D&D General Reassesing Robert E Howards influence on D&D +

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
So while many people see the influence of Tolkien on DnD, Gary Gygax himself said that while the success of Tolkien did encourage him to develop the game, the overall influence was minimal. Instead he sites Conan the Conqueror as seminal influence on his “concepts of adventure”.

Conan was first recreated for Greyhawk (D&D Supplement IV) as a Fighter Level 15/ Thief Level 9 and this concept added to things like magic resistance, animal instincts and rage eventually developed into the Barbarian class. He even went on to inspire a couple of early modules and his own TSR RPG

But it was Sword and Scorcery inspired concepts of adventure that really carried DnD to what it is - over-the-top characters engaging in hard combat in a world of flashy magic. REH also had Conan come across various guarded wizard towers, lost cities with monster haunted dungeons, warring factions, which became the site based dungeons of DnD.
Its certain that Hobbits and Ents and similar were lifted from Tolkien, but Gygax calls these influences superficial as being based on the same mythologies rather than being wholesale adaptions. Gygax further claims that the seeming parallels and inspirations of Tolkien in DnD was contrived as an attempt to attract Tolkiens readers to the game even though Gygax opined that it was well nigh impossible to recreate any Tolkien-based fantasy within the boundaries of the game system.
The original forward to the game states “These rules are strictly fantasy. Those wargamers who lack imagination, those who don’t care for Burroughs’ Martian adventures where John Carter is groping through black pits, who feel no thrill upon reading Howard’s Conan saga, who do not enjoy the de Camp & Pratt fantasies or Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser pitting their swords against evil sorceries will not be likely to find DUNGEONS and DRAGONS to their taste.

No mention of Tolkien there, as Gygax considered the Rings trilogy tedious and “considered in the light of fantasy action adventure, Tolkien is not dynamic.” and as such REH was a much better foundation to an interactive ‘fantasy action adventure Game’, than Tolkiens LotR.

Anyway what do you think, just how important is Howards Conan and other such pulp writers to DnD
(PS while Tolkien may be cited in discussion, lets not make this a debate about the merits of Tolkien v REH)
 
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Voadam

Legend
My understanding is that the Greyhawk pantheon was developed by Gygax as a reaction to players pretty much using gods like Conan did, using "Crom!" as an oath, occasionally swearing by Odin and such.

The mercenary thief who enters the wizards tower to steal fabled jewels is much more the setup of the original dungeon delving xp for gold model as opposed to the questing for good later model of default motivations.
 

Voadam

Legend
Conan was first recreated in for Greyhawk (D&D Supplement IV) as a Fighter Level 15/ Thief Level 9

I don't think that was for Greyhawk but OD&D in general. Supplement IV Gods, Demi-Gods, and Heroes has a bunch of pantheons that I don't think were intended to be default used in Greyhawk as a setting but as options.

I was really disappointed that the PDF does not include the Hyborian or Melnibonean original entries.
 
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FitzTheRuke

Legend
I just wish the idea that Conan couldn't be modeled as a Barbarian (but instead, a Fighter/Thief) had made the designers realize that "Barbarian" was a dumb name for a Class. They should have long since changed it to Berserker. Then the word "Barbarian" would have been free to have been a background.
 

MarkB

Legend
I just wish the idea that Conan couldn't be modeled as a Barbarian (but instead, a Fighter/Thief) had made the designers realize that "Barbarian" was a dumb name for a Class. They should have long since changed it to Berserker. Then the word "Barbarian" would have been free to have been a background.
You make a good point, but Conan is perhaps a bad example, despite his traditional descriptor. He's your classic polymath character - raised as a warrior, learned thievery on the streets, went on to become a mercenary, a pirate and a king. He was never going to be a single-class character.

Most of his fellows who didn't leave home would probably have been perfectly adequately served by a Barbarian stat-block.
 

Stormonu

Legend
I just wish the idea that Conan couldn't be modeled as a Barbarian (but instead, a Fighter/Thief) had made the designers realize that "Barbarian" was a dumb name for a Class. They should have long since changed it to Berserker. Then the word "Barbarian" would have been free to have been a background.
Rage was a 3E addition to the barbarian that turned the class into a DPR berserker. The 1E and 2E versions played very different to the version we have now. Gygax's 1E version played a lot closer to the Conan of the books. The class morphed according to what players wanted from the class and away from its origins. I don't think you could pull it back to the original version without major outcry from the player base these days.
 


MGibster

Legend
But it was Sword and Scorcery inspired concepts of adventure that really carried DnD to what it is - over-the-top characters engaging in hard combat in a world of flashy magic. REH also had Conan come across various guarded wizard towers, lost cities with monster haunted dungeons, warring factions, which became the site based dungeons of DnD.
A few years back I was reading "Jewels of Gwahlur," originally published in 1935, and I marveled how much Conan behaved like an old school D&D adventurer. The way he meticulously searched the room for secret doors and treasure took me back to my youth. The only letdown was when Conan had a choice between saving the treasure or the woman and he chose the woman. Come on, Conan, you're not a Paladin!
 

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