Genesys: Conan the Barbarian

Since one of my gaming groups ran “Barbarians of Lemuria” awhile back, I thought I’d use the archetypical barbarian: Conan the Cimmerian. Attached is a PDF of a Genesys sheet for a young Conan, age 15 or so at the start of his adventures. He’s already brawny and agile, with personality traits to match his description. He’s good in a fight, moderately tough, not yet the leader of men he will be but capable of growing into that role.

ConanTheBarbarian.pdf (1.2 MB)

Sample dice rolls and outcomes.


Conan attacks a rampaging boar with a sword and axe! He’s already at Engaged range (close enough for melee attacks). He spends his maneuver for the turn to Aim, giving himself a blue Bonus die. He rolls four dice (based on the higher of Brawn and Melee), one of them a yellow Proficiency die (based on the lower of the two), the other three being green Ability dice. Melee attacks are Average difficulty, so he adds 2 purple Difficulty dice.

Rolling these gives him 3 successes, 3 advantages, and 2 threats. The threats and advantages cancel, giving a net 3 successes and 1 advantage. This isn’t enough to hit with the axe (that would take 2 advantage), but it’s enough to do sword damage. The sword is Dam +3, Crit 2. He doesn’t have enough advantage to trigger a crit either, but he does (his Brawn of 4) + 3 damage for wielding a sword, + 3 more for the successes, - the boar’s soak of 3. That’s 7 points of damage, more than half the boar’s wound threshold. Another such attack will do it, but now the boar will try and gore him…


Conan must lead a band of pirates, thieves, and ne’er-do-wells on a dangerous mission, and there’s a risk of mutiny. He must inspire them, or at least weed out the least reliable of them. There’s a dozen men to convince. Conan knows from past experience that their collective Desire is Greed, and he’ll appeal to that, promising great treasure (and perhaps hinting that the take will be higher if there are fewer people in the split). Knowing this is worth 2 blue Bonus dice. The risk plays against the group’s Flaw of cowardice, giving him 1 black Setback die.

Conan’s Presence is 2 and he has no Leadership, but he’ll spend a Story Point to upgrade one of his dice. There’s a dozen people to influence, making a Hard difficulty. That gives him 1 green Ability die, 1 yellow Proficiency die, 3 purple Difficulty dice, 2 blue Bonus dice, and 1 black Setback die.

The outcome is 2 successes, 6 advantages, 3 failures, and 2 threats. After canceling things out, the net outcome is 4 advantage, 1 failure. Conan fails to inspire the pirates, who promise only that they’ll be waiting for him if he returns with the treasure. However, Conan spends 3 advantage to learn the true goal of his target - the pirates plan to ambush him on the way back and steal the treasure! He spends 1 more advantage to notice a single important point: the identity of the ringleader. Knowing this, he can probably survive the ambush - if he defeats the ringleader in combat…

Conan receives 25 XP for an adventure. He spends this on three things:

  • 5 XP for a tier 1 talent called Parry, which improves his defensive options
  • 5 XP to gain 1 level of the Leadership skill, to help him influence people
  • 15 XP to increase Athletics from 1 to 2. This is 10 XP for level 2 (5 times level), plus a 5 XP surcharge for increasing a non-career skill

In the future, XP can be spent on other combat or social skills, new skills like Cool or Coordination, and further talents to refine Conan’s fighting and leading styles.

I’d like to play this system sometime!

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I’m happy to run (or play if someone else feels like learning the system too), once we wrap Eclipse Phase. The book is decent sized but the core mechanics are fast to pick up, and I’m excited to see how it plays out in a full group.

Let’s use some of the GM advice from the core book to create an adversary and equip them. Conan has to fight a pirate, after all.

Adversaries come in three grades: minion, rival, and nemesis. This is a rival - a video game “boss”, but not a recurring or dire threat. We’ll name him Cruaidh the Crusher.

The pirate should be Conan’s physical equal (Brawn) but also sharp enough to make plans (Cunning) and convince followers to obey them (Presence). So we give him a 3 in those attributes, a 1 in Agility (he ought to have some weakness, and he’s physically strong but slow), and 2 in his remaining attributes.

We’ll make him on the high end of tough for rivals, with a wound threshold of 15. He has a soak of 3 (due to his brawn), and we’ll give him a melee defense of 1.

For skills, the only thing he needs is to fight and brag, so we give him Brawl 2 and Coercion 2. A fully-rounded character would have other skills to reflect his background, and we can assign those a rating of 1 or 2 if it becomes important.

We’ll equip Cruaidh with a pair of spiked cesti, or leather-and-iron gloves with nasty barbs jutting out at every angle. We’ll assign these a Crit of 2 (they should leave nasty wounds), an encumbrance of 1 (as a Brawl weapon), and a damage of +2. We’ll assign it the Vicious 1 quality, so that crits are especially effective. With this equipment, Cru won’t do a lot of wounds in damage, but will want to spend advantage to inflict a crit whenever possible.

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