Marvel's Conan the Barbarian . . . SUPERS! Style


As my last post intimated, work has kept me too busy for gaming over the last month or so.  Because I suffer from a form of C.A.D.D. (Campaign Attention Deficiency Disorder), that delay has meant a transfer of momentum away from sword-and-sorcery to superheroes.  The barbarians of Lemuria will ride again, of course, but first I need to work the supers out of my system.  Luckily Simon Washbourne, creator of BoL, can help me out here.  I'm running his excellent rules-lite Supers! system this coming Sunday for the children of several of my colleagues.  But I also thought I'd honor the spirit of this blog by generating a Supers! version of the Marvel Comics Conan.

Or, rather, a Marvel Comics Conan.  Since I'm using a superhero RPG system to generate the character, it makes sense to use the version that actually interacted with superheroes: the Conan of What If #43 (February 1984).  What If is Marvel's name for its on-again, off-again series devoted to superhero counterfactuals.  (Although the series predates DC Comics's Elseworlds concept by twelve years, it almost certainly owes a conceptual debt to the "Imaginary Stories" DC ran in many of its Silver Age titles.)  I didn't buy What If on a regular basis during my childhood stint as a Marvel Zombie, but I couldn't pass up this issue: "What if Conan the Barbarian Were Stranded in the Twentieth Century?"  First of all, I was a regular reader of Marvel's various Conan titles at the time.  Second, how can anyone pass up this wonderful Bill Sienkiewicz cover?

The story in issue #43 is technically a counterfactual of a counterfactual: in What If #12 (February 1979), Conan had briefly spent time in modern-day New York before he was zapped back to the Hyborian Age by magic lightning.  Issue #43 has the NYPD wrestle Conan out of range of the lightning, leaving him stuck in the Big Apple.  Conan spends some time in the slammer, masters the New York criminal scene, dresses like a pimp, and eventually ends up fighting Captain America on two occasions.  The first fight ends with the image depicted at the start of this post (Conan slicing open Captain's left arm).  The second fight ends with Cap saving Conan from the cops and offering him a place in the Avengers.  At the end of the issue, the Watcher looks on as Conan ponders making a call to Avengers Mansion and doing something more with his life than petty crime.

As a way of playtesting the Supers! rules, I've decided to assume that Conan does pick up the phone and accept Cap's offer.  What would Conan's superhero RPG stats resemble?  Check them out beneath the fold, True Believers!


Composure 2D
Fortitude 4D
Reaction 4D
Will 3D

Athleticism 3D (Climbing 4D, Dodging 4D)
Fighting 3D (Swords 5D)
Intrusion 2D
Presence 3D
Streetwise 2D
Survival 2D
All the rest 1D


Attractive (It's those smoldering blue eyes)

Disreputable (Conan's got a rap-sheet)
Normal (+2D in Competency Pool)
Outsider (Conan's a man-out-of-time . . . just like his buddy Captain America)

Competency Pool


  1. Oh, man! So cool. I would've never thought of this. Supers! is our (me and my sons) game of choice right now. Good luck with the game.


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