Share this project


Share this project

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.

Conan RPG Excerpt - The Gray Ape!

Posted by Chris Birch, Modiphius (Creator)

Hi all here's another except from the Conan RPG core book - this time from the Bestiary. 

First of all for there is a Treasure of Tranicos Pledge available for those looking to upgrade. 

Conan’s world contains many fearsome threats, and on several occasions the mighty Cimmerian occasionally found himself pitched in life-or-death combat against one of the more intimidating natural creatures of his age: the gray ape. 

Presented here is a preview of the write-up of the gray ape as it will appear in the core rulebook for Robert E. Howard’s Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of.

This excerpt is written from the point of view of Astreas, a widely-traveled Nemedian scholar, introduced in the story “A Witch Shall Be Born”. His works were quoted extensively in the Nemedian Chronicles, the primary source of information about the Hyborian Age. That latter work was later translated by Friedrich Wilhelm von Junzt and referred to extensively in the blasphemous tome known as Unaussprechlichen Kulten (“Nameless Cults”).

Gray Ape by Tomas Giorello
Gray Ape by Tomas Giorello

Gray Ape

We turn now to another of those great, man-like beasts found ranging from the Western Sea to far Khitai. This time, we look to the forests along the mountains of the eastern Vilayet Sea where the singular gray ape dwells. As fearsome in appearance as in nature, these man-eaters stand upright like men, but posses no voice, no language, or any evidence of civilization. I have read treatises from dimly-remembered Acheron, declaring them a degenerate race, having fallen so far as to no longer be human. I think this foolishness. These are not sub-humans, for they would have to have once been men for this claim to be true. They are, and never were, true men.

Perhaps, in time, when the great kingdoms of the Hyborian Age have fallen to dust and muslin-thin memory, these creatures will inherit that fertile land along the Inland Sea, but that is beyond my ability to foresee. I am a scholar a chronicler. I record what is and has been, not what is to be.

Though rarely fully upright, the gray ape stands equal to the height of the tallest of men. Covered almost fully in rough, coarse gray fur, only its face and chest is bare. Its features are those of a man fused with a monster, and one seeming in constant rage at that. Its strength is that of the greatest warrior, and woe to the man a gray ape lays its hands upon, for none can stand against one that has been enraged. Yellow tusks protrude from thick, lower lips, seemingly designed to rend flesh. While I have said that the gray ape is a man-eater — and indeed it does have a taste for human flesh — it will just as readily eat of its own kind.

The gray ape can scent a man from a half a league away. If, however, a man can smell one, it is likely already too late, for the gray ape will spring fast and unmerciful upon its prey.

Behind those afore-described furious eyes lurks a keen, if rudimentary, intelligence — this is not the dumb ape of the southern, steaming jungles. There is a semblance of cunning to its actions, if only just barely so. I have heard travelers’ tales of ambushes sprung by these horrid, fearsome beasts, giving proof of at least a dim sense of intelligence and some form of planning.

Likewise, I have described accounts of gray apes being trained as guards, though it is not uncommon for such sentinels to turning on their would-be masters. Make no mistake: these are wild creatures. Their prodigious strength and animal cunning is more than a match for even a seasoned soldier, or even thrice that number. Some bold, or foolish, collectors seek their pelts or bodies, fully stuffed, and the apothecaries and alchemists of the east claim a number of remedies from their musk or other bodily elements.

This is moot, however, as few sent to gather such specimens to collect have returned, and the only likely means by which a civilized man might lay eyes upon a gray ape is in a gladiatorial arena or as a specimen in a bestiary, and in such cases, the more safely removed from the creature, the better. 

— Astreas, “In Pursuit of A Vilayet Sea Taxonomy”

Gray Ape (Elite)

  • Agility 12
  • Awareness 10
  • Brawn 14 (1)
  • Coordination 10
  • Intelligence 7
  • Personality 6
  • Willpower 9

Fields of Expertise - 

  • Combat 1
  • Fortitude 1
  • Movement 1
  • Senses 2
  • Social - 
  • Technical - 

Damage - 

  • Vigour 16
  • Armour 2 (Tough Hide)
  • Resolve 10
  • Courage 1 (Bestial Fury)

Attacks - 

  • Thrown Rock (M): Range C, 7[CD], 2H, Thrown, Knockdown 
  • Crushing Fists (M): Reach 2, 7[CD], 1H, Stun, Knockdown
  • Grasping Hands (M): Reach 1, 7[CD], 1H, Grappling, Unforgiving 2 
  • Bestial Roar (T): Range C, 3[CD] mental, Stun, Vicious 1

Special Abilities - 

Brachiating: Gray apes are capable of moving through the trees with remarkable agility, swinging from the branches. A gray ape may ignore all difficult terrain when moving through zones that include trees, and may re-roll any d20 that does not generate a success when making a movement-related test while climbing or moving through trees. As monstrous creatures, there aren’t as many trees that can support their bulk.

Fear 1: The creature’s form, nature, or raw presence is deeply unsettling to mortal minds, and few can bear witness to it and remain strong. When a character sees a creature with Fear 1, they must immediately attempt an Average (D1) Resolve test, or suffer the creature’s normal Bestial Roar damage. A character must attempt this test only once for each Fear causing creature in a scene. In addition, a creature with Fear 1 increases the damage of all Threaten attacks by +1[CD]. 

Monstrous Creature: The considerable bulk and mass of this creature makes it less agile and graceful than smaller creatures, and hinders it moving through confined spaces. Increase the difficulty of tests where great size or weight would be problematic by one step. However, Monstrous Creatures can use Unbalanced or Two-Handed weapons in one hand without an increase in difficulty. 

Inhuman Brawn 1: The creature has colossal, inhuman brawn. Whenever it makes a Brawn test, it gains one automatic success. Further, it increases its Vigor by one, and adds an additional +1[CD] to all melee attacks.

Doom Spends - 

Horrific Snap: The gray ape, after successfully grappling a humanoid, can crush him — breaking ribs, piercing lungs, and squeezing the very life from him. If a character ends their turn still grappled by a gray ape, the gray ape may spend two Doom to immediately inflict its Crushing Fists (M) damage on that character, gaining the Intense quality on its attack.

Enjoy the havoc this hairy piece of trouble this is going to bring your to your players!

Chris, Modiphius

Douglas Bailey, RDP, and 38 more people like this update.


Only backers can post comments. Log In
    1. Netobvious

      Somebody on the Modiphius forums just advised me that this Great Ape could be tweaked as a template for those legendary White Apes of Mars to challenge John Carter and friends. ;-)

    2. Chris Birch, Modiphius 7-time creator on

      @Atlictoatl - I'm confirming with the dev team

      @Douglas - yes a Resolve Test uses Discipline

    3. Douglas Justice on

      Is a Resolve test mentioned in the Fear ability a Discipline check?

    4. Atlictoatl on

      There's some unclear language on Fear 1: "A character must attempt this test only once for each Fear causing creature in a scene." Does this mean that if there are 3 Gray Apes, a character has to make three tests, or because they are all Gray Apes only one test is required?

    5. Missing avatar

      David Di Muro


    6. The JollyGM on

      My God!!!!

      Bad Monkey!!

    7. Ron Niabati on

      @ Douglas Justice: I confused the dash symbol for a 'null' value... Thanks for pointing it out.
      So, the "Doom Spends" does describe unique aspects of the creature. Thanks again!

    8. João Talassa on

      @Douglas Bailey I don't think it's a melee weapon as it has no reach.

    9. Douglas Justice on

      @ron niabati under Doom spends is the Horrific Snap

    10. Ron Niabati on

      @ Chris Birch: Great example!
      Under "Special Abilities" there is "Doom Spends" listed, but with no description. Is this something that describes how the creature would normally spend Doom?

    11. Douglas Bailey on

      @Matthew Widener - the Thrown Rock is a Melee weapon with the Thrown quality, so it can be used in melee or thrown (with Close optimal range and no Difficulty increase), just like a dagger. I think the listing is correct.

    12. Missing avatar

      Frank Williams on

      How many creatures in the core book? What about the bestiary?

    13. Chris Birch, Modiphius 7-time creator on

      @Matthew - I've asked Benn to check on that but I'd guess it should be [R]

    14. Douglas Justice on

      'But what is it, then? What lurks in this thicket?' 'Death!' he answered, his gaze still fixed on the brooding jade arches that shut out the sky.

      He wasn't lying was he?

      That is a bad ape. Awesome stuff.

    15. Matthew Widener on

      7[CD] for Grasping Hands! I'm imagining my poor PCs wrapped up in that ape hug, and if they're unlucky with a Grappling difficulty of 3 or 4! I imagine a great scene where the ape won't let go, and the other PCs have to assist, everyone distracting or harassing the ape. How fun this will be!

      Thrown Rock is shown as [M], not [R]. Is a thrown object considered melee?

    16. David Thomas on

      Yikes! That's one tough ape!
      Let me say I'm really enjoying these glimpses at the Core book!
      More please!