Your best Conan adventure/campaign yet?

What’s the best Conan adventure/campaign you have run/played yet? And why was it successful?
To get us started…
I ran one set in Magyar in Corinthia, where Nabonides requested the PCs steal an artefact from a political rival, to cause embarassment. PCs planned the heist, as per Thief and then, again, as per the brilliant heist planning rules in that book, discovered a shocking twist.
They ended up fighting their way out.
My favourite thing was that they ended up pulling off the heist in a very different way from the two or three I had intended and also got to know the city a little by asking around about the place they were robbing.
What your best campaign tale?

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MY best was partially inspired by my reading of the Mignola Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser comics adaptation of “When the Sea King’s Away”. Rather than type it out, here’s a PDF scan of my layout.

What was great is the Scholar character was all about Nisus and who he was and what was going on. The Players completely bought into the story and asked all the right questions and made all the right moves.


I’m currently running a three-part adventure called the Legacy of Acheron. The adventure consists of the heroes trying to stop the cult of Khosatral Khel from awakening Khel and restoring Acheron through magic.

I’ve used quite a lot of characters from the stories, the players have not read the stories so hopefully they get inspired to read them.

The adventure begins in Stygia where one of their patrons asks them to visit Kuthchemes to find a grimoire of dream spells. They take along the thief Shevatas to do the larceny related tasks. They are tracked by the Zugite cult during their trip to Kuthchemes and have to defeat a group of Shemitic bandits.

In Kuthchemes they open up Thugra Khotan’s tomb and manage to defeat the guardian. Thugra Khotan wakes and promptly enslaves them and tasks them to find the Tablets of Destiny which will allow him to regain his power.

They travel to Hyperborea in search of the Tablets in the city of Tanaris, an old ruin which was destroyed in the Hyborian invasions. The heroes happen to rest at the Hyperborean border in an inn operated by the cult of Khosatral Khel who attempt to murder them in their sleep. The heroes overcome the cultists and learn of the history of the cult and understand that they are also searching for the Tablets.

The search continues to Northern Hyperborea where they learn that a Hyrkanian tribe under Boroqai Khan has invaded and are raiding the countryside. They evade the Hyrkanians but learn that a Hyrkanian shamaness was captured while traveling North. They are attacked by winged apes and the group’ s sorcerer is carried away by the apes.

The heroes travel to the abode of the Winged Ones who captured the sorcerer and defeat them, freeing the Hyrkanian shamaness and learning that a Hyrkanian shaman has betrayed the faith of Erlik and has joined the cult of Khosatral Khel and is searching for the Tablets.

They rush to Tanaris, find the ruins and evade the White Apes guarding them. In the ruins they battle three vampiric Hyborian kings who were cursed by the Acheronians, defeat them and finally find the Tablets guarded by a Shoggoth. A three-way battle between the heroes, the Shoggoth and the cult of Khosatral Khel ensues. The heroes defeat the Shoggoth and force the cultists to flee and capture the Tablets.


Nice… Old-school spiral notebook…

Wow, epic! Sounds like a few hours of play.

Thanks for sharing!

Is that what has already happened, or is that the plan? If that’s the plan, looks like a ton of railroading. Also, enslaving or enforcing the kidnap/capture of PCs is taking away player agency, and generally not advisable. I might start a campaign with my PCs captured, but enforcing it without any alternative would be a no-go for me, and my group.

I’m not trying to be negative, just saying that perhaps a bit more flexibility in the campaign would go a long way to make a more engaging experience for the players. GM should be building the story with the players, not for the players - or in worst case, for himself.

That is what happened in the first part of the adventure. Not everything went to plan, some did, some didn’t.

Yes, there was railroading :sweat_smile: There are two young players in the group who are new two role-playing games in general. If there was not a tight structure and some railroading, they would probably ride around the Hyborian world and just hack and slash at everything in sight. This way there’s some structure and they still have a possibility of killing enemies to their heart’s content.

I have to disagree with you on the point of capturing/enslaving PCs. The whole concept is a well-used trope in fantasy and Conan himself was captured a few times. There is always the possibility of escape/release and I don’t feel it diminishes player agency. On the contrary, they have the increased motivation to get back at their captors and as the heroes of the world they have the agency to kill the big bad guys always when they have the means at their disposal.

I see what you are getting at and I think it’s partially a matter of what fits this specific group now; it might be something completely different in a few years.

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So you are discouraging murder-hoboing. Tsk tsk :laughing:

I would never put my players in a position where there’s no choice but to get captured, but whatever works for your group. Just as well, as they’d rather suffer a TPK than get captured.

I’ve had parties like that in the past. “To be captured is to have failed and we will never fail!”

Thankfully my current group is happy to be captured as they have so many ideas of how to do break outs… :laughing:

I agree that predetermined capture never is a good idea. Neither is predetermined anything, for that matter. But some people, I suppose, have fun even if their choices are illusions. Try to keep them out from behind that curtain, however!

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I definitely would not hesitate to start a Conan adventure with the players having been captured, though. That’s how The Pit of Kutallu begins, as an example from a pre-made adventure. Regarding player agency and railroading, the trick for me would be 1) the players chose the adventure itself from among the solid rumors they have gathered from Carousing and their story arcs are being respected, and 2) their options for getting free should be wide open (break the chains and fight? Escape under cover of darkness? Persuade the other captives to start a revolt?). Both of those elements provide agency and starting the adventure having been captured is just the initial reversal of fortune of many.

I happen to really like how the structure of the Conan game allows for the GM to pull out more interesting setups like that without unduly restricting the player’s freedom (at least if you are sticking to the Adventure -> Carouse -> Adventure, more episodic format).

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I would add a caveate to that, though. I very recently ran a session where I was trying to emulate a Savage Sword of Conan comic adventure, called the Curse of Koga Thun, and it begins with an epic ‘surviving-a-shipwreck-our-hero-is rescue’ scene, only he’s rescued by the wrong people. I thought this would be great fun for the players. Its in media res and all that, they get to use swimming/drowning rules, survive the elements, fight off sharks, bond, etc, and then the adventure proper begins when they break free from their rescuers, later.
Except… one of them decided he didn’t want to be captured…
And Conan being what it is… it was hard to enforce this, even though we were playing the Shadows Of The Past rule. It was really hard to have him knocked out and in the end required the player’s cooperation, which wasn’t at all how I wanted it to go.
In hindsight, I’d have just narrated everything up until the were put in the hold.
You live and learn…

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