Conan the King. RPG review

Conan the King, Modiphius, c2020, £12.99 GBP

Review by Seth Stauffer

It isn’t very often gaming offers a “riches to riches” book.  However, Modiphius submits to the gaming public Conan the King. If you’re a fan of Conan, then you know that he “ascended “ to the throne, and became king. This supplement builds on that idea.

The content is focused on options for taking on the role of the elite. There is a sidebar that sums up why playing wealthy characters is different than being a marauding adventurer, explaining that “This is a higher tier of play”. Much like playing a mythical hero assumes the character(s) are relatively powerful and experienced, taking on the role of a lord assumes the PCs are at the very least well-connected. 

This book introduces concepts like legitimacy, factions, and holdings. These ideas are extremely relevant to ruling a population, determining wealth, right to rule, and so on. Royal characters, so to speak, cannot simply wander the countryside looting and pillaging. Fortunately, if this is unfamiliar territory, there are campaign ideas, as well as how to handle characters that are essentially monarchs.  

It isn’t often that supplements provide top-down views of society, but it’s a change of pace when it happens. In this case, as with similar resources, I found myself wanting more. Books treating characters at the top of the social pyramid aren’t common, and so they can prove to be very insightful, offering dynamic optional rules. That being said, there’s room for more content in this book. In the event that there’s a famine, how does one manage to allocate resources to feed an entire population? What about virulent plagues? If enough people get sick it can cripple an empire, no matter how mighty it’s army. These are just two examples, but they’re present in the book, despite there not being rules to handle a population potentially being decimated by either one.

Even if it could be more than what is present, the book stands out for the content available. Additionally, the rules aren’t cumbersome and are relatively streamlined. There’s even a note about deliberately keeping things simple. This book doesn’t embrace the wandering adventurer found in many other RPG books, and that’s a good thing. It’s a less conventional supplement, and if you’ve ever thought “it’s good to be the king”, then this is a book worth you should be looking into.

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