'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

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Showing posts with label 2d20 lite. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2d20 lite. Show all posts

Friday, October 19, 2018

Conan 2d20. Skill Trials

In previous articles I have talked about how success in Conan2d20 aren't simply pass/fail. There is a measure of how well a character completes a skill test; how well you attack, observe or hide. Momentum is an easy way to track this, each point you generate allows you cause more damage, do cool stunts or learn more about your environment.

Generally failure is, however, still failure. The one place this is different is combat. If I am fighting a skeleton and I make a melee skill check to hit and I fail, the skeleton is still there. I get to try again to succeed in the next round. Compare this to your party sage trying to decipher ancient runes on the wall. If he rolls a failure, it's all over and the meaning of the writing is lost forever, beyond the abilities of our heroes. Certainly there are mechanics in games that work to address this, such as "taking 20" but most of these make the assumption that the player and their character has essentially unlimited time to solve the puzzle or make the skill check.

Today we are going to try and address this potential issue with something I am calling a "Trial". I didn't invent this mechanic. Several other systems use it, such as ICRPG and the AGE system. (It has been noted since I published this that both the Infinty and Star Trek 2d20 RPG systems have similar mechanics.) These "Trials" also works well once it is placed alongside the "TIMER" mechanic from ICRPG. Now rolling a failure, in a time sensitive encounter, doesn't mean they will never know what it says. Now it just takes them longer to figure it out. How long it takes might be a key part of a combat encounter; can the sage get the door open before the horde of ghouls overwhelms the party?

Some ideas for skill tests that might benefit from these "Trials" are deciphering runes, solving puzzles, exploring ruins or jungles, negotiating costs etc. It can give your non-combat characters the ability to work to complete something during combat and contribute to success of the party instead of taking the backseat.

The Basic Idea

The current iteration of the system is quite simple. I make a note like 10-D3, which signifies a 10 momentum D3 challenge. Succeeding at the challenge lowers the total by 1 and momentum generated goes towards solving the puzzle or being stored in the pool. When challenge momentum reaches 10 you have solved the puzzle, deciphered the runes, made it through the jungle etc.

Probably the easiest way to track this is to pick a momentum score that is a multiple of one of the types of dice we use for general RPG play, this way you can easily use a die to track how much progress a players has made. You could even get a special set of dice that you use only for "Trials", this way players can easily tell what they are and how much work still needs to be done.

Round 1:
Our Sage, Altan, has come across a series of strange runes at the end of a corridor. He suspects deciphering the runes is key to opening the passage, and so sets to work.
Player: I try and decipher the runes.
GM: Ok it's a 5-D3 test.
Player: I will roll 4d20 against his Lore score of 13/2 and get 8,9,15,13.
Altan looks over the runes and begins his work to decipher them. At first he doesn't recognize anything, but finally he thinks he has a good place to start and continues to work on them.

Round 2:
Altan continues to work on deciphering the runes, as his work continues his fellow adventurers hold off the ongoing things in the dark, but time runs short and his friends are being to fall back.
Player: I continue to try working on the runes.
GM: OK, since you succeeded last time it is now a 4-D3 test.
Player: I will roll 5d20 against his Lore score of 13/2 and I will use a Fortune for one of the dice. 10,5,17,19,1. Giving me 1 point of momentum.
GM: The test has been reduced to a 2d3 test. Altan works hurriedly decoding and deciphering, he believes he has slightly more than half of the words figured out, but they still don't make much sense.

Round 3:
In the darkness, something large stalks towards the party. Four warriors standing, heaving with exhaustion. Blood and sweat drip down their bodies. Behind them, seeking the way out, an older man in robes hurriedly works, scrawling in a notebook.
GM: Something large will be upon your party next round
Player: I continue to work!
GM: OK, We now have a 2-D3 test! All you need is success and a momentum! .
Player: I will roll 5d20 again agains his Lore score of 13/2. I roll 17,10,4,4,12, giving me 4 successes!
GM: You solve the runes! They are an ancient version of Turanian your didn't initially recognize. They tell you to how to open this passage and so you do, allowing you and your fellows to escape the coming doom.

Lending a hand

Assistance generally works the same as before, players can try and lend a hand by rolling an extra die and hopefully adding momentum to the pool. It was suggested another way to handle this is to allow the players to choose which skill they will roll against to offer the assistance. All they have to do is narrate their character using the skill in the scene.


Our Heroes set out into the desert looking for a long forgotten tomb of an ancient Stygian king. All they have is a map and the setting sun.
GM: It is going to take you 10-D2 Survival Trialto navigate the desert with the information you have. Failing a test will cause fatigue to occur. Player 1: I have the highest Survival test so I will make that as a roll.
GM: Will anyone assist?
Player 2: My alchemist would like to use Lore to assist to better understand the map.
Player 3: I would like to use Observation to keep a keen eye on the horizon and make sure we are not going astray.
Player 4: I use my counsel skill to keep everyone's spirits up, hoping the high moral will keep our heads about us.
GM: Ok. make your rolls!
Player 1: As lead I roll 5d20 against my Survival of 14/2. I roll 13,7,8,8,16 = Success and 3 momentum.
Player 2: I roll my assist vs my Lore of 13/1. 10 = +1 momentum
Player 3: My roll vs. my Observation of 12/2 is 3 = +1 momentum.
player 4: I roll against my Counsel of 12/2. I get a 5. +1 momentum!
GM: Your total is 7, reducing the "Trial" to a 3-D2 test on your next round.


Fatigue and Despair

If your players are exploring a deep oppressive dungeons, parching desert or big infested swamps, it might be worth while having a negative effect to an outright skill check failure. Perhaps if the party is working on a Survival Trial, rolling to navigate the desert and they fail it can be assumed they wander hopelessly and gain 1cd Fatigue, and likewise if trapped in the oppressive dark of a dungeon and they fail they gain 1cd Despair.

Complications

The simplest complication is to raise the difficulty of the next test by 1. But other things could occur depending on what the test is. In a dungeon? Perhaps they set off a trap. In a desert? Perhaps they encounter a snake and they take 2cd before killing it. Negotiating in a tavern? Maybe they have been pickpocketed and lose 1cd+1 gold. Another idea is, especially if they are burning through the test too fast, to extend the length of the test by 2 per complication, or some variant depending on how much you want to slow them down.

Conclusion

I have used this a few times and find it to be a decent way to abstract explorations without having to focus on mapping. It allows you plenty of places to use combat and encounters to spice things up. It also allows non-combat characters to participate more and at a similar level to combat characters. Going forward I have a few more articles planned that will utilize this mechanic to enhance your sessions of Conan 2d20.

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

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Zones Revisited for Miniatures. Conan 2d20 RPG

One of the things I have struggled with is zones, especially when outdoors. Playing an action scene with miniatures and having zones that are not clearly defined can be difficult. D&D and others get around this by using grids, one square typically equals five feet. If you character has a move of 30'/turn, they move 6 squares. Nice and easy. Some players of these systems have moved away from grids and gone gridless. In systems like this if 1 inch equals 5 feet. A character with a 30'/turn moves 6". Still simple. This is generally how wargames work.

Of note is an independent skirmish wargame called "A Song of Blades and Heros", which is an awesome game that I highly recommend. In this game characters are moved via a move stick. No measuring apart from the stick. You do lose a little granularity, but what you lose there you make up in speed. It's a cool system.

I am sure some of you are wondering what I am on about. This is CONAN 2d20! It doesn't use a grid! It uses abstract zones! Zones based around scenery, zones based around where the action is happening!

Yes. This is all 100% true and if you can easily define zones you can create areas that are larger and some that are smaller, allowing you to control speed of the characters moving across the environment. ie a large zone represents an area a character can move fast and a small zone represents an area a character needs to move slowly across.

If you have time and can create defined zones in your outdoor scenes that your players can clearly identify, this is the way that more closely resembles how the rules are written and I suggest that it might be the best way to go. Best, but not fastest.

Using some of the above ideas from gridless D&D games as well as SoBH, I want to suggest the use of a stick. This stick is the size you want your average zone to be, + 1/2 that length again. In the case of a 4.5" stick we mark it at 1.5" from the end, and label it "Close", label the remainder as "Medium".

Indoors it might be small, say 4.5" long, and outdoors it might be double that size representing faster movement in larger, more open areas. As you can gather this stick represents the length of a zone. At the start of a players turn we assume his or hers character is sitting in the middle of their "zone".
  • Adjust - Free action - Miniature may move within any point listed as "Close" on the stick. Representing moving within the zone.
  • Move - Minor action - Miniature may move within any point on the stick. This represents moving to any place within "Medium" Range.
  • Sprint - Standard - Miniature may move to any point on the stick + the medium range portion of the stick, representing moving to "Long Range".


Basically we are picking a length for what we want the "MOVE" action to be. In D&D that might be a 6" stick representing the move of 30'. Once we have that we are allowing half that distance in the free action "Adjust", that full length for "Move" and two of those lengths for "Spring". Compared to the zone map we had before we can see how this might look and how well it translates.

This is a simple method that will allow your more tactically minded players to have a better grip on how far they can move in a round of play. It does have it's downsides, the biggest of them is you can't simply make a zone larger or smaller because the terrain is easier or more difficult to move across.

If you play Conan 2d20 with miniatures I would love to hear your thoughts on using a measuring system vs a zone system. Drop me a comment below and let me know. If you don't play Conan 2d20 but do play gridless I'd also love to hear what you think of it. Till next time, don't forget to Keep it Weird!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Conan 2d20 on Roll20. Using Decks for Doom, Fortune and Momentum.

This is a simple how to tutorial designed to walk you through setting up a way to use Roll20s decks to build piles of Doom, Fortune and Momentum. It will give you a nice visual way to track the use of these items within Conan 2d20.

The following steps will build a DOOM deck, and you should be able to create the other decks as you need. Lets get to it!

The first thing we need to do is created a new deck. Go to the Macros and Deck sections of roll 20. Click "+Add", then click on the "New Deck" that was created. This will open the dialog box governing that new deck.
Give the deck a name, in this case "DOOM".
The players don't need to see the decks.
The players don't need to be able to draw cards.
We only have 1 card in these decks, so the set Cards are infinite and disable being able to choose from the deck. The discard pile should show the backs of the cards. They don't need stats and I set my size to be 50x50, although that might change depending on your screen and resolution.
Scroll down to the bottom of the deck dialog box and click "+ Add Card", in that new cards dialog box, add a name and drag and drop the icon you want to use. In this example I am using a basic doom icon, a red box with a black D in it. Once that is complete, save you changes and drag and drop the same icon into the Card backing area and again save those changes.
The deck is now set up. Click on "SHOW" (which will then change to "HIDE") and the new deck will be displayed on the side of your screen.
To use the deck, just hover over the deck and choose deal. Select the number of icons to distribute and select the player to give them to. In this case, 5 Doom tokens to the GM.

Here we can see the GM has 5 Doom tokens. Click on the 5, displays a box showing each instance of the token.
When you want to spend them, simply drag and drop them from this opened window onto the desktop. Once there they can be counted, compared and deleted when you are done with them.
Hopefully this quick guide gets you on your way to building a useable Roll20 interface for Conan 2d20 (and others!)

Monday, May 28, 2018

Easy DIY Gaming Table Upgrade!

Welcome back!

Last year, late in November I did a quick video on what I use for a gaming table. It was easy and cheap and created a cool lifted surface. You can find that video here: Gaming Table!

I have always planned on rebuilding the top and making it nicer. Over the last year it has also warped a little, but not enough to be unusable. Since it functions and it would be a solely aesthetic upgrade it has become a low priority in my life. I did however have another idea I wanted to try out; under table LED lighting.


As you can see it creates a pretty cool effect! I got this inexpensive set of lights from Aliexpress which has a nifty remote and allows changing of colors pretty easily! All of the colors are good except for the pure yellow, which looks more yellowy green.

Total price for the strip and remote was about $10cad. Super inexpensive! I did have to get a battery for the remote that ran be a couple of dollars as well, but it didn't turn this from a $10 upgrade to a $30 upgrade. It was still under $15 when it was all said and done.

This project is based on a raised tabletop, but if you had a sunken play area you could use it on that as well just as easily. It adds a new quick and easy dimension to your game that can really help with mood, if you can add this to your area, I highly recommend it!

Have you done any upgrades like this to your gaming area? LED lights? something else cool? Drop me a note and let everyone know what cool things you have done!

One last thing don't forget that buying items through quite a few of the links I provide gives me a small kick back which helps to support both the blog and the YouTube channel! Thank you to everyone that stops by and enjoys my ramblings!

Until next time! Keep it weird!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Conan 2d20 RPG Overview: The Toughened Opponent.

We started this discussion with minions, but now I want to move on to the second of our opponent classifications; the toughened opponent. These opponents have the potential to cause some real challenges for your players in the form of more fully realized NPCs and creatures.

These adversaries represent opponents who are better skilled and probably better equipped. If you think of a militia or town guard as minions, then their sergeants are going to represent toughened foes.

Rules wise they work pretty much like a character does with a few exceptions.

  • They roll 2d20 for skill tests, and can gain up to 3 bonus d20s.
  • They are able to parry, dodge and react.
  • They are able to sacrifice shields to prevent a wound.
  • They are NOT able to sacrifice other forms of armor.
  • They do not have hit locations.
  • They can suffer two of the same type of harm before being eliminated.

A special note for the GM based on my play experience. Although toughened opponents can survive better than minions, many characters have weapons or skills that bestow the INTENSE ability, which causes a second wound if a first is caused. For toughened opponents it means that can easily be dropped in a single hit, just like a minion.

Optional House Rule,
If you follow Modiphius at all they recently launched a kickstarter for John Carter of Mars using the 2d20 system, or a variant of it called 2d20 lite. In this they introduce what is essentially a modified toughened opponent. These opponents don't necessarily have the ability to only take 2 harms before being removed. They have a rating which specifies how many harms they can take. Consider how much more effective your toughened opponents will be if they have a third wound? Now when fighting against an INTENSE weapon or skill they will need to have all of their stress dropped to 0 in a round to have them removed from the board.

Remember though with 2 harms the toughened opponent will be at +2 difficulty and so not very effective at much.... besides giving his buddies time to maneuver.

Last time we also talked about The Mob, a loose group of sword fodder without much combat organization. We can remove one of those five minions and replace it with a toughened opponent, to increase it's overall effectiveness. The Squad represents a unit of opponents led by a better trained and equipped leader. It can contain up to 4 identical minions and 1 toughened opponent. When you roll skill tests for the group it is important to have a set of dice assigned to the toughened leader as their skills and expertise will likely be better than the minions they lead.

Remember the bonus dice granted from the minions to the toughened leader are assistance dice, and it is possible for the leader to buy 3 bonus dice bringing their total to 5 before gaining up to an additional 4 dice depending on how many minions exist in the squad.

Damaging the squad works pretty much like damaging a mob, with damage moving to the next member of the squad as minions are eliminated. The toughened leader is the last to receive damage this way. While existing within a squad, the toughened leader is unable to parry or react as they would normally do. Despite this the toughened leader can be attacked directly by using a called shot momentum spend.

And that is pretty much it. There are a couple of small things we will take a look at next week that deal with groups (squads and mobs), but this is a good overview of the toughened opponent and how they can be used with minions to present a greater challenge for your players.

As always I love to hear comments and feedback, ideas and errata. As we go forward I wonder what else would be useful to go over? Till next time, KEEP IT WEIRD!

If you are interested in checking out the Conan system why not head over to DriveThruRPG and pick up a copy of either the Conan 2d20 core book or the Conan 2d20 quickstart pdf?

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

RPG Accessories. Tokens, Trackers and Coins! Oh My!

Tabletop roleplaying games need very little in the way of supplies to play; Some dice, Some paper and a pen or pencil. Of course you need a set of rules as well. Apart from that though? Nothing.

BUT! There is always a but. Sometimes accessories can help take your game from cool to COOL. Most players like rolling dice. The physical aspect of touching and using an object adds to the fun. This idea can be applied to many other things we need to track!

Many of these accessories can be made. DM Scotty has some videos on building things like this. Things like little quivers to track arrows instead of erasing 10 and writing 9 can be simple and add another element of fun to the game.

Some games have a set number of Hero points, Bennies, Fortune or similar mechanic that could also benefit from this idea. Having a player toss in a coin of some description is more fun than just changing that number of the page.

If you are busy like me, sometimes you don't have time to craft everything, or sometimes you just need so many tokens it's just not feasible to craft them.

Below is a list of things that I have found on aliexpress, amazon and a few other places where you can simply drop some cash and grab your supplies. I personally use a far number of these in my Conan 2d20 games. Remember, AliExpress will generally be less expensive, but you will need to wait longer for shipping.

Skull Beads! White! - AliExrpess
Black! - Amazon.ca
Flat Beads! White Acrylic - AliExpress
Transparent glass cabochon - Amazon.ca
Plastic chips AliExpress
Amazon.ca
Coins! Plastic Pirate Coins - AliExpress
Fortune Coins - AliExpress
Fortune Coins - Amazon.ca
Metal Phoenix beads - AlieExpress
Bowls for your Tokens AliExpress
Amazon.ca
Wound Trackers AliExpress

Hopefully you will find something you can find useful, or it sparks your imagination!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Conan 2d20 Momentum Spend - Wrecked Weapon Trope.

They stopped short. Conan faced them, not a naked man roused mazed and unarmed out of deep sleep to be butchered like a sheep, but a barbarian wide- awake and at bay, partly armored, and with his long sword in his hand.

"In, rogues!" yelled the outlaw. "He is one to twenty and he has no helmet!"

True; there had been lack of time to don the heavy plumed casque, or to lace in place the side-plates of the cuirass, nor was there now time to snatch the great shield from the wall. Still, Conan was better protected than any of his foes except Volmana and Gromel, who were in full armor.

The king glared, puzzled as to their identity. Ascalante he did not know; he could not see through the closed vizors of the armored conspirators, and Rinaldo had pulled his slouch cap down above his eyes. But there was no time for surmise. With a yell that rang to the roof, the killers flooded into the room, Gromel first. He came like a charging bull, head down, sword low for the disembowelling thrust. Conan sprang to meet him, and all his tigerish strength went into the arm that swung the sword. In a whistling arc the great blade flashed through the air and crashed on the Bossonian's helmet. Blade and casque shivered together and Gromel rolled lifeless on the floor. Conan bounded back, still gripping the broken hilt.

The Phoenix on the Sword
-Robert E Howard


One of the most iconic occurences in a final battle is a weapon being broken. Troy, Willow and the '82 Conan film all feature this prominently.

In Willow, Mad Martigan, after becoming his heroic self, charges General Kael who easily parries the blow, redirecting it into the wooden structure of the fortress, where it becomes lodged. With a deliberate blow Kael shatters Martigan's sword leaving him on the ground without a weapon. It is a tense moment.

In front of Troy two heroes do battle; Achilles and Hector. As they fight back and forth, Achilles swings his shield and snaps the spear of Hector. Hector retreats and throws his useless weapon aside. Achilles seeing a moment of weakness presses in for the kill. Hector defends himself with skill and prowess as death comes for him. The onslaught continues and Hector is unable to draw his sword during the exchange. Finally Achilles thrusts at Hector who redirects the blow to the ground. In the next instant Hector snaps the spear of Achilles like a twig.

And of course in the '82 Conan film Conan and Rexor in their final battle clash sword on sword. Finally Conan is victorious as the gleaming Atlantean blade slices through the sword crafter by his father and continues through to mortally wound Rexor.

As we see above, Howard himself employed this in the very first Conan story. It is a dramatic, cool and powerful piece of story telling, and as such I believe it deserves a place in this fantastic role playing game.

This is a fairly easy thing to plug into a game that has a system in it like Momentum. Knowing how well an attack or parry was executed allows us to decide to add cool moves and flavor into our combat. Looking through the combat momentum spends we find one called Disarm. It costs 2 or 3 momentum to disarm someone you are engaged with. This seemed like a pretty solid place to start building the Weapon Break momentum spend.

Clearly we want this to be a more expensive spend than disarm, as it has far greater ramifications. My initial thoughts have involved adding 1 momentum to the spend raising it from 2-3 to 3-4 AND also making it only a CHANCE of breaking the weapon.

SpendCostDescription
Weapon Break3-4+The attacker may attempt to break one melee weapon being weilded by the target.
This costs 3 points of Momentum if the target is holding the weapon in one hand
or 4 points of Momentum if the weapon is braced or held in two hands.
The attacker then rolls 2cd. On a roll of 2 effects, the weapon is shattered.
On a roll of 2 numbers the weapon is knocked away. Any roll of a blank
indicates that the attempt has failed.
The attacker may spend 2 additional momentum to reduce the 2cd roll a to 1cd roll.

WAIT! There is more! In ALL of the scenes I talk about above that broken weapon is used to end the fight or used to end the quest. Clealry, even though they are broken they are still effective weapons, Conan has rules for improvised weapons, but I think we can do better than that. My initial thought is the weapon simply become broken and stats are reduced. For a guideline on this I am thinking reach is reduced by 1. If reach becomes 0 it is completely useless. Damage dice are reduced to 3cd or lowered by 1, whichever is lower. And then we remove the effects "Intense", "Grappling", "Knockdown" and "Fearsome".

For example:
Conal is wielding a broadsword (Unb, Rch2, 5cd, Parrying) against Thokuh, Captain of the "Serpent of Set". Conal swings his steel in a deadly arc, but Thokuh deftly redirects the blow into the ground, and with a quick action drops his weight against the flat of the blade snapping it in two. Conal dances back, his broken broadsword in his hand (1H, Rch1, 3cd, Parrying). Thokuh laughs and moves in swiftly bringing his cutlass down in a flashing heavy blow. Conal barely blocks the blow catching the cutlass on his broken sword, before pressing past Thokuh's guard and driving the broken blade hard into the fat stomach of Thokuh."

What do you think? Is this a worthy mechanic and something you might try in this form or another? Think I am crazy? Let me know!

If you are interested in checking out the Conan system why not head over to DriveThruRPG and pick up a copy of either the Conan 2d20 core book or the Conan 2d20 quickstart pdf?

Friday, April 6, 2018

The GMs Journal: Notebook selection.

So.... what mapping
programs are you
using for making
world and area maps?


A couple of days ago that question was posted to a local role playing group I belong to.

The standard answers all came up: Pyromancers, Inkarnate, Photoshop, Hexkit, VTT software and Campaign Cartographer. These are all useful tools, and although I suggested some of them, I don't personally use a single one of them.

I occasionally try and use the cool and fancy tools, but I never like them. I find it easier to simply grab my notebook/journal and jot down ideas and story arcs and finally flesh them out into maps and adventures. At most I sometimes organize thoughts in Google Docs. They never allow the ease of use that a simple piece of paper allows.

I like notebooks. I have always liked notebooks. I used binders in school with looseleaf paper and never liked it as much as a simple notebook. Perhaps I find the journals of the old masters inspiring. The notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci being a prime example. His notebooks are as important as his masterpieces.

I don't journal, which you would think based on my above statement I might do, but I do keep a sketchbook and that directly leads into my current favored set of notebooks for GMing. I follow an artist on social media named, "Jake Parker". Aside from being a cool illustrator he has some awesome videos about creativity and projects on youtube. One of the things he has turned me on to is the Moleskin Cahier line of notebooks. My first reaction was, "Must be nice, Moleskin notebooks are expensive!", and indeed some of their line, like many other journals, are pricey. He went on to show how they were resistant to bleed through with inks and could even be used for some basic tone with paints, and the best part is that they are NOT pricey. They are quite affordable.

So I went out and bought a three pack of these to use as my next sketchbook. The three packs will run you around $20, and each notebook has 64 pages in them. They are not huge tomes, but that is also a blessing in disguise. I liked them. They were easy to use. They are small and easy to take with you. The paper isn't pure white, and so you can add white to sketches pretty easily. Finally because they are not 100s of pages long, they are easier to fill up. That act of completing one gives you a sense of accomplishment and fulfilment.

When I went out to find a new journal that had dots or grids on them I quickly started looking over at the Cahier line, which offer books in three flavours: Plain, Lined and Squared. I immediately went to Indigo (our local bookstore chain, and maybe yours) and tried to buy a set. Squared journals are apparently more difficult to find. Off to Amazon I went!

I found a set of 3 and ordered them. They took a LONG time to arrive as I did not order them directly from Amazon and ended up shipping from the UK. When they did they were smaller than I had realized (being the 5"x8.25" journals), but in the end I think I prefer this size for most GM journaling. I feel it is a good middle ground, but I think that is a personal preference.

Like the ones I use for sketching, they are small, allowing for completion and that sense of accomplishment. They are also filled with the same type of paper that resists bleed through; I use a uniball pen and write on every page, front and back. The slightly off white color will allow the addition of whites to your journal entries if you desire.

Of course these are not the only notebook on the block, and they are far from the cheapest, even if I do think they are affordable. For the most affordable notebooks, which I have used extensively in school and out, the crown has to go to Hilroy or a knockoff. These cheap coil bound books provide an inexpensive way to get a journal. They open flat and provide an easy way to remove pages. The downside, as I have always found, being the coil interfering with your hand when you are writing near the end of the page.

I have again provided links to Amazon and the tools I have mentioned in this post. These are affiliate links and purchasing through them provides me a small commission. Thank you!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Printable Miniatures. Part 1, Getting the Image.

In Part 2 we talk about basing options!

We all love miniatures, or at least I suspect you do if you are reading my blog. If you play a system that uses a lot of smaller level fodder type characters, such as a 2d20 system or Savage Worlds, you might find it hard to have 15 or 20 of a single figure type. Even for me, with the Conan board game to pull from, it can be hard to have enough bad guys.

Custom Minis from a Ghoul stock image I got from DriveThruRPG
Enter the paper miniature, sometimes refered to as flats. I first came across these when I was getting back into gaming and watching the various channels on youtube that exist. Check out Wyloch's tutorial on how to make your own.  He goes through how to make these props, step by step using images found images.  Please be respectful of copyright when you are building printable minis this way.

We also have Printable Heros over on Pateron. For a couple of bucks you can get access to the cool collection of figures he has produced. For me though, I often need something fairly specific and I am building them pretty close to the last minute. I don't have time to search the net for the image and cut and paste it, trim it up, size it and get it ready for play. Sometimes I just want to do a quick search, print out the figure and get it on my table. For this I go to DriveThruRPG.

I am sure you are all aware of DriveThruRPG. If you are not click the above link and it will take you to a wonderland of digital products, BUT back to printable miniatures.

These guys are probably my favorite shop creating printable miniatures. They are have a wonderful distinct style and he has a wide variety to fill many many different gaming roles! Get them here!
Another store that has an excellent selection of figures for use with your games. Like Okum arts there is a wide variety of figures from fantasy to sci-fi. Get them here!
The ICRPG Core set is more expensive but comes with a wealth of content, including a selection of printable miniatures for your table in Hankerin's distinctive black and white style. Get it here!
These guys have a wide selection of printable miniatures(some are even free!) as well as papercraft buildings. Get them here!
A later entry to this list, as I just found them recently is Trash Mob Minis. Like Okum Arts above these guys have an impressive collection of paper figs in a very distinctive style. I recommend checking them out!

There is a wealth of people creating these printable heros and monsters! Part 2 of the series will talk about the supplies I use to make mine, as well as some alternatives. Once we have all of our supplies together we will see about putting together some of these creations!

Until then, keep it weird!



The above post contains affiliate links, using them will give this blog a small commission on the sale.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Conan 2d20 - Quick, cheap and easy Combat dice!

If you are familiar with Conan 2d20 either through playing or reading about the system, one thing that stands out is it's damage system. Instead of weapons doing 1d6, 2d8, 1d10 or other combination it uses a number of combat dice to determine the damage and effectiveness of the weapon. These dice are nothing more than a fancy 1d6, and you can easily use a regular d6 to get the result.

Modiphius does however make custom combat dice, and I have found they can make a difference. They sell these in a players dice set that will run you about $30cad and comes with 4 of these combat dice, 2d20 and a hit location die. Four combat dice is probably not going to be enough for most players, especially ones with high brawn. As mentioned above we can simply replace the missing dice with d6s.

We do have another option. You can buy a set of inexpensive blank dice from Aliexpress or Amazon. I prefer the sets from Aliexpress, simply because I get more bang for my buck, even if shipping is a little slow. This is a link to a set of 20 16mm blank dice for about $5US, with shipping included! The size of these are the same as the combat dice, but have a slightly different shape, mirroring the dice you might find in Monolith's Conan boardgame.



Using a regular fine point sharpie we can simply write on the values we want, following the patterns laid out by the combat dice. It is important to note that when you write on the dice, the ink from the shaprie will take a little time to dry. I have found it to be fine after about 10 seconds. Once dry it is a fairly robust addition to the die and can't be wiped off. I am sure after some use it will begin to wear out.


One of the happy parts of these dice is a little acetone will clean the ink right off the dice face without damaging the face. Over the course of the last couple of days I have been experimenting and have cleaned the sharpie from the dice multiple times with no issues. This is a super quick way to make a multitude of combat dice at your table.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

FG extension going forward

With a more or less working version, meaning I have a working PC and NPC sheet, I look to places where things can be better.

The combat tracker is the obvious one, it can be a powerful tool within FG to track an encounter, but I think it might be better to update it once we have a look at the full core book.  

One of the things I think that is needed is an additional momentum track.  ie one that stores current generated momentum, and that once a turn is complete can be transferred to the stored track.

To facilitate this I would ALSO like to make it easier to see momentum generated.  And for that I am looking at implementing task difficulty for the PC.  This will probably be implemented as a numberfield and perhaps a group of buttons.  Ideally it will be a numeric entry on the Combat Tracker. 

If we know the difficulty we can roll and determine success/failure as well as how much momentum was generated, which can then be transferred to the character sheet.

Anyhow that's all for now!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

John Carter Fantasy Grounds Extension

I am posting what I am calling v.9 of the extension for people to have a look at and play with a little.

There are some things that need to be done to make it really slick, but it should be functional for the quickstart.

As this is a MoreCore extension you will need that ruleset as well.

The link here should allow you to download it.

John Carter Extension

There are a few static height anchor issues but that shouldn't affect anything functional.

I will try and get a demo up via livestream in the next day or so. Finally, the only thing the CT will really be good for right now is to see who is in combat, none of the JC fields are linked.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

John Carter Fantasy Grounds Extension v.99, a quick tour.

On the last to do list we have the following items:
  • Stress boxes
  • Spend button for Luck
  • Chat messages for momentum and luck spends
  • Finish adding in the stat rollers
  • Resolve the static anchor issues

After a little more work I can label all of those as completed, except for the last item. There is still some work to be handled with the momentum pools, but for all intents and purposes that are functional.

With that information completed I wanted to take a quick tour of the sheet, and I hope to do a live feed demonstrating it soon.

I wanted to make a quick note that I got an e-mail last night saying 3.3.4 of FG was released. I have yet to install this and I also need to update my verion of MORECORE. This could introduce new errors to the extension, but I can not confirm or deny that at this time.

Initial version of sheet with chat window showing some basic rolls and momentum spends.
Togglable stress & affliction buttons, as well max stress levels which control the useable stress boxes.  Stress on these maxes at 16, but another 4 could be added.
Momentum and luck, momentum can be on, off, selected or disabled.  All selected momentum is spent when the spend button is double clicked.  Luck can only present or not.  I need to cut this back to 5 max as well and change the graphic.  Double clicking on the spend button spends a single point.

Dice selector, defaults to 2.  They can be
toggled on and off to set number
of d20s to roll
Basic list allowing for talent entries with reference buttons to
the descriptions.

Character inventory window showing a shortened list of the
inventory from the inventory page.
Weapons list.  Taken from the Conan extension, will probably need some more work for the final JC rules, but functional for the quick start

If you have any feedback or comments, please drop me a note and let me know, I would love to hear your ideas and thoughts on this project!

FOR HELIUM!

Monday, February 5, 2018

JC: FG Extension Update.

As expected I managed to get sometime to work on the project over the weekend. I sadly squandered some of my Saturday in Age of Conan, and although I didn't stream the session I did managed to escape Tortage and begin my quest into the main world.

Even having squandered that time I managed to get a fair it done.

Completed
  • Finish inventory list.
    • Completed the core inventory list on the main screen, pulls from same source as the MORECORE inventory tab.
  • Add talent list.
    • Completed a working list that ties to the talents tab of the MORECORE sheet.
  • Add weapons list.
    • Completed the Weapons list using the 2d20 weapons class, rollable, may need a couple of tweaks, but essentially functional.
  • Create graphics for Momentum, Threat and Luck.
    • Created momentum tokens, Luck tokens and threat tokens. Will re-design the luck tokens in the future.
  • Create momentum, luck and threat counters as well as spends.
    • Added selectable tokens for luck and momentum.
    • Momentum can be On, Off, Selected or disabled.
    • Momentum can be spent by double clicking the spend button.

To Do
  • Stress boxes
  • Spend button for Luck
  • Chat messages for momentum and luck spends
  • Finish adding in the stat rollers and resolve the static anchor issues


Latest version of the Character sheet showing Inventory, Talents, weapons, Momentum and Luck.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Further updates and a screenshot on the JC: FG extension.

Yesterday I gave a quick overview of the extension I am working on. I laid out a few things I felt I needed to complete. Here they are again in review so we can see what I have accomplished in the last day or so.

TO DO
  • Finish inventory list.
  • Add talent list.
  • Add weapons list.
  • Create graphics for Momentum, Threat and Luck.
  • Create momentum, luck and threat counters as well as spends.

And some new additions
  • Stress boxes

1. Add Weapon list -- Complete
  • I added the frame and pulled the weapon class and reference window from the Conan ruleset and renamed it to "2d20_weapon"
  • Copied over the "strings" document as the weapons entry window relies on it for labels.

2. Add Talents Frame -- In Progress
  • I have added the frame to hold the list, but not the list itself

3. Luck, Momentum and Threat Counters -- In Progress
  • Not much progress here, but I added frames for notes and flaws, so I know where I can place the counters.
4. Misc Bug fix -- In Progress
  • I noted today I had created a control to hold the number of dice being rolled as a stringfield and not a numberfield so it was throwing a type mismatch.

That is it for actual updates, but in the end I have worked on it for not much more than an hour since the last update, either way, here is a screenshot of the current character sheet

New version of the Character sheet showing addition of d20 selectors, weapons lists and various new frames.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

FG: John Carter Update & New Channel Video

I got a little more time to work on the JC: Adventures on a Dying World Fantasy Grounds extension. Currently working towards a functional quickstart setup.

Over the past few days I got the lists working for inventory and a set of 5 d20s that can be clicked on and off to determine the number you are going to roll. The dice graphics are the "Helium" d20s from the kickstart page. At present it is a column of 5 dice. 2 highlighted at all times and 3 greyed out that can be toggled on and off. Once the roll is completed it returns the 3 optional dice to their greyed out state.

I need to add a list for the weapons, which I will most likely pull from the Conan system as I am fairly happy with that and add a list for the Talents area. Finally I need to incorporate momentum/threat spends and graphics. It would also be nice to get the custom damage dice operational, which will be another pull from the Conan extension.

So that list looks like this:

TO DO
  • Finish inventory list.
  • Add talent list.
  • Add weapons list.
  • Create graphics for Momentum, Threat and Luck.
  • Create momentum, luck and threat counters as well as spends.

In other news I have almost finished the next crafting video for the channel, which will have a slightly new format, which I hope people enjoy.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

FOR HELIUM! A John Carter 2d20 adventure.

The air was still as the graceful airship slid over the horizon and slowed over the moss covered plains of Barsoom. The ship wasn’t as massive as one of the ships of war, only a small scout vessel, but it stlll proudly flew the colors of Helium. In moments, it settled softly on the ground and two of the Red Men of Helium emerged.

Standing on the plains of Barsoom the two scouts of Helium looked around nervously. They were waiting for a party of green men to rendezvous with them and they knew dealings with these savages could be deadly. However, the knowledge they had of places the Red Men did not go made the danger acceptable to Hor Zak.

Hor Zak, was commander of the scout mission and knew the knowledge of the Green Men could be had, for a price. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity they saw three of the Green Men approaching lazily on their thoats. The mounts and their riders steadily grew larger, as the scouts waited, until the scale of both the Green Men and thoats was impressive.

Finally reigning in beside the two Red Men, they dismounted. Their leader, towering over the scouts, came forward and offering the customary greeting said, ”Hor Zak. “

The scout nodded and returned the customary greeting, “Hortan Gur.”, and then turned to his companion, “Larok! Bring up the chest!”

“Yes, my Dwar!” was the man’s reply as he disappeared for a moment and brought back a small chest full of ornaments of gold and silver from their small ship.

The eyes of all three Green Men turned to look upon the ornaments, and after a brief discussion nodded to each other. The other two loaded the chest, mounted their thoats and waited for their leader to join them. Hortan Gur spoke, “This will do nicely Hor Zak, here is the map we spoke of at our last meeting. Know that my people will not take kindly to intrusion. Until we have further business. “

With the words spoken Hortan Gur, Green Man of Artol mounted his thoat, and his small party returned the way they came.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Some time Later ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You stand among your fellow brothers in arms in a vast auditorium deep within the walls of Helium. At the front of the hall stands the beautiful Deja Thoris, Princess of Helium. Her voice sounds clear and true, nearly musical, as she addresses the assembled throng, “Warriors of Helium! I seek volunteers to go to Artol in search of lost knowledge from the old civilizations. A work that could change Barsoom forever! “

Her words echo across the auditorium as a murmur passes over the assembled.

Her words continue, “I will not tell you it will be easy or that the way will not be perilous. The Green Men of Artol will not take kindly to our intrusion, and where they are not, there will almost certainly be the Great White Apes. Who among you will step forward and face the wilds of Barsoom? Who among you will sacrifice for your Princess? FOR BARSOOM!?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Game Details ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you are interested in playing, drop me a line. The current day is February 7th @ 6pm MST! Looking to stream via youtube!

Running on Fantasy Grounds and Discord with pre-generated soldiers of Helium.

Monday, January 29, 2018

John Carter of Mars: FG Extension

I've spent a little more time on the extension for John Carter of Mars. Now that we have the quick start and a basic feel for the rules I have begin adding die rollers and damage trackers into the extension. The image below shows the current iteration of the character sheet.


I need to re-work the frame graphics a little, as well as the title, but those don't really change functionality so I am concentrating on getting equipment and talents operational, as well as a dice selector so you can choose bonus dice when rolling checks.

As you can see I have die rollers added to the attributes column for cunning, and will add these to the remaining rows in the coming days.

There are a few automation things to work on as well, but they are nice to haves and some still need to be implemented on the Conan extensions as well.

If you have comments please drop them below, I would love to hear your feedback.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Conan 2d20 review. How clunky is it? A comparison with Pathfinder.

I have seen a lot of posts. People often read the Conan 2d20 rules and decide without playing them that they are too clunky. They have too many fiddly bits and they are just too slow.

But are they? Does Conan 2d20 present us with a system that is actually clunkier? I aim to answer this in this post by comparing a combat through multiple systems to see how they stack up.

For simplicity our encounter will start with a lone fighter, "Conal", breaking into a dark tomb to retrieve some long forgotten treasure. In an ancient tomb he is attacked by five skeletons.

Conan Zone Layout
Pathfinder Grid Layout

-- Conan 2d20 --

Conal
Agility: 13
Melee: Ex 5, Fc 5. TN 17/5
Coordination: 10
Parry: Ex 3, Fc 3. TN 13/3
Brawn: 12, +3cd
Fortune: 3
Broadsword: R2, 5cd, parrying
Shield: R2, 3cd, 1H, parrying, Shield 2
Armor = soak 2 everywhere.
Vigor: 13
Resolve: 10
Talents: No Mercy (equivalent 3 ranks): Re-roll xCDs

Skeletons (M)
Agility: 9
Combat: 2. TN 11/2
Pitted Sword: R2, 5cd, parrying
Armor: 2
Vigor: 5
Resolve: 8
Fear: 1

DOOM POOL: 3

Round 1

Conal
Conal goes first (Don't need to roll initiative in Conan, PCs always start unless interrupted by a GM doom spend)
Conal moves into a new zone(minor action)
Conal attacks the skeleton. (standard action)
Conal pays 3 doom into the pool and rolls 5d20. DOOM=6
Conal attacks and rolls 5d20 vs D1: 4,15,11,16,1 = 7 successes = 6 Momentum.
Conal rolls 8cd for damage: 5,2,3,4,3,2,3,5. Re-rolls 3 misses, rolls 3,4,4. tough luck. Damage = 6.
Conal spends 1 momentum for 2 points of soak ignored.
Conal does 6 vigor damage, causing a wound, destroying the skeleton.
Remaining momentum to the group pool. MOMENTUM=4
Conal approaches the first skeleton and raises his sword, striking the abomination. Although his sword blow is not devastating it slashes past a week spot in the skeletons ancient armor, through the torso reducing the bones to a broken and collapsed mess.

Skeletons
Skeletons form a mob.
The remaining 4 skeletons all move to engage Conal. They form a mob giving them extra attack dice.
Skeleton mob rolls 4d20+3d20 from doom. DOOM = 3
Conal attempts to parry and rolls 5d20, buying 3 dice with momentum. MOMENTUM=1
Skeletons attack and roll 8d20 vs D1: 6,11,16,11,14,15,4,18 = 4 successes = 3 momentum.
Conal parries and rolls 5d20 vs D1: 4,16,1,11,9 = 5 successes = 4 momentum.
Conal successfully parries the mob of skeletons. MOMENTUM=2
The shambling mob approaches Conal and with only the noise of metal on bone the 4 raise and slice at Conal, with a terrific effort Conal wards off the blows, feeling as if he has gained the upper hand on this undead horde.

Round 2

MOMENTUM reduces by 1.
MOMENTUM: 1
Conal
Conal pays 1 doom into the pool, uses 1 point of momentum and 1 fortune and rolls 5d20 against the mob of skeletons. DOOM = 4
Conal rolls 5d20 vs D1: 20,10,14,8,1 = 5 successes = 4 momentum. MOMENTUM=5. Complication. DOOM=6
Conal rolls 8cd for damage: 6,4,6,6,2,4,3,5. Re-rolls 3 misses, rolls 3,2,4. Damage=8.
Conal spends 2 momentum to increase damage to 10.
Conal spends 1 momentum for 2 points of soak ignored. MOMENTUM=2
Conal does 5 points of vigor to the first skeleton destroying it. 5 damage is carried to the next skeleton. 2 skeletons remain.
Taking advantage of the skeletons being pushed back by his parry, Conal swings a deadly arc of steal crashing through two of the skeletons reducing them to dust.
Conal spends 1 point of momentum and strikes at the remaining skeletons with his shield (Dual Wield, Swift action)
Conal kills 2 with a sword and 2 with his shield.
Conal spends 1 point on an extra die and 2 into the doom pool. DOOM=8
Conal rolls 5d20 vs D2 (D1 +1 for swift action): 11,17,1,19,14 = 5 successes = 3 momentum. MOMENTUM=4
Conal rolls 6cd for his shield. 1,3,4,3,3,5. Re-rolls 3 misses, rolls 2,3,2. Damage = 6.
Conal spends 4 Momentum to bring his damage to 5 and spends one point of doom to gain 2 points of soak being ignored.
Conal causes the other two skeletons 1 wound each.
As Conal's sword slices through two of the skeletons, he lashes out at the other two with his shield. With a terrific crash the impact reduces the remaining two skeletons do nothing more than a pile of bones and a slight haze of dust in the air

-- Pathfinder --


Conal
Fighter
Human Level 1
STR: 17 +3 (attack rolls, Damage rolls)
DEX: 14 +2 (Armor class, initiative)
CON: 14 +2
HP: 12
Longsword DMG: 1d8 Crit: 19–20/×2
Chainmail AC:+6 Max Dex Bonus:+2 ACP:–5 Spell Failure: 30% move: 20 ft.
Shield, light steel: AC:+1 ACP:–1 Spell Failure: 5%
Power attack, Cleave
AC: 10+6+1+2=19
MELEE ATTACK BONUS: 1+3=+4

Skeletons
AC: 16
Hp: 4
Speed 30'
broken scimitar +0 (1d6)
Base Attack = +0
FEATS Improved initiative (+4 initiative)

Round 1

Roll for Initiative
Rolled and sorter for order
Skeleton 5: 20+4 = 24
Skeleton 2: 17+4 = 21
Skeleton 4: 10+4 = 14
Skeleton 3: 9+4 = 13
Skeleton 1: 6+4 = 10
Conal: 4+2 = 6

Skeletons
Skeleton 5 moves to engage Conal and rolls a d20 for his attack. Rolls 15. Conal's AC = 19.
Skeletons move to attack.

Skeleton 2 moves forward 30'
Skeleton 4 moves and attacks Conal. Rolls a d20 and scores a 9. Not enough to beat Conal's AC.
Skeleton 3 moves up and attacks Conal as well. Skeleton 3 is opposite Skeleton 4 and so gains a +2 flanking bonus. Rolls it's 20. Gets an 8+2=10. Still fails to strike Conal.
Skeleton 1 moves forward 30'
The skeletons advance quicker than the undead should be able to. Three reach Conal with 2 close on their heals. Their sword swings are ineffectual, a combination of armor and dexterity cause all three to miss

Conal
Conal attacks Skeleton 4. Rolls his d20 and rolls 9. +4 = 13. Not enough to defeat the skeleton's AC.
Conal being pressed back by the horde of bones strikes wildly but fails to land an effective blow against the skeletons.

Round 2

Initiative
Skeleton 5
Skeleton 2
Skeleton 4
Skeleton 3
Skeleton 1
Conal

Skeletons
Remaining 2 skeletons close.  All attack and miss.
Skeleton 5 swings at Conal! Rolls a d20. 12. not good enough.
Skeleton 2 moves and attacks Conal. Rolls a d20. 12. Not enough.
Skeleton 4 attacks Conal. d20. 16+2 flanking = 18. Not enough.
Skeleton 3 swings. D20. 7+2 flanking, misses.
Skeleton 1 moves up and swings. 4...Misses.



Conal
Conal strikes at Skeleton 4 and rolling a d20, gets a 14+4=18! A HIT!
Conal rolls 1d8 for damage and gains a +3 from attributes. He rolls a 5+3=8! A skeleton falls!
Conal using cleave strikes at Skeleton 2! He rolls a d20 and scores a 15+4 = 19! Another hit
Conal rolls a 1d8 and scores a 2, but with his +3 it becomes a 5 and a second skeleton falls.
Conal slashes out at the skeleton beside him, his blade passing easily across the bones reducing it to dust, his deadly arc continuing in a devastating attack, striking down a second skeleton

Round 3

Initiative
Skeleton 5
Skeleton 3
Skeleton 1
Conal

Skeletons
Skeleton 5 swings out, this time enjoying a flanking bonus, and Conal is at a -2 for his AC from using Cleave.
The skeleton's D20 roll is a 16. +2 = 18, enough to hit Conal with his temporary AC of 17.
Skeleton 5 rolls a 1d6 for damage and scores a 5.
Skeleton 3 stikes next enjoying the same bonuses as his cohort. Rolls a 19. Also enough to strike Conal.
Skeleton 3 rolls a 1d6 for damage and scores a 6.
Conal has suffered 11 damage, leaving him a single hit point.
Skeleton 1 lashes out at Conal, rolling a 13 on a d20. Not enough to hit Conal, even with his -2 AC
Unbalanced by his massive attack two of the skeletons slice out with ancient steel, blood flows and Conal barely blocks the third blade from ending his life.

Conal
Conal swings at Skeleton 5. He rolls 6 on his d20, missing the Skeleton.
Conal staggers and ineffectually swings back at the undead seeking to have him join them.

Round 4

Initiative
Skeleton 5
Skeleton 3
Skeleton 1
Conal

Skeletons
Skeleton 5 rolls a 4, +2 flanking isn't enough to strike Conal.
Skeleton 3 swings and rolls a 17. +2 = 19. Enough to hit Conal.
Skeleton 3 rolls damage. and rolls a 2. Conal only had 1 HP left and so it reduced to -1 and dying.

-- Analysis --

Number of Rounds
Conan-2d20: 2
Pathfinder: 4
Verdict: Conan resolves combat faster.

Number of d20s
Conan-2d20: 22 in 4 rolls
Pathfinder: 16 in 16 rolls
Verdict: This depends on if you like dice pools. We roll more dice in Conan. We roll more often in Pathfinder. Time wise I suspect Conan will win here as I do not think each combat roll in Conan-2d20 will take 4x the time to resolve, and there are times it will be just as fast in my experience

Damage dice
Conan-2d20: I didn't count this. You roll A LOT of damage dice.
Pathfinder: Way less dice to resolve damage
Verdict: I am going to go with Pathfinder. It's simpler to roll a single die and things can be sped up by just rolling damage with your attack die. The upside for Conan-2d20 is with it's effects you can have a lot more interesting things to happen. More damage, grappling, stunning etc.

Narrative guidance
Conan-2d20: Each roll you make tells you what has occurred. How much you were successful by, if your weapon pierced armor etc.
Pathfinder: While providing some it is generally obscured by choosing a simpler resolution
Verdict: Conan, in my opinion provides the player and GM with more ideas about what is actually happening.

-- Final Thoughts --

I am not here to tell you which system is better. I simply wanted to compare two systems, one I feel is a popular game with a combat system people seem to enjoy, and the other a system that often gets a bad rap. The system in Conan reads poorly, but in actual play is a fun and interesting combat system. It is not without it's problems, but all games have some.

One of the interesting things about this comparison is seeing the hero die in Pathfinder, having this occur in Conan against enemies like this is practically unheard of. The system provides players with characters which are by all definitions, heroic.

If you have any comments, I would love to hear them!