Guidelines for creating new enemies — do they exist

To start, I know that the Conan 2d20 books have got quite a few monsters that can be adjusted and reskinned to fit many different scenarios, but, as many GMs know, there is an occasional urge to modify existent creatures or build new, entirely different foes — especially when adapting unique creatures from other adventures. But the task is made rather difficult by the lack of official guidelines — Core Book, as as I am aware, does not offer GMs any “words of wisdom” on how to stat new enemies.

So I wonder… are there any? Guidelines, I mean. Perhaps there are some hidden paragraphs that I’ve missed, or a section in one of the supplements that offers some insight on the matter? Or maybe even community-made guidelines?

I don’t own any Conan stuff, so I can’t point you in the right direction regarding your GM guide etc.

But there’s a 2d20 SRD available for free and it may include some of the guidelines you seek.

There are no chapters or sections dedicated on creation of enemies, as the D&D books have. It is basically up to you as GM to understand the spirit of the system and come up with appropriate enemy for your group.

That is rather disappointing — while creating Special Abilities is quite fun, I’d rather have at least some numerical advice when it comes to arranging the attributes of creatures;

Check out the SRD. It’s system agnostic, but it will probably work.

Thanks for pointing me in the direction of SRD! Indeed, it has some guidelines on the matter, for example:

Creating Major NPCs / Nemesis… es… eses :laughing:

  • Assign Attribute Scores: Begin each Attribute at a score of 6, and then freely assign 23 more points, with an upper limit on Attributes as 12.
  • Assign Skills: Begin each Skill at a score of 0, and then freely assign 16 points, with an upper limit of 5.

Doesn’t seem to work out that well for Nemesis Monsters (Conan creatures seem to break the guidelines semi-frequently), but that’s infinitely better than having to figure out the numbers by myself!

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Yes, of course. The book you are looking for is “Horrors of the Hyborian Age”.
This is the “enemy workshop” for Conan 2d20.
I use it all the time to make my customized NPCs, men, beasts and monsters, for my Conan games.

Horrors of the Hyborian Age is THE most recommended book for any Conan 2d20 GM.

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Oh, I think I’ve got that one! You’re talking about “Templates & Mutations” chapter of the book, right?

Yes. There is actually a kind of “building block” list which you can use to take any pre-made or self-created NPC stat block and modify it to create really unique NPCs.
As I said, I use this all the time and find it the most useful GM tool in all the Conan 2d20 publications.

I see! I read the chapter just now, and it seems quite helpful, especially in making already existing creatures more… bizarre! But from what I understand, Templates are applied onto the already built stat-blocks, so I’d have to first create a “draft” of some kind — determine the numbers — and then apply modifiers from a template.

Though I am a bit scared by the possible implications of applying high-tier templates to an already strong opponents — I suppose if I wanted to use UNEARTHLY template, I would need to apply it to only MINIONS, or, at worst, TOUGHENED creatures, as applying it to NEMESIS…es would make them too strong.

Out of curiosity — what steps do you personally take when giving stats to a completely new creature — something that would be hard to just “modify” by applying templates? As in, how would you determine numbers for creature’s “Attributes” and “Fields of Expertise”/ damage that it would do for attacks? Just by looking at the similar already-existent creatures?

No. If you ever get to the situation of having run a Conan 2d20 campaign for characters of 5000 or more XP, you will be glad to still be able to challenge them slightly by mustering up such pimped-up Nemesis NPCs. Usually such a group walks through ALL kind of not-upgraded NPCs, as such like in all the source books, like a hot knife through butter.

Conan 2d20 has an enormous power creep. The PCs start really competent and they become superhero-like competent after a few thousand XP. This makes creating challenges for the GM a very hard task. - Often it is better to end the campaign then, and start a new one with new 0 XP characters, as challenging PCs of a few thousand XP is quite stressful.

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Huh… will keep that in mind then! I’m not planning on any long campaigns, mainly one-shots and short stories, so I hope not to notice too much of the power-creep.