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This is Conan roleplaying as Robert E. Howard wrote it – savage pulp adventure battling ancient horrors in the Hyborian Age
This is Conan roleplaying as Robert E. Howard wrote it – savage pulp adventure battling ancient horrors in the Hyborian Age
4,352 backers pledged £436,755 to help bring this project to life.

Jeweled Thrones of the Earth UNLOCKED! Magic & 2d20 Interview!

Posted by Chris Birch, Modiphius (Creator)

We're very close to the £200 Blessing of Mitra goal now that the Jeweled Thrones of the Earth Stretch Goal has been unlocked! Tomorrow we have another big piece of news plus we'll be sending out videos showing off the Conqueror's Bag, the Fabric Map and the Stygian Doom Pit. 

Jeweled Thrones of the Earth. The 112 page hardcover full colour is unlocked in the Conan Kickstarter as a £15 Add On (just increase your pledge amount to add it). The temporary cover is an image by Daren Bader and we'll be announcing the cover artist for this soon! You can read more about the adventures in this in the last update here

Remember that everyone with 'Plus Every Unlocked Book in PDF' (the PDF Master and above) now gets Jeweled Thrones of the Earth in PDF as part of their pledge, whilst the Hoard of Yezdigerd, Secrets of Mount Yishma and Treasure of Tranicos pledges add this in hardback to their collection! 

NEXT UNVEIL! We're getting more graphic updates tomorrow - the latest Stretch Goal graphic didn't unveil the latest book to be revealed but I can share that it will be Nameless Cults at £305k. A sourcebook describing the cults, gods, rituals, and divine magic of the Hyborian Age. Full-color hardcover, 112 pages.  Find out more on our website here. We'll also be updating the Pledge Contents with the new Pledges. 

2d20 INTERVIEW. Lead 2D20 designer Nathan Dowdell is interviewed in our latest episode of our podcast Modiphius Calling. He explains the rules of the 2D20 System and how they are being specially tailored to suit exciting, story-rich campaigns for Robert E. Howard's Conan roleplaying game from Modiphius. We talk about character generation, the combat system, magic, and how the system gives players and GM's great tools to create really exciting cinematic action. 

MAGIC. Mark Carroll had some more insight in to the magic system. 

Sorcery in the Hyborian age is not your friend. You have to be skilled, prepared and willing to put up with its eccentric demands. Sorcery is a thing apart from the regular world but in a fast narrative system like 2d20 that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated.

Like every other skill test Sorcery has the player roll a pool of d20’s against a difficulty decided by the activity they wish to undertake and any unique difficulties that need to be overcome.

Like every other skill test complications can arise on the roll of a 20 and the GM is free to spend Doom to make the casting interesting. No not free, encouraged.

Even the mightiest of Sorcerers knows to be cautious with a casting. Who knows what might go wrong. Who knows what might be summoned up? Who knows if you will be strong enough to put it down again?

But then Sorcery is powerful. It can achieve feats that would be impossible any other way. How else would you visit your former lives looking for wisdom? How else would you placate the angry dead? How else would you have the lesser other gods attend your pleasure and worship you. The mechanics of Sorcery in 2d20 are relatively simple. In order that you might learn sorcery you need a patron. Don’t worry should you find that Patron offensive; there are many things in the shadows willing to tutor you. Gaining the Patron Talent is precursor to the Talent: Sorcerer. Once you have obtained the title of Sorcerer there are many and varied ways you might learn a spell. And few Sorcerers will ever learn more than a handful, for Spells are not weak narrow affairs. They are massive in their potential and only restrained by the skills and abilities of the caster.

Let’s consider an example:

“He reeled drunkenly, and then, with a splintering of bones, a rending of flesh and muscle and a snapping of mail-links, his breast burst outward with a shower of blood, and through the ghastly aperture something red and dripping shot through the air into the Master’s outstretched hand, as a bit of steel leaps to the magnet. The Turanian slumped to the floor and lay motionless, and the Master laughed and hurled the object to fall before Conan’s feet – a still quivering human heart."

From The People of the Black Circle

Dismember. (Diff 1+) Duration: 1 attack. Cost: 1 Resolve Effect: By calling upon bitterest hatred a sorcerer can force violent injuries to manifest in their enemies. A successful casting of this spell allows the sorcerer to cause [cd]4 AP 4 damage at Close range. If dismember kills a character it is so vivid a death that it counts as a Dreadful, Indiscriminate 2, Traumatic 2 event

Momentum spends (1-3) increases Vicious by 1-3 (1) causes additional [cd]3 resolve damage. (1-2) adds +[cd]X to damage (1) gains gruesome (1) Extend spell from Close to Medium Range (0) if a use of Dismember causes a characters death any display afterwards counts as Intense.

Alternate Effects (1) Psychic Surgery. The magician may grant any character using the Healing skill 1 bonus momentum for the purposes of healing injuries.

Dismember is the only spell that directly causes damage and as such makes a great example. As you can see it has a simple duration indicating how long the effect lasts. It has a cost for attempting the spell along with a basic and an alternative effect that the spell can be used for. Finally it has a series of momentum spends which take it from being a good Armour piercing attack and turn it into a veritable siege weapon. These momentum spends are just examples too. There’s no reason that a player can’t come up with their own thematic effects when casting a spell.

Now this is just a small sampling of the mysteries of sorcery. Cults and Circles can combine their power for greater workings. Offerings can be made in the darkness and pacts made with those of the Outer Dark. Sacrifices can be left dripping for the vultures to feed upon and Mortality itself exorcised in the name of power.


Chris, Modiphius

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    1. Ron Niabati on

      Are sacrifices utilized in the magic system? Specifically, ritual murders to take the “life force” of a victim as a “spell component”?
      I ask because very few gaming systems ever incorporate ritual sacrifice as a key element of magic, yet it is such an indispensable aspect of sword & sorcery.
      Perhaps, sacrificing young healthy virgins diminishes the loss of Resolve (you become a vile murderer instead of a possessed lunatic)?

    2. Leperflesh on

      @Benn, that is exactly what I wanted to hear. In Howard's Conan books, most of the magic users are twisted and bent by their dabbling, and generally meet their doom as a result of their hubris. There are a few exceptions, perhaps, but they're rare. I'm glad to see you guys have taken the setting's approach to the supernatural to heart, in addition to considering character balance issues. Very encouraging.

    3. Missing avatar

      Benn on


      Magic is always hard to get right and your correct in saying that a lot of the problems with other systems is the level of versatility that a sorcerer can access. So lets address this.

      A Sorcerer has a lot of power at their fingertips but as each spell is unlocked with a Talent, learning a variety of spells becomes expensive very quickly. Character creation gives you 4 skill based talents. So the maximum number of spells you can start with is 3 (out of 13) and learning a spell places your resolve at permanent risk. That's right, the more unholy secrets you unlock the less you can use them and stay sane.

      Also Sorcery is not your friend. Just because you cast the spell doesn't mean that your the spells special little snowflake. Summon a demon? Better be ready to banish it! Unleash an Earthquake? better make sure your somewhere safe! Each attempt at casting a spell costs resolve and consequences can increase this cost. Overtax yourself and go mad.

      Oh and without giving away too much, consequences turn up a lot with magic.

      A sorcerer is less like a Swiss army knife and more like a hand grenade. While there are a surprising number of issues a hand grenade can help you address, its not the ultimate tool for home repair.

    4. Leperflesh on

      There is a long and sordid tradition of magic users becoming dominant in RPGs, due to the designer's failure to restrict their capabilities to being balanced vs. non-magic users, not only in terms of sheer damage potential, but in terms of flexibility of action - the "swiss army knife" problem where a mage is simply more versatile than any non-magic but very skilled character. I'm hopeful that the necessity for balance is being carefully considered and applied in this game. Can you guys address the balance question? Apologies if this was already answered in an earlier update, I only just now backed.