First game of Conan with questions

GM’d my first game last night and I had a blast and a bunch of questions. My players started out slow trying to meander through things, but once the light switch came on, it was camera action after that.

I ran Vultures of Shem and they were a Mercenary and an Archer. I used the Online Character Generator and I kind of wish I hadn’t. It took me a while to find all of the descriptions for all the talents in the books.

They hit the ground running and enjoyed the first fight with some asshuri at the well, then the climb in the catacombs of the city were cool. They role-played great with the despair of the city and the Ghoul-King and Mordigain coming out of the pit.

My players loved the system and setting, with momentum being their favorite. They gave me plenty of doom to use and I used it all. I was even baiting them for more and they got into an argument over using more Doom. The tension was high in that battle and then trying to escape after the ziggeraut was caving in.

Had a great time, but I have a lot of questions that I just pushed aside to keep the game flowing.

Grapple by an enemy does it take a standard action to escape. (Ghouls kept grappling)
Guard, how does this work? I could find knocking down guard and restoring it, but do you have to enable it, it a standard action. Very confused.

Charging on horseback is devastating!

Bows seem really weak, especially the Hyrkinan bow with 3 Dice and C range. How many loads would you feel are appropriate to carry on a person for arrows? I said 5.

I guess I missed this, but NPC’s enemies can get momentum as well or just Doom.


Thanks for the report! It sounds like our experiences are similar. I, too, have two players.

Here’s my take on this one. Escaping from Grapple would be a Minor Action. For me the confusion occurs because a Minor Action doesn’t seem like it would require a test, but I think it would be Clear, wherein the Difficulty must be at least D2. The Grapple Effect adds D1 per Effect rolled on the damage.

Another one that confused me, too. I believe that, as long as a character is engaged in combat, then that person has guard. The only way it can be broken is with a Momentum spend (Cost 2). Regaining Guard is, again, a Minor Action, with a Parry test equal to the Reach of the enemy’s weapon.

I’ll let wiser gamers than I answer your next questions, but I can field the last.

For me, it’s easiest to think of it as: PCs have Momentum, GMs have Doom, and it (almost) is the same thing. With this in mind, I expect most tables develop their own rules for how it’s generated (on either side of the GM screen) and how it can be used. The short answer to your question is that NPCs generate Doom just like PCs generate Momentum. But I know at least one GM on this forum limits its use to Immediate Spends (though I think this house rule might be on both sides of the screen—that extra damage can only be generated and spent from the actual roll at the time).

I’m excited to hear your next report. My next session is on Monday.

Thanks Gebir, looking forward to your next adventure. We are having a lot of fun with this system and style of game play.

Regarding few points :

I think that prone characters loose guard. This is not written per se in the rulebook, but makes sense, and Nathan from Modiphius refered to it in a november post. Hence, knockdown weapons are great. Standing up is a minor action, as is gaining guard. There can’t be two minor actions and a standard one : the knocked down character loose a turn standing up then regaining guard. In the other hand, he could attack his turn even without guard, while prone. But I think serious difficulty increase would make sense in that case.

Ah ! Your take on this condition is far better than mine, I’ll change it I think.

I have trouble with it. As I understand it, and I may be wrong, a load for a bow which has “volley” quality is a full quarrel. A load for a missile weapon which doesn’t have the “volley” quality is a lone projectile. That means that the encumbrance for a load should vary according to the missile weapon used. Then a bolt used on a arbalest (no volley) should be heavier than the same bolt used on a crossbow (volley). Wave function collapse. There is no good answer to that, then 5 is good, I chose 5 too.

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Grapple: Players that are grappled can do nothing besides attempt to break free with Athletics or Acrobatics. The difficulty is the number of effects rolled. This can be devastating and remove players from the combat.

It was suggested that escaping should be a minor action based on the Minor Action Clear: Clear Ongoing Condition. I disagree with this. Conditions are described on Page 126: Blind, Burning, Dazed, Deaf, Hindered, Poisoned, Staggered.

Grapple does not apply a condition.

Guard Anyone engaged in combat and aware of what is going on has guard, it is automatic. It doesn’t need to be turned on. (Page 123)

Bows Like many weapons they will be weak until you have a stat that gives you bonus dice. A basic sword has 4cd, without having a brawn modifier it won’t be great. Give that same bow to a new character with a higher awareness, say 10? Now they are rolling 5cd for that bow. Bows like the Hyrkanian (which I will admit I don’t like the stats of much) don’t have a lot of special abilities, but with the Volley they are still able to roll extra d20s, giving you a better chance at getting momentum, which gives you a better chance at using the Penetration spend.

Like all weapons when you get some talents under your belt they will be as devastating as anything else.

I would say initially they may be a little weaker than melee weapons, but certainly not really weak.

NPC MOMENTUM NPCs that are successful at a skill test and gain momentum can use it as a player can. NPCs that don’t use any or all of the momentum can store it as doom. (Page 102)


Guard: Guard is also broken if the PC/NPC’s defenses are broken (Page 123 Core Book). Meaning the PC/NPC fails a Parry Test and the opponent has now broken guard. Breaking Guard gives a Bonus D20 for every Reach less than the PC/NPC’s Reach who No longer has Guard.

For example, my PC has a Battle Axe (Reach 2) and Dagger (Reach 1) and I am fighting an NPC with a Spear (Reach 3) but NO Shield. My PC rolls 5 successes (I need 2 to Hit) because of the Defender’s one reach advantage so I have possibly 3 Momentum left. The Defender rolls rolls 2 success on their Parry test (if they do not have the Talent Deflection then this would only be one success and the 3 Momentum remain) and we assume they have Deflection, then one of the Momentum is lost leaving 2. The PC can now roll Damage for the Battle Axe and with the 2 remaining Momentum use one to make a second attack with the off-hand dagger and now inside the NPC’s guard get two addition D20’s for a roll of 4 D20’s. The NPC No Longer gets the advantage of Reach 3 (as Guard is lost) but this is a second attack so 2 Successes are necessary to get a hit. Likewise, being a second Reaction, the NPC would need 2 successes on a Parry Test (Assuming the GM allows this as Guard was broken and I know a few GM’s that do not).

I hope the above helps and as you can see a lot can be done in Conan.

I don’t think you lose guard if you fail a Parry test. Also, Reactions don’t get more difficult after the first one.

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How do you interpret this: “Guard can be removed temporarily if the character’s defenses are

However, after careful reading, I believe you are correct on the Defend Reaction not costing in higher difficulty. The language is pretty clear on this point and I cannot believe we have collectively been misplaying this for so long.

However, I do believe our interpretation of breaking Defense is correct.

The only explicit mechanic I can find in relation to Breaking Guard is a 2-point Momentum Spend (118). For my game, I think I’m going to keep pretty strictly to this being almost the only way in which guard can be broken (outside of Complications).

I believe that “Guard can be removed temporarily if the character’s defenses are overcome” is just a description, not a rule per se. Failing to Defend against one attack doesn’t mean that the attacker has “slipped past the defender’s weapon or shield” to my understanding. In my game one loses Guard mainly because of Momentum or when being Knocked down or Grappled.


Let’s suppose an attacking character with a broadsword (reach 2) faces an opponent with a spear (reach 3). The opponent has guard and the broadsword’s character may attack at D1 + (3 spear’s reach minus 2 his weapon’s reach) so Diff2. If he manages to hit he may spend 2 Momentum to break his opponent’s guard so he won’t have any penalty to hit him the next time whereas his foe will suffer the D2 difficulty.
If the spear’s guy wants to regain guard he may spend a minor action making a Parry test against a D equals to his enemy’s weapon’s reach (in this exemple 2). If he fails he may attack at D2 (since he lost guards and the longest weapon is now at a disadvantage).

Interesting : the increase of difficulty for the guy who lost guard seems logical, but I can’t find it in rulebook. Is it written, or a house rule? Nice one anyway.

Core book p114, “Regain Guard”: “This requires a parry test with a Difficulty equal to the highest Reach of the weapons wielded by an enemy within Reach”.

Thanks! I was referring to the increase of attack difficulty.

Ok ^^ Core book p123 “Reach and guard”: “The defender is assumed to be keeping the opponent at bay with the preferred weapon. If the defender has Guard, the Difficulty of the attack increases by one step for every point the defender’s Reach is longer than the attacker’s…”

It’s true that one reference is p114, the other is p123 and spending 2 Momentum to break Guard is shown on the table p 118. Not really convenient :wink:

No difficulty increases for the spear guy if his Guard is lost. Just a bonus die for the other guy when he attacks.


You are right, I totally overlooked that part Thanks for pointing that out.

Ah ! Thank you guys.