Age of Conan: Forgotten City Lore

Does anyone know what the giant head is on the altar at the end of the Forgotten City?

I can’t remember ever coming across an explanation for who/what it is, where the Lemurian admiral found it or why it makes people immortal. Is it some kind of ancient sorcerer giant species, like the giant kings in Conan Exiles? A god or demigod? A technologically advanced alien?

I’m kind of leaning toward it being one of the giant kings, because I remember hearing that the Exiled lands are somewhere around Hyrkania and the Forgotten City is on the border of Hyrkania and Khitai. Also, there are a lot of Lemurian looking ruins in the Exiled lands, which may suggest that they were present during the time of the giant kings. That’s pure speculation though.

The Conan universe seems to be pretty good about having back stories for stuff like this, even if it’s just some vague allusion to it’s true nature. So anyway, I’m hoping someone else might remember finding an answer to this or maybe have a theory on its origin.



Upon closer examination, the Forgotten City “artifact” is actually quite different from the giant kings.

I have screenshots, but unfortunately, new users can’t post pictures. I’ll just have to describe my comparisons between the two!

My first specimen is Warmaker Klael, the last surviving giant king in the exiled lands. He seems to have a kind of sloping prognathic snout with a tall cranium, pointed ears and side mounted eyes with a considerable slant.

The altar head is clearly more human in appearance, having a nose, round ears, eyes and generally human looking bone structure.

Now, both of those models were designed by Funcom, so I think giant king can be ruled out as a possibility, but what does that leave?
Well, it’s clearly not human. It is much too large and has a mouth full of pointy teeth with some very prominent upper and lower canines.

The armor appears to be made of gold and is scaled in a very Stygian looking design. So, maybe one of the original pre-human inhabitants of Stygia, who were later conquered by the overthrown Lemurian overlord race, post cataclysm?

Any Conan scholars out there have any ideas on this?


Given what we know so far, artifact race was presumably unknown to the Lemurians until the admiral found the artifact. That could indicate that it is from a race predating the Thurian age or a place that was generally unknown to the empires of the main continent.

I know very little about the Thurian age, so I did a bit of digging and came across a couple more possibilities for what the artifact might be.

There was a “nameless shadowy” continent to the east of Lemuria, from which the ancestors of the Stygians originally came. Seems like a reasonable place for a Lemurian admiral to have gone. Of course, the artifact is not a Stygian, but maybe the Stygians cosmetic tastes we’re influenced by another species from their original Homeland. Maybe they were slaves to the artifact species or worshipped them. Who knows? Ok, so that doesn’t sound too far fetched to me, but what about the next one?

According to the Thurian age article on the Conan Fandom Wiki, there are several mentions of an old race who ruled the world. There isn’t really any description of what this old race looks like, but I don’t think it’s taking about serpent men or anything like that. What do you think? An old race that ruled the world sounds pretty promising, doesn’t it? That seems like the kind of thing that would impart immortality. I’m a bit skeptical about the appearance though. I guess I just have a hard time imagining the old race looking so human.

Of course, gods, cosmic aliens and extra dimensional beings are still a strong possibility. It’s Age of Conan after all!

Well, that’s all for now. Most of my information is from the Conan Fandom Wiki, Xoth and the users Kullagain and Deuce on Swordsofreh. I’d paste some links, but new users can’t paste links either… Anyway, thanks to all of the researchers from those sites!


I’m also wondering if the thing is actually dead, lol. The Lemurian admiral would have found it, I’m assuming, before the cataclysm sank Lemuria, which was 6000 years before Conan’s time. The artifact doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of decay. Aside from missing an eye and being a severed head, it’s actually looking pretty good.

That also raises the question of whether the Lemurian admiral is responsible for cutting the head off or if he found it like that. Maybe the Stygian’s ancestors already had it in a temple on the shadow continent? Seems like something they’d do.

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I’m interested to know exactly which area you’re talking about. What is the nearest map location?

The Forgotten City is just to the West of the gates of Khitai, between Khitai and Hyrkania. I believe the gate is a little over halfway up the great wall, north of Kusan. The road going through the gate runs more or less due east to Paikang. The city is hidden away in the mountains (Mountains of Night?). In Age of Conan, it is part of the Gateway to Khitai zone, kind of in the northwest of the map.

Sorry I would post a map for you if I could. There are some pretty detailed maps for both the Hyborian and Thurian ages that can be found pretty easily on Google images.

you made me want to play that dungeon again… and here, there is a screenshot of the head you are talking about

I’m not sure about this artiffact being a head of the giant kings but it’s related to some kind of cosmic horror that will come to the earth, i don’t remember, there was an npc, a stygian scholar, she ask you to go there and retreive some items so she can continue her studies, and at some point she talks about it.

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Thanks for the screenshot! The NPC’s name is Akana. If I remember, she is researching the history of Stygia. Specifically, she is trying to verify their origins in and migration from the East.

It’s been a long time since I did that quest line though and it’s not repeatable. I’m not a subscriber at the moment, so I only have access to one character who has already done the quest line.

I haven’t been able to find any web sites that list her dialogue, so I might have to resub and level a new character to see if she has any kind of answer or at least speculation on what the artifact is.

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Being that the giant kings are the pre-human civilization which inhabited the area of Stygia before the coming of the Stygian people and this artifact is found all the way over in Khitai there is basically a 0% chance that the head has anything to do with the giant kings.

I agree that it’s unlikely to be one of the giant kings based on the physical differences.

I found out as I was researching this, that the location of the Exiled lands is unknown. Some people think it’s near Hyrkania, some think it’s near Stygia, some think it’s not in Hyboria at all. Funcom has been purposely vague on the subject. But, based on the marvel comics, the giant kings were definitely present in Stygia. Conan encounters one near Khemi and surprisingly, it seems to understand Stygian!

Now that is interesting, because it has been established that the Stygians came from a continent to the east of Thuria. Does that mean that the proto Stygians for some reason totally abandoned their old language upon arrival in Stygia, adopting the language of the giant kings, presumably after conquering them? Or did the Stygians encounter the giant kings elsewhere in the distant past? Or did the giant kings learn Stygian as they were being slaughtered? Were the giant kings wide spread and not just in Stygia? This calls for more digging!

Another interesting thing to consider is that nothing actually says where the Lemurian admiral found the artifact. Only that he didn’t want to take it back to Lemuria and built a city to hide it. Does that mean that he built the city right where he found the artifact in Khitai? Or did he find it and then go somewhere to build his city in a place that he thought nobody else would come looking? Interesting questions, eh?

Anyway, back to the topic at hand, lol. We know that the person who discovered the artifact was a Lemurian admiral. We also know that the Lemurians were an advanced race of people. It seems likely that a Lemurian admiral would have had the capability to sail to Stygia. Especially one who was on a quest to find an artifact that bestows immortality. I would go to great lengths to obtain that, wouldn’t you?

But, was he on a quest for it or did he stumble across it? In the Funcom description of the dungeon, it says he found it by luck. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he wasn’t looking for it, but it makes it sounds like he wasn’t. What would a Lemurian admiral have been doing so far inland if he wasn’t specifically searching for the artifact? Admittedly, the cataclysm drastically changed the geographic layout of the world, but the main continent seems to have survived. By which I mean it doesn’t look to me like either Hyrkania or western Khitai were under an ocean during the Thurian age, so what would an admiral have been doing there? I’m guessing he found it somewhere else and took it to Khitai afterward. I’m not a Conan scholar though. I could be way off!

So yeah, the physical differences between the artifact and the giant kings are just too great. So, as you said, 0% chance of being a giant king!

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Based on the essay “The Hyborian Age” and the research done by Dale Rippke The Mystery of Pre-Human Stygia who I think has a fairly convincing argument based on various bits and pieces left by Robert E. Howard the Stygian people of the Hyborian age came from the the area of what would at this point in time (game time) be part of Khitai. They were disposed by those they had enslaved and had traveled for a long period of time conquering and absorbing small tribes along the way until they fall upon the land which is now known as Stygia. The race there has become weak and decedent and was ill-prepared for such and onslaught of desperate savage people who had no where else to go. Some of their nobility instead betrayed them and sided with these new people thus why the nobility of the Stygian people tend to look lighter, taller and thinner than the common Stygian even to this day. They are still very much of mixed heritage. The former inhabitants of Stygia fled and founded the empire of Acheron and were eventually crushed by the invading bands of savage barbarian Hyborian peoples.

A very interesting essay!

Here is an expert from it I found quoted by Kullagain over on swordsofreh.

“Far to the south there was a mysterious civilization, unconnected with the Thurian culture, and apparently pre-human in its nature. On the far-eastern shores of the Continent there lived another race, human, but mysterious and non-Thurian, with which the Lemurians from time to time came in contact. They apparently came from a shadowy and nameless continent lying somewhere east of the Lemurian Islands…” (Hyborian Age; paragraph 3)

As you pointed out, the Stygians were in Khitai and did enslave the Lemurian for a while. However, it seems they came from an entirely different continent initially.

Everything I’ve been reading up to now has suggested that the Stygians conquered an elder race of non humans upon arriving in Stygia, but as you’ve shown, they were actually the ancestors of acheron! Very interesting!

So, now that we can say the artifact is not a giant king, do you have any ideas on what it might be?

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A quick update: I have been researching elder races, but haven’t found any likely candidates so far. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of information about the Thurian age and pre human races, aside from the serpent men, but I will keep looking.

Also, I am leveling a new character to run through the Forgotten City non repeatable quests to see if I missed anything there.

I would be interested to see what you discover but to be honest, I get the feeling it is something the Funom invented.

Well the story goes almost as this: Lemuria sank, the inhabitants fled to the mainland only to be enslaved by the khari, some kind of proto-stygian people, followers of set. Some of them escaped to the west until they reached the exiled lands, where they met the giant kings.

In the story of the witch queen, she said some of them decided to stay behind before reaching the land of this game, so i don’t think they are the same as this head. But, this lemurians were related, somehow, to the yag and the events that happened in the region of karakorum before the hyborian age.

Given the stygian style of the healmet of that head i would say its from the khari, and their sorcery related to demons and serpent gods would explain why what happened to the people of the forgotten city is more like a curse than a blessing.

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Thanks for the response!

That sounds like a promising lead. Maybe the Lemurian admiral was there laying siege to a coastal Khari City and found it in a temple. Maybe he was just exploring? Who knows? Anyway, that could explain why the admiral stumbled across the artifact and why the Forgotten City is in that region. Also why the Khari enslaved the Lemurians after the cataclysm, if they were enemies. Or maybe not, the Stygians don’t really seem to need an excuse to enslave people.

As you pointed out, the Stygians love sorcery and so there ancestors probably did too. We have seen numerous cases of humans being transformed by magic in Age of Conan. The artifact has pretty human features, the main differences being it’s larger size and it’s sharp teeth (which are rather serpent like). That’s seems to me like a likely transformation to have occurred where Set worshippers are involved.

The sorcery could also explain its properties of bestowing immortality and then driving the benefactors insane! A very Lovecraftian there often found in the works of Set and the other old gods often involved in sorcery.

In Age of Conan, there are multiple instances of Nyarlethotep enacting plans very much like this one. That is to say giving gifts of power that subsequently drive the users mad. Maybe his hand is in this as well?

I will keep looking into it, but I think you may have solved the puzzle!

A very good answer! Thank you!

The Khari were not followers of Set. Not until they took Stygia from the Giant-Kings anyway. At least there is no reason to believe that they did as there is no evidence of Set worship in that part of the world. The Khari enslaved the Lemurian refugees for over a thousand years until they rose up and destroyed the Khari civilization. The Lemurian people, I think but I do not know for sure, eventually became the people of Khitai? If so they would have had contact with Yag-Kosha and likely it was Yag-Kosha who taught these former slaves how to function as free people and form their own civilization, at least to a rudimentary aspect as he did not like to interfere too much.

Migration of the Khari

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Ah, an interesting point! So, I guess that rules out worship of Set as an explanation for the artifact’s regalia and physical appearance. Still, the Khari could have worshipped some other scaled god like yig (not a very strong postulation, I know).

Regardless, thanks for the links and your interest in the topic!

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Thank you for starting a topic like this. I love this kind of stuff! Unfortunate there really isn’t any information as to what the Khari did worship so it really could be just about anything. The head has almost of half man half ape appearance (Ok so humans are technically still apes but you know what I mean) so it could be some lost former race of beings that the Khari concurred to create their kingdom?

You’re right, it is rather ape like. Aren’t there some wild ape-men in Khitai? I remember reading in the Hyborian Age essay, that the Atlanteans devolved (technically it should say evolved, I think, but that’s irrelevant) into ape-men after suffering through the cataclysm, wars with the Picts and then the lesser cataclysm.

I’m not sure if that was just colorful wording on the writer’s part or if the Atlanteans actually evolved into ape-men before evolving into Cimmerians. If there was a significant physical change, it could make a good case for the ape-men of Khitai having once been a more advanced species.

It seems like kind of a short time frame for evolutionary changes like that, if you compare it to our own evolutionary history. Then again, it is Hyboria! There’s always the possibility of magic and meddling gods. :smile: