The Temple of the God-Queen
The God Queen of RSI
"Many were they who came to her temple seeking wisdom and enlightenment."

- The Nemedian Chronicles -

"When will Koth's military see an internal overhaul?"

- Varshava
"And as for Koth's military, hmm... that is something I've thought about doing for some time. I will consider it."

- Lee at RSI
"Allow some of the non-player kingdoms to be played by players."

- GrimFinger
"Playing NPKs is not possible without tons of programming. Maybe someday but definitely not now. I doubt it's possible to switch them either."

- Lee at RSI
"Would there be any way to get all players turn results sent via e-mail, even if you guys tacked on an extra charge?"

- GrimFinger
"We cannot email turns because of legal issues."

- Lee at RSI
"Are the following broken and if so can they be fixed:
Half Tribute
Magic Blast
Are there any other non functional aspects of HW?"

- Conan_phd
"Flanking and Magic Blast aren't broken, they're correct according to design spec and just very hard to activate.

Half Tribute--? I didn't *think* it was broken...  remind me to check that when I get back in town. I know you can only tribute one kingdom per turn, which is why a lot of people have trouble with tribute."

- Lee at RSI
"Is there is any possibility of running Hyborian War games without the "storm?" Why did RSI put the storm in, that saves a player's last province from being conquered, it in the first place?"

- Joey Davis
"Well, the reason was simple, to prevent paying customers from being kicked out of the game prematurely (especially those kingdoms who start with only one province--they don't have a lot of slack to make mistakes early on).

We did change the program so it only activates the storm if the position is being played. If the computer is playing a kingdom, it will allow that kingdom's last province to be conquered.

As far as removing it from everybody... hmm. I think that would be a poor choice as the small kingdoms would be hardest hit. I'll consider it, though."

- Lee at RSI
"When are we likely to see some changes to Hyborian War? New artwork for the setup covers, modifications/additions to the game? How And please dont say "things are in the works" because that is what you said in 1995."

- Conan_phd
"I don't have a better answer."

- Lee at RSI
"Do a troop types morale, melee and missile ratings have much effect on combat outcomes? It seems like heavy troops have an incredible advantage over medium and light troops. Even if medium troops are in advantageous terrain or have better morale, it does not see to compensate for the advantages of having heavy armour. To me terrain should have more of an effect. A heap of Darfari light archers in jungle terrain should be able to wear down heavy knights over the war season (3 months). I have seen medieval re-enactment groups stop their fighting performance because of heat and humidity."

- Joel Hopkinson
"I agree.  They are taken into effect, according to the specs by the game designer, but I agree that it would be nicer if their effects were more apparent.  I will see if there is any easy way to make that happen without making the output voluminous."

- Lee at RSI
"I notice that the outline of Meru on the main map seems different than other NPKs.

Was there a time when it was being considered as a PK? If so, what happened?"

- Joel Hopkinson
"I think so. I'm not sure why they decided not to. It probably was just that they are so tough--given the number of provinces and troop strength, that kingdom would have to be carefully balanced (and probably munted to keep them from running over everyone else). If we ever expand the number of played positions, or change which kingdoms are played, that would be #1 on my list to make a player kingdom, if we could make it work."

- Lee at RSI
"Peace treaties are one of the first things that people say are problematic when playing HW because some kingdoms can simply lock off all of their enemies at will and then engage in Peace-Invade-Peace (PIP) tactics.  What would you think of a system where once a kingdom broke a peace treaty by invasion that a new treaty would be unobtainable with that kingdom until the next peace years or set of war seasons?"

- Brent Ross
"I think that's an excellent idea."

- Lee at RSI
I noticed on one question and answer set that someone had inquired about Hyborian War and turns being Emailed.  The answer was that you could not legally do that.  I was wondering if you could expand on that as to what the legal reasons are ?
I have been in many HW games over the years (playing since the 80s) and usually get disinterested because of the snail mail aspect back and forth. It seems that with an PBemail system and turns going much quicker yall could make a lllooott more money.

- Kevin Kerby
This one's easy:  We can't do this because of contractual limitations.

- Lee at RSI
God Queen of RSI:

Sorry for the length of this, but I think this gets at the heart of many questions you get about why people think the game program is 'broken.'  The problem as I see it is not that the program is broken.  It's that the rules of the game often get swamped or overwhelmed by the randomness of the virtual dice rolls.

What would be especially helpful is if players could get a good handle on how strong of an influence character skill point differences make to the outcome of their assigned court missions.  It is extremely difficult to understand how much different a SUPERIOR intrigue noble might stack up in a spying mission against an GOOD intrigue agent because we don't know the range of the random dice rolls that are then modified by the skills and character classes.

If the old article from Mike Scheid wrote (, based on his conversations with Ed Schoonover, are to be believed, a Hero with SUP mil command has 10 points, but the general with EX mil command has 15 points. This sounds like a significant difference.
However, what don't know is what the dice roll range is.  So there’s no way to put this 5 point difference into any meaningful context.
It’s possible that the dice roll could be from 1 to 100, and then the skill points are added to that roll and the final modified results are compared against a table of outcomes. In that case, the difference in skill points would be minimally related to the outcomes of the court actions because they would be swamped by the huge randomness factor.
On the other hand, if the dice roll was from 1 to 20, then yes, a 5 point difference would make a BIG impact on the outcome.
This is a central refrain of mine when trying to understand the HW program. We simply don't know how the modifiers we all talk about, actually fit into the bigger puzzle. If the random dice rolls are too large, then the modifiers could very well exist, but get totally lost in the sauce. My central criticism of the HW program is that I believe the random dice rolls are, in most cases, too wide in terms of ranges of numbers, and that the modifiers get lost or diluted too badly.
I am convinced the original HW game designers put together a reasonably good set of rules for a game, in which the main and celebrated attraction of the game is a complex set of variables that influence game outcomes (i.e., simulated reality, based on many game modifiers for certain actions and situations).
But I am equally convinced that when the game programmers actually wrote the program, they screwed a lot of those rules up when the game engine appeared to use a range of random numbers that is so large and wide, that it swamps and overwhelms all of the intricate modifiers and "simulated reality" the designers put into the game at great effort.
Based on my close observations of the game over the years, it appears that the randomness is so great that it actually discourages people from even bothering to use most of the game's rules.

I can tell you I spend ZERO effort on the terrain modifiers for battles. I spend ZERO effort loading up my armies with characters. I spend ZERO effort placing heavier units in the middle, and lighter units on the flanks. And yet in battle after battle, there is no real penalty for this behavior. Why? Because I've long since observed that the rules are so weakly associated with outcomes, that it's never worth the effort to go out of your way to ensure that HI are in the center, and LC or LCA on the flanks.

Instead, I go with a simplistic motto: heavy units up front, light stuff in the back. It doesn't matter if the HC are fighting in forests or in desert.  It doesn't matter if the HC have GOOD melee and GOOD morale against an LIA unit with SUPERIOR melee and SUPERIOR morale.  The HC will crush LIA in any terrain, with any amount of characters, skill differences, etc. HC will punch right thru a double row of LIAs in River Terrain with a SUP archery commander with the LIAs. I would be willing to bet $20 that if you ran 20 battles with a pure HC army vs a pure LIA army in River Terrain, with zero characters for the HC army, and 8 characters with SUP in every single stat for the LIA army (one per troop in the first two ranks, with a SUP military command archery commander), that the LIA army would still take 2-to-1 losses or even higher in virtually every battle. More like 3-to-1 losses. And I would be willing to bet that most of the time, the LIAs would be unable to kill even one HC troop before the lines closed, despite archers being at advantage in river, and a SUPERIOR military command archery commander.
Why is this? Because the only rating in the entire game that seems to matter and can overcome the huge randomness ranges are the armor ratings of troops. Heavy stuff = better stuff. Light = crap. Medium = mediocre. Troop stats, morale, terrain, battle line position, etc. mean either little or almost nothing. The worst unit of HI in the game will tear the Elite Amazonian LI or the White Hand of Hyperborea apart.
It's very discouraging at times, when you really consider how deeply flawed the randomness factor is to the entire game. You really can't plan effectively. You plan, but you know that elaborate and careful plans mean only slightly more than just winging it and totally disregarding the rules.
All your far sight, force march, SUP military commander, etc. planning to get your preferred terrain is just casually wiped out, in most cases, by the roll of the dice.
I harp on this topic because I don't think many players really understand it enough.
They seem to agonize over whether a heavy cavalry army should seek hill terrain or forest terrain. Which Hyrkanian cavalry archers should I raise? Should I focus on M2 or M4 mercenary HC units? Who cares? It makes no difference anyways.
Seek wider terrain if you have the heavier units, so you can pile up the kills as the heavy vs medium/light mismatch has a greater chance to move in your favor. Max out the MI, raise the minimum of MCAs, and never raise LIAs or LCAs as Hyrkania. Heavier is better. Makes no difference whether they're M2s or M4s. Just raise them.
I honestly think that if RSI could reduce the random dice roll ranges, so as to allow all of the carefully crafted modifiers and ‘simulated reality’ to play a larger role in the outcomes, that it would dramatically improve the game and player enjoyment. 
If that cannot be done, then perhaps RSI could significantly increase the values and magnitudes of certain modifiers, so that their influence could be more meaningful.  Such as terrain modifiers in battle, or influence of characters with high personal combat/heroism when assigned to units, make the impact of archers more prominent so people actually use them in battles, or the troop placement modifiers (i.e., HI on the flanks should fight worse than LCA on the flanks).

Perhaps RSI could try tweaking a few of these modifiers and run a specially designated play-test game to see how the tweaked program performed?  Interest from the HW player community would be massive.

- Zebhu Varkon
I can't answer this one. Sorry.

- Lee at RSI

Is it possible for a picture of the folks who run RSI??

I've been playing for almost 20 years and have always wondered who was behind that voice at the other end.

- Clayton
You should come to Gen Con and meet us. ;)

But seriously, we're all pretty camera shy, so I don't plan to post pics.  Sorry.

- Lee at RSI
Is the program for Hyborian War a single program, or is there a program for each kingdom?

- GrimFinger
Neither, really... although more #1.  It's really a chain of programs that runs sequentially, according to the game timetable.  For instance, kidnappings and assassinations happen early in the turn, then troop assignments, and so on; spy information happens at the very end so it is correct for the beginning of the following turn.  But all kingdoms process at once, in a random sort of way, so Aquilonia doesn't have an advantage over Zingara, etc.

- Lee at RSI
Which occurs first, in the processing order of turn orders for Hyborian War - kidnappings or assassinations?

- GrimFinger

- Lee at RSI
Why doesn't RSI allow there to be more than just one wandering character (Conan) in Hyborian War? Since RSI already knows how to have wandering characters in the game's code, couldn't it just duplicate or modify to the portion of the game's programming/code that deals with wandering characters to accomplish such?

- GrimFinger
Good question.

Part of the answer is that we don't have the rights to use some of the good characters (like Red Sonya)... part is because all the Conan code is pretty messy.  But it is something I'd like to do
at some point, even if they're random character names and not known characters.

- Lee at RSI
Where the rules state:
The term "provincial commander" used at various places in the rules and in your Kingdom Reports is an intentionally ambiguous term which simply means the most senior (oldest) ranking character available in the defense of a province from invasion.
Does the "oldest ranking character" refer to the character's age or ID number?

- GrimFinger

- Lee at RSI

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