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  #21  
Old March 21st, 2013, 02:15 AM
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Healer's Balm and Healer's Pitch



Most characters in the Conan RPG will never benefit from a healing spell or potion. Sorcerous healing is near non-existant. Therefore, any aid in recovering character hit points is usually quite important to players.

The Barbaric Treasures supplement provides two herbalistic means as aids in healing. Healer's Balm is an herbal blend that is spread over wounds to reduce scarring and promote natural healing. It's a type paste used as a Hyborian Age equivalent to a band-aid. Mechanically, the balm allows the character to heal 1 extra hit point per day of natural healing.

Healer's Pitch is used more immediately on bleeding wounds. This thick, sticky, herbal substance seals wounds and promotes blood clotting. In game terms, Healer's Pitch provides a +4 circumstance bonus to Heal check used to stabilize dying characters.

Don't forget that characters with bonus skill points gained from INT 12+ scores are allowed to put those points into a cross-class skill as if the skill were a class skill. Thus, many highly intelligent characters can improve the Heal skill as though it were a class skill.

Also remember that Healing Kits provide a +2 bonus to all Heal checks, thus a character with a healing kit and Healer's Pitch would gain a +6 bonus to any Heal check made to stabilize a downed comrade.

From the chapter on Herbs & Poisons in Tito's Trading Post, we see that Acacia can be used to cure 1d4 points of damage to an injured character, regardless of how the character was damaged. Other, more specific herbal cures, can be found in that chapter. In my game, I've speculated that the Acacia juice* acts quickly as a pain killer. It can be injested or used as a topical on wounds.

*This is actually based on real life Acacia Trees and ancient medicine techniques.

Luckily, the acacia tree grows in many regions of the world, especially in modern day Africa.

The 1d4 points regained from Acacia, plus the points regained from the Short Term Care use of the Heal skill can negate a significant amount of damage after each combat encounter. Take the sample character Morghun Clanson that I posted upthread. A successful Short Term Care check will return 2 points, plus an average of 2 points due to the Acacia, results in 4 points being returned to the characer (a range of 3-6 points). This is about 25%--one quarter--of the character's total hit points, even with the -1 CON penalty.

In D&D terms, this is the equivalent of an average Cure Light Wounds spell, except that in the Conan game, a character can use Short Term Care after every combat engagment and Acacia for as long as the supply holds out (in other words, you're not limited by the priest's allotment of D&D spells).

The Folk Healer Feat, on pg. 62 of The Player's Guide, and the Skill Focus Feat on the Heal skill, from the core rulebook, are two feats that can be combined to create a potent non-sorcerous, herbal healer.

GMs should reward creative players. Inspired by the vinegar soaked hemp bandages in the Arcania computer game, I had one player in my game suggest applying acacia to a gummy, herbal base, with all of this spread onto a hemp bandage. This way, the player would have coated, medicated bandages ready to slap on a wound.

I agreed but put a 3 day time limit on the bandages, saying that the herbal base would dry out and the crushed acacia would lose its potency. This seemed fair and acted as a measure to keep the character from making hundreds of these bandages in his off-camera time.
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Old March 21st, 2013, 02:16 AM
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Hand-To-Hand Attacks...expanded!



The core rulebook gives us an unarmed attack. The description of the unarmed attack, on page 152 of the 2E rulebook, tells us that the unarmed attack is done with the fist. It's a punch. So, what about other types of unarmed strikes?

The Barbaric Warrior supplement expands unarmed attacks to include other forms of attack, each with pros and cons. I highlighted these in the first couple of posts in this thread.

So, your basic punch does 1d3 +STR bonus nonlethal damage. You can change that to lethal damage if you take a -4 penalty on your attack throw. The same basic rules apply to the other unarmed attack forms.

Some of these new unarmed attacks can only be performed while grappling or while very close to the target (meaning: Inside the same square, instead of adjacent, as the enemy--which will draw an Attack of Opportunity upon entering the enemy's square). The elbow, knee, and headbutt attacks can only be used in this fashion.

But, like the punch, unarmed attacks can also be kicks or backhands. A kick does more damage than your standard punch (a kick does 1d4 +STR bonus nonlethal damage), but it also leaves the character somewhat vulnerable for a round (-1 AC until the character's next turn comes up). A backhand can ony be used after a fist attack--this is the reverse swing of a normal punch. The backhand does the same damage as a normal punch, but it is +1 attack but the figher suffers a -1 AC until his next round.

The elbow, knee, and headbutt attacks all have their pros and cons as well, but, as I said above, are usually used as grappling maneuvers (making grappling more interesting) unless the character wasn to suffer an Attack of Opportunity while moving into his target's square in order to deliver the attack.

The book also has rules for brass knuckles, spiked brass knuckles, clawed hand, plus various weapon modifications. For example, your character might want to add spikes to his armor.
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Old March 21st, 2013, 02:17 AM
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Thoughts on Armor



Let's talk a bit about armor. The protection that some types of armor provide a character in this game will make him a formidable warrior and very hard to damage because of what he wears. Armor soaks up damage, keeping the character from losing precicous hit points, and it keeps the 20 damage point threshold for Massive Damage from happening. Armor is at the top of most player's equipment lists.

But, I encourage GMs to be stingy with armor (or with the means to obtain armor). I encourage this, first off, because it is true to the genre. Look at the Conan stories. Conan does wear armor, when he can, but in many stories, he's got very little equipment. Now, you can say that this is an aspect of the character, not the game's universe, but also look at the people that Conan fights. Many are unarmored as well, or, if they do wear armor, it's usually of the "Light" type. More armored foes are typically found wearing "Medium" armors. Conan, when he can afford it, will grab a mail shirt. And, note that he usually only wears the stuff when he knows he's going into a battle (and even then, not always).

Why is this?

It's realistic. Armor is heavy, restricting, hot, and uncomfortable. Plus, it's expensive. When do we see Conan in "Heavy" armor? We see that when cost is no object, as it was when he was armored to lead the battle in Black Colossus or later, in the massive combat scenes in the stories when Conan is king of Aquilonia.

Not too many foes in the Conan stories are described as wearing full plate armor, or even breastplates, for that matter. When such a foe does appear, the circumstances of the story (a massive battle) provides a reason for the foe to being wearing such.

A breastplate in this game is 2,000 sp. A set of plate armor is 6,500 sp. Both of those sums should be A LOT of money in your game. This isn't a game, like D&D, where characters go into a dungeon and come out with more loot than they can carry. Conan is forever coming close enough to unimaginable riches only to have the object of his larcenous desire slip through his fingers...because the gems turned into snakes...because he had to cut the heavy sack of coin from his waist to keep from drowning....because the fist-sized diamond was needed to trap the evil sorcerer. Remember the rule High Living rule from the 2E Equipment Chapter. Do what you can to keep PC's low on funds--so that they've got to save for that breastplate or maybe use their own skills to make it themselves.

This same line of thought should be applied to NPCs, too. Your typical NPC should not be wearing armor. If the NPC has a reason to be in armor, then put him in some Light stuff (Medium armor if there is reason for him to be heavily armored). Reserve Heavy Armor for the bad guy at the climax to a campaign. Use it as a reward.

And, once PCs obtain good quality equipment (this goes for weapons too), don't be afraid to damage the stuff. If a foe cannot penetrate, he might try to sunder the armor rather than using a finesse attack. Don't forget page 179 of the 2E rulebook where armor damage and repair is discussed.

Be careful what you allow beginning PCs to own as they enter a campaign. Coming straight from standard 3.5 D&D, it may not even occur to you not to allow a 1st level Soldier to have a breastplate, thinking that a wealthing 1st level D&D or Pathfinder character could obtain plate mail. I think of this the same way I think of giving a 1st level D&D character a Staff of the Magi or a +5 Holy Avenger--I most likely wouldn't allow it. A breastplate should be a reward that characters strive to obtain. These are rare items for which players should have a grand appreciation.





So, we've discussed that the heavier armors should be fairly rare in a Conan game: A GM keeps them rare by limiting the PC's ability to buy them. Keep treasure low. Don't think D&D. If the PCs kill a group of bandits and find 1d6 sp in their pockets, this should NOT BE NORMAL. In fact, this should alert the PCs that these very same bandits probably just completed a pretty good theft of a merchant's strong box on a caravan. Most of your Zuagirs and Kozaki, Picts, Vanirmen, and Barrachan Pirates should be dirt poor. Maybe one of the group has 1d6 sp, but this guy is probably the leader or the one stealing from the group. Let the PCs find a gemstone here and there. Put interesting, non-money, things into foe's pockets--like teeth that the NPC collected from his enemies, or maybe an otter pelt...a piece of a deer's antler. Page 143 of the 2E Core rulebook says many countries issue coins. So be creative. If you must allow the PC to find some coin (and they should find some from time to time--just keep it fairly rare), why not desribe the rectangular copper coins with a square hold in their center that has been pierced with a string of raw hide to form a necklace around a foe's neck. That's how he keeps his money. You can say that the character found 14 square copper Nemedian drakes, and all you've really given the character is less than 2 sp worth of loot.

When away from civilized lands, don't be afraid to let your PCs barter. Conan did this all the time. "Here, I've got seven jade stones. I'll give you one for food and lodging for the week." If you look at Barbaric Treasures book, you'll see a giant list of pelts, furs, and a multitude of mundane items to use for trade. Who knows, this could lead to some extremely fun roleplaying.

Tito's Trading Post mentions that the prices for items listed in the books are base pricesfor the items where they are fairly common and supply is strong. The GM should vary these prices greatly if he deems an item short on supply or rare/exotic to the area. Factors of x5, x10, x15 or more are mentioned. Thus, finding a crossbow while trading among the Picts might be near impossible. Finding a crossbow in the markets of Zamboula might be possible, if the GM thinks a caravan carrying some has arrived, but the thing might cost 200 sp. Finding a crossbow in Belverus would be easy and cost the standard 12 sp.

As GM, always play with the prices and availability as the PCs move from place to place. It will make your game world that much more real.

Also, nickle and dime your PCs for things. Make them buy new clothing, especially if their last adventure saw them trudge through hazardous terrain in the wicked mountains, through rain and mud and rockslides. You don't have to make a big deal out of this, unless you're just in the mood to stir up a roleplaying encounter. If you feel like something like that would bog the game down, just, from time to time, have the group remove a random amount of coin for "incidentals". This will cover everything that you don't roleplay and major equipment. Or, use the High Living rule and just cut the PC's funds in half from time to time, telling the PCs how that money is used for food and lodging and clothes and new loin cloths and such.






Keep all of this in mind when the PCs encounter NPCs, too. Unless the NPC has a reason to wear armor (like guard duty), then the NPC probably won't be in armor. Guards, during their free time, won't typicaly stumble around in their armor. They'll take it off and get comfortable.

Remember the rule about sleeping in armor: pg. 155 of the 2E Core Rulebook. Fail a save and be fatigued.

Some armors can make a character fatigued, too, just by wearing the stuff for long periods of time. I think this is common sense. But, if you've got to see a rule about this, check out the optional rule on pg. 41 of Tito's Trading Post.

And, if there are going to be a lot of situations where characters who have armor aren't wearing it, the rules on pg. 157-158 of the 2E core rule book will be needed to govern how fast character can get into and out of armor when time is of the essence.







Taking all the above into account, it becomes clear that the PCs, most of the time, are going to be running into various styles of Light armor. You've got the Leather Jerkin, Mail Shirt, and Quilted Jerkin described in the 2E Core rulebook. But, look farther. You've also got other choices.

The Barbaric Warrior and Barbaric Treasures books bring you rules for mixing and matching various armor pieces withe the Piecemeal Armor Rules. Using those rules, you can have your bare chested Cimmerian come screaming through the woods, broadsword in one hand, hide shield clutched in the other, wearing horned helmet and bone shin guards--and still have this character considered to be completed unemcumbered as if he were wearing no armor but with a DR 2 (Every little bit helps--usually translates to -1 damage, every time the character is hit. It adds up.) rating for the two pieces of armor he is wearing (the shin guards and the helmet).

Look at those rules, not only for the various ways armor can be piecemealed on a character but also for the different types of armor provided.

Various articles in S&P and book bring other armor types into play. Look at the Players Guide to the Hyborian Age, Tito's Trading Post, and other various sourcebooks. The Warrior's Companion has some interesting new types.

If you've got a type of real-world armor in mind that you want to bring into the game, I suggest you look at From Stone to Steel. That book will have standard d20 stats for most types of armor known from history. You'll have to eyeball some Conan RPG-specific ratings to use the stuff in our game, but that shouldn't be too hard.

~Continued Below~
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Old March 21st, 2013, 02:18 AM
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~Continued From Above~

Thus, maybe you've decided that the guards employed by the Zamorian merchant wear leather jerkins. A few, the elites of the mercenary squadron, have chain mail shirts, and the Captain of the Guard wears a brigadine coat. But, once your PC Cimmerian Barbarian/Thief climbs his way into the lofty towers of the merchant's mansion and spies the barracks, these guards shouldn't be wearing any armor at all, unless they're just coming off or going on to duty. A random guard chanced in the hallway won't be wearing armor either, not unless that guard is also on duty patrolling that hallway.

This should make things more realistic; more in-line with the Conan stories and the game's universe; and more palatable for the PC Cimmerian who is wearing naught but sandles and a loin cloth.

In my game, my PCs found an amazing breastplate of the utmost quality, created in an age long since past. I made the thing an awesome discovery. The players loved it (you'd have thought I game them a +5 Holy Avenger!). But, I still hampered it. The leather straps and whatnot that helped hold the armor in place had rotted. So, the players could not use it (I only allowed them to find one breastplate!) until they got it to a qualified armor smith. At their village, there were no armorsmiths, as Cimmerian smiths are few and far between. Thus, they had to make do with what they had (I allowed a Craft Armorsmith check with a +5 to difficulty) to fix the armor, or they faced a trek south into the civilized lands of Aquilonia to find a smith to fix it for them.

My point: By keeping the item rare, I've got some very pleased, thankful players on my hands (well, one player, anyway--the one who got the breastplate). I almost got a quest out of the presentation of the armor (My players decided against the quest and ended up fixing the armor with the less talented among them in the village.) And, I've got a neat mystery injected into my story (Where did this armor come from? Who made it?)

Also remember that you can keep your PCs interested with rewards that allow them to improve their weapons and armor using the various rules in the game (see Tito's Trading Post, The Barbaric Warrior, and The Warrior's Companion, plus the relevant section in the 2E Core rulebook). This will make the players of your amorsmiths and weaponsmiths among your PCs glad that they threw precious skill points into those skills--allowing them to get tangible benefits like improving the penetration of a weapon or adding spikes to armor or a shield.







One last thought: I've seen some interesting entries on clothing. The duellist cape, from The Warrior's Companion, provides a +2 to the bluff check when attempting a feint. There are head coverings in that same book that look so fierce that the character gets a +1 bonus to Intimidate checks while wearing the hood. The Borderer's Cloak, from Barbaric Treasures, grants a +2 circumstance bonus to Hide checks.

In this tradition, my thought is to allow some heavy, thick, clothing to serve as some armor. For example, a Cimmerian wears a mantle. This is a big, thick cloak. Why not allow this cloak to serve as DR 1 armor that cannot be combined to improve DR ratings of other armor? For example, a Cimmerian wearing a mantle is consider to have DR 1 armor. The, this same Cimmerian dons a helm. Normally, this would mean DR 2 (1 for the helm and 1 for the armor of the cloak), but because of the special rule that the DR rating of the cloak cannot improve other armor, the Cimmerian still has DR 1, with or without the helm.

This will give the character a piece of equipment with a little "umph". Not all cloaks are heavy enough to be considered DR 1 in this manner. And, you're not unbalancing the game by introducing "cloak armor" since the DR ratings don't stack.

In this manner, you can highlight the goods of different regions and what not, while at the same time giving your players some "goodies" to use in the game.
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Old March 21st, 2013, 02:20 AM
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Demoralize Other



This option of the Intimidate skill is something that should be used FREQUENTLY by warriors of the Hyborian Age. It should be used early in a fight, and a character should be given bonuses on the throw due to the things the character does to enhance his intimidation by the way he looks.

As the rule states, the Demoralize option is a standard action, but the action can be an animalistic growl, a ferral look, or even a wild war cry in place of a demorizing sentence like, "I'm going use the coils of your innards to grease my blade."

I suggest a slight tweak to this rule. If you read it closely (pg. 107 2E Core Rulebook), it can only be used on an opponent that you threaten. In most cases, that means that you can only demoralize someone that is 5' away from you. That's not realistic, is it? I wouldn't think so. The rule seems to only allow foes to be demoralized if you are in melee with them.

The Pathfinder version of the Demoralize Other rule is written better than the one in the Conan RPG. Click on the link to view it. What's changed? First off, the range is increased from the character's threat range to 30 feet. That seems more like it. Second, the Conan version of the rule only lasts for one round. The Pathfinder version lasts for one round plus one round per 5 points by which the Intidate check exceeds the DC. The better you are at demoralizing, the longer the effect you have on your foe. That seems correct to me. Third, the Pathfinder version is much more clear than the Conan RPG rules on additional attempts at Demoralizing Opponents.

So, I suggest not only using the demoralize rule often (like, in every combat) of your games, but also exchanging the 2E Conan rule for the slightly altered one provided in Pathfinder.

And, I suggest allowing circumstance modifiers for intimidating garb that the character may wear. You'll see things in the rules that provide these modifiers, like Pict warpaint or the +1 modifier provided to Intimidate checks from wearing the warhood featured in The Warrior's Companion.

Because, if you've got a player with a character that looks like the below, the PC deserves a few bonus points to improve his demoralize check. Heck, I'd give this guy a +2.

Now, there is an optional rule that pertains to Intimidation that appears in a couple of the supplemental game books. I think the most complete version of this Intimidate option appears on page 54 of Hyboria's Fiercest. I'm going to argue against using this optional rule it diminishes the value of the CHA attribute. If this rule is used, all the player is going to do is get more mileage out of his highest attribute, no matter what it is. Charisma is, by the game's definition, the character's force of personality...his persuasiveness...his personal magnetism. Like all the attributes, CHA covers a broad spectrum of traits about the character. Charisma isn't only personal attriveness and the character's ability to lead. It's also the character's source of his non-physical presence. Look at page 11 of the 2E Core Rulebook. There is says that Charisma is used for checks that represent attempts to influence others. Therefore, I think that Charisma is the correct stat to use with the Intimidate skill. If Charisma is used to contain and control magical energies purely by one's force of personality, then, absolutely, CHA is the right choice for the Demoralize Other ability as it's a similar type of force the character is using when doing either. None of the other attributes suit the Demoralize Other ability better than CHA.

You, of course, are free to use or not use the cited optional rule as you see fit for your game.








QUESTIONS & THOUGHTS:

How much of a modifier should I give to improve the Demoralize Other attempt? Use the Favorable Conditions rule from page 87 of the 2E Core Rulebook, but be careful not to award too much. If a character uses warpaint, give him a +1 to his Demoralize Other attempt. See the second picture above that shows Conan in the black woad. Some clothing, armor, and head coverings might warrant a +2 circumstance bonus. See third pic above with the warrior holding the spiked club.



What is the character doing when taking a standard action to Demoralize another? He's screaming a war cry at the top of his lungs. He's smiling at you once you've hit him so hard that you've knocked one of his teeth out. He's telling you what it's going to feel like when his cold steel pierces your gut.

Here's a classic example. Picture the warrior directly above. You see him hacking away murderously at your friend. That NPC goes down. Next round, the warrior turns toward you, pointing directly at you using that axe, your friend's book still fresh on its blade. Words eminate from behind that deathmask. "You're next," he says.

That's a standard action. That's a Demoralize Other attempt. Get creative!

Remember the 1982 version of Conan The Barbarian? Remember the assault on Thulsa Doom's stronghold? In the middle of a fight, Valeria stops to look at her foes while slapping her blade against her palm. In game terms, that's the character taking a standard action to attempt to Demoralize her foes. She must have rolled high, too, because in her case, the GM decided that she broke the morale of those 1st level warriors she was fighting because of instead of forging ahead with the fight, facing the demoralized penalties, the GM just decided to make them run.



Don't forget that a Demoralize Other attempt can effect several foes, all at the same time. Just as illustrated with the Valeria example above, there's no reason why multiple foes cannot be affected by the same Demoralize attempt.

For example, the skull-faced character pictured above slaps that bloody axe against his shield while emitting a demonic war cry. Using the Pathfinde rule, all within sight and 30 feet of this character should be subject to the Demoralize attempt.

That, right there, all of a sudden makes the sacrifice of a standard action worth the time taken to Demoralize foes. Successful demoralize attempts make the target shaken, which gives the foes a -2 on attack throws (among other effects). That -2 attack is the same as giving you +2 steps in AC. If you've got multiple foes, you are 2 steps higher in AC, effectively, against all demoralized foes.

That ain't half bad.

In standard D&D, spells like Protection From Evil and Bless provide characters with bonuses like this. Conan doesn't have those kinds of spells in the game. I think of little rules like Demoralize Other as the Conan RPG's way of replacing those types of spell effects.



Don't forget the Stealy Gaze feat. As mentioned above, most NPCs in the game will be 1-3 level. That means that most characters in the game will have 1-3 feats their entire lives. For a Pict to come screaming out of the jungble, bearing a wicked pointed spear, all decked out in warpaint, yelling at the top of its lungs, to engage you on the trail, he's charging and attempting to Demoralize you at the same time. The Stealy Gaze Feat makes the attempt a Free Action. This means that he can combine it with other actions, like the charge or even a standard attack. Think about this: Win initiative; catch your foe flatfooted; your foe is -2 attack you and is conisdered AC 10 during that first round. That sounds like a pretty good first attack to me!
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Old March 21st, 2013, 02:21 AM
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DYNAMIC COMBAT!



Combat in the Conan RPG can be more fun than combat in any other d20 based game. Where many have said that D&D is a magic-centric game, the Conan RPG can be a warrior focussed game (just look at the character classes!) if you play with all the game's bells and whistles.

Let's look at a sampling. Going into a combat scenario, what options does a 1st level character have?

(All references are to the 2E Core rulebook.)

A Feint can be attempted, using the Bluff skill. Pg. 93. See also pg. 207.

A character can use a standard action to try and intimidate a foe using the Demoralize Other function of the Intimidate skill. Pg. 107.

Shields are used defensively, to boost AC, and as weapons. All shields are stated both ways. Pg. 159.

Choice of weapon can heavily influence combat technique: Pros and Cons of Thrown or missle weapons vs. melee weapons. Reach weapons vs. weapons with standard 5' threat range. One handed vs. two handed weapons. One weapon fighting vs. two weapon fighting. Standard attack vs. Full Attack.

There are two forms of defense to choose from: Parry Defense and Dodge Defense. Pg. 170.

There are two basic forms of attack to choose from: Standard brute force based attacks and Finesse fighting. Pg. 171.

A character using the Dodge defense who is crowded on all sides takes a -2 penalty to his AC. Pg. 173.

When attack roll equals Parry Defense exactly, the Weapon Breakage rule kicks in to replace the successful hit as if the attacker had just made a successful sunder attack. Damage is placed on the defender's weapon or shield instead of reducing the defender's hit points. This makes the Dodge defense easier on equipment and allows equipment to deteriorate from use. Pg. 174.

The Weapon Length rule gives an advantage to a character using a bigger, longer weapon than his foe. For example, a character armed with a dagger would have a -2 penalty placed on his Parry defense if facing a foe using a two-handed greatsword. Likewise, the foe with the greatsword would benefit from a +2 bonus to his Parry defense when defending himself from the dagger wielder. This rule encourages the use of Dodge--jumping out of the way of that greatsword rather than Parrying it with a dagger! Pg. 174.

Armor reduces damage. It doesn't make a character harder to hit. Weapons have an Armor Piercing score, which is usually increased by a character's STR rating. This represents a character's ability to punch through armor. Pg. 178.

Armor can be damaged in melee. See the Armor damage and repair rule. Pg. 179.

The Fighting Defensively rule is one that should be used often in this most dangerous game. In effect, a character takes a -4 on his attack in order to benefit from a +2 bonus to the character's defense. Pg. 184.

The Fighting On The Run rule allows a character to move, attack, and then finish his movement, promoting some interesting tactical movement choices. Pg. 184.

Total Defense is a rule that allows a character to spend his Standard Action defending himself only, instead of attacking and defending. The character benefits by getting a +4 bonus to his defense. Pg. 185.

Withdraw is a way to attempt to disengage from melee and move more than 5 feet without earning an Attack of Opportunity from your enemy. Pg. 187.

Characters who have 1 HP or more are considered fully capable. Characters at 0 HP are Staggered. Characters at -1 HP or below are immobile and dying. Characters at -10 HP are dead. Pg. 191.

There are two types of damage, lethal and non-lethal. Pg. 192.

Cover, especially for ranged combatants, can improve defense with a +4 bonus. Pg. 196.

Flanking an enemy nets the flankers a +2 bonus to hit. Pg. 198.

Helpless defenders can be attacked with a regular attack or a coup de grace. Pg. 198.

Multiple opponents will gain ever increasing bonuses to attack the single foe that they encircle. Pg. 202.

Fighting with two weapons, one in each hand, is a deadly combat technique, and in the Conan RPG, the rules are kinder to this fighting style than in most other d20 games. Pg. 203.

The Aid Another rule can be used in combat. Pg. 204.

Those using missile weapons will gain a +2 attack bonus if the characters first spends a round to aim. Pg. 204.

If the goal is to push an enemy back a distance or knock him down, use the Bull Rush combat maneuver. Pg. 204.

The Charge is a favored, standard combat maneuver. Pg. 204.

When the attack throw is less than half a target's Dodge defense, the target is allowed an immediate, free action to move 5 feet in any direction the target (with a DEX 13+) desires. The Dance Aside rule can sometimes make for some interesting tactical movement decisions. Pg. 205.

The Delay action allows a character to lower his initiative score. Pg. 205.

In the right situation, with the right objects within reach, the Improvised Attack combat maneuver can give characters who have STR 13+ and DEX 13+ an extra attack during the round. Pg. 208.

The Lock Weapons rule gives both the attacker and defender a choice to lock weapons whenever the attack throw exactly equals the Parry defense. Both the attacker and defender have to decline to use the maneuver in order for this rule to be ignored. If either, or both, the attacker and defender want to use the rule, then the Lock Weapons attempt is played out. Also see the Weapon Breakage rule, above. Pg. 209.

The Ready action allows a character to trigger his action to some special event later in the round (like aiming at a doorway and firing your crossbow at the first creature through the door). Pg. 210.

If caught on the ground, the Roll maneuver allows a character to avoid standard prone penalties. Pg. 210.

Characters can take advantage of their skills and the combat terrain with the Use the Battlefield maneuver. In the most recent Conan movie, Conan runs up to a foe, jumps, then springs off a column with his feet, to come down swinging on his foe from above. A successful skill check would give Conan a +2 bonus on this creative attack. Jumping off a balcony, grabbing a chandelier, and dropping on an opponent would use this rule (and a couple skill checks). Pg. 212.



Now, that is A LOT OF CHOICES! And all 1st level characters can mix and match any of these maneuvers to gain their best tactical advantaged. And...I haven't even named them all! I left out all the stuff that you can do that allows your target an Attack Of Opportunity against you (like a Sunder or a Trip). I also left out special maneuvers that require Feats. I didn't touch special class abilities or sorcery, either.

COMBINE all of this stuff (after a fairly hefty learning curve, albeit), and what do you get?

Exciting, intricate combat encounters that transcend the traditional you-go-I-go aspect of many d20 combat encounters. Add in rules from other Conan sources, like the various unarmed combat strikes from the Barbaric Warrior book, and combat becomes even more rich.

Your Conan combats will go from the dull to the amazing, as seen in the video below, if you learn to use all of these choices in your game.

Your Conan combats can look and feel like this--->

AWESOME COMBAT SCENE FROM THE FILM "CENTURION"
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Old March 21st, 2013, 02:22 AM
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GRAPPLE!



I should point out that one of the brilliant rule changes of the Second Edition Conan game is that the standard d20 grappling rules were improved. No longer would a character need to first make a touch attack AND THEN a grapple attack in order to first grab then hold his opponent in a grapple. Check out pg. 199 of the 2E core rules. There, you will a more simplified rules than what is presented in the other two editions of the game.

Now, with the 2E rules, a grapple is as simple as making an unarmed attack. First, the object of the grapple gets an Attack of Opportunity on his attacker. If that does not hit or fails to damage the character because of his armor, the grapple proceeds with a single, simple throw.

In order to attempt the grapple, a character makes a grapple check, which is basically an unarmed attack (d20 + BAB + STR mod). This can be thrown against his foe's own grapple check, or his foe can use his Grapple AC (which is his grapple check if he took 10 on the throw).

It's that easy.

In the following rounds, the grapple proceeds unless a throw is made to break the grapple.

Very easy stuff.
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Old March 21st, 2013, 02:23 AM
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A Couple of Horse Thoughts



Let me direct your attention to page 19 of Tito's Trading Post. There, you will find adivce and rules for using mounts in your game. I went back and gave an NPC I had created a skill point into Handle Animal because of these rules. They make a lot of sense, and in using them, they turn Horses and other mounts into something other than tireless means of transporting characters from one point to another. With these rules, you'll have to plan your route. If you run out of food or water for your mount, the poor thing may perish. And, these rules also give you another reason to keep some points in Survival.
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Old March 21st, 2013, 02:23 AM
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Don't Ignore Grapple Maneuvers



Some, big, honkin foe is splintering chairs and tables with a greatsword--swings that are meant for you. All you have is a flint knife you made with your Survival skill.

What do you do?

You grapple the SOB. Yes, you're opening yourself up to an Attack of Opportunity (so make damn sure that you're successful with your grapple), but just one. Make sure you can take one hit. Because once you grapple your foe, you've taken away his attack advantage--his weapon. Only light weapons can be used while grappleing. Your foe will have to drop his greatsword in order to manage you and your grapple.

With a successful grapple, you've evened the odds a bit.

The next time your weapon is ineffective against a foe because of his armor, or you know that it is likely your foe will kill you faster than you can kill him, remember the grapple. Even the playing field. Take away your foe's advantage.

This is easy to do with 2E's change of the Grapple Rules to a single dice throw. The grapple rules are quite easy to manage. Most of the time, you're just rolling an unarmed attack.

And, all of a sudden, all of those grapple and unarmed based Feats that you've been ignoring find a lot more value to the character. For example, Improved Grapple will allow you to attempt the grapple without suffering an Attack of Opportunity. Tough As Nails, from the Players Guide, will make you impervious to strikes that cause non-leathal damage, forcing your opponent to take a -4 penalty on his attack throw against you in order to deliver lethal damage with is hand-to-hand blows. There are other Feats like this that can give you the advantage.

Think of it. A character with two daggers, who is good at grappling, is a formidable character in this game. He doesn't need to be wrapped in the best armor using the biggest sword. The grappler with daggers can get you in a hold then use the Coup de Grace rules to slit his foe's throat.

And, the foe probably won't see it coming.
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Old March 21st, 2013, 02:24 AM
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Tough As Nails


This is an interesting Feat that first appears in THE ROAD OF KINGS and again in PLAYER'S GUIDE TO THE HYBORIAN AGE. It's a simple Feat that makes the character impervious to subdual damage.

Completely impervious? I like the super-hero effect where our hero uses his stone mug to crack a bad guy across the face. The bad guy takes the blow but then just grins. Our hero knows that he's in trouble (and, if this scene happened in my game, I'd allow that smile to act as the bad guy's Demoralize Other action using is Intimidation skill).

That's what the Feat is trying to accomplish--that kind of cliche that we see in movies (Remember when James Bond smacked Jaws across the face in The Spy Who Loved Me, and Jaws just smiled back at him? It's happened in a ton of other films too.)

But...completely impervious?

That means that there is no way that the character can be knocked unconscious by beating him?

You can consider this, but I think the Feat needs to be tempered a bit. You don't want to neuter the Feat so much that it won't be attractive to players. At the same time, I think the Feat should provide resistance to nonlethal damage without making the character completely impervious.

What's coming to my mind right now is this: Tough as Nails halves any subdual damage applied to the character.

Therefore, the Feat is still attractive in that it effectively doubles a character's hit points with regard to nonleathal damage, but, if a crowd with clubs comes beating on the character, he can still be knocked out.

I also think that a prerequisite of CON 13+ should be associated with the Feat. It doesn't make sense, does it, that the Feat could be taken by a CON 7 character, and he would be impervious to nonlethal damage.

I should draw to your attention, though, that Tough As Nails is not an easy Feat to acquire. It requires both Diehard and Endurance. So, you may think that, since the character has to spend three Feats and be 3rd level to get the Feat, then that's enough. Still, a CON 7 character could do all that and be an unexplainable 100% resistant to nonlethal damage. I think the CON 13+ requirement and the effect of half damage are the way to go.

If you've got a different idea, then let me hear it. I might like your idea better.
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