Alright, my players have finally made characters and we're starting our game next Sat. evening. 4 of the 6or 7 character s are complete. Though I expected to end up with many warrior types, this is what the party looks like so far:

Cimmerian Barbarian
Zamorian Thief
Khitan Scholar
Stygian Scholar

This is going to make for some interesting roleplaying, and I'll probably have to go a little easy on them at first, at least until they get sick of hearing the Stygian talk about demons, sacrifices and other random acts of vileness and kill him. :D
Wow -- 2 scholars and a Zamorian! I think I see demons shadowing your group's footsteps; howling out their mad lust for souls and torture . . . :twisted:
Funny thing is the player playing the Stygian Scholar is well known for his Vile nature. He knows how to stretch the enveloppe when it comes to the other players patience, I can't imagin' someone more suited to play the role. I can see him plotting with Demons behind the party's back. He's looking forward to playing out this role.

And he probably looks forward to see a cimmerian broad sword firmly implanted in his forehead as well... :)

I think the Cimmerian is outnumbered, and that player should play someone else. Zamorian thieves are noted kidnappers, and could likely be employed by the two scholars to kidnap ritual sacrifices for them...

Two scholars and a Zamorian spells trouble in the night for the Cimmerian.

I think the Cimmerian should look elsewhere for companions.
Being that at the moment everyone is still level one, the cimmerian isn't too worried yet. He could take the other three on if it came to that, and if the others want to live long enough to plot against him they'll need his help to survive.
There's also the fact that I still have 2 players who have not made character yet, so the cimmerian could end up with some back up.

Although Conan had no problem making friends among rogues (Conan was hardly a good guy to begin with), "The Flame Knife" may not be the best example as that was a de Camp rewrite of an otherwise fine Robert E. Howard story of El Borak called "Three Bladed Doom."

Howard did not intend that story to be a Conan story, but your point is still a good one. Besides, Conan was unique among Cimmerians, more like the Aesir in temperment than Cimmerian - so who says a Cimmerian has to act like Conan? There can be treacherous and vile Cimmerians who are into "demons, sacrifices and other random acts of vileness" out there too. I would hate to think all Cimmerian PCs out there have to act like Conan.
I think Conan was definitely more curious than most of his countrymen, and more restless. That was his primary difference. After all, if his curiosity and restlessness weren't there, he'd probably have settled down to a life of herding and raiding with a plump wife stolen from a neighboring tribe.
Oh, he had bigger differences than that.

As Prospero tells Conan, "Then I think you are more like them (the Aesir) than you are like your own race. You laugh greatly, drink deep and bellow good songs, whereas I never saw another Cimmerian who drank aught but water, or who ever laughed, or ever sang save to chant dismal dirges."

He was about as atypical for a Cimmerian as they come. Conan says Cimmerians are "strange and moody, indeed. Life seems bitter and hard and futile. The men of those dark hills brood overmuch on unknown things. They dream monstrous dreams. I have seen the strange madness of futility fall upon them when a little thing like a spinning dust-cloud or the hollow crying of a bird, or the moan of the wind through bare branches brought to their gloomy minds the emptiness of life and the vainness of existence. Only in war are the Cimmerians happy. Mitra! The ways of the Aesir were more to my liking."

Seems to me that a land of people who abstain from alchohol and brood overmuch on unknown things might be an excellent companion for a Stygian...

(quotes are from the Phoenix on the Sword (first submitted draft) by Robert E. Howard himself.)
But that curiosity and restlessness are precisely what Howard was describing there. Conan, restless and not content with his lot in life, left his land to quench his curiosity in the world at large, and in doing so found happiness. He had the initial thought that he could live a better life, and carved that destiny out of the world at swordpoint. Without that restlessness, though, he probably would have never experienced such things as AEsir society, ribald ballads, or strong drink.
Precisely? Howard didn't use the words 'curiosity' or 'restlessness' at all in those passages. He was hardly describing curiosity there. He implies that Conan simply didn't fit in at all and that he went somewhere else because he liked their lifestyle better.

He does, however, indicate that Conan had a wayward foot in other stories, and I am not debating that such is part of his character that makes him different. On the contrary, I am debating that curiosity and restlessness were his primary differences, as seemed to be the earlier claim. His differences were far more substantial than mere curiosity and wanderlust. My claim is that there is more to it than that.

However, I do realise that the pastiches emphasise the wanderlust and curiosity over the depressive natures and innate strangeness of the Cimmerians. I think that is a poor choice on the part of the pastiche writers. I would have preferred they emphasise the weirdness of Cimmeria and its dismal, dirge-singing inhabitants among the gloomy forests and mist-shrouded hills, all brooding on depressive, terrible things.

Neither here nor there, but Conan's grandfather, as revealed in a letter by Howard, was also a wanderer.
By the way, what styles of sorcery did your players choose? I rolled up a Stygian Scholar, thus paying more attention to the Sorcery rules, and was not impressed. Scholars are very weak characters at low levels methinks.
I think that depends entirely on what the setting is -- their knowledge and strong mental/social abilities will make them quite powerful in RP situations. Not to break from Hyboria but consider Gandalf in LotR -- we see his magic used just a few times (in the books anyway!) . . . it was his knowledge, insight and force of character that made him the hero he was!

In battle the sorcerer may be less potent but even a simple divination might give the group the the advantage over their enemies that they need!
Your absolutely right, at low level aside from the RP aspect, there's not much glory to being a scholar. But patience should be important to a sorcerer. The Khitan Scholar took the Independant background and chose the oriental magic style. The Stygian went with the demonic pact background and the summonings style.

From what I've read so far, Howard uses the words 'sorcerer', 'wizard', and 'magician' relatively interchangeably, as he does 'demon', 'devil', and 'fiend'. Is this correct? How about 'necromancer'?
Faraer said:
From what I've read so far, Howard uses the words 'sorcerer', 'wizard', and 'magician' relatively interchangeably, as he does 'demon', 'devil', and 'fiend'. Is this correct? How about 'necromancer'?

That's right but keep in mind the REH was writing from the prespective of Conan and other characters who knew little of magic. I presume that if you actually talked to one of those arcane psychopaths they would have some opinions on the subject of catagorization. The great thing about the Scholar class is that it readily encompasess all of these archtypes. Depending on you choice of styles, spells, background, feats, and race you can make anything from a Stygian necromancer to a Pictish shaman or a Khitan hypnotist or anything in batween.
Faraer said:
From what I've read so far, Howard uses the words 'sorcerer', 'wizard', and 'magician' relatively interchangeably, as he does 'demon', 'devil', and 'fiend'. Is this correct? How about 'necromancer'?

I would think that nearly everyone knows that only a necromancer trafficks with the dead. Until a specific wizard is known to practice necromancy, I don't think he would be categorized as a necromancer. Now, he could be accused of it without evidence, but I'm sure one who found that style of sorcery distasteful would be quick to take offense...