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Rules tweaks from other 2d20 games

Has any of you tried changing the rules as is done into other 2d20 games?

I am particularly thinking on:

  • cost of buying d20 with momentum: isn’t it too cheap in Conan? Have you tried changing the cost from 1 momentum = + 1d20 to your roll, into 1 momentum = first extra dice, 2 momentum =second extra dice, 3 momentum = third extra dice? What is your experience with this?

  • mental and physical health in a single stress track. A!C uses a single stress track for both instead of two different tracks, and also have similar “mental attacks”. Has any of you tried combining both tracks into the same? What are your thoughts on this?


The first change is one I actually recommend. It mitigates the already high competency of Conan PCs a bit.

The second is one I do not recommend, as this would make a powerful sorcerer being able to take a lot of physical damage, too, and a powerful melee fighter to be resilient against threats and fear.
In Conan, characters start out more competent than A!C characters and can - and should - take more Trauma and Wounds than A!C characters can take. This fits the genre of Sword&Sorcery.
I wouldn’t recommend putting both stress tracks into a single one.

One rule from A!C I do recommend: Allow only a single Fortune point per Skill Test or per combat round. That, too, mitigates the quite high competency of Conan characters a bit. Makes things more manageable.

Compare the rules change suggestions in this thread:

Another rule from a different 2d20 game I recommend for Conan: the Stealth rules from Infinity, with their Stealth state test, actions that could be noisy or less obvious, observers or guards becoming alert etc.
Those work very well for Conan, too. No new stats or Talents needed, as Infinity is very close to Conan from the rules mechanics side.

I wasn’t thinking about making the PCs more vulnerable but the opposite: to make NPCs more vulnerable to mental attacks, and let the efforts of the PCs making physical and mental attacks stack.

In my table almost anybody use mental attacks because it’s a waste of the action. Almost all the PCs make more damage with physical attacks, and maybe sometimes one of them would prefer to intimidate their opponents with a display, but it usually falls short of causing an injury. If this mental damage would help their allies to bring their opponents down easier, maybe they’ll use them more often.

Thanks for the advice about the Stealth rules from Infinity! I’ll take a look :slight_smile:

There’s another rule from A!C that I loved and maybe I’ll port to Conan: how injuries work. Instead of increasing the Ob of the tests, it increases the threat range. So injuried characters can still remain in play (usually after 2-3 injuries the PCs start thinking about quitting because it’s very difficult to succeed in any test). Is it too soft? Or maybe it’s better to combine the two options: a +1 Ob increase every odd injury together with the increased threat range?

Even more vulnerable? - Minions are frightened into mental Trauma in no time at all. A somewhat decent intimidation character build will destroy even mobs of Minions by mental damage.

In one of our current groups, the “faceman” character does 9[CD] Vicious 1 mental damage. That is something that can one-hit-traumatize even Toughened NPCs.

A!C characters are much weaker than Conan characters - it is a horror game after all.
So they don’t get the raise in Difficulty for physical (Wounds) or mental (Trauma) Harm.
If you leave that out, which will work for NPCs, too, that will make the downward spiral less strict, meaning the characters are as highly competent, as highly dangerous in unharmed or harmed state.
The chance of a Complication does NOT reduce damage dealt in any way. They deal out their usual massive damage, have lots of Momentum for Momentum spends available - and maybe a Complication in addition.

For A!C characters, as a pulp horror game, this works well. The PCs are less competent, the NPCs often quite competent, so making things more difficult for the PCs is not advisable to keep the pulp feeling.
Conan PCs are competency monsters. They are after a few adventures in superheroic competency territory.

Adding the Wounds or Trauma to the Threat range in addition to the raised Difficulty, on the other hand, is a good idea. It could make things more challenging - and to keep the game challenging is one of the main problems for a Conan GM.

In one of our current groups, the “faceman” character does 9[CD] Vicious 1 mental damage. That is something that can one-hit-traumatize even Toughened NPCs.

Maybe my problem is that I don’t have a faceman in my group, so mental attacks seem kind of a waste to my players.

Thanks for your advice about the Wounds and Trauma! I’ll consider your opinions before changing anything :slight_smile:

Last time in Conan 2d20: The melee combat monster character single-handedly slew a mob of Minions and followed this up be the Stain the Soil Red Display, scaring the majority of another mob into fleeing the scene.

Use Displays, they often come with a higher base damage than the basic “steely glare” and have other qualities attached, too. And you can use other Skills, so that a non-faceman group still has the chance to use other skills like Athetics, Sorcery, Melee, Ranged Combat, etc.

You forgot Piercing 1 :grinning:

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