View Full Version : Hyborian/Conan RPG's

05-10-2011, 03:15 PM
Hello there all. I am an old-schooler (red box D&D) who has become interested in either GMing or starting a gaming group with some like minded persons to adventure into the lands of Hyboria. I am prepared to go through my noted and put together my own Hyborian lands but I have a great affection for R.E,Howard,F.Lieber, Lovecraft, A.Norton and others and think my GMing skills would flourish in a barbaric dark S&S setting.

Between myself and a friend we have many books and supps. from AD&D to 3.5 but as I have been reading I have rediscovered the old TSR Conan rules set and what is so attractive is the easy learning fast play design which will lend more time to me building atmosphere and stuff. I believe I would be able to play off-the-cuff much more easily in a Conan type setting and with a fluid and fun rule set.

I guess what I am asking here is who runs Hyborian campaigns and what rule set have you chosen to reflect the dark and savage world of Howard's Conan? I do like the amount of supplemental work done by Moongoose but really know nothing of the system proper. From what I gather the magic system of their Conan game is a real fit for the dark S&S magics of the Conan novels and even the movies:)

If anyone has some thoughts for me I'd be glad to hear them. Thank you in advance.


05-10-2011, 05:50 PM
I started a 3.5 one a few months back but some players got fickle and couldn't be bothered to post so I ended it shame I love Conan myself.

05-12-2011, 01:46 AM
If you've hit the old TSR Conan stuff, you've probably heard of ZeFRS, yes? Barbarians of Lemuria and Legends of Steel (same rule system, different settings) are both practically tailor made for roleplaying in Hyboria, and they're spiritual cousins to ZeFRS. Both games are stand alone, you don't have to buy both to play the game, LoS has the same rules as BoL. LoS also has a ZeFRS version. Since ZeFRS is free, there's still only one book to buy. They're both fairly cheap PDFs and well worth the purchase for any S&S fans. LoS is bit more expensive than BoL but arguably has a bit higher production value. S&S Conan fans should run, not walk, and pick one or both of these up, frankly. LoS also has a version for the Savage Worlds and Broadsword systems.


There's also Sorcerer & Sword (a supplement for the Sorcerer RPG) that draws almost directly from R.E. Howard's literature. You have to buy Sorcerer to play Sorcerer & Sword. The system is entirely self coherent, simple but elegant, and flexible, but not too everyone's taste. It's great for a Cthulu-esque flavored version of Hyboria, with a character's humanity as part of the stakes. It's role play with heavy emphasis on the role playing.

Although none of these games have specific Hyborian source material included, there's a metric ton of Hyborian setting material online, and all of these games have been used to run Conan, just post on the games' forums and ask if anyone would share ideas or material.

All these games are unabashedly inspired by Conan, and play to the setting very well. IMHO, the Mongoose stuff is a fantastic resource for Hyboria, lots of writing and well produced with great art. But the d20 system doesn't really go far enough to support the setting, especially when it comes to sorcery. Magic in d20 is nothing like magic in Hyboria, at all. And although Mongoose handles it better than any d20 game, they don't get as close to the feel as these other games. And BoL and LoS handle professions/classes right in line with characters from the books, the characters each get up to four professions lifted straight from the material and can acquire up to two more. They really feel like characters from the stories, from the get-go. The d20 efforts I've seen include too many compromises of system vs. setting. Savage Worlds is probably a better fit than any d20 game, and there's even a Legends of Steel version for SW. If you're a Savage Worlds fan, you can't go wrong with that.

Check out some reviews of BoL and LoS if you can, they go into more than I do here, for starters:

05-12-2011, 02:39 PM
Thank you both for your interest in helping me.

Sorry we don't live closer Dark.

To Heor: Thanks for so much valuable info friend. I am glad you took the time to share this with me. I had heard of Savage worlds but am just returning to PnP RPGs so I had no idea about the LoS version of it. I think I might have to invest in one or both of the pdfs mentioned. BoL looks like ti might be the deal. And of course I already have a pdf of ZeFers

Thanks a lot for the info once again and also the handy links, I'm a lil more fired up now:)


05-12-2011, 04:11 PM
By Mitra, it was my pleasure! :D

Edit: And yes, I think BoL would be the most useful addition to your bookshelf, if you already have ZeFRS. :cool:

05-20-2011, 01:58 PM
I'll add my voice to the chorus recommending Barbarians of Lemuria, it's perfect for pulpy sword & sorcery/sword & planet gaming.

06-28-2011, 06:04 PM
I got the 1PG Broadsword core rules from drivethruRPG.com. It was only 4 bucks. We intended to play it once or twice, then continue on with my regular campaigns.

We had such a blast I bought the 1PG companion to get a few extra optional rules. I also got the Legends of Steel: Broadsword Edition supplement. At the time of this writing we have been playing it weekly for over 6 months now. If you intend to run an ongoing campaign, I highly recommend the Legends of Steel: Broadsword Edition supplement. It comes with a wonderful map. The book contains great info on all of the fascinating places to explore. I have used it to run sandbox sessions where the players simply do anything and go anywhere they wish. I have also used it to run shorter one-shot adventures.

I can't speak to Barbarians of Lemuria, but I've heard great things about it. As for Broadsword? If you want to begin playing literally in minutes, you just can't go wrong. The players rules are one page. The GM rules are 1 page. The magic system is one page. etc... The whole document is about 15 pages and it includes 9 ready to play adventures. All for 4 bucks. I have a big library of RPGs on my shelf. Broadsword is probably the best bargain I ever got.

It's an extremely light system. So it's good for players new to RPGs, but also is a nice loose change of pace for vets. The character sheets are loaded with lots of skills and special abilities, yet the gameplay is quick and uncomplicated.

Best of luck to you :)