CONAN Is Finally Here!

After appearing three years running in the 10 Most Anticipated RPGs of the Year list, it seems that Conan's streak has come to and end - because Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of has been released! You can get it right now from Modiphius' web store, and will be able to get it elsewhere from tomorrow. PDF only, for the moment. You can also grab a book of six adventures, Jewelled Thrones of the Earth. Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed of is based on Modiphius' own 2d20 system (which also powers their upcoming Star Trek Adventures game). The book is now available for review in the reviews area.

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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A group of people played an advance copy with all the funky tokens etc last weekend. They really enjoyed it and didn't find it daunting but rather dynamic
 

Water Bob

Adventurer
In terms of the GM dice pools, whats the difference between those and the times a GM fudges a number to make a fight more challenging or to help a player along who's had cold dice at the table all night? This is just another way of adjudication, that's all.

I don't fudge dice as a GM. And, I don't use meta-game mechanics. I think its important that players trust their GM, and never fudging rolls is part of that trust.
 



imagineGod

Legend
The artwork is a mixture of scantily-clad muscle-bound barbarians and some fur-covered ones (PETA may take issue, just like what happened to Warhammer 40K last week).

First you can browser the freebie to decide if the art style suits your tastes. I love the art.

DriveThruRPG freebie Robert E. Howard's Conan RPG Quickstart

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DriveThruRPG hosting Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of

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DriveThruRPG hosting Conan: Jeweled Thrones of the Earth

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slygeek

Villager
What part of "Thou shalt not meta-game!" are you forgetting?

In a role-playing game, everyone at the table is there to play their role. It is not some exercise in collective storytelling. The only story that matters is the one which arises naturally as a result of everyone playing their roles. A story which comes about as a result of meta-gaming is pointless and a waste of our time at the table.

Edit: I don't mean to disparage anyone in this thread for liking this kind of game. I just wanted to explain why I, personally, as a role-player, would never play this. It is anathema to the basic reason why I play RPGs in the first place. I'm sure it's a fine game for other people, who play for other reasons.


I think you are missing the point.

Doom is just a resource that the players can use when they need a bit of extra luck (think of action points or fate points). The GM can then use those spent resources in order to have "unfortunate" things affect the players. So players can have a little extra luck but at a cost.

In fact, its easier to keep track of then Hit Points. Which may I point out is a meta-gaming tool that ALL RPGs use. So why draw the line at Hit Points? Why not have tools that help encourage the Players and GM to add to the story?

Tools like Inspiration from D&D 5E come to mind.

Personally I really feel you should try to broaden your horizons and at least give it a try.


As for Momentum, that is sort of an advanced "degree of success / critical"mechanic which allows you to do more with your attack in a turn. Again, easy to calculate and helps encourage players to do more with their attacks then the standard "I attack and do X damage"


In a perfect world, only experienced GMs and Players with incredible sense of roleplaying play RPGS, and don't need tools to help spice up their games. But this isn't a perfect world, and that's why games nowadays are in desperate need of tools like these to make the game more vivid and fun.

I understand why you don't like tools that infringe on Roleplaying/Story-telling territory. But I also feel like you aren't really giving it a fair chance.
 

slygeek

Villager
Doom Points are much needed in Sword and Sorcery?

I use d20 Conan, and our fights are quite lively. Tankards smashing over skulls. Tables shoved up against a character, trapping him between that and the wall. Maneuvers used like feints and disarms and sunders. A combatant will swing his blade then head butt his foe. And, sometimes blade combat devolve into wrestling matches. All this using the d20 Conan rules with no Meta-Game Doom Points.

I don't think that they are needed at all.


I also use / used d20 Conan and its my favorite adaptation of the d20 rules BECAUSE of the maneuvers, AP/Armor rules etc. It just makes combat more fun. "To the Hilt!" comes to mind. Momentum and Doom is yet an additional layer of tools added that helps create more vivid battles.

I'm not saying Sword & Sorcery needs "Doom" specifically, because there are other tools out there. Just look at Riddle of Steel and Blade of the Iron Throne (now that is fun, albeit crunchy combat!). But I am saying Sword & Sorcery absolutely needs tools to enhance your Combat Experience.

I won't say anything against d20 Conan because I love that game, but it suffers all the drawbacks of d20 along with it. Which is why a fresh new system was a nice change.

Sadly both systems are Clones and both don't quite mimmick Sword & Sorcery as well as a system designed from the ground up for that very purpose.

Modiphius, I feel, are releasing a higher quality product then Mongoose did but they are both very different from eachother and both fine games in my eyes.


But at least give it a try and don't let "Doom" make your decision for you. There is allot more to the game then just Doom points.
 

pemerton

Legend
its easier to keep track of then Hit Points. Which may I point out is a meta-gaming tool that ALL RPGs use.
Just off the top of my head, here are some RPGs that don't use hit points: Marvel Heroic RP; Burning Wheel; Maelstrom Storytelling; Hero Wars/Quest; and Rolemaster and HARP, which do have concussion hits as part of their damage mechanics but (i) rely mostly on debuffing condition infliction to model the effects of being hit in combat, and (ii) clearly treat concussion hits as "meat" (bruising and blood loss) and not as a D&D-style momentum/victory marker.

(Runequest and Classic Traveller use point depletion as their primary wound mechanic; but in Traveller it is depeltion of physical stats - and so process-sim, not metagame; and in RQ not only is it process-sim but there are hit locations and debuff consequences that follow from certain degrees of hp loss. So these systems also, I would say, are counterexamples to your claim.)

In a perfect world, only experienced GMs and Players with incredible sense of roleplaying play RPGS, and don't need tools to help spice up their games.
I don't know anything about the 2d20 system other than what I've read in a few threads, but the idea that metagame mechanics are something to hlep inexperienced GMs/players "spice up" their game is not something I can agree with.

Metagame mechanics are one way of distributing authority over the content of the shared fiction. Whether or not they are desirable or useful has nothing to do with "experience". (Eg BW has metagame mecahnics - fate points - as well as an expectation that, if a check fails, the GM will narrate the failure in a non-simulationist fashion (eg the failure results from some dramatc external cause interfering with the attempt); but I can't imagine very many inexperienced RPGers picking up or playing BW.)
 
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slygeek

Villager
its easier to keep track of then Hit Points. Which may I point out is a meta-gaming tool that ALL RPGs use.[/quote[Just off the top of my head, here are some RPGs that don't use hit points: Marvel Heroic RP; Burning Wheel; Maelstrom Storytelling; Hero Wars/Quest; and Rolemaster and HARP, which do have concussion hits as part of their damage mechanics but (i) rely mostly on debuffing condition infliction to model the effects of being hit in combat, and (ii) clearly treat concussion hits as "meat" (bruising and blood loss) and not as a D&D-style momentum/victory marker.

I don't know anything about the 2d20 system other than what I've read in a few threads, but the idea that metagame mechanics are something to hlep inexperienced GMs/players "spice up" their game is not something I can agree with.

Metagame mechanics are one way of distributing authority over the content of the shared fiction. Whether or not they are desirable or useful has nothing to do with "experience". (Eg BW has metagame mecahnics - fate points - as well as an expectation that, if a check fails, the GM will narrate the failure in a non-simulationist fashion (eg the failure results from some dramatc external cause interfering with the attempt); but I can't imagine very many inexperienced RPGers picking up or playing BW.)

Because the mechanics help and ENCOURAGES story-telling, and more enticing combat. Less experienced GMs and Players could really use tools to give them that extra push. Otherwise you can get in that trap where all you do is "Attack and deal Damage".

Any inexperienced Gamer can pick up a rule book and play. It can take years of experience for a GM or a Player to reach a certain level of creativity and comfort at the table to be able to play a very basic RPG and make every scene "exciting".

If you have played Star Wars Edge of the Empire, you would understand just how much Triumph and Despair (and Destiny) adds to the story. The game mechanics in a way force or push you to come up with creative story-telling elements and thus enhances the experience.

That being said, even experienced GMs can benefit from said tools.
 

pemerton

Legend
Because the mechanics help and ENCOURAGES story-telling, and more enticing combat. Less experienced GMs and Players could really use tools to give them that extra push.

<snip>

That being said, even experienced GMs can benefit from said tools.
I think this completely mischaracterises the rationale for metagame mechanics.

Runequest has no metagame mechanics - it's one of the two most process sim games I know (the other being Classic Traveller) - and it can be run effectively by a new GM or an experienced GM. And introducing metagame mechanics would just spoil the game.

Marvel Heroic RP, by way of contrast, has metagame mechanics out the whazoo. But I think an inexperienced GM would find MHRP hard to run, because (i) it puts narration demands on them that will be hard to meet, (ii) it puts framing demands on them that will be hard to meet, and (iii) managing the Doom Pool effectively can be hard even for a very experienced GM.;

The reason for having metagame mechanics in MHRP isn't to make it easier for inexperienced RPGers. It's to have the game deliver a certain play experience. The amount of time a person has spent RPGing is pretty irrelevant to that.

Metagame mechanics aren't training wheels.
 

Caliburn101

Explorer
OK a few pertinent facts if I may.

Been rpg'ing since 1978, GM'ing since ~1979, loved D&D and LOVED Runequest, CoC, think GURPS is fantastic and yet swing back to D&D periodically and very much like 5th Edition.

I playtested from the get-go for Mophidius on Conan. Conan was my obsession as a kid and I read EVERYTHING.

But we are talking about mechanics, and my introduction was to underline how many I have played and how much of my rpg life has been without metagame mechanics. I get along just fine without them and as I love Conan, I came at this game with a highly critical eye. It had to prove itself to me, and very well before I'd buy in...

I am glad to say my playtest feedback saw changes to the game adopted, and my and my friends concerns about the Doom mechanic (which we were all very suspicious of at the start) fall away when we actually played the game.

The 2d20 core mechanic; Momentum, Doom and Fortune all meld together surprisingly well.

As a GM who prefers simulationist and classless systems overall, I find the mechanics well rounded and although they 'read' crunchy, the play smoothly with minimal practice.

It's a misconception that they are as metagamey as FATE or other similar systems, and another misconception to think momentum, doom and fortune are somehow a crutch for inexperienced GMs... they are in fact a balanced set of tools for AGENCY - for the GM and the players.

D&D can produce nonsense - like twelve arrows hitting a character in his underpants whilst falling off a 100 ft. cliff and the character survives. Runequest et al can end in disappointment - "Your set spear impales the jumping dread armoured Manticore in the head and it instantly dies..."

Conan's mechanic treads an attractive line between these extremes.

In addition, the awfulness and price of sorcery is just bloody fantastic, the combat is visceral by design, and the morale rules are the best I have ever seen in an rpg bar none.

Don't judge it from a read through - you need to play it for three sessions. The first to get used to the system, the second to really start using it as intended, and the third to go into high gear on the possibilities it facilitates.

Try it out - it's original and enjoyable, and perfect for the S&S genre.
 

Skywalker

Adventurer
Though I have sympathy for the anti-metagame mechanics arguments, I think its important to keep perspective. In a spectrum from Runequest to Marvel Heroic, Conan 2d20 is somewhere in the middle.

Effectively, it takes the concept of "bennies" which are contained in many RPGs, including Conan d20, and simply links the PC "bennies" with the GM "bennies", so a negative balance in one creates a increase in the other. Though there are a couple of Doom Pool spends that I am not a big fan of, such as reinforcements and environmental effects (and will be ignoring them), for the most part they are just GM "bennies" and are actually used in a good way to simplify and streamline GM resource management IME
 

slygeek

Villager
I think this completely mischaracterises the rationale for metagame mechanics.

Runequest has no metagame mechanics - it's one of the two most process sim games I know (the other being Classic Traveller) - and it can be run effectively by a new GM or an experienced GM. And introducing metagame mechanics would just spoil the game.

Marvel Heroic RP, by way of contrast, has metagame mechanics out the whazoo. But I think an inexperienced GM would find MHRP hard to run, because (i) it puts narration demands on them that will be hard to meet, (ii) it puts framing demands on them that will be hard to meet, and (iii) managing the Doom Pool effectively can be hard even for a very experienced GM.;

The reason for having metagame mechanics in MHRP isn't to make it easier for inexperienced RPGers. It's to have the game deliver a certain play experience. The amount of time a person has spent RPGing is pretty irrelevant to that.

Metagame mechanics aren't training wheels.


I understand what you are saying, and I can't exactly say you are wrong.


But I do think some of you are looking too much into discounting what I am saying and are getting off track of the original topic.

2d20 is a fine system and this is a quality product that Modiphius has delivered.


Yes 2d20 uses "Meta-gaming" mechanics.
Does it help bring out the S&S style? Yes.
Does it help new and experienced GMs deliver a more engaging story-line? Yes
Is it difficult to learn? Side from the Character Creation process, No its not any more difficult then d20

What I don't understand is why people won't give it a try just because of Doom points. It just seems like a knee-jerk reaction to me.

Please try for a session or two, then formulate your opinion. But I am seeing a ton of negativity in here when some haven't even read the book.
 


Skywalker

Adventurer
Could somebody quickly summarise the Doom Points? I'm not familiar with the system.

There is a full quickstart for Conan 2d20 available here: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/174829/Robert-E-Howards-CONAN-Roleplaying-Game-Quickstart

If you have played FFG's Star Wars, the destiny pool is the closest parallel I have seen.

Effectively, the GM starts with a number of Doom Points which, for the most part, are spent like Momentum for NPCs (Momentum being the PCs "bennies"). The only two novel aspects are:

1. PCs can spend Momentum they don't have by adding Doom Points.

2. Doom Points can also be spent on a few "story twist" like effects, such as adding in extra opponents, creating an environmental effect etc.

For the most part, it acts like a single benny pool which streamlines the GM's resource management really well. It also allows the PCs to double down to get what they want at the cost of upping the stakes of the situation as a result. These are both good results IMO.

The main issue is with #2. By adding a cost to certain things a GM can normally do, it creates an expectation that the GM shouldn't do them without spending the cost. As said, its easy enough to ignore the spends for #2 and use the system as written.
 
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Doom is just a resource that the players can use when they need a bit of extra luck (think of action points or fate points). The GM can then use those spent resources in order to have "unfortunate" things affect the players. So players can have a little extra luck but at a cost.
This isn't a thread about FATE. If you like that game, then I'm sure the Doom mechanic won't bother you, for the same reason. If you hate FATE, specifically because of the Fate point mechanic, then this game is equally unpalatable for much the same reason.

In fact, its easier to keep track of then Hit Points. Which may I point out is a meta-gaming tool that ALL RPGs use. So why draw the line at Hit Points?
It's not an issue of tracking. It's an issue with being a resource for the player which doesn't map onto anything that the character can see or understand or manipulate. Believe it or not, Hit Points aren't some abstract meta-game player resource; they conform directly to the health and well-being of the character, which is something that the characters within the game world can see and understand and manipulate. Or maybe your DM describes damage differently, and Hit Points are a measure of short-term fatigue, which is something that the characters within the game world can see and understand and manipulate.

The difference between Hit Points and Fate points or Doom points is that Hit Points aren't a dissociative meta-game mechanic that asks the player to make a decision outside of the role that they are playing!
 

Skywalker

Adventurer
This isn't a thread about FATE. If you like that game, then I'm sure the Doom mechanic won't bother you, for the same reason. If you hate FATE, specifically because of the Fate point mechanic, then this game is equally unpalatable for much the same reason.

I think that's an exaggeration. I strongly dislike Fate primarily for the Fate point mechanic, but the Doom Pool is a far cry from such a mechanic. In Conan 2d20, there is a much more robust traditional system sitting alongside Doom, than there is in Fate with Fate points. Doom is pretty much akin to bennies that appear in Savage Worlds, Conan d20 etc. Yes, there are similarities to Fate points and its cool that this will make the game less appealing if you don't like the former, but to simply dismiss the whole RPG because you don't like the Fate point mechanic seems a disproportionate response.
 
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slygeek

Villager
I think that's an exaggeration. I strongly dislike Fate primarily for the Fate point mechanic, but the Doom Pool is a far cry from such a mechanic. In Conan 2d20, there is a much more robust traditional system sitting alongside Doom, than there is in Fate with Fate points. Doom is pretty much akin to bennies that appear in Savage Worlds, Conan d20 etc. Yes, there are similarities and its cool that this will make the game less appealing if you don't like the former, but to simply dismiss the whole RPG because you don't like the Fate point mechanic seems a disproportionate response.

Thanks Skywalker.

That's what I am trying to get across :)
 

aramis erak

Legend
Just off the top of my head, here are some RPGs that don't use hit points: Marvel Heroic RP; Burning Wheel; Maelstrom Storytelling; Hero Wars/Quest; and Rolemaster and HARP, which do have concussion hits as part of their damage mechanics but (i) rely mostly on debuffing condition infliction to model the effects of being hit in combat, and (ii) clearly treat concussion hits as "meat" (bruising and blood loss) and not as a D&D-style momentum/victory marker.

Marvel heroic: 5 damage steps which may as well be HP... as they do cumulate to death... HP with debuffs at each loss. Progressive loss usually is the cause of going down, not insta-takeout... as max damage is a d12, but it takes one step past to actually put someone out...
Hero Wars uses HP - called advantage points - which vary by the stakes of the extended conflict.
BW: the condition monitor has a HP subset... continued minors do overflow in
Burning Wheel (R&G), Burning Empires - also use HP for extended tasks - but not so much for combat. But definitely for Duel of Wits.
Rolemaster explicitly uses HP as the default. With heavily armored characters and weak weapons, death by concussion hit loss can and does happen. About 10% of my RM kills were due to hit point losses.

Stress in 2d20 is VERY much HP... but HP with a shortcut that can drop you out sooner than "out of HP" - just like RM's crits can. Mōdiphüs' staff's claims that it isn't HP are simply wrong... but I understand why. See, of the games you claim don't have HP, each has a "depletion of the opponent's points wins" condition as a default position, and cumulative damage to them. They all do have a hit point element. So does 2d20. Oh, and then the harms and traumas limits are also a HP mechanic.
 

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