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Best supplemental books?

Recently picked up a copy of the main Conan book, and was wanting a bit of advice on the “best” supplemental books to get earlier, rather than later. I ultimately expect to get all the books, but initially I’m wanting stuff that gives me the most “bang” for my bucks. Initially, I’m wanting a bit more expansive information on magic, alchemy, healing and herbalism, and am assuming that Skelos is the best place to start, based on the book’s description. Any alternate or next suggestions?

Also, it there any source describing alchemical preparations that help with healing, curing disease, treating poison, etc? Any expansion on herbalism that might have similar effects, or be combined with alchemy?

Thanks much in advance. :slight_smile:

Skelos is the best fit for your interests. Most of the “Conan The Xxxxx” books follow a similar format in terms of content which is:

  1. A chapter on new character choices
  2. A Gazeteer chapter which provides details on several countries in Hyboria
  3. Encounters - new adversaries
  4. A chapter with story ideas and more background info
  5. A chapter on what Conan himself did during his time as a Pirate / Brigand / Thief / Mercenary
  6. A chapter with new rules (ship combat in Pirate, mass combat in Mercenary, etc)
  7. A chapter with NPC’s that fit the books archetype

The other books do not always follow this pattern. If you are interested in a particular region, or a particular expansion of rules, you will want to get the book that includes that.

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Speaking of the “best supplemental books”…

Skelos is great for your purposes but there are errors or things which need to be clarified since they are not too well explicitly written (if you can access G+ before it dies see how many people asked clarifications on Mesmerism or Herbalism).
Be ready to homebrew solutions.

But other books do not have that problem, but off course they deal with other subjects.

I really enjoyed Barbarian and Brigand, they really give you an “Hyborian age” feeling.
I really like them.
Barbarian has also some nice mechanics, for example for shield walls.

I’m less enthusiastic about Thief and Mercenary since (at least for my humble opinion) they are too “generic fantasy”. I still do not understand why they ignored non-REH fluff (De Camp or Roy Thomas) to add their own stuff which is still non-REH (the asshuri in mercenary are definitively not those described by REH). However from a mechanic point of view Mercenary give you rules for small battles and they are fun.

Pirate it’s ok and it’s a must for naval combat, although I liked it less than a similar book for the old mongoose d20 conan rpg.

Ancient Ruins is particularly useful for giving you pre-made adventure situations, rules on treasures and ruin-making rules. I think it’s a very useful book.

Horrors is also very useful, although it has way less figures than what one would expect in a rpg bestiary.

Nameless Cults is more fluff than mechanics. I’m not enthusiastic of many entries in that book (there’s a lot of “this god is an illusion” which to me is often not interesting, compared to old fluff in old d20 books), but in general it’s a great reading.

And finally do not under-value the GM screen! The attached adventure generator is very useful to make REH-style stories.


Excellent; thank you both for the responses. Definitely confirms my expectations regarding getting Skelos next, and as an avid gamer in many systems since 1981, I have no qualms about house-ruling things, once I understand a system and its balances. In lieu of having Skelos yet, I’ve already started tinkering with some new petty enchantments, myself. I’m also comfortable enough with the setting and genre that coming up with canon-friendly stories won’t be a huge chore, though I will (as usual) borrow liberally for the sourcebooks, as I acquire them.


All of them!