An Age Undreamed of…

Originally posted by Brianna Heine on the other (now defunct) version of this site.


So I want to take this time to provide a short outline of the posts I intend to write. I think it’s important to have a plan especially with a project this big. There are already a plethora of d20 and Hyborian Age sources to reference. Hex Ox also reminded me of the d20 Hyborian Age Campaign site.  I will be reading as much of the material I can get my hands on for each topic and will present my thoughts at the end of each post. One thing I want to do is reserve judgment on a rule until after the readers have their say. We’ve all read the same stories but I’m certain some of you see things from a different angle than I do. We also can’t forget my golden rule; if it’s too complicated it’s probably wrong.

Many d20 products start of their game with the following format so I think I’ll follow it as well.

Generating a Character

  1. Determine Ability Scores
  2. Pick your Race. This could be a particularly difficult post so, depending on reader input, this could end up being a long-running series of posts focusing on each Hyborian culture individually.
  3. Pick your Class
  4. Pick Skills and Select Feats
  5. Decide on Alignment
  6. Buy Equipment

Some readers may notice that I flipped Alignment and Equipment.  For the purposes of this blog I think I want to tackle equipment last.  If you’ve been following my previous posts you probably also realize that I didn’t mention magic. There’s a very good reason for this; I’m afraid it is going to be the hardest topic to cover. DCC was the closest to what I imagine. Carcosa was pretty good too. However I still want to work on it at a later time.

I’m not sure how the spellcasting classes will look without a finished magic system. A similar problem might arise when discussing Clerics because we haven’t even talked about Gods. Let’s get character creation out of the way and we can always revisit Spellcasters after magic and religion are complete.

So I think that’s perfect to get started. I’m looking forward to starting and hearing your thoughts.

Author: John Carr

Gamer, comic guy, office drone.

13 thoughts on “An Age Undreamed of…”

  1. Re: Clerics, I’m only a few stories into my Conan reading journey but they don’t seem to be a thing.
    From my impression so far I’d wrap a couple of healing spells into the magic-users and maybe have something similar to my Cuckold’s Courage, it seems that whenever Conan’s all stabbed to hell all he really wants is some wine.

    Religion seems best reserved for degenerate cultists rather than utility.

      1. In “The Tower of the Elephant” the being Yag-Kosha spoke to Conan “But he (Yara) was not satisfied with what I taught him, for it was White Magic, and he wished evil lore”.

        This will be something to explore deeper.

    1. That’s exactly the problem I anticipate. From my perspective the Gods of the Hyborian age don’t really exist. Hex Ox however pointed out that Thoth-Amon might be a cleric. It’s true that he invoked the name of Set once or twice in Phoenix on the Sword. I do think it might be possible that Set is some otherworldly Cthulhu beast that whispers secrets to his most zealous followers. Another problem I have is, in that same story, Thoth has absolutely no powers until he finds his magic ring. We certainly have our hands full for this topic.

      Personally I don’t think there should be any healing magic. Yet another topic to be discussed later.

      It will be a difficult post but I’m looking forward to it. Hope you keep reading.

      1. I’ll be reading.

        I’m almost finished Black Colossus (Rose keeps falling asleep) and at least Mitra seems real enough, unless in the last few pages a priest steps from behind a curtain all “….*wink*”.
        In one of the stories I’ve read though (maybe Tower of the Elephant?) Conan makes a comment to the effect of not understanding why everyone sees their gods as something to continually call upon, he doesn’t expect anything of Crom.
        And THAT I think is the right approach to religion. Some gods may deign to speak to their followers in certain circumstances, but none of them would be at the beck and call of something like a Cleric.
        For Thoth-Amon I would simply treat him as a different kind of Magic-User, one granted power by dark gods through the use of an object.

        I don’t think it would hurt having a couple of “White Magic” spells around, because I think in Hyborian terms something like a healing spell would be a bit more intense than just glowy white good feels. And since most Magic-Users wouldn’t have direct access to the teachings of White Magic, until they find something like Yag-Kosha to instruct them properly you could have healing spells come with chances of failure, with mishap and curse charts.
        I still think the main form of recovery should be getting plastered though.

  2. “Determine Ability Scores”

    By the book, 3d6/4d6 drop lowest/point buy/prerolled.

    “Pick your Race.”
    I think races were fine in d20 Conan, but it’s been years since I last played it.

    “Decide on Alignment”
    Law-Neutral-Chaos could work, but I’d prefer no alignments for Hyborian Age. d20 Conan didn’t have alignments, but it had optional codes for at least thieves, knights, and barbarians/uncivilized.

    P.S. Are you using d20 or pathfinder srd?

  3. Well the whole reason I want to discuss these topics is because most of them are fine but are they Hyborian? I don’t want these rule to be “fine”. That’s run-of-the-mill. I want to be satisfied. If the rule as it’s stated works, we’ll leave it. If not, we’ll change it.

    And the entire scope of d20, Pathfinder included, is up for review. However I think I want to use Pathfinder primarily.

      1. That’s exactly what I’d like to accomplish. Looking forward to everyone’s thoughts.

    1. (ew Pathfinder)

      No really use whatever works for you, I just didn’t have fun times with it.
      It makes me wonder though, what do you have in mind in terms of lethality and balance?
      While Conan might be an unkillable hunk, legendary characters drop like flies around him, which I LOVE. If I was playing this I wouldn’t want to be Conan, I would want to be Khul-Raga the Thief, survivor of the Seven Marshes, plunderer of the Golden Lotus, who gets killed by a snake hidden in a basket.

      And Hyboria doesn’t seem the place for balanced encounters, more a succession of overwhelming odds and hopeless situations, which makes me think it could use some kind of Luck score. So for the most part you rely on your own skill, but every so often you’re chained in front of a giant snake and you roll to see if someone breaks into the room with a blood-grudge.

      1. On the topic of Balance my primary thought is to ignore it mostly. I plan on treasure being mostly wealth, little-to-no magic items, and a limited list of choices for alchemical and mundane equipment. If you approach from the viewpoint that players have exhausted the majority of their resources then CR still works you just can only have 1-2 encounters in a day MAX.

        About lethality I was thinking the Vitality/Wounds system works. Players get exhausted and take penalties from wound damage and a single attack could kill a character.

        Almost every character that Conan meets and strikes up a conversation with dies. His reputation should be “Oh, crap! It’s Conan! Nobody make eye contact if you want to live”

        I like the idea of Luck. I was thinking that Hero Points (Mutants & Masterminds and countless other sources) would work for that. And I thought the same thing when Conan was chained in the Scarlet Citadel. Conan is the luckiest SOB to ever tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth.

        Of course I’m going to explore all of these topics in future posts in more depth. I will, like usual, include text from the story to support my idea.

        Looking forward to your comments.

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