I love Conan. I love Howard’s Conan, I love the Milius Conan, and I love Mongoose’s RPG of Conan. Why? Probably because of boobs, swords, and high adventure, and yes, it could actually be in that order.
Today, I’m going to look at the Mongoose release of the D20 Edition of Conan with Stygia – Serpent of the South.
I picked this book up at GenCon in 2008 in one of those ‘Buy 1 get 3 Free’ booths where I basically made my entire Conan collection save for the core book which I already owned. It is a great supplement, filled with awesome Conan lore and fine gaming threads for those nasty Stygians, but my biggest take away from it comes from the art.
The cover was done by Tony Parker, who does an admirable job with Conan and a giant serpent, but really the cover is rather drab as Swords & Sorcery goes. However, it is the interiors that really walk the razors edge of awesome and tragic.
Artists Eric Bergeron, Jim Bradly, Slawomir Maniak, Danilo Moretti, Philip Renne & Chad Sergesketter go about creating images that feel too rough, too immature in their rendering, and not up to snuff on the whole, and yet they also bring about a very wonderful feel for Stygia as a whole, which is to say, they show a lot of breasts and sorcerers.
Now when I think of Stygia, I think of black sorcerers and serpents, but still, that ancient Egypt side of the equation understands that naked breasts were all the rage in the times from which these tales are based, so why not show what Stygia really looks like? Well, thanks to a confident art director and editor, that is just what you get with this supplement, and I applaud them for it. They aren’t going out of their way to sell sex, they are simply showing things as they would have been and not trying to wrap a Bible belt around it, so bravo!
Still, as I said, the artistic content isn’t grade A talent, so that hinders things, but there are enough good full color pieces to make me give it a thumbs up.
Artistic Rating: 3.5 [out of 5]