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Conan: The Roleplaying Game» Forums » General

Subject: Conan the Statisticator rss

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Paul Baldowski
United Kingdom
Stockport
Cheshire
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I played Conan for the first time last week and I felt a little stunned that a game could pack so many statistics into one sheet of paper. I know it's based off some OGL variant of D&D v3.x and that doesn't bode well for simplicity; but, it seems to me that a game setting in the World of Conan should have a combat system so slick you can't scan through it without falling flat on your ass. I found myself staring in disbelief a endless skill and combat modifiers, and modifiers on modifiers, wondering whether I'd ever use more than 2% of the numbers on my character sheet before the end of the adventure. I've read the background material for the game and that appealed to me as a fine source of additional information while I read some of the Howard stories; but the numbers did nothing more than frighten me.

It didn't much help that I hadn't accounted for the complexity of choosing a racial background in the game and applying it to the character template - because I'd hoped to play a grizzled outrider/borderer from Shem and ended up playing a Nemedian herbalist/borderer. Given we've been playing games with pre-gens, I'd hoped to add some immediate flavour with some history and some background reading. Only when I got to the session did I discover the mind-numbing complexity of the character sheet meant I wasn't going to get anything that wasn't pre-generated without causing an immense headache re-rolling from basics. The weight of numbers made it clear that the loss of effort getting ready for the session was a small price to pay - if I'd rolled something there and then, we may never have got the adventure started at all.
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Hendrik Neumann
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That's been my impression, too, though I have only read the core book. I bought it with high hopes for a simple, fast, "barbaric" feeling game - and got a combat simulator like D&D. That probably suits gamers who are into this kind of rpg and/or are used to the D20 system, but I think it does not fit the theme well. Too bad; the background is great, but the game engine just does not deliver, imho.

Kudos for trying the game nonetheless - did you enjoy it using the pregenerated characters? Actually I am more concerned about clumsy game mechanics during play, as a lengthy character generation often can be done before the session.
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Andrés Santiago Pérez-Bergquist
United States
Mountain View
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If you're looking for that Conan feel with lightweight, fast rules, check out Barbarians of Lemuria, available in the original free version as well as more polished, for-pay versions.
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Paul Baldowski
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I'll definitely give that a look. I think we (gaming in general) went through a period where if you could OGL it, you did - whether or not the ruleset really suited the style and atmosphere of the game. In this instance, Conan suffers significantly because of that oversight in pursuit of a game.
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j h
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Lakewood
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That's d20 for you...
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Blue Tyson
Australia
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Shadow, Sword & Spell - 3 stats, a few skills...

or ZeFRS, the original Conan retroclone

Conan would probably punch them for being too complicated in the above
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Michael Taylor
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Venice
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I knew I'd never play the d20 version, but now I'm thinking I can use the material for Barbarians of Lemuria: http://rpggeek.com/rpgsystem/6445/barbarians-lemuria-system
 
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Steven Ege
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Jason Vey has produced an OD&D Conan supplement. Find it on http://www.grey-elf.com/ and pair it up with a copy of OD&D (recommended), Basic D&D, or even Castles & Crusades. Any of these should be lighter than d20 Conan, but they may not be as light as the alternatives already presented.
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