[Let’s Study: Conan] Part 4a Combat Example: Sadiya vs Cultists

Posted: February 13, 2017 by pointyman2000 in Conan, Let's Study, Modiphius, Roleplaying Games
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Welcome back!

We’ve spent quite a bit of time poring over the rules for Combat, so it’s time for us to start putting it into a bit of practice.

For the purpose of this example, we’ll be using Sadiya, our sample character from part 2 as she confronts a mob of Cultists in a forest at night. But before that we’ll have to go over a few quick rules again, just for the Cultists in question.

Rules-wise, the Cultists count as Minions, and operate as a Mob. Minions roll only 1d20 on tests instead of the normal 2d20 (though they can gain bonus dice as normal). A Minion has Stress equal to half the associated attribute, rounding up, and is taken out of action after suffering a single Harm. Minions cannot attempt Reactions, and they cannot sacrifice armor or shields to ignore Wounds.

A Mob consists of up to five identical Minions acting as a rough, unruly, and poorly disciplined group. Mobs all take the same action in the same turn, and will use the stats of their leader, while the remaining members of the Mob contribute 1d20 in teamwork bonuses during an attack.

Also when taking damage, a Mob has only 1 Wound per member, and any excess damage taken from an attack bleeds through to the next member.

Okay, now we’ll take a look at the statistics of the Cultists in the book:


Sadiya crouched low amongst the bushes as she watched the cultist’s go about their preparations for a ritual sacrifice in the clearing. There were five of them, dressed in black robes and armed with wicked, curved daggers that seemed to be forged more for intimidating looks rather than functionality.

Their would-be-victim was a young man they’d captured, drugged and exhausted from lack of food and water. Sadiya didn’t know (or care to know) what the ritual was about. She was getting paid to bring this sorry captive back to his parents for a decent sum of coin.

She reached for the bow she had with her, stringing it expertly while keeping an eye on the proceedings. (Hunting Bow, Range: Close, Damage: 3, Volley, Encumbrance 2)

After checking to make sure that there weren’t any more Cultists on their way, Sadiya decided to take action and disrupt the ceremony before it got any more dangerous.

Sadiya nocks and arrow and lets loose towards the cultist closest to the man.

Sadiya is attacking from ambush, and as such all the cultists are surprised. As per the initiative rules, Sadiya acts first, and the GM sees no reason to spend Doom to seize the initiative.

Sadiya’s player then rolls for a Ranged Attack skill test. Thankfully, the clearing is in an Adjacent Zone to the bushes where Sadiya is currently hiding, making it the Optimal Range for her bow. Since the Cultist is unaware, they don’t get to make a Reaction, and the difficulty of the attack remains at D1.

Sadiya’s TN is 11, and she rolls 2d20 to get 4 and 11, two successes! She also generates one Momentum, which she then banks. A quick roll at the Hit Location Table and gets an 11: Torso.

She then rolls 5 combat dice for damage (two from attribute bonus damage and three from weapon damage rating), and gets 5, 2, 4, 2, 4 for 5 points of damage and 1 Effect. Sadly the bow doesn’t have any weapon qualities that could be triggered by an effect. The cultist however only has 4 points in Vigor, and takes the remaining damage as 1 Wound, dying instantly.

Sadiya knows that she’ll not last long against a mob of angry cultists and decides to spend her remaining Minor action to move one zone back away from the clearing to put some space between her and her cultists. This grants her extra Soak from light cover from the terrain as well.

The cultists howl with rage at this ambush, and surge into the bushes with blades drawn to cut her down.

Since Sadiya is now at Long Range, it takes the full Standard Action for the mob to reach her, leaving them with no means to attack. This ends Round 1. Sadly Sadiya’s banked 1 Momentum decreases to 0.

Sadiya is forced to switch to a different weapon as the cultists catch up with her, dropping her bow and drawing the sword on her hip (Sword, Reach 2, Damage: 4, Parrying) and slashing at the closest one.

Sadiya uses a Free Action to drop her bow, and uses a Minor action to draw her sword. Her Standard Action is then spent to attack the nearest Cultist.

Sadiya’s not quite the Melee Fighter, and her TN is 11. The GM spends Doom in order to get the Cultist to React with a Defend Action, allowing them to make a Parry test at TN 9. Sadiya rolls a 5 and 20, 1 success and a Complication, while the Cultist fails his roll.

Sadiya rolls for Hit Location and scores 17: Right Leg. The GM decides that Sadiya loses her footing on her attack, and twists her ankle as she slices at the Cultist’s right thigh. All movement will now require a terrain test using Athletics to move.

Sadiya makes her damage roll, with 4 dice, her Sword’s damage rating and rolls 2, 2, 3 and 3, for a result of 4 damage. But given that the forest was full of Light Cover, damage is reduced by 2, meaning that the Cultist still has 2 Vigor left and plenty of fight left in them!

Now things are looking a little bleak for Sadiya. With her ankle injured, getting any distance between her and the cultists is a poor strategy.

Now the Cultists fall upon her, wicked knives slashing at her, thirsty for blood!

The Cultists have a Melee Attack TN of 10. The leader rolls 1d20, and the GM decides to spend doom to add an additional 1d20 to the attack. If this attack scores at least 1 success, then the remaining cultists get to add their Teamwork bonuses to the attack.

Desperate, Sadiya adds 1 Doom in order to React with a Parry with a TN of 10.

The GM rolls 7 and 19, one success! The remaining cultists also roll 1d20 each for 14, 4, and 7, adding two more for a total of 3 successes.

Sadiya rolls her 2d20 against a TN of 10, hoping that the difference in her sword’s Reach will be enough to make up for the difference. She rolls a 3 and a 6, for 2 successes.

Given that her Reach is one over the the Cultist, their Difficulty is 2. They score 1 Momentum with their 3 successes. Meanwhile, Sadiya’s roll scores 1 Momentum, winning the Struggle. Sadiya could bank this, but since this is the Cultist’s turn, the round was going to end, making her 1 Momentum expire.

Sadiya growls under her breath as she manages to parry and deflect their knives, adjusting her footing and wincing at the pain from her ankle. She rallies, calling on her reserves of strength to make a vicious attack of her own!

Sadiya’s run out of options, and decides to go all out on her next attack. Her Melee TN remains at 11, and adds 2 Doom to bring her dice pool to 4d20 and spends a Fortune point to add a further “pre-rolled” d20 with the 1’s facing up. She rolls 1, 4, 18, 6 for a total of 6 successes!

The GM spends Doom to allow for the Cultists to Parry at TN 9 and rolls an 18. This means the rest of the Cultists can’t add Teamwork bonus dice, and that the Cultist fails their parry attempt.

Sadiya’s six successes then translate to a whopping 5 Momentum. She spends all 5 Momentum to add to her damage and she rolls her 4 Damage Dice for 5, 1, 3, 5 or 3 Damage and 2 Effects with an additional +5 damage from Momentum. The first 4 Vigor damage goes to the injured Cultist, who dies despite the soak afforded by light cover. While another cultist takes the remaining 2 damage. 

Sadiya’s savagery surprises even herself, as her assault cuts down another cultist and injures another. Her arms are heavy with exertion, and the sword’s handle is slick with blood, but she whirls to meet the remaining cultists, determined to be the last woman standing.

Overall, combat is turning out to be quite the affair in Conan. There’s a lot of moving parts, but I have to say that there’s a visceral feel to it. With three Cultists to go, there’s no telling if Sadiya will make it out of this one unscathed, but she’s yet to receive any damage outside of that mishap with her ankle. I imagine that teams of player characters will result in much faster combat as Momentum acquisition and expenditures become more common.

Overall, it’s a solid system and I’m more than impressed with the kind of feel combat has.

EDIT: Apparently Minions aren’t allowed to perform Reactions. Whoopsie!

Next up we’ll be taking a look at another facet of Conan that we don’t get to see very much: Sorcery!

If you’d like to follow along with this series, The Conan RPG is now available for purchase in PDF format from DriveThruRPG for $24.99


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