a Low-Fantasy Campaign Setting in the World of Conan
fromA Short Introduction:
This campaign setting is based on the works of Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan the Barbarian, Kull the Conqueror, and numerous other memorable characters of the mythical Hyborian Age and the shrouded times of ancient past. Fans of Conan and other related stories will already be familiar with much of this material. Those who aren't Conan fans will find it all very new, so following below is a short and largely inadequate description of this campaign setting.
The Hyborian Age is a pseudo-historical low-fantasy world that partially resembles the ancient and pre-ancient history of our world. Many of the societies in Howard's mythos are based partly or entirely on civilizations and non-civilized societies that have existed in the past. These cultures range in flavor and technological level from pre-historic Paleolithic to the Middle Eastern, the Classical to the Medieval.
Humans are the only playable race in Hyboria, although there are many fantastic and real-world creatures to be found as well. There are no dwarves, elves, orcs, or halflings here. Magic is present, but it is radically different than in most fantasy settings. It is subtle, ritualistic, and infinitely more powerful than in D&D and other common RPG systems. It fits perfectly with the magic system detailed in the Saga Core Rulebook.
Another distinguishing feature of Howard's world is its deadliness and brutality. Hyboria is a kill or be killed, conquer or submit kind of place. The average lifespan for most people is around 30 years; grey hair is considered a sign of great strength, resilience, and wisdom, as death comes early to most.
One final thing players should be aware of is the crossover between Howard's world and Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos. The mythology of the Elder Gods and Great Old Ones occasionally made its way into Hyboria, and I wholeheartedly endorse this admixture. The demon-gods of the Cthulhu mythos compliment the demon-gods of Conan's world brilliantly, and campaigns in the Hyborian Age are sure to encounter some kind of insanity-inspiring, horrific being at some point. Players and Narrators should familiarize themselves with this mythology if they are not already versed in it.