RUINS OF HYBORIA Sample file
RUINS OF HYBORIA
Cultures and Ruins
City of the Winged One
Nick Bergquist & W. Jason Peck
City of the Ghouls
Green Stone Cities
The Isle of Iron Statues
Isle of the Black Ones
Pteion the Damned
Tombs and Pyramids
Brian Bertrand, Mark Billanie, Tina Cook, Cindy Freeman,
Craig Freeman, Brian Gellineault, Jamie Godfrey, Daryl
Guignon, Richard Haines, Daniel Haslam, Brian Herrell,
Mark Howe, Lucas Mackay, Danny Maloney, Alan Moore,
Paul Palmer, Kevin Peterson, Robert Poulin, Ray Regular,
Daniel Scothorne & Michael J. Young
Monsters of the Ruins
Vincent N. Darlage
Eric Bergeron, Jim Brady, Slawomir Maniak,
Danilo Moretti, Philip Renne & Chad Sergesketter
Thommy Wojciechowski & Fredrik Malmberg at
Conan: Ruins of Hyboria is © 2006 Conan Properties International LLC. CONAN®, CONAN THE BARBARIAN® and
related logos, character, names and distinctive likenesses thereof are trademarks of Conan Properties International LLC
unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved. Mongoose Publishing Ltd Authorised User. Conan the Roleplaying Game
is released under version 1.0 of the Open Game License. Reproduction of non-Open Game Content of this work by
any means without the written permission of the pulisher is expressly forbidden. See page 160 for the text of this
license. With the exception of the character creation rules detailing the mechanics of assigning dice roll results
to abilities and the advancement of character levels, all game mechanics and statistics (including the game
mechanics of all feats, skills, classes, creatures, spells and the combat chapter) are declared open content.
Printed in China.
After that follows a
lengthy discussion on
what sorts of ruins can be
found in the Hyborian
Age, each listed by
and cultures. Nemedian
ruins are different than
Turanian ruins, but how so?
Also listed are sample ruins
found in the various stories of
the Hyborian Age, ranging from
ruins mentioned by Robert E.
Howard, to the multitude of ruins
found in the books and comics that
followed Howard’s initial tales.
Some individual ruins are explored
in greater detail. The City of the
Winged One, from Howard’s
Queen of the Black Coast, is
given an in-depth treatment,
including the winged ape
and the were-hyenas Conan
The City of the Ghouls, mentioned
in passing in Howard’s The Hour of the Dragon, is presented
for the ﬁrst time with a map and a considerable amount of
detail. Do you want to send chills of horror down the
spines of your players? The City of the Ghouls should
ﬁll that need nicely.
The ruins of Dagoth Hill, mentioned as the place
of conception for the dread Tsotha-lanti of
The Scarlet Citadel, is explored for the ﬁrst time. A map and
a few legends concerning the place are presented along with
a detailed description.
Gazal, from a rough draft of Robert E. Howard’s, is presented,
as is Howard’s Isle of Iron Statues. The Isle of the Black One
(from The Pool of the Black One) is also presented.
Ancient ruins and lost cultures are a mainstay
of sword-and-sorcery ﬁction, especially Conan ﬁction. This
book contains new rules for creating ruins, including a random
generator. This generator takes the Games Master through
the culture that built the ruins, the history of the ruins, how
the structure came to be a ruin, its layout including defences,
size and physical state, the cultural remnants of the ruin, and
the alien nature of most ruins in the Hyborian Age.
Khet, Kuthchemes and Pteion are Stygian
ruins detailed and given maps for the
ﬁrst time for Conan the Roleplaying
Game. Players and Games
Master’s alike will relish
the exploration of these
historic artefacts of
A particular favourite
of many Conan fans
is the green city of
Xuchotl, described by
Howard in Red Nails.
Detailed maps of each
of these tiers are
presented for Games
Masters. Be careful
– it is easy to get lost
in Xuchotl without a
map to show the way.
Further, maps presenting
generic Green Stone Ruins
for the Games Master’s own use
are also provided.
All of this is followed by a section on exploring
ruins, which includes rules for cave-ins and traps, as well as a
trio of new feats for ruin explorers.
The ﬁnal section is a bestiary of monsters commonly found
in Hyborian Age ruins and a section on making monsters
more unique. This bestiary includes serpent-men (which
feature in de Camp’s Conan stories and Howard’s Kull stories)
and the child of Set (from The God in the Bowl).
A Random Ruin Generator
Sometimes knowing something about the culture of the race
that built the ruins can help spur the direction of its history
or its structure. A warrior culture will have more castles and
battlements in its ruins while a primarily agrarian culture will
have more canals and irrigation ditches. Roll a d20 (or simply
choose) for a cultural type from the table below. There is no
reason to limit yourself to just one roll if you want a more
complex society. A noble/warrior culture might be feudal
in nature, while an agricultural/religious centre will possibly
worship nature gods.
Basic Cultural Type
Artistic: An artistic culture is a city primarily devoted to the
arts; the ruin may once have been an artistic commune or a
settlement of craftsmen serving a larger city.
Capital: The city is the seat of government for a larger area.
A capital may have another cultural type attached to it.
Decadent: The culture could coax sustenance from the air
and was so used to luxury it grew stagnant. The people were
given to great extremes of hedonism and had few morals or
Industrial: The settlement had achieved a marked
advancement in technology (although still low by modern
standards), perhaps utilising water power to grist mills or
saws. Logging villages or mining towns may be of this sort.
of the Builders
Agricultural: The culture has developed a strong agriculture
and can deal with harsh seasons most of the time. The ruin
is unlikely to be large if it had a mostly pastoral/agrarian
culture. This also includes ﬁshing settlements.
Sometimes an idea for a ruin forms in a
Games Master’s mind and there is no difﬁculty translating
that to the game. Other times, the Games Master may know
he wants a ruin but cannot decide on his speciﬁc needs and
it seems like all the ideas are ripped straight from the pages
of Robert E. Howard without hardly any modiﬁcation. The
following generator is intended to spark the imagination so
it can be used for random elements or pick and choose the
elements that seem most relevant. Use the generator in any
order desired; there is no particular reason to use it in the
order it is presented. Sometimes beginning with the history
may suggest things about the structure of the ruin. On the
other hand, knowing the layout and some things about the
structure may suggest its history.
Noble: A noble culture exists to serve the wealthy. Art and
diplomacy are the name of the game in these cultures. The
lower classes are oppressed and/or ignored.
Pirate: A pirate culture is often governed by some sort
of charter or set of articles that the various crews agree to
Religious: The city existed for religious reasons; it was a
religious centre for an entire culture devoted to a god or set
of gods. This is often a temple building society dedicated
to using a vast amount of its resources to honour the gods.
Often the culture was dominated by a strong theocracy.
Stygia is an example of this sort of society.
Scholarly: Much like the Stygian city of Kheshatta, this
culture was driven by scholarly pursuits, science and
intellectual acumen. Libraries, laboratories and
academies probably dominate the ruin.
Thief: A thief culture would resemble the
City of Thieves in Zamora. The culture
was dominated by gangs and crime
Trader: A trader culture is geared toward getting goods from
one place to another. The city may use land routes, river
routes or may be (or once have been) on the shore of a lake
or ocean. The ruin was once an important market.
Warrior: A warrior culture treats war as its main activity.
The whole culture leans toward war and its rulers are veteran
combatants. This culture is not necessarily violent on an
individual level – it may view war as an art and philosophy,
or the settlement may just have a defensive function for a
larger culture, such as Sukhmet in Stygia. The culture
may be crude and brutal in its methods or it may be
sophisticated, using forms of martial arts.
If desired, a Games Master can roll or choose a racial or ethnic
type for the ruins and their builders. Keep in mind that
having a racial type does not necessarily indicate location.
Robert E. Howard’s stories were replete with Shemite or
Kothic cities founded in the Black Kingdoms, Aquilonian
cities on Cimmerian soil or Aquilonian cities in the Pictish
Wilderness; and other pastiches have included Corinthian
cities founded in Zamora and Nemedian cities founded in
the Border Kingdom. If not already known, a second roll
can be made to randomly determine the ruin’s location.
Nature of the
History is important for getting a feel for a ruin. How old
is the ruin? Is the ruin a village abandoned 10 years ago for
mysterious reasons or is it an ancient citadel thousands of
years old? Howard’s ruins almost always included historical
elements with characters often discovering the history
through interaction with the inhabitants or through dreams
and visions. History makes the ruin seem more real and
concrete in the minds of the Players, instead of just being a
random dot on the map.
The tables below can be used to generate (or inspire) a skeletal
history for your ruin. Roll as many times as needed or desired
on the tables to piece together a general framework. Speciﬁcs,
however, will need to be provided from your imagination.
The Beginnings of
This part of the history is optional. It is okay to leave the
beginnings of the civilisation vague or lost to time. The
beginning of the Acheronians and the Giant-Kings fall into
Ashur (see page 40)
Mutare (see page 41)
Southern Black Kingdom
This list is by no means exhaustive but is intended to spark
the imagination. Many of the details will need to be ﬁlled
in by the Games Master; these tables provide the merest
skeleton of the culture’s beginning.
In The Beginning
Source of Culture
Atlantean or pre-Cataclysmic Thurian Culture
Death of Prior Culture
Atlantean or pre-Cataclysmic Thurian Culture:
The culture sprang from something pre-Cataclysmic,
such as the Zhemri or the Picts.
Unknown: The beginnings of the
civilisation are lost to prehistory;
the shroud of time is too thick
Possibly some events from the
ancient history of the civilisation
are known. Generally only the
greatest of events will be recorded
for posterity that date back to the
earliest era of a culture. Cultures
may have a classic era (golden
age), a post-classic era and/or a
Post-Classic Era: Changes cause
the end of the classic age of the
culture. Growth may continue or
may falter. Some cultures have more
than one post-classic era, such as an
early, middle and late post-classic era,
each with its own events.
Pre-Classic Era: Societal forms are
developing. Some cultures have more than one pre-classic
era, such as an early, middle and late pre-classic era, each with
its own events.
Cataclysm: The culture’s beginnings are rooted in either the
Great Cataclysm or the lesser cataclysm.
Colony: The ruin had its beginnings as a colony for a larger
Death of Prior Culture: Another culture had a cataclysmic
end and the builders of the current structure simply built on
top of their ruins – or just occupied their space.
Good Location: The site was chosen because of defensibility
or access to natural resources.
Migration: Like the culture that built Xuchotl, the people
migrated from elsewhere to the ruin.
Omen: The culture decides to build a civilisation because
of an omen. The Aztecs are reputed to have built their
civilisation after an eagle was seen perching on a cactus, a
sign they were told to look for.
Outpost: The ruin had its beginnings as an
outpost for a larger civilisation.
Ancient Events & Periods
Event or Period
Expansion of Nobility
Grand Ediﬁce Constructed
Great Cataclysm or Lesser Cataclysm
Lesser Cataclysmic Change
Period of Peace
Period of War