What changes would YOU make to Conan Second Edition?

Trodax

Mongoose
Padre said:
And another idea - give us some gritty critical hit effects. Broken legs, severed arms, eye-popping-spine-splitting-gorefest!
I agree that this sort of bloody brutality is absolutely right for combat in Conan, but I personally think this is best handled purely by description. I don't really think the abstract hit point system is built to handle this all that well. WFRP (2nd edition, don't know about 1st) has some very fun critical effects in combat, but there the entire damage system is built around this; you take damage as loss of Wounds until you run out of them and then you start taking critical effects. So the critical effects themselves are what damages you. But how would it work in d20? "You take 20 hp and a severed arm"? That could work fine for a low-level character with only 10 hp, but what would it mean for a 20th level character with 120 hp (he would heal the hp damage in one day)? To me it seems like a system with critical effects would end up functioning alongside the regular hp system, and that it would be hard to integrate the two.
I could be wrong, though; perhaps it's been done for d20 in some clever way already.

Also see this thread for some more thoughts on hp: link
 

Padre

Mongoose
Trodax said:
I don't really think the abstract hit point system is built to handle this all that well.

You can connect it with Massive Damage roll. For example:
- if you fail the MD test by 5 or less - your character suffers a serious injury (broken limb, internal bleeding, etc.); his HP drops to 0 and he needs medical attention; serious injuries can affect ability scores permanently;
- if you fail by 6-10 - your character suffers a terrible injury (loses a limb, an eye, etc.) and is reduced to -1HP;
- if you fail by more than 10 - instakill!

It's simple, it adds a little math (not much) and makes the setting less deadly, but more gritty.
 

Clovenhoof

Mongoose
To quote everyone's mom: it's only fun until somebody gets hurt.

Of course such a gorefest can be cool when you wade through your opponents severing limb from limb. It is not fun when one unlucky day you are on the receiving end. Normally, when you drop you wait till you stabilize or, in the worst case, pull a Fate Point. A few days later you are back on the mend.
But what are you going to do with a character that stabilizes but is now missing an arm or leg? You can just as well put the char sheet into the shredder. It makes no difference if your character is dead or permanently disabled, you need a new one anyway.
OTOH, if you can avoid that fate by using a Fate Point, why even bother? It doesn't take an official rule to describe your opponents being torn to shreds. If the player wants to play a character sans one hand, he can do so without official rules as well.

Less deadly - I can't see that. More gritty - definitely. But is that what the majority of players want? I say hardly.
 

Padre

Mongoose
Clovenhoof said:
To quote everyone's mom: it's only fun until somebody gets hurt.

Of course such a gorefest can be cool when you wade through your opponents severing limb from limb. It is not fun when one unlucky day you are on the receiving end.

Losing a character is not that fun either. And that's what you get when you fail MD and don't have any Fate Points left. My idea (it's just an idea, remember :) ) gives you a choice: instead of losing your character, sometimes you can choose to carry on with a negative modifiers or - if you are lucky - just a battle scar. You can always discard your character sheet and start with a new one, but if you prefer the gritty-die-hard-where's-my-arm style of play, you'll keep going. Give it a try - it's actually quite amazing how players react and how fun it is to have a character saying 'I lost two fingers in the Battle of Valkia' or 'a Kushite club crushed my leg back there and it hurts like hell every winter'. The fun part is the other characters were actually there - it's not just a part of your character background you made up. Makes your character 3D (but you can always decide that you're not gonna play this way).
 

Trodax

Mongoose
Padre said:
You can connect it with Massive Damage roll. For example:
- if you fail the MD test by 5 or less - your character suffers a serious injury (broken limb, internal bleeding, etc.); his HP drops to 0 and he needs medical attention; serious injuries can affect ability scores permanently;
- if you fail by 6-10 - your character suffers a terrible injury (loses a limb, an eye, etc.) and is reduced to -1HP;
- if you fail by more than 10 - instakill!
OK, that could work quite smoothly I guess.

Clovenhoof said:
To quote everyone's mom: it's only fun until somebody gets hurt.
I agree completely with Clovenhoof's post, and the points he makes are spot on how I feel about this (not saying that's the only right way to feel, though :wink: ).

This sums up why I feel that critical effects aren't really necessary, and might even be troublesome:

1) Severed limbs and gouged out eyes are very genre appropriate when it comes to the heroes opponents. In the stories, Conan is always doing nasty stuff to his foes. However, this can be handled in the current system with GM descriptions.

2) Severed limbs and gouged out eyes are not genre appropriate when it comes to the heroes themselves. Conan, Solomon Kane, King Kull and the other heroes of REH never loose a hand or limp around with a sprained ankle. They might get mauled close to death at times, but in the next story they're usually good to go again (as far as I can remember, at least). It should of course be possible to die, but loss of hands and limbs doesn't really feel right for me.

How you view this is really dependent on how you view the entire Conan world, though. For me, Conan is pretty heroic when it comes to the PCs, but rather gritty for the rest of the world, but I know that a lot of people have a much more overall-gritty view.
 

Majestic7

Mongoose
Trodax said:
[
How you view this is really dependent on how you view the entire Conan world, though. For me, Conan is pretty heroic when it comes to the PCs, but rather gritty for the rest of the world, but I know that a lot of people have a much more overall-gritty view.

Exactly and thus adding some additional rules concerning permanent effects from critical hits / massive damage might be in order - they could be stamped as an optional ruleset.

What comes to the 2nd edition - remove sorcery failure for armor. It seems like something coming from D&D with no basis on REH. Perhaps add some penalty to spells requiring skill rolls or hand movements - but the percentile failure chance is just out of genre.

Now someone might complain that it is a game balancing mechanism preventing sorcerers from wearing plate while blasting people with spells. Well, my reply to that is "tough luck". I don't see a need for everything to be balanced in the gameplay. Besides, armor is still cumbersome, needs a proficiency and might no fit the image the sorcerer wishes to create.
 

Padre

Mongoose
Trodax said:
(...)How you view this is really dependent on how you view the entire Conan world, though. For me, Conan is pretty heroic when it comes to the PCs, but rather gritty for the rest of the world, but I know that a lot of people have a much more overall-gritty view.

Indeed. I guess it depends on how we handle our characters - if we want them to stay 100% in-genre, then permanent injuries don't make sense. If we want to drift a little, we get a more gritty feel at the price of doing stuff that Howard's characters never did.

PS. Still, I think Pallantides suffered a serious injury in 'The Hour of the Dragon'. It says 'He will be fortunate if he ever rides again'. In game terms, that's a high risk of losing many ability points, right?
 

Trodax

Mongoose
Majestic7 said:
Exactly and thus adding some additional rules concerning permanent effects from critical hits / massive damage might be in order - they could be stamped as an optional ruleset.
Yeah, that's absolutely true. It's probably a really good idea to include a couple of optional rules so that different people can get exactly the feel that they want out of the game.

What I think would be a good idea is to clearly mark optional rules as such, and maybe even include a little explanation of what the optional rule will do to the game ("this will make things more deadly"). This would help to make the game less intimidating for new players. (When I'm new to a game I usually try to run everything by the book to begin with, but something marked as an 'optional rule' I could easily skip without loosing any sleep. :wink: ) I actually think the combat maneuvers should be marked as optional for this same reason.

Padre said:
Still, I think Pallantides suffered a serious injury in 'The Hour of the Dragon'. It says 'He will be fortunate if he ever rides again'. In game terms, that's a high risk of losing many ability points, right?
True. However, if The Hour of the Dragon was a Conan RPG adventure that I was running, then Pallantides would be a lowly NPC, and as such he would deserve to not be able to ride again ( :twisted: ). The PC of the adventure (Conan) would be protected from such a miserly fate. :wink:

Majestic7 said:
What comes to the 2nd edition - remove sorcery failure for armor. It seems like something coming from D&D with no basis on REH.
Hmmm, this is a tricky one. I really agree that the sorcery failure rules feel odd, and the only explanation I've been able to give my players when they asked about them is 'game balance'. However, I do think there should be something that prevents sorcerers from running around in full-plate (or a leather jerkin for that matter). For NPCs it's really not a problem since the GM can just decide that armor is out of style in the sorcery community, but I would hate if a PC scholar multiclassed for a level of soldier so that he could wear mail armor. The sorcerers of the genre are clad in robes and silk, after all, and the 'Combat Mage' concept feels very off in Conan.
 

Padre

Mongoose
Trodax said:
Majestic7 said:
Exactly and thus adding some additional rules concerning permanent effects from critical hits / massive damage might be in order - they could be stamped as an optional ruleset.
Yeah, that's absolutely true. It's probably a really good idea to include a couple of optional rules so that different people can get exactly the feel that they want out of the game.

What I think would be a good idea is to clearly mark optional rules as such, and maybe even include a little explanation of what the optional rule will do to the game ("this will make things more deadly"). This would help to make the game less intimidating for new players. (When I'm new to a game I usually try to run everything by the book to begin with, but something marked as an 'optional rule' I could easily skip without loosing any sleep. :wink: ) I actually think the combat maneuvers should be marked as optional for this same reason.

Good idea. It would increase the page count (most of new ideas would :)), but it's worth it.
 

Oly

Mongoose
Padre said:
Trodax said:
Majestic7 said:
It's probably a really good idea to include a couple of optional rules so that different people can get exactly the feel that they want out of the game.

Good idea. It would increase the page count (most of new ideas would :)), but it's worth it.

I'll third that one.

I liked the way that the last edition of the Stormbringer RPG did things. The core combat section was fairly slick, simple yet crunchy. They then had a section of "spot" rules that covered all sorts of additional situations.

They didn't clutter up the core combat section and could be ignored if chosen.

Personally I'd really like to see a smaller and more polished combat chapter (sort out those grapple rules!) and then maybe a short chapter with a few crunchy additions if people want to complicate matters a bit.
 

Majestic7

Mongoose
Trodax said:
Majestic7 said:
What comes to the 2nd edition - remove sorcery failure for armor. It seems like something coming from D&D with no basis on REH.

Hmmm, this is a tricky one. I really agree that the sorcery failure rules feel odd, and the only explanation I've been able to give my players when they asked about them is 'game balance'. However, I do think there should be something that prevents sorcerers from running around in full-plate (or a leather jerkin for that matter). For NPCs it's really not a problem since the GM can just decide that armor is out of style in the sorcery community, but I would hate if a PC scholar multiclassed for a level of soldier so that he could wear mail armor. The sorcerers of the genre are clad in robes and silk, after all, and the 'Combat Mage' concept feels very off in Conan.

Well, in my campaign, the armor check penalty comes straight to skill rolls involved in casting spells. I guess one option would be to do that + add some penalty to magic attack roll from wearing heavy armor. I think armor check penalty in to magic attack rolls might be a tad bit too hard.
 

slaughterj

Mongoose
Padre said:
PS. Still, I think Pallantides suffered a serious injury in 'The Hour of the Dragon'. It says 'He will be fortunate if he ever rides again'. In game terms, that's a high risk of losing many ability points, right?

Not really. Ability scores are abstract representations to some extent like hit points. Even if the injury resulted in permanent ability damage that dropped him from DEX 18 to DEX 6, that still wouldn't affect his ability to ride (merely drop hide DEX bonus to a DEX penalty on ride checks). Instead, those sorts of conditions have to be represented outside the system, e.g., if you had a "Chart of Grievous Injuries" to be rolled on when someone failed a massive damage save, and that chart had entries such as "can't ride again" or "walks with permanent limp (-10 feet movement rate)" or "ear lopped off (-2 to listen checks)", etc. And such charts and/or injuries are pointless in Conan because (1) they are not genre-appropriate, at least not for the PCs, and (2) the victims of the PCs that suffer such are likely to be killed regardless, so it's a waste of time to consult a table and address such injuries, and instead just leave it up to GM description if at all.
 

Majestic7

Mongoose
slaughterj said:
Instead, those sorts of conditions have to be represented outside the system, e.g., if you had a "Chart of Grievous Injuries" to be rolled on when someone failed a massive damage save, and that chart had entries such as "can't ride again" or "walks with permanent limp (-10 feet movement rate)" or "ear lopped off (-2 to listen checks)", etc. And such charts and/or injuries are pointless in Conan because (1) they are not genre-appropriate, at least not for the PCs, and (2) the victims of the PCs that suffer such are likely to be killed regardless, so it's a waste of time to consult a table and address such injuries, and instead just leave it up to GM description if at all.

Not really. The Conan stories can be read in two ways as a guide to roleplaying games - by giving the players characters that emulate Conan in his heroic endeavours or by giving closer look to everyone else around Conan. I have selected the second path, where Conan is a legendary hero, one of the kind and player characters are a lesser breed.

Thus, optional rules concerning more deadly combat might be in order for those, who wish to lead and play games where the grim realities of Sword & Sorcery apply to all characters, whether they are NPC's or not. Keeping different ways to play the same game (and genre) in mind is not a weakness but a strength.
 

Foxworthy

Mongoose
Majestic7 said:
Trodax said:
Majestic7 said:
What comes to the 2nd edition - remove sorcery failure for armor. It seems like something coming from D&D with no basis on REH.

Hmmm, this is a tricky one. I really agree that the sorcery failure rules feel odd, and the only explanation I've been able to give my players when they asked about them is 'game balance'. However, I do think there should be something that prevents sorcerers from running around in full-plate (or a leather jerkin for that matter). For NPCs it's really not a problem since the GM can just decide that armor is out of style in the sorcery community, but I would hate if a PC scholar multiclassed for a level of soldier so that he could wear mail armor. The sorcerers of the genre are clad in robes and silk, after all, and the 'Combat Mage' concept feels very off in Conan.

Well, in my campaign, the armor check penalty comes straight to skill rolls involved in casting spells. I guess one option would be to do that + add some penalty to magic attack roll from wearing heavy armor. I think armor check penalty in to magic attack rolls might be a tad bit too hard.

Sorcery Check Failure only applies to spells with somatic components. The reason that armor does this is because armor restricts movements and prevents some of the arcane gestures.

Since we really don't see Sorcerers where armor in Conan it kinda can fit in. So I don't see a problem with it other than the fact that the penalties seem to high.

I mean I can see an untrained user in the armor being that abd at moving in it but a trained person should have more movement. I think the Armor feats should reduce the failure checks by 25% for armors and maybe 10% for shield for proficient user. Maybe a feat to lower it a bit more.

I did think that using armor check penalty to MAB would be neat but I think it would be too hard.
 

Spectator

Mongoose
Hmm fascinating I never reallly closely read th rules about spell failure for armor. I did not realize that it only applied to Somatic spells. What about this then, if the Scholar gets the armor feat eg, light armor, how many of you think that would unbalance the game if it the only feat is light armor? EG mail shirt and helmet for DR 7? Scholars are just so damn vulnerable bukk nekkid.
 

Trodax

Mongoose
Armor for sorcerers would perhaps not unbalance anything (they are indeed very vulnerable in close combat), but I really dislike how it looks visually. I think sorcerers should appear as they do in the stories, namely without armor.
 

slaughterj

Mongoose
Majestic7 said:
slaughterj said:
Instead, those sorts of conditions have to be represented outside the system, e.g., if you had a "Chart of Grievous Injuries" to be rolled on when someone failed a massive damage save, and that chart had entries such as "can't ride again" or "walks with permanent limp (-10 feet movement rate)" or "ear lopped off (-2 to listen checks)", etc. And such charts and/or injuries are pointless in Conan because (1) they are not genre-appropriate, at least not for the PCs, and (2) the victims of the PCs that suffer such are likely to be killed regardless, so it's a waste of time to consult a table and address such injuries, and instead just leave it up to GM description if at all.

Not really. The Conan stories can be read in two ways as a guide to roleplaying games - by giving the players characters that emulate Conan in his heroic endeavours or by giving closer look to everyone else around Conan. I have selected the second path, where Conan is a legendary hero, one of the kind and player characters are a lesser breed.

Thus, optional rules concerning more deadly combat might be in order for those, who wish to lead and play games where the grim realities of Sword & Sorcery apply to all characters, whether they are NPC's or not. Keeping different ways to play the same game (and genre) in mind is not a weakness but a strength.

Yes really. That's fine if that's the game you want to play, and it's fine if the game makers add in such an optional rule set, but in reality, it means you are playing in a different genre than the heroic swords & sorcery of Conan. Plus as I noted, the results are largely useless to generate, because the enemy suffering from such is likely to be quickly finished off by the PCs, so you wasted your time generating such. And if it is the PCs who suffer such greivous injuries, they are likely to scrap those characters, as noted above, making the doling out of those injuries largely pointless.
 

Padre

Mongoose
slaughterj said:
Majestic7 said:
slaughterj said:
Instead, those sorts of conditions have to be represented outside the system, e.g., if you had a "Chart of Grievous Injuries" to be rolled on when someone failed a massive damage save, and that chart had entries such as "can't ride again" or "walks with permanent limp (-10 feet movement rate)" or "ear lopped off (-2 to listen checks)", etc. And such charts and/or injuries are pointless in Conan because (1) they are not genre-appropriate, at least not for the PCs, and (2) the victims of the PCs that suffer such are likely to be killed regardless, so it's a waste of time to consult a table and address such injuries, and instead just leave it up to GM description if at all.

Not really. The Conan stories can be read in two ways as a guide to roleplaying games - by giving the players characters that emulate Conan in his heroic endeavours or by giving closer look to everyone else around Conan. I have selected the second path, where Conan is a legendary hero, one of the kind and player characters are a lesser breed.

Thus, optional rules concerning more deadly combat might be in order for those, who wish to lead and play games where the grim realities of Sword & Sorcery apply to all characters, whether they are NPC's or not. Keeping different ways to play the same game (and genre) in mind is not a weakness but a strength.

Yes really. That's fine if that's the game you want to play, and it's fine if the game makers add in such an optional rule set, but in reality, it means you are playing in a different genre than the heroic swords & sorcery of Conan. Plus as I noted, the results are largely useless to generate, because the enemy suffering from such is likely to be quickly finished off by the PCs, so you wasted your time generating such. And if it is the PCs who suffer such greivous injuries, they are likely to scrap those characters, as noted above, making the doling out of those injuries largely pointless.

Depends on style of play and definition of in-genre play. That's why it could be an optional rule - so people can try a 'house rule' that has been properly tested and balanced and see if it fits. Conan never broke a leg or lost a limb, sure, but he was not a Player Character in an RPG game. He didn't die in any of the stories, but it's pretty easy to kick the bucket in the RPG. Again, it depends on where you put the line between RPG and the stories - are we playing in the world of Conan or are we playing Conan? Anyway, it's not the most important thing I would like to see in 2ed., but it adds (optional) flavour.
 
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