Home Forums Fantasy General Fantasy Cimmerian Sorcery Types?

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    Angel Barracks

    Well maybe not Cimmerian but…

    What kind of magic was around in Conan, I am after some low level ‘spells’ for the baddies.

    Clearly summoning of horrible things was practiced.
    As were mind befuddling ensorcelments.

    Was anything else magicked?
    I am aware that fireballs and magic missile are very much not Conan esque…


    I suggest checking out the Mongoose d20 RPG. Havent read it or played it in a few years, so cant say for sure what is in it. Will try check in my water-damaged copy and see if i can see anything suitable for you.

    Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let's go kill them!

    Angel Barracks
    Mike Headden

    You might find some inspiration from the Age of Conan computer game magic system


    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    General Slade

    There is not a great deal of low-level magic in Conan, but I seem to remember an occasion on which a sorcerer turned an enemy’s sword or staff into a snake (I don’t know whether this was an illusion or whether the weapon actually became a snake), and I have a feeling there is a story in which someone’s belt is turned into a constrictor snake, which then crushes him but I might be mis-remembering this.

    I think there is some use of hypnotism/mesmerism and I am sure there are crystal balls and flying carpets.  You also get undead in one of the stories set in the north, where corpses rise up on a battlefield to fight again.  In RPGs animated corpses tend to be very low-level foes but in this story the point is that they are truly horrifying and having to fight your fallen comrades can strike fear in the heart of the bravest man.



    General Slade has it spot on – in terms of Rober E. Howard’s writings, the majority of ‘magic’ seems to have been mesmeric/hypnotic influence or as you stated in the OP, the summoning and control or enslavement to the wishes of some particularly nasty entities or creatures……

    certainly Conan and his northern brothers viewed the use of magic with a mixture of fear and disgust – Crom the mighty would rarely fall so low as to respond to the entreaties of mortals to lend them anything other than courage – certainly not supernatural powers …… No self respecting Cimmerians would wish to prevail through anything other than the power of a good blade……

    talking of which, any magic users that Conan and friends encountered probably didn’t have much time to display their full command of magic, as they were swiftly despatched by the bite of a broadsword, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t have had a wide repertoire, just that they never got a chance to use it!


    Angel Barracks

    Cheers all, I have started a list of minor incantations and sorceries.
    That list is very cool Mike!

    General Slade

    A few ideas for your spell list that I think would fit with a Conanesque world:

    Cause conflagration – The ability to make an existing fire explode into a a much bigger blaze.

    Sand storm – The ability to make the desert sand blow into the eyes of your enemies causing temporary blindness.

    Heat object – The ability to make a small object such as a sword hilt or piece of armour incredibly hot so that its owner must drop it or tear it off.

    Deflect missiles – I think this was a D&D spell.  Either it just acts as an invisible shield or it sends missiles back at whoever fired them.

    Gripping vines – A spell for jungle settings that makes plants grow rapidly and wrap tendrils around their victims preventing them from moving.

    I also think you can use lots of illusion spells and standard things like sleep spells.  Anything involving telekinesis would also fit the setting so you could have sorcerers who can create dancing swords or cause statues to topple. More powerful sorcerers could also make inanimate objects like statues comes to life.


    Angel Barracks

    Cool, nicked a couple of those!

    Angel Barracks

    I was going to start a new topic but figured I may as well bolt it onto here…

    So I have a small selection of 15mm fantasy religious figures coming out soon.
    I also want to do monsters, what sort of things would work for Conan style games?

    Initial thoughts are:

    Giant Apes
    Giant Boar
    Snakes on a plain
    Giant Scorpion

    Suggestions welcomed, ideally with links or piccies.

    Howard Whitehouse

    In general, the sorcery aspect of ‘Sword and Sorcery’ is much like Mad Science in pulp literature; cranky individuals working on massive acts of destruction and global dominance which – importantly – are not quite ready for prime time.

    If you want Conanesque magic, you probably need to read the entire REH canon and make notes. I personally find reading more than a couple of Conan stories in succession is more repetitive hacking, slaying and fainting women than I can handle. You might read some Clark Ashton Smith for S&S that is stronger on the sorcery front, and more varied in tone.

    I do all my own stunts.

    Dr De’Ath

    Snakes on a plain

    Very good! 

    How about

    Sabretooth tigers



    Camels (packed and unpacked)

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 3 months ago by Dr De'Ath.
    Gone Fishing

    I think the magical-aspect has been answered well above. Definitely low-level, “summony,” hypnotic stuff works well. This ain’t Harry Potter!

    As regards creatures, angry beasts of unnatural size always work well with Conan, particularly apes and snakes. He takes on a giant spider in “The Tower of the Elephant.” Spiders are always good. Scorpions work well also.

    You might consider a demon or two. There is also the Cthulhu-esque direction – REH was very much part of that circle, learned some of his tricks from HP, so such creatures fit, I think, in the Hyborian setting. Khurasan has some good stuff, but there’s always room for more. I agree with Howard that reading too much Howard (Robert E., that is) can be a little hard to take. His portrayal of women can be pretty cringe-inducing.

    Mr Whitehouse, if you see this: any chance of Chainmail Bikini being released any time soon?

    Howard Whitehouse

    I agree with Howard that reading too much Howard (Robert E., that is) can be a little hard to take. His portrayal of women can be pretty cringe-inducing. Mr Whitehouse, if you see this: any chance of Chainmail Bikini being released any time soon?


    There’s a lot of great stuff, not just Conan but Kull, Bran Mak Morn and others, in REH’s writing. I can only manage so much at any given time, though. Not just the 1930s sexism and racism, but his continual use of the same stock phrases over and over. He really needed a proper editor. But he was just a guy with not much education, surrounded by rural Texas and trying to reach out into a mythic past, and I give him credit for that.

    I need to get back to ‘Chainmail Bikini’. The last couple of years have been devoted to ‘Flint and Father’ and ‘A Gentleman’s War’, as well as developing more general interest card and board games. Who wants a game of ‘Monkey Brain Surgeon’?

    I do all my own stunts.

    Gone Fishing


    I need to get back to ‘Chainmail Bikini’. [/quote]

    Please do! I’d love to see your take on the genre. As others have said around here: take my money, take my money!


    • This reply was modified 4 years, 3 months ago by Gone Fishing.

    I like the idea of demons, Mythos based or not, also summoned creatures like Djinn or elementals.

    Here’s some of the creatures I’ve used in my own Crom games.


    If you like small scale skirmish, check out http://planetares6.blogspot.be/?m=0

    Gone Fishing

    Stroezie, your figures look great. Who makes the lava and wind elemental figures?


    They are from rebel minis.
    You can find them here

    If you like small scale skirmish, check out http://planetares6.blogspot.be/?m=0

    General Slade

    I was going to start a new topic but figured I may as well bolt it onto here… So I have a small selection of 15mm fantasy religious figures coming out soon. I also want to do monsters, what sort of things would work for Conan style games? Initial thoughts are: Giant Apes Tigers Giant Boar Snakes on a plain Giant Scorpion Suggestions welcomed, ideally with links or piccies.

    This is a great idea.   Whilst there are a few 15mm beasts on the market a lot of them have been done in a rather ‘cartoony’ style. Can I make a plea for the figures not to be too stylised?

    I’d like to see:

    Dogs of various types (wild, hunting, war)


    Birds of prey, carrion crows (I think bird attacks are fun in RPGs but it is hard to find decent figures)


    Flying snakes

    Monkeys and apes (some using improvised/found weapons)

    Sabre tooth  tigers

    And despite the picture above, what I would really like to see are some female figures with clothes on.  I love the Copplestone barbarians but it would be great to have some female adventurer types from the other Hyborian nations.

    (All pictures by Frank Frazetta)


    Gone Fishing

    That troll (?) taking on the blonde barbarian is pretty cool.

    Angel Barracks

    All good suggestions thank you.
    Of course the viability of these is dependant on Crom’s Anvil turning a profit.
    I have some figures coming out soon and if they do well then hopefully onto beasties!

    General Slade

    And cats!  I forgot the felines.  I know in 15mm they would be pretty minute (but maybe they could be made slightly larger than life?)  I find them useful for familiars, animal companions and set-dressing in Egyptian-style temples.

    ian pillay

    Swarm of scarb bettles, like in the Mummy films, the ones that devour all flesh…..


    Angel Barracks

    I made this today and have come up with some magical rules involving it.

    Stone of the Ancestors

    Each time a tribesman dies, a die is added to the tribes ancestor dice pool.
    This die can be used once and is allocated at the start of any turn.
    They can be stacked and used in one go.

    So for example Erland slays three tribesmen and the ancestor pool gains 3 dice.
    The next turn he slays two, the ancestor pool is now up to 5 dice.
    The next turn he kills three and the ancestor pool is at 8 dice.

    The next turn the tribe draws on the power of its fallen and allocates 6 dice to one of the tribesmen and 2 to the other.
    The ancestor pool is now empty.

    Alexander Wasberg

    The stone of the ancestors is a good addition, very flavorfull! The rules for it looks interesting, even though I have no practical experience with Crom, they fit the theme I think 🙂

    Darkest Star Games

    Agreed, the rules sound pretty good.  Simple but effective.  Is there a radius at which the soul sucking works, or would it be anywhere on the table for instance?

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    Angel Barracks

    Is there a radius at which the soul sucking works, or would it be anywhere on the table for instance?


    hmmmmm I am thinking that maybe there should be, but then all that would happen is that the tribesmen would stay within that radius so it would not make a lot of odds either way.
    Having said that…  I think I will say it works if they die within the wooden walls.

    Gone Fishing

    I really like the dice pool concept in CROM! It seems to be endlessly tweakable and can be used to provide all sorts of scenario-driven colour. And great work on the stone!

    Alexander Wasberg

    Some sort of limit would probably be good, but as you say AB, it should probably be kept large to stop them from just camping out.

    CROM does seem easy to customize for all sorts of adventures!

    Devon Start

    I see im late to the party, but magic in conan is very active and hardly just summoning and minor effects.

    usually however the more destructive spells are from artefacts. I draw your attention to the story Red Nails. One of the enemies he faces has a wand that blasts people to bits(or it might age them) either way its a direct attack that is instant.

    there are times when conan is fighting and is just touched by the wizards staff and is instantly knocked out(trying to remember the story but its in one of the first two ACE paperback editions since i was just rereading the series and am haflway through the second one–belits about to be eaten by a flying gorilla)

    if you open it up to the comics then there is even more magic.


    There are a couple of stories where he is paralysed simply from the touch of a wizards finger, though in one particular case it is due to poison on the wizards nail, there are quite a few instances were science/alchemy etc is perceived as magic by the normal peoples.

    Devon Start

    True.. but there is one where he is touched by the staff and keels right over. There is also another one where the underpreists create floating lights that when they come in contact with metal explode enough to melt the metal and kill the person.

    my point is that there are certainly plenty of examples of direct attack magic

    also whenever its science Howard generally says so.. the best example of this is the one where he is in Khitai and stuck on the metal pillar with the freaky blob sliding down. He discusses magnetism and how conan would see it as magic. He mentions how charlatans show it off as magic

    Devon Start

    From Red Nails

    For in the lean hand of Tolkemec now waved a curious jade-hued wand, on the end of which glowed a knob of crimson shaped like a pomegranate. She sprang aside as he thrust it out like a spear, and a beam of crimson fire lanced from the pomegranate. It missed Tascela, but the woman holding Valeria’s ankles was in the way. It smote between her shoulders. There was a sharp crackling sound and the ray of fire flashed from her bosom and struck the black altar, with a snapping of blue sparks. The woman toppled sidewise, shriveling and withering like a mummy even as she fell.

    From People of the Black Circle

    But the next attack came swiftly. They all saw it—a white puffball of smoke that tumbled over the tower-rim and came drifting and rolling down the slope toward them. Others followed it. They seemed harmless, mere woolly globes of cloudy foam, but Conan stepped aside to avoid contact with the first. Behind him one of the Irakzai reached out and thrust his sword into the unstable mass. Instantly a sharp report shook the mountainside. There was a burst of blinding flame, and then the puffball had vanished, and the too- curious warrior remained only a heap of charred and blackened bones. The crisped hand still gripped the ivory sword-hilt, but the blade was gone, melted and destroyed by that awful heat. Yet men standing almost within reach of the victim had not suffered except to be dazzled and half blinded by the sudden flare.

    “Steel touches it off,” grunted Conan. “Look out—here they come!”

    The slope above them was almost covered by the billowing spheres. Kerim Shah bent his bow and sent a shaft into the mass, and those touched by the arrow burst like bubbles in spurting flame. His men followed his example and for the next few minutes it was as if a thunderstorm raged on the mountain slope, with bolts of lightning striking and bursting in showers of flame. When the barrage ceased, only a few arrows were left in the quivers of the archers.

    They pushed on grimly, over soil charred and blackened, where the naked rock had in places been turned to lava by the explosion of those diabolical bombs.

    im doing my best to keep it official REH stories too. not pastiches or stories that were other characters or other writers versions of Conan.

    but that is two examples from the top of my head of direct attacks by magic.  Like i said if we open this up to the comics (dark horse or marvel you choice) you end up with a lot more stuff like that. Id be curious to read some Kull since that is the same world as conan only earlier(maybe more magic too, not sure as ive never read them)

    Devon Start

    “but his continual use of the same stock phrases over and over”  Howard have you read H Beam Piper?(of course you have) he is the WORST for stupid stock phrases.. I was just reading the Lord Kalvan books, and i kept noticing how he would constantly have characters refer to others a “Crowd”  like at one point the paratime future police are talking about the Penn State Troopers, and he says ” I know that crowd”  or when when of the generals is talking about his own troops “ill send some of my crowd down there”  ” or talking about some enemies “this crowd meant to kill him”

    throw in the fact that every one is smoking pipes and cigarettes(funny as they are supposed to be a super advanced race)

    the worst though was in one of the other paratime stories he is dealing with reincarnation. its real and scientific fact so there are two political organizations that have grown up around this. one believes you choose when and how you reincarnate the other thinks its just a random event. The people that think its a random event are socialists and they are treated in a way that only the 1950s(and i guess today really) can treat socialists.. they are evil and bad and everything about them must be stopped.. it was a hard read(actually i stopped reading half way through-though i had read these books years ago it didnt seem so annoying then)

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