Does the GM gain Doom when he rolls extra successes?

Hi folks

I’m only recently trying out the 2d20 system with Conan, and a few rules are still a bit confusing to me.

As mentioned in the title…
Does the GM gain Doom to his pool when he rolls extra successes and don’t use them immediately?
Or does the GM only ever gain Doom when the players roll 20s, or choose to give him Doom for extra dice?

Thanks for the help!

Yes. You can bank any excess successes on your NPCs’ rolls as Doom. That is an important way to replenish your Doom pool.

Thanks for the quick reply!

Adding to that question then… Did you ever experience this causing huge bumps on the Doom pool due to dice RNG?

I’m thinking situations like the PCs fighting a larger group of weaker enemies, which is something I like to add more often than the one-big-baddies. I worry a lot of NPCs rolling 2d20s could likely generate sudden large amounts of Doom which then ends up pilling up more and more Doom against the players.

Well, when speaking about “a larger group of weaker enemies”, you should be dividing such groups into smaller units (Mobs or Squads), as outlined in the “Groups” section on page 306 of the main book. These units fight as a single entity for most purposes, and while they can roll the maximum of 5D20, they still won’t typically have opportunity to generate as much momentum as 5 individuals rolling 2D20 each. This is especially true when a Mob/Squad takes damage (losing individual members), and loses dice from their pool, as a result.

As @Blood_Speaker said, use Mobs and Squads. Both are good at the offensive, maybe generate a bit of Doom on their actions, but are very weak on the defensive - not being able to make any kind of Reaction at all, that means they get cut down very quickly, as is intended. They are “sword fodder”, supposed to provide a certain kind of menace by numbers, but not by quality.
For quality, use Toughened and Nemesis NPCs.

Interesting. Thank you.
I had skimmed through these rules for Squads but thought it was something optional and didn’t pay much attention since I was focusing on learning the basics. I guess they’re more important then I thought to keep the balance of rolls.

I’ll have to try using those and see how it goes. Although at a glance those Squads do seem potentially very deadly. Considering the ones aiding the leader don’t count to the limit of 5d20, I’m looking at an attack rolling up to 9d20 (5 from the leader spending doom, and the 4 others), aimed at a single target, whereas probably individual attackers would likely spread they’re attacks among different party members. 9d20 in one attack could mean a lot of extra damage and maybe one-shot a player? I’m not sure. Did you guys ever experienced something like that at your table?

Squads are an exception, the usual way for groups is a Mob of Minions.
A Squad always has a (often more competent) leader in the form of a Toughened or even Nemesis NPC.

I recommend using Mobs of Minions, all of equal stats, to provide some challenge, but only as an obstacle, not as a “main attraction” for a Conan fight scene.

And, yes, you can roll 2d20 for a Toughened Squad leader plus 4d20 for four supporting Minions plus 3d20 bonus d20 for Doom.
9d20 in a single attack will most likely lead to many successes, but … the PCs might spend Fortune and buy additional dice, too, and considering that PCs often are very competent (and especially those “combat monsters” with Skill Expertise 5, Focus 5, Attribute 14, so with a Target Number 19), so that you often need to boost the NPCs a bit to even threaten the PCs.

You cannot “one-hit kill” a Conan PC. You can cause a Wound by causing 5 or more Vigor damage in one hit, and another Wound, if that hit caused the Vigor stress track to fall to zero, and maybe a third Wound, if the NPCs had a weapon with the Intense quality. That is three Wounds at most. (PCs can have a Talent that allows them to spend Momentum to cause another Wound, which would allow them to cause four Wounds in one hit.)
As PCs only die at the fifth Wound, they can take three Wounds and still function.
So no chance of one-hit killing a PC. - But two of those hits will.

I ran Conan for quite a while before I figured out that Mobs serve two purposes

  1. Providing groups for the PCs to slaughter so they feel badass.

  2. Provide a small trickle of Doom into the pool.

The trick is not spend Doom on the mobs. Don’t buy extra dice etc. Just let them roll their pool and usually each mob will add 1 or 2 to the doom pool. Then when you feel it’s sufficient, spend some of what you’ve earned (but not all) to make the fight dramatic and fun.

I’m inclined to not use the “Atlantean super human” rules and cap attributes at 12. Even then you can get easily to a 17 I guess, unless you’re rolling all your stats randomly on the tables.

This is something that got me worried a bit too when I first read the rules. You can make an initial character that almost never fails on the dice for something you focus on. Now, I understand this isn’t D&D where you go from zero to hero with levels, and that Conan characters are supposed to start out more competent, but it does seem like you can start out way way too powerful in an area and have very little room for improvement except maybe for talents.

Concerning “one-shots”, yeah, I guess I was thinking more on the lines of dropping to zero vigor and starting to receive wounds which I guess would imply trying to retreat or at least stay out of combat and danger, not necessarily dying right away.

But anyways, thank you for the info.

There is a significant difference when it comes to the difficulty of tasks. For most characters a D1 task is guaranteed (though dice often decide otherwise) but a D3 task usually requires resource expenditure.