'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

Friday, March 8, 2019

Friday's Forgotten Fiends: Dweller of Nethuns

Welcome back to another installment of Friday's Forgotten Fiends! Custom monsters for your RPG table feature stat blocks for Conan 2d20 and Dungeons and Dragons 5e as well as paper 28mm miniatures and VTT tokens!

Aindal steped through the rickety door and began his descent. The stone steps reached down into darkess, partially illuminated by the light cascading through the door. After a few steps, the door slowly creaked closed behind him, cutting off what little light there was. After a moment in the darkness his eyes began to pick out small bits of light here and there creeping into this dark chamber from boarded up windows high above him.

After another moment he drew out a torch and struck flint to steel sending hit sparks onto the waiting torch. Soon after the dancing flame revealed the huge cellar to him, although it sat below a large warehouse on the docks he was not prepared for the shere size of this place. The stairs wound down a good thirty feet into the earth. Stone and wood pushed back the earth and in some places, surely held back the ocean as well. As his eyes took in the place it was clear no one had set foot into this ancient chamber in some time. The middle held a dark pool of water, steps surrounded the opening leading down into the pool like an inverted dais, and on one side a large stone slab that could be nothing but a large altar, used for sacrifice.

As Aindal made is way around the space, shining eyes watched him from below the surface of the pool. It had been a long time since any of the humans had come down into this place. It had been forced to subsist on rats, trapped in this infernal place. Now it sensed not only food, but escape. It remained nearly motionless within the pool, waiting.

Slowly the explorations of Aindal brought him closer to the pool, and then as his the hair on his arm stood on end he paused. Something was wrong. He surveyed the room and saw nothing, and as his eyes swung back to the darkness of the pool, he stepped closer raising his torch. There he saw it a small ripple, his eyes narrowed.

Suddenly a fury of water, tentacles and teeth came at him, with what was clearly the intent o make him food. But as It came at him, Aindal rolled like a jungle animal and in one swift motion drew his sword in a slashing arc into the beasts side as even as his torch was knocked to the ground. With a keening howl It spun and hissed some ancient long forgotten curse at him. Now Aindal saw his attacker clearly, more fish than man, it's body adorned with spiny fins and it's arms replaced by tentacles, and it's legs like some unholy mermaid. It let out a low keening as it raised up on it's body preparing to strike. The two circled each other warily as the torch began to die, casting the room back into darkness.....


Dweller of Nethuns


The Deep Ones are creatures in the Cthulhu Mythos of H. P. Lovecraft. The beings first appeared in Lovecraft's novella The Shadow Over Innsmouth (1931), but were already hinted at in the early short story "Dagon". The Deep Ones are a race of intelligent ocean-dwelling creatures, approximately human-shaped but with a fishy, froggy appearance. They regularly mate with humans along the coast, creating societies of hybrids. -- Wikipedia, Deep Ones

Being an invention of Lovecraft it is not surprising to see these show up in a Conan game based around the the works of Robert E Howard. The Conan 2d20 Core book on page 334 lists them as "Dwellers of the Deep", and I have certainly used them as is. I however thought it might be fun to morph them a little to be a different strain of Dweller that is specifically rooted to this particular incarnation of this unholy terror of the depths, Nethuns. And so I give to you the Dweller of Nethuns.

The Conan 2d20 stats are based are the dweller stats and the Dungeons and Dragons 5e stats are based around the Sahuagin, although tougher. I hope you enjoy and I would love to hear you experiences with them in either system.

Conan 2d20

D&D 5e

VTT Tokens

Paper Minis!



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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Conan the Barbarian: Issue #4 (2019) "The King in the Cage"

Welcome back! I believe the frequency of these is supposed to be every couple of weeks, so this one is a little late, published nearly a month since #3. Issue 5 is slated for April, so it looks like it has probably shifted in frequency to a monthly schedule


Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Gerardo Zaffino
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: VC's Travis Lanham
Cover Artist: Esad Ribic

Well. I am not 100% sure what to make of this issue, and the review of it without spoilers will be difficult. We certainly see a lot of the key hallmarks of Conan. For me it doesn't feel much like a Conan tale, and it doesn't seem to fit in among the rest of the stories we have seen thus far.

We do see a new artist on this issue, Gerardo Zaffino, who's style is closer to what we are seeing in Savage Sword. It is another loose almost savage, style that I know some people will not like, especially in comparison to the previous art of this book by Asrar. All that being said, Zaffino produces some excellent drawings in this issue of "Conan the Barbarian".

Art:

Story:

Cover:

Sword & Sorcery:


My rating this month is 3.5 out of 5 Skulls of My Enemies!

This is the lowest rating I have given this book since it was released. I just felt it didn't fit into the Conan mythos as well, despite it having some solid basis of Howard canon behind it. The art is good and there are parts I really did like, but overall this issue, for me at least, wasn't as good as we have seen in the past. Perhaps this story will be more directly continued in a later issue.

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Tuesday, March 5, 2019

DOTAR SOJAT! John Carter of Mars RPG by Modiphius!

On Thursday my pledge for John Carter of Mars RPG arrived. Pretty exciting! I first wrote about this back in January 2018 when Modiphius announced this would be a thing. Since then those of us who are backers have watched this come together, seeing initial pdfs and pictures of miniatures. For me a good kickstarter maintains excitement for the product even after the kickstarter is complete. Modiphius has done a pretty good job with this with Conan and continues this with John Carter(JCoM), being plugged into the community and sending regular updates.

I did not get an all in pledge, but I did get what I thought was a pretty good approximation of that, DOTAR SOJAT, gave me all the books, miniatures, dice etc. Pretty much everything. Basically I got everything except for the fancy leather bound versions of the book, notebook and the dice bag; nice to haves, but not necessities.

This is the first of two shipments for my pledge. As you can see on the right, the expected delivery was July 2018, and it is now Feb 2019. The pledge fulfillment is late, but it's not several years late, certainly well within my expectations on hitting delivery date targets. The second shipment is supposed to ship late 2019, but mid 2020 would be more likely in my experience. Only time will tell! I also ordered a set of the airship tiles so I could play with miniatures but use less crafted terrain, and well.....Airships....

I am almost sure most of you are here to look at pictures and hear my thoughts on the physical products. To that end I took a lot of pictures and have spent some time with the physical products, although I have not assembled the miniatures.

The Packaging.

We will start with what I see when I open the box. Lots of packaging, not as cool as what I got with Monolith's Claustrophobia, but it appears sufficient to get the product shipped to my door in one piece, after looking through it all, I would say it was successful.

In the Box.

After removing the air packs we can see all of the goodies a little more clearly. Well the dice and miniatures anyhow, there is so many of these the books remain unseen, hidden, below the horde of Barsoom!

Dice.

Lots and lots of dice. 15 d20s and 18 combat dice that will assuredly be pressed into service for Conan as well!

The dice are clean and easy to read with the combat dice eliminating having numbers on them as well to clarify what is damage and what is not. I approve. D6s are the most common dice out there, we really don't need to press our special dice into service to roll as a d6.

Blister Packs.

The resin miniatures are all packed in sealed blister packs. A few are in blister packs that are not sealed, but they were secure for me and had not popped open in transit. Inside the figures are all in small ziploc bags preventing them from moving around freely within the blister.

Miniatures.

Resin figures are a little new to me so I wanted to check them out when I got them. The casts look nice, although there is a little flashing. I think I might actually prefer big obvious flashing like this to a tiny small occasional amount I generally miss till I am painting.

The material is grey and has a little flex in it, not something like Bones, but not rigid either. They will look bad ass painted.

White Ape.

Another shot of one of the miniatures showing the detail of the figures.

Notebook.

Next up are a few photos from the notebook. It has a great cover, elastic closure and integrated cloth bookmark. It's actually pretty similar in size and function to what I currently use. It does have a few JCoM specific pages though.

Notebook Cont.

A shot of the interior of the book showing it's integrated character sheet.

Notebook Cont.

My quick look showed most of the other pages to be blank lined pages with a few grid pages in there as well.

Toolkit

A shot of the interior of the book showing it's integrated character sheet.

Toolkit Cont.

The Conan Toolkit was a great resource and I expect nothing less from this, although I've not had time to go over it in detail..

Screen

Second half of the toolkit package. I am not a big user of screens, but this one looks like a great selection of reference materials, that I of course didn't take a photo of.

Slipcase

A lovely, robust, slipcase to hold the core book and the campign book with your more conventionally formatted books.

Clipcase cont.

The two books inside the slipcase.

Core Book

Quick shot inside the core book. The pages in these books feel thinner and more glossy than what we see in the Conan books. Hopefully that doesn't translate into page tears in the future.

Campaign Book

Easily my favorite of the two covers. Love it.

Campaign Book

Interior shot of some of the bad guys. I would have preferred cool art for these, but I don't hate the miniature images either.

Campaign Book

Double interior cover map of Barsoom. Pretty cool interior art.

Ship Tiles

I wasn't sure what to expect here. I have heard the Star Trek tiles are scaled a little small, and I didn't get any of the Conan tiles. In the end size and art wise these turned out pretty excellent.

Ship Tile Warpage

The only down side is once removed from their shrink wrap they immediately took a slight warp. I live in a dry climate and it's the middle of winter and a cold snap. Slightly dissapointing, but I doubt it will be a long term issue.

Overall it is a cool set of books and accessories from a loved and formative work of Sci-fi. The format isn't even as bad as many people, myself included, feared. As I mentioned above I do have a few concerns, but overall the books and such look excellent and well put together.

It is something I will love having on my shelf and enjoy playing. Who doesn't want to play some good old fashioned sci-fi set on the old ideas of what Mars might have been?

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Friday, March 1, 2019

Friday's Forgotten Fiends: The Hyborian Fossa

Welcome back to another installment of Friday's Forgotten Fiends! Custom monsters for your RPG table feature stat blocks for Conan 2d20 and Dungeons and Dragons 5e as well as paper 28mm miniatures and VTT tokens!

The group of men moved deeper into the jungle, a short while earlier they had spotted the first signs of the ruined city. Now they searched deeper into the jungles of the Black Kingdom seeking an entrance to this mythical place. Ruined stones emerged from the emerald colored foliage, serving as a kind of marker for the party of Stygians. Finally they stood on ancient flagstones, a road, leading between two ruined pillars and into the jungle.

Following this ancient road they came to a small clearing in the jungle and beyond lay an intact marble building, all but invisible in the dense foliage. The largest man of the group excitedly pointed at the low structure, "Come! The treasure awaits!", and move carelessly into the clearing before the building.

Before anyone could react the jungle around the clearing moved and in an instant several large, long, sleek, almost feline beasts sprang into the opening, their eyes and teeth flashing at what they clearly saw as prey. The big man, slowly drew his sword slowly, not making any sudden moves. As the blade barely cleared it's sheath the first of the beasts pounced, as if sensing the intent of the man. It's teeth and claws flashed in the sunlight as the sword as brought up barely fending off the first of these creatures, as the second one leaped onto his back sinking its teeth into his shoulder.......

You will have to bear with me for a moment as I discuss something pretty non-Hyborian age. Many years ago I watched a little movie called Madagascar. In it the bad guys are the FOSSA, something I had never heard of. I just assumed I was supposed to know about what they were trying to represent. As it turns out Madagascar is just a place with animals that don't exist elsewhere, it is something called "megadiverse", and I had no idea what these creatures were.

70% of species that inhabit these islands are totally unique in the world. Its great richness of biodiversity goes from lemurs, mongoose, chameleons, bats, foxes... Additionally, during the last decade 40 mammals, 69 amphibians, 61 reptiles, 42 invertebrates and 385 new plants were discovered within its territory.
-https://www.activesustainability.com/environment/top-10-countries-in-biodiversity/#4

Fast forward to now and I am looking for new and interesting creatures that once populated our world to be thrown in as savage beasts of the Hyborian Age. The fossa as depicted in that fun romp of a movie is fairly small at about 2.5 feet long and 20lbs, and so interesting but maybe not exactly what I am looking for. Now the Cryptoprocta Spelea is more what we are looking for, or at least more evidence for larger animals. This Giant Fossa is closer to 3.5 feet long, weighing in at twice that of it's smaller relative at about 40lbs.

Despite the depictions in the movie the modern fossa is generally thought of as solitary, although they have been observed to cooperate and share kills, which would make them a *LOT* more interesting. Going along with that our new species will be even larger, more like cougar sized and they will hunt in packs, so don't set these individually on your players!

These cat like predators are potentially awesome foes for your sword and sorcery game, realistic and less well known than other creatures such as sabertooth tigers.

Ok enough preamble and talk of children's cartoons.......Welcome to an Age Undreamed Of......

Cryptoprocta Hyborius. The Hyborian Fossa.

Conan 2d20

D&D 5e

VTT Tokens

Paper Minis!



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