Troy!

Gromel

Mongoose
In his books, the Timaeus and Critias, Plato told the epic tale of how "the seas swallowed Atlantis". He discovered this after his uncle, Critias described how his ancestor Solon, had visited Egypt and was told the story from an Egyptian priest. Of course, he had no clue how far back the tale dated, and what came after. REH on the other hand, used Plato's story as the origin of the Hyborian Age, and how its fall shaped the known world.

What if another Greek legend dated almost as far back as this? The tale of Troy, written by Homer. What if, unknown to the ancient world, the war never took place between the Greeks and Trojans, two hated enemies, but between other coastal countries, far older. The countries of Zingara and Argos?

An Argosian prince kidnapps a Zinagaran princes, simply to spite the Zingarian lords. 10,000 ships are sent out to force Argos to return the girl. The players are soldiers/pirates in this mighty fleet, heading for the city of Troy (or something of a similar name).

Now what if the princess, previously depicted as helpless, had a plan to escape herself. Little did the world know, but the girl had knowledge of the dark arts, and had summoned a monster, hidden away, under the city, waiting.

This, and countless other scenarios could take place with this mighty war. Just a simple idea I came up with in my breaks in work. What are your views?

P.S. Cornelius, I'm especially looking forward to what you have to say...

Thanks for any replies, be they insults, rants or general flames.


Gromel
 

Becket

Mongoose
Interesting idea....however I think you would be better off to make it Turan and Hyrkania....just to keep the feeling. Argos and Zingara are neighbors and frankly why launch 10000 ships when they can walk across the border.

The Trojan war and the Illiad were lanced with mythology that do not play well with Conan setting. Remember, the whole reasoning behind Paris stealing Helen was the contest between Aphrodite,Athena and Hera. He was in love with her before they even met. Other instances are the Invulnerability of Achiles by his mother dipping him in the river Styx...Achilles mother Thetis was a half god. Helen was born from the union of Zeus and her mother, Leda.

Just some thoughts.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Well, it's better to borrow the good bits than to steal outright, doubly so when the mythology (as it were) is so different.

Now, Achellies isn't invincible in the Iliad...in fact, Thetis buys him armor more than once to keep him safe. However...in this scenario, what if one side is supposed to have an invincible warrior, who then falls? His death leads to a loss of morale and drive of the attacking army...so the scum of the earth is secretly hired to engineer some victories.

Guess where the players come in.

Another idea is that the abduction DID happen for supernatural reasons...the Paris figure, besides being a prince, is also a sorceror who's become obsessed with 'Helen'. However, instead of ingesting her literally or sacrificing her for Great Power, he begins teaching her his secrets...
 

thulsa

Mongoose
Interesting idea....however I think you would be better off to make it Turan and Kyrkania....just to keep the feeling.

This got me thinking... the storyline of "Troy" is almost exactly what happens in the "Hyrkanian War" (or "Makkalet War") story by Roy Thomas (reprinted in The Cronicles of Conan volume 3 and 4, by Dark Horse).

The sorcerer Kharam-Akkad convinces the king of Makkalet (a Hyrkanian city-state across the Vilayet Sea) to kidnap the Living Tarim from the temple in Aghrapur. The Turanian war-fleet, commanded by prince Yezdigerd, follows the kidnappers back to Makkalet. After a lengthy siege, Makkalet is burned to the ground and the Living Tarim is slain by Turanians in the chaos of the looting.

Heck, the story even has an advance group of Turanians climbing out of a huge winged horse (griffin) statue in the market square of Makkalet... ! (Although in this case, there are actually tunnels beneath the city leading into the horse's belly, so to speak; the besieging Turanians do not craft the horse.)

Coincidence... ? I think not... :shock:

Anyway, this just proves that mythology can be mined for Hyborian adventure ideas. Can anyone think of any other well-known stories from myth or ancient history that might be adapted to a Hyborian epic?

- thulsa
 
Anyway, this just proves that mythology can be mined for Hyborian adventure ideas. Can anyone think of any other well-known stories from myth or ancient history that might be adapted to a Hyborian epic?

You are very right, but in fact not only mythology can be mined... Excellent ideas (cinematographic scenes?) are just... scenario-fodder.

I remember actually having taken a very amusing idea (a masked ball where an assassin – a jealous husband - tries to kill a person... and success with the wrong one) from one of my favourite readings: “The Alexandria Quartet”, by Lawrence Durrell… Sure nobody could have ever imagined some scenes are just great straight from those books to a Conan game!!!

Another of my favourite dwells of inspiration are “Prince Valiant” comics: great for the swordplay, intrigue, castle-storming, barbarians, travelling and so.

Finally, my longest Conan scenario ever played, straight from Robert Graves’ “I, Claudius”: There is a history about a Jewish King, Herodiah, who starts being the best friend of Claudius. After getting the power in Rome (Argos?, Poitain?), Claudius literally covers him in gold, sends him back to Judaea (Asgalun?) and makes his tiny kingdom bigger… Some time after that, Herodiah has secretly built an impressive army, restored Jerusalem’s walls and become – from being a near pagan – an orthodox Jew… Roman agents start to “fade away”... War is impossible to avoid and impossible to be won by Rome, then…

Well, political intrigue in Claudius’ novels is so inspiring for a courtesan campaign with a strong Machiavellian flavour…

Other possibilities are: Gisbert Haefs’ novels on Hannibal and Carthage; any detective story set in past times (another favourite for my Conan games: just play “Maltese Falcon” with swords instead S&Ws).
 

Becket

Mongoose
Oh there is no doubt that there has been a lot of Mythology mining as well as other areas. I simply wanted to make mention of the amount the deities meddled in Greek affairs.

Another great story idea was done in the Savage Sword of Conan comics. The story lasted for 3-4 issues and dealt with King Conan sailing off to take care of an issue. His ship got lost in a storm and he ended up in a Hyborean age version of North America where he met and dealt with various indigenous peoples...from Inuit to Blackfoot to Aztec...it was very interesting and seemed to take a lot from the Odyssey.

I find that that is what makes roleplaying and game mastering in specific to be so wonderful. If you find a great piece of literature you can adapt it and script out a bit of a play for your characters.
B
 

Arandur

Mongoose
Yeah most Norse mythology works really well in Conan. As can a lot of the Arthurian tales really. I was also thinking that there are a few movies that work pretty well as base ideas for Conan games (such as Kirosawa's the Seven Samurai).

I was thinking that the Eaters of the Dead (the name of the book the Movie the 13th Warrior is based upon)...now this to me just cries out to be a Conan scenario and can be tweaked to suit your group in so many ways.

A beleagured ruler sends one of his subjects to find help for an evil that is plaguing his lands, this could be either mercenaries or even another clan/tribe/kingdom. They arrive (after a perilous ship voyage?) and find that most of the able-bodied men have been taken or killed and that the folk are afraid of an ancient unspeakable evil. The players investigate. fight the enemy, make heroic stands against an outnumbering enemy. Then in true Conan style assault those same outnumbering forces inside their own lair! You know the book/movie!

Hell, you can even make it a true Fire Wyrm or Demonic beast if you like! Or include both... I was thinking of using a cult that worshipped a demonic creature much like a bear that fed on the hearts of men, and its followers copied it in devotion through being cannibals. Perhaps the demon creature was seriously injured hundreds of years earlier by the ruler's ancestors and wants vengeance? Perhaps it is an Evil Sorceror with his eyes set upon the ruler's lands? The possibilities are mind-boggling...

Just an idea,

Arandur
 

Ordovician

Mongoose
My thinking on a Troy storyline would be to make it darker, give it a twist - capitalizing on Achilles' divine heritage, why not make him a Spawn of Dagoth Hill or something similar? :twisted:
 

cornelius

Mongoose
Going back to the original Argos / Zingara idea the rulebook itself says " Argos has long held a dislike of Zingara , which ... has often spilled over into serious conflict ... the main Zingaran border roads are guarded at all times ... the border country is predominantly oak - forested hills , haunted by dreadful flesh eating ghouls ... probably one reason why most of the conflict between the two nations has been expressed at sea , rather than in land battles ."
This would seem to make them perfect candidates for the scenario , and you'd have that greek flavour with very little tweaking .
Also why not make the princess type a scheming witch like Salome ( or even an evil twin kidnapped by accident or who's set the whole thing up herself and holds the real princess captive ) , this could provide a nice twist when the PCs arrive to rescue her and she's sided with the enemy , and then another game where they discover she's an impostor and have to go back in to get the real one , already having identified themselves to their enemies .
 

Cranus

Mongoose
These are all neat adaptations of other stories to the Conan setting. As one of my players is an Argossean (sp?) Pirate, I really like the initial Troy-like idea between Argos and Zingara.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Nice to see all this posative feedback on Troy. Two small ideas have occured to me recently.

1. Achilles was actually a Shemite warrior, battling along the Shem-Stygian border. In a particularly deadly battle, Achilles was shot into the river Styx. His warband later found him upon the shorelines of Shem. He had survived a deadly set of rapids, falls, and razor sharp rocks. Miraculasly, the only mark upon him was a single graze upon his heel. This mark was later diagnosed as infected, and caused him much grief in later years. But the legends spoke of how Achilles was invincible after his swim, appart from his heel.

2. A smaller idea, was simply the three goddesses mentioned above, Aphrodite, Athena and Hera, were actually witches themselves. As time progressed, they would later be depicted as mighty gods, far from the prophets they actually were...

Any suggestions? Just a few more thoughts for debate.
 
Another all-time favourite:

Anabasis is the most famous work of the Greek writer Xenophon. The journey it narrates is his best known accomplishment.

Xenophon accompanied a large army of Greek mercenaries hired by Cyrus the Younger, who intended to seize the throne of Persia from his brother, Artaxerxes II. Though Cyrus' army was victorious in a battle in Babylon, Cyrus himself was killed in battle and the expedition rendered moot. Stranded deep in enemy territory, most of the Greek generals were subsequently killed or captured by treachery. Xenophon played an instrumental role in encouraging the Greek army of 10,000 to march north to the Black Sea. This is the story he relates in this book.

The Greek term anabasis referred to an expedition from a coastline into the interior of a country. The term katabasis referred to a trip from the interior to the coast. Since most of Xenophon's narrative is taken up with the march from the interior of Babylon to the Black Sea, the title is something of a misnomer.

One of the best and most easily found translations is Rex Warner's The Persian Expedition.
 
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