Trying not to die!

Question on using armour and shields to avoid getting splattered. In the rules it states that you can basically break the armour or shield in order to prevent a wound. Is the intention to prevent all the wounds from a single hit or literally just 1 of the incoming wounds?

I ask as I took 14 points of damage and that creates 3 wounds by my count (unless I am wrong about that?). That will smoke me. I have an intact shield though to sacrifice to try and stay alive.


Yes. You are wrong.

You can only take up to 2 wounds in one hit, as there are only three conditions that cause a wound, and only two of them might apply at the same time:

  1. Receive 5 or more points of stress damage in one hit (no matter if it is just 5 after armor reduction or 50 points, the condition is “5 or more”).
  2. Your stress track falls to 0 (that could happen any time with any amount of damage. If you are at 2 Vigor and receive 2 damage this will trigger as well as if you are at full Vigor of 15 and receive 18 damage.)
  3. Your stress track is already at 0 and you receive 1 or more points of damage. (A single point of damage while your stress track is at 0 will cause a Wound.)

Two of those conditions could happen at the same time: 1 and 2 or 1 and 3.
If two apply, then you receive 2 Wounds, else only 1 Wound.

If the attack came from a weapon with the Intense quality, and if you receive at least 1 Wound from this attack, the Intense Quality adds another Wound. That means: if you receive 1 Wound by the attack, with Intense that makes it 2 Wounds. If you receive 2 Wounds by the attack, with Intense that makes it 3 Wounds.
Do not forget that after an Exploit action, the Unforgiving X quality transforms iinto Vicious X plus Intense for one attack, so there is a “hidden Intense” included.

There is a Melee talent that allows you to add 1 Wound to the damage for 2 Momentum. If a PC or an NPC has that Talent, there could be the case of receiving an additional wound.

So with this Talent, with an Intense weapon, hitting for a lot of damage that causes 5 or more damage in one hit and drops the Vigor track to 0, a character could cause 4 Wounds max. And that is a fringe case.
It would be enough to incapacitate, though not outright kill, even a Nemesis NPC or a PC.


Just a single wound. You calculate the total number of Wounds you would receive, then sacrifice your shield to reduce the total by 1 wound. You will still suffer the remaining wounds - unless you only received 1 Wound in the first place.
Note: for this, apply the Intense quality and any Talents or Doom spends first, to reach the total number of wounds.

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It could be four wounds, with the addition of the Killing Strike talent.

Yes, and that is for the first attack - add a swift action for 2 Momentum (or only 1 Momentum if using a different weapon) and such a PC can insta-kill a Nemesis NPC in the first turn - and all necessary Talents are available for starting PCs, so 0 XP necessary.
Conan PCs that are optimized that way are scary right away - and with a few thousand XP they become “superpowered”.

Thats the “pulpish” part of conan and the system. But yeah, thats right optimized fighter character can handle a nemesis NPC very quickly.

Thats why I often have the real challenges in my adventures not being the fights. Let it be riddles or investigations or else.

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