Survey, how many Conan Exile players have read Robert E. Howard's Conan stories?

  • I’ve never read any of Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories.
  • I’ve read one, or a small number of Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories.
  • I’ve read all of Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories.

0 voters

Thanks for participating. Also, for those who have read them, which story has been your favorite and why?

Mine is Beyond the Black River, for the contrast of Conan as a barbarian against the Picts, but also the civilized Aqulonians. Plus, Slasher and Ghost Snake, best animal character and most disturbing monster in the Conan lore to me.

I have a hard time picking a favorite. They’re all great stories which I still cycle through to this day…been reading them since the late seventies.
The most memorable one for me is Beyond the Black River. It was the first one I read that got me hooked. It hit a chord with me like no other stories I’ve read before or since.

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Beyond the Black River is definitely one of the more impressive ones, and it also stands out because the main character of that story isn’t Conan, but Balthus. The story here definitely shows Howard at his best, and not just doodling something he could cash in.

Red Nails gave us Valeria, a remarkable female action hero way ahead of her time, showing us that not every woman in Howard’s stories were there just as pleasure objects (even though Conan seems to disagree - but then again, he is a barbarian).

And yes, Phoenix on the Sword, even though it was the first Conan story ever written, shows us a fully-fleshed-out character who feels the weight of his choices in life. Howard often described how he didn’t create Conan, he just sprang into life in his mind, and looking at the very first time Conan was introduced, it’s easy to believe. (Yes, Howard wrote about characters similar to Conan and even one named Conan before the real deal - but when he started to write about Conan the Cimmerian, there was no more hesitation.)


I couldn’t have put it better myself. :+1:

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I have read them all. Many times. I have a few different versions of them in print. I also have compilations of his works on Soloman Kane, King Kull, Bran Mak Morn and others. I’ve read most of his horror and some of his westerns and historical fictions. Honestly, if I see Howard I read it.


Loved Red Nails.

Phoenix Engraved Sword was great.

Tower of the Elephant really showcased Conans days of being a rogue like character. Arguably the setting described inside was very interesting with the gems and colors used to describe things.

Its really hard for me to nail down a fave. Depends on my mood but often something in game will trigger the need to read something from one of the books.

Tower of the Elephant and Queen of the Black Coast are probably my favorites Tower of the Elephant because it highlighted what I felt was the most interesting time of Conan’s life the freewheeling thief days befoere he had responsibilties. And Queen because I alwas like the character of Bêlit.

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I will have to agree with Doc, Tower of the Elephant and Queen of the Black Coast.
Tower of the elephant has a mystic about it that is characteristic of the Conan universe, at the same time the creature is ancient its fragile and that contrasts with what you would expect from a sword and sorcery tale.

And Belit is a great character on her own right, few would not mention Queen of the Black Coast as one of their favorite.

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Most of the Conan stories I’ve read came from L. Sprague (or whatever the heck the name was). I’m hoping to get some actual Robert Howard stories for my birthday. :slight_smile:

What is very interesting to me is, on reading authors such as Robert E. Howard (and Tolkein, E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith, Arthur C.Clarke, et al) is how they completely shaped the Heroic/Fantasy/SciFi genres, and through that, the minds and lives of their readers. Although one needs to filter the nineteenth and twentieth views through that of 21st century sensibilities, the core fundamentals stem from these great authors. Of course it does mean that we get to see many of these authors’ fingerprints all over many of the ‘new’ genres,stories, films ans tv series - though I guess the same can be seen in the above authors when you go further back to old folklore and heroic sagas and legends from around the world. :slight_smile:
(…and thanks FunCom for bringing Robert E. Howard’s world to us so richly)

L. Sprague de Camp

A bit of an uncommon name, sure, but memorable (well to most people, heh). And yes, he’s one of if not THE most celebrated Conan author (other than Howard himself, obviously).

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He is one of the most hated Conan authors. But, he did keep the work of Robert E. Howard alive, even if he butchered it in the process. After him it was actually Marvel Comics which really set Conan up to be the icon he is.

Really? That was certainly not my impression. Then again, I don’t much deal with “the fandom” (other than through this forum, which is a tangential connection at best).

Yeah he has a horrible reputation for the way he would constantly change Howards works, and generally speaking made things far worse in the process. In general most fans have a love/hate relationship with him. They love that he kept the Howard stories in print but hate the way he would not allow anything but his altered versions to be printed.

Oh well, fair enough. I’ll cheer Mr. de Camp for keeping the character alive, so that Conan could stick around kicking butts and taking names in the looong decades until I came along to read about him.

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I’ve read a decent chunk of all of the Conan stories, by all of the Conan authors, and I enjoyed all of them.

Howard is uneven: His best are brilliant, but a lot of them are like a caricature of the best. That makes sense when you consider he was writing for a living, and churned out stories to pay bills. I think I enjoy the atmosphere the most, the mixture of adventure and horror set against the background of the Hyborian Age. That’s definitely a big part of the reason I play this game - the chance to play in the world that Howard created.

Carter and de Camp have some good stuff: I enjoyed the novelization of the Arnold movie, and the first actual Howard stories I read were collections that they put together with pastiches to tie the stories together. Their original stories utterly lack Howard’s gift for gritty realism, but they’re still fun.

Jordan’s stories are pure formula, and if you’ve read one you’ve read them all. It’s literally the exact same story with different settings and names, every single time. What I most enjoyed are the novel length treatment, and the quality of the writing - especially the first time I read one. But I didn’t find any of the elements that define Howard’s best work. Conan doesn’t brood, there is neither grit nor realism, and you’ll find more atmosphere in a half-deflated balloon.

I’m glad I read all of them, but the only stories I still re-read are Howard’s.

Well said. This pretty much sums up my feelings too. Even the ones written by other authors that are crap are worth reading, because it helps me appreciate Howards’ genius all the more.

And yes, some of Howard’s originals are crap too, but it was crap he was hoping to get paid for (even though often he was not, because the publisher was broke, too).

There’s “needlessly descriptive in order to pad out the length of the story” (Dickens), “needlessly descriptive to drive home a point” (Poe), and then there’s simply … florid. Some of Howard’s work strays into that, and it’s cringe-worthy at times. In those instances I find it better to read the graphic novelization, as the flowery language is distilled to pen-wrought art, rather than text flowing deeply, sullenly, like the Legendary Shifting Cerulean Waters of Lugubriousness.

My favorite was the Trail of the Blood Stained god. I first read in Savage Sword #9 when I was 8 years old. I was hooked on the comic and the books ever since.

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