3.5 GM's Closet for the CONAN RPG
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  1. #1

    GM's Closet for the CONAN RPG

    The Conan RPG is a d20 variant set of rules meant to be used for adventures set during Conan's Hyborian Age. The game was produced by Mongoose Publishing, but it is out of print now (as Mongoose no longer holds the Conan License). Although no game is without detractors, the majority of d20 players consider the game a superior set of d20 rules. The game was produced in three editions: The first edition was simply called CONAN THE ROLEPLAYING GAME, and it was a version of the d20 3.0 rules. A second edition was published to coincided with the release of the d20 3.5 rules, and this is referred to as the Atlantean Edition. The third and last edition of the game is called the Second Edition, and it is a cleaned up, better written edition of the previous rule sets.

    I thought it would be neat to have a thread for Conan GM's to post various ideas, rule tweaks, NPCs, adventure ideas, and what not--a single thread that a Conan GM can peruse and maybe find ideas for his game. That's why I started this thread.

    Consider it a Conan RPG magazine of sorts, covering all sorts of topics in which a Conan GM would be interested.

    I'll start, with a few ideas of my own. Feel free to add your two silvers.

  2. #2
    Last edited by Water Bob; Monday, 24th September, 2012 at 04:42 AM.

  3. #3

    Typically, with d20 games, there are two types of universes. The first is dynamic where the world scales with the level of the player characters. You can see this in some D&D adventures where, when playing a published adventure designed for characters level 1-3, all the town guards are 1st level Fighters and the Captain of the Guards is maybe 4th level.

    Then, as the PCs gain experience and levels, an adventure designed for 4-6 level characters will have town guards at level 2 or 3, and the Captain at level 7.

    The other type of universe is stagnant, where character levels remain what they are regardless of the PCs' level. Town guards are always about the same level, no matter where you go, and a Captain of the Guard of similar experience will be the same level, no matter the level of the player characters.

    The Conan RPG uses this second method for the setting of the Hyborian Age. Feared Pict savages are 1st level Barbarians. And, from the point of view of a Commoner classed character, even one that is level 10, that 1st level Pict truly is something to be feared.

    A GM that prefers the dynamic scaling method for his games can certainly game that way. But, I will note that keeping the Conan universe low-level (think of it like a E-10 game) will keep the grit and lethal flavor of the Hyborian Age that comes across so atmospherically in Howard's Conan stories.

    What Does A Level Mean?

    Half the game universe's NPCs should be in the 1st-3rd level range. For clarification, a section was added to the 2E core rulebook that provides guidelines to GMs when making decisions on character levels. See pg. 11-12 of the 2E rulebook for specifics, and look at the Human entries in the Beastiary chapter.

    In sum, character levels in the Conan RPG are defined as such (from the examples given in the 2E Core Rulebook).

    1st level - a novice fresh out of basic training. But also note that many NPCs are 1st level. A character can be a novice for years or even most of his life.

    2nd or 3rd level - most seasoned NPCs. 50% of all NPCs are level 1-3.

    4th level - a cut above. The elites. A leader of a bandit band or the fiercest warrior of a band of pirates.

    8th level - legendary character. Clan chieftans. Infamous sorcerors. Army generals. Warriors of great renown.

    12th level and greater - True mythical characters, as with Conan, Thoth-Amon, Thulsa Doom, Xaltotun, Akivasha.


    Where as the first edition and Atlantean Edition used few examples to illustrate this point, the Second Edition of the rules drove the point home with the afore mentioned new section describing various character levels and several new examples in the Bestiary chapter of the book.

    Here are those examples:

    Belit's Black Corsairs, who terrorised the Southern Coast for all those years, are 2nd level Southern Islander Pirates.

    The feared Darfari Cannibals are 3rd level Black Kingdom Barbarians.

    The entry for Picts reveals that they are 1st level Pictish Barbarians.

    Typical Zamorian Thief? 2nd level Thief.

    Typical Turanian Light Cavalryman? 2nd level Soldier.

    Typical Peasant? 1st level Commoner.

    Typical Merchant? 3rd level Commoner/1st level Scholar.

    Typical Hyborian Socerer? 4th level Scholar.

    Typical Zingaran Dancing Girl? 2nd level Temptress.

    Typical City Guardsman? 2nd level Soldier.

    Typical Bandit? 2nd level Borderer.

    There's an example of a Sellsword, which is described as a dangerous mercenary and killer for hire. This guy is a 4th level character: 2nd level Soldier/2nd level Borderer.

    Also note page 301 of 2E Conan. The majority of a kingdom's military forces are 1st level Soldiers. Lower-ranking officers are 2nd-5th level Soldiers. Higher ranking officers are usually Nobles or Noble/Soldiers multiclassed. Peasant militia are usually 1st level Commoners armed with war spears.


    The Commoner class is meant for NPCs. You'll see it listed on page 351 of the 2E Core Rulebook. This class maxes out at level 10, uses a d4 Hit Die, is illiterate (a character must spend skill points to be able to read and write), and comes with few class perks in the way of free Feats and class abilities.

    For example, a 1st level Soldier character gets maximum hit points (1st level Commoners do not get maximum--it must be rolled), uses d10 hit dice, is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, light, medium, and heavy armor, and shields. Plus, the character is given the Two-Weapon combat feat for free (in addition to other bonuses).

    In contrast, the 1st level Commoner must roll his starting hit points--he does not get maximum points. He is illiterate and two skill points must be spent in order to make the character educated enough to read and write. And, proficiency is given for one simple weapon--that's a single weapon, not all weapons classed as "Simple" as with the Soldier.

    Point of View: Upon first glance, a 1st level Pict Barbarian doesn't seem all that scary. But, a GM should look at the 1st level Pict from the point of view of a Commoner of any level. From that vantage point, the Pict savage is certainly something to be feared.

    GM Advice: When considering the power of any character level in the Conan RPG, always consider that level from the point of view of a Commoner classed NPC.
    Last edited by Water Bob; Saturday, 8th March, 2014 at 07:19 PM.

  4. #4
    Third Party Conan RPG Supplements

    99% of all supplements written for the Conan RPG were published by Mongoose. But, not all know that Misfit Studios created three OGL supplements designed to be used specifically with this game (as opposed to D&D barbarians). I highly recommend all three. Click on the link above to view them.

  5. #5
    Product List

    Here's a complete product list for those GM's searching for books to play this incredible game.


    MGP7701 Conan - The Roleplaying Game (also the Atlantean Edition)
    MGP7707 Game Master's Screen
    MGP7711 Conan - The Roleplaying Game (Pocket Edition of the Atlantean Edition)
    MGP7800 Conan - The Roleplaying Game Rulebook (2nd Edition)


    MGP7702 The Scrolls of Skelos
    MGP7703 The Road of Kings
    MGP7704 Pirate Isles
    MGP7705 Across The Thunder River
    MGP7706 The Free Companies
    MGP7710 Aquilonia - The Flower of the West
    MGP7713 Hyboria's Fiercest: Barbarians, Borderers and Nomads
    MGP7714 Tales of the Black Kingdoms
    MGP7715 Hyboria's Finest: Nobles, Scholars and Soldiers
    MGP7717 Hyboria's Fallen: Pirates, Thieves and Temptresses
    MGP7721 Tito's Trading Post
    MGP7722 Stygia - The Serpent of the South
    MGP7723 Faith and Fervour
    MGP7724 Ruins of Hyboria
    MGP7725 Argos and Zingara
    MGP7728 Shem - Gateway to the South
    MGP7729 The Conan Compendium
    MGP7802 Return to the Road of Kings
    MGP7803 Bestiary of the Hyborian Age
    MGP7805 Secrets of Skelos
    MGP7808 Player's Guide to the Hyborian Age
    MGP7811 Cimmeria
    MGP7812 Cities of Hyboria
    MGP7813 Khitai
    MGP7816 The Warrior's Companion
    MGP7817 Catacombs of Hyboria


    MGP5598 The Coming of Hanuman
    MGP5599 The Black Stones of Kovag-Re
    MGP7716 Heretics of Tarantia
    MGP7718 The Lurking Terror of Nahab
    MGP7719 Tower of the Elephant
    MGP7727 Reavers of the Vilayet
    MGP7807 Adventures in the Hyborian Age
    MGP7809 Trial of Blood
    MGP7815 Betrayer of Asgard


    MGP7708 Shadizar - City of Wickeness
    MGP7709 Messantia - City of Riches


    Missing item numbers above were assigned to projects that were not completed or canceled at the time Mongoose lost the Conan license. For example, MGP7818 Empires of the Hyborian Age was given to Conan RPG fans as a free download (the Mongoose link no longer works or I would have had it here for you). Most of MGP7819 Thief's Companion was published in Mongoose's free gaming magazine called Signs & Portents.

    If you look at the Mongoose site, under the "Other Roleplaying Games" forum, you'll see a sticky that lists all of the material for the Conan RPG published in S&P. I highly recommend that the serious Conan GM download all of this material (and it is a lot, too--almost 500 pages worth of Conan goodness) from the various issues to use in your game.

    MGP7720 To Save A Kingdom, which is a large introductory adventure, is published, in its entirety, in S&P. MGP7716 Heretics of Tarantia, which is an adventure that Mongoose published for sale, was eventually also wholly printed in S&P (under the different title: Faith & Blood). A ton of free stuff you will find in S&P, from adventure locations (many from the Conan stories), to NPCs, equipment, game discussion, and other supplementary material.
    Last edited by Water Bob; Wednesday, 5th September, 2012 at 05:46 AM.

  6. #6
    Threshold of Darkness

    This is a multi-part adventure, written by Eric Rodriguez and Vincent Delarge, that appeared in a magazine called Ancible. The mag now has this adventure downloadable for free. Go to the Ancible download page and download issues #2-#5 to get the entire adventure.
    Last edited by Water Bob; Wednesday, 5th September, 2012 at 05:56 AM.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Water Bob View Post
    For example, MGP7818 Empires of the Hyborian Age was given to Conan RPG fans as a free download (the Mongoose link no longer works or I would have had it here for you).
    The following link to Mongoose's site still works:


    Quote Originally Posted by Water Bob View Post
    Most of MGP7819 Thief's Companion was published in Mongoose's free gaming magazine called Signs & Portents.
    Do you know what issue(s) contained these excerpts?
    Rab the Incomparably Shrewd and Clever

  8. #8
    Here are some links that may interest you if you are not interseted in using Mongoose's d20 based Conan RPG (which is, imo, the best version of rules ever written to capture the Hyborian Age).

    CONAN RPG & d20


    Vincent Delarge's Site (who wrote several books for Mongoose's Conan RPG).

    Vincent's Red Sonja Site

    Dr. Skull's Conan Cult

    Hyborian Adventures A Nordheimr based game.

    Hyborian Adventures True 20.


    Hyborian Age AD&D Setting


    Zeb Cook's Fantasy Roleplaying System The original TSR Conan rules. Highly Recommended! Here's a link to a page with a bunch of ZeFRS stuff.


    Barbarians of Lemuria Free version.


    Savage Hyboria


    MasterCraft Conversion Guide
    Last edited by Water Bob; Friday, 5th April, 2013 at 03:48 AM.

  9. #9
    Piercing Armor - How Does It Work?

    In the Conan RPG, armor prevents the character from taking some damage. Armor does not make the character harder to hit as is normal in most d20 and D&D games. The mechanics are simple. I'll show you how it works.

    Each weapon in the game is given an Armor Piercing rating. Since the strength of a character is key in that character using a weapon to bash through armor, a character's STR modifier is added to the weapon's AP rating to get a total penetration value.

    For example, Rael, a Vanir raider, has STR 14, which gives him a +1 STR bonus with one handed weapons, no bonus with off-hand weapons, and +1 bonus with two-handed weapons.

    Rael is wielding a war spear, which is rated at AP 2. Since the war spear is a two-handed weapon, Rael's total armor piercing capability with this weapon is AP 3.

    Each armor piece in the game is rated for its damage reduction. For example, a scale hauberk is rated at DR 9. This means, when the character wearing this armor is struck, the armor will deflect 9 points of damage. Thus, if the total damage is 5 points, then the protected character receives no damage. The weapon connected but was deflected--a glancing blow. If the total damage is 13 points, then 9 points are deflected, and the character wearing the armor takes 4 points of damage.

    If the total AP of the weapon equals or exceeds the DR rating of the armor, then the DR rating is halved.

    Thus, if Rael uses his war spear and hits an Aesir foe that is wearing a scale hauberk, the war spear will not penetrate the armor. AP 3 is less than DR 9. So, on Rael's hit, the damage throw will look like this:

    1d10 weapon damage + 1 STR bonus - 9 Armor Protection, or 1d10 -8.

    You can easily see that, using this war spear, Rael will put 0-2 points of damage on his foe with a non-critical hit, and 80% of the time, the damage will be zero.

    Now, let's change up the scenario a little bit. Fighting next to Rael is clansman, Moyle. And, Moyle is using a bardiche, which is an AP 5 rated weapon. Moyle's STR bonus is +3, and since the bardiche is a two-handed weapon, the STR bonus is 1.5 times normal (+4), giving Moyle a total armor piercing capability of AP 9 with that weapon.

    Moyle's foe is another Aesir warrior, but this one wears Mail Shirt and Brigadine Coat that is rated at DR 8. Since Moyle's total AP 9 exceeds the Aesir's DR 8, the DR rating of the Aesir's armor is halved to DR 4. Thus, any non-critical hit that Moyle makes on his foe will result in this damage:

    1d10 + 1d8 weapon damage + 4 STR bonus - 4 Armor Protection, or 2-18 (1d10 + 1d8) damage.

    If this sounds complicated, it's not in play. Players know their character's total AP. You make the AP vs. DR comparison at the top of the fight and just remember to reduce any damage by either the full or half DR rating. It's pretty simple.
    Last edited by Water Bob; Friday, 29th March, 2013 at 01:36 AM.

  10. #10

    D&D players are used to an Armor Class where armor makes the character harder to hit. This is changed in the Conan RPG. Each combat round, a character has a choice in the way he will defend himself. He can Parry incoming blows, or he can attempt to Dodge incoming blows. Armor does not factor into the chance to hit the character at all. What armor does is absorb some damage if a character is hit.

    So, each character has three Armor Class states.

    Flatfooted: This is usually AC 10, unless the character has DEX 9 or less (in which case, the flatfooted AC can be lower).

    Dodge AC

    Parry AC

    If a character is not expecting an incoming blow, then the character is flatfooted. Otherwise, in combat, the character decides which defense he will use, Dodge or Parry, and he can change his defense stance at the top of each round.

    The Dodge AC is calculated by taking the character's flatfooted AC and adding in both the character's DEX bonus and his Dodge bonus that comes from his character level.

    The Parry AC is calculated by taking the flatfooted AC and adding the character's STR bonus and his Parry level bonus.

    For example, look at the NPC I provided earlier in this thread, Morghun Clanson. He's a 3rd level Barbarian class with Dodge AC 13 and Parry AC 14.

    How were those AC arrived at?

    Dodge AC = 10 flatfooted + 1 DEX + 2 Level Dodge Bonus = AC 13.

    Parry AC = 10 flatfooted + 3 STR + 1 Level Parry Bonus = AC 14.

    Once calculated, simply write the character's three AC states on the character sheet in the appropriate spaces.

    Melee attacks can be Dodged or Parried, based on the defender's defence style.

    Missile, Thrown Weapon, and Touch attacks attacks can only be Dodged.

    If a character is completely surrounded on all sides, he cannot Dodge effectively and suffers a -2 AC Dodge penalty.

    Changing between the Dodge and Parry defense is a free action and can be done inside or a round as a reaction to being attacked. Thus a character may Parry the incoming blows from his foe and then Dodge the knife being thrown at his back by a second foe later on in the round.

    Sleeping/Unconscious or bound characters have effective DEX 0 and thus take a -5 AC penalty to defense (on top of losing any DEX bonus).

    Some of the heavier armors will cap the DEX bonus and may reduce the Dodge AC.

    A shield bonus is applied to the Parry AC only during melee, but it is applied to the Dodge AC when defending against Missiel or Thrown Weapoan attacks.
    Last edited by Water Bob; Friday, 29th March, 2013 at 08:45 PM.

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