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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Appendix N Commentary: Age of Conan

So I just finished Age of Conan: Anok, Heretic of Stygia, Volume I.  This is the first of three books in this particular series that I purchased at a thrift book store.

I was wary when I first picked up this book, because well it's not Robert E. Howard and it's not about Conan, it's about some dude named Anok.

Anok turns out to be a pretty okay protagonist and the story is decent.  It has everything you'd probably want in a story set in Hyboria:  Sword fights, sorcery, beasts, evil Set following cultists, and even some sex.

Is it great?  Eh...  Was I entertained?  Yes, though at times I felt I had to force myself to get through a chapter, but that may have just been me wanting Conan to pop up (which he is referenced a couple of times as the King of Aquilonia).  However, I think the real thing was I longing for is the feel I get from reading a Robert E. Howard story.  The raw power behind his words are what make Hyboria exist.  The same goes with Tolkien's works or Moorcock.  It's hard to emulate others and this author does a decent job for the most part, but it never truly felt the same.

What really sicks out to me is the magic.  We have a character welding powers beyond his comprehension in descriptive ways that just doesn't truly invoke that feeling of Howard's stories and it happens too often in my opinion.  Not Harry Potter too often, but more than I would have liked.

Okay, I'm finished ragging on this book.  I actually did enjoy it and plan to read the next two as the ending of this first one was a "Holy Shit!" kinda ending.  I'll give it to the author that he really did a good job at getting you to like the main characters.  Something I didn't think was going to happen when I first started reading it.

Overall Grade: B+

Appendix N Item:

What follows is an item that stuck out to me from the novel and I describe it here using the same words as the author for you to use in your next RPG.

Ring of Jani

An silver ring, ornately carved, as though circled by ancient vines and decorated by a strange two-faced creature that appears as though it is giving a mocking smile.  The ring brings Luck, but the wearer is also cursed, because, "Jani can see all around, he travels only in circles.  He can never leave the desert..."

In DCCRPG game terms the ring will regenerate the wearer's used Luck 1d3 each day, but the wearer can never leave within a 100 mile radius of where they found the ring.  Even if they do, they will wake the next day having been teleported somewhere within the 100 mile radius.  The ring cannot be taken off until three "good deeds" have been done.  What are these deeds?  Ask Jani.

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