As you can see, my time-travelling experiment to get the Marvel Comics illustrators to do me a SNFC special was successful.
Thanks to Old 4 Eyes for getting me the stats for these two stalwarts of sword-slicing action.
So now without further ado, let's meet the contestants!
Fighter level 11 THAC0 10 so to hit Conan, she needs a 5 or better
3 attacks every two rounds. I’ll rule that she gets 1 on round 1, 2 on round 2, 1 on round 3 etc.
D 17 +2 reaction bonus, -3 to AC
Broadsword (2-8 damage), dagger (1-4 damage), leather armour (well, chainmail bikini) Base AC 8 less DEX bonus = 5.
I won't be reducing his movement rate based on the fact that he has a woman stuck to his leg.
D 18 +3 reaction, -4 AC adjustment
Fighter level 13 THAC0 8 so to hit Sonja he needs a 3 or better.
Two attacks per round. I’ll rule that he gets the second attack in at the end of the round.
Thief level 7
Leather armour (well, loincloth, anyway) (base AC8, less DEX bonus = 4) , broadsword (2-8) , dagger (1-4)
To make it a bit more pulpy, I’m going to rule that when one of the contenders drops to 10% of their starting hit points, they will yield to the other.
There’s going to be a lot of blood flying around tonight. I wonder how many rounds it’s going to last.
Okay, or should I say, by Crom, round 1
Conan rolls a 5, Sonja a 1. Their dexterity adjustments turn those into an 8 and a 3 respectively.
Conan, with an eager grin, aims his first blow but Sonja’s skills are legendary for a reason and she brings her sword in to parry the Cimmerian’s blow. Any other swordsman’s attack would fail but Conan is far from ordinary and he slips by her defence, slashing a long red line across her flesh for 3 damage. Her smile flashes as bright as her hair and with a roll of 15, returns the favour. Conan grunts with pain as her blade cuts into him for 7 damage. By Crom and Mitra, this lass is good!
Conan’s second attack reminds Sonja that this is an opponent of terrifying skill and power – he rolls a 10 and with damage of 6, that chainmail bikini is doing little to fend off Cimmerian steel.
End of round 1 and Conan is on 93, Sonja on 66
Round 2, and both combatants are at each other like tigers, their attacks landing at exactly the same time. They twist and turn in the air, each moving the sword like a dancer, the air parting before their blades.
Sonja gets a 9, Conan a 14. Yet for all their skill, their swords have hardly bitten at all; Conan manages a scratch with 2, whilst Sonja’s blade barely grazes the barbarian with 3 damage. Again, they come at each other, again their swords sing in the air; as they turn and land, cat-like, taut and expectant of the next attack, it can be seen that both are hit; Sonja scores a hit with 8, Conan gets the same score. Their damage scores are the same, 6 apiece.
End of round 2 and the sands of the arena are spotted with blood, scuffed with the panther-like movements of these two worthy opponents.
Conan is on 84, Sonja on 58, but the feisty she-devil with a sword seems to relish the damage, from the look in her far from downhearted eyes.
Round 3. Both combatants come hurtling in a whirlwind of steel and sweat; Sonja knows she only has one attack this round and has to make it count and fast – with 5, brought up to 7 with her DEX bonus, she thinks she has the edge. Conan rolls a 3 and even with his cat-like reactions, can’t quite beat the Hyrkanian hellcat to the first blow. Alas, as the sword slices down towards him, Conan twists his body to one side and the blade cuts deep into the sand. A 2 is not the roll that Sonja wanted at this point of the game. Conan turns and strikes at the swordswoman but surely some grit must have got into his eye – she is not where his sword slices. He too has rolled a 2. Crom! What deviltry is this?
No matter, for as she scrambles to her feet to carry on the fight, the Cimmerian’s sword swings and lays her a vicious blow – 8 points of damage leaves her reeling in pain.
End of round 3 – where does that leave our battlers?
Conan ends the round with 84, where he started, whilst Sonja is on 50. She’s lost a third of her hit points whilst he seems barely to notice the 16 damage that his mighty frame has sustained.
Round 4 – both Sonja and Conan roll 4 for their reaction but Conan’s body, honed by many long years of battle and hardship has the edge and he strikes first. He lunges with his sword and Sonja desperately tries to dodge the attack but fails – another wound on her lithe frame and 4 damage to this redoubtable but embattled warrior. Just to make sure that the mighty Conan does not get too cocksure, she slips under his guard with her broadsword and he cries out in pain as the blade cuts deep into him for a telling 8 damage. Her sweat-glistened grin fails to hide the tiredness and pain that she is feeling but it’s there nonetheless.
Conan replies with an overpowering attack that Sonja cannot dodge but she scores a hit of her own. A 14 and an 11 respectively and the d20 is getting into the swing of things. Did I mention that it’s red? Conan inflicts 5 damage, as does Sonja.
End of round 4 – Conan is on 71, whilst Sonja is still standing, but on 41. The heat of the sun and the punishment that this heroine is taking have visible effects now; her fiery mane hangs limp and damp and her body is covered in spatters of blood and sword cuts.
Round 5 – Sonja’s reactions are slower now; she rolls a 2 (adjusted to 4) compared to the Cimmerian’s 6 (upped to 9). Her eyes betray the realisation that she may not win this one, except the gods look kindly upon her. But unless her god is an icosahedron with the hue of a blood-red ruby, her prayers may go unanswered.
Conan’s attack is a masterstroke, shunting aside her parry and knocking her back onto one foot but somehow, she seems to have turned the blow at the last minute, for she only takes 3 damage. Wrong-footed, she flails with her sword and Conan effortlessly dodges her blow. Is he laughing at her or grimacing with some unseen discomfort? It is of little matter for as Sonja tries to evade the barbarian’s second attack, he catches her with the edge of the blade. She falls, rolls, is on her feet again, having only taken 2 damage
End of round 5 – Conan is now on 71, untouched by that round’s attacks, whilst Sonja is real trouble with 36.
Round 6 – both fighters have two attacks this round. Sonja needs to make hers count. But again, she is too slow – a 2 compared to Conan’s 5. Even her light-footedness can help her little now. Conan strikes, so quickly that only the keen-eyed can see how he did it. Sonja came so close to parrying the blow but Conan somehow brought his sword in and under her guard and this time it will cost her. 7 damage; can the doughty Hyrkanian sustain this sort of punishment?
She strikes back, her sword keen and true; Conan snarls in pain as her blade slices deep into his taut body for a hefty 8 damage. Both fighters edge around each other, waiting for the other to make the first mistake. The swords flash in the sun and both strike home, yet Sonja’s is the better blow, an 18 to Conan’s 9 and 6 damage to his five.
End of round 6; Conan is on 57, but gallant Sonja languishes on 24. The end of this combat cannot be long in coming but Conan gazes on his opponent with a respect born of the heat of battle.
Round 7 – both fighters roll a 1; Conan’s speed with the blade tells and he strikes first, a heavy blow that knocks Sonja’s parry aside, a lighter wound but in her tired and weakened state, it may be all he needs. 3 damage – small but at this stage, all too dangerous. She retaliates and with what strength remains, gives the barbarian another reason to respect her – 6 damage to his already battered frame. But as she turns, blade slick with blood, his own sword slices through air, skin and flesh, 5 damage to a body that has so little left to give.
End of round 7 – now Conan is on 51, down to half his hit points, but Sonja, battered and bloodied, is on 16.
Round 8 – again, the d6 speak as with one voice; both Conan and Sonja roll 3 – Conan, hewn of barbarian stone, refined in the fires of a hundred battles and more, gets the first attack in. Yet Sonja is making him work for his victory – he rolls a 3, barely enough to touch her. The damage his sword does is almost enough to bring her to her knees – but not quite; a 5. Her attack bites home, doing 4 damage. Their swords dance in the air, each wary of the other’s steely brightness. Both seek the gaps in the dance, both dart forward, both hit. Sonja, with her last gasp, makes Conan pay for his triumph with a stinging 7 damage. Conan is almost reluctant to wound her again, yet he does so and finally, taking another 5 damage, she falls to her knees, the sword drops ringing onto the sand.
At the end of round 8, Conan has 40 hit points left, and Sonja crouches before him, on 6.
“You fought well, lass” Conan says, pointing his sword away “By Crom, I swear I’ll not take your life today”
Now, I expect that everyone out there is saying to themselves "Hey, wait a minute, where are the To Hit and Damage bonuses for Conan's amazing strength. Doesn't the PHB give +2 and +4 respectively for STR 18/90?"
Well, if you weren't saying that, you are now. Truth is that I got so carried away with the full-on experience of writing this combat up that I just plain forgot to factor them in. Having finished the write-up and been fairly satisfied with it, I spotted the omission and went back to the beginning to rework it. And do you know what? I don't think it improved the fight. If anyone is interested, with the bonuses factored in, Conan beat poor Sonja into submission in a little over four rounds. Not what lovers of heroic and epic battles want to see. So I'm leaving it as it was originally. I think it reads better.
Anyway, that's tonight's combat over and done with. What's coming up next week? Well, now I have the stats, I thought that Conan might continue his wanderings, ending up next time in....
White Dwarf #203 - Cover -
2 hours ago