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Checklist for Combat, Etc

Conan has more character states than I can shake a stick at. It’s easy to miss a status. I’m working on a checklist I can use to make combat a bit smoother without missing something. So I started with a list of conditions to scan for the participants to make sure I don’t miss anything. (Last time I was so confused I forgot about armor). I wonder if you guys would have a look at this list and tell me if I’m missing anything. Don’t worry about how I organized them (e.g. “Personal, Temporary, Weapon”). I’m just trying to nail down all the things I need to keep track of from round to round…

I. Check for participant conditions
a. PERSONAL
i. Armored
ii. Cold or Hot
iii. Despairing
iv. Diseased
v. Encumbered
vi. Fatigue
vii. Fatigued
viii. Forced March
ix. Mounted
x. Sleep Deprived
xi. Starving or Thirsty
xii. Trauma
xiii. Wounds
xiv. Blinded
xv. Deaf
xvi. Poisoned
b. TEMPORARY
i. Ambushed
ii. Burning
iii. Dazed
iv. Defending
v. Disarmed
vi. Exploited
vii. Grappled
viii. Hindered
ix. Morale
x. On Guard
xi. Prone
xii. Protecting
xiii. Ready
xiv. Retaliating
xv. Second Action
xvi. Sprinting
xvii. Staggered
xviii. Stunned
xix. Under Guard
xx. Withdrawing
c. WEAPON
i. Unbalanced
ii. Unwieldy
iii. Fixed
iv. Braced
v. Hidden
vi. Improvised

You are treating actions, reactions, item qualities, character conditions, damage track states etc. all as “conditions”.
This overcomplicates things and makes the rather lightweight and smoothly running Conan 2d20 system look like a bookkeeping nightmare.

The majority of the items you listed you don’t need to check at all. Some are simply a matter of how you set the scene. Others are irrelevant until the player(!) decides to do something, so no “condition”, but a decision, an immediate one in the case of a Reaction.

If that lists helps you, more power to you. I find it produces more confusion, especially due to the mixing of terms and things that are quite nicely separated in the Conan rules, and are now dropped into the same bucket.

Have you had a look at some of the fan-made cheat-sheets for Conan?
There you have Conditions, Qualities, etc. nicely listed. And you don’t need to check for all of them every round, but only have to check them, when they apply - which is in consequence of damage, of skill tests, etc.

After a few sessions players will know the qualities of their weapons etc. all by themselves, so things will speed up even more.

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“You are treating actions, reactions, item qualities, character conditions, damage track states etc. all as “conditions”.”

That’s all they are. To new players , it doesn’t matter where in the Core Book you put them. You can list them in the “Damage & Soak” section or the “Terrain” section. Or in the “Fatigue” section. Or in the “Weapon Qualities” section. Or in the “Diseases” section. Or the “Sorcery Section” And so on. Or in the “Common Uses for Momentum” section. Or the (30 pages later) “Momentum Spends” section.

I’m sorry, man. What I’m doing doesn’t confuse anything. It SIMPLIFIES things. “Actions, reactions, item qualities, character conditions, damage track states” are all arbitrary classifications. All that really matters is that you remember what effect they have on the people involved in the fight.

I know you’ve been playing a long time but this system is clunky AF to every newcomer. I haven’t seen anyone get even close to getting close to keeping track of everything for quite a while. Everyone complains they missed this that or the other. And its easy to do because there are a million things to keep track of and I’m sorry but they are SCATTERED all over the Core Book. I have now red it TWICE and made two PDFs of it each 40 pages long.

Now I’m not saying all this is bad. Obviously I must like it to put this much effort in to getting it right for me and my players off the bat, but I haven’t heard a single new GM say he wasn’t totally bewildered by the organization vs content. I’m not of a mind to put me and my players through that if I don’t have to. I’m a huge prep guy and I bet what I’m trying to do would be very helpful. And I’m not bound by the conventions of people that have been playing the system for four years and want me to do it their way.

Anyway it doesn’t sound like you think I missed anything so this rant is a little bit moot.

Edit - Also, you probably know better than most that everything I listed does matter from a mechanical standpoint: Everyone of that endless list of terms has a mechanical effect on the game. Can you ignore them? Sure. But they are mechanical effects in the game. I looked them all up, They all have some effect the game intends for you to keep track of. So don’t blame me for “a bookkeeping nightmare.” I’m just wanting to at least understand the rules they put in the game.

I guess case and point - I have signed up SEVEN new players in one week to roll on this game with me. I’m the GM. It’s my job to understand the game, which is good because after reading just the first half of the QuickStart manual pretty much all of them has said

“Bro I have no idea wtf they’re talking about in that thing.” I can’t and don’t blame them.

If you’re a publisher of games do you want that or do you want people like me who want to be able to run the game in a way that doesn’t irritate the f out of them while they learn it on the job?

I’ve had the exact opposite experience running Conan at conventions and a couple of ongoing games with brand new players. Can the book be better organized? Absolutely. For me though the chart, while it may be helpful to you and your players, looks intimidating AF and if I was presented that as a player I’d bail immediately (incidentally it looks on cursory glance that you’re missing several Weapon Qualities not to mention the complexity that is Loads and Sorcery).

As the GM it is absolutely my job to know what those things mean and how they work. It’s also my job to explain them to the players in a way they can understand. Honestly though, they don’t need to know what Burning means. They need to know if they are Burning or maybe if an NPC is Burning. It’s my job to apply what that means, which means I need to know what it means.

IMO you’re way, way overthinking this. You don’t need to track all of these things round to round. You need to be aware of them and what they do but for the dozens of games I’ve run (might be closer to a hundred between two campaigns and conventions) I’ve rarely needed to track Sleep Deprived (for example) more than maybe twice.

In terms of Conditions (which seem to be something you should be concerned about tracking), there’s only 7 (which is half of what D&D has).

It really sounds like you’re complaining more about the game having a lot of rules and it does. It’s really quite crunchy, especially for a 2d20 system. Whatever you need to do so you can run the game…more power to you. It really does seem like you’re making it more complex but that could also be change blindness on my part as I have read the book (and sourcebooks) several times cover to cover over the years.

The problem with the long list is, that it uses non-rules terminology, makes some “conditions” that don’t exist in 2d20 simply up, and turns Actions or Reactions into “conditions”, which they absolutely are not.
That is even for someone quite knowledgeable in the 2d20 system a very confusing list.
I hope it helps, despite the many non-rules terms and non-conditions.

Weird that I cut and paste a list of terms from this book some 50+ words long and the term that you find unacceptable is “conditions.”

  • Like it or not, every one of the terms is from the book.
  • Like it or not, not one of them is a “non-rules term.”
  • Every one of the terms has mechanics you’re supposed to know. You can look them up yourself. They are all listed in the index.

I think it probably just makes you uncomfortable to see them laid out bare like that so you criticize me for listing them. Like i said, I didn’t make them up.

Yes I think the list is helpful to me because in it I have links to the definitions of the terms and what impact they have. It makes it a snap; I click “Sleep Deprived” and bam it takes me straight to the complete definition and impact of the term. No, I’m not “complaining.” There is nothing wrong with having a list of conditions (I don’t care what the game calls them) that I can skim to make sure I have everything covered. Jeeze.

Anyway I wasn’t asking for opinions on whether I should make a list, I just wanted to know if I missed anything. I think guys can get pretty sensitive about their game systems.

I appreciate your point but I just flat disagree. There are endless examples.
A weapon doesn’t just “stun.” It “stuns” which inflicts the “staggered” condition.
You don’t just win an “ambush.” You win an “ambush” which gives you a one-step advantage on an “exploit” action which in turn gives you an opportunity to obtain the “penetration” quality.
The “knockdown” effect doesn’t knock someone down. It makes him “prone.”
There is no single place where all of these mechanics are kept together and it’s not overthinking to have a list I can click that hops me through each term.
Moreover, I can easily forget (and so can a player) that he’s “starving.” “Starving” has a mechanical effect just like all the other terms. The effects are buried there on page 79, along with “Forced March” “Thirst” and “Sleep Deprivation.”
Here again, I don’t get how it’s “confusing” to have a list of all these things in one place that I can skim to remind me and if the condition applies be able to tell at a click what it means.

1 - Yes, you missed a ton of stuff. Such as everything related to Sorcery (which is arguably the most complex part of the game) and how ammo and Loads work.

2 - You posted here, asking for input (specifically what you missed). When people disagreed with your system you jumped on them. It’s not sensitivity about the system, it’s a disagreement about your list and you’re the one who got defensive.

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Well, I think we all got a bit defensive. You thought I was attacking the game (which I see why you might think that) and felt like I was complaining. That might be because of the way I explained it, which maybe wasn’t the best way.

Anyway, I haven’t delved into sorcery overmuch but from what I can tell, sorcery ends up putting characters into the conditions (yes, my term) I listed. Maybe a better word is “states.” Mostly I’m just interested in having a list that I can reference that describes those states. So if a spell makes someone “despair” (for example) I don’t have to go searching for what despair means.

Edit - it’s those “conditions/states/situations/whatever you want to call them” I want to make sure I have a comprehensive list of. So for example is there a “horrified” condition I’m missing? Things like that.

Double Edit - Actually “condition” isn’t my term. It’s a term the game uses 87 times to describe the things I put in my list.

IMO many of the things you have listed you don’t need to reference much, if at all. I don’t recall a Despaired or Despairing state (for example) A character may suffer Despair, but I wouldn’t call it a state or a condition any more than having taken Vigor damage is. That could be where the disconnect comes from - the way in which terminology is applied. You have a very broad definition, mine is much more narrow. I don’t consider being down some Vigor or Resolve a condition, nor do I considered Armored to be. I’d never explain it to my players that way. Ambushed, again, isn’t something I would consider a condition.

If this works for you and your players, then great! Different strokes for different folks.

To the matter at hand - you are missing several weapon qualities, the armor qualities and cover. There’s also other things you need to track in combat, if that’s the goal - including Range and Reach.

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Yeah I already have a checklist for combat and for weapon qualities. In the descriptions, I can click, say, “staggered” and it takes me straight to how staggered works. Same with Ambush, and terrain (hindrances, obstacles, and hazards) and so on.

Regarding despair, it’s the mental version of fatigue, and decreases resolve cap. These are all things that can easily be forgotten by both GM and players so for me it’s helpful to have a reminder to check.

Really the content is great and I’m just aiming to organize it in a way that (a) keeps it from being overlooked and (b) makes navigating between all the terms efficient.

I know what Despair is, I just don’t consider it a condition in the same way you do :slight_smile: For me I find it much easier to remember things if I compartmentalize them so Conditions are the seven conditions in the book. Reach, range, armor, cover etc. are all filed in my brain under Combat stuff. Despair and Fatigue are their own thing. Different organizational structures for different people.

Well I don’t mind how it’s organized, just so long as I have a way to make sure I don’t miss anything. I suppose for you it’s just rote at this point but I’m not there yet. I did say in my op “don’t worry about the terms I use to organize” (or something to that effect) but it nonetheless became the topic. Anyway I’m just gonna go work on it by myself lol.

Very true. And there are things I overlook all the time, it happens. As long as everyone is having fun it doesn’t matter if a test should have been D2 rather than D1 due to reach or if that Minion had 1 point of soak. The only time I’ll pause to double check things is if a PC death is possible. That’s the only time, for me, that accounting for everything matters.

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I can’t upload excel sheets, but I made one for combat detailing all the weapon and armor qualities, and another one for taking/healing “damage.” I did it so we didn’t have to bust open the book during combat, not to have some overarching keyword search though.

Quality
Area
Backlash X
Blinding
Cavalry X
Fearsome X
Fragile
Grappling
Hidden X
Improvised
Incendiary X
Intense
Knockdown
Non-Lethal
Quality
Parrying
Persistent X
Piercing X
Shield X
Spread X
Stun
Subtle X
Thrown
Unforgiving X
Vicious X
Volley

Heavy
Noisy
Very Heavy

Stress
Vigor
Resolve
Harms
Wounds
Trauma
Fatigue
Removing Fatigue
Despair
Removing Despair

Recover Stress
Recover allies’ Stress
Recover Harm
Treat

  • Treating Wounds
  • Treating Trauma

Heal

This is similar to what I’m doing, except you can jump from one spot to another and back in a PDF. For example, you go to Weapon Quality “Stun” and read the description. The description tells you it inflicts the “Staggered” effect. You can click “Staggered” and jump to the description for that.

Wouldn’t it be easier to not jump through so many hoops?

For example, if Stun only inflicts Staggered and nothing else, why jump to a new section? Just have Stun include the description for Staggered in its description. You can keep Staggered as its own section in case anyone needs to look it up.

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The stunned/staggered distinction from a design pov is completely lost on me. That totally should have been done together.