Core assumptions of the world?

Some game rulebooks provide core assumtipns for the world. I usually print these and put them on my GM screen to help me maintain a consistent tone.

For example, the Forgotten Realms in D&D has the following.
• Gods Oversee the World
• Much of the World Is Untamed
• The World Is Ancient
• Conflict Shapes the World’s History
• The World Is Magical

The Primeval Thule campaign world (heavily inspired by the writings of Howard, Leiber, Burroughs, and Smith) has the following.
• Thule is Barbaric
• The Wilderness is Savage
• Cities are Wicked Places
• The World is Mysterious
• Magic is a Secret Man was Not Meant to Know
• Ancient Evils Threaten Mankind
• Freebooters, Mercenaries, Opportunists

What do you think would be core assumptions of Howard’s Hyboria?

I’m thinking that the ones the Primeval Thule authors use are a good fit, though I might also add “Humans are newcomers” to the list.

The ones for Thule work pretty well, really. The setting is a pretty decent D&D riff on Sword and Sorcery though it could stand to shake more D&D trappings.

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I would go for something like this:
•Hyboria is mostly civilized (with the exception of Nordheim, Hyrkania and the southern Black Kingdoms)
•The gods meddle in the affairs of mortals, evil gods do it much more than benevolent ones
•Cities are wicked places with danger but also opportunity
•The fantastical is more prevalent in the wilderness than in civilized places
•The majority of adventurers are shady types like mercenaries, thieves and the like


I would go with:

  • Evil gods meddle in the affair of mortals often. Good gods, except for Mithra, do not. Most gods leave humanity alone.
    -Cities and Civilization are unnatural and are places of wickless and corruption. The do have luxuries and give opportunities and all of the inhabitants are not bad.
  • Strange and fantastical stuff is found more in the wilderness and uncivilized area.
  • Adventures are often in thugs just for them selves and noble actions are often the result of them engaged of self serving activities. They are often uncivilized rogues and mercenaries.
  • Not all alien creatures and monsters are necessary evil. Some are just primitive beasts fighting for survival while others could be an ally. Most creatures and aliens though are enemies to be fought.
  • All civilizations, empires, etc. will eventually fall.
  • Magic tends to be used only by those who are evil and those that know the secrets of it are rare.
  • The world is ancient.
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That’s a weird thing to say. D&D is a carbon copy of, amongst other things, Conan. The rules and setting otherwise are entirely divorced from anything D&D-like.

There is a huge difference between D&D style fantasy and sword and sorcery style fantasy. Primeval Thule, while a step towards S&S style still clings very closely to D&D in a few key areas specifically in regards to casters.

on p10 Core,

In Conan, the players are the larger-than-life personalities
of the Hyborian Age, the world in which Conan dwelled.
Players can create and play characters like those from the
many phases of Conan’s career — barbarians, thieves,
mercenaries, pirates, brigands, wanderers, adventurers,
and scouts — but can also choose from a wide range of
other roles, such as nobles, scholars, minstrels, soldiers,
merchants, priests, and even sorcerers. Drawn into adventure
for reasons of their own, these characters will write
their exploits large against the map of the Hyborian world,
making names for themselves as grand as that of Conan.

The adventures the players will experience are likewise
set in Conan’s world of the Hyborian Age, a place of exotic
wonder, lost cities and haunted ruins, fierce combat, and
loathsome horror. The central conflict of the age is that
of civilization versus barbarism, a battle being played
out across the kingdoms of mankind. Civilizations have
risen and fallen, and peace is a fragile bulwark against the
strivings of brutal warlords, ruthless queens, and bloodthirsty
kings, as each grasps openly for power. Behind the
illusory curtain of the material world is a darker reality,
where ancient horrors and terrible curses lay in wait for
those who dare to explore the forgotten places. Decadent
sorcery and monstrous evil lurk at the fringes, a source for
the power-mad to exert their will upon others. Scholars of
the age believe that the great and ancient serpent-god Set
coils about the world and sows the seeds of destruction,
opposed only by Mitra and his servants, while others
believe that their own gods are dominant throughout
the cosmos.

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Does “Bikini Mail is the best armor” part of the Conan D20 paradigm?
(OK, don’t scream, it’s the fantasy part of heroic fantasy, but when I was a teen Red Sonja impressed me more than Conan in Marvel Comics)

No. As in the original REH Conan stories, heroes will wear armor, because else it will be a very short life and a miserable death for them. - Remember: you can sacrifice armor pieces to avoid taking a Wound. And as Wounds are quite the downward spiral, you want this option.

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True by the Comics Code Authority she can’t sacrifice anymore armor.

Sonja’s +10 Armor Bikini Mail is such troupe now in fantasy art. They newer Red Sonja comics tried to give her a better amount of armor.

Going with the sensible garments as shown in this comic might be better than the 1st choice that Phil has Dixie in.

(What's New with Phil & Dixie Online Comics)

The last one of Phil in the above the also shows the problems with what Conan wears in the old Marvel comics.

It’s also safe to say that Sonja also has really good TN for Acrobatics and Parry. One of the latest issues of the Invincible Red Sonja has her commenting on ease of movement :slight_smile:

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Sacrificing armour leaves all sorts of possibilities in my imagination for such characters!