Preparing for our first game...

Sunchaser

Mongoose
Hail!
I've owned the Conan RPG since it came out, but we've never got around to playing it. So now, while we're waiting for Midnight 2E to arrive, we've deciced to finally give Conan a go.

Because we're only going to be playing for a short while (maybe 3 or 4 adventures) my players want to start at level 15, and I'm not opposed to it.

So, is this a dumb idea? We're all experienced players and know the d20 system backwards. I see Conan has some really nice changes, which shouldn't take longer than a session to get used to.

The only real problem I see is the magic system, which could be quite tricky. (But if I'm lucky, no one will play a Scholar!)

And another thing, what sort of ideas have you lot got for a level 15 group? I was initially planning on running Monte Cook's "Demon God's Fane" but I don't think it'll really suit Conan. So any ideas are welcome.

And please feel free to throw in any other misc advice you've got!

(PS we're using the 1st version of the book, not the Atlantean edition or whatever. Also, we have none of the other books.)

Thanks.
 

Bregales

Mongoose
Hey, good luck with starting off! As far as this particular game system goes, you can start at whatever level you want, you can jump around out of order too. So you could start at level 15, next adventure at level 3, whatever. Keep in mind that the changes from OGL d20 are significant! Even a 15th level character can be killed with one blow (massive damage), which is one of the things those fate points come in handy for (left for dead).

Magic: well, that depends on you: I think you'll be lucky if none of the players wants to play a sorcerer! PC & NPC scholars take much more prep than other classes IMHO. But given the nature of this environment, if they don' t even meet a sorcerer, so what? They could be battling beasties or an enemy army, or just a bunch of minions led by a couple NPCs of similar level to their own. I'm sorry, I haven't used my 1st ed. book since the AE came out, and I don't remember what NPCs are listed in the core book (writing this at work).

Since you're all experienced gamers, they can be of any race/class/background combo. Remember what I just said, I personally believe sorcerers are a pain in the neck both logistically and for group mechanics. Other than that, an experienced group should get together without much trouble at all and get right into an adventure.

If I remember, the core book has adventure seeds near the back, in the Hyborian world section (after Sorcery). Any of them can be fleshed out. An Hyborian adventure should have good combat, intrigue (what different factions are at work in the adventure besides the adventurers? What are the goals of the different NPCs?) Conan game is different from deedledee in that 'dungeon crawls' per se don't exist. Enemies are 95% humans, each with their own agendas, instead of "kill them 'cause they're in the dungeon" mentality of deedle dee dungeon crawls, which IMO makes more work for GM but a terriffic time for the players, and hopefully you too! Even the 'foil' (dame, girl, princess) has her reasons for approaching the PCs, more than just offering them money. Know their reasons/motivations, and you can't go wrong.

Anyway, this is my favorite game, environment, system. I hope you all will enjoy it and maybe continue with it, even when the new Midnight game is released (which I'm "iffy" about at present/don't own present release but have seen). So good luck! :)
 

Trodax

Mongoose
Hail Sunchaser, and welcome to the boards!

Sunchaser said:
The only real problem I see is the magic system, which could be quite tricky. (But if I'm lucky, no one will play a Scholar!)
Yeah, a 15th level Scholar could be a little troublesome to have in your first game of Conan. For one thing, it will mean a lot more rules for you to keep track of (at level 15, the Scholar will have a little over 20 spells, which is quite a bit). Also, some of the higher level spells are rather nasty, and the Scholar might be to powerful for your comfort (I've never played with such high-level sorcerers, so I don't really know).

One solution would be to just say no to Scholar PCs. I've heard people on these boards say thats the way they always play it, believing that Scholars are more appropriate for NPCs.
Of course, if one of your players really has his mind set on playing a Scholar, you could also just go with it and see what happens. I'd probably require that he read up on the magic rules and try to learn the effects of his spells, though.

Sunchaser said:
And another thing, what sort of ideas have you lot got for a level 15 group? I was initially planning on running Monte Cook's "Demon God's Fane" but I don't think it'll really suit Conan. So any ideas are welcome.
Don't know anything about "Demon God's Fane", but I do know that most D&D adventures are rather different from your standard Conan tale.

If I wanted to give my players an appetizer of the Hyborian Age and plunge them right into the "Conan-feel", I would probably borrow heavily from the original tales by Robert E. Howard. Many of his stories would make for great RPG adventures. Depending on how much Howard your players have read, you'd have to modify more or less.

For example, I think The Slithering Shadow (also known as Xuthal of the Dusk) could be adapted into a great high-level adventure. It could go something like this:

The adventure opens up with the PCs fleeing from a battle they have just lost. Because of their high level, they probably held central roles in the losing army. Come up with a cool backstory; if one of your PCs is a Noble, perhaps he just lost a war trying to reclaim the throne of a small kingdom that was rightfully his (or not so rightfully - its Conan; there is no black and white, only different shades of grey :wink: ). A Soldier PC could be a mercenary captain, a Barbarian the Nobles trusted bodyguard and so forth.

The PCs are followed and hunted into the wilderness by a large enemy force thats after their heads. You could run this as a long harried chase through terrain of your choice (parched desert, steaming jungle, whatever). Eventually they come upon an ancient, apparently deserted, city. After having investigated the eerie ruins for a while, they come upon an inhabitant and soon discover that the city isn't deserted at all (well duh, surprise!). The inhabitants could be lotus-dazed dreamers (as in The Slithering Shadow) or degenerate lunatics (as in Red Nails) or anything else that floats your boat.

It shortly becomes apparent that the inhabitants worship a Demon God that occasionally rises from the dark caverns beneath the city to claim a sacrifice of his choosing (hey, he's just hungry, thats all there is to it :wink: ).

At the appropriate time, the pursuing enemy force arrives in the city. Night falls, and the Demon God makes his appearance. From then on, blood-drenched mayhem follows (its Conan, so mayhem is a must). You should of course leave it open for the PCs to strike up alliances with the inhabitants of the city or with their former enemies, or just sneak around on their own depending on how things play out. If you want to keep them from just fleeing like madmen from the city (which would probably be a wise strategy), you could play the cheap, but very Howardian, trick of having some pretty girl being captured and dragged away.

Damn, this became a rather long post, hope it helps in any way!
 
I think 'People of the Black Circle' would likewise make for an excellent adventure. I ran an adaptation of it for a mid level party (complete with a Draw Forth the Heart spell) and it went vwery well. It would be easy to modify a lot of those encounters to an even higher level.
 

Bregales

Mongoose
I think other good stories to adapt for higher level characters might include:
"The Treasure of Tranicos" ("The Black Stranger"),
pastiche "The City of Skulls",
"Hawks Over Shem" ("Hawks Over Egypt"),
"A Witch Shall Be Born" (depending on size of company maybe, enemy a powerful sorceress with minion)

where titles in parenthesis are the Howard titles others changed to fit the Conan ethos. Probably most easily found in the Ace/Lancer collections played around with/re-done by L. Sprague de Camp, et. al.

The other stories already mentioned in this thread may be more relevant, but here are some others.

Hope this helps.
 

Sunchaser

Mongoose
Thanks for all the replies guys!
I made a level 15 Barbarian last night, took me an hour. I looked at this monster, and thought "Level 15, no way!" I've scaled the game down to level 5, just so we can all ease into it. The more I read the book the more I love the idea of this game. It's almost a total opposite the "Midnight" world we're so accustomed to, a nice fresh breath of free air!
We're playing tomorrow night, so I've got a bit of work tonight, I'm sure I'll be posting on moday with some questions and feedback.
Cheers all, and have an awesome weekend.
 
As for the difficulty in dealing with Sorcerers, I posted an alternate system of Sorcery in 'Raven's Rules for Sorcery v 1.1' elsewhere in this forum. The new rules are about 80% compatible with the original rules, but designed to make it a little easier to handle. I am slowly adding to the spell lists, but you can adapt preexisting Conan spells to the system with a little work. If you want the master file for the system just send me a pm with an e-mail address and I will send it to you.

But I agree starting a 15th level Scholar first thing would be hard. Whoever would do it better have a lot of experience roleplaying and a good mind for details. 8)

Raven
 

Bregales

Mongoose
Sunchaser said:
Thanks for all the replies guys!
I made a level 15 Barbarian last night, took me an hour. I looked at this monster, and thought "Level 15, no way!" I've scaled the game down to level 5, just so we can all ease into it. The more I read the book the more I love the idea of this game. It's almost a total opposite the "Midnight" world we're so accustomed to, a nice fresh breath of free air!
We're playing tomorrow night, so I've got a bit of work tonight, I'm sure I'll be posting on moday with some questions and feedback.
Cheers all, and have an awesome weekend.
Very cool, well good luck, and have a blast. :)
 
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