D&D General GM's Closet for the CONAN RPG

Water Bob


Just a couple of notes I picked up from reading Dynamite's excellent Queen Sonja series.


In the Hyrkanian lands, trained eagles are used like carrier pigeons to fly notes across large distances. One would think that they would be only good for messages from the battlefield back to the castle, as the bird is trained to fly back to its home. How the eagles find generals on a battlefield is not explained.

It's a neat idea. I don't think I've ever seen it in a Conan novel or short story. Take the idea as you will, with realism or stretched realism, depending on your tastes.

The Way.

This is a religion, based in the city-state of Gabon, which is part of the region/kingdom known as Tirket (which is part of the Emorian Empire).

The religion is fanatical (or has been turned towards fanaticism--you see that happen in the Queen Sonja comics), and basically, it takes three big religions and combines them into one. Mitra of the sky; Crom in his Mountain (of the surface); and Set of the underground (Set's temples are typically under the earth in this part of the world).

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Water Bob

The Spider-God's Bride

I've mentioned this a few times. This is a Sword & Sorcery adventure supplement, independently produced, that you can get through THIS WEB SITE.

It's not expensive, and it contains TEN adventures, some short, some of medium length, specifically written with the Sword & Sorcery genre in mind. The book is written for the Pathfinder 1E rules, but the great thing is that the author produced a free pdf that you can download from his site linked above that converts all stats in the book to Mongoose's Conan The Roleplaying Game. So the book is, basically, a third party, independently produced game supplement for your Conan game!

I bought the hardcopy version from Lulu.


Don't let the home-drawn cover turn you off. This book is a BARGAIN, and it is an EXCELLENT resource for your Conan game--especially since there is very little official support for low level play. You can play these adventures one at a time, or you can tie them all together into a grand campaign that will take your PCs from 1st level to 10th.

The suggested play area is Shem, but these adventures can easily be transplanted into just about any part of the Known World.

The reason I bring this up again is that, as I read through it again tonight, I noticed how much good advice it gives to a new Conan GM for running a Sword & Sorcery game. The book is written to fit in the author's own world of Xoth (which you can download maps and other stuff for using that link above), but, again, this stuff is 95% useful during the Hyborian Age. Typically, you just have to change a name form the Xoth version to that needed during Conan's time.

If you are using standard D&D 3E/3.5E rules or Pathfinder, there is a ton of useful advice for tweaking those rulesets from use in a High Fantasy game to a Low Fantasy S&S game. There's new character classes, notes on armor use, notes on sorcery, notes on healing magic, notes on beasties--all sorts of great stuff.

I think this section is perfect for use in converting standard D&D and Pathfinder adventure modules to your Conan game.

For example, it is suggested that an adventuring group encounter a maximum of two types of beasties during a single adventure. This is to keep with the flavor of Conan stories. He doesn't fight some new creature in every room. Conan doesn't fit into the Keep of the Borderlands--not unless the Caves of Chaos is changed to the lair of a wicked cult where Conan will find, at most, two different types of horrible monsters.

Another example is a note on magic. Sorcery in Conan's world is perverted nature. It is rare. Most people have never seen a spell cast, and those that have believe it to be the divine miracle of the god they follow--not a spell. So, the adventure book tells us, make sure to strip out any convenience magic that you will find in D&D adventures. You should open a cloak room and see a row of troll heads, all bitching at each other, being punished by having their heads chopped off and then set on pegs forcing them to have to wait until their bodies grow back (saw that in a TSR adventure once--thought it hilarious--but it has no place in a Conan story). Most traps in a D&D adventure are magical. Make them mechanical. Get rid of Magic Mouth and Hold Portal (or, at least, make it extremely rare when encountered). You get the idea.

The bulk of the book are the ten adventures, but you will find notes on equipment and a very useful section providing new powders and drugs that you can directly use in your game. Since Conan games don't have a lot of "drops" (Oh, lookee! A +1 dagger and a pair of Boots of Elvenkind! Just under this haystack!), mundane things like this are gold. Plus, Conan RPG players must get more creative using mundane stuff since, typically, Conan PC groups don't have even one magical item between them.

Another section that you will find useful is the section on the gods of Xoth. Since the Conan RPG doesn't provide much in the way of detail about the various Hyborian Age gods (even in the hardback book dedicated to that purpose), it makes it very easy to transplant those ideas into your game, change the names, and make that cult or religion come alive in your game.

For example, the Cult of the Keepers is highlighted in the first adventure. This is a sect that worships Yadar, the Lord of Death and Secrets in the World of Xoth. In a Conan game, you GM's out there have a choice. You can keep the name and god of the cult as stated in the adventure, because Conan is always facing some unheard-of-before cult in the various stories. Or, you can easily change these Yadar worshipers to a god that is well known in the Hyborian Age. The suggestion made in the Conan-Conversion downloadable pdf is that they become priests of Nergal (or even Mordiggian), which is cool because this gives you a link to the Conan story, The Hand of Nergal.

We know little about this god, Nergal. In the game, you can look at the hardback Faith and Fervor, and you can look to see if there is any information about Nergal in the core rulebook. You can check on the net (you might find something about Nergal at the Xoth site, linked above), and you can read Lin Carter's short story, which is based on REH's outline. And, of course, you can just make stuff up. But, to fire your creative juices, why not just import the Yadar stuff presented to you in this adventure sourcebook?


Water Bob

Ideas from CONAN and the Shadows of the Sinn

I have been working on a sandbox for 1st level characters that I've titled Conan and the Shadows of the Sinn. It is set in Argos, near the border with Shem. The recent 2011 movie, Conan The Barbarian, serves as background for the adventure. The events depicted in that film took place some three years ago. I have elaborated quite a bit on the plot, expanding the ideas provided in the film quite a bit. When I finish it, I may post all of it here for your reading pleasure. Or, I might write it up as play records. We'll see. But, for now, I am just listing some ideas I have in my GM's notebook about the game. You are welcome to steal these ideas (I've stolen some of it from various places as well as made up stuff from scratch) and warp them to your own needs.

I think of this as neat ideas that might spur on creative thoughts for other GMs and their games.

I won't post a lot--just enough information for another GM to grab it and run with it. Of course, I'll answer questions if you have any.

--- --- ---

Ikhtanabu Xul

Sorcerer. Member of the Cabal of The Sinn. He served as advisor, teacher, mentor, and elder sorcerer to first to the Witch Queen, Maliva, then to Marique.

Maliva’s power grew to a point to where Xul feared her—feared her power would surpass his own. Through secret means, Xul ensured Maliva’s capture in the forests of Ophir, where the Witch Queen was burned alive, her husband and child, in chains, watching.

Khalar Zym and Marique escaped captivity in Ophir, rescued by the faithful. The two returned to the Shaipur.

Marique’s studies under Xul intensified, though the young girl was no where near at the level of ability of her mother. Marique became convinced that Xul had her mother killed, and the young girl attacked and killed Xul using a silvered, fork tongued dagger.

Marique continued to learn on her own, using Xul’s vast library, but her progress has been slow without the guidance of her mentor.

Ikhtanabu Xul ruled from his Red Tower in the city of Sa’leen. This is in Argos, on the border of the Shaipur. It is said that the Red Tower fell, completely destroyed, the moment Xul died.

Just FYI...

Ikhtanabu Xul is a name I nabbed from the adventure The Necromancer's Knife, which is one of the ten adventures included in The Spider-God's Bride.

Milo is King of Argos, sitting on his throne in Messantia.

Maliva is the dead wife of Khalar Zym in the Conan movie. I made her "The Witch Queen," thinking that she grew to power first, was burned alive in Ophir, and then was succeed by her husband and child: Khalar Zym and Marique.

Khalar Zym is the bad guy in the 2011 Conan movie.

Marique is Zym sorcerous daughter from the 2011 Conan movie.

The Cabal of the Sinn is completely my own creation.
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Water Bob

Ideas from CONAN and the Shadows of the Sinn


This is currently an Argossean city near the boarder with Shem. It is the sight of a massive battle where King Milo laid siege to the city, not knowing that the sorcerer, Ikhtanabu Xul, was already dead.

The city was nearly leveled, and Milo has declared that the name of the place be renamed as “Raize”, no longer regarded as a city, but now as a ruin. Milo has decreed that no person shall ever live in the area again—that Raize is not to be rebuilt into a new city.

But, this has not stopped some commoners and others from calling the place home. Today, a small community lives there, in defiance of their King’s order, which is posted at the entrances to what is left of the city.

Water Bob

Ideas from CONAN and the Shadows of the Sinn


Nergal, a Shemitish god of War, Famine, Pestilence, and Plague, prowls the night, lord of the city of Yadar, in the afterworld land of Aralu, where the dead go after leaving the earth. This god had only secret worshippers and no known temples before the coming of Khalar Zym, who brought the God of Death out into the open.

Nergal has been secretly worshipped in Sa’leen for centuries. The cult’s presence became more well known at the Keepers, those who maintain the vast, catacombed tombs beneath the city. Their presence was tolerated by the dominate Mitran faith until that faith was wiped out over the past forty years during Sa’leen’s rule by Khalar Zym. The city’s royalty and money merchants are interred in these tombs under the city. Before the deity of Nergal was discovered as their patron god, the secretive cult members were simply referred to as the Muffled Priests by the citizens of Sa’leen.

Yadar is the city in the afterworld where Nergal lives among the dead. It is said that each person who lives on the earth is represented by a black candle burning in one of the temples of Yadar. When the flame of the candle is snuffed out, the person dies. A flame that dies when the entire wick on the candle is consumed has lived his entire allotted life and dies of natural causes. Different individuals have different sized candles.

The priesthood guardsmen wear plain, grey and brown tabards over their leather armor to symbolize man’s eternal passing and decay back into the earth. The tabards are tied symbolically with a simple rough rope.

The guardsmen in Sa’leen favor the bill. There are no bowmen, but a small number of specialized soldiers are trained instead with the javelin and short sword. Neither type of troop wears a helm.

These priesthood guardsmen are called The Mastiga.

In Sa’leen, these guardsmen are 1st level Soldiers. The more experienced Belthaarian soldiers are either acting as the home guard in Belthaar, where most of the army is laying siege to Khor Kalba.

The guard captain is a 3rd level Soldier, man in his late 20’s named Lamuran. The only difference in his appearance is the blood-red sash that he wears around his waist instead of the plain rope worn by the other guardsmen. In this order, the captain is properly called a “Red Sash” for his rank. This captain of troops has the title, “Red Sash Lamuran.”

Lamuran wears leather armor under his grey-brown tabard. He is trained with the arming sword. And, he uses a targe. No helmet.
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Water Bob

Ideas from CONAN and the Shadows of the Sinn

The Sinn

A cabal of powerful sorcerers who study the true power of Acheron. The sect arose as Acheron was falling. It in an ancient cult. Most think it extinct, and that has become true with the death’s of the Ikhtanabu Xul, the Witch Queen Maliva, and Marique.

Khalar Zym was a Shadow Lord—the leader/general of the cabal’s order of guardsmen.

The Sinn use a written language that looks like scratches of long lines. It is called Sinnean Line Language. The sect’s secrets are written in this ancient language.

It is said that the Sinn are responsible for the terrain around the Argos/Shem border to be near wasteland desert to this day.

Water Bob

Ideas from CONAN and the Shadows of the Sinn

The Mastiga

Priesthood guardsmen for the god, Nergal.

Typical Mastiga in Sa’leen favor the bill. There are no bowmen. A specialized number are trained with javelin and short sword. No helms—their heads must be open to the stars.

Red Sash: This contingent of Mastiga is captained by a man in his late 20’s named Lamuran. He’s a 3rd level Soldier. Oddly, he has blonde hair that he keeps cut extremely short—to the scalp. The only difference in his uniform kit is that, instead of a worn rope, Lamuran wears a flame-red sash at his waist that both designates him as an officer and symbolizes the flame on the black candles of Yadar.

Lamuran wears leather armor under his grey-brown tabard. He is trained with the arming sword. And, he uses a targe. No helmet.

Typical Mastiga Soldier
Male Meadow-Shemite Soldier 1
Hit Dice: 1d10+1 (7 hp)
Initiative: +1 (+1 Dex, +0 Ref)
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)

DV (Dodge): 11 (+0 base, +1 Dex)
DV (Parry): 13 (+0 base, +2 Str, +1 Parry)
DR: 4 (Leather Jerkin)

Base Attack/Grapple: +1/+3 (+1 base, +2 Str)
Attack: Bill +4 (+1 base, +2 Str, +1 Weapon Focus) melee (2d8+3, 20/x3, AP 6)
Full Attack: Bill +4 (+1 base, +2 Str, +1 Weapon Focus) melee (2d8+3, 20/x3, AP 6)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: +1 racial bonus to attack rolls with any javelin, +1 circumstance bonus to damage rolls with javelins against targets within one range increment, +1 circumstance
bonus to damage rolls when performing coup de grace attacks.

Special Qualities: +2 racial bonus to Appraise, Spot and Bluff checks, +1 circumstance
bonus to all Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Survival and Spot checks in any plains
environment, wield Shemite bows as martial weapons instead of exotic weapons, -1
racial penalty to all saves, +2 racial bonus to all Diplomacy checks, Bonus Feat.

Saves: Fort +2 (+2 base, +1 Con, -1 racial), Ref +0 (+0 base, +1 Dex, -1 racial), Will -1
(+0 base, +0 Will, -1 racial)

Abilities: Str 14, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10

Skills: Intimidate +4 (4 ranks, +0 Cha), Search +4 (4 ranks, +0 Int).
Background Skills: Diplomacy, Handle Animal, Ride.
Feats: Toughness, Parry, Weapon Focus (bill) .
Languages: Shemitish, Kothic.

Possessions: Leather jerkin, bill, 0-8 sp (1d10-2). Plain, grey and brown tabards worn over armor to symbolize man’s eternal passing and decay back into the earth. The tabards are tied symbolically with a simple rough rope at the waist. The rope symbolizes the wick of a black candle in Yadar.

Hounds of Aralu

The Mastiga employ the use of trained dogs on patrol.

Aralu is a dark, nebulous land in the afterlife where the dead reside, in the Shemite pantheon. The city of Yada, ruled by Nergal, is home to the black candles.

Hound of Aralu
Small Animal
Hit Dice: 1d8+2 (6 hp)
Initiative: +5 (+3 Dex, +2 Ref)
Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares)

DV (Dodge): 14 (+10 base, +3 Dex, +1 size)
DR: 2 (tough hide)

Base Attack/Grapple: +0/-3 (+1 Str, -4 size)
Attack: Bite +2 (+0 base, +1 Str, +1 size) melee (1d4+1, 20/x2, AP 0)
Full Attack: Bite +2 (+0 base, +1 Str, +1 size) melee (1d4+1, 20/x2, AP 0)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Qualities: Low-light vision, scent
Saves: Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +1

Abilities: Str 13, Dex 17, Con 15, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6

Skills: Jump +7, Listen +5, Spot +5, Survival +1 (+5 when tracking by scent)
Feats: Alertness, Track

Climate/Terrain: Temperate plains
Organization: Solitary, pair (jackals only), or pack (5-12)
Advancement: None

Possessions: These short-haired dogs are usually painted with the religious symbols of Nergal over their bodies on their coats with a specially prepared, thick paint/dye. The paint is applied in a ceremony.

Water Bob

Ideas from CONAN and the Shadows of the Sinn

Cymbal of Xul

This is a dagger featuring a wide, silver-mirrored, doubled-edged blade that splits into a fork for a double tip. The handle is made of hardwood that has been stained burgundy. Silver wire criss-crosses the hilt, providing decoration and grip. The pommel features a blood-red ruby the size of a man’s thumb to the first joint.

This is the weapon that Marique used to murder Ikhtanabu Xul.

The name and history of the weapon is largely unknown. This is something that will need to be discovered by the players—maybe a long time later.

For those who do know the weapon’s history, it is said that, when Marique made her killing stroke, scratches burned themselves down both sides of the blade. For most, these marks simply look like scratches. But, for someone familiar with the secret writings of the Sinn, it is known that the marks are actually Sinnean Line Language.

If read, the marks read, “Cymbal of Xul.”

It is whispered among those who know of the Cymbal that the dagger contains the dying scream of Ikhtanabu Xul absorbed on the last stroke of his murder.

This weapon may have undiscovered sorcerous properties.

Cymbal of Xul
Dagger (f); Dmg 1d4+2; Crit 19-20/x2; AP 2; Rge 10’; Hard 15; HP 2; Wt. 1; Piercing
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Water Bob

Ideas from CONAN and the Shadows of the Sinn


This is a small city state in Shem that lies northeast of Khor Kalba. It forms the most northern border of Khalar Zym’s conquered lands.

The people of Belthaar are rebellious, and they hate Zym’s tight fisted rule. After Zym fell, most of Belthaar’s army went south to lay siege on Khor Kalba with the Shemite horde. A troop of men crossed the border west into Argos, occupying Sa’leen.

The diety of Belthaar is Nergal, and the city state is one of the few places in the world where that dark god is worshipped openly.

Troops from Belthaar have occupied Sa’leen due to the open presence of Nergal in both cities.

Belthaar is located north of the coastline and east of the border with Argos. It is a small city state that sits on the west side of the Ophrat river. Together with the similar city states of Zaol and Ghezath, the trio forms an allied area referred to as the Susrah. All three cities feed from the Ophrat as it takes a ninety degree turn for its ocean mouth. “Susrahites” are peoples who come from this region of Shem—from one of these three cities.

Currently, the combined armies of the Susrah are engaged against the defenders of Khor Kalba. This siege has been continuing since the death of Khalar Zym some three years past. Khor Kalba sits on the coast, southwest from Susrah.

It is not uncommon for hostilities and even short wars to break out amongst the three cities of the Susrah. But, this usually dies down when the realization sets in that each of the three is stronger together, as an alliance, than they are independently. They depend on each other for trade, and when they act together, their bargaining power is stronger when they act as one in the Susrah rather than in their own interests as a single, small city state.

The siege on Khor Kalba, now stretching into more than three years, has become a point of contention between the trio of cities. Zaol and Ghezath tend to band togther against Belthaar in this matter, and the two are close to going to war against Belthaar. But, King Simashattar has kept a lid on the boiling pot by capturing a princeling of Ghezath and holding him hostage, knowing that Zaol will not act alone, without the advantage of Ghezath.

In addition, Zaol came to negotiate for the princeling’s release, and the silver tongued Simashattar negotiated a separate truce with Zaol, refocusing the alliance on their siege at Khor Kalba.

Belthaar is a gloomy place (they worship Nergal!) of ancient foundations. Its serpentine streets wind their way between mighty monuments and hoary towers. The population averages 12,000 people.

Belthaar is ruled by a petty king named Simashattar III. The army boasts 2,000 pikemen and 500 charioteers.

Water Bob

Ideas from CONAN and the Shadows of the Sinn

Female Characters

The Hyborian Age is dominated by men. Rarely is a woman described as all armored up, swinging a heavy sword, in battle, keeping their own, right next to men. It happens, sure, but it is rare. Valeria comes to mind—both incarnations of her (from Howard’s story Red Nails and the more battle oriented thief from the 1982 movie). Even then, it can be argued that Valeria (either version) is more of a finesse fighter than she is a strength fighter. Red Sonja comes to mind, too. But, Sonja’s power is imbued in her by her goddess. Her power is not natural.

In spite of this, I don’t advocate using any type of modifiers for female characters. The same 4D6, drop lowest, total and arrange to taste process should be used for both female and male characters in this game.

But, once the six totals are rolled, consider putting the lowest total into STR for female characters. This thinking will keep the gritty reality edge on the game that is a common part of the atmosphere of the Hyborian Age.

This is not to say that the women of the Hyborian Age cannot be strong. They are usually strong in other ways. The Temptress class in the game is devoted to strong Hyborian Age women.

Water Bob

Ideas from CONAN and the Shadows of the Sinn


When creating a sandbox, players are likely to go in directions for which the GM is not prepared. For that reason, I create contingency NPCs and encounters.

Below, I have developed two Cimmerian NPCs. They're from the mythical north and have made it as far as Raize. They are clan-brothers. And, they don't speak the language.

I put a lot of detail into these NPCs. This type of detail will help me use the characters in a wide range of circumstances. I get a feel for the people--who they are.

I think, with these, I may have the PCs meet these two rogues early--maybe in a tavern, or on the road. Then, I'll keep them for the PCs to run into them a second time.

For example, let's say that the PCs are thrown into the dungeon. Well, I can have one of these two Cimmerians already in the jail, and have the other engineer an escape--taking the PCs along with them.

These guys can also develop to be foes. Let's say that the PCs sneak into a building in the city where I am not prepared. They can run into these two Cimmerians--maybe outside. Maybe inside, already robbing the place. Maybe the Cimmerians will tell the PCs to leave.

The point is to have something that can be a very interesting encounter (and the detail lends itself to roleplaying) ready to throw into the game easily at a number of different places in the game when I need to buy time because the players have gone "off the map".

I don't know how I'll use these two NPCs. But, when I need them, I have these two very interesting NPCs (who will be strangers in the south) ready to go.

Morghun Clanson
3rd level Barbarian

Sex: Male
Age: 22
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 183 lbs.
Handedness: Right

STR: 16 (+3)
DEX: 14 (+2)
CON: 8 (-1)
INT: 11
WIS: 11
CHA: 7 (-2)

HP: 17
Fate: 3
XP: 3,000

Parry: AC 14
Dodge: AC 14

Initiative: +4
Fort: +2
Ref: +4
Will: +4

BAB: +3
Melee: +6
Finesse: +4
Ranged: +4

Code of Honor: Barbarian

LANGUAGES: Cimmerian (native), Nordheimer, Aqualonian, Pictish, Hyperborean, Nemedian. (This character is not literate in any of these languages.)

PROFECIENCY FEATS: Simple Weapon Proficiency (All), Martial Weapon Proficiency (All), Armor Proficiency (Light), Armor Proficiency (Medium), Shield Proficiency.

BARBARIAN FEATS: Track, Two-Weapon Combat, Endurance.

1st LEVEL FEAT: Toughness.
3RD LEVEL FEAT: Two-Handed Power Stroke*.

*This feat is found in The Barbaric Warrior supplement. It requires STR 15+ and Power Attack, and the benefit it brings to the character is that it allows double STR bonus applied to damage when using two-handed weapons (normally, 1.5 times STR bonus is used).

ABILITIES: Versatility, Bite Sword, Crimson Mist, Trap Sense.

24 class skill points: 4 - Climb, 6 - Listen, 4 - Move Silently, 4 - Survival, 6 - Intimidate


+11 Climb
+2/+4 Hide w/ bonus in native terrain
+6/+8 Listen w/ bonus in native terrain

+8/+10 Move Silently w/ bonus in native terrain
+6/+8 Survival w/ bonus in native terrain
-2/+0 Spot w/ bonus in native terrain

-2/-4 Bluff w/ penalty if verball based
+0 Craft (Herbal)
+0 Craft (Brewer)

-2 Handle Animal
+10 Intimidate
+3 Jump

-2 Perform
+0 Profession
+3 Swim

+2 Ride
+0 Craft (Jeweler)
+0 Craft (Tattooer)

+0 Craft (Etcher)


+2 Slight of Hand
+0 Sense Motive
+0 Search

+2 Open Lock
-4 Diplomacy
+2 Knowledge (Local - Blue Foxlands of Cimmeria)

+0 Appraise
+2 Balance
-1 Concentration

+0 Craft (Alchemy)
+0 Decipher Script
+0 Disable Device

-2 Disguise
+2 Escape Artist
+0 Forgery

-2 Gather Information
+0 Heal
+2 Use Rope

+2 Tumble
+0 Knowledge (various Knowledge skills)

CLOTHING: Wears a billowy Cimmerian leine and a deer skin vest to cover his chest and soft leather trews for his legs. On his feet, he wears soft leather knee-high, wool lined, boots. Loin cloth. Thin rope belt for the loin cloth; a waist belt for the trews; and a wide, outer-belt over his leine at the waist. He wears a thin-metal hoop earring made of non-valuable metal in his left ear, and on this hoop slides two teeth--one from a wolf and one from a human. On his weapon hand, he wears a ring made of lacquered tree vine.

EQUIPMENT: Cimmerian Mantle on his shoulders. A belt pouch, empty a the moment, is attached to the wide belt that covers his leine. Also attached to this belt is a leather scabbard for his Cimmerian Dirk**. In his hands, he carries Stake, a giant war spear custom made for him by his clan's chief and weaponsmith, Finn Duncohr.

**This weapon can be found in The Dagger article of S&P issue 81.

Stake is a high quality weapon and thus receives the +1 bonus to both Armor Piercing and Hardness of the standard war spear. This is a heavy, massive weapon made of lacquered and fired Cimmerian oak hardwood. Steel coverings ornament the shaft at intervals, used as an extra step to protect the wood when deflecting blade blows. The entire weapon is decorated in Cimmerian spiral etching.

DESCRIPTION & BACKGROUND: Morghun is a tall, somewhat lanky (but well muscled) Cimmerian. He's got long, rough-cut black hair that he usually wears loose, bangs down in his eyes. The first thing you will notice about him are the swirling blue tatoos that decorate the entire right side of his face, from his forehead, down his cheek, past his chin, onto his neck and right shoulder. These tatoos are of the knotted, flowing designs popular among Cimmerians. If you look closer, you will see that he is blind in his right eye. A white, clouded orb stares back at you. The tattoos cover the multiple scars of some animal attack that must have mauled him in his youth. If Morghun grimmaces at you, you'll see that he's missing a front tooth.

Morghun is a member of the Blue Fox clan. He hails from a village at the base of the Eiglophian mountains in north-central Cimmeria. As with all warriors of his clan, he left his village at age 15 on his deasghnath (Cimmerian. Pronounced DEE-as-ga-nath). This is a ritual hunting expedition, performed alone, in which a boy leaves his clansmen and returns to them a man. This is how men become recognized as warriors in his clan.

Morghun tracked and found one of the big ice wolves in the foothills of the Eiglophians. The wolf mauled Morghun and nearly killed him, leaving him blind in his right eye and exposing his lung to the elements. But, Morghun persevered and came staggering back into the village, nearly bled to death, carrying the wolf's head.

It took almost a season for Morghun to recover. Unable to move from his injuries, the cold months of the Cimmerian winter crept in and bit deeply into his chest. Spitting up blood and mucus, the wolf nearly killed him again, this time from beyond the grave.

Many believed that Morghun would never see summer. But, the lad did. Finn Duncohr, the Foxman's chieftain, declared him to be named "Clanson" as Morghun had displayed the ultimate quality to which all Cimmerians aspire: He never gave up in the face of certain defeat.

Finn, a master smith, created Stake and presented it to the new warrior. Finn knew that, with one eye, the boy would have to learn to fight from a distance. Any foe that made his way close, into Morghun's guard, would have an advantage attacking from the side of Morghun's blind eye. The war spear Stake would be used to fight foes from a distance.

GM Note: Morghun's injury is reflected in his CON score. I actually rolled his hit points, and as fate would have it, I rolled low for levels 2 and 3 (he was given maximum hit points at level 1 per the game's rule). This also supports the character's injuries and physical state.

This character has been given a special -2 circumstance modifier to Spot checks while he recieves a +2 circumstance modifier to Intimidate checks due to loss of his eye and his appearance. In addition, the skill ranks applied to Intimidate have been maxed. Also, a decision was made to max out skill ranks in the Listen skill as those with a visual handicap will usually rely on their other senses to compensate.

Morghun coughs all the time. Many times, long coughing fits will result in him spitting up blood. He does not laugh for fear of breaking out into a fit, and he has become quiet. He says little, and this boosts his intimidating bearing.

Morghun's father is a leatherworker. Morghun became an etcher, producing the fine, detail work seen on some Cimmerian weapons and leather goods. After he lost his eye, Morghun first turned to jewelry making. In his left ear dangles a metal hoop that pierces two teeth. One is from the wolf that handicapped him, the other is his own front tooth pulled out of his head by that same wolf. Where his cough and eye and face always make him think of the engagement, the earring, with the teeth constantly clinking in his ear, reminds him that the encounter with the wolf was a victory.

The ring of woven tree vine that Morghun wears on his weapon hand is the first piece of jewelry he ever produced.

In times of late, Morghun has switched occupations yet again. His one eye strains from the demands of etching and creating jewelry, but he has put the skill to use tattooing his fellow clansmen. The tattoos are the same shapes that he used to etch, just on a bigger scale.

But, he found that he could not keep food on his plate by relying on tattoos. Recently, Morghun has switched occupations yet again. Since the engagement with the wolf, Morghun has experimented with brewing different concoctions to ease his cough. This has led to him becoming a brewer. His beer is his most profitable seller though its taste and quality is indifferent at best.

Of late, Morghun has picked up a taste for gambling though he has no skill in it nor does he understand much about gaming. This is why his belt pouch is empty. When Morghun gambles, he does it for the thrill. He doesn't place a high value on coin or other valuables. If he wins a coin, he's just as likely to pierce it and turn it into a necklace with a piece of cat gut then he is to spend the money.

In sum, Morghun Clanson is a tall, forboding figure. Quiet. Leering at you with his one good eye. Scratch scars and swirling tattoos covering half his face. And, that long, obviously well made war spear in his grip.

That is, until he smiles at you, his front tooth missing, proffering a leathern jack of his latest brewed beer of questionable quality.

Though shallow on hit points, this character can be quite offensive in battle. He will strike with Stake, doing 1d10 +6 damage if he hits. He can use Power Attack to increase damage, if necessary. And, Stake is considered a finesse weapon (with an improved Armor Piercing rating of 3), should Morghun combat heavily armored foes. At the beginning or end of his turn--whichever is appropriate--he will use his 5 foot step to increase range to 10' in order to bring Stake to bear on his opponent. Morghun rarely relies on his dirk as a weapon, using more as a general knife and hunting tool.

Although I didn't give the character any armor, I sure thought about it. I would make this a game goal. This character, gaining a chain shirt, even, would go a long way towards his surivival. Something quick and immediate might be a simple leather jerkin. Some Cimmerians tend to shun armor, though. Thus, this is what I've done with this character. I'm sure he could change his outlook, the way Conan did, once he learns more of the civilized south!


Cian McDowd
2nd level Barbarian

Race: Cimmerian
Sex: Male
Age: 19
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 168 lbs.
Handedness: Right

STR: 16 (+3)
DEX: 15 (+2)
CON: 9 (-1)
INT: 10
WIS: 11
CHA: 8 (-1)

HP: 16
Fate: 3
XP: 1,000

Parry: AC 13
Parry with Shield: AC 16

Dodge: AC 13
Ranged Dodge with Shield: AC 16

Bracers = DR 1
Bracers + Helm = DR 2 (As pictured above)

Mantle = DR 2
Mantle + Helm = DR 3

Mail Hauberk = DR 6 (+3 Max DEX, -4 Armor Check Penalty)
Mail Hauberk + Helm = DR 7 (+3 Max DEX, -4 Armor Check Penalty)

Initiative: +5
Fort: +2
Ref: +5
Will: +4 (+6 vs. Fear) (+7 vs. Corruption)

BAB: +2
Melee: +5
Finesse: +4
Ranged: +4

Speed: 30 ft. (25 ft. when wearing hauberk)

Code of Honor: Barbarian
Allegiance: Blue Fox Clan = +2 CHA check bonus
Base Reputation: 3
1st Level Deed: +1 Reputation - Left Ox Clan for Blue Fox Clan
Social Standing (Barbarian): +0 Reputation
Current Reputation: 4 = +0 Reputation based checks

LANGUAGES*: Cimmerian (native), Nordheimer, Aqualonian, Pictish, Hyperborean.

*This character is not literate in any of these languages. Literacy can be obtained at no cost to the character except for time needed to learn to read and write and an effort on the part of the character. Literacy actions are governed by the GM.

PROFECIENCY FEATS: Simple Weapon Proficiency (All), Martial Weapon Proficiency (All), Armor Proficiency (Light), Armor Proficiency (Medium), Shield Proficiency.

BARBARIAN FEATS: Track, Two-Weapon Combat.

1st LEVEL FEAT: Toughness

**This Feat is taken from The Barbaric Warrior supplement. It allows the character to use the Fighting Defensively routine at a -2 attack modifier instead of the standard -4 penalty.

BARBARIAN CLASS ABILITIES: Fearless, Versatility, Bite Sword, Crimson Mist.

20 skill points: 3 Climb, 1 Craft (Carpenter), 4 Listen, 1 Handle Animal, 1 Hide, 1 Move Silently, 1 Profession (Lumberjack), 1 Ride, 4 Spot, 3 Survival.

-1 Bluff (-3 verbally based)
+10 Climb
+0 Craft (Herbal)

+0 Craft (any mundane)
+1 Craft (Carpenter)
+4 Listen (+6 in native terrain)

+0 Handle Animal (Trained)
+3 Hide (+5 in native terrain)
-1 Intimidate

+3 Jump
+3 Move Silently (+5 in native terrain)
-1 Perform

+1 Profession (Lumberjack) (Trained)
+3 Ride
+4 Spot (+6 in native terrain)

+5 Survival (+7 in native terrain)
+3 Swim


+0 Appraise
+2 Balance
-1 Concentration

+0 Craft (Alchemy)
+0 Decipher Script (Not Trained)
+0 Disable Device (Not Trained)

-3 Diplomacy
-1 Disguise
+2 Escape Artist

+0 Forgery
-1 Gather Information
+0 Heal

+2 Knowledge (Local - Blue Foxlands of Cimmeria) (Trained)
+2 Knowledge (Nature) (Not Trained)
+0 Knowledge (various Knowledge skills) (Not Trained)

+2 Open Lock (Not Trained)
+0 Search
+0 Sense Motive

+0 Slight of Hand
+2 Tumble (Not Trained)
+2 Use Rope

NOTES: At 3rd level, look at obtaining the Great Fortitude Feat to boost his FORT save. Look at non-trained skills. At 4th level, as Cian gains a +1 bonus to any attribute of his choice, look at placing that in CON and gaining +4 hit points retroactively.


On the journey from Seven Stones Ridge in the far north, Cian wears heavy leather breeks, deerskin boots, and a heavy cloth kilt. Up top, he wears a long sleeved cotton liene (billowy shirt). Around his shoulders, he wears his heavy bear skin mantle (heavy cloak).

All clothing items are High Quality (Craft DC 15 to create/repair) except for the mantle, which is of Superior Quality (DC 20 to create/repair). See the clothing rules on page 3 of Tito's Trading Post.

Miscellaneous clothing items include: Breeks and weapon belts. Cloth loinclout.

01.0 lb. Leather Breeks
01.0 lb. Boots
----- lb. Liene
03.0 lb. Mantle
00.5 lb. Belt
01.0 lb. Weapon Belt
----- lb. Loin Cloth
00.5 lb. Cloth Kilt


Cian wears an Aesir mail hauberk, albeit dented, scratched, and repaired. The set fits well Cian's shape. And, the young warrior was proffered a new Asgardian horned steel helm. See the Armor section of the stat block above.

When Cian became clansmen to the Blue Fox, he chipped a piece of stone from one of the teeth of the prachaun grule--the ancient circle of seven monolithic stones that gives the Foxman clanholme its name. This, he shaped into the image of a tooth. With a piece of gut leather, he hung it around his neck for all to see. As an animal bears it's teeth when it fights, so now would Cian, with a tooth of stone carved from ancient and sacred rock. When the Aesir presented Cian with the new helm, he had the stone tooth fashioned to a ring that hangs from the left side of the helmet. No longer would the tooth be hidden under heavy clothing or armor. All would see it when he donned the helm and entered battle. See the illustration of Cian above.

Note that Cian will not always wear this armor, especially the hauberk. The mail sits heavily upon his shoulders causing fatigue. See the rule on page 41 of Tito's Trading Post.

The only piece of true armor that Cian brought with him from his clanholme is the wooden targe for which he bartered just before leaving Seven Stones.

Cian wears leather bracers on his wrists. These serve as armor (see the piecemeal armor rules in either the Barbaric Warrior or Barbaric Treasures supplements) but can only be combined with other piecemeal armor items. See the Armor section in the stat block above.

35.0 lb. Mail Hauberk
03.0 lb. Steel Cap
04.0 lb. Targe
----- lb. Bracers


As the Foxmen set off from Seven Stones, Hrathnar shoved a long, heavy war spear into Cian's hands. When needed, he was to use it to punch at the snow to ensure footing.

War Spear: 1d10 Damage. x3 Critical. AP 2. Hard 7. HP 4. Reach/Finesse Weapon. Simple Two-Handed Melee Piercing Weapon.

Cian's main weapon is an old, well-used broadsword that he's had almost as long as he's been a warrior. It's a no-frills, soldier's weapon that Cian took from dead fingers in the aftermath of his first large battle. Though plain, the weapon is strong, keen, and quite capable. There is no doubt that this is a warrior's weapon meant for the single purpose of slaying foes.

Broadsword: 1d10 Damage. 19-20/x2 Critical. AP 3. Hard 10. HP 5. Finesse Weapon if wielded two-handed. Martial One-Handed Melee Slashing Weapon.

Cian still carries the first real weapon he acquired as a child, long before he became a warrior. After his 4th winter, Cian's father gave him an antler-handled dirk. Today, Cian still frequently uses it as a utility knife and off-hand weapon. It is not balanced to be thrown. The dirk can always be found on Cian's person, usually in its scabbard at Cian's waist. The Cimmerian Dirk can be found in S&P.

Cimmerian Dirk: 1d6 Damage. 19-20/x2 Critical. AP 2. Hard 10. HP 2. Finesse Weapon. Simple Light Melee Piercing Weapon.

He wars a finely balanced axe to dispense his wrath. This weapon is carried with its handle through a metal hoop fastened to Cian's weapon belt.

Axe: 1d8 Damage. x3 Critical. AP 1. Range Increment: 10 ft. Hard 5. HP 3. Finesse Weapon. Martial Light Melee Slashing Weapon.

05.0 lb. War Spear
02.5 lb. Broadsword
02.0 lb. Cimmerian Dirk
02.0 lb. Axe


Cian's mantle features three inside pockets. He doesn't usually put anything in them as he's learned that any substantial weight throws his cloak askew. But, he does carry some flint and steel, and some fire starter made of dried brush, hemp, and horse hair. The weight of the cloak is much more substantial than all of these things combined (although there's plenty of room left in these pockets should he ever need them).

On his belt (not his weapon belt) hangs a single pouch. In this, he carries a whetstone.

Draped across his torso is a waterskin.

----- lb. Flint and Steel (in mantle inside pocket)
----- lb. Firestarter (in mantle inside pocket)
00.5 lb. Belt Pouch (on breeks belt)
01.0 lb. Whetstone (in belt pouch)
04.2 lb. Waterskin (water weighs about 8.5 lb. per gallon)

Water Bob

The Scrolls of Skelos

I am reading The Scrolls of Skelos, which, it says, was the first supplement for Mongoose's Conan RPG. One thing that strikes me about this magnificent game, and this supplement in particular, are the spells. Yeah, the sorcerers can do some amazing, powerful things. They can change the world. But, the casting times on so many of these spells are so long that the spell is pretty much useless in a roleplaying environment. It is one of the few real flaws in this game.

If a spell takes a week to cast, then it is not something that will happen in a regular game. The casting becomes more of a story event. Even if the spell only takes ten minutes to throw, that's still not something that will often happen in a game. Spells like that become part of a preparation period before battle.

Spells that can be cast quickly, inside of a combat encounter, are the spells that most players are interested in using. The spells that take a long time to cast become a task like crafting. The player rolls to make sure the spell is cast correctly, and we skip ahead a week to play out its effects.

If the duration is limited, then a long cast time becomes an exercise in timing. If a spell takes a week to cast but then only lasts for one minutes per Scholar level, the part that concerns the players will be timing the spell to complete when it is needed. This is not always as easy as it sounds if sacrifices and special tools/talismans/locations are needed to complete the spell.

If the sorcerer is the bad guy, then casting of a spell with a long casting time becomes a timer for the PCs to defeat the foe.

In many ways, Sorcerers in the Conan RPG are both more powerful and weaker than their D&D counterparts: more powerful in the types of spells that can be cast, but weaker in that a majority of these spells cannot be cast quickly--so, the magic becomes useless to a cornered sorcerer (that needs something quick to use in a combat round).

This is why most sorcerers in the Hyborian Age rely upon tricks, like poison tipped rings and alchemy produced flash balls. Many sorcerers are multi-classed as Soldiers first, then as Scholars, using cold steel to protect them from enemies.

Water Bob

More From The Scrolls of Skelos

The book provides rules for permanent magic, creating buildings (remember the Tower of the Elephant? ), magical weapons and other magical items...even new life. So, it is a great resource for a campaign that features a strong sorcerer PC.

Sorcerers often need things. They need wealth. They need something to sacrifice. They need items for spells and alchemy and herbalism. All sorts of stuff.

What can be real fun is to have that strong PC direct the group for quests. Instead of the GM using "pushes" and "pulls" to try to influence the characters to go where he wants them to go, a GM could listen to the player playing the sorcerer. What does he need? Maybe he needs an Akbitanan weapon to use in creating a magical weapon. That's a quest right there--player driven. The GM could take this information and create an entire adventure just to acquire one of these rare weapons.

And, the GM can get creative, too. Not only does the PC sorcerer need a specfic arming sword made by an Akbitanan smith, but the blade must be soaked in the dying blood of three men at midnight on the night of the Winter Solstice.

You can set up all sorts of fun just creating "fetch" quests like this--and the player interest is generated by the players!

Water Bob

Personal Belongings & Garments

Roll Personal Belongings

1–2 Rough hammered jewelry
3–4 Tribal/ritual/prestige tattoos and/or piercings

5–6 A solid well-crafted armband made of copper or silver
7–8 An ancient piece of jewelry its surface covered in verdigris

9–10 An ornate symbol of your father’s faith
11–12 A small leather sack containing hair of a loved one or fragments from their garment

13–14 A small leather scroll case containing a parchment upon which is writ a family secret
15–16 A ring made of semiprecious stone

17–18 A necklace of animal teeth or bones
19–20 A small mummified body part such as an ear or finger

Roll Garments

1–2 A patched and practical gambeson
3–4 Simple un-dyed cloth worn in the fashion of your people

5–6 Cheap fabrics richly dyed in the fashion of the nearest town or city
7–8 Long flowing dress or robes embroidered with coarse thread in traditional patterns

9–10 Furs and pelts sewn with threads of a quality befitting your station
11–12 Deerskin leggings and a heavy hooded cloak

13–14 Simple black trousers with a long-sleeved tunic
15–16 Light cloth covered by a tradesman’s leather apron

17–18 Sandals and tunic befitting a servant
19–20 Naked as modesty will allow you

Water Bob


1–2 Your former master’s Knife
3–4 A small but heavy Sword

5–6 A knight's Saber
7–8 Broadsword battered from years of use

9–10 A simple War Pick, humble yet serviceable
11–12 Spear engraved with prayers and oaths

13–14 Broad-headed Axe ripped from the hands of a brigand you slew
15–16 Length of Chain freshly forged and tested true

17–18 Sharpened Rock still stained in places with the blood of those it has slain
19–20 Whip decorated with polished stones

Water Bob


Aquilonia, Gunderland, Bossonian Marches

Male: Aelius Casca Cassius Gaius Galen Octavian Quintas Severus Sulla Tiberio Varro
Female: Arria Aurelia Claudia Delia Emilia Hypatia Lavinia Livia Portia Vibia


Male: Actaeon Agenor Cepheus Eteokles Gordius Hyllos Latos Nisus Tydeus
Female: Aglaia Althaia Arene Cythonia Danae Diomenia Ianthe Ismene Leda

Black Kingdoms, Darfar, Keshan, Kush, Punt, Zembabwei

Male: Amente Ayele Endale Kagale Kahero Kenyatta Mganga Mubale Mwando Nastasen Okang Shanaka Talharqa
Female: Aluna Asminia Chanya Dalila Iras Kanika Kenyetta Micere Mirembe Nagesa Nmambi Nyanath Qalhata Sala Sudati

Border Kingdom

Male: Agron Edgard Gavril Guri Ilian Ivo Korvin Rikard Vidian Vulko
Female: Anila Edita Eliza Lillia Mara Mersada Petya Vlora Zabela Zana


Male: Achila Alaric Braga Gaiseric Hunulf Sigeric Sisbert Theodoric Valamir Videric
Female: Anja Elfrida Greta Hildegard Natasa Sabri Sigrun Sunilda Thea Ulrike Zlata


Male: Aidan Balor Caith Cormac Donal Ethain Ingol Liath Niall Roark Ronan Tuathal
Female: Adara Breanne Dianan Eithna Iorwen Maeve Marella Nuala Urith Wenna


Male: Adelmo Ambrosius Casca Drusus Gaius Lucan Mallus Petrus Servius Titus
Female: Atia Camilla Cordelia Indara Luciana Martina Narcissa Sabina Tiberia Vinicia


Male: Arno Dobromil Durko Dusan Jarek Karel Marek Radek Velek Zoryn
Female: Dobrila Draza Dusana Milena Neda Rhada Velina Vera Veruska Zora


Male: Borogul Dashyin Gunsem Ketei Khlaiun Ong Oqotur Tuqu Ulugan Yesukai
Female: Ajurin Cheren Davasuren Ereden Nergui Nyam Nyima Oyun Shria Udbal


Male: Ahmad Amir Haroun Hasaan Ibrahim Khalid Khemais Mahmud Sabah Wakim
Female: Asra Ayele Monira Nadia Naesa Nalyssa Samiha Sana Sureia Zohra


Male: Cheuk Guang Heshen Khosho Khai Kogen Kuan Quan Shan Tenji Zhang Zhuo
Female: Feiyan Hui Jin-hua Lai Lian Sung Tse Xi-lan Yuan Zhao Zhi


Male: Armenius Aris Florian Leontius Lothar Maurus Ovidio Palladius Tiberius Vetranis
Female: Amina Aniella Etheria Ghita Gianna Meloria Sarina Savia Talita Zaira

Nemedia, Ophir

Male: Alesso Armatius Attalus Cyril Dorian Galenus Hektor Isidor Melitius Symeon
Female: Althea Basina Cyra Eudocia Herena Ionna Ismene Nereida Nyssa Pasara

Nordheim: Asgard or Vanaheim

Male: Asgrim Brand Egil Einar Gunnar Haakon Hrolf Mord Niall Sigurd Starkad
Female: Aldis Astrid Gerda Gudrun Gunnhild Helga Ingrid Sigrid Thora Thordis

Shem, Khoraja, Khauran

Male: Aram Elam Hanud Melech Musa Ninsun Obares Sargon Zabium
Female: Asiria Inanna Lilah Nahrin Nira Rina Samiria Shira Sufia Urshana Zabihi


Male: Amen-Ophis Hapu-Seneb Harkouf Hetep-Sekhem Khephren Khonsa Ptah-Hotep Sa-Nekht Semer-Teph Seostris
Female: Amendiris Herit Itakare Khamaat Khnemi Maatkare Mereret Nefertari Nekhbet Sekhmet


Male: Ahmet Aslan Azim Burak Damad Irfan Ishan Kemal Mahmut Nazim Sadik
Female: Adalet Damla Emine Ferah Hayat Nadiye Nazan Rana Semra Zehra


Male: Arun Ashok Chandra Harnath Kishan Murali Naresh Raghavan Ramesh Sardar
Female: Asira Bhaina Challa Hemanti Indali Jhala Kheli Mira Savita Vimala


Male: Ashari Hazir Ibrahim Hamid Maraphis Pelagon Salabus Sargis Tolmos Xanthes
Female: Amestris Adula Cyra Izdihar Lissa Natara Nuriya Rahna Sadiya Tanit


Male: Ariando Alfonso Baltasar Dario Fausto Isidro Lazero Rodrigo Silvio Teodoro
Female: Adelina Celina Estella Isabella Marcela Marisa Rosalia Talita Yolanda Zelia

Water Bob

Random Homeland

2–7 Aquilonia
8–9 Bossonian Marches
10 Keshan

11 Kush
12 Khoraja
13 Cimmeria
14 Hyperborea
15 Border Kingdom

16 Nordheim: Asgard or Vanaheim
17 Ophir
18 Koth
19 Argos
20 Gunderland

21 Brythunia
22 Nemedia
23 Zamora
24 Shem
25 Zingara

26 Corinthia
27 Stygia
28 Khauran
29 Zembabwei
30 Punt

31 The Black Kingdoms
32 Darfar
33–34 Turan
35–36 Hyrkania

37–38 Iranistan or Afghulistan
39 Vendhya
40 Khitai

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