After running my first game session I quickly came to realize that the life of a wandering Cimmerian that follows the "Barbarian code" was NOT going resemble the adventures of Conan very closely. Here's a few of the things that I found odd that happened when I ran "The Stones of Kovag-Re"
We had 1 Cimmerian Barbarian, 1 Poitian Noble and 1 Corinthian Pirate (Escaped Turanian Slave)

1) The module is somewhat misleading. After a little bit of flavor text, a few missed spot checks and 1 missed sense motive check I found myself scrambling as my players were left with the impression that the girl had fled into the city and they were supposed go to the Maul and threaten/beat people into giving up information.

2) The Noble in the group had trouble rationalizing NOT doing everything the Governor wanted because his civilised honor code didn't seem to leave him a lot of wiggle room no matter how badly the governor treated him. (Which is not in and of itself a problem but he had a conflict between his personal decency and the wording of his honor code)

3) The Barbarian in the group had no problem threatening any random person he felt like and even held a defenseless shopkeeper/fence while the pirate stabbed because they thought that he might have some information. (He's a fence so he's not honorable, so it's perfectly ok for me to torture him under the barbarian code. Doesn't seem very "Noble Savage" to me.)

4) According to the Barbarian Honor code stealing is ok at worst and sometimes even good, turned into shaking down seemingly innocent people is ok.

5) There's nothing to suggest in either honor code that if there's one opponent then it's not HONORABLE for the Barbarian with an HONOR CODE and the Noble with an HONOR CODE to doubleteam him while their pirate ally sneaks up and stabs him in the back. I know that in the heat of battle concessions have to be made but do HONORABLE people START the encounter that way? As far as I Can tell from the Honor codes...yes? Sometimes? If they feel like it?

I just don't remember Conan beating up noncombatants for no reason or picking on weak people "because he could". Maybe I just haven't studied the Barbarian honor code enough, but it certainly doesn't seem as "honorable" as Conan seemed to me. Been a while since I read the stories so maybe I am just forgetting. I know that he had no love of rich people, but I don't remember him kicking over and beggars and taking their last coins or stealing candy from babies.

Am I just confusing the words "Noble" and "Honorable" with "Good" in my head? Was Conan a bad person? Not that I can remember, but then again I remember likeing Starwars movies.
Stygian Overlord said:
Am I just confusing the words "Noble" and "Honorable" with "Good" in my head? Was Conan a bad person?

Well, in The Black Stranger (AKA Treasure of Tranicos), Conan did make some allies of some pirates, then shoved them into a trap, hoping he could get the treasure for himself and get rid of some potentially dangerous pirates on the assumption they would betray him at the opportune moment. He also made quite a horrific reputation for himself by sailing as a black corsair under Belit.

No, he was not that nice of a guy.

Otherwise, your players did violate their codes of honour by stabbing random passersby and people who otherwise did not insult or dishonour the code-holders first. Most people with a code of honour presume everyone else has a code of honour until they prove otherwise. Your players are being too literal with their code and do not understand the spirit of the code.

It sounds to me that the people who acted dishonourably did not get attacked (the Zamorian who summoned them to his court, the guards etc.) and they took it out on innocents. Any adventure that begins with characters enslaved or otherwise forced to do something is probably going to begat angry or frustrated characters. Few people enjoy coercion, even in a game.
Doesn’t sound like the player is following much of a code, I think there’s a lot of grey on the codes but torturing someone for no good reason is definitely stretching it,
On our game I just let the guys do what they want but there’s always consequences, if they do follow a code there’s benefits to it, like other like minded people helping them out or the like,
If they start beating anybody up, people usually have friends, and the players might have to learn a lesson or two, events aren’t isolated, a “fence” might have some friends who come knocking…..
About the civilized code one of our players follows the code and he put the group though a lot of grief while in Zamboula, the Pirate would just roll his eyes every time he got them in trouble, but it was because of the corrupt officials, and it was only until he saw the officials where corrupt, now he knows that just because they are officials it dosen't mean they're the "good guys" it gets him in trouble some times but he sticks to his code, now he tries to give the officials the benefit of the doubt but if he sees they are corrupt he changes his attitude towards them, following a civilized code doesn’t mean he has to be naïve or stupid.
The barbarian is not bellow betting someone up, but he never lets someone he calls a friend hanging, they’ve gotten in trouble because of that also, they have some friends who not exactly "model citizens", thieves, Zuaguirs and the like, he plays as if he had the leadership feat (we decided not to use the feat just because it makes it more difficult to keep track followers) but still, when they get some silver he’s trying to recruit mercs and start something bigger, he’s kind of particular on who gets in his crew but also once their in he will fight for each one of them, it makes it interesting and also gives a lot of story opportunities.

So what’s the point of following a code anyway, a few bonuses on will save… I think maybe your players are missing the point; codes are more about role play than bonuses and the benefits they bring are more intangible than a +2
I remember they did do something like that once, they where down on their luck in an oasis and someone offered them some silver to protect him against dirty nomad who was very upset with him, they took their job to heart and gave the irate nomad a thorough beating, left the pulp of the nomad splattered on the sand and left the Oasis before dawn when they found the man who hired them had cheated the nomad on a dice game, not that that mattered much but the nomad also happened to be the cousin of a Zuagir chief,
The Zuigirs chased them all the way to Zamboula
Hey, I can empathize with you, I don't like this adventure myself. As for your points:

*Honor is not the same as Good. Honor hasn't existed in America, well, ever. It hasn't existed in Europe for over a century really. It's an ancient concept, kinda hard to fathom by the modern person. I'll write below, that Honor means a person is bound to do what he believes is RIGHT, not what is universally good or nice or lawful, either Civilized or Barbaric.

1)There's no problem with the group assuming she's in the city. That's fine. The adventure doesn't outline how to make a search, that burden falls on you, but the adventure does kind of assume players will think this rather than finding the clues first off.

2)As for the noble's Code of Honor, well, you as GM could help him later on: the adventure starts with the PCs being dragged by the Watchmen (A Cold Morning in Arenjun). This is no invitation of respect or honor ("Get up scum" the watchman sneers). And when brought before Oleksa, he sneers "Ah the tavern dogs. I have a small offer of employment for you." Note that Oleksa does not act honorable to the PC, so his loyalty to the leader need not be absolute. And as for respecting an alliance with a dishonorable civilized character, the adventure insists that Oleksa breaks his word. And Bogdan is written as a legitimate rebel, so since Oleksa throws the PCs into this plight, they can ally with Bogdan.

3)The barbarian, well he's not nice, but oh well. If he really believed the shopkeeper was holding out on him, sounds like he acted in character. So he's more of a brute than a naturalist. It may take more than one game session to work out how Codes of Honor work with these two characters.

4)Yeah, but he should also be hospitable and generous to those in need, respect or like others who show honor, and respect hospitality shown to him. Contempt for civilization is fine for him. THE PCs NEED TO HAVE REASONS FOR THEIR BEHAVIOR, if you ask "Why do you do this?" they must answer without stammering why they react this way. All actions are reactions to the environment. Honor is based on one's frame of the reactions. If it helps, use this phrase, "Your Honor is your credit card!" (This is what we always say to actors in the rapier fencing class I teach in).

5)THE CIVILIZED CODE OF HONOR: *If seriously insulted, demand a formal duel at the next suitable opportunity.... Barbarian Honor, no- not according to this particular case. Look, Honor isn't good or Lawful Good, those are DnD concepts. Honor is both personal and universal at the same time. Honor is what's RIGHT by the character, not what's lawful or Good.

And for your ending, well Conan wasn't a 'good' person, he was brutal, honest, cunning, loyal by principal unless crossed, quick to anger and sure to kill if he felt like it, unless he felt honor-bound to the other person (if betrayed, he was no longer honor-bound!). He was NOT cruel, avaricious, polite, and he was NOT compromising. Of Star Wars, liken him more to Han Solo before that moron Lucas re-wrote the cantina scene, Han blasts Greedo in cold blood before the Rhodian gets a shot off, better kill than be killed. Star Wars really doesn't compare to this game, I think a series like The Leatherstocking Tales (Last of the Mohicans is the most famous of the books in this series, more your "noble savage" concept) would do better.

Hope this helps.
That's a problem with codes of honor (or the lack of). As a DM, you have to agree to their use after making sure they aren't going to destroy the party from the inside out.

I mean, a bloodthirsty pirate (no honor to speak of) along with a 'civilized' nobleman and a barbarian. It's a recipe for trouble. Can be quite fun to watch for a while but it will quickly grow old because, if they role-play their PC correctly, they're bound to disagree on quite a few things.

Note that I am not saying it can't be done, but it will be tough at times (especially for the DM who would presumably prefer to see the adventure go on than watch helplessly as the players bicker over what is 'right' or not).

So, as others pointed out already, either your players don't grasp the concept or ignore it blatantly.
Belkregos said:
If they start beating anybody up, people usually have friends, and the players might have to learn a lesson or two, events aren’t isolated, a “fence” might have some friends who come knocking…..

I had considered this, but I don't really want to bog my campaign down in a web of revenge that the PC's will interpret as "Grudge Monsters".

I guess we'll just keep hammering out each player's personal version of the honor code and see where it goes. I would rather the honor code enhance the mood than paralyze the players ability to make their own decisions.
urdinaran said:
Do your players read "Knights of the Dinner Table" perhaps??? Or like to play Hackmaster???

Heh, yes and yes. Until now I had thought we all were laughing because of the absurdity of it, but I am starting to wonder if my players weren't taking it all a little more seriously than I was. I do have one guy that seems to have been Bob's spiritual twin though. (The Barbarian in Question)
Speaking of a troublesome mix of a group: :oops:

My group just played last night, and the group split over their character differences. One person (an original member-Acheronian thief) split because of tensions over another character (other original member-Stygian sorcerer) and a third character (S. Islander barbarian). Said thief didn't like the behaviors and evilness :? of the Stygian, and the sudden cannibalistic behavior of the barbarian, so he poisoned their water supply and left them in the middle of the desert.

So, well, the players in my group have a history of intra-character tension amongst their players, and in various games. For what it's worth, player whose character quit really enjoyed the game, and all players were laughing near-hysterically at several points in the game, but I think everyone had tension at the conclusion, and I was exhausted.

Anyway, I'm saying I've been running my group for almost 2 years now, and have encountered problems because of the party mix from the get-go, so it isn't easy without, as the players say, "a moral compass [to guide them]."
Speaking of which, my quitting player's character offered to make a replacement character 1 level lower than quitting character who'll better fit in with the group. I hope the other players will accept it and we won't have tensions for this game for a while, it's a rough ride running the game when you have a group that doesn't act in a cohesive, co-operative manner! :evil:
Re: Honour

IMHO, Honour isn't 'good'. It is a state of mind- an learned state of mind not a natural one- that resists reconditioning into a less fixed point of view. Thus that is why the +3 bonus to Will saves and +6 bonus to Corruption Checks are psychological not supernatural modifiers. Having something to believe in/defend gives a person a sense of purpose- whether or not this has anything to do with logic or even reality is beside the point. Some of the strongest willed people are the craziest after all. 8) The psychological bonus to Will saves a religon's Faith gives works in the same manner. Whether there's a diety or not behind it is irrelevant- the unquestioning Faith that there is makes you more sure of yourself as long as you believe in it.

The +1 bonus to Reputation is the due the grudging respect people, even some Corrupt ones, give to someone able to master the difficulty of holding onto a Code of Honour in a dishonourable world.....

Feel free to use a Code of Honour against a player- make them earn that bonus. Have some poor victim cry out for help and watch the Honourable players rush in to help and embroil themselves in trouble beyond their ken. Or if they refuse- pull their Code from them and watch them whine....8)

"I mean, a bloodthirsty pirate (no honor to speak of) along with a 'civilized' nobleman and a barbarian. It's a recipe for trouble. "

Or a recipe for good RP. Remember that the codes of honor are alot less strict than say some of the D&D alignments. Now a LE (Lawful Evil) rogue teamed with a LG (Lawful Good) Paladin caused alot of conflict for me. But its down to the players in the end. Usually if they want to kill each other or peasants, they'll find an excuse too EVEN if it contradicts alot of their characters persona. My best defense against that was harsh punishments. I made it obvious they were acting stupidly and had them flogged, flayed, imprisoned, all their items confiscated, outlawed etc.

Just because it doesn't say something in the quest or scenario does not mean you cannot include it either.
Regarding the Barbarian Code of Honour I'd recommend reading REH's Marchers of Valhalla where he gives the adventures of a 1000 men strong band of Aesir Barbarians (post-Hyborian).

The first person narrator gives on ca. 30 pages excellent examples of REH's view of Barbarian ethics.