensive rule book?

I'm not trying to be a troll here. I've had the temptation to pick up Mongoose's offering, but keep thinking to myself what would I be getting that I don't already have? I plan on picking up Road of Kings when it's out for the source material, but am wondering if there's a compelling reason to pick up the Conan RPG as well.

Here's a few reasons:

1. No elves!

2. No traditional D&D style magic items

3. Combat is deadly. Magical healing is rarely available.

4. The authors captured the flavor and atmosphere of the Conan books. It is a dark, gritty world, where slavery, murder and blood sacrifice are part of daily life. Evil is everywhere and good is hard to find.

5. No traditional D&D monsters. You'll be fighting humans, devolved & mutated humans, and Cthuhlu-style, sanity shattering horrors.

6. Just buy it.

7. No halflings, hobbits, gnomes, kender, gully dwarves, etc. or other "cute" races.

You get the idea.
It is a game in itself. Although it is easy to cull all the SRD material for Conan (and the opposite would be true too), not all is appropriate for the setting (for instance most creatures don't have spells or spell-like abilities so CR takes on a different level). If you like traditional Conan & want to play in that style of gaming (low magic, undercurrent of horror, violent combat, etc), I recomend it as a seperate game. You can do the same with D&D but you'd be mostly revamping EVERYTHING. Conan d20 is complete enough to play on its own. If you were a brand new player & didn't have any books but just wanted to play Conan on a budget, I'd suggest buying just the core Conan book & downloading the SRD. Scrolls & Road & Pirate Isles, etc are just extra flavoring that can be incorporated but not absolutely necessary. I'm running my game with only an old Hyborian gazeteer & the Core book (oh, and I did buy Scrolls of Skelos & will be using a lot of it). It this sense it's like the other d20 OGL games out there (Wheel of Time, Call of Cthulhu d20, etc). Personally I think every d20 "world" needs its own OGL system so it's just not another D&D clone.
You can play conan without even having to download the SRD, since its got everything you need. Also, the new magik system is really pretty sweet.
Conan d20 doesn't play like a video game (pen and paper Diablo). The focus is on developing the characters and their innate abilities, not on acquiring magic "treasure." All characters must therefore be more self-sufficient and cautious. It makes for a smarter, more realistic style of play. However, the characters are still very powerful, and epic battles and adventures are certainly possible.

The classes are all more powerful than their D&D counterparts --- more flavorful and fun to play. The classes have to be, because the world is so much deadlier than usual, despit the absence of dracoliches and beholders, LOL. For example, The scholar class takes into account all braniacs and bookworms, from (usually non-magical) priests to mundane scholarly types to wizards. You choose which path to take. Magic will drive you into corruption and insanity quickly (especially if you are hungry for power). Wizards are shunned, feared and despised as a result or regarded with suspicion in even the best of cases, no matter how much good work they may do. History and tavern tales are strewn with the corpses of those who foolishly trusted wizards...

The only playable races are the different human races, or, for a feat, half-demons (not the D&D version, as they look human and aren't nearly as powerful). Each have distinct advantages and disadvantages built in. It is just as much fun picking a variant human race as picking an elf or dwarf (if you swing that way, LOL, I never did). IMO, it is much easier to get into the mindset of, say, a Mongol horsemen type, than a drow.

Equipment comes and goes (often in the same adventure) and being out of equipment never stops the characters from doing what they must do. In fact, it encourages them. Magic items are rare, deadly and often cursed. Most people will have nothing to with anything unnatural.

Battles are fierce and frightening (thanks to the low massive damage cap, high weapon damage and armor piercing rules)... if you can avoid a battle, you'd be smart to. Even "combat monsters" like Conan himself will avoid unnecessary battles, because anybody, no matter how powerful or insanely high level, can be instantly killed in battle by just about anyone at anytime. If you are singled out and attacked by multiple foes, they get bonuses to hit you. Monsters, while rare, are deadly and horrifying. You should often choose to run away than face even one unnatural critter.

In Conan, an adventure is considered a "success" if you live through it, regardless of how poorly you do in terms of glory or treasure (no resurrection magic except undeath). Staying alive in Conan is the main reward, and if you are clever or lucky, making some small but modest gains, either in allies, love, treasure, or personal growth. However, Conan stresses that everything is transitory, and "here today, gone tomorrow" is the rule to live by. The game hammers home the brutal fact that the only thing a character can ultimately rely upon in the world is himself... just like our world.

This is not to say that teamwork is deemphasized --- it is strongly encouraged, as many obstacles are insurmountable to the "lone wolf" adventurer, no matter how personally powerful. People will think twice before ripping off their buddies --- their "buddies" will likely slit their throat or worse if they find out. I've found that PCs often become unusually generous with their NPC and PC allies as a result. They were never so generous as this when we played D&D. Again, because the emphasis is on staying alive --- the odds of which improve the more "buddies" you have sincerely and fairly dealt with or potential trouble you have bribed off. :wink:
Guest, all teh above have been good reasons, but it really boils down to this:

Real men play in Hyboria

Noe you can play in Hyboria and use DnD3.5 rules, sure, but that is like being in Australia and calling it England.
Title, once again, says it all. I'll be picking this thing up tonight.

Thanks for the comments.
Noe you can play in Hyboria and use DnD3.5 rules, sure, but that is like being in Australia and calling it England.

Calling my beloved Sun-burnt country England *shudders* What a terrifying thought and no self respecting Aussie would do that!...Though some of the Englishmen living here might, though they seem to whine about it not being England more... ;)

I play it for the chicks...

I've played Hyboria both ways. The Conan RPG is definately worth picking up. You don't have to modify Conan RPG to fit Hyboria..unlike D&D.

I'm going to introduce GIANTS, ELVES and DWARVES to my Aesir campaign as epic creatures of legend.

GIANT (fire or frost): as D&D
ELF: +5 dex, -4 Str, -4 Con
DWARF: +5 con, -2 Str, -4chr, -1dex

The nice thing about Hyboria is that REH incorporated the elements of many legends, hinting at the fact that they 'could' exist, but you never actually see any.

emirikol said:
I'm going to introduce GIANTS, ELVES and DWARVES to my Aesir campaign as epic creatures of legend.

GIANT (fire or frost): as D&D
ELF: +5 dex, -4 Str, -4 Con
DWARF: +5 con, -2 Str, -4chr, -1dex


FYI: Scrolls of Skelos has the official Conan Frost Giants in it, fully statted out and (barely) possible as player characters (for the Conan equivalent of D&D's "Epic Level Handbook").
What's so great about the OGL on D20? You can use it to recreate pretty much every genre and setting out there. It is a versatile system, but that is only true for the core mechanics. D&D is merely an application of those.

Sure you can try to use D&D rules for running Conan. However you should keep in mind that D&D uses magic as the major means of balancing classes as they advance. Can you imagine what a 10th level fighter would be like in a world were no magical armour existed? He would literally mow down entire armies of 1st-2nd level characters who would have literally no chance to injure him. Same applies to thieves (excuse me, rogues), rangers, and even worse barbarians. With low magic, classes like the cleric and druid (let alone mage and sorcerer) would be essentially neutered. I have played as a player in a home-brewed low magic D&D campaign and these are issues that have come up very often. Especially when we were on the receiving end of the 10th-level fighter. Conan deals very very well with these issues by using the parry and dodge bonuses. Star Wars and Wheel of Time also have similar mechanics in play. So, there you have already one major problem, which while not difficult to solve, would be difficult to solve in a balanced manner. Trust me on this one.

Magic and skills would also take some major revamping. Gone are Fireball, Read Thoughts, Create Food and Water, and such stuff. And what happens when the evil sorcerer needs to sacrifice a nubile maiden (not the best thing you could do with a nubile maiden, but to each his own I guess)? How does that affect him? Sure you could go back to the old Player's Options handbooks from AD&D 2ed and adjust the rules there to both 3rd ed D&D and the Conan universe. But why go through all this trouble? If you still have as much time to devote to creating what essentially is your own D20 system, then you should spend it gaming or creating cool adventures.

Conan does have its problems (the main of which being low-level NPCs facing a moderately armoured PC in close combat, at least in my playtest sessions). But it does describe the feel of Howard's work spectacularly well. It's highly playable and a whole load of fun. As one of my friends said "Every character class is broken in this game".

So decide whether you want to spend a whole lot of time creating your own rules, or spend 50 euros and use the time for gaming. Its your choice.

Someone mentioned it in passing, but the *best* thing about Conan OGL is that the games don't revolve around money and treasure. It's not about the loot, it's about the characters!

Sure, money can be important in motivating a character or set of characters into going on an adventure... but as the character's waste it through high living (have I mentioned I LOVE the high living rule yet?) it's not the focus of the adventure. The game is also not about getting a bigger badder magic sword, or armor, or the Flaming Helm of Power... it's about the characters. No "phat lewt" here... and IMO that's a *very* good thing.

Along the same vein, I love the way magic items are so rare they have no sale value. If you ever manage to get a magic item, you know it will be an albatross as often as a boon. Everywhere you go people will be plotting to steal it from you. Sorcerors will be hiring parties to "recover" it from you. And all sorts of other adventures that practically write themselves. Sure, you could buy a minor potion. But pretty much anything else, and you feel the eyes of the masses following your every move. You'd better be strong enough to keep it, whatever it is.

Having a rule to enforce spending your money on high living is great. Having magic items so rare they have no sale cost is great. And having a system that works that does both of those is great.

Conan OGL rocks.

Share and Enjoy.
The high living rule is one of my favoret aspects of Conan d20. In a D&D game I'm playing in I recently told the DM that my rogue was going to follow that rule (that is I'd take off 10% of his gold each game day)

the Barbarian is much improved over the "Rage machine" in the PHB. The class is far more interesting to play.

Magic is just the way I like it: rare, not often powerful, but once it gets going BOOOM!!!