'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

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Gibbering Darkness: Conan 2D20

He stepped lightly into the stone chamber, his sword gleaming in the light of his torch.   His small party of explorers seeking treasure and knowledge in the dark places of the earth.

His eyes took in the room, and the unnatural darkness that hung there, darker than the torchlight would penetrate causing the hairs on the back of his neck to stand.  "What do you see?", came a voice from behind him.

"Nothing....", he replied uneasily as he moved further into the room, "There is a darkness here......"

The rest of the party moved in, all proven warriors in there own right, all had seen more than most human eyes could comprehend.   Now they all saw the darkness hanging a dozen or so feet in front of them, obscuring the rest of the room.

Then they heard it, unintelligible noises, voices, non-sense.  Bjartur, whispered a prayer to himself as he saw the first of the shapeless forms slide out of the void towards him, before he could react he was beset on all sides by blackness, ethereal cold clawing at him.  He screamed even as he swung his sword.  The steel blade passed through several of them as if they were smoke, but even as it passed into the formless shapes they vanished back to the void.

Birta, muttered, "by Mitra", under her breath as her sword cut an arc through the black formless things, sending the remainder of them back to whatever darkness had spawned them.

Bjartur's arms and body ached with the cold of unnatural wounds, he gasped in agony, looking up at the unnatural darkness, the gulf to another place flickered and vanished.  The room was silent beyond the sounds of their own breath.......

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In Conan, monsters and NPCs die quickly.  Without players feeding into the DOOM pool, a GM may find it difficult to provide challenges to the players.  A brand new fighter may have the ability to add to the momentum pool while maintain swift actions most rounds.  It is possible this fighter could kill a Toughened opponent in the beginning of combat.

What to do?

I give you an idea for a creature from beyond.  Small formless demonoid beings that spew forth from a tear, or portal opened by a dark sorcerer, or perhaps a natural occurrence?

They are minions and spring forth from the void in a mob.
They are Dread Creatures starting with 1 doom, so they can gain initiative.
They excel in melee with an Agility of 14 and a combat focus of 2, with dark ethereal claws, reach 2, 8CD and Vicious 1 and Piercing 2. 
They have no armor soak.

They won't last long in a fight, but they will probably put the fear of Crom into your heroes.

This is untested at this time, but I wanted to get the idea down, they may end up doing too much damage.  The general idea is something small, easily killable that can generate doom and actually make the characters realize that they are also pretty fragile.





Slightly modified version after some dice rolling.  Damage reduced.  Agility and Focus updated.

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