Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Influence of Conan on AD&D

I've been reading a lot of the Conan stories again lately.  However now,  I find I am reading them differently.

It's funny, I've had this collection of the whole Conan saga for years and have read through them multiple times.  Never though until my re-emergence into AD&D have I read them with AD&D in mind.

It's funny how it strikes me as I read. I'll be just "plain" reading a story and suddenly as I am reading a sentence or paragraph detailing a fight scene or a description of a character or character interaction does it hit me out of nowhere.  "Hey, this is a classic example of weapon proficiency." or something like that.

Casual observations and "natural" comparisons between the game and the stories seem to jump out at me me now.  I seem to identify classic character types such as fighters and clerics and magic users.  The more I read these stories, the more I think that this is what AD&D is supposed to be.

Of course, the AD&D books list a number of authors, stories and characters as influences and I can see almost all of those.  It's hard, for example, not to see LotR in the character classes and magic rules.

Having said that though, I think the "baseline" really must be the Conan stories.  The ever ongoing, never ending quest for adventure and treasure.  The near total loss of said treasure after getting back to town, thus requiring or portending of the next adventure.

Small bands of heroes, questing for a special objective, needing that one special person to fill a key role in the group.  Not always the person they feel is best suited for the task or particularly trustworthy or like-able, but that's who they got and the show must go on.

I can sit with the AD&D 1E Players Handbook and any book of Conan stories open next to each other, side by side and make obvious comparisons at just about every section or area.   I don't think the comparisons are as easy or obvious for any other book, series or author as Conan.

In a way, it makes reading the stories "fresh" all over again as I see the AD&D comparisons just jump out at me in every story as I go through the books.

I think that's pretty cool.