Sunday, October 13, 2013

Conan the Barbarian RPG. FAE/D&D 3.5 conversion.

CONAN Fate Accelerated Edition

Know, oh Fate lover, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars. Conan FAE edition is designed for people who wish to adventure in the world of Hyboria. The land crafted by Robert E. Howard for his iconic sword and sorcery hero Conan of Cimmeria.

To properly use this hack there are three things players should have. First, a working knowledge of the Hyborian world as depicted by Howard, De Camp, Jordan, Thomas and the various others who brought Conan to life in novels, short stories and comics. For a PDF of this mod, you can find it HERE. And a bonus Character Sheet.  As another resource thanks to +James Forest here is a fantastic primer on the Hyborian world written by Rowan Walkingwolf.

Second, is a copy of the Mongoose Games Conan RPG (currently out of print). This game is in essence a blend of the 3.5 D&D version of Mongooses Conan setting, FAE and Fate. Concepts like Class and Race are described in the Mongoose RPG in great detail and are used as point of reference for several of the Aspects and Stunts in this game.

Third, is a copy of Evil Hats, Fate Accelerated Edition and Fate Core. This game uses some mechanics from both and players should have access to these rules in order to make sense of what is to follow.


The High Concept and Trouble Aspects remain the same. The three remaining Aspects are specific to Conan FAE.

Race – The varied peoples of Howard’s Hyboria are very distinctive. The reactions of a civilized Aquilonian will vary widely from a citizen of dark and mysterious Stygia. The land from which a character hails will have a great deal of bearing as to who she is and how she interacts with other cultures. This Aspect can easily be Invoked or Compelled for various social reasons that are obvious if you are familiar with Howard’s work.

Class – Players have several classes to choose from. Barbarian, Soldier, Thief, etc. This aspect describes who the character is from a professional point of view. Exactly like classes in D&D and in extension the Conan RPG. Feel free to elaborate on the classes as you see fit. For example a Scholar could be a “Priest of Mitra” or a Barbarian could be a “Savage Warrior of the Frozen North” or a Soldier could be a “Stalwart Gunderman Mercenary.”

Reputation – A brief description of what the character is known for or stands for. While high concept is the way the character thinks of herself, the characters reputation represents what others think of her.


Instead of the regular FAE approaches, Conan uses the standard statistic line from Dungeons and Dragons. Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Wisdom, Intelligence and Charisma. Think of them as equivalents to Strength = Forceful, Dexterity = Quick/Sneaky, Wisdom = Careful, Intelligence = Clever and Charisma = Flashy. Constitution can be a form of Forceful but also works much like the Physique Skill in Fate Core, granting more stress and/or consequence boxes as described on page 118 of the Fate Core book. Wisdom also acts like the Will skill in Fate Core when it comes to Mental Stress boxes.

It is easy to simply transfer a characters Ability Modifier straight to the Approach bonus. For example a Strength stat of 18 in D&D has a bonus of +4 while a Charisma of 8 would be a -1. Those bonuses would carry over directly. If not converting from the Mongoose version of Conan follow the regular rules for Approaches in the Fate Accelerated rule book.

Stress and Consequences

Conan uses the Stress and Consequences found in Fate Core. There are two Tracks, Mental and Physical which can be boosted by the Wisdom (which acts exactly like Will) and Constitution (which acts exactly like Physique) respectively. The addition of the Mental track to the regular FAE system is done to accommodate the horror aspect in Howard’s world and should be used to track the consequences of being exposed to the myriad horrors of the outer dark that are part of the stories in Hyboria.


Players get three Stunts for Conan FAE. Players are encouraged to use the Feats and Class Abilities from the Mongoose Conan RPG as templates for Stunts. Here are a few examples.

Dodge – Receive a +1 to all Defense Actions using the Dexterity Approach.

Two Weapon Fighting – Receive a +2 to any use of the Dexterity Approach in an Attack action while wielding a light weapon in each hand.

Uncanny Dodge – Spend a Fate Point to roll a Defense Action even when the character is unaware of an attack.

Web of Death – When using a Defend Action that is successful, spend a Fate Point to apply the shift difference as an attack immediately against the attacker.


All players start with a refresh of 3. Extra Stunts can be purchased at a cost of one Refresh per stunt, maximum of two.


Great Weapons get a +2 shift for damage but grant the Aspect “Unwieldy”.

Armor gives you a -1 shift for damage. Heavy armor gives a -2 but adds the Aspect “Cumbersome”. A shield gives a +1 to any Defend action.

Akbitanan weapons have Akbitanan as an Aspect to represent their superior make.

That’s it. It’s that simple.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Star Frontiers Fate Core Hack. Skills Pt. 2

The skill list remains the same except for the addition of Engineering, Exploration, Mechanics, Medicine and Navigation.

These skills were added for two basic reasons. First, to better represent the technology level more technical skills were added. Thematically, it is important to represent the role of technology in a SciFi game. Second, one of the main activities for PC’s in Star Frontiers is that of exploration. Skills were added to expand upon the themes of exploration.

Craft, Mechanics and Engineering.

Because of the importance of technology in a science fiction setting the ability to create and repair objects requires a somewhat more detailed approach. In Fate Core, actions involving the creation and repair of objects, machines and structures are handled by the Crafts Skill. In Star Frontiers the Crafts Skill is split into three Skills that better capture differing levels of tech. “Crafts” covers the lower levels of technology. Mundane things like constructing a simple shelter to creating a makeshift block and tackle would involve the use of Crafts. “Mechanics” involves more complex machines and tools. Things like repairing an internal combustion engine, the leg actuators on a robot or repairing a broken radio would fall under mechanics. “Engineering” involves the design and repair of large and very high tech equipment, like a space ship or a complex artificial brain.

Engineering deals with the design and construction of complex machines, electronics and spacecraft.

Overcome: Engineering can be used to overcome challenges that involve the design of complex machines or structures especially in terms of making them exceed their original design. For example, coaxing more power from an engine or boosting the signal of a subspace transceiver.

Create Advantage: Engineering can be used to create Aspects on a design. For example, creating a hovercraft the can “Turn on a Dime” or making a Gyrojet rifle that is “Incredibly accurate”.

Attack: N/A
Defend: N/A

Engineering Stunts

Miracle Worker. The character can spend a Fate Point to automatically remove one box of Stress from any machine.

I’m Giving Her All She’s Got! Get a free boost whenever pushing a machine beyond its design limitations.

Exploration involves the ability to seek out new life and civilizations and boldly go where no one else has gone before. Mapping new planets, collecting soil water, fauna and flora samples and determining their compatibility with other forms of life is that the core of this skill. Exploration can also be used as a survival skill in alien environments.

Overcome: Exploration can be used to overcome just about any environmental obstacle in an otherwise unknown location. Exploration can be used to overcome contests requiring environmental hazards like extreme heat or cold or simply avoiding dangerous fauna and flora.

Create Advantage: Exploration can be used to create advantages by understanding the basic makeup of alien creatures and their environment. For instance realizing that an animal has a natural immunity to a plant poison can create an advantage for a medicine roll to cure said poison. It can also be used to create advantages in a strange alien environment, like knowing where natural obstacles would impede pursuit for a chase contest.

Attack: N/A
Defend: N/A

Exploration Stunts

I can live off the land. The character can spend a Fate Point to automatically find food and water in an inhospitable environment.

Wilderness survivor. The character can reduce the shift of any damage caused to himself or others by an environmental Aspect by 2 with a Great Exploration roll.

Mechanics deals with the repair and assembly of complex machines and electronics like robots and small vehicles.

Overcome: The most common use of an Overcome action in Mechanics is to repair machines, but can also be used to activate, deactivate or re-program functioning machines.

Create Advantage: Mechanics can be used in several ways to create advantage. It can be used to modify equipment, temporarily enhance effectiveness or jury rig improvised functions.

Attack: N/A
Defend: N/A

Mechanics Stunts:

Hear me baby? Hold together. A character can spend a Fate Point to add another 1 Stress Box to a machine for the duration of a scene.

Cannibalize! The character gains a +2 bonus to repair any machine as long as there are other machines around to cannibalize for parts.

Medicine is the skill that ranges from first aid and preventive medicine all the way to complex surgery. Knowledge of basic biology, xenobiology, administration of drugs and the use of high tech medical devices is governed by this skill.

Overcome: Diseases and Poisons can be overcome through Medicine. Medicine can also be used to overcome physical consequences with proper equipment and time.

Create Advantage: Medicine could be called upon to create advantage by applying drugs or medical equipment. For example if you are in a low oxygen atmosphere and are fighting your alien best friend for the affection of a woman in ritual combat you could give the poor captain an injection of tri-ox compound to give him an advantage or fake his death.

Attack: N/A
Defend: N/A

Medicine Stunts
This Will Ease the Pain. By making a Great Medicine roll a character can ignore a Mild Consequence Aspect for a scene.

The Cure for What Ails Ya. A character never has to spend a Fate Point to have medicines and tools on hand for regular medical treatment.

Navigation is the art of getting from point A to point B. The ability to find the party’s bearings in an unknown planet or mapping out jumps through the void to previously unexplored sections of the Frontier requires the Navigation skill.

Overcome: Navigation can be used to overcome being lost or disoriented.

Create Advantage: Navigation can create advantages for characters by giving them high ground or zones with good cover. Navigation can be easily used to create favorable terrain Aspects.

Attack: N/A
Defend: N/A

Navigation Stunts
Safe Harbor. A character can always find their way back to home base.

At Home Amongst the Stars. If a character has already made a jump on an interstellar route no roll is necessary to repeat the same jump in the future.