Monday, March 31, 2008

Conan Book List

I'm sure we will see some requests for Info on Conan books. Therfor I've put together this list, mostly it's cut and past from Wikipedia.

If you are interested in reading the unedited Conan stories by Robert E. Howard, I would suggest you purchase The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian as this book provides a better introduction to the Hyborian Age. For me, the following three volumes by Del Rey are my Conan Bible --

  1. The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian
  2. The Bloody Crown of Conan
  3. The Conquering Sword of Conan

THE 'CONAN' STORIES By Robert E. Howard:

Now to the list, Note not all books are written by REH but based upon his manuscripts. Even tough REH was a productive writer while he lived. He died young (30 years old) and only wrote Conan stories the few last years, most published in Wierd tales. But he also left a lot of unfinished material which other authors have worked on. Some would recomend u only read the "True" RHE stories, But the fact is a lot of good Conan stories have come from other writers too, how true too the REH Lore they are can be discussed. Some books have been censored (thanks America the free), and some edited and so forth.For my own part I found books written by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter some of the most entertaining Conan Stories.

Gnome Press editions, 1950-1957:

  1. The Coming of Conan (1953)
  2. Conan the Barbarian (1954)
  3. The Sword of Conan (1952)
  4. King Conan (1953)
  5. Conan the Conqueror (AKA The Hour of the Dragon) (1950)
  6. The Return of Conan (1957) (by Björn Nyberg and L. Sprague de Camp)
  7. Tales of Conan (1955) (originally non-Conan Howard stories rewritten as Conan stories by L. Sprague de Camp)

Lancer/Ace paperback editions, 1966-1977:

  1. The cover of Conan the Usurper (1967) by Frank Frazetta (artist).
  2. Conan (1968) (by Robert E. Howard, L. Sprague de Camp, and Lin Carter)
  3. Conan of Cimmeria (1969) (by Robert E. Howard, L. Sprague de Camp, and Lin Carter)
  4. Conan the Freebooter (1968) (by Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp)
  5. Conan the Wanderer (1968) (by Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp)
  6. Conan the Adventurer (1966) (by Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp)
  7. Conan the Buccaneer (1971) (by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter)
  8. Conan the Warrior (1967) (by Robert E. Howard)
  9. Conan the Usurper (1967) (by Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp)
  10. Conan the Conqueror (AKA The Hour of the Dragon) (1967) (by Robert E. Howard)
  11. Conan the Avenger (AKA The Return of Conan) (1968) (by Björn Nyberg and L. Sprague de Camp)
  12. Conan of Aquilonia (1977) (by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter)
  13. Conan of the Isles (1968) (by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter)

Donald M. Grant editions, 1974-1989

A series of illustrated limited editions of the Howard Conan stories only, containing one or two stories per volume. The series ran out of steam before publishing the last five of the stories and three of the fragments.

  1. The People of the Black Circle (1974)
  2. The Tower of the Elephant (1975) (also includes The God in the Bowl)
  3. A Witch Shall Be Born (1975)* Red Nails (1975)
  4. The Devil in Iron (1976) (also includes Shadows in Zamboula)
  5. Rogues in the House (1976) (also includes The Frost Giant's Daughter)
  6. Queen of the Black Coast (1978) (also includes The Vale of Lost Women)
  7. Jewels of Gwahlur (1979) (also includes The Snout in the Dark fragment)
  8. Black Colossus (1979) (also includes Shadows in the Moonlight)
  9. Pool of the Black One (1986) (also includes Drums of Tombalku fragment)
  10. The Hour of the Dragon (1989)

Berkley editions, 1977

Edited by Karl Edward Wagner, this series, like the Grant edition, included only the Howard Conan stories in their original published form, and included only the Conan stories known at the time to be in the public domain. Wagner's introductions are openly dismissive of the editorial revisions done by de Camp and Carter on the Lancer/Ace editions.

  • The Hour of the Dragon (Aug. 1977)
  • The People of the Black Circle (Sep. 1977)
  • Red Nails (Oct. 1977)

Bantam editions, 1978-1982

A series of non-Howard material continuing and supplementing the Lancer/Ace series.

  • Conan the Swordsman (Aug. 1978) (by L. Sprague de Camp, Lin Carter, and Bjorn Nyberg)
  • Conan the Liberator (Feb. 1979) (by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter)
  • Conan: The Sword of Skelos (May 1979) (by Andrew J. Offutt)
  • Conan: The Road of Kings (Oct. 1979) (by Karl Edward Wagner)
  • Conan and the Spider God (Dec. 1980) (by L. Sprague de Camp)
  • Conan the Rebel (Jul. 1980) (by Poul Anderson)
  • Conan the Barbarian (May 1982) (adaptation by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter of the movie of the same title)

Ace Maroto editions, 1978-1981

A series of new material by Andrew J. Offutt and old Howard/de Camp collaborations, all illustrated by Esteban Maroto. The Offutt stories, in combination with his Conan: The Sword of Skelos from the Bantam series, form a linked trilogy.

  • Conan and the Sorcerer (Oct. 1978) (by Andrew J. Offutt)
  • The Treasure of Tranicos (Jul. 1980) (by Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp)
  • Conan the Mercenary (Jan. 1981) (by Andrew J. Offutt)
  • The Flame Knife (Jul. 1981) by Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp)

Happy Reading

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Age of Conan: Player vs. player siege combat

This guide is taken from The best Age of Conan site I know of.

We shall call upon every strong arm and sharp sword to fight. We shall bring them to their knees and see them crushed by the fury of our kingdom!

Siege warfare was brought into Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures because Funcom as developers wanted to give players that epic feeling of being part of a large-scale battle.

We have all watched movies like Braveheart, 300, Kingdom of Heaven – all these epic battle movies – and we realized how amazing it would be to bring that into a massive online game. So we did, naturally.

If you ever open a Conan book or comic, you quickly realize that war rages across the ravaged surface of Hyboria. Conflicts are not so much an exception as it is a fact of life, not necessarily between the nations themselves, but often between factions residing within their troubled borders.
In Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures player guilds will sooner or later end up in such conflicts with each other. Once a guild reaches a reasonable size and stature on a server, the opportunity to own a battlekeep will soon arise. But with only a limited number of battlekeeps per server allowed, guilds will have to war against each other in order to secure the power and fortune for themselves.

We built this city on bloody soil
Through the thick morning fog of the Border Kingdom the early sounds of human activity can be heard. Hammering, sawing, shouting. Everyone is doing their part. Crafters scurry around the work site while planning with the Lords and the Ladies of the guild, and mercenaries protect the guild members as they bring back timber and iron to be used in the construction of the battlekeep.
Should you happen to come upon an available site for a battlekeep, or should you manage to bring down another guild's battlekeep, your guild will have to start constructing its own. This involves gathering resources, erecting buildings and making sure everything is sufficiently protected.
Each building within your battlekeep will grant a bonus that will affect some or all members of your guild. Buildings include the blacksmith, the temple, the alchemist workshop, the university and more. While the temple may benefit healing classes within your guild, the university might provide a bonus for all spell casting classes and your guild will need to prioritize what to build.
«Constructing a battlekeep might take anything from a few hours to several days,» says Game Designer Jason Stone. «You will need to carefully choose what buildings you want as you can’t necessarily build everything, and you must also focus on building the walls required to keep your enemies out and your buildings safely protected. You can build several lines of defenses.»

Sounding the bells of war
Thundering hooves can be heard in the distance. The sound of war is approaching. A nameless enemy musters its forces. The guards of the battlekeep, slumbering uneasily with one eye open jump to their feet. Someone is knocking on the gate – it's like the drums of doom. Blood will soak the fields beyond their walls today, and only Crom knows who will come out of it alive.
If you ever find yourself in the possession of a battlekeep you will sooner or later have to face the fact that someone will try and take it from you. The good thing is that you, as a defender, will be able to more or less determine when your battlekeep will be vulnerable for attack, something that ensures that you will always have the upper hand and that there will be no nasty surprises.
«If your battlekeep were vulnerable for attack all the time, that would soon prove to be very frustrating to players,» says Stone. «Instead the guild determines when it's attackable. You choose your own vulnerability window, and the bigger it is, the more benefits your guild receives from owning the battlekeep. Still, no one is safe: Everyone needs to be vulnerable at some point.»
The actual siege is initiated when a guild set up a war tent outside the other guild's battlekeep within its vulnerability window, effectively declaring war on it. The defenders will need to muster their forces just as much as the attackers will have to, and from there it's surely survival of the fittest!

A call to arms
If the gold is right, the men will come. In the harsh reality of Hyboria, that's a fact of life. In the smoky taverns of Hyboria, many a man have traded his sword to dark-clad characters on a mission from some aspiring guild recruiting to bolster their numbers so that they can invade their enemy. All it takes is that the price is right, if that's the case, men willingly put their necks on the line.
In order to let everyone enjoy the adrenaline-pumping siege gameplay in Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, we devised something called the mercenary system. Not everyone wants to join a big guild – not everyone has the time to join a big guild – so Funcom knew that we had to give even the lone wolves of Hyboria the opportunity to satisfy their thirst for large-scale, epic battles.
«With the mercenary system your guild will be able to recruit other players to fight for their cause, no matter if you're the defending or the attacking guild,» says Stone. «They simply put out a mercenary request promising a certain amount of gold for services rendered, and as a player you can search for these at any time, choose one, and jump more or less right into the fray.»
That player will then have to fight for your guild in order to get the gold promised. This will allow any guild with the appropriate resources needed to add padding to their numbers should they feel that they need help in attacking or defend against the enemy guild that might also use mercenaries.

In the midst of battle
The smell of death is in the air. The attackers, mounted on ferocious killer rhinos, stampede over the burning remains of the once mighty gate and charges into the heart of the battlekeep. The trebuchets continues to pound on the walls, wreaking fiery havoc, as the defending guild leader retreats to the headquarters to spend the final minutes of his reign – and his life – with his ale.
When it all starts, the battle can be a scene of complete chaos. Funcom is aiming to have over one hundred players charging the battlefields at the same time, and the guilds will have to coordinate their attack – and their defense – carefully. Will you place the archers on the walls? Will you put your war mammoths at the front? A thousand war stories will unfold in the minutes or hours ahead.
The attackers will usually start by crafting a few siege engines – such as trebuchets – and then place them tactically. As a player you will need to direct the shots of your siege engines yourself, as you try to focus on weak spots in the wall – most likely the wooden main gate itself.
«For the attackers, destroying buildings and killing the enemy will give you points needed to gain in order to win,» explains Stone. «Everything you do gives you point, even congesting certain areas of the playfield. If you manage to build up enough points within the vulnerability window, you might win and the battlekeep will be destroyed so that you can build your own on ashes of the old one.»

If at first you don't succeed
The once green fields of the Border Kingdom are colored in sickening, crimson red. Limbs lie scattered across the battlefield and the crying of the wounded is the only sound. The walls were broken, the defenders were slaughtered and the battlekeep was conquered. As the victors toast their hard-won success, work has already started on a new, perhaps bigger, battlekeep.
A siege battle may take anything from a few moments to several hours to complete, depending on the strength of the two opposing guilds. The walls might have been too strong due to upgrades, and so the attackers failed to succeed. The attacking forces might simply have been too big, and so the defenders failed in their mission to hold off the attackers for long enough time.
One's victory is another's defeat, and so the wheel of time continues to spin violently for the guilds braving the frontiers of the Border Kingdom. And if your guild fails to capture a battlekeep, there are always the smaller forts to be captured – or even the ever valuable resource nodes!

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Six reasons to be excited about Age of Conan

Everyone seems to be aware of one or two great features coming with Age of Conan, but we realized that not everybody has a complete view of some of the coolest ones -- which has led us to sort of a blind men and the elephant situation. So in an effort to give a more complete view of why Funcom's newest title looks exceedingly cool, we've gone and thought of six reasons to truly be excited about Age of Conan. Our barbarian urges are beginning to take over, so we'd better get to the good stuff before we run into the hills and slaughter a bear or something.

Character creation

When you first start creating your character in Age of Conan you'll get to pick your hair, facial hair, hair color, eye color, body type, height, skin color, body markings and voice options. That would be plenty for most developers to give their players, but Funcom has gone even further by allowing you to tweak your initial selections even more. We're talking sliders (similar to the ones found in Oblivion, but more useful) for body parts such as arms, chest, stomach, posterior, thighs and legs as well as facial sliders which we wont even bother trying to list here. Although one of our favorite facial sliders is the one that lets you have a broken nose, if you want to go for that 'Owen Wilson' look. Suffice it to say, the character creation in AoC should allow players to start the game with their very own identity -- an important factor in any MMO.

Real Combat

Combat in Age of Conan is different -- very different. In fact, we're fairly sure that the active combat will be one of the biggest bullet points on the back of the box once the game ships in May and with good reason. By now, you probably know that there is no auto-attack in AoC -- players just select an enemy, walk up and start swinging with their five directional attack buttons. Everyone is familiar with 'WASD' which is why the 1, 2, 3, Q and E keys are your directional attacks. Don't worry so much about complexity, as only three directional attacks are available until later levels. Taking a moment to look at them on your keyboard, you'll see how they would correspond to the different directions. If you want to attack your enemy from an upper-right angle, you just press the number three -- of course you can also click on the UI instead. It sounds strange at first, but much time and effort has been put into making the combat in AoC feel tight.

One of the many questions we have gotten when telling people about the combat system in Age of Conan is, "What's to stop me from swinging around mindlessly?" To which we like to respond, "Great question! Shields and Combos, actually." One thing you'll notice in the last two images are the white 'shield' icons surrounding the NPC monsters. Everything in the game has these shields, which will reduce damage taken from whatever side the shield is protecting. Combos are strings of regular directional attacks that cause a special attack to pop off -- they're similar to your special abilities in other MMOs. The only catch here is that you'll want to use them tactically around the enemy shields, otherwise their damaging effect will end up being reduced. When you drop a special attack into your shortcut bar, clicking it will cause the game to show you how to actually perform the special via combo string. In battle, players will be able to chain up to five combos in a row -- something we're looking forward to trying many times over.

Ranged combat players aren't left out in the cold, in fact they've got something of their own system in the game. Ranged combat actually functions much like melee combat with the same five directional attacks which correspond to the shields all enemies have around them. The big difference here -- aside from the range aspect -- is that ranged classes will be able attack in either first or third person view. The first person view supposedly plays like a slowed-down FPS, although 'ToHit' rolls are still being done behind the scenes. One thing you'll want to remember when using a bow is that elevation does come into play -- higher ground is always better.


Spellweaving has gone through quite a few changes over the course of Age of Conan's development. Right now Funcom has been keeping fairly quiet on what the final system is like -- however we can take a few guesses from previous versions they have talked about. Standard spell casting will definitely be in Age of Conan, but when magic users really want to toss out some damage (or nasty effects) at the risk of their own safety -- they can. In the past, spellweaving has been a state of trance that players can enter. While in this self-induced spellweaving trance, magic spells can be combined for some interesting effects. Also, the number of spells that can be 'weaved' together is supposed to be dependent on the spellcaster's level. We're really looking forward to the official unveiling of this system, because if it's even half as cool as the combat we'll be satisfied.

The dark and mature world of Hyboria

If there's one thing you can count on, it's that Funcom will be taking advantage of their mature rating. Age of Conan has always been designed with intent to be played by adults -- players who can handle not just blood, but a dark, decadent and very twisted world. Robert E. Howard created a pretty messed up mythos and it wouldn't be properly represented if Age of Conan didn't have its mature stamp. Do we admit to being excited about lopping off heads and gallons of blood splashing everywhere, including our actual computer screens? Yeah, we're way excited for that stuff, but we're also looking forward to what sorts of messed up creatures we'll get to fight. We're wondering how strange and morally gray some of the quests are going to turn out and most of all we're looking forward to emulating the heroic Conan while adventuring throughout the land of Hyboria.


All right so we just mentioned the head lopping and the blood splatter effect on the 'screen' as it were. However, we forgot to mention that dismemberment is only the outcome of one of the coolest little features in Age of Conan -- finishing kills. Or rather, the cool little special finishing animations that are possible to get when you really kick somebody's ass hard. It doesn't happen often -- the head-lopping and other special kills -- but when you get them, they're little moments of, "Oh awesome!"

The more of those moments the better, we say. In fact, more of those moments in Age of Conan will only give the game its own increasingly unique personality.

Graphical prowess

It's not much of a stretch to say that the graphics in Age of Conan are pretty impressive, even for a non-MMO game. Players with DX10 capable machines (running Vista, of course) will also be able to experience some pretty cool shading and lighting affects. A few recent videos have also proven that the draw distance in AoC is incredibly more impressive than we had previously thought it would be. Although our biggest surprise was that Funcom has managed to create some of the most impressive water effects we've seen in an MMO -- especially the realistic flowing rivers and waterfalls. We're perfectly capable of accepting the slight texture pop-in effect -- mostly seen only in Unreal Engine 3 games -- because it's what allows such vivid levels of detail at either far away or up close distances. The final test will be to run on our own machines, but since we already know the system requirements we're not entirely too worried -- at least not for our computers.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Age of Conan Beta Screenshots

This is taken from The best Age of Conan site I know of.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Age of Conan economics 101

Not everyone can be clobbered and stripped of all material possessions. Sometimes, for instance, the other guy is bigger than you are and you’ll actually have to dig deep in your pocket and pay for what you want. This section provides a brief overview of the economic world of Hyboria.

Hyborian Currency

There are four types of currency in Age of Conan: gold, silver, copper, and tin. One hundred units of one currency represent one unit of the next currency value, like so:

1 gold=100 silver

1 silver=100 copper

1 copper=100 tin

Enemies in Age of Conan drop a wide variety of this currency, though most of your income will come from questing and selling items early on, with crafting serving as another way of earning cash for more advanced players or those who are inclined to take up the trade.

Buying and Selling

One way to acquire items and equipment is from NPC vendors that specialize in trading certain kinds of goods. Scattered around the world of Hyboria, though mostly in settlements, you will find vendors that specialize in selling things like weapons, armor, potions, and more. Interacting with these vendors opens up a trade window, where you can peruse what they have for sale and offer them your own items for cash.

Trading With Other Players

Face to face trade with other players is possible by choosing the Trade option in the menu. This opens the Trade window, divided into two parts, an area showing the items you’re giving and an area showing the items they’re offering. Once both players accept the trade, the trade is complete. However, to prevent players from cheating, making changes after accepting a trade will reset the trade (meaning you’ll have a chance to look it over again before accepting the trade).

Using Tradeposts

Not everyone wants to stand in the street shouting to sell their items. Places to go and people to kill, right? To that end, Tradeposts are where players will do most of their buying and selling, similar to the auction houses in other games. Tradeposts are found in cities (both regular cities and player cities), and using them brings up an interface that combines your bank, mailbox, and a marketplace to buy and sell items. To sell something, you put it in your bank, set it to “for sale” with whatever price you want, and wait for the customers to come in. Importantly, the tradepost is not built around auctions. You list something for sale and someone buys it (or they don’t), without bidding or waiting for hours to get your item (or your money!).

This guide was taken from The best Age of Conan Guide site I know of.

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