New to Conan - Quick Question

Melkor

Mongoose
Hi folks,

I just got the Atlantean edition of the Conan RPG, and had a quick question.

I know that all D20 stuff is fairly compatible, but I wanted to ask - If I wanted to add PC races & classes from other D20 sources, or even the D&D books themselves, how do the 'mesh' with those found in the Conan book ?

In other words, for those of you who have played a while, will the classes and races in Conan balance well against classes and races from other products, or will the power level be slanted one way or another ?

Thanks!
 

argo

Mongoose
Melkor said:
I know that all D20 stuff is fairly compatible, but I wanted to ask - If I wanted to add PC races & classes from other D20 sources, or even the D&D books themselves, how do the 'mesh' with those found in the Conan book ?
Generally speaking they don't. Classes with spellcasting/supernatural abilities are far too powerful in Conan (compare Conan Scholar with dnd Wizard) wheras classes without spellcasting are marginally too weak as they are usually designed with an assumed magic-item economy in mind (compare Conan Soldier with dnd Fighter). Additionally many classes and races break the flavor of a Conan game, generally most fantasy d20 products are geared towards "high fantasty", dnd style elves and halflings will be mostly out of place in a Conan game.

Of course there are some d20 products that do mesh well with Conan, but you will have to do some digging to find them.

Hope that helps.
 

Ant

Mongoose
argo is spot on.

The rules themselves provide guidance on this (but maybe not in the Atlantean edition?) -- the "Is the Hyborian Age a 'low magic' or 'low fantasy' setting?" boxout in the Introduction. Elves, dwarves, halflings, etc. didn't appear in REH's stories and so shouldn't appear in Conan RPG games -- if you want to maintain an authentic REH flavour!

But there's no reason established characters from a typical D&D/d20 fantasy-mediæval setting couldn't find they're way to the Hyborian Age through a magical portal! But for game balance, fighters and rogues should be given a +1 level bonus and spellcasters a -1, maybe -2, level penalty. Non-human races should be given at least a -2 CHA penalty -- they'd be seen as alien.

There's precendent for this in the extended Conan canon: Elric of Melniboné travelled to Conan's world in “A Sword Called Stormbringer!” in Conan the Barbarian comic #14 and #15. (Which certainly gives an excuse for some Dragon Lords of Melniboné crossovers!)

Monsters could be placed in a Conan RPG game -- the weirder the better! Monsters from Call of Cthulhu d20 would be particularly appropriate -- there's literary precedent for this which is being discussed in another thread.

Gr.,
Ant
 

Melkor

Mongoose
Thanks for the replies!

If I brought anything in, it would probably be Elves and Dwarves....The Dwarves in the Vanaheim/Asgard area, and the elves, well, the would be rare, and I don't know how they would fit in.

I know they aren't "canon Conan", but I am ok with not being a purist.

So, other than the charisma hit you mentioned, any other suggestions for 'balancing' D&D races with Conan races ?

What about monsters from the various D20 Monster Supplements ? Would I need to make any significant changes/modifications to bring in...say....a Frost Giant ? What about creatures like Gnolls ?

Thanks again.
 

Damien

Mongoose
What it comes down to is -- it's your game.

A lot of people seem to insist on keeping a "Conan feel." I can sympathize with that. But at the same time, the setting is awesome for a lot of different kinds of games, and the Conan ruleset just begs to be messed around with for different style settings.

Want a gritty high-fantasy setting? The Conan rules will work for that. Also, if you want a more 'fantasy' Hyboria with Elves and Dwarves -- that's your choice.

Just because it's the Conan RPG doesn't mean you have to use it to run a game set in Hyboria, or if you do - you aren't obligated to run your game in Robert E. Howard's vision of Hyboria. Do what you want to do.

That said, pretty much everything is going to require a tweak here or there, at least, to fit into the Conan rules. I don't think anything will port DIRECTLY to Conan without a change here or there.

Spellcasters will be extremely hard to fit in. Monsters will be fairly easy. PC races will be hard at times, easy at others, depending on what you want to do with that race.
 

Sutek

Mongoose
Of the basic D&D Classes, the Cleric and Paladin simply have no place in a Conan game. Rouges and Thieves are nearly identical, as are Fighter and Soldier, but Conan Thieves are better in context than Rogues are in thier game. D&D Barbarians are crazy outa whack with Conan ones, but they are meant to be monstrosities in D&D. Ranger and Borders are a decent equivalent.

As far as races, I'd considered using Dwarves and Elves. After all, it's not unlikely that some nasty little cave dwelling brutes might have made it into a REH story, Dwarf-like, but nastier. As PCs, I don't know, but as nasty little buggers who come down from the hill sto steal babies or something - sure. Elves, same thing. Germanic stories don't exactly portray Elves as happy, tree-hugging fancy boys. Tolkien's Elves are even too nicey-nice compared to the evles and fae of ancient European folklore.

In moderation, and as NPC or encounters only: yeah. Be very careful if you intend to bring them in as PCs however.

Wizards and Sorcerers might function as Classes, btw, if you stick to having them use all the available Feats and spell lists/system in Conan. IIRC, they don't really have enough (or any) class abilities that would topple or even translate into Conan to have any ill effects.

8)
 

Azgulor

Banded Mongoose
I use the Conan rules for my Kingdoms of Kalamar game. It's traditional D&D setting with elves, dwarves, etc. I imported the races without modification. I'm adapting the human races by finding their closest Hyborian parallel. Classes are strictly from Conan at present, but I'm considering building a custom class via Grim Tales for priest/wizard classes (I may not use the Conan sorcery system).

Once I get the Thieves' World book, I may use their mage & priest classes as they may provide a middle-ground between Conan & D&D while preserving the sword-n-sorcery feel.

Azgulor
 

Bl**dmoor

Mongoose
You asked about Frost Giants? Well check out the Scrolls of Skelos book and it stats them out near the back. Its mostly for scholars and dabblers but the Frost Giants are there. Gnolls on the other hand the closest thing in Conan that comes to it is the WereHyena. I don't have the Atlantian Ed. of the game so I don't know if its in the back like in the 1st ed.
 

Melkor

Mongoose
Thanks again for the info folks!

Azgulor -

Have you had any "balance" or "power" issues in your game by importing other races as-is ?

I'm kind of wanting to do the same thing....Use the Conan rules system, and probably stick with the Conan classes, but import some of the demi-human races.
 

Azgulor

Banded Mongoose
Melkor said:
Thanks again for the info folks!

Azgulor -

Have you had any "balance" or "power" issues in your game by importing other races as-is ?

I'm kind of wanting to do the same thing....Use the Conan rules system, and probably stick with the Conan classes, but import some of the demi-human races.

Not thus far. I don't know if it's because I tweaked the human races ala Conan rather than just allowing them to have one more feat or if most of the power comes from the Conan classes and rules rather than the racial abilities.

However, when introducing any "standard" D&D or d20 element from another source, I see if I can recreate it in Grim Tales. For example, in Grim Tales, I can see a point total for the various demi-human races. I can deconstruct the Hyborian races for comparison and then tweak my Kalamar human races to ensure that their power level is in line with the demihumans. I've only had to do a few races so far, but it's worked well for me. I'm preparing to move and my notes are packed away, but as I recall dwarves came out very closely in terms of racial point-build to Hyborians and Bossonians (I may have done a few other Conan races, but those two I know I did for comparison purposes).

I can't recommend Grim Tales enough as a way of intelligently incorporating d20 elements into the Conan rules rather than trial-by-fire. Essentially, the Conan rules are my foundation. Anything extra, I go to Grim Tales first to see if I can create it or deconstruct it for comparison. I'm still too early into it to know if there's a flaw somewhere, but so far it's worked like a champ for me.

Azgulor
 
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