'Barbarism is the natural state of mankind,' the borderer said, still staring somberly at the Cimmerian. 'Civilization is unnatural. It is a whim of circumstance. And barbarism must always ultimately triumph.'

-Robert E. Howard
Beyond The Black River

Corrupt Cliffs

Corrupt Cliffs
Get your FREE Narrative Terrain Deck today!

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Conan 2d20, Character Attributes

If you are used to rolling 3d6 or using a point buy system, as is common in many RPGs the approach Conan 2d20 takes to determining attributes is going to be a little different. I suspect that might even be why you are here; the entire process of character creation is much more narratively driven. As such it is a good idea to have an idea before starting, although the process of creation can easily create a well-rounded back story.

The process is straight forward, and I think it is described pretty well in the core book on pages 16 -18, still I see people being confused by it and I know I was one of those people.

 Base attributes

All attributes start at 7.

 Mandatory attributes

Characters are defined by attribute aspects are they strong and resolute or eagle-eyed? Characters get two of these aspects which can be chosen or rolled for. A character can have the same aspect twice. The table defining these are on page 17.

Once determined the aspects will define 4 attributes that are above the base of 7. If we are Strong and Resolute as well as Eagle-Eyed our attributes are brawn and willpower as well as awareness and coordination.

 I think the confusion often comes from having doubled up attributes. The Brave aspect gives us agility and willpower. While the Dexterous aspect gives up us agility and coordination. Now our 4 attributes are: agility, agility, willpower, and coordination.

 Now that we have 4 attributes, we determine which of these is the best and which of them is the worst. This is the best and worst of these 4, not all your attributes.

   Add 3 to your best.

   Add 1 to your worst.

   Add 2 to the other 2 attributes.

With our example of agility, agility, coordination, and willpower we can't make agility both the best and worst.

   Agility = best, +3

   Agility = +2

   Coordination = +2

   Will power = worst, +1

 Optional attributes

Each aspect also defines 2 optional attributes, choose 1 for each aspect and add 1 to each of them. Brave defines brawn and coordination as optional attributes and dexterous defines them as brawn and willpower. So we can choose brawn twice since it is an optional choice for both aspects.

   Brawn = +1

   Brawn = +1

 Ancient bloodline

If an attribute is greater than 12 the character gains the ancient bloodline talent. This is described on page 17 of the core book as well as other supplements.


Characters cannot exceed 14 in any attribute.  This is the maximum they can have.

 Additional Bonuses 

·         During the nature step characters gain an additional +1 to an attribute (page 35- 37)

·         In the final step a player can increase an attribute by 2 or 2 attributes by 1. (Page 42)

Crom doesn't care, but I hope this helped!

And that is all there is to character attributes in Conan 2d20.  Since it is a narrative process with descriptors around why things are chosen it allows you to gain a better feeling for the character you are creating.  Alternatively it allows you to tie a character concept into the game mechanics in a simple manner as well. 

Till next time, don't forget to Keep it Weird!