Thursday, January 3, 2013

CROM! First Try at Conan-style Adventure Rules

I recently picked up the Crom rules from Matakishi’s Tea House and decided to give them a try on a snowy Saturday.

The rules are simple, fun, and fit the genre excellently. One of the players said that they so gave him the Conan mood, he went home and watched the Arnold movie after he left.

The mechanics are quite simple. Each character has a pool of dice that, at the beginning of the turn, allocates the dice to movement, combat, or special (everything else, magic, opening locks, etc.). Sequence is by card but dice allocated to special can be used to grab the initiative to move first.

Whatever is rolled on the movement dice is the number of inches moved.

Combat is resolved by the attacker deciding how many dice he wants to devote to an attack and then the defender chooses how many dice to use for defending against the attack. Both roll and the higher number wins, inflicting 2 points of damage plus 1 point of damage for each “6” that is rolled. Hits reduce the number of dice in the pool.

Special tasks require target numbers to be rolled: “6” for an average task, “12” for a difficult task.

Movement, combat and specials can be done in any combination. A player may voluntarily give up a dice for the duration of the scenario to count it as an automatic “6”

Main characters have large dice pools while lesser figures have only a few dice to spend and may have specific limits on how they are allocated. Thus Conan has 16 dice to divide any way he wishes while an average minion has only 2 movement dice and 2 combat dice. This allows for the recreation of the heroes reeving and smiting huge hordes of minions.

Magic is mostly for summoning evil creatures from another dimension (Conan actually took place in the Cthulhu universe) and lots of special dice are needed, allowing for interruption by any mighty-thewed barbarian who might happen by.

The only thing we thought that might need tweaking is the missile combat rules. Shooting is handled by the same rules as combat, attacker and defender roll dice to determine who wins except if the attacker loses they don’t suffer any hits. Because the table on which the game is played is intended to be small, there are no ranges for bows and such, the only limit is line of sight.

In our game, this led to the one player who was running Subotai, Conan’s sidekick from the original Arnold movie, to become the team sniper. He set up on the nearest high point and knocked off minions and whittled down major baddies for the other heroes to finish off in hand to hand.

We talked about adding some range modifiers or even some additional dice penalty for multiple shots taken in the same turn. This was the only problem we had with a delightful set of rules.

The rules contain a mini-campaign of 5 or 6 linked scenarios and this is what we ran with some modifications. I had three players who ran Conan, Red Sonja, and Subotai. They later picked up the wizard based on the character played by Mako in the movie. The goal was to rescue a princess who had been kidnapped by evil cultists to sacrifice her as part of a summoning ritual. Along the way they had to find the wizard, an ancient crown and a magic sword to fight the great evil. The final scenario had them breaking up the sacrifice. Below are some pictures from the game.

Slavers' Den in Shem where our heroes must rescue a wizard (We combined a couple of the scenarios from the rule set here).

Slavers' camp

Harassing the wrong lady

A rather inhospitable house of hospitality

Storming the prison

Surprising a Snake Priest

"The key's on the wall"

An early archeological dig

Disturbed scorpion

Cavern of Ancient Kings

Wako ambushed by skeletons

Inside the tomb of King Kull

The jungles of Kush

The Dark Citadel of Thoth Amon

A princess in distress

Battling to the rescue

Demon from another plane

"My Hero!"


Anonymous said...

Stunning effort!
I'll do something about the missile rules, I'm not 100% happy but don't want them to be complicated. There'll be a rules, scenario and extras supplement soonish.

Anonymous said...

I'm not bloody anonymous (I hate Blogger)

PMMDJ said...

We just tried out CROM! last month as well, though your boards put our setup to shame. Nicely done!