Opening with a brief history of Robert E. Howard's creation of Conan, interspersed with quotations from the books, this work boldly proclaims that this Conan game, unlike any of its predecessors, has been produced in collaboration with serious scholars of Howard's work and thus is closer to the original concept than any other.
Next, Chapter 2: The Hyborian Age introduces the setting, describing the nations that populate this rich setting and discussing their loose relationship with real-world history, before we move on to Chapter 3: Basic Rules. This explains enough of the game mechanics to enable you to understand the notations on the seven pre-generated characters provided, and - of course - to play the sample adventure presented here. There's a brief overview of attributes and skills, then it gets down to the detail of how they are actually used in play. This includes the concept of Complications (adverse events that happen when you roll a natural 20) and Momentum (a pool of advantage gained by achieving more successes than you need, which can be used to boost the effectiveness of what you are doing straight away or any action taken shortly thereafter... or even made available to your colleagues). The GM meanwhile accumulates Doom, to use against the party. Some examples are given to show how the system works. Cnapter 4: Action Scenes then explains how combat works. Rather confusingly (as the rest of the rules are easy to understand) a weird symbol that looks like an eagle suddenly appears, which refers to custom 'combat dice' that have been produced for this game... and are explained a few pages later. Fortunately ordinary six-sided dice will do the job just fine.
Next comes the adventure itself, To Race the Thunder. This sets the party amidst a Pictish uprising on the banks of the Thunder River near Fort Tuscelan, with plenty of opportunities to brawl as they flee to safety. Both Picts and the local wildlife will be after them as they race to warn the Fort and other settlers... and to save their own skins! It's no walk in the park, with a tough pitched battle and encounter with a Pictish shaman as a finale.
The adventure provides a bit of excitement and some good exercise (not just for the sword arm!), and should give your group a feel of the sort of action they can expect when playing this game. It does capture the rougher, more combat-oriented aspects of Conan well and bodes well for the full game.
Return to Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of Quick Start page.
Reviewed: 14 February 2017