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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
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Conan Combat Example & Quickstart Updates

Posted by Chris Birch, Modiphius (Creator)

Hi all we're making updates to the Conan Quickstart today and hope to send out tonight or tomorrow morning. In the meantime I wanted to send out this awesome Combat Example that Lead Developer Nathan Dowdell wrote to give you some more flavour of the system and help clarify how the system works. Adding an edit - Nathan rolled all the dice naturally - apparently they hate the Picts!

For those that are interested we've added the current changelog for the Quickstart rules below. These will also be sent out with the update from DriveThruRPG when it's sent so it's clear what we have changed. 

Conan Combat Example 


Three player characters: 

  • Edric - Grizzled Veteran 
  • Adelstan - Young Knight 
  • Amala - Blade for Hire 


  • 2 Elite Pict Warriors 
  • 2 mobs of 3 Pict Warriors 


A large hill, with a signal fire on the hilltop (the fire grants the player characters 2 dice of Morale Soak); the north face is rough and difficult to climb (Hindrance, Average D1 Athletics test), while the south face is a clear and easy slope. Around it, a river bank to the north, a dirt road to the west, and woodland to the south and east (the woodland provides 4 dice of Cover Soak). There are currently six points of Doom in the pool, and the player characters have two Fortune each. 

The Picts are approaching the player characters on the hilltop in two groups, each consisting of one Elite Pict Warrior and a mob of Pict Warriors. One group have just forded the river and are sneaking in from the river bank. The others are skulking through the woodland to the south. The Picts to the south begin their ambush, seeking to distract the player characters from their kin by the river. The Elite Pict Warrior attempts a Stealth test in a Struggle against the player characters’ Observation, with the mob of warriors assisting. Edric takes the lead here, with Adelstan and Amala providing assistance. 

The Elite Pict rolls his Stealth test, with a single d20 assisting from the mob behind him; 9 and 12 from the Elite, 8 from the mob’s assistance, for 3 successes. As this is a normal Struggle, all tests are Simple D0, so that’s three Momentum. The player characters roll in response – 2d20 for Edric, 1d20 each from the others. 5 and 16 for Edric, and 4 each from the other two; four successes, so four Momentum. 

The player characters spot the incoming Picts, and set to their grim work. They have one Momentum left over, which gets saved into the group’s pool – their keen eyes have given them a slight edge. 

First Round 

Edric goes to shoot the Elite Pict he can see, and the Pict chooses to try and dodge the hastily-loosed arrow, spending a point from Doom to do this. The Pict is still at the bottom of the hill, at Long range, so the test is Average D1. Edric spends the Momentum in the group’s pool for an extra d20, and makes his attack: 2, 3, and 19, for three successes, which means two Momentum. The Elite Pict rolls to dodge, spending another Doom to add a bonus die of his own, but to no avail – 14, 14, and 17, all his dice fail to generate successes. Edric’s attack hits home, with two Momentum left to spend. Edric rolls 2, 2, 3, 4, and 6 for damage, scoring 5 damage and ignoring one point of Soak. The Elite Pict’s one point of Armour is ignored, and the Pict loses 5 Vigour, and suffers a Wound. There’s not much more that Edric can do with his Momentum right now, so he saves it. 

The pools are now 2 Momentum, 4 Doom. The Elite Pict in the southern group has 9 Vigour remaining and is Wounded. 

Amala steps up next, and shoots into the mob behind the now-wounded Elite Pict. Same range as Edric’s shot, and the mob doesn’t attempt a defence reaction. She’s not buying any extra dice, and rolls a 3 and a 16, scoring the one necessary success, but no Momentum of her own. She rolls 1, 1, 4 and 5 for damage, for a total of three damage – not enough to drop one of the Picts. She grabs the two points of Momentum in the pool, and adds them to her damage roll; five damage is enough to inflict a Wound on the Picts, which fells one of the mob. 

The pools are now 0 Momentum, 4 Doom. 

Adelstan, somewhat vainglorious and rash, strides down the hill, and calls out a challenge to the Picts. Now on the south face of the hill, he attempts a Threaten attack at the Elite Pict. He’s at medium range, increasing the difficulty to Challenging D2. The Pict, defiant even while bleeding, chooses to resist, spending one Doom. Adelstan would buy some extra dice with Momentum, but Amala used it all, but he’s reckless and proud, and pays two Doom to get the dice instead, rolling 4d20. He rolls 2, 5, and two 18s, scoring two successes, with no Momentum. 

The Elite Pict buys an extra d20, and rolls to resist: 6, 8, and 19. Only one success, but only one needed (he’s still rolling at Average D1, because the range penalty only applies to the attacker), so he’s got no Momentum either. The Pict has Fortitude 1, which covers his Discipline skill, so he wins the tie, and Adelstan’s threat was ineffectual. 

The pools are still 0 Momentum, 4 Doom. 

The Picts go next. The Picts to the north move in swiftly and quietly, unheeded by the distracted player characters – the Elite Pict, and his mob of followers all rush up the north face using their Standard Actions, but the rough terrain slows them – they’re still short of the hilltop. 

The remaining two Picts in the mob dash at Adelstan, hacking with their hatchets. Adelstan’s blade and shield give him a decent defence, so he chooses to Parry with his Large Shield, ignoring the usual cost because of the Parrying quality on his weapons. Both sides are using Reach 2 weapons, so Guard isn’t a factor here. The Picts roll 9 and 11 – two successes, which becomes one Momentum. Adelstan rolls a 1 and a 7, for three successes, which becomes two Momentum, meaning he wins. He has one Momentum remaining after the Struggle, which he saves for the group. 

The wounded Elite Pict strides in, jabbing with his Spear. Adelstan goes to defend with his Shield again, paying one Doom (one less than normal for his second Parry), which the Elite Pict uses for an extra d20 immediately – relying on outnumbering to overwhelm the young knight and compensate for his injury. The Elite Pict rolls 7, 8, and 12, for three successes, or one Momentum (because the test is Challenging D2 thanks to his Wound), while Adelstan buys an extra die with Momentum and rolls 1, 4 and 7, scoring three Momentum. He triumphantly knocks the Pict’s spear aside, and counter-attacks with his sword with the two remaining Momentum. 

It’s a difficult attack; the Pict has Guard and a longer weapon, increasing the difficulty to Challenging D2, and it’s a Swift Action from Adelstan’s Momentum, increasing it further to Daunting D3. It’s the Elite Pict’s own turn, so he can’t attempt a Defence – he must’ve exposed himself when attacking. With undue enthusiasm, he buys two extra d20s by paying Doom, rolling 6, 7, 8, and 18: three successes, enough to hit. Adelstan rolls 2, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, and 6 with his damage dice, inflicting seven damage, reduced to six by the Elite Pict’s meagre Armour, and the Elite Pict is slain. 

End of the round, one Elite Pict and one Pict dead, 0 Momentum, 6 Doom. 

Round 2 

The Elite Pict on the north face pays one Doom to interrupt, and attempts to crest the hill, rolling a 7 and an 11 for two successes on his Average D1 Athletics test. He crests the hill successfully, and puts the Momentum into Doom. Striding into the fray, he charges Amala, thrusting his spear at her. Amala’s sword and dagger both have Parrying, so she goes to Parry for free, and she’s got shorter weapons, so no change to the difficulty. The Elite Pict spends a point of Doom for an extra d20, and rolls 6, 18, and 18: successful, but no Momentum. Amala spends one of her Fortune points and rolls, 1 (automatically from the Fortune point), 11, and 17, for three successes – two Momentum. She spends one to Withdraw, backing out of the fight with a quick step, and saves the other one. 

1 Momentum, 6 Doom. 

The rest of the Picts on the north face follow their leader, spending another Doom to interrupt, and attempt to crest the hill as well. They roll 1, 7, and 20, successfully crest the hill, putting two Momentum into Doom, but the 20 means a complication: they’re momentarily disorganised, increasing the difficulty of their next test by one. They attack Edric nevertheless, relying on strength of numbers over prowess. Their hatchets and all of Edric’s weapons are Reach 2, so Guard doesn’t change anything here. Edric parries for free thanks to his sword and shield, and his Deflect talent. The Picts roll 8, 11, and 17 – two successes is enough, but they get no Momentum. Edric rolls 7 and 7, scoring two successes, one of which becomes Momentum so he turns aside their attacks, and banks the other Momentum. 

2 Momentum, 8 Doom. 

Adelstan, busy in melee with two Picts, attacks, wanting to make quick work of them. He spends a Fortune point and rolls, 1 (from the Fortune point), 9, and 15, for three successes. The Picts, as an unruly mob, don’t defend meaningfully, and Adelstan hits with two Momentum. His damage roll is 2, 2, 2, 2, 4, 5 and 6, for a brutal ten damage. The first five inflict a Wound, slaying one of the Picts, leaving five more damage, which slays the second Pict. With a triumphant shout he declares his victory, and moves the Momentum to the group pool. 

4 Momentum, 8 Doom. 

Edric hammers into the mob, spending a Fortune point and buying two dice with Momentum. He rolls 1 (Fortune point), 2, 5, 10, and 16, scoring six successes, and thus five Momentum. His damage roll is 2, 3, 3, and 6, but he re-rolls one of the 3s with No Mercy, getting another 2 instead; this comes to a total of 5 damage, enough to slay one of the Picts. Using the kill as a distraction, he shoves through the fray (one Momentum to Withdraw), and takes a Swift Action to attack the Elite Pict with his shield (2 more Momentum spent). This is a more difficult attack (Daunting D3, due to enemy’s Reach with Guard and the Swift Action), but he’s still got two Momentum from his previous attack, so he uses those for extra dice. The Pict tries to dodge this, spending a point of Doom to make the attempt. Edric gets 2, 5, 7, and 13 – five successes in all, and two Momentum. The Pict, confident of dodging this hasty attack, buys only one extra d20 from Doom, and rolls 2, 12, and 17… only two successes, with only one Momentum, losing the Struggle. Edric has one Momentum left over, and rolls his damage, for a 5 and a 6. Only two damage, but they both trigger the Knockdown quality on the shield, causing the Pict to stumble backwards. 

Edric deposits his last Momentum into the group pool. 

3 Momentum, 6 Doom. 

Amala darts back in towards the now-vulnerable Elite Pict, her dagger bared. She pauses for a moment, sizing up the downed foe with the Exploit action, emptying the Momentum pool to bolster her chances, rolling 5, 6, 6, 18, and 19 – three successes, and thus two Momentum. She buys extra damage dice with those Momentum, which come with two extra damage dice as it’s an Exploit action, and uses her last Fortune point for an extra Standard Action. 

With this, she attacks: the Pict has no Guard, and clutches a spear and hatchet in his hands. Choosing to use the Hatchet to defend himself, the Pict has a Reach of 2, and chooses to try and dodge this, paying a point of Doom, and three more for bonus dice. As Amala’s dagger has Reach 1, she gets an extra d20 for this attack, bringing her total to 5d20. She rolls 2, 3, 7, 7, and 12, scoring five successes, for four Momentum, increasing to five Momentum because the Pict is prone. The Elite Pict rolls 4, 5, 9, 17, and 17, for three successes, or two Momentum. The Elite Pict loses the Struggle, and Amala has three Momentum remaining. 

Her damage roll is 1, 3, 4, 6, and 6, and she re-rolls the 3, rolling a 2 instead. A total of 5, but the Unforgiving quality takes effect, increasing that to a 7. The Piercing 2 she gets from Exploit takes effect too, ignoring the Pict’s armour entirely. The Pict – already one Vigor short due to Edric’s shield bash, is now on 6 Vigour, but more importantly, he’s suffered a Wound. Amala then deposits three Momentum into the group pool. 

The other group of Picts now dead, it’s the end of the round, and one Momentum is lost. Two Picts remaining, one Elite Pict wounded, the other dead. 

2 Momentum, 2 Doom. Edric and Adelstan have one Fortune point left each. 

Round 3 

Desperate, the Elite Pict spends a point of Doom to interrupt, uses his minor action to Stand, and lashes out at Amala with his hatchet. Already wounded, he’s facing a Challenging D2 test to attack, and Amala chooses to spend a point of Momentum making that more difficult still, as she slips into a defensive stance. She considers a parry as well, but as she hasn’t yet acted, it would be her second in a row, and add to Doom, so she decides otherwise. The Pict chooses to roll an extra dice, spending the last point from Doom, rolling 4, 5 and 19, for only two successes… not enough to succeed. He lashes out wildly with his hatchet, to no avail. He drops his spear, as it can’t help him at this point. 

Edric presses the Elite Pict, attacking with his sword. With no Doom remaining, the Pict is cornered and unable to defend effectively, so Edric just goes with the normal dice for his attack, rolling a 3 and a 16. Two successes, turning into a hit and one Momentum. He rolls damage: 1, 1, 2, and 6, for five damage. He spends that point of Momentum on Penetration, ignoring the Pict’s armour, and the five damage is enough to inflict a second, fatal, Wound on the Pict. 

Adelstan strides up the hill, and lays into the other Picts, spending the group’s two Momentum on extra dice. Rolling 2, 3, 11, and 19, he scores three successes, for two Momentum of his own. Rolling damage, he rolls 2, 2, 2, 4, 5, and 6, for a total of 8 damage, which is enough to slay one of the Picts, but not both of them. He spends his Momentum on two extra points of damage, bringing his total to 10, which slays both Picts. The battle is concluded, the Picts slaughtered.

[End of combat example]

Conan Quickstart: Changes and Edits Prepared 28.02.2016 for Version 3-4 of the Quickstart

PLEASE NOTE: This changelog does not include grammatical changes just rules text changes. 

Page 14 Doom sidebar: “accepting Doom instead of complications...” (insert “instead” between Doom and of)

Page 15 Struggles: replace first two paragraphs with: “Whenever two or more characters are in opposition to one other or are competing towards the same goal, each character involved in the task performs a skill test. This is called a Struggle. In a Struggle, the character achieving the greatest quantity of Momentum succeeds, achieving the goal. The winner then reduces his Momentum by an amount equal to the loser’s Momentum. If there are no other factors involved, the difficulty of a Struggle is usually Simple (D0), or Average (D1) when attacking and defending in combat.”

Page 15 Struggles: the first instance of “Struggle” should be bolded.

Page 15 Struggles: second paragraph, replace with “In the case of a tie, the player character wins against any NPC, unless the NPC is willing to spend one point from Doom to break the tie instead. If two player characters are tied, the outcome is either a tie, or the GM can determine a random winner.”

Page 16 Buying Extra Dice With Doom, last sentence: Change “to pay Doom points to” to “to generate Doom points for”.

Page 19 The section under has a page XX reference, should be page 15.

Page 19 Surprise: third paragraph, first sentence, change to “If the group attempting surprise fails at the Struggle, the winners may choose to add two points to Doom or spend one Fortune point (for the whole group) to gain the benefits of surprise instead.”

Page 20 Character action example. Should be “For example, a character cannot use her a Minor Action” (add an “a” instead of “her”)

Page 20 Long range bullet, change “but this comes at a cost” to “but the character increases the difficulty of all tests by one until the start of his next turn.”

Page 20 First example on page, first sentence, Change “ac” to “a”

Page 21 Making an attack sidebar: “DEFENSE reaction” should be “DEFENSE Reaction” (two places)

Page 22 Reach and Guard sidebar text: change second paragraph to “When a character makes an attack, compare the Reach of the weapon he is using with the Reach of his opponent’s weapon (opponent’s choice). The defender is assumed to be keeping the opponent at bay with the preferred weapon. If the defender has Guard, then the difficulty of the attack increases by one step for every point the defender’s Reach is longer than the attacker’s (D1 to D2, for example). If the defender’s Guard has been lost, then the attacker gains +1d20 for every point of Reach less than the defender, having slipped past the defender’s weapon or shield.”

Page 22 Reach and Guard sidebar text: first paragraph, third sentence, change “or an attacker spends 2 points of Momentum after a successful attack” to “or an enemy spends 2 Momentum after a successful attack or defense.”

Page 24 1st paragraph: “If the characters takes a 5th Wounds point” should be “If the character takes...”

Page 24 1st paragraph: “If the character take a 5th point of Trauma” should be “If the character takes...”

Page 25 Defend: third sentence, change “Opposed test” to “Struggle”

Page 26 Protect: change both instances of “Opposed test” to “Struggle”

Page 26 Momentum in Combat table: Second Wind, in Cost table, change “1 / R” to “1 I R”

Page 28 Replace weapon quality “Parry X” with “Parrying” and “A Parry weapon “ to “A Parrying weapon”. Replace second sentence entirely with “A character wielding one or more Parrying weapons reduces the Doom cost of a Defense Reaction using the Parry skill by one, to a minimum of 0”. (this will also require it to be moved alphabetically.

Page 28 Weapon quality “Knockdown”, Replace text with “The weapon knocks the target prone if one or more Effects are rolled. The target may ignore this if they spend one Doom for each Effect rolled”.

Page 28 Weapon quality “Knockdown”: replace “spend one Doom” to “generate one Doom”

Page 28 Weapon quality “Stun”, Replace text with “The weapon inflicts the Staggered condition to the target if one or more Effects are rolled, lasting until the end of the target’s next turn. The target may ignore this if they spend one Doom for each Effect rolled”.

Page 28 Weapon quality “Stun”: replace “spend one Doom” to “generate one Doom”

Page 28 Weapon quality “Volley”, Replace second sentence with “Wielders often carry more ammunition as a result, carrying Loads rather than individual shots”. In third and fourth sentences, replace “shot” with “Load”.

Page 28 Add weapon quality “Intense: If the weapon inflicts one or more Wounds, it inflicts one additional Wound.”

Page 29 Using Doom: second sentence, change to “That is, a non-player character can do anything that would generate one or more Doom, but instead of generating Doom, an equal number of Doom points are removed from the pool.”

Page 31 “If there are more than seven players, the gamemaster is encouraged to download additional sample characters from those provided at, or make additional copies of the characters provided and alter their names and backgrounds.” (delete the section in yellow)

Page 31 Map has been adjusted with the correct location of Fort Tuscelan, on the banks of the Black River.

Page 32 “just a few miles to the south” should be “just a few miles to the north”

Page 34 Pict Warriors: change Hatchet damage to “5[CD]”

Page 34 Languages sidebar: “pregenerated” should be “pre-generated” (with hyphen)

Page 41 Elite Pict Warrior: change Spear damage to “7[CD]”, remove “Unforgiving 1”, change Hatchet damage to “7[CD]”

Page 41 6th paragraph: “her feet are bare” should be “one foot is bare”

Page 41 5th paragraph, third sentence: “one foot is, and” should read “one foot is bare, and”

Page 41 Anavenagar, Pict Shaman: change Spear damage to “5[CD]”, remove “Unforgiving 1”, change Hatchet damage to “5[CD]”

Pre-gens Petrus: Change Sword’s Parry 2 to Parrying, change Small Shield to “Reach 2, 1H, 2[CD], Knockdown, Parrying, Shield 2”

Lucina: Change Battle Axe to “Reach 2, Unb, 5[CD], Intense, Vicious 1”, change Small Shield to “Reach 2, 1H, 3[CD], Knockdown, Parrying, Shield 2” Edric: Change Sword’s Parry 2 to Parrying, change Small Shield to “Reach 2, 1H, 3[CD], Knockdown, Parrying, Shield 2” Edric: Bonus Damage, change Melee to +1[CD]. Change Sword damage to 5[CD].

Adelstan: Change Broadsword’s Parry 2 to Parrying, change Large Shield to “Reach 2, Unb, 4[CD], Knockdown, Shield 4”

Maeve: Change Sword’s Parry 2 to Parrying

Maeve: Change Dagger’s Parry 1 to Parrying

Othwald: Change Dagger’s Parry 1 to Parrying, change Spear to “Reach 3, Unb, 5[CD], Piercing 1”, change Battle Axe to “Reach 2, Unb, 5[CD], Intense, Vicious 1”

Othwald: Survivor talent: “Oswald” should be “Othwald”

Othwald: Bonus Damage, change Presence to 0. Change Steely Glare damage to 2[CD].

Amala: Damage with the Warbow is 4[CD], rather than 5[CD]

Amala: Change Dagger’s Parry 1 to Parrying

Amala: Change Sword’s Defensive 2 to Parrying

[End of changelog]

Later today we'll be sending out an update with details of which waves we expect each of the current books to be shipping in along with some more landscape artwork from Giorgio Baroni. 



Ben Ferguson, Chris Henderson, and 38 more people like this update.


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    1. Bruce Boragine on

      I like the system and look forward to running it or playing it.
      I like how the character sheet is laid out.
      The skills are right under the associated traits and the focus for each skill is next to that.
      Very easy to read and nothing to have to calculate during play; and not much before play.

      There is one thing I would suggest be changed and that's where the Stress and Harms boxes are placed.
      Using the current format; the boxes will be written on and the erased constantly. The page will wear out and the sheets reprinted often.
      I would suggest boxes, with numbers in them, along the top and/or bottom or sides of the character sheet. That way they could be marked with a paper clip or such. A mark at every 5 boxes would make it easier to keep count.

      For example; on the left side of the page, from top to bottom, you could have Vigor with numbers declining and the Resolve with numbers increasing.
      Or you could have the Physical effects together and the Mental on the other side.

      Example; for Lucina you could have:
      VIGOR - 15 14 13 12 11 -10 9 8 7 6 5/ 4 3 2 1 0 1 2 3 4 5/ 6 7 8 9 10/ 11 12 13 14 15 - RESOLVE.

      Or putting all the Physical together;
      VIGOR 15 14 13 12 11 /10 9 8 7 6- 5 4 3 2 1 0 1 2 3 4/ 5 Wounds

      Marks between 11 and 10 to show the maximum Vigor and a mark between 4 and 5 on wounds to remind players that at 4 wounds the character is incapacitated.

      Just a suggestion that I think for the character sheets.

    2. Chris Birch, Modiphius 7-time creator on

      @Bill - sorry that page URL is an error that should have been fixed in the latest update. We will be making other characters available soon

    3. Bill Winski on

      Greetings All...
      I tried the link from the changelog - regarding p.31 ( to download additional characters, but it doesn't work. I got a "404 page not found" error.

      Otherwise, thanks for the excellent combat example... I'm really looking forward to this!

      Bill W.

    4. Nathan Dowdell on

      Round 3.

      Amala spends 1 Momentum from the pool to increase enemy test difficulty (it's an Immediate Momentum spend, so it can come directly from the pool, like buying a bonus d20).

      There is an error there (oops!), but based on the order of actions, it was Adelstan who should have had one fewer d20 (or handed 1 Doom to the GM) on his attack.

      All things considered, a minor error easily resolved - Adelstan pays for the other d20 he bought with Doom instead of Momentum.

    5. Nestor Rodriguez

      Okay, I see the comment about losing a Momentum in the paragraph at the end of round 2. My bad for missing that. But what about the extra Momentum spent on Round 3. Where does Amala get the one Momentum spent to improve her defense?

    6. Nathan Dowdell on

      @Jaret Morgan: Getting a second Minor Action would have cost him his standard action, so he chose to attack rather than regain his Guard. Regaining Guard in that case would’ve been an Average D1 Parry test (Amala’s dagger is Reach 1, and the difficulty of regaining Guard in combat is equal to enemy’s Reach), but he’s already wounded, so that becomes Challenging D2. The PCs could still have spent that Momentum to boost the difficulty again to Daunting D3, making it an unlikely action anyway. Yes, he discarded his spear because it’d be a liability in such close-quarters battle.

      @Nestor Rodriguez: I’ve just checked the original; Amala acts last that round, and deposits three Momentum into the pool at the very end of her action. Then the round ends, and there’s two Momentum left. It’s not as clear as it could be, but the group do lose that point of Momentum.

      @David Thomas: I was caught between iterations of the Quickstart changes, and didn’t think we’d have the time/opportunity to change the Struggle text for the next release of the Quickstart, so I chose to use the older version to avoid causing confusion. Then this got released before the QS was rereleased, I got another few hours to pick out errors in the QS, and ended up causing confusion anyway. Yes, by the QS rules as they stand, Adelstan should’ve won that struggle… however, he’s unlikely to have done anything meaningful, as the Elite Pict has Courage 2…

      @Ron Niabati: To echo Chris’ statement – thanks for the kind words and your support.

    7. Chris Birch, Modiphius 7-time creator on

      @Ron thanks for the kind words - we'll have another example of play tomorrow that shows how versatile the system is

    8. Ron Niabati on

      I’ve play-tested the quickstart campaign a few times so far and these rules are impressive. My method for judging RPG rules is versatility divided by complexity. In other words, the more you can do in your game with less rules, the better.
      The 2D20 system has a great deal of versatility, especially with the vast uses of Momentum. It incorporates improving the degree of success to enhance a task with stunts to transcend the task, as well as teamwork to coordinate multiple tasks. Moreover, modifiers are relatively easy to keep track of because they are mostly weapon and ability specific, and hence they are fixed throughout the scene. Range and terrain modifiers are simple and few, yet significant enough to change tactics. Characters are skill based (no classes or levels), but you improve your skills in three distinct and meaningful ways: Expertise, Focus, and Talent. This broadens both character creation options and development specialization options.
      At least for combat… 2D20 is extremely versatile and promotes creative freedom, but more importantly it does all this with minimal rules and keeps things relatively simple. In my humble opinion (gaming for over 35 years) the 2D20 system is orders of magnitude superior to the mainstream D20 system (D&D).
      Brilliant, gentlemen, just brilliant!

    9. Chris Birch, Modiphius 7-time creator on

      @Nestor / David - Nathan will pop by in the morning to answer.

    10. David Thomas on

      By the new Struggle tie breaking rules, Adelstan should have won the Threaten attack, correct? Or am I missing something?

      Great play example! Kudos to all the designers for making such a fun game. Reading the example has me really excited to play again.

    11. Nestor Rodriguez

      I just noticed. In page 14 of version 1 of the Quickstart, it's specified that the Momentum pool loses one Momentum at the end of every round of combat. It's not an issue at the end of Round 1 since there's no Momentum in the pool anyways. But at the end of Round 2, there's two. No mention of depletion is mentioned. In fact, it looks like the heroes end up spending three (one by Amala to defend, and two by Adelstan to attack). See what I mean about it being confusing?

    12. Jaret Morgan on

      In round 3, when the Elite Pict stands up with a minor action, is he unable to attempt to regain Guard because he is in melee, or did the Pict elect not to make this test in favor of the attack standard action? If he tried to regain Guard instead of going for the attack, how difficult would that have been? And I guess this is why he dropped the spear, because it would be detrimental in close quarters without Guard?

    13. Nathan Dowdell on

      @Deron. As Chris says, there are a couple of other issues. Broadly, yes, there's a good chance of Momentum spent on dice coming back as equal or greater Momentum, particularly if the character is skilled... but that doesn't take into account test difficulty (which determines how much of those successes become Momentum), or the opponent doing likewise (which will eat away at your final amount of Momentum). And, unless you've maxed out your skills and attributes for a given task, there's always a chance of a d20 turning up nothing, even if that chance gets smaller.

      Beyond that, there is the issue of Complications. Each die is another chance at a natural 20, and each natural 20 is either an immediate problem for you to deal with, or another two points into Doom.

      Finally, there's the utility of Momentum on a test-by-test basis. You can't guarantee that all of the Momentum you generate will be saved, because there might be things you need to use it for.

      Yes, keeping Momentum in the pool is good... this is by design. But it's not always as easy as it looks.

    14. Chris Birch, Modiphius 7-time creator on

      @Deron - not necessarily, someone else might need it more than you, rolling more dice increases the risk of complications or generating Doom for the GM. I'll let Nathan comment further.

    15. Missing avatar

      Deron Dorna on

      I have one concern about Momentum. It would seem that once a player has a high skill in something, it would be beneficial to spend as much Momentum as possible to guarantee winning a struggle. Since any successes over the minimum needed feed directly back into Momentum, you would almost always immediately earn back whatever Momentum you spend (or most all of it). Is that not the case?

    16. Chris Birch, Modiphius 7-time creator on

      @Rich P yes we're considering it now - waiting to see the samples of the stone tokens and final costings :-)

    17. RDP

      I was asking about Momentum tokens from the beginning, so I found some barbarian like coins I had BUT if you guys created Momentum tokens I would add them on. :)

    18. David Thomas on

      Momentum Tokens would be great! Hope you do add those. :)

    19. João Talassa on


      Regarding passing unused momentum to allies, I think Sorcerer and FFG StarWars manage to do that pretty well, as bonus dice or other kind of advantages, and do it in a very simple way, with no fiddling tracking required at all. I will at least consider house rule that when time comes if I found the momentum bank hard to explain and a unnecessary complication.

      I think that the momentum bank mechanic is in itself fiddle enough to require physical tokens, more than fortune, really.

    20. Nathan Dowdell on

      @Joao - broadly "reasonably justified" is the basic condition for everything in the system. Momentum spends and uses of Doom are both similarly subject to making sense within the narrative. Obviously, the precise manner of presentation in the rulebook is important to this, so your comments are being noted down for future reference.

    21. João Talassa on


      Regarding assistance/helping dice in general I would only allow helping dice in situations where they could be reasonable justified. In that case the onus to provide justification is on the player's side (or the GM's, in case of adversarial NPCs).

      That rule alone, if clearly stated, would solve all the issues that appeared in this discussion.

    22. Nathan Dowdell on

      @Joao - Momentum into the group pool saves a lot of other fiddly tracking. We looked at handing bonus dice to allies directly, but that required tracking how many dice each character had been given, which means you're now tracking one extra thing per player, rather than one little pool of points for the group. It also makes it more flexible - boosting enemy difficulty, or adding to the Momentum from a test, all taking advantage of the collective successes of the group.

      As for assistance - each assisting ally only provides one extra d20, and their successes only count if the leader gets at least one success, in addition to any GM-imposed limits on how many people are allowed to assist (keep it low), and whatever difficulty you set for the task.

      @Heath - I started doing that, noting skill values, etc... but the whole thing became even more of a wall of text than it already was. Those three rounds - which would take only a few minutes to resolve - are already more than two thousand words, and writing it down took far longer than actually playing it out.

    23. João Talassa on


      Glad to know your experience, that combat tends to be short and deadly. That's a big selling point for me, specially in a Conan game.

    24. João Talassa on


      Thanks. I would pay for momentum tokens too. I would only need 6. ;-)

    25. João Talassa on


      Ok, I see. Use of good common sense is a good rule of thumb. It's reason I prefer nowadays more simple streamlined systems vs. complicated ones.

      Case in point, I would generally consider less favorable the more people trying to be stealthy, or otherwise trying to surprise other parties, even in a social situation.

    26. Douglas Justice on


      Having played through a couple of combats, I can say it plays much faster than it reads. The combats tend to be short and deadly.

      Good stuff

    27. Chris Birch, Modiphius 7-time creator on

      @Joao - Nathan has been using d20's as momentum 'tokens' too and that works nicely.

    28. Chris Birch, Modiphius 7-time creator on

      @Joao see Nathan's answer below

      Regarding tokens for Momentum we usually use a separate D6 turned to show the current momentum pool - we've got a big brightly coloured D6 that works nicely. We might look at adding a set of 6 Momentum tokens for this though... hold that thought :-)

    29. David Thomas on

      So far I'm really digging all the changes! The new easy tie breaker is great. Struggles are better, and so is Parrying. Intense Quality I'd pretty great for Battle-axe and similar weapons.
      Great stuff!

      Everyone that thinks it's too complex a system should just play it. Its so easy and fast. We had 5 battles last session and only played for 3 hours.

    30. João Talassa on


      Sure, I understand and love momentum, I was asking about banking the momentum pool.

      Regarding the maximum of 1d20 help dice where does that come from? And if the party were abut shed by 20 elite Picts? They would roll 20d20 stealth dice against 5 obstacle?

    31. Chris Birch, Modiphius 7-time creator on

      Ah what Nathan said - sorry yes you can have more than one dice in assistance if there's good reason. But like with all things the GM should use common sense.

    32. David Thomas on

      @João - Remember, if the "leader" fails, the whole team fails, regardless of what they roll.
      Also, the more dice, the more chance of 20's and Complications. I seriously doubt any GM would want to roll 25 dice. (I'm pretty certain you can choose to help, but don't have to, according to the teamwork rules)

    33. Chris Birch, Modiphius 7-time creator on

      @Joao - yes there's a limit of 1 in the dice provide in assistance from others.

    34. Nathan Dowdell on

      For assistance, and for Struggles - and thus both, in this instance - the GM is encouraged to apply discretion and reason to the situation. If there's a logical upper-limit to how many assistants you could receive on a task, only allow that much assistance. if one side has particular impediments during a Struggle, increase the difficulty of that side's skill test.

      Large group = not stealth isn't an absolute truth... but a large group may find it more difficult to find ways to conceal their approach (if there's only a finite amount of cover, for example). Similarly, a large group of hunters on the approach could be actively helping one another - watching for enemies who might spot them, using subtle signals to communicate with one another, even creating minor distractions to aid their allies (imagine the raptors outflanking Muldoon in Jurassic Park).

      As not all surprise is inherently Stealth vs Observation - Persuade vs Insight is valuable for "social" ambushes (two words: Red Wedding), for example.

      You'll note with the example here that I only had some of the Picts attempt an ambush - I couldn't justify both sides engaging in a coordinated ambush when there's a large hill between them, so I only had some of them involved. Similarly, when resisting an Ambush, you may only allow those who are actively on watch to make or assist on the Observation test.

      Broadly - no hard-and-fast ruling, but the GM has the means to adjust things to suit their judgement.

    35. João Talassa on

      Because there is no limit in the helping dice, and there is a limit of 5 in setting the obstacle difficulty.

    36. João Talassa on


      So, I'm my example you would roll 25d20 dice in order to beat an obstacle 5 stealth task?

    37. Chris Birch, Modiphius 7-time creator on

      @Heath thanks for the suggestion we'll bear that in mind for the next example

    38. Chris Birch, Modiphius 7-time creator on

      @Joao - the mob can only provide 1d20 assistance, no more. If there was a much bigger group you would also make it a harder test for them.

      Momentum is one of the core aspects of the system - in one of the next examples well show how you can spend momentum to do cool things that you the player dream up. The idea is that you have the base spends but you can use larger amounts of Momentum to do truly cinematic things.

    39. João Talassa on

      Speaking of which, I think it can be more useful having momentum tokens rather than fortune tokens in this game, being a number that is more likely to be up and down several times in any given round.

    40. Missing avatar

      heath delashmit on

      love the example the only critique i have is mayby showing how you got those examples. i play and run ALOT of different systems and always have lots going on in the old noggin so it really helps when a developer takes the time to put something like this out. i appreciate the fact that you use character sheets from the quickstart so that i can follow this example. anyway what i am talking about goes like this. this is what was written "Edric spends the Momentum in the group’s pool for an extra d20, and makes his attack: 2, 3, and 19, for three successes, which means two Momentum. " this could have read "Edric spends the Momentum in the group’s pool for an extra d20, and makes his attack: (Ranged Weapons TN 11/ Focus 2) and got 2, 3, and 19, on his 3d20 rolls for three successes (2 successes for rolling a 2 with a focus in ranged, 1 success for rolling the 3, and no successes for rolling the 19), which means two Momentum." for me i love examples where you can look at the character sheet and follow what is going on. thanks for listening.

    41. David Thomas on

      @João - As GM, I would definitely increase the difficulty of a Stealth roll by a large group.

    42. João Talassa on

      Also, what is the reasoning regarding momentum pool?

      What is it trying to accomplish that can't be accomplished by granting bonus dice/advantage (in this case, momentum) to the next player, the same way as in Sorcerer/FFG StarWars?

    43. João Talassa on

      Regarding the surprise round, the help/assist dice in a stealth roll still confuse me.

      What if it were 5 elite Picts and 20 mobs of 3 Picts each? The GM would roll 25 d20 stealth dice to initiate the surprise round? The larger the party the stealthier? It shouldn't be the other way around?

    44. Chris Birch, Modiphius 7-time creator on

      @Weresheep - I find it's something like learning Fate - I remember re-reading Spirit of the Century 3 times but it was only when I played it that it made sense. They used a lot of quirky language to describe quite normal rule systems that didn't help. We're going to do some videos talking through a combat round and how simply it is when you're playing, and specifically how easy it is for players to dream up quite cinematic actions with their Momentum.

    45. Morgan Stjernstrom on

      I dont see it as overly complicated, certainly not more complcated than normal D20 system. Its just that we know that system that we dont think its hard to use, it will be the same with 2D20 im sure of.

      I also think this system will be easier on the GM (not having to memorize 100's of feats and how an AoE looks like etc).

      I would think that seeing this combat in live would do it far more justice. :)

    46. Weresheep of Sin AKA Stefan

      Unfortunately, this example strengthens my belief that the rules appear to be too complicated for my taste (and I can't see the reason why at the moment).

    47. Nestor Rodriguez

      My first off-the-top impression on reading the example was, "Holy Hannah! That looked complicated!"

      I guess I'll read through the updated quickstart and try to make sense of it.