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Conan: The Roleplaying Game (Atlantean Edition)

Written by Damien

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The equipment chapter has a lot to mention - as there are quite a few changes here. And as before, the chapter includes all the rules on getting equipment, and what all the statistics mean.

Weapons: Generally the same as in normal 3rd Edition D&D, except for two noteworthy changes. The first change is that most of the weapons deal more damage than they do in standard D&D. A scimitar, for example, deals 1d8 damage instead of 1d6. Weapons also have an Armour Piercing rating, which helps weapons power through a character's armour.
It's also worth noting that the weapons have more historically accurate names in this game - such as arming sword, poniard, pollaxe, and the like.

Armour: Just what many gamers have been waiting for -- a really good armour as damage reduction ruleset. In this game, armour lessens the damage you take every hit by a considerable amount. Armour is also appropriate to a Conan game - mail hauberks, mail shirts, leather jerkins, scale corselets, and the like. You won't find any "scale mail" or other silly names in here.

The armour rules are excellent - but not something most adventurers are going to want to wear all the time. And the armour table comes complete with a full listing of combination armour. For example, you can wear a mail hauberk underneath a scale corselet. Armour of this sort is very protective, but also imposes a pretty stiff Check Penalty. So combination armour should be reserved for those big battles when it's absolutely necessary to be as protected as possible.

Shields also get basic coverage - as do helms. Then the chapter goes on with tables and descriptions of more mundane equipment like clothing and tools, vehicles, hirelings, food & drink, lodging, mounts, and slaves.

The combat chapter covers all the basic information you need - so it repeats a lot of stuff many d20 gamers already know. But there are also big changes that gamers should make sure to read over.

There is no more armour class, Defense is handled in a new way, and includes different modifiers (Dodging and Parrying). Finesse combat also works differently - as it doesn't require a feat (just certain weapons) and is an attempt to actually avoid armour, rather than just arbitrarily using a different attribute for attack rolls. In many ways, combat is handled very differently in this system than it is in standard D&D.

But everything is here. Anything you need to know about how armour works, how attacking works, how you take damage, how you recover from damage, and everything in between can be found in this chapter. But there's yet another new tidbit hiding at the end: Combat Manoeuvres. Things like Bull's Charge, Cat's Parry, Desperate Stab, and Leaping Charge to name a few. But you'll have to pick up the book to see how to use those. (My favourite is "To The Hilt.")

Magic-use gets a special treatment in this game, to be more fitting to the old sword & sorcery Conan feel. This chapter is long, and is simply jam-packed with mechanics. So here are a few points about the new Sorcery system:
  • Power Points instead of spell slots. Spells cost a certain amount of "energy" to cast, and have much longer casting times.
  • You can adjust spells according to your needs, but it requires more energy to do so.
  • You can sacrifice the lives of others to give yourself more energy for spellcasting.
  • Spellcasting will inevitably lead to corruption and/or insanity - the rules for which are fully detailed.
  • Schools of Sorcery are broken into "Sorcery Styles" with spells that fit the genre - such as hypnotism, curses, counterspells, etc. And there's a lot of spells.

(Plus you can pick up other Conan sourcebooks in the series for more spells.)

This chapter also goes over the rare magical items, drugs, poisons, herbal preparations, alchemy, and all that good stuff that's somehow connected to magic-use.

In my opinion, the flavour and new combat system of this game 'made' it, but the all new rules for spellcasting made it -great-. There's just too much to talk about, but it's all good.

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