I've started a Pathfinder campaign set in Conan's Hyboria, but a hundred years or so after King Conan disappeared. For the deadly, generally low magic Hyboria I would generally prefer to use a system like HERO or GURPS, but I decided to use Pathfinder for ease of entry for the players, who have all played Pathfinder or D&D 3.x. Magic items will be rarer and more expensive to create, and shipwrecks, etc. will be common so characters won't get a chance to get too attached to piles of gear.
We had our first session, and here's the recap:
Hyborian Age – Session 1 – “Cat’s out of the Bag”
(Larry) – Jubel, warrior from Cimmeria
(Mark) Fiala Suslaya – Cimmerian witch (and her owl, Odus too!)
(Cat) Nedra – Hyrkanian archer/sorceress
(John) – Ty Nightseeker – Hyrkanian bandit-hunter
(Joel) Trace Erbite – Kothic warrior/wizard
(Patrick) Toma Erbite – Kothic wizard/assassin (and his weasel Belal too!)
(James) – Malakul Xhoon, Nemedian holy man of Mitra, who somehow fell in with this band of murderous thugs!
Having all been part of the mercenary army raised by the Shemitish city-state of Sabatea in its conflict with Shushan, the characters fell in with each other during the rout of said army. Helping to defend the city gates against the initial assault by the enemy, they come to the attention of King Zagat and enter his service directly, riding out the siege and depravation in the city in relative comfort.
One night they are summoned and sent on a special mission – to retrieve LORD WIGGLES, the queen’s (hateful) cat that has escaped from the palace and is loose in the city, where some horrible fate may befall it. While this fate would doubtless be just, it would be distressing for the queen, and therefore for the king. Out into the night our heroes go! Talking their way past a band of hungry thugs, the group befriends an old beggar who helps point them in the right direction of the rogue feline.
They spot the cat, right as it is captured and taken into a walled compound, that of the nobleman Lord Aras. While some knock on the front gate seeking entry, the other half of the group sneak over one of the compound walls. After an initial rude reply to their requests, the group out front is greeted face to face and told to leave. Instead, they attack and force their way in, with Fiala turning Jubel into a death-dealing giant, cleaving men apart with every blow. The others take their own toll as well, while Ty Nightseeker fights his way clear and enters the house itself. While the rest butcher the house guards out front, Ty finds a sack with a cat in it in the kitchen, and meets his fellows with his prize as they hack their way in the front door.
They are about to depart, when Jubel insists they inspect the cat first – and it indeed turns out to be some common alleycat, not Lord Wiggles! Returning to the kitchen, a more thorough search turns up the sack that indeed contains the object of their quest. Returning to the palace, they are given thanks and a choice of rewards.
They can either take a monetary reward and continue in the king’s service, or be shown a way out of the city, past the encircling army. They choose to leave rather than risk starvation or worse, and the next morning are led down to the dungeons, then to a secret tunnel out of town. They are told where to find a spear and a drug to apply to it (made from purple lotus from the ghost-haunted swamps of southern Stygia), to use to subdue the guardian at the other end of the tunnel – the MAN-RENDER! A foul near-manlike beast with great strength and sharp fangs and claws. It is chained up at the end, but the spear should allow the drug to be administered from safety. Jubel takes up the spear and engages with the creature, venturing closer in his blood-lust and drawing close enough to be partially rent before withdrawing with the rest of the group as the drug takes hold of the beast. Out of the cave, they gaze down the mountain at Sabatea and her foes below, and consider where the road of adventure will take them next…