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Mythological Figures: Conan the Barbarian (5E)

WHAT IS BEST IN LIFE? Click here to find out! This week's Mythological Figure is one sure to generate a lot of discussion, as we delve into Conan the Barbabarian!






If by some strange chance you are not already familiar with this wildly popular character my first recommendation is to check out any of the Conan the Barbarian films (starring Arnold Schwarzenegger), but there’s also a Conan RPG from Modiphius and a relatively recent Conan video game. I’m not going to summarize his history -- as far as I’m able to tell there are at least 13 different public domain works featuring Conan.

If you read this column for the context this just isn’t your week but for the stat junkies, behold!

Design Notes: Conan here is one of the most hotly contested character builds for fantasy RPGs. It’s opinions, @$$#%^&$, and Conan builds out here: everybody has one. At one point or another I ran across a rationale I thought was pretty good and made a comment in my working document about it. If you are the person who posted this on Facebook or elsewhere on EN World or wherever it is I saw it, thank you:

“First thing - no more than 1 level of Barbarian class. Barbarians from Hyboria aren't D&D Barbarians. You just need it to reflect that he was formidabble even without any armour. So Barbarian 1 and no more. Second thing - Ranger 1. Conan was good tracker and knew how to take care of himself in the wilderness, his favoured enemies should be humans and human-abomination hybrids. Third - Rouge 3 with Thief Roguish Archetype. He spent a lot of time as ordinary thief. Rest should go to Fighter with Champion as Martial Archetype as Conan was more interested in crushing his enemies (and seeing them driven before him) as quickly and effectively as possible.”

For his Challenge Rating I erred on the side of caution and rounded up to 9 because he’s got a ton of features, can leap like a monster, and has incredible mobility (and if you are going to cry fowl about needing a higher Strength or Constitution, drop Mobility and increase one or the other by +2).



Conan the Barbarian
Medium humanoid (human), neutral barbarian 1/ranger 1/rogue (thief) 3/fighter 11 (champion)

Armor Class
14 (hide)
Hit Points 118 (1d12+12d10+3d8+32)
Speed 40 ft.

STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
18 (+4)​
14 (+2)​
14 (+2)​
12 (+1)​
13 (+1)​
10 (+0)​

Saving Throws
Str +9, Con +7
Skills Athletics +14, Intimidation +5, Sleight of Hand +7, Stealth +12, Survival +6; disguise kit +5, thieves’ tools +5
Senses passive Perception 11
Languages Common, Thieves’ Cant
Challenge 9 (5,000 XP)

Background: Guttersnipe - Urban Knowledge. Conan and his allies (while outside of combat) move at double their normal speed when traveling between two locations in the same city.

Action Surge (1/Short Rest). Once on his turn, Conan can take an additional action on top of his regular action and a possible bonus action.

Cunning Action (1/Turn). Conan can take a bonus action to take the Dash, Disengage, Hide or Use Object action, Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check, or to use thieves’ tools to disarm a trap or open a lock.

Favored Enemy. Conan has advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track humans and human-abomination hybrids, as well as on Intelligence checks to recall information about them.

Feat: Mobile. Conan can Dash through difficult terrain without requiring additional movement. Whenever he makes an attack against a creature, he doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks from that creature until the end of his turn.

Feat: Power Attack. When Conan makes his first melee weapon attack in a turn, he can choose to take a -5 penalty to his melee weapon attack rolls in exchange for a +10 bonus to melee weapon damage. In addition, Conan can use a bonus action to make one melee weapon attack after he uses a melee weapon to reduce a creature to 0 hit points or scores a critical hit with it. Conan can only use this feature on his turn.

Fighting Style: Great Weapon Fighting. When Conan rolls a 1 or 2 on a damage die for an attack he makes with a melee weapon that he is wielding with two hands, he can reroll the die and must use the new roll, even if the new roll is a 1 or a 2. The weapon must have the two-handed or versatile property for Conan to gain this benefit.

Indomitable (1/Long Rest). Conan can reroll a saving throw that he fails but must use the new roll.

Natural Explorer: Mountains. When Conan makes an Intelligence or Wisdom check related to the forest, his proficiency bonus (+5) is doubled if he is using a skill that he’s proficient in. While traveling for an hour or more in his favored terrain, Conan gains the following benefits:

  • Difficult terrain doesn’t slow his group’s travel.
  • Conan’s group can’t become lost except by magical means.
  • Even when he is engaged in another activity while traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), Conan remains alert to danger.
  • If Conan is traveling alone, he can move stealthily at a normal pace.
  • When he forages, Conan finds twice as much food as he normally would.
  • While tracking other creatures, Conan also learns their exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.

Rage (2/Long Rest). On his turn, Conan can enter a rage as a bonus action. His rage lasts for 1 minute, ending early if he is knocked unconscious or if his turn ends and he hasn’t either attacked a hostile creature since his last turn or taken damage since then. Conan can also end his rage on his turn as a bonus action. While raging, he gains the following benefits.

  • Conan has advantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throws.
  • When Conan makes a melee weapon attack using Strength, he deals 2 extra damage.
  • Conan has resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.

Remarkable Athlete. Conan adds +2 to any Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution check he makes that doesn’t already use his proficiency bonus. In addition, when he makes a running long jump, the distance he can cover increases by 4 feet.

Second-Story Work. Climbing does not cost Conan extra movement. When he makes a running jump, the distance he covers increases by 2 feet (with Remarkable Athlete, 6 feet).

Second Wind (1/Short Rest). On his turn, Conan can use a bonus action to regain 1d10+11 hit points.

Sneak Attack (1/Turn). Conan deals an extra 7 (2d6) damage when he hits a target with a weapon attack and has advantage on the attack roll, or when the target is within 5 feet of an ally of Conan that isn’t incapacitated and Conan doesn’t have disadvantage on the attack roll.


ACTIONS

Multiattack. Conan attacks three times.

Greatsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6+4) slashing damage.

Dagger (4). Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d4+4) piercing damage.

Longbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 150/600 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8+2) piercing damage.
 
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Mike Myler

Mike Myler

I don't really believe D&D is able to model each and every hero from myth or fiction.

Wait, no, let me amend that: I don't really believe D&D is able to model any hero from myth or fiction.

The concept of Conan is as divorced from the rules of D&D as is the concept of Luke Skywalker or Sherlock Holmes or Spiderman.
 

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Satyrn

First Post
I don't really believe D&D is able to model each and every hero from myth or fiction.

Wait, no, let me amend that: I don't really believe D&D is able to model any hero from myth or fiction.

The concept of Conan is as divorced from the rules of D&D as is the concept of Luke Skywalker or Sherlock Holmes or Spiderman.
Those are easy!

A sorcerer with a sunblade, a thief with 5 Intelligence, and a er . . . okay I can't do Spidey.
 

Mike Myler

Advanced Fifth Edition: https://www.levelup5e.com/
I don't really believe D&D is able to model each and every hero from myth or fiction.

Wait, no, let me amend that: I don't really believe D&D is able to model any hero from myth or fiction.

The concept of Conan is as divorced from the rules of D&D as is the concept of Luke Skywalker or Sherlock Holmes or Spiderman.
Not to put too fine a point on it but I disagree. All of these things can be modeled in 5e and for that matter any simulated system.

https://mikemyler.com/2017/06/04/star-wars-dd-5e/

https://mikemyler.com/2017/06/15/professor-james-moriarty-dd-5e/
(Also see upcoming Savant class on EN5ider for proper Sherlock-ing)

https://mikemyler.com/2017/01/29/hyper-score-marvel-spider-man/
 

Not to put too fine a point on it but I disagree. All of these things can be modeled in 5e and for that matter any simulated system.

https://mikemyler.com/2017/06/04/star-wars-dd-5e/

https://mikemyler.com/2017/06/15/professor-james-moriarty-dd-5e/
(Also see upcoming Savant class on EN5ider for proper Sherlock-ing)

https://mikemyler.com/2017/01/29/hyper-score-marvel-spider-man/

Well, that puts me in a spot. Not because I think you proved me wrong, but because a quick glance at the first link persuades me that it would take far, far too much time and effort to argue my point.

So I'll leave it that I strongly suspect that while you may have captured a lot of the flavor of those genres, the underlying 5e mechanics just can't support the kind of action/activity that is central to the fiction in each case. As an example, the original Middle Earth Roleplaying did a fantastic job in the fluff and the depth of the resources they published, but the rules themselves (being, as they were, a recycled rules system and not one built from the ground up to support that setting) did not evoke Middle Earth at all. I feel the same way about the new Conan game: great fluff and production quality, but underlying mechanics that don't support the setting any more than any other rules would (an opinion which seems to ruffle some feathers around here.)

But, like I said, I'm not so vested in the point that I'm going to read your extensive (and impressive) efforts in order to have an informed argument about these specific examples.
 

dave2008

Legend
The problem is that your level is not very significant under Bounded Accuracy, so all of those levels don't let 5E Conan beat low-level characters in arm wrestling or when prowling or anything. Even at climbing, which is apparently his big thing, he still has a significant chance at failing the sort of hard (DC 20) climbing checks that a level 1 character might succeed at. The difference would be much more apparent in something like 3E or 4E, where your level is a larger factor.

In 5E, being Lucky would actually go a long way toward letting him reliably win contests, although it would go against the narrative of him winning through innate superiority.

Expertise in Athletics would help a lot as well.
 

dave2008

Legend
I don't really believe D&D is able to model each and every hero from myth or fiction.

Wait, no, let me amend that: I don't really believe D&D is able to model any hero from myth or fiction.

The concept of Conan is as divorced from the rules of D&D as is the concept of Luke Skywalker or Sherlock Holmes or Spiderman.

That really depends on what you mean by "model." I model is not an exact replica and when your dealing with myths, what part of the story are you trying to model anyway? I think D&D it can model these concepts to a degree, it just depends on each persons personal taste on how well it succeeds. I think most of Mike's efforts have been fairly interesting and would make interesting NPCs. I don't agree with all of his choices, but I think he generally gets the flavor right, and to me, that is successfully modeling in the character.

I don't ask D&D to model the real world perfectly, I wouldn't expect it model a fictional one perfectly either. But it does a good enough job, generally, in both to be understandable and enjoyable. That is about all I need it to model.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
The problem is that your level is not very significant under Bounded Accuracy, so all of those levels don't let 5E Conan beat low-level characters in arm wrestling or when prowling or anything. Even at climbing, which is apparently his big thing, he still has a significant chance at failing the sort of hard (DC 20) climbing checks that a level 1 character might succeed at. The difference would be much more apparent in something like 3E or 4E, where your level is a larger factor.

In 5E, being Lucky would actually go a long way toward letting him reliably win contests, although it would go against the narrative of him winning through innate superiority.

Expertise in Athletics would help a lot as well.

Expertise in Athletics from say the Prodigy feat, and half a Superiority Dice roll from Fighter scout, and Lucky feat re-rolls and you would have a true Athletics monster (something like +3 to 5 Strength bonus +4 to 12 expertise +4.5 to 6.5 average Superiority dice roll before a re-roll. That well outweighs the swingyness of the d20. oh and possible Advantage from Rage). You know, like Conan.
 
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BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
Right so I went and took a crack at it since there was some positive feedback to my ideas.

It's more of my interpretation of Howard's Conan as his stuff always sticks in my mind the most, than a more general "mythological" Conan.

I stuck with the same level Mike chose (really you could drop him to 7 and he'd still feel very Conan like). Honestly the end result is not that different from the OP since Conan is a Strong, Skilled, Wilderness born Warrior and that was covered well by Mike. (I hope you don't mind the imitation :))

So with my take he's still Strong, Skilled, Superior, and Savage. He favors medium armor that won't get in the way of stealth, and versatile weapons that he can adapt to any situation.

Mariner covers his time as a Pirate and general athletic ability. Outlander and Barbarian cover his origins and natural instincts with things like Danger Sense. Fighter should be obvious, and Scout gives him rangery wilderness know-how, and superiority at several skills. 14 Fighter and Variant human give enough ASIs to max strength and still pick some real good feats.

I'm not sure what CR he would be though.


Conan of Cimmmeria
Medium humanoid (human), neutral barbarian 2/fighter 14 (scout)

Armor Class
17 (breastplate+mariner) or 15 (unarmored defense+mariner)
Hit Points 134 (2d12+14d10+32)
Speed 40 ft. Climb Speed 40 ft. Swim Speed 40 ft.

STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
20 (+5)​
14 (+2)​
14 (+2)​
8 (-1)​
12 (+1)​
10 (+0)​

Saving Throws
Str +10, Con +7
Skills Athletics +15, Insight +6, Intimidation +5, Perception 6, Stealth +7, Survival +6, Smith's Tools +5
Senses Passive Perception 16
Languages Common, Undercommon (some hyperborean trade language), Thieves’ Cant, Dark Elf Silent (some kind of battle signs). or substitute all non-common languages for various hyperborean languages.


Background: Outlander. Conan can always recall the general layout of terrain, settlements, and other features around him. Conan can find food and fresh water for himself and up to five other people each day, provided that the land offers berries, small game, water, and so forth.

Action Surge (1/Short Rest). Once on his turn, Conan can take an additional action on top of his regular action and a possible bonus action.

Feat: Mobile. Conan can Dash through difficult terrain without requiring additional movement. Whenever he makes an attack against a creature, he doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks from that creature until the end of his turn.

Feat: Prodigy. Conan gained one skill proficiency (Intimidation), one tool proficiency (Smiths Tools), and fluency in one language (Thieves’ Cant). Conan gains expertise with one skill (Athletics)

Feat: Lucky.
Conan has 3 luck points. Whenever he makes an attack roll, an ability check, or a saving throw, he can spend one luck point to roll an additional d20. He can choose to spend one of his luck points after he rolls the die, but before the outcome is determined. He chooses which of the d20s is used for the attack roll, ability check, or saving throw.

He can also spend one luck point when an attack roll is made against him. Roll a d20, and then choose whether the attack uses the attacker's roll or Conan's.

If more than one creature spends a luck point to influence the outcome of a roll, the points cancel each other out; no additional dice are rolled.

Conan regains expended luck points when he finishes a long rest.

Feat: Alert. Conan gains the following benefits:

  • conan can't be surprised while you are conscious.
  • Conan gains a +5 bonus to initiative.
  • Other creatures don't gain advantage on attack rolls against Conan as a result of being unseen by him.

Fighting Style: Mariner. As long as Conan is not wearing heavy armor or using a shield, he has a swimming speed and a climbing speed equal to his normal speed, and +1 bonus to AC.

Indomitable (2/Long Rest). Conan can reroll a saving throw that he fails but must use the new roll.

Natural Explorer: Mountains, Forest. When Conan makes an Intelligence or Wisdom check related to the forest or mountains, his proficiency bonus (+5) is doubled if he is using a skill that he’s proficient in. While traveling for an hour or more in his favored terrain, Conan gains the following benefits:

  • Difficult terrain doesn’t slow his group’s travel.
  • Conan’s group can’t become lost except by magical means.
  • Even when he is engaged in another activity while traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), Conan remains alert to danger.
  • If Conan is traveling alone, he can move stealthily at a normal pace.
  • When he forages, Conan finds twice as much food as he normally would.
  • While tracking other creatures, Conan also learns their exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.

Rage (2/Long Rest). On his turn, Conan can enter a rage as a bonus action. His rage lasts for 1 minute, ending early if he is knocked unconscious or if his turn ends and he hasn’t either attacked a hostile creature since his last turn or taken damage since then. Conan can also end his rage on his turn as a bonus action. While raging, he gains the following benefits.

  • Conan has advantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throws.
  • When Conan makes a melee weapon attack using Strength, he deals 2 extra damage.
  • Conan has resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.


Danger Sense
Conan has advantage on Dexterity Saving Throws against effects that he can see, such as traps and Spells. To gain this benefit, he can't be Blinded, Deafened, or Incapacitated.

Reckless Attack
When Conan makes his first Attack on his Turn, he can decide to Attack recklessly. Doing so gives him advantage on melee weapon Attack rolls using Strength during this turn, but Attack rolls against him have advantage until his next turn.

Second Wind (1/Short Rest). On his turn, Conan can use a bonus action to regain 1d10+11 hit points.

Combat Superiority(4d10/Short Rest). Conan can expend an superiority dice to perform one of the following:

Conan rolls the superiority die and adds half the result to an ability check that uses Athletics, Nature, Perception, Stealth, or Survival.
Conan adds the superiority die to a weapon attack roll.
While wearing light or medium armor, Conan uses his reaction to add the superiority die to her AC, either avoiding the attack or taking half damage from an attack that is still successful.


ACTIONS

Multiattack. Conan attacks three times.

Longsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (1d10+5) slashing damage.

Dagger (2). Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d4+5) piercing damage.

Longbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 150/600 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8+2) piercing damage.
 
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Pauln6

Explorer
Right so I went and took a crack at it since there was some positive feedback to my ideas.

It's more of my interpretation of Howard's Conan as his stuff always sticks in my mind the most, than a more general "mythological" Conan.

I stuck with the same level Mike chose (really you could drop him to 7 and he'd still feel very Conan like). Honestly the end result is not that different from the OP since Conan is a Strong, Skilled, Wilderness born Warrior and that was covered well by Mike. (I hope you don't mind the imitation :))

So with my take he's still Strong, Skilled, Superior, and Savage. He favors medium armor that won't get in the way of stealth, and versatile weapons that he can adapt to any situation.

Mariner covers his time as a Pirate and general athletic ability. Outlander and Barbarian cover his origins and natural instincts with things like Danger Sense. Fighter should be obvious, and Scout gives him rangery wilderness know-how, and superiority at several skills. 14 Fighter and Variant human give enough ASIs to max strength and still pick some real good feats.

I'm not sure what CR he would be though.


Conan of Cimmmeria
Medium humanoid (human), neutral barbarian 2/fighter 14 (scout)

Armor Class
17 (breastplate+mariner) or 15 (unarmored defense+mariner)
Hit Points 134 (2d12+14d10+32)
Speed 40 ft. Climb Speed 40 ft. Swim Speed 40 ft.

STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
20 (+5)​
14 (+2)​
14 (+2)​
8 (-1)​
12 (+1)​
10 (+0)​

Saving Throws
Str +10, Con +7
Skills Athletics +15, Insight +6, Intimidation +5, Perception 6, Stealth +7, Survival +6, Smith's Tools +5
Senses Passive Perception 16
Languages Common, Undercommon (some hyperborean trade language), Thieves’ Cant, Dark Elf Silent (some kind of battle signs). or substitute all non-common languages for various hyperborean languages.


Background: Outlander. Conan can always recall the general layout of terrain, settlements, and other features around him. Conan can find food and fresh water for himself and up to five other people each day, provided that the land offers berries, small game, water, and so forth.

Action Surge (1/Short Rest). Once on his turn, Conan can take an additional action on top of his regular action and a possible bonus action.

Feat: Mobile. Conan can Dash through difficult terrain without requiring additional movement. Whenever he makes an attack against a creature, he doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks from that creature until the end of his turn.

Feat: Prodigy. Conan gained one skill proficiency (Intimidation), one tool proficiency (Smiths Tools), and fluency in one language (Thieves’ Cant). Conan gains expertise with one skill (Athletics)

Feat: Lucky.
Conan has 3 luck points. Whenever he makes an attack roll, an ability check, or a saving throw, he can spend one luck point to roll an additional d20. He can choose to spend one of his luck points after he rolls the die, but before the outcome is determined. He chooses which of the d20s is used for the attack roll, ability check, or saving throw.

He can also spend one luck point when an attack roll is made against him. Roll a d20, and then choose whether the attack uses the attacker's roll or Conan's.

If more than one creature spends a luck point to influence the outcome of a roll, the points cancel each other out; no additional dice are rolled.

Conan regains expended luck points when he finishes a long rest.

Feat: Alert. Conan gains the following benefits:

  • conan can't be surprised while you are conscious.
  • Conan gains a +5 bonus to initiative.
  • Other creatures don't gain advantage on attack rolls against Conan as a result of being unseen by him.

Fighting Style: Mariner. As long as Conan is not wearing heavy armor or using a shield, he has a swimming speed and a climbing speed equal to his normal speed, and +1 bonus to AC.

Indomitable (2/Long Rest). Conan can reroll a saving throw that he fails but must use the new roll.

Natural Explorer: Mountains. When Conan makes an Intelligence or Wisdom check related to the forest, his proficiency bonus (+5) is doubled if he is using a skill that he’s proficient in. While traveling for an hour or more in his favored terrain, Conan gains the following benefits:

  • Difficult terrain doesn’t slow his group’s travel.
  • Conan’s group can’t become lost except by magical means.
  • Even when he is engaged in another activity while traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), Conan remains alert to danger.
  • If Conan is traveling alone, he can move stealthily at a normal pace.
  • When he forages, Conan finds twice as much food as he normally would.
  • While tracking other creatures, Conan also learns their exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.

Rage (2/Long Rest). On his turn, Conan can enter a rage as a bonus action. His rage lasts for 1 minute, ending early if he is knocked unconscious or if his turn ends and he hasn’t either attacked a hostile creature since his last turn or taken damage since then. Conan can also end his rage on his turn as a bonus action. While raging, he gains the following benefits.

  • Conan has advantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throws.
  • When Conan makes a melee weapon attack using Strength, he deals 2 extra damage.
  • Conan has resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.


Danger Sense
Conan has advantage on Dexterity Saving Throws against effects that he can see, such as traps and Spells. To gain this benefit, he can't be Blinded, Deafened, or Incapacitated.

Reckless Attack
When Conan makes his first Attack on his Turn, he can decide to Attack recklessly. Doing so gives him advantage on melee weapon Attack rolls using Strength during this turn, but Attack rolls against him have advantage until his next turn.

Second Wind (1/Short Rest). On his turn, Conan can use a bonus action to regain 1d10+11 hit points.

Combat Superiority(4d10/Short Rest). Conan can expend an superiority dice to perform one of the following:

Conan rolls the superiority die and adds half the result to an ability check that uses Athletics, Nature, Perception, Stealth, or Survival.
Conan adds the superiority die to a weapon attack roll.
While wearing light or medium armor, Conan uses his reaction to add the superiority die to her AC, either avoiding the attack or taking half damage from an attack that is still successful.


ACTIONS

Multiattack. Conan attacks three times.

Longsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (1d10+5) slashing damage.

Dagger (2). Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d4+5) piercing damage.

Longbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 150/600 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8+2) piercing damage.

Yes, I was also thinking the scout playtest might cover some of the issues people mentioned previously.
 


Slit518

Explorer
I once made a Conan character, I didn't give him any classes, I just made him his own unique "creature."

I took whatever elements I felt like taking from classes, and giving him whatever stats I felt were appropriate based on his accomplishments and feats.

If I recall correctly, none of his stats were 10 or below.

I gave him Rage because I've seen him rage in "low-level" adventures, taking blows that would fell a dozen men, while just hacking through a half-dozen guards or so, with ease.

I've seen him outsmart many a foe.

In fact, Conan uses his smarts quite often, and it is one of his prevailing stats.

His Charisma isn't to be underestimated either.

He's gotten around "encounters" with Intimidation; Diplomacy; Charm, etc.

Conan is most certainly a Mary Sue, I will admit it.

Let us not forget Conan becomes king of Aqualonia.

His Strength is his greatest stat, probably a 20.
His Dexterity is quite high, said to be as agile and fast as jungle cats, probably a 16-18.
His Constitution is also quite high, he can take blows, ward of diseases, survive harsh environments, it is probably an 18-20.
Intelligence is reasonable, definitely above average, meets many a challenge with his brains, probably a 14.
Wisdom, maybe the lowest of his stats, but he can be swayed easy for the promise of treasure, but always has a bit of suspicion in his mind, quite possibly a 12.
Charisma is another good stat of Conan, with getting a kingdom, talking his way out of things (even crazy things where he shouldn't be able to), and all the women that swoon over him, convincing people to fight with him, he has a decent Charisma, I'd say a 16, maybe an 18 the highest.
 

SMHWorlds

Explorer
I like it. I am not sure its how I would do it, but I like it. What I really like though is the idea the characters might end up crossing swords with Conan. What I mean is, Conan is the protagonist of his stories, the "good guy" even if he is not always a good guy. Will the PCs become allies? Will they remain enemies? Will Conan become a nemesis for the party? The implications all by themselves make this an intriguing idea.
 


S'mon

Legend
The 5e Barbarian models Conan fine imo. Certainly better than Fighter. Berserker path probably since it's the least magical. They gave 5e Barbarian a lot of Conan derived abilities like act when surprised and advantage on init plus extreme durability.

Depending on story he is probably mostly in the 7th to 12th level range, maybe 20th in some of the comics.
 

I like this incarnation.
I would also do away with thief. Barbarian is a good class. CON 14 seems spot on as he prefers armor to being unarmored. Dex 14 also seems spot on as he is as agile as a tiger.
 

dave2008

Legend
The 5e Barbarian models Conan fine imo. Certainly better than Fighter. Berserker path probably since it's the least magical. They gave 5e Barbarian a lot of Conan derived abilities like act when surprised and advantage on init plus extreme durability.

Depending on story he is probably mostly in the 7th to 12th level range, maybe 20th in some of the comics.

I think Conan needs the extra attacks and action surge of the Fighter to fit what he is in the stories more so than straight Barbarian.
 

I like this incarnation.
I would also do away with thief. Barbarian is a good class. CON 14 seems spot on as he prefers armor to being unarmored. Dex 14 also seems spot on as he is as agile as a tiger.

The problem with that is that he's not just "agile as a tiger" he's more agile than basically anybody he meets, even those he encounters who are primarily agile. Since in 5e everybody who wants to has 20 dex by level 8, where does that leave Conan? 21 dex? Likewise he's stronger and tougher than every strong and tough (mortal) opponent he faces. For example Baal-pteor (the strangler from "The Man-eaters of Zamboula"). And since 20th level barbarians easily get 24 Str and Con, he's got to have higher scores than that. Which is already a big enough problem, given that an elephant only has strength of 22. (Or a simpler example is that an Ape has strength 16, which equals pretty much EVERY level 1 fighter and barbarian, and even many clerics and paladins.)

Or how about...crap I can't remember the name of the story...when Conan is dueling a slippery pirate type, and the guy throws a dagger at him. Conan catches it and throws it back, killing the guy. So does Conan have at least 3 levels of Monk as well?

The only way to make Conan a PC, following the rules of the game for player characters, is to ignore the details of the stories...which in my mind is abandoning the fiction...or assume/pretend that the stories are exaggerated myth.

Thus, if I really wanted to write up Conan in 5e...a Conan who could do the gonzo things that make the stories so much fun...I'd make him a Legendary NPC. Give him a bunch of really high stats, a mix of abilities not available to PCs, and some rockin' legendary actions.
 

dave2008

Legend
The problem with that is that he's not just "agile as a tiger" he's more agile than basically anybody he meets, even those he encounters who are primarily agile. Since in 5e everybody who wants to has 20 dex by level 8, where does that leave Conan? 21 dex? Likewise he's stronger and tougher than every strong and tough (mortal) opponent he faces. For example Baal-pteor (the strangler from "The Man-eaters of Zamboula"). And since 20th level barbarians easily get 24 Str and Con, he's got to have higher scores than that. Which is already a big enough problem, given that an elephant only has strength of 22. (Or a simpler example is that an Ape has strength 16, which equals pretty much EVERY level 1 fighter and barbarian, and even many clerics and paladins.)

Or how about...crap I can't remember the name of the story...when Conan is dueling a slippery pirate type, and the guy throws a dagger at him. Conan catches it and throws it back, killing the guy. So does Conan have at least 3 levels of Monk as well?

The only way to make Conan a PC, following the rules of the game for player characters, is to ignore the details of the stories...which in my mind is abandoning the fiction...or assume/pretend that the stories are exaggerated myth.

Thus, if I really wanted to write up Conan in 5e...a Conan who could do the gonzo things that make the stories so much fun...I'd make him a Legendary NPC. Give him a bunch of really high stats, a mix of abilities not available to PCs, and some rockin' legendary actions.

That is definitely an option. However, you could also assume that in the Hyborian age, level 10 is a soft (or hard) cap and most adventurer / soldier types don't even get to level 5.. Then, if Conan is level 16-20, he shines a lot like he does in the books. With this approach, since nobody is getting Str or Con of 24, Str 20 is fine for Conan. Even if Baal-pteor is also Str 20, Conan's expertise in Athletics (which is how I would build him) means he wins the strangling match most of the time (if you remember Conan did almost loose that one).

Conan is exceptional, so in 5e I think you have to assume everyone else can't/doesn't make it to his level. The other option would be stat him as you suggest, as a "monster" not a PC.
 


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