He didn't? He set out with a drive to avenge his parents and to become a king... For a Cimmerian to become king of Aquilonia is a HUGE change. Any of the "civilized" kingdoms having a Cimmerian on the throne is a big change to the politics.
Conan also being a softie, he is constantly deciding to help people beyond what he's paid for.
Conan, despite being the vision of S&S for the masses who are not bibliophiles, is really an edge case. He has a destiny.
Then again, Conan wasn't afraid to use a wizard when he needed one, either. He just tried to not need one...
In no small irony, Conan is often the most civil character in the story... and he's the barbarian.
For me, the key tropes of S&S are:
- Magic is slow but potentially powerful; the longer the ritual and the more narrow the ritual window, the more powerful.
- Skill at arms trumps magic in the short term; skill at magic trumps war in the long term.
- Many magics are gained from demonic pacts, rather than innate abilities or personal learned skill.
- No matter how good the haul, you'll be broke before the next job.
- Skill at arms is a dangerous profession...
- Most are mildly xenophobic, a large minority are majorly xenophobic.
- Protagonists often have friends in other cultures and odd places.