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"Know, o prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars - Nemedia, Ophir, Brythunia, Hyperborea, Zamora with its dark-haired women and towers of spider-haunted mystery, Zingara with its chivalry, Koth that bordered the pastoral lands of Shem, Stygia with its shadow-guarded tombs, Hyrkania whose riders wore steel and silk and gold. But the proudest kingdom of the world was Aquilonia, reigning supreme in the dreaming west. Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian; black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandaled feet."
The Nemedian Chronicles, quoted as the opening epigraph to The Phoenix on the Sword, the very first Conan story by Robert E. Howard.

As Dracula is to vampires, Sherlock Holmes is to Private Detectives, and Superman is to superheroes, so Conan is to Barbarian Heroes.

The titular character is star of a gritty Heroic Fantasy series of stories set in the Hyborian Age, a fictional time period that predates all surviving historical records. Created in the 1930s for Weird Tales magazine, Conan of Cimmeria quickly became Robert E. Howard's (1906-1936) most famous and popular creation. When people think 'barbarian', they often picture Conan.

Not at all influenced by the concept of the 'Noble Savage', Conan represented the ever-present danger posed to civilization by humanity's warlike nature (or vice versa). Howard's stories frequently relied on pulp formulas, much to Howard's chagrin. Howard would try to subvert these formulas wherever possible, especially where they required him to include a perfunctory sex scene. He took great delight in the publication of Beyond the Black River, precisely because it left out sex entirely.

Conan is strong and courageous. He is not an idiot, but neither is he of a scholastic disposition — he is mostly practical and naturally cunning, though through extensive experience he is also knowledgeable, able to speak, read, and write a dozen languages, and even puzzle out ancient scripts in one story. He is a defining example of the type of barbarian who has the principles of a snake. He has strong moral principles, which he does not break, but they are not extensive. He keeps his promises. He does not desert his friends, his allies, or those under his protection. He is unfailingly chivalrous towards women.

It is possible to see him as a Marty Stu in the sense of being an idealized version of the author, albeit one frequently inconvenienced and for whom victory is far from assured (or just straight up pyrrhic). Yet in Beyond the Black River, Howard included a character that was explicitly stated in one of his letters to be an Author Avatar, and - while brave and capable - he was shown to be inferior to Conan in many ways. Specifically, he was a very young man who looked up to Conan.

Conan reflects Howard's preferences and prejudices; non-Hyborian (i.e. darker-skinned) people are usually untrustworthy, foolish or villains. And snakes... Howard must have been scared of snakes - huge "loathsome serpents" turn up continually, although this could also have to do with his friendship with H. P. Lovecraft.note  The original Conan stories are actually a peripheral part of the Cthulhu Mythos (although they are, separately, also canon to the Marvel Universe as well).

Two Conan movies were made in the eighties: the first, Conan the Barbarian (1982) put Nietzschean philosophy together with an epic tale of revenge. While it wasn't very accurate to the original Howard stories, owing more to director John Milius's sensibilities, it has become a Cult Classic on its own merits. Its Awesome Music, epic feel, and vivid characters helped launch Arnold Schwarzenegger's acting career. The second movie, Conan the Destroyer, took a more comical and lighthearted tone under a different director, and wasn't as successful and received a negative reception from critics. Plans for at least one more movie fell through. A Continuity Reboot Conan movie, again titled Conan the Barbarian, was released in August 2011. It was generally acknowledged as being more true to the original tales as Howard told them.

There were rumors about plans for Schwarzenegger to reprise the role in The Legend of Conan in the early 2000s, before Schwarzenegger's governorship, and again in 2014, after it. Intended as a movie set during Conan's later years as king of Aquilonia, it would theoretically centre around an ageing Conan who seeks one last adventure before he dies, with the film's producer describing it as "Conan's Unforgiven". It was firmly stuck in Development Hell for many years until it was cancelled in April 2017. Amazon had announced a series in February 2018 with the producer planning to adapt Frost Giant's Daughter - chronologically the earliest Conan adventure taking place in his youth - as the first episode. However, it was reported that project had been cancelled before even getting off the ground. Lately, there has been talk of the series starting up again, now at Netflix. While Conan's future on film and television seems uncertain for now, Schwarzenegger expresses hope that he can play Conan one last time.

There has also been an MMORPG, notable for being unusually bloody for the genre, and several other adaptations in various media. A British game company named Mongoose Publishing, creators of, among other things, Infernum and two successive Judge Dredd Role Playing Games, created a Conan role-playing-game using the D20 ruleset; in addition, Steve Jackson games has GURPS Conan. The most recent TTRPG adaptation is by another British company, Modiphius, and uses their own 2d20 system.

In 2022 (the ninetieth anniversary of The Phoenix on the Sword's publication), the Conan rightsholders commissioned S. M. Stirling to write new fiction about the character, to be set within Howard's continuity. The first book, Conan — Blood of the Serpent was released in November of 2022.

Has nothing to do with Conan Edogawa of Case Closed or Future Boy Conan.

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The Conan literature

    Robert E. Howard 
From 1932-1936, Robert E. Howard completed one novel and 20 shorter stories about Conan. Some of these were first published posthumously. In order of writing, these are:

Howard also left some stories unfinished or in synopsis form. The titled ones, in no particular order, are:

  • "Drums of Tombalku". Left in fragmentary form, first published in 1986. L. Sprague de Camp created a completed version, first published in 1966.
  • "The Hall of the Dead". Left in synopsis form, first published in November 1974. L. Sprague de Camp created a completed version, first published in February, 1967.
  • "The Hand of Nergal". Left in fragmentary form, first published in 1976. Lin Carter created a completed version, first published in 1968.
  • "The Snout in the Dark". Left in fragmentary form, first published in 1979. L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter co-wrote a completed version of the story, first published in 1969.
  • "Wolves Beyond the Border". Left in two surviving drafts, first published between 2001 and 2005. L. Sprague de Camp created a completed version, first published in 1967.

He wrote a few other Conan-related pieces, like The Hyborian Age, an essay about his fictional setting, and the poem "Cimmeria", evoking Conan's homeland.

    Other authors 
Over the decades, many other authors have written official fanfics - or more formally, pastiches - of Conan. There are more Conan stories by other writers combined than Howard himself ever wrote.

Their ranks include Robert Jordan and Harry Turtledove, but the most significant of them was the showrunner-of-sorts back in the day, L. Sprague de Camp (1907-2000). He wrote several pastiches with the frequent collaboration of another author, Lin Carter (1930-1988). Both were prolific fantasy and SF authors in their own right, but they are perhaps most associated with Conan today.

Besides writing pastiches, De Camp edited Howard's stories, which often meant retooling the text altogether. De Camp and/or Carter also produced full versions of stories Howard left unfinished, and reworked some of Howard's unrelated fiction to make them Conan tales. The De Camp-supervised books featured pastiche stories together with Howard's edited originals until finally they ran out of the latter, in which case the books became complete pastiches.

The Conan books published by Lancer Books and Ace Books from 1966-1977 are among those supervised by De Camp, and they are perhaps most famous for their cover art by Frank Frazetta.

For years, the pastiches and modified versions of Howard's stories were all considered Canon while the unedited originals were allowed to fall out of print. Nowadays however, Howard's unedited stories are available on the market again (and provided they're in public domain, the Internet), while the pastiches and modified texts are mostly out of print. In the late 1970s, Karl Edward Wagner curated three volumes of unchanged Conan stories, exactly as they had been published in Weird Tales, with many of the original illustrations; Ballantine/Del Rey began publishing a complete collection of unedited, uncensored Conan (which is still in print, in three volumes) in 2002.

Though the dozens of pastiches are of varying quality, they are not without merit. Some readers of today assign these stories Expanded Universe status, some ignore them altogether, some accept them all as part on one big canon, and some accept just the stuff they like. The status of Lin Carter and L. Sprague De Camp's works can also be considered a secondary Canon of sorts, due to de Camp's decades-long control of the franchise and efforts to "reconcile" the original works. Not to mention the sheer preponderance of in-universe works written posthumous to Howard's Shorter Than They Think series.

    Novels and short stories by other authors 
  • "Conan of the Isles" (1968) by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter. Novel, chronologically the last Conan tale. Conan is about 65 years old when abdicating the throne of Aquilonia and heading to the Western Ocean for one last adventure.
  • "Black Sphinx of Nebthu" (July, 1973) by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter. Sequel to "The Witch of the Mists".
  • "Black Tears" (1968) by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter. Partly inspired from the Medusa legend of Classical Mythology.
  • "Conan and the Amazon" (April, 1995) by John Maddox Roberts. Novel. Conan and an Amazon are in search of the lost city of Jangar, which was the battleground between sorcerers and gods. But the current incarnation of the city is a perilous place and there were reasons for its isolation.
  • "Conan and the Death Lord of Thanza" (January, 1997) by Roland Green. Novel. Conan joins a force of rangers, active in the mountainous borders between Aquilonia and Nemedia. Their mission is to face the groups of bandits active in the area. A seemingly simple mission. Until a local bandit leader seeks a magical artifact which grants power over death.
  • "Conan and the Emerald Lotus" (November, 1995) by John C. Hocking. Novel. A sorcerer has gotten two of his rival magic users addicted to a drug. It amplifies their powers when used, but has nasty withdrawal symptoms. He then cut off their supply, waiting for results. The two afflicted magic users intend to use Conan as a pawn to get them their drug. He has no choice on the matter as their spells threaten his own life. Will receive an Updated Re Release in 2023 as Conan in the City of the Dead.
  • "Conan and the Gods of the Mountain" (May, 1993) by Roland Green. Sequel to "Red Nails". Conan and Valeria continue wandering the Black Kingdoms (Africa), stumbling on a conflict between the Speakers of Spirits and the God-Men.
  • "Conan and the Grim Grey God" (November, 1996) by Sean A. Moore. Novel. Conan is searching for the statue of an ancient deity, reputed to be priceless. But there are others searching for the statue, since another version of its tales speaks of its great power. The power to end the reign of light and begin the rule of darkness.
  • "Conan and the Manhunters" (October, 1994) by John Maddox Roberts. Novel. Conan is leading bandits in the deserts between Shem and Turan. He has the idea to steal a valuable treasure from a temple of Ahriman. Consequently he and his group have the Cult of the deity and a group of extraordinary manhunters following their trail.
  • "Conan and the Mists of Doom" (August, 1995) by Roland Green. Novel, follows shortly after "The People Of The Black Circle". Conan has left Afghulistan with a number of tribesmen loyal to him. He intends to lead them to Koth. But in the Kezankian Mountains, the Mist of Doom drains travelers of their lifeforce. Conan's group has to join with other groups to ensure their survival.
  • "Conan and the Shaman's Curse" (January, 1996) by Sean A. Moore. Novel. The opening scene has Conan on a battlefield, the last survivor of both groups of opponents. A dying shaman uses his last breath to curse him. Soon Conan realizes the effects of the curse. He has become a Werebeast, subject to periodic transformations.
  • "Conan and the Sorcerer" (October, 1978) by Andrew J. Offutt. Novel, features intrigues in Zamora and Zamboula.
  • "Conan and the Spider God" (December, 1980) by L. Sprague de Camp. Novel, features Conan facing the priests of Yezud, a city which worships a Spider God. Conan spoke about having been to Yezud and seen the spider god's temple dancers in People of the Black Circle.
  • "Conan and the Treasure of Python" (November, 1993) by John Maddox Roberts. Novel, partly based on "King Solomon's Mines" (1885) by H. Rider Haggard. Conan is hired to return to Darkest Africa, where he had spend several years of his life, and lead an expedition through the wilderness. They are supposedly looking for the missing brother of his employer. But more accurately searching for the treasure that both brothers had been seeking.
  • "Conan at the Demon's Gate" (November, 1994) by Roland Green. Novel. Set in the period that Conan is the chief of the Bamulas, an African tribe. Serves as a prequel to "The Vale of Lost Women". A Cool Gate transports Conan and his tribesmen to the Pictish Winderland. And the locals are not welcoming.
  • "Conan of the Red Brotherhood" (February, 1993) by Leonard Carpenter. Novel. Sequel to "Shadows in the Moonlight". Covers the period of Conan serving the Red Brotherhood, pirates of Vilayet Sea, and having Turan and its rulers as enemies.
  • "Conan of Venarium" (July, 2003) by Harry Turtledove. Novel. Depicts events mentioned in passing during "Beyond the Black River", but never depicted in detail. Aquilonia attempts to colonize areas of Cimmeria, building the fortress of Venarium to control the area. The Cimmerians eventually storm the fortress and drive the invaders away. A very young Conan, barely a teenager, participates in his first battle.
  • "Conan the Barbarian" (July, 2011) by Michael A. Stackpole. Novelization of the film.
  • "Conan the Barbarian" (May, 1982) by L. Sprague de Camp, Lin Carter, and Catherine Crook de Camp. Novelization of the film. First credited collaboration for Catherine, though she is thought likely to have co-written, revised or otherwise contributed to several previous novels.
  • "Conan the Bold" (April, 1989) by John Maddox Roberts. Novel. A youthful Conan is contemplating marriage when his would-be-bride is slaughtered with most of her family. Conan swears vengeance. He follows the trail of the one responsible across several countries over a period of years.
  • "Conan the Buccaneer" (1971) by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter. Novel, featuring political intrigues over the throne of Zingara.
  • "Conan the Champion" (April, 1987) by John Maddox Roberts. Novel. Conan's career as a pirate of the Vilayet Sea ends in a shipwreck. His attempt to find mercenary work results in Conan being at the center of a three-way war between city-states.
  • "Conan the Defender" (December, 1982) by Robert Jordan. Novel, features unrest and political conspiracies within Nemedia.
  • "Conan the Defiant" (October, 1987) by Steve Perry. Novel. Conan's seeks vengeance against a Necromancer. But will have to face an army of Animate Dead to get to his opponent.
  • "Conan the Destroyer" (July, 1984) by Robert Jordan. Novelization of the film.
  • "Conan the Fearless" (February, 1986) by Steve Perry. Novel. A young girl with Elemental Powers is being targeted by more experienced magic users. Conan becomes her reluctant protector. A secondary antagonist is a nymphomaniac witch who needs Conan's heart to power up a Sexbot
  • "Conan the Formidable" (November, 1990) by Steve Perry. Novel, features a youthful Conan entering Zamora for the first time. But instead of reaching civilization, Conan becomes the unwilling "guest" of a race of giants. And he gets his introduction to the Vargs, a race of Green Dwarves who feast on other humanoids, and to the members of a freak show seeking new recruits.
  • "Conan the Free Lance" (February, 1990) by Steve Perry. Novel. Having recently parted with his traveling companions, Conan spends some time with the Tree Folk. That is a forest tribe living on top of the trees. His visit coincides by an attack on the tribe by the forces of a sorcerer, who needs the Tree Folk's Sacred Seed to ensure his own survival. Without the Seed the tribe and its forest face extinction. conan volunteers to help retrieve the Seed.
  • "Conan the Gladiator" (January, 1995) by Leonard Carpenter. Novel. Conan has joined a traveling circus as their strongman, crossing various countries. But their idea to perform in Stygia results in their introduction to Gladiator Games... as unwilling participants.
  • "Conan the Great" (April, 1990) by Leonard Carpenter. Novel. Conan, King of Aquilonia defeats an invasion by the combined troops of Nemedia and Ophir. Among the prisoners of war is a court jester who gladly switches allegiance. What Conan doesn't know is that the jester is the representative of a god, aiming to unite Hyboria under a single ruler. And Conan has unwittingly volunteered for the position. Meanwhile Koth has just entered a new expansion phase.
  • "Conan the Guardian" (January, 1991) by Roland Green. Novel. Conan serves as the bodyguard of a young Argosian noblewoman. His role gives him insight into a culture dominated by wealthy merchants. And to the ruthlessness and deadly intrigues underlying the civilized veneer.
  • "Conan the Hero" (February, 1989). Novel, serves as a sequel to "The City of Skulls". Conan and Juma still serve in the army of Turan. But their emperor is about to be betrayed by his foreign allies and members of his own court.
  • "Conan the Hunter" (January, 1994) by Sean A. Moore. Novel. Conan buys a bracelet as a gift to a girlfriend. But the bracelet belonged to a recently-murdered princess and was apparently stolen from her corpse. His possession of it makes him a suspect in the high-profile murder case. Someone set him up. Conan seeks to find answers and clear his name, while facing complex conspiracies.
  • "Conan the Indomitable" (October, 1989) by Steve Perry. Novel, a sequel to "Conan the Defiant". Conan, his lover Elashi, and a number of new companions are trapped Beneath the Earth. In an underground realm ruled by a sorcerer and a sorceress in constant battle with each other. The various sentient races serving them are on the verge of a rebellion. The humans are soon caught up in a bizarre conflict.
  • "Conan the Invincible" (June, 1982) by Robert Jordan. Novel, features Conan's encounters with a bandit queen.
  • "Conan the Liberator" (February, 1979) by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter. Novel, features Conan leading the rebellion against the King of Aquilonia. Events which lead him to the throne.
  • "Conan the Magnificent" (May, 1984) by Robert Jordan. Novel, features Conan as a thief in Shadizar. Having recently been outperformed by a female thief, Conan decides to track her down and beat her in her own game. But both thieves are unwittingly following a perilous expedition into the wilderness.
  • "Conan the Marauder" (January, 1988) by John Maddox Roberts. Novel. A Hyrkanian warlord attempts to unite all the tribes and create an Empire. A Turanian sorcerer attempts to place this army under his own control. Conan is caught up in the resulting conflicts.
  • "Conan the Mercenary" (January, 1981) by Andrew J. Offutt. Novel, covers a missing period between "Conan and the Sorcerer" and "The Sword of Skelos".
  • "Conan the Outcast" (April, 1991) by Leonard Carpenter. Novel. Takes place within the city-states of eastern Shem, a desert area. The city of Sark is in decline, consequence of a prolonged drought. A priest convinces its monarchs that a sacrifice to his god could reverse the situation. But not just any sacrifice, but that of another city-state and every life within it. Said city is Qjara, a vibrant city which serves as part of a significant trade route. Currently living in Qjara is Conan, stranded there for months while waiting for a caravan to Zamora.
  • "Conan the Raider" (October, 1986) by Leonard Carpenter. Novel. Conan joins a tomb-robbing expedition in Stygia. A subplot involving a precious gem has the story serving as a sequel to "Shadows in Zamboula" and a prequel to "The Star of Khorala".
  • "Conan the Rebel" (July, 1980) by Poul Anderson. Novel, features Conan and Bêlit involved in a Stygian provincial rebellion.
  • "Conan the Relentless" (April, 1992) by Roland Green. Novel. Conan attempts to cross the Border Kingdoms, heading for other areas as usual. But he soon ends up in a war zone, with the Kingdoms no longer the relatively peaceful area of his experience. When he recognizes Raihna (an old ally from "Conan the Relentless") among the combatants, Conan starts getting interested in his surroundings.
  • "Conan the Renegade" (April, 1986) by Leonard Carpenter. Novel. Features mercenary adventures in the borders of Koth and Khoraja. Serves as a sequel to "Black Colossus" and "Shadows in the Dark".
  • "Conan the Rogue" (November, 1991) by John Maddox Roberts. Novel, partly based on Red Harvest (1929) and The Maltese Falcon (1930), both by Dashiell Hammett. Conan has just ended a stint as a mercenary to the army of Nemedia. He has already lost his entire pay and most of his equipment gambling. So he gladly accepts a new job offer, searching for a mysterious and valuable item. Said job leads him to Sicas, an Aquilonian city increasingly dominated by organized crime. A Mob War between the five main gangs, and several minor factions, is ongoing. Deciding that this city of rogues is his kind of place, Conan soon uses the conflict to his own advantage. Meanwhile several parties in the War are also after the MacGuffin.
  • "Conan the Savage" (November, 1992) by Leonard Carpenter. Novel. Conan has recently escaped from the mines of Brythunia, where he spent a period as a convict. He has retreated to the wilderness and joined a fairly isolated tribe. He is Going Native. But Brythunian armies destroy the tribe and its village. Conan seeks vengeance against the Brythunian ruler. Who is actually a victim of Demonic Possession.
  • "Conan the Triumphant" (October, 1983) by Robert Jordan. Novel, features Conan leading a group of freelance mercenaries within Ophir, a country about to enter a civil war.
  • "Conan the Unconquered" (April, 1983) by Robert Jordan. Novel, features the activities of a necromantic cult in Turan and Hyrkania.
  • "Conan the Valiant" (October, 1988) by Robert Green. Novel. Conan serves as an officer of the Turanian Army. When the secret service arranges for him to join a sorceress in a mission. They are to take out a sorcerer whose plans threaten Turan and its empire.
  • "Conan the Valorous" (September, 1985) by John Maddox Roberts. Novel. Conan is hired by a Stygian Sorceress to transport certain items to the sacred mountain of Crom in Cimmeria. The relatively "simple" mission turns up to be part of a conflict between sorcerers.
  • "Conan the Victorious" (November, 1984) by Robert Jordan. Novel. Conan flees Turan after becoming the main suspect in a high-profile murder investigation. He also suffers from poisoning and enters Vendhya in search for a cure. He instead finds himself involved in complex political intrigues.
  • "Conan the Warlord" (March, 1988) by Leonard Carpenter. Novel. Conan finds himself trapped within a Nemedian prison. He is offered freedom in exchange for a job. Becoming the political decoy to a Nemedian noble who resembles him in appearance. But there are multiples threats surround himself and his employers. Who have some secrets of their own.
  • "Conan, Lord of the Black River" (April, 1996) by Leonard Carpenter. Novel. To face an undead sorceress, Conan has to experience a journey to the underworld. His chance to return among the living depends on victory over the nightmares of the realm.
  • "Conan, Scourge of the Bloody Coast" (April, 1994) by Leonard Carpenter. Novel, sequel to "Conan of the Red Brotherhood". Conan is still leading the Red Brotherhood in ravaging the coasts of the Vilayet Sea. He is trying to instigate conflict between the two powers of the region, Turan and Hyrkania, to weaken them. But a magic user seeks to undermine all three naval powers.
  • "Hawks Over Shem", also known as "Hawks Over Egypt". Novella written by L. Sprague de Camp, first published in October, 1955. Based on an Diego de Guzman tale by Robert E. Howard. The original story was set in 1021 Cairo. The antagonist was the Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, a Fatimid Caliph (reigned 996-1021) who reputedly went insane.
  • "Legions of the Dead" (August, 1978) by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter. There are arguments that Catherine Crook de Camp was an uncredited co-writer in this tale.
  • "Moon of Blood" (August, 1978) by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter. A sequel to "Beyond the Black River".
  • "Red Moon of Zembabwei" (July, 1974) by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter. Sequel to "The Witch of the Mists, and the "Black Sphinx of Nebthu".
  • "Shadows in the Dark" (August, 1978) by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter. A sequel to the "Black Colossus".
  • "Shadows in the Skull" (February, 1975) by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter. Sequel and conclusion to the storyline of "The Witch of the Mists, the "Black Sphinx of Nebthu", and the "Red Moon of Zembabwei".
  • "The Blood-Stained God", also known as "The Curse of the Crimson God". Novella written by L. Sprague de Camp, first published in 1955. Based on a Kirby O'Donnell tale by Robert E. Howard. The original story was set in 1930s Afghanistan.
  • "The Castle of Terror" (1969) by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter.
  • "The City of Skulls" (1967) by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter.
  • "The Curse of the Monolith" (1968) by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter.
  • "The Flame Knife", also known as "Three-Bladed Doom". Novella written by L. Sprague de Camp, first published in 1955. Based on an El Borak tale by Robert E. Howard. The original story was set in 1930s Afghanistan.
  • "The Gem in the Tower" (August, 1978) by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter. Based on "Black Moonlight" (November, 1976), a Thongor Tale by Lin Carter.
  • "The Ivory Goddess" (August, 1978) by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter. Sequel to "Jewels of Gwahlur". There are arguments that Catherine Crook de Camp was an uncredited co-writer in this tale.
  • "The Lair of the Ice Worm" (1969) by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter.
  • "The People of the Summit" (December, 1970) by Björn Nyberg. Revised by L. Sprague de Camp in 1978.
  • "The Return of Conan" (1957). Novel mainly written by Björn Nyberg, edited and slightly revised by L. Sprague de Camp.
  • "The Road of Kings" (October, 1979) by Karl Edward Wagner. Novel, features intrigues over the throne of Zingara.
  • "The Road of the Eagles", also known as "Conan, Man of Destiny". Novella written by L. Sprague de Camp, first published in December, 1955. Based on an Ivan Sablianka tale by Robert E. Howard. The original story was set in 1595 Caucasus, with Cossacks active in the border areas of the Ottoman Empire.
  • "The Siege of the Black Citadel" (2022). Novel by Chuck Dixon. An illustrated text serialisation is published at Arktoons.
  • "The Star of Khorala" (August, 1978) by Björn Nyberg and L. Sprague de Camp. A sequel to the "Shadows in Zamboula". Also serves as an origin tale to a supporting character from the "The Hour of the Dragon".
  • "The Sword of Skelos" (May, 1979) by Andrew J. Offutt. Novel, sequel to "Conan and the Sorcerer".
  • "The Thing in the Crypt" (1967) by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter.
  • "The Witch of the Mists" (August, 1972) by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter.

    Age of Conan, Hyborian Adventures novels 
Novels which take place in the familiar Hyborian Age but do not actually feature Conan himself as a major character. His activities as King of Aquilonia are mentioned however.
  • "A Soldier's Quest" trilogy
    • "The God in the Moon" (July, 2006) by Richard A. Knaak.
    • "The Eye of Charon" (September, 2006) by Richard A. Knaak.
    • "The Silent Enemy" (November, 2006) by Richard A. Knaak.
  • "Anok, Heretic of Stygia" trilogy
    • "Scion of the Serpent" (September, 2005) by J. Steven York.
    • "Heretic of Set" (October, 2005) by J. Steven York.
    • "Venom of Luxur" (November, 2005) by J. Steven York. Also known "Venom of Luxor". The city of the title is typically spelled "Luxor" in Conan stories, but not in the cover of the first edition.
  • "Legends of Kern" trilogy
    • "Blood of Wolves" (May, 2005) by Loren L. Coleman.
    • "Cimmerian Rage" (June, 2005) by Loren L. Coleman.
    • "Songs of Victory" (July, 2005) by Loren L. Coleman.
  • "Marauders"trilogy.
    • "Ghost of the Wall" (January, 2006) by Jeff Mariotte.
    • "Winds of the Wild Sea" (March, 2006) by Jeff Mariotte.
    • "Dawn of the Ice Bear" (May, 2006) by Jeff Mariotte.


    Comic Books 
The character has had a long history in comics over the decades (fitting, as comics are the most direct descendant of the pulp magazines which first gave life to Conan). At first handled by Marvel Comics, the license was then acquired by Dark Horse Comics. The Dark Horse series is the most faithful of all adaptations to date and is endorsed by the Robert E. Howard Foundation. It started out with Kurt Busiek on script and Cary Nord on pencils. It's currently written by Timothy Truman and drawn by Tomas Giorello.

Marvel started publishing Conan comics again in the late 2010s starting including a Crossover with The Avengers in the Avengers: No Road Home series.

Just as some of Howard's non-Conan stories were reworked for inclusion in the Conan books, the character of Red Sonja was created for Marvel loosely based on two of Howard's other characters from his historical fiction - Red Sonya of Rogatino and Dark Agnes, both Action Girls from the 16th century.

    Film and Television 
  • Conan the Barbarian (1982) and Conan the Destroyer (1984). Both starred Arnold Schwarzenegger as Conan, and Mako Iwamatsu as Akiro, his KWONICLER. The first film also had James Earl Jones as Thulsa Doom, and Sandahl Bergman as Valeria. It was co-written by John Milius and Oliver Stone, directed by Milius alone. The second film had Grace Jones as Zula, Olivia d'Abo as Jehnna, Sarah Douglas as Taramis, Pat Roach as Toth-Amon, Wilt Chamberlain (yes, that Wilt Chamberlain) as Bombaata, and an uncredited André the Giant as the god-monster Dagoth. It was written by Stanley Mann, and directed by Richard Fleischer.
  • Conan the Adventurer (1992-1993) was an animated cartoon based on elements from the various Conan stories, but it was so very much Lighter and Softer. It takes only a few elements from the original. Decent on its own terms, despite the "kiddification" (e.g. a talking phoenix that lived in Conan's shield and was obsessed with pomegranates). Ran for 65 episodes.
  • Conan and the Young Warriors (1994). Continuation of the above. This had Conan leading kids around. Having defeated his enemies, Conan was contemplating retirement. Fate, in the form of Epimetrius the Sage, has other plans and the Cimmerian becomes mentor to The Chosen Ones, three siblings with magical powers who are destined to rule the Hyborian world. All three are blonde, and blue-eyed. Draegen, the eldest boy, summons an Instant Armor with magical qualities. He has also been trained with a whip in battle. Brynne, middle child and only girl, is a Master of Illusion. She has also had training as a thief and Archer. Navah, the youngest boy, is a The Beastmaster of the group. He has had training as a slinger. This show was never particularly successful. A total of 13 episodes were released.
  • Conan the Adventurer (1997-1998) was a live-action series starring Ralf Moeller as Conan. It was one of many failed attempts to match the success of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess. It makes superficial use of Conan's name and elements from the movies and animated series, as well as Robert Jordan's Conan novels, but otherwise was Howard's character In Name Only. A total of 22 episodes were released.
  • The film Conan the Barbarian was a Continuity Reboot, starring Jason Momoa as Conan. It featured Rachel Nichols as Tamara, Stephen Lang as the villain Khalar Zym, Rose McGowan as witch Marique, and Ron Perlman as Corin, Conan's father.
  • There's been an animated adaptation of Red Nails starring Ron Perlman and Mark Hamill in the works for some time, but it seems to be stuck in invokedDevelopment Hell.
  • She Is Conann an upcoming French film featuring a gender flipped Conan.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Noted early wargamer Tony Bath ran a campaign called The Hyborian Campaign during the 1970s that was based on an Alternate Universe version of the Hyborian setting.
  • TSR produced a number of modules for AD&D, including Conan Unchained and Conan Against Darkness.
  • Steve Jackson Games bought the license in 1988, releasing GURPS Conan later that year.
  • Mongoose Games released Conan: The RPG in 2004, with a second edition in 2007. The game used the OGL for D&D 3.5 as a basis.
  • Modiphius Entertainment released Robert E Howard's Conan: Adventures In An Age Undreamed Of in 2015. The game uses a 2d20 resolution mechanic.
  • The fan made Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea, released 2013 with a second edition in 2016, draws a great deal from Conan, using a modified version of AD&D 1e.

    Video Games 
  • Conan (2007), for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. More or less a God of War clone, based on elements from Howard's stories. Ron Perlman provides Conan's voice.
  • Age of Conan (2008), an MMORPG for Microsoft Windows by Funcom, notable for unusual amounts (even for the genre) of violence and nudity.
  • Conan Hyborian Age (2013), a mod for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim which integrates the Conan setting in the ancient past of Skyrim setting, with some retconned elements to fit the new setting (Conan refers to "Shor" instead of Crom). Based on the 1982 movie instead of the books, the mod consists in exploring a dungeon named "the Hyborian Mound" (a combination of the Atlantean tomb, Thulsa Doom's lair, and the pitfight arena from the beginning of the movie) to find ingredients to craft an Infinity +1 Sword. The ghost of Conan can be encountered in the dungeon, and he serves as an ally during one of the bossfights.
  • Conan Exiles (2017), an open-world survival game developed by Funcom.
  • Conan Unconquered (2019), a Real-Time Strategy game developed by Petroglyph and published by Funcom.
  • Conan Chop Chop (2022), a parodic Roguelike developed by Mighty Kingdom and published by Funcom.

The Conan franchise provides examples of:

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  • Abdicate the Throne: Averted.
    • In "The Scarlet Citadel", Conan is offered freedom and gold if he will do this. Conan, in characteristic fashion, tells the villains who captured him to go to hell.
    • Conan once wrote a poem in which he posited that nothing will make him give up the throne — not riches, women, land, or even the threat of Hell itself. The poem ends with "I was a man before I was a king", indicating that Conan fully intends to stick to the principles that brought him to the throne in the first place.
    • In the comic he does abdicate the throne to his son after his son makes it clear he has learned on his own how to rule Aquilona and how Conan yearned for this moment as he can can chase the wind in peace that his kingdom is in good hands.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Conan's swords can cut through nearly anything. Hardly a fight scene goes by that doesn't have the Cimmerian casually hewing off limbs and heads, plunging a sword through chainmail like wet paper or rotten fruit or some other metaphor for softness, and occasionally bisecting still-helmeted skulls and whole torsos. In "The People Of The Black Circle," he chops through a door with his sword (actually a "zhaibar knife," likely precursor to the "khyber knife," potentially making this feat much more impressive). And yet it's still always described as "razor-sharp". It's worth noting here the awesome physical power that Conan was able to put behind his sword work. Older works used to have Conan crush the casque and armor with his swords because of sheer strength.
  • The Ace: Physically, Conan embodies this. He's the ultimate swordsman... but if he's in a country where people fight with scimitars or knives and he loses his sword, he'll pick up the local weapon and never slow down. And besides his weapon skills, he has more raw strength than anyone else human (he meets an infamous wrestler and strangler, and casually beats him at his own game), and he's faster, tougher, and with better instincts too. Canon is that this comes from a lifetime of Barbarian Hero hardship and struggle; Conan is just supposed to be better at everything. That doesn't mean Conan never loses, but it does mean that trying to take him on in an even contest is a fool's errand. Individual Mooks, groups fighting him in concert, and Eldritch Abominations can all give Conan on his best day a run for his money, but he usually triumphs (sometimes by knowing when a fight should be avoided, or run away from). Aside combat he is an excellent climber, can move in full armor without a sound and is an expert swimmer.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: Conan avoids being hypnotized by the sorcerer Khemsa largely because Cimmerians have no concept of hypnotism at all, and therefore he doesn't know that he's supposed to lose his will. It helps that Khemsa's brand of Hypnotism also runs on Your Mind Makes It Real.
  • Action Girl: Howard's work was definitely not free of sexism, but he deserves some credit for subverting Damsel in Distress and No Man Wants an Amazon as often as his editor would let him. Bêlit, Nanaia and Valeria are all good early examples of the Action Girl. Even Devi Yasmina of Vendhya is a pretty tough cookie; she's last seen leading an army. Conan himself admits he could never disarm Valeria of the Brotherhood.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The Dark Horse comic book series and the first Conan film. The quality of their distillations is debated, to say the least.
    • To the extent that the first film captured the "Frank Frazetta feel", and had assorted story elements from both Howard and pastiche, it was an Adaptation Distillation; but its plot and themes are incompatible at worst with Howard's Conan. Of course, one may enjoy it on its own, regardless of the source material.
    • The second film tends to grab names and jam them onto people, places, and things unrelated to the canon, and doesn't even make sense internally on some story points.
    • The 2011 film tries to avert this, but still throws in a childhood arch-nemesis for Conan.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • Schwarzenegger, Ralf Moeller, and Jason Momoa have dark brown hair instead of plain black.
    • Conan's first comic book appearance happened in 1952 in an unlicensed Mexican series with Bêlit as the protagonist and Conan as her blond Viking-like sidekick.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: The franchise takes place on Earth, just set in a time that predates surviving historical records.
  • After-Action Patch-Up: How we learn most of how Salome usurped the throne in A Witch Shall Be Born.
  • After the End: The Hyborian Era is After the End with respect to the previous civilizations Atlantis, Valusia, and Acheron. Our own era is after the collapse of the Hyborian Age.
  • Age of Reptiles: The Serpent Men of Kull and Conan's times are the last remnants of a great civilization that ruled the world during the Paleozoic, but collapsed during the Triassic when the dinosaurs arose.
  • All Just a Dream: "The Phoenix On The Sword" and "The Frost-Giant's Daughter" have people wondering if the events of the story were dreamed by Conan. . . until he produces physical evidence. In "Tower Of The Elephant," Conan himself wonders if what just happened really happened (even by the standards of a Conan story, "Tower Of The Elephant" is weird).
  • All There in the Script: In the 1982 Conan the Barbarian film, Valeria's name is never mentioned once.
    • She gets repeatedly mentioned in the second film. Prior to that, you could be forgiven for thinking she's supposed to be Bêlit, who did some of the same things in the books. She appears to be, if anything from the books at all, a pastiche of the two.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Howard wrote in broad strokes, depicting entire civilizations in shorthand, and some of the cultures Conan brushes up against are painted with a uniformly dark brush. Stygians are always conniving, knowledgeable and ruthless: Zamorans are always self-serving and treacherous: Picts are always savages who yearn to crush civilization. The Acheronian civilization is long-dead, but everything we learn about them indicates that they were monstrous.
    • Conan himself is a bit more understanding about 'evil' people than his author - he comments sympathetically that the Picts are killing people and committing atrocities because 'civilization' is slowly but surely invading their land, and in another story he rewards a poor Stygian fisherman richly for assisting him. He chooses his enemies based on their personal offenses, not their background. But the tendency for so many of his enemies to have the same few nationalities over and over is quite apparent.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: According to Howard's timeline, the stories take place sometime between 20,000 B.C. and 9500 B.C. An unknown cataclysm has shifted the European and African coastlines since that time, so the earlier end of the scale is less implausible.
  • Ambition Is Evil
    "He said I was but an earthly sprite, knowing naught of the deeper gulfs of cosmic sorcery. Well, this world contains all I desire — power, and pomp, and glittering pageantry, handsome men and soft women for my paramours and my slaves.
    • In "The Hour of the Dragon" and "The Phoenix on the Sword," more than one conspirator wanted the throne. (At least two wanted the same throne, that of Aquilonia, which gets awkward.)
  • Anachronic Order: While Howard didn't write the stories in chronological order, several different outlines have been devised if one wishes to read them this way - pastiches included or not. It's quite possible to read them in their published, anachronic order, however, and is how the unedited and unabridged compilations present them (and how they are indexed here). Howard himself described writing the stories as though he was sitting in a tavern with Conan, hearing the stories of his life as they occurred to him in no particular order. Experiencing them this way lends a bit of chaos to the stories that fits well with their overall themes.
    • Early attempts at a timeline (including the only one Howard ever saw in his life time) placed The Tower of the Elephant as the earliest Howard written story and were also updated to include every officially released pastiche. Later timelines, including the one used by Dark Horse for their comics, place The Frost Giants Daughter first and focus exclusively on Howard written stories. Early timelines also have Conan zip around the continent at break neck speed with no regard to sensical travel plans while later ones have him travel in a relatively straight line.
  • Ancient Astronauts: The Tower of the Elephant features one that crash-landed on Earth long before and was captured by sorcery.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Serpent Men, a recurring opponent of Conan's, were a secret society of Snake People who were trying to take over the world and/or control it from the shadows. Running into Conan quickly puts an end to most of their plans.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The end of ''Conan of the Islands:" more than 60 years old, he entrusts his kingdom to his son, takes a crew of volunteers, and sails beyond the western ocean in search of Mayapan (America).
  • Animated Adaptation: Two of them, actually.
  • Animated Armor: Conan once fought one of these guys, realising he was screwed as even though he could chop the arm and the head of the armor off, the thing could still attack. Thankfully the Wench of the Week shone some light onto the priest controlling it, following which it collapsed like a sack of potatoes.
  • Anti-Hero: Conan is never portrayed as a straight hero. He might have heroic goals or perform heroic deeds, but he's not above using violent and even underhanded means to get what he wants.
    • At worst, he's a thief, a reaver, a slayer... and pretty much everything else you can think of where there's an opportunity for violence, wenches and loot. Including piracy, assassination, and mercenary work. At best, he's an archetype of a Chaotic Good hero. He never kills anyone who doesn't deserve it or isn't trying to kill him, keeps his word, and will fight without pay for somebody who engages his sympathies (beautiful women tend to find this easier than others). He even states this bluntly in "The Vale of Lost Women." But though he may pillage and burn, he will never rape anyone.
    • When he first seizes the Aquilonian throne, he figures it's the big payoff to his greatest adventure: he makes a few improvements to keep his promises to those who got him there, but doesn't really change. Phoenix in the Sword teaches him just what's at stake, and the threats it revealed encourage him to become a better and more responsible king. By the time of Hour of the Dragon, he is aghast at the thought of what his foes will do to his kingdom, and resists the temptation to return to adventure because he needs to save his kingdom: he's become The Hero or something close to it.
  • Armor Is Useless: Many armored nobles and soldiers find out Conan is strong enough to shatter and hack armor, with little care if his weapon break. And the real threats are monsters or sorcerers that dwarf Conan's might when it comes to going through armor.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: Once the formula of the Conan stories was established, particularly when it came to sex scenes, there were a couple of cases where Howard turned it on its head for laughs. The Girl of the Week would wonder what was taking Conan so long to get it on with her.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Before Conan Aquilonia had multiple barons and counts raise taxes and levies arbitrarily so they can invade the lands next to them and inexperienced settlers were sent to wild forests full of bloodthirsty barbarians because the lords would rather keep their hunting grounds instead of turning them in farmlands. Once king Conan is able to improve the quality of life of Aquilonians by shattering the concept of divine right to rule and threatening with violence any attempt at exploiting or mistreating his subjects. Some aristocrats clean their act while others plot coups.
  • Arranged Marriage:
    • In "The People of the Black Circle," Conan laughs at Yasmina's offer of reward.
      "Would you make me your king?" he asked sardonically.
      "Well, there are customs —" she stammered, and he interrupted her with a hard laugh.
      "Yes, civilized customs that won't let you do as you wish. You'll marry some withered old king of the plains, and I can go my way with only the memory of a few kisses snatched from your lips. Ha!"
    • In "Shadows in the Moonlight" Olivia was Made a Slave for refusing this.
  • Artifact of Doom: In The Hour of the Dragon, somewhat inverted. The Heart of Ahriman has the power to revive the dead, which leads to the current predicament as some fool uses it to resurrect a long-dead, very powerful wizard. But the Heart itself isn't an evil artifact, and is in fact the only thing that can stand against the Big Bad's sorcery. Dialogue firmly establishes that the Heart isn't intrinsically evil, and may in fact be an artifact of Big Good. The evil sorcerer kept it close, not because it gave him power or gave him more power (again, dialogue states he was incapable of using it), but to keep it from being used against him.
  • Ascended Extra: Thoth-Amon becomes the arch-enemy of Conan in pastiches and comic adaptations, though they never even meet in the original stories and the one time he puts Conan in danger, he does so unintentionally. The movie version of Thulsa Doom is more like him than the original Thulsa Doom, who was a Kull villain (and looked like Skeletor before Skeletor existed). An Expy of him named Ram-Amon was in the first cartoon.
  • Atop a Mountain of Corpses: "The Scarlet Citadel" and "A Witch Shall Be Born" in particular, the most famous visual example being Frank Frazetta's iconic illustration for Conan the Adventurer.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!
    • In "The Phoenix on the Sword," Conan does not even fight a defensive battle when outnumbered twenty-to-one.
      He was no defensive fighter; even in the teeth of overwhelming odds he always carried the war to the enemy.
    • In "The Slithering Shadow", the forces of Xuthal nearly overcame him though they aren't good fighters because of this and their numbers.
  • Attempted Rape: In "Red Nails" Olmec tries this on Valeria. The rescue is even worse.
    • The Frost-Giant's Daughter is one of the rare examples of Conan himself being the aggressor. The lady in question was Atali, daughter of the Frost Giant Ymir, who appeared to the wounded and dying to taunt them and lure them to their deaths at the hands of her giant brothers. This was Early-Installment Weirdness; it was only the second Conan story, and Atali is a supernatural entity whose beauty causes men to go insane with lust. Conan wasn't really himself, both in-story (he was under the thrall of a magical charm Atali used to lure men to their death) and on a meta level (his Anti-Hero character hadn't been established yet).
  • Attractive Zombie: Tuanne from Conan the Defiant.
  • Author Avatar: Howard made one appearance in a story. Was he an unstoppable killing machine? No. Was he a hero to rival Conan? No. He was Balthus, a very young man who looked up to Conan as a sort of mentor, killed along with the self-insert of his dog, Patches, by Picts in "Beyond the Black River". He was still pretty awesome in his own way though. Enough that Conan swore to personally avenge him (and his dog, "a better fighter than many a man"). It seems that Howard wrote it this way because Conan had become so superhuman that it was hard to identify with him.
  • Back from the Dead: In the Savage Sword of Conan comics, Boraq D' Sharaq did this so often that Conan remarked during his later appearances that the former pirate had more lives than a cat. He even returned to life after being turned into a glass statue.
  • Badass Boast: In "Shadows of Zamboula", Conan beats a cultist strangler, a black guy who's even larger than him, at his own game — while being strangled himself:
    "Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man — like this!"
  • Badass Bookworm:
  • Badass Creed: As summed up in the poem The Road of Kings
    Gleaming shell of an outworn lie, fable of Right Divine
    You gained your crowns by heritage, but Blood was the price of mine
    The throne I won by blood and sweat, by Crom I will not sell
    For promise of valleys filled with gold, or threat of the Halls of Hell!
    When I was a fighting man, the kettle-drums they beat
    The people scattered gold dust before my horse's feet
    But now I am a great king; the people hound my track
    With poison in my wine cup and daggers at my back.
    What do I know of cultured ways, the gilt, the craft and the lie?
    I who was born in a naked land and bred in the open sky.
    The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing.
    Rush in and die, dogs — I was a man before I was a king!
  • Badass in Distress: Conan has gotten captured more than once in his day. He usually escapes by some measure of guile, trickery or luck.
  • Badass Normal: Conan, again. Sorcerers, demons, aliens(?), apemen, demi-goddess witches, he's fought them all and won.
  • The Bait: As Conan's reputation grows, villains arrayed against him learn he has a certain fondness for beautiful women in desperate need of rescue by a rugged barbarian with massive thews, and they can use this tendency against him.
  • Barbarian Hero: You saw it occasionally in myths (it's as old as civilization, before that they were just "heroes"), but Conan the Barbarian made it what it is now.
  • Barbarian Long Hair: One of Conan's trademarks since Frank Frazetta did the legendary illustrations is his long black mane, a look that was used in virtually all adaptations. Howard consistently describes Conan's hairdo as a "square-cut black mane"; L. Sprague de Camp objected to Frazetta's shoulder-length interpretation and might have had the art replaced if he hadn't been overruled.
  • Barbarian Tribe: The Picts in the "screaming hide covered" variety, while the Cimmerians, Aesir and Vanir are closer to the Proud Warrior Race Guy type.
  • Bar Brawl: Not as often as you'd expect, what with how much Conan loves both drinking and fighting, but a few have been known to break out when Conan takes his leisure.
  • Beard of Barbarism: Many Aesir, Vanir and other barbarians have full beards. Conan himself, however, averts the trope with being clean shaven in pretty much all his incarnations. Ironically, he grows mustaches and beard only long after becoming King of Aquilonia.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Conan's fate is tied to Aquilonia which leads to some aid from Mitra, like getting his sword empowered or telling Yasmela to search his aid.
  • Bedsheet Ladder: Conan's skill with improvised ropes, though he generally uses tapestries or other rich furnishings, not necessarily bedsheets. Usually used for the sake of the Girl of the Week: one of Conan's earliest established skills beyond killing anything that vexes him is his climbing ability (Cimmeria being rough and mountainous land, Cimmerians are all expert freeclimbers far beyond the capabilities of anyone else).
  • Berserk Button: If you threaten an innocent woman (or even not-so-innocent in most cases) in Conan's presence, you are dead.
  • Best Her to Bed Her: Red Sonja in the comics. Also in Queen of the Black Coast, the pirate princess Bêlit becomes Conan's lover after witnessing him single-handedly slay hordes of her crew.
  • Betty and Veronica: Badass Pirate Girl Bêlit (Veronica) and charming slave girl Zenobia (Betty). They're never in direct competition, coming into Conan's life at dramatically different times, but form dramatic counterpoints to the kind of women Conan could have ended up with at those points. A more direct example occurs in "Xuthal of the Dusk," between Natala (Betty) and Thalis (Veronica). Though it should be noted the attraction between Thalis and Conan was almost entirely one-sided on her part; Conan's was limited to the natural reaction of coming upon a stark naked beautiful woman. The narration makes it clear that while Conan is not exactly monogamous he won't hurt Natala's feelings by pursuing Thalis until she is safe.
  • Big Bad: Because opposing Conan was usually a lethal career choice, the original stories had lots of villains but very few who appeared in more than one. However, later adaptations tended to supply one - if only to ensure that they'd be able to sell further materials.
    • Thoth-Amon is the most prominent, with Xaltotun and Yah Chieng briefly taking the scene for themselves. Maybe Set as well.
    • One of the few recurring (but offscreen) villains in the original mythos was Yezdigerd, king of Turan: Conan keeps accidentally interfering with the ambitious and ruthless young king's plans.
    • It's worth noting that the only two recurring villains from Howard's canon (Thoth-Amon and Yezdigerd) never met Conan face-to-face, let alone fought him. Because if they had, they wouldn't have been able to recur. Neither specifically sets out with an agenda against Conan, and Conan foils their schemes largely without even knowing there was a scheme to foil (see Unknown Rival).
  • Big Bad Friend: Thoth-Amon to Kalanthes in the Comics. Both growing up in hardship, both learning sorcery, but applying it to dramatically different goals.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Often, but not always, Conan himself. Sometimes Conan is captured and needs assistance (sometimes from the Girl of the Week), sometimes others come riding to Conan's aid, and sometimes Conan arrives right in the nick of time, either alone or with help, ranging from a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits to a Badass Army.
  • Bittersweet Ending: "Queen of the Black Coast" ends with Conan having overcome his enemies, but having lost perhaps his greatest love.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: In the original stories. Lightened somewhat in the movies and later books. In the original stories, Conan was often little more than a thug of some manner (pirate, bandit, hired sword, whichever) who was going up against fiendishly evil sorcerers, mad kings, or mad-fiendishly-evil-sorceror-kings. He gets a much more sympathetic portrayal when he is king of Aquilonia - then his foes are scheming aristocrats or ambitious rival kings and Conan himself is the benevolent ruler defending his throne.
  • Black Magic: Nearly all magic in the Conan universe is this, requiring some seriously nasty material components.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: Deconstructed for the most part: Many a fancy, bejeweled, ornate weapon appears, usually on the belt of someone who's never used it in combat and wouldn't know what to do with it if they did.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Valeria, Bêlit, Red Sonja in the Marvel comics.
  • Blood Bath: When the malicious King Numedides expressed a desire to become immortal, he enlisted the services of the Evil Sorcerer Thulandra Thuu, and together they sacrificed young women in order for Numedides to bathe in their blood.
  • Blood Knight: Conan himself, even once he gains his throne, as seen in "Phoenix On The Sword." Though as he evolves more into the rold of The Good King, his Blood Knight tendencies recede, though they never quite vanish completely.
  • Blood Magic: It could be argued that Blood Magic is the least awful form sorcery takes in the Hyborean Age.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Conan does have a moral code, it's just that said code is quite foreign to a lot of people. For one, Conan always keeps his word, no matter what. He also protects anyone he considers a member of his "tribe", whether they be an aristocrat or a common peasant.
  • Blue Blood: Lots of people of great and noble lineages show up. They tend to range from arrogant Jerkasses to Aristocrats Are Evil, though some have noble character to go with their noble blood.
  • Blue Means Cold: In "Gods of the North", a girl is said to be wrapped in a "cold, blue flame".
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Conan took this role in the earlier books, but later writers often made him grim.
  • Breakout Villain: Thoth-Amon the sorcerer appears exactly once in Howard's stories (though he's name-dropped in a few others), never meets Conan, and is at best a tangential antagonist in the story. In later adaptations, however, Thoth-Amon and his various Expies are usually the Big Bad. Same for king Yezdigerd as he is only mentionned in original stories but in comics become a recurring character.
  • Break the Haughty: Any Girl of the Week who falls into the clutches of the story's villain is almost certain to be subjected to this. Hell, just spending a story in the company of Conan tends to have this effect on soft, pampered, civilized women.
  • Breast Plate: Red Sonja... and Conan! Sonja wears very little armour in her original comic book, whereas Conan averts this in the original stories by wearing whatever suits the job or climate. In Sonja's movie, she wears a lot more armour, and Conan spends most of the first movie at least shirtless, and by the second movie he is both shirtless and pantsless almost all the time.
  • Broad Strokes: When he was still "in charge", L. Sprague de Camp included the novelizations of the movies in "Conan the Indestructible", a scheme of the canonical "Conan saga" circa 1984 — but didn't confirm every detail. The canon as a whole could be considered Broad Strokes, given various attempts to reconcile it, with or without the pseudocanonical works.
  • Broke Episode: Often. Conan likes the good life, and when he actually has cash will spend money like water. One novel starts with Conan having gambled away almost literally everything he owns at dice. He ponders gambling with his sword (the only thing he has left besides the clothes on his back), then decides not to... after all, it's what he'll use to go out and get more money!
  • Burn the Witch!: If there isn't a Cimmerian with smoldering blue eyes and sword in hand about, this is an effective way to deal with those pesky Evil Sorcerers. Or anyone you don't like and can dupe the populace into thinking is an Evil Sorcerer.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Starting around Black Colossus, it became more common for a character appearing in only that story (typically, but not always, the Girl of the Week) to be the partial or total viewpoint character for that story, witnessing Conan on what for him is just another grand adventure. For them, it's probably the single most terrifying event of their lives.
  • Buy Them Off: In "The Scarlet Citadel", to Conan. Works worse than usual.
  • The Caligula: When he wasn't killing Evil Sorcerers or Big Fucking Snakes, Conan was often killing mad kings.
  • Call-Forward: In Black Colossus, set long before Conan usurped Namedides, an ally of his sees him in plate armor and says, "I have seen kings who wore their harness less regally than you."
    ''In years to come he was to remember Amalric's words...
  • Call on Me: Bêlit plays the trope straight in Queen of the Black Coast, as does the god Mitra in Black Colossus.
  • Catchphrase: Conan's habit of exclaiming "Crom!" when he was surprised by something in the non-literature versions of his adventures.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: Inverted in The Scarlet Citadel. Conan is the cavalry - but it turns out the army he's come to rescue is in league with their "enemies," and Conan's army is crushed.
  • Celestial Deadline: Specific alignments of the stars are required or very helpful for some magical effects.
  • The Chains of Commanding: During The Phoenix on the Sword Conan feels this way, but by The Scarlet Citadel he carries those responsibilities gladly. It is something present in most stories where Conan is in a position of authority, in Black Colossus his former mercenary captain is amazed that Conan is not advocating an all out offense with Conan saying if it was only his life he'll gladly hack at an army alone but he has people to look after.
  • The Chosen One: In The Phoenix On The Sword Conan is visited by the spirit of the sage Epemitreus. During their conversation Epemitreus implies that Conan was destined to become the king of Aquilonia and save the world from the cult of Set.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Not uncommon among the villains.
  • Clothing Damage: Many a Girl of the Week finds her typically-scant wardrobe shredded by the demands of adventuring in Conan's company. Some avoid this by discarding whatever they're wearing early in the story. Either way, the result is the same. Conan goes through his share of shredded clothes as well.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Pretty much every bad guy revels in this, making it that much more satisfying when Conan ends them.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The many different forms of lotus, useful in magic, alchemy, chemistry, or just raw. Some come from non-Howard works:
    • Black Lotus: deadly poison, but can induce visions. Conan got dosed with some wild black lotus in "Queen of the Black Coast," resulting in Dreaming of Times Gone By. Black lotus was used by the Master of Yimsha to induce Past-Life Memories in Yasmina, and Taurus used a powder made from black lotus to kill the lions guarding "The Tower of the Elephant." And the inhabitants of Xuthal use it to waste their lives in dream worlds in "Xuthal of the Dusk." "Hour of the Dragon" states that the wizards of the Black Ring know how to use such lotus dreams to "revive their necromantic powers," implying it also recharges Mana, or something similar.
    • Golden Lotus: Has healing properties, as evidenced by the golden lotus wine in "Xuthal of the Dusk."
    • Gray Lotus: Shown able to induce a berserker frenzy in "Rogues in the House."
  • Combat Pragmatist: While a 'stout broadsword' is his usual preference, Conan will use pretty much whatever else is at hand. This includes other weapons like axes, spears, daggers, bows and arrows (though he only learns archery after leaving Cimmeria), and improvised ones - like a stool in "Rogues in the House". He will also fight dirty, as when he gouges someone's eyes out in "The God in the Bowl".
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Noblewomen generally didn't appreciate Conan's approach to saving them. At first.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Conan can hew through hordes of enemies with little or zero difficulty. Place him against one other person, even one not described as entirely different from the hordes he was just fighting, and a prolonged duel will likely ensue.
  • Continuity Snarl: Started with the original stories, as Howard tended to pastiche his own work for additional stories.
  • Cool Ship: The Dragon-ships of Ptahuacan, Conan get one of them. The Tigress from "Queen of the Black Coast" and the Marvel Comics set during that period of Conan's life.
  • Cool Sword: In the original stories by Howard, Conan didn't really have a signature sword (or indeed, any other signature weapon) unlike some other fictional characters, and weapons tended to be nondescript. (Conan had a bad habit of losing stuff, up to and including kingdoms.) More apparent in derivative works like the swords from the 1982 film (especially the Jody Samson-designed Atlantean and Father swords) and the "starmetal" sword from the cartoon.
    • The one time he gets a cool magic sword in the original tales, namely in The Phoenix on the Sword, it promptly breaks in combat, and he grabs an axe instead (the story was a rewrite of a King Kull one called By This Axe, I Rule!). Still, he uses the sword's hilt-shard to save the day.
    • There was a dagger Conan used in a later story that was "star metal" or somesuch, being the only weapon capable of cutting the iron body of a living statue he was fighting. Although undoubtedly cool, it was more a MacGuffin than weapon, as he only used it once.
  • Corrupt Church: Anything dealing with the worship of Set. Other religions are more nuanced, with Mitra in particular being a religion of good, but given the series emphasis on the inherent corruption of civilization, any organized religion appearing in the stories is likely to have some corruption on some level. "Rogues in the House" talks about a priest who is also a fence and an informant; Conan starts the story in prison because the priest ratted him out after buying Conan's stolen treasures and Conan killed him for the betrayal.
  • Countrystan: Afghulistan, a counterpart of Afghanistan.
  • Crafted from Animals: Being the barbarian he is, Conan in all his appearances in media usually wears animal skins and parts into his costume, included a fur loincloth and a necklace made of teeth.
  • Crapsack World: The Hyborian era is a turbulent, violent place where only the likes of Conan are likely to survive. Beyond the borders of civilization, you have barbarian tribes who'd just as soon kill you as go fishing, and the rough, hard, meager lives they lead mean that if you're not as tough and hard as they are, you won't survive. Within civilization, vice, decadence, debauchery, deceit, intrigue, and corruption are rampant, and if you're not plotting to stab someone else in the back, you're going to get stabbed. And that's not even mentioning all the Eldritch Abominations lurking about. . .
  • Crossing the Desert: Many stories begin with Conan emerging from some forbidding wasteland or other.
  • Crossover Cosmology: The gods of the Hyborian Age go on to be the gods (or demons) of later cultures. The Cimmerian deities Crom, Lir, Babd, Macha and Nemain are all Celtic deities, Mitra god of the Hyborians becomes the Persian Mithra (some art represent him as Jesus), the Shemite Ishtar becomes the Babylonian Ishtar and Set seems to have characteristics of both the Egyptian Set and Apep, just to name a few. Perhaps best exemplified in the twin Nordheimir tribes Conan encounters in "The Frost Giant's Daughter." They're called the Aesir and the Vanir, and they worship Ymir, the Frost Giant. The implication is that they themselves will be worshipped as the Norse pantheon further down the line.
  • Crown of Power: The Cobra Crown in Conan the Buccaneer is an ancient artifact allowing mass Mind Control.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Conan was crucified in "A Witch Shall Be Born". However, crucifixion takes several days to kill its victim, with the villain's plan being that the vultures pecks at Conan while alive. Conan bites the neck of a vulture and passerbys are so impressed they hire him as muscle for their bandit band.
  • Crystal Ball: One appears in "The Scarlet Citadel." Apparently, they're mere toys where magic is concerned. . . but useful toys, under the right circumstances.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Inverted with Mitra. He's essentially the Judeo-Christian God under a different name. He bears very little similarity to the classical descriptions of Mithra. His followers are monolatristic and believe in Heaven and Hell and He is most at odds with Set, a God of Evil and slight Satan analogue.
  • Cunning Linguist: Conan can speak several languages. In addition to Cimmerian, he also knows how to speak Aquilonian, Stygian, Zamoran, Kushite, Kothic, Nemedian, Vendhyan, Hyrkanian, and several more.
  • Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: Investigating ancient and forbidden ruins seeking treasure tends to end in an untimely and gruesome demise. . . unless your name is Conan of Cimmeria.
  • Curse: Present in many stories - with varying efficacy. In "A Witch Shall Be Born" a royal family is cursed to give birth to a witch with a red crescent on her bossom every century, she is killed in infancy for she will become a harbinger of decadence and destruction.
  • Decadent Court: All of them. Howard was pretty clear about his feelings of civilization being an inherently corruptive force on humanity, thus anyone who lives in something larger than a village and has a political system more complicated than Asskicking Leads to Leadership is partaking in one of these by default. Even if the ruler and their trusted advisors and associates are all good people, someone somewhere within eyesight of the throne is plotting against it.
  • Death of the Old Gods: Conan encounters quite a few 'last worshipers' and signs of dead gods or demigods.
  • Death Seeker: Conan in "Queen of the Black Coast" after Bêlit's death. He gets over it once revenge is taken.
  • Decapitation Presentation: As expected from the codifier of Sword and Sorcery tropes bringing someone's head for intimidation or witchcraft is common. Yezdigerd promise three times Conan's head weight in gold for anyone who brings it.
  • Deceptive Disciple: There isn't much honor between sorcerors.
    • Khemsa in "People Of the Black Circle". He gets convinced by his lover to betray his masters and use his magic to take over the world. This is still better than following his masters who are just human enough to capture and torture women with their own goals involving doing demons' bidding.
    • Yara came to Yag-Kosha claiming to seeking his guidance, only to turn on him and make him his prisoner once he had learned his secrets and took interest in black magic instead of Yag's White Magic.
    • Salome was taught to use her magic potential by a magician that found her in the desert as a baby. She got tired of her teaching and left as she would rather ruin a kingdom through debauchery than study cosmical forces.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Many examples. Subverted sometimes, most particularly in Queen of the Black Coast.
  • Determinator: Even Lovecraftian monsters have learnt at their own cost that no one escapes Conan's wrath if they mess with a girl who is the object of his love.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Frequently, but perhaps strongest of all in A Witch Shall Be Born. Also in "The Return of Conan".
  • Diamonds in the Buff: Starting in Queen of the Black Coast, it's a good bet at least one Wench of the Week will appear in such a costume at some point in a given story, mostly to make the stories more sellable and increase the chances of landing the cheesecake cover.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: In The Tower of the Elephant, Conan has a pleasant conversation with Yag-Kosha, where he explains his backstory to Conan and asks for a favor. Probably the only story ever where the Eldritch Abomination is also a helpless, gentle-natured prisoner. The favor both frees Yag-Kosha from a lifetime of torture and delivers vengeance on the one who imprisoned and tortured him.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Happens on rare occasions in the literature; happens more frequently in media adaptations. "Queen Of The Black Coast," "Xuthal Of The Dusk," and "Vale Of The Lost Women" are some prominent examples of Conan facing down gibbering horrors with nothing but the weapons to hand, his steely thews, pantherish speed, and grim determination and winning.
  • Distinguishing Mark: In "A Witch Shall Be Born", the Evil Twin villain has a crescent-moon birthmark on her chest.
  • Damsel in Distress: Many. Flanderizations, however, have put a scantily-clad buxom maiden at Conan's feet being menaced by someone or something on every cover, bar none (but see below), regardless of story content. She could be an Action Girl in the story, she might be a background characters who never meets Conan face to face, but on the cover it's always Strictly Formula: 1.) Loincloth 2.) monster and/or ravening horde of savages, 3.) hot half-naked chick sprawled between Conan's legs looking terrified at #2.
    • This started in Howard's own lifetime: Margaret Brundage, the resident illustrator of Weird Tales, was particularly fond of depicting barely-clad women (hey, who isn't?), especially being menaced by monsters or engaging in a little sadomasochism. (Her favorite models were her own adult daughters.) Since Howard knew he could get paid extra for writing the cover story, he sought to exploit that predilection by inserting some cheesecake into the stories.
    • Note that many of the books' original covers did indeed have somewhat faithful renditions of Conan fighting enemies, to be replaced with the damsel in distress scene in reprints. The chance of a Damsel cover being the original cover is inversely proportional to how much skin she is showing. A prime example is the cover of Conan the Buccaneer, which originally had Conan, in mail pants and a horned helmet, losing his axe in a battle against overwhelming numbers, to be replaced with Conan striking a pose while a woman in a golden thong bikini looks scared, astride a giant snake. Possibly the latter is inspired by a Dungeons & Dragons supplement based on the book which has a halfway cover, where Conan is actually fighting the snake while a woman in a long blue dress lifts up her skirt to expose one leg. Best not to speculate if they're before and after scenes.
    • Flanderization averted with the Weird Tales cover for Red Nails, which although showing the normal S&M overtones with a side dish of F-F interplay, the scene depicted is a point-for-point accurate depiction of the action near the climax of the story. Whether the scene was written with a salacious cover in mind or not is subject to debate.
  • Distressed Dude: See Badass in Distress above.
  • Divided We Fall: The biggest threats to Aquilonia consistently come from within, with external enemies constantly on the lookout for unrest they can either foment or take advantage of.
  • Divine Parentage: "Iron Shadows In The Moon" features a "demigod" who is captured, tortured, and (heavily implied) raped before being killed.
  • Does Not Like Magic: As a general rule, Conan hates magic, and hates the people who practice it even more. He has multiple reasons for this: it's usually hard for a man of physical strength like himself to just slay his way through a problem created by magic, and casting magic in Conan's world usually comes with a terrible cost to it. Fighting against the likes of necromancers and dark sorcerers will do that to a man.
  • The Dragon:
    • Bombaata to Queen Taramis in the second movie.
    • Conan himself becomes one of these in Queen of the Black Coast. Bêlit is the queen and ruler of the Black Corsairs, while Conan is her consort and second-in-command.
  • Dreaming of Times Gone By: In "Queen of the Black Coast", "Shadows In the Moonlight" and "The Devil in Iron."
  • Driven to Suicide: Sometimes the love interest of the moment is seeking to avoid 'a fate worse than death' by dying.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Zarono the Black, hands off. He's been depicted as a charming character and skilled warrior, a pirate whose skills rival those of Conan himself and even allies/work for Thoth-Amon himself. Then, in the second story he appears in (The Treasure of Tranicos), he gets unceremoniously killed by an anonymous Pict axeman while he's trying to get up and fight back. This is, of course, because Robert E. Howard only wrote Zarono in The Treasure of Tranicos (also known as The Black Stranger), and another author subsequently penned some appearances earlier in Howard's life.
  • Druid: Zelata from "Hour of the Dragon" might be the modern Ur-Example. She has a wolf and eagle as animal companions she can summon and command with an odd screech, prefers the wilderness to the noise of the city, lives in a half-hut half-cave, describes herself as a witch, and provides clairvoyant and oracular knowledge to Conan, stating her lips are parted and sealed by the gods. Considering how much influence Conan has had on fantasy literature, the modern concept of the trope might start with Zelata.
  • Due to the Dead: If you earn Conan's respect and die, he'll see to it something is done in your remembrance. The biggest example being Bêlit and her Viking Funeral.
  • Dumb Muscle: Some of the side characters, (like, say, anyone dumb enough to keep attacking him) but not Conan. See Flanderization. (even in The Movie he's somewhat articulate, he just doesn't say much).
  • Dungeon Punk: Machinery is not common in most Conan tales, but Nabonidus the Red 'Wizard' from "Rogues in the House" has constructed a fortified home full of pressure-plate traps, sliding walls and tubes/mirrors that mimic a surveillance system.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Despite being one of the first to use the trope, the Conan stories subvert this trope by making the Abominations take on a very non-eldritch aspect when descending to Hyboria. Despite numerous encounters Conan repeatedly comes out on top through superior fighting skills or by exploiting an Achilles' Heel — except when he doesn't and resorts to Run or Die. It's explained in The Vale of Lost Women that "demons of the Outer Dark" have to obey some physical laws of the world if they wish to live in it, such as having a body of flesh and bone. Whether or not they can be truly killed is left unknown, but they at least have physical bodies that can be fought, injured, and forced to retreat (perhaps from our reality entirely) if sufficiently wounded.
  • Enemy Civil War: Many of the plots against Conan when he's king. Some of them keep it together long enough for Conan to successfully be deposed (at least, temporarily). Others do not.
  • Enemy Mine: Fairly common both for Conan and his adversaries.
  • Ethnic God: Robert E. Howard's stories feature small pantheons composed of a mix of historical and fictional gods:
    • Crom is the deity of the Cimmerians, Conan's people.
    • The gods of the Stygians include Set, Derketo (sea-goddess of pleasure) and Ibis (wisdom and the Moon).
    • The inhabitants of Shem worship Ishtar (fertility), Derketo, Ashtoreth (fertility, sexuality, and war), Adonis, the fish-god Dagon and Baal.
    • The people of Vendhya bow down before Asura and Yizil.
    • The Hyrkanian gods are the demon-god Yog (Lord of the Empty Abodes), Hanuman the ape-god, Erlik (god of death and the underworld) and Tarim.
    • The Kushite deities are Jullah, the raven god Jhil, Ajujo the Dark One and Derketa (Queen of the Dead).
    • The Khitans worship Yag-Kosha (Yogah of Yag, Demon of the Elder World) and Yun.
  • Evil Former Friend: Thoth Amon and Kalanthes (his prime rival) were actually pretty good friends at one point. Then Thoth discovered Set's magic and it all went downhill.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Thoth Amon. His little sister Ayina is the only person of his family he cares about, with his father regularly beating him and sending him out to steal money to keep him flush with alcohol and his mother turning a blind eye to avoid being punished. Ayina stands up against her fathers abuses and Thoth makes it clear that when he finally leaves the city, he will take only her with him. He eventually goes to join the Temple of Ibis, promising to find her again one day and giving her a ring to keep that promise. Unfortunately, despite all his atrocities, when Thoth finally sends for her, he learns that one of the villages he had affected with a mystical plague in his quest for power was also where his family had lived, killing them all, including his beloved sister. If there was any good left in him, that disappeared the moment he learned she had died.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Pops up a lot whenever there's more than one adversary in a story - The Starscream or Enemy Civil War sometimes result.
    • King Strabonus of Koth is a casual traitor who poisoned his way to the throne, but he blanches when Tsotha-Lanti calls on Set to aid his sorcery.
    • Thoth-Amon wishes to create an evil empire of sorcery for the glory of Father Set, but he'll never let the Snake People return to the world.
  • Everybody Hates Hades: Unlike the "later" Egyptian serpent-god Set, Stygia's Set is "the arch-demon" of the Hyborian faiths and has more in common with the Egyptian Apep.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: By the end of Red Nails, Conan and Valeria are the only two people still alive in the whole city.
  • Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry: Bêlit wears sparkly jewelry. And that's about it. And meets her end over a truly exquisite ruby necklace, with loving description lavished upon how its facets catch and reflect crimson light. (Howard explains that Shemites tend to actually get high on such beautiful things, so she wasn't paying attention when the enemies returned and got her.) Many a Girl of the Week may wear lavish jewels, which may or may not be the extent of their wardrobe.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Nabonidus is making jests as he sees trapped nationalists kill themselves under a frenzied gas.He even said his plan to get his rival killed would be to simply make a joke to the king that will expose the noble's treachery.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Xaltotun, Thoth-Amon, Thugra Khotan, and others. Conan's made a career out of thwarting Sorcerous Overlords.
  • Evolutionary Levels: In Howard's essay The Hyborian Age evolution is fast and fluctuating. Several peoples "regress to apedom" and back to humanity, including the Cimmerians, Conan's people. When animal adversaries appear in these stories, ape-men are nearly as common as snakes.
  • Exact Words: Nabonidus promise Murillo that he will not have the king kill him, but he said nothing about doing it himself.
  • The Exile: Conan is self-exiled from Cimmeria. The exact details of the place never get brought up across all of Conan's adventures, simply because he doesn't want to think about it anymore.
  • Expanded Universe: Under other authors, Conan's personal history has expanded to the point where he must have lived just over four hundred years to account for all his adventures.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Atali of "The Frost-Giant's Daughter" is naked in the arctic snow; justifed as she's, well, the Frost-Giant's daughter. Elsewhere, it's downplayed: many a Girl of the Week is woefully underdressed for the environment and terrain, and while they may complain incessently about it, they rarely suffer realistic consquences. Honorable mention to Bêlit, who goes nude under the sun of the African coast and somehow doesn't pick up so much as a suntan (her skin is "pale").
  • Expository Theme Tune: The Conan the Adventurer cartoon features narration that details Conan's quest to save his family from being turned to stone by defeating the lizardmen and the cruel wizard Thath-Amon.
  • Eye of Newt: Sorcerers usually have to do some horrible things before they can work their dark craft. It's one of the reasons that Conan does not like magic as a general rule
  • Fake King: In "A Witch Shall Be Born," the Queen's Evil Twin, an evil witch, takes over the country by impersonating her, while keeping the real queen locked in a dungeon. Conan isn't fooled.
  • Famed In-Story: It really doesn't take long for Conan to start making a name for himself all over the world, with many seeking him out solve their problems (or working hard on solving the problem of him).
  • Fanservice: It seems most of the women of the Hyborian Age were young, beautiful, and scantily clad: while Conan himself is untamed, dangerous but honorable, and of course a model of muscular perfection. This is undoubtedly Howard pandering to the audience (and illustrator), since he's shown himself perfectly capable of writing more realistic women.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Hyborian nations derive their names and cultures from many different points of history, so that Howard could place a consistent series character in different milieus whenever he wanted to tell a particular type of adventure. Hence how Conan could be in a pirate yarn one story, and a frontier tale the next. The Hyborian Age itself was born as a solution to Howard's love for Historical Fiction, but lack of time to properly research the settings - rather than worry about getting the details wrong, he simply created a fictional version of the setting with the Serial Numbers Filed Off.
  • Fantasy Pantheon: Most 'pantheons' aren't really made up so much as stolen from various historical pantheons (Crom being an exception, though he may be a reference to the pagan Irish god Crom Cruach). Derketo, Ibis, Hanuman, Ishtar, Asura and Ymir are all mentioned, but the two big names theologically are Mitra (the chief Aquilonian deity) and Set (the chief Aquilonian demon and head of the Stygians' pantheon).
  • Fate Worse than Death: While James Bond is more famous for it, Conan was left in a number of situations that the villain expected to finish him off horribly. Some stories have a minor character undergo such a fate at the beginning, to show how unpleasant it is.
  • Feathered Fiend: One appears in The Hour of the Dragon as the witch's familiar. Pelias can turn into one.
  • Finger in the Mail: In "Rogues in the House", Murilo is given a recognizable ear as a hint.
  • Flanderization : The original Conan is clever and surprisingly book-smart and almost always had something worthwhile to say. Despite this he has become the stereotypical "dumb barbarian" of pop culture. Consider the Queen of the Black Coast quote on the quotes page.
    • Oddly, though, Howard stated in a letter that he preferred to write stupid characters, so he wouldn't have to dream up clever ways of getting them out of their predicaments: just punch, stab, or shoot. The implication is that he thought he was writing Conan as Dumb Muscle rather than a Genius Bruiser. Best shown in one of his favorite story Rogues in the House where Conan got arrested after charging head on drunk in a stone wall and writes off the mirror trick as magic even when explained.
    • The 2011 film hews closer to the pre-Flanderization characterization, with Conan being a cunning, well-spoken Warrior Poet.
  • Forced Transformation: Many ways exist to turn someone into something horrific, and Conan frequently has to fight against such transmogrified beings, and whatever created them. Such as the werehyenas in "Queen of the Black Coast" or the statues in "Iron Shadows in the Moon".
  • Formerly Sapient Species: After the cataclysm that destroyed the previous Thurian Age, several human groups (including King Kull's birth people, the Atlanteans), fall into savagery and devolve into animalistic ape-men shortly thereafter. Some later redevelop their old intelligence, and Cimmerians like Conan himself are explicitly descended from them. The "man-apes" that still turn up in Conan's time are the descendants of those who didn't re-evolve back into humans.
  • Frazetta Man: Humans who've fallen so far into barbarism they've regressed to apedom, and apes clawing their way back up to humanity, are mentioned and occasionally fought.
  • Friend-or-Idol Decision: Comes up but Conan always go for the friend without much hesitation.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Thoth Amon in the Dark Horse continuity. He starts out as a starving street rat and ends up as the power behind the throne in Stygia. Notably, Thoth himself is rather ashamed of this.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: More than once but very memorably in the non-Howard Sword of Skelos. Joe Lansdale does it too, in Conan and the Songs of the Dead. Done by a subverted Damsel in Distress in Red Nails. They made her angry.
  • Functional Magic: Primarily Rules Magic, usually with the magician's power focused in a device of some kind like Thoth-amon's ring. Epimetrius may have used Theurgy in his battles with Set. Alchemy also plays a big role, especially powders and potions extracted from the many color-coded forms of the lotus. Regardless, it is almost always Black Magic, at least in the Howard stories. The movies have some benevolent magicians.
  • Gem-Encrusted: The eponymous Tower of the Elephant, several treasures and weapons, and many a Girl of the Week. Since the "average" Conan story has him out adventuring seeking wealth, it makes sense he'd encounter such oppulence frequently. Will he carry off any of it at the end of the story? Maybe. Will he still have any of it at the start of the next story? Probably not.
  • Genius Bruiser: In the original stories, Conan uses both brain and brawn to get through hardships. He's been Taught by Experience through his extensive travels, with a wide array of skills and knowledge married to his innate barabarian strength and fortitude, making him one of the most formidable men of his age.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Conan isn't afraid to get physical with a sufficiently hysterical Girl of the Week, though he'll usually limit himself to smack on the behind or shake-by-the-shoulders. Considering that he's killed men with one punch, that may be for the best.
  • Giant Spider: A pig-sized one in Tower of the Elephant and a bull-sized one in Conan and the Spider God... along with her babies. And let's not forget the black jade beads in People of the Black Circle, worn by the priestesses of Yezud when they dance for the spider god. Yar Afzal picks up such a bead, then drops dead, and Conan later takes a few minutes to figure out what happened.
  • Girl of the Week: The typical Conan story features one gorgeous, scantily-clad (at best) female in Conan's orbit. These range from hysterically useless (Natala of "Xuthal of the Dusk") to complete badasses (Bêlit of "Queen of the Black Coast"). "Rogues in the House" is notable (and indeed, one of Howard's favorites) for barely including a Girl of the Week (and only because the unnamed prostitute in that story has just enough screen time and plot importance to push her past "Fanservice Extra").
  • Godhood Seeker: Some of Conan's enemies had this as their motivation. One of them even actually succeeds in becoming an aspect of her goddess due to a magical artifact that's enhancing everyone's perceptions, without even intending to. Also implied to be Conan himself's fate at the end of the crossover with Thor in the pages of What If...?, where Conan is climbing Crom's mountain to either deliver Mjolnir or deliver a beatdown depending on how he felt when reaching the summit.
  • God of Evil: Set, even more so in works by other writers, most of all in the cartoon.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: When the evil witch Salome steals the throne by assuming the identity of her twin sister in A Witch Shall Be Born, she quickly becomes the most cruel and sadistic tyrant imaginable. Some of her atrocities include raising taxes so high that rich and poor alike are starved, disbanding the royal guard and replacing them with cruel mercenaries who are given free reign to rape and brutalize, killing men of fighting age to prevent any possible rebellions, forcing women old and young to participate in degrading orgies, and feeding hundreds of innocent people to her pet monster.
  • Gold and White Are Divine: In "Shadows In the Moonlight"
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Lots. Though in most cases it's over quickly, one way or another.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: A bit of this by courtesy of some of the Villains Conan has to face in some of his adventures.
  • The Good King: Conan is one of these. He rules with the support of the outlying barons as well as the common people. During his reign he lowers taxes, institutes freedom of religion, and curbs the abuses of commoners by the nobility. When he is temporarily deposed in The Hour of the Dragon he is tempted to abandon his quest to reclaim his throne and return to the exciting life of a wandering adventurer, but he quickly decides that he can not leave his people in the hands of a tyrant. He sums up his reign in The Scarlet Citadel:
    Conan: I found Aquilonia in the grip of a pig like you—one who traced his genealogy for a thousand years. The land was torn with the wars of the barons, and the people cried out under oppression and taxation. Today no Aquilonian noble dares maltreat the humblest of my subjects, and the taxes of the people are lighter than anywhere else in the world.
  • Götterdämmerung: A cataclysm ended the last age and paved the way for the Hyborean age, destroying civilizations such as Acheron and Lemuria. In turn, a cataclysm will one day end the Hyborean age and pave the way for our recorded history.
  • Grand Finale: The only Howard-canon full-length novel, Hour of the Dragon, serves as this for the Conan cycle. Conan goes on a long, arduous quest to defeat some of the vilest villains he's ever dealth with, win back his kingdom, and propose marriage to the beautiful slave girl who assisted him, securing Aquilonia's line of succession (and making further coup attempts notable more difficult). Conan completes his transformation from Barbarian Hero to The Good King.
  • Grave Robbing: Many attempt to steal the treasures, riches, or powerful magical artifacts said to be buried in ancient tombs of long-dead kings or sorcerers. It rarely ends well.

  • Had to Be Sharp: Prevalent in Conan's backstory. While Conan himself is almost certainly an exceptional example of his people, Howard credits most of his success to his barbarous upbringing. In order to even survive living in Cimmeria long enough to get the hell out and never come back, Conan just had to be flat-out better at everything than any civilized person. (See Badass Boast, above, for just one example.)
    The God in the Bowl: He knew, if the others were too stupid to know, the steel-trap muscles and blinding quickness of men raised beyond civilization's frontiers where life was a continual battle for existence, and he had no desire to loose the barbaric frenzy of the Cimmerian if it could be avoided.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Humans tainted by demonic, serpent, or worse ancestry appear - they're always wicked and rarely sane.
  • Hat of Power: The Cobra Crown from Conan the Buccaneer, which grants magic powers to its wearer.
  • Heart of the Matter: "The Hour of the Dragon" had The Heart of Ahriman which was necessary to defeat Xaltotun.
  • Heroic Build: Played with. Conan is described as very tall and powerfully built, yet is not exactly a hero.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Conan most commonly uses swords in all media, and is described as "sword in hand" right away in his very first appearance. But in contrast to his film and TV versions (which had the Atlantean and Starmetal swords), the original Conan used nondescript swords - not magical, let alone named - and he's not particularly attached to them. He's also just as comfortable with other weapons like spears and axes.
    • For reference, this is likely because in the movies, Conan is a hero, and has destiny on his side to glue his blade to him. In the books, he spends a significant amount of time falsely accused of crimes and the majority of the time correctly accused of crimes, so any weapon he doesn't break is going to be taken when he inevitably gets arrested or captured again, and he finds it easier to steal new gear than hang around and risk getting caught again.
    • In one story Conan, after a losing streak gambling, considers selling his sword to make up his losses, but stops when he realizes he can use the sword to make more money than he'd ever get by selling it. Obviously he's not that attached to his weaponry if he's even considering such a move.
    • The first story has Conan immediately shattering his sword on a Giant Mook's helmet and go for an axe afterward.
  • Hidden Depths: It's rare for Conan to pontificate, but that doesn't mean he can't. Conan gave a speech in Queen of the Black Coast about how "I Am What I Am" and that he was content with his position in life. Conan brushed off questions about the nature of mankind and the universe, considering them ultimately unimportant.
    Conan: Let teachers and priests and philosophers brood over questions of reality and illusion. I know this: if life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and I am content.
  • The High Queen: In A Witch Shall Be Born, Queen Taramis is beloved by her people for being a kind, compassionate, and virtuous ruler.
  • Honey Trap: Octavia in "The Devil In Iron" is asked to flirst with Conan as part of an ambush.
  • Horny Vikings: The Vanir and Aesir, who use horned helms (unlike their real-world descendants). Conan wears one himself in some stories.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: Thot-Amon in the first story starts as a slave after having to flees Stygia, because without his ring or a king's army the wizards he dominated will come back for revenge and his master know this. Conan also tended to lose his Kozaki, bandits gang, every story or so and go back to solo thief and mercenary.
  • Hulk Speak: In the books, Conan has a much bigger vocabulary than the average reader — much less the stereotypical barbarian. But in the films, some of the barbarian side-characters get this treatment.
    "Sit — here. Sit HERE!"
    • Could be justified by a subtle translation convention going on. "Sit here!" may have been some of the only words of Cimmerian the man knew, and he was effectively talking to a child in the body of an adult. Most other conversations occur after Conan's education, when he might actually be expected to speak the more common languages.
  • Human Sacrifice: Often. While it doesn't appear specifically in "Queen Of The Black Coast," the narration describes Stygia including the line "blood-stained altars where naked women screamed," telling you roughly everything you need to know about Stygia and the Hyborean Age in general. "Xuthal Of The Dusk" also raises the point (from a Stygian, of course) that there's little difference between an Eldritch Abomination stalking the city to claim victims and priests making a sacrifice to one. . . whether the priests send a victim to the "god" or the "god" comes to claim it in person, what does it matter?
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Yara, Salome, Thugra Khotan and the Master of Ymsha are the worse mix of human sorceror: the ones that trade a lot of their conscience for dark magic but still have human desires. This leads to them having sadistic pleasure and dream of conquest demons and dark gods usually don't have since it's alien to them. Yara is also a case so vile he is torturing an Eldritch Abomination to tears just so he can terrorize Zamora.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: In "Hunter's Moon" in Savage Sword of Conan #171, Conan is nursed back to health in a village. He learns the village has a deal with the local lord who provided the land for the village. Each year, he takes a villager and turns them loose in the forest while he hunts them. If the villager ever makes it to the edge of the forest without being killed, the village will own its lands free and clear. Naturally Conan ends up being the 'prey' for this year and things end badly for the lord.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Yag-Kosha from The Tower of the Elephant is bound in service to an evil magician that has maimed and blinded him.
  • I Gave My Word: One of the key elements of Conan's personality and one of the characteristics that makes him an antihero rather than a mere brute. He keeps his word, and anybody who doesn't keep their word to him will rue that day.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Using hypnotism Khemsa order a guard to kill himself. The guard leans his spear at an angle and fall on it.
  • Informed Ability: Sorcerers like Xaltotun and Yah Chieng, who were powerful enough to wipe out armies with quakes and plagues fail to find a proper spell to deal with Conan himself and end up toasted.
  • In Harm's Way: Many times Conan will let himself in for all sorts of challenges and suffering out of a craving for adventure, bloodshed, riches, or a beautfiul woman.
  • Invincible Hero: More so in the later books. Conan rarely loses. When he does, he comes back and wins or just leaves. Howard himself seemed to be aware that Conan's sheer impressiveness might hurt the dramatic tension, since in many tales he adds a secondary protagonist to function as the dramatic foil/romantic lead, then finds a clever way to scoot Conan out of the story for a time. He also tends to prevail for polar reasons: if his opponent is a skilled fighter or a soldier or something, he wins thanks to his "wild spirit and upbringing". If he's confronted by strong savages or monsters he wins because of his skills.
  • It's a Small World, After All: Conan criss-crosses his period's version of Eurasia (with side trips to Africa) many times over.
  • Jerkass Gods: Set demands unquestioned obedience, willing self-sacrifice, snakes (and plenty of 'em), and in return offers not to kill you horribly. Crom is neither caring nor merciful toward his chosen people, the Cimmerians: he gave them strength, brains and courage and figures that's more than enough.
  • Kangaroo Court: Played with in Queen of the Black Coast. Conan certainly considers it to be this, but to a modern reader, the court is simply offering a plea bargain: Conan names his accomplice and helps him be brought to justice as well, and Conan's own sentence will be lessened. To Conan's barbarous ethics, betraying a comrade-in-arms is insanity, and he explains his position to them. With his sword.
  • Kill It with Fire: Conan has had to resort to this against a few supernatural enemies.
  • Klingon Promotion: Most common in pirate and bandit groups, but also in some 'decadent' cultures. Conan tends to rapidly climb to the very top of any group that practices this custom (it's even how he became king).
  • The Lady's Favour: In "Black Colossus," this is implied to be a common practice in Khoraja, bordering on a hat. The knights of the Khorajan army are mentioned to carry them, and at one point Princess Yasmela requests one of hers back from one of her ranking officers, implying that she's favored many in her army as simply part of being the Princess of Khoraja.
  • Large Ham: There's nobody in the movies that isn't a large ham. Despite the acting often being at odds with the very subtle direction and music, for some reason it works. Present in the Howard stories as well, his Purple Prose wasn't limited to narration, it affects the characters' dialogue as well.
  • "Leave Your Quest" Test: "Hour of the Dragon".
  • Leg Cling: Frank Frazetta's Conan covers are the Trope Codifier.
  • Leonine Contract: A slave taunts Conan with the prospect of one in "The Scarlet Citadel". This is also how Conan justifies his betrayals when he joins bandits or pirates only to overthrow their leaders that saved him solely to have an indebted servant for life. Conan mentions that in Cimmeria asking a hungry to the point of starving man compensation for food and water is looked down upon.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Conan is repeatedly described as very fast and agile despite his size, as in "Xuthal of the Dusk":
    "He was never motionless or in the same place an instant; springing, side-stepping, whirling, twisting, he offered a constantly shifting target for their swords, while his own curved blade sang death about their ears."
  • Living Shadow: The nightmarish monster from Xuthal of the Dusk, Thog.
  • Loincloth: In many adaptations and a few of the original stories, although Howard more often has him dressing as appropriate to the culture and circumstances he finds himself in.
  • Loose Canon: According to L. Sprague de Camp, Conan's backstory in Conan the Barbarian (being a child slave and gladiator, etc.) is an alternative account of his early years, though of uncertain validity. Still, it's depicted with Broad Strokes (no Thulsa Doom or Riddle of Steel).
  • Lost in Imitation: Howard's Conan in the live-action TV series, which was influenced by the movies in several aspects. Conan is played by a German actor, is outfitted in loincloth and headband like Conan the Destroyer, and has a similar Wheel of Pain backstory and Atlantean sword. Still, the series was even further from the original stories than was Destroyer, with Conan becoming Crom's Chosen One fighting the Evil Empire.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: All the inhabitants of Xuthal are heavily drugged by Black Lotus.
  • MacGuffin Guardian: More than once. It's very rare for someone, now or in the ancient past, to be dumb enough to leave something powerful enough to be plot-relevant completely unattended.
  • Made a Slave: Plenty of instances in the original works, just not applying to Conan until the first movie.
  • Made of Iron: Conan often survives wounds that would kill a small army. The apotheosis of this is the crucifixion scene in "A Witch Shall Be Born".
    • He actually came really close to the very end in the story Xuthal of the Dusk after defeating Thog.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: The rules aren't fully established and differ from where the sorceror gain his power but as a rule magic relies a lot on components and astrology to be potent.
  • The Magic Goes Away: Pelias informed Conan that due in part to the Cimmerian's actions, the world is entering in a new age of reason and logic and without magic (implied to be the world as we know it today).
  • Magic Is Evil: Mostly. Even Pelias in The Scarlet Citadel, while using his arts to Conan's benefit, managed to creep him out so badly that Conan felt no friendship for him afterward - a circumstance so odd that Conan muses on it. In Hour of the Dragon the priests of Asura and the witch woman Conan meets in the hills are at least neutral; the same story mentions priests of Mitra trying and failing to combat a sorcerer underling of Evil Sorcerer Big Bad with their own magic, presumably gifted to them by Mitra. The spirit of Epimetreus is the only absolutely clear example of white magic... although it can be inferred that the offscreen priest of Ibis in "The God in the Bowl" is a good guy. In the film the Wizard of the Mounds brings Conan back from the edge of death, but the process is all but stated to be a Deal with the Devil that costs Valeria her life.
  • Manly Tears: When finding his son Conn after he was kidnapped by a witch.
  • Mars Needs Women: Howard was a working writer; if he didn't sell a story he didn't get paid. And if his story was selected to be the subject of the magazine's cover illustration, he would get paid more. Long about the time Howard was really on a Conan kick, his main source of sales, Weird Tales, got a new cover illustrator, one Margaret Brundage, who was very good at (and greatly enjoyed) painting scenes of half-naked women threatened by some foul evil thing. Howard was not above exploiting this propensity by including vile beasts with an unhealthy interest in the Girl of the Week in some stories ("Xuthal of the Dusk" and the unpublished "The Vale of Lost Women" are probably the two most blatant attempts to invoke this).
  • Master Swordsman: Played straight and subverted. Unlike in the Arnold films, the original Conan does not receive formal training in swordsmanship: he learns by experience as a child-soldier in Cimmeria. But he is able to defeat certified Master Swordsmen because he is a barbarian. Spelled out in the story "The Pool of the Black One":
    "Zaporavo was the veteran of a thousand fights by sea and by land. There was no man in the world more deeply and thoroughly versed than he in the lore of swordcraft. But he had never been pitted against a blade wielded by thews bred in the wild lands beyond the borders of civilization. Against his fighting-craft was matched blinding speed and strength impossible to a civilized man. Conan's manner of fighting was unorthodox, but instinctive and natural as that of a timber wolf. The intricacies of the sword were as useless against his primitive fury as a human boxer's skill against the onslaughts of a panther."
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Not sorcery itself, which is unquestionably magic - but some things happen that might be the work of gods, spirits or fate — or they may just be coincidences
  • The Men First: Chivalry is pretty universal — Conan has his own rough type and even a number of his enemies value their women over themselves. Exceptions tend to be vile, regarding women as playthings, food, or in Tsotha-lanti's particularly vile case, a source of human skins on which to write his spells or memoirs.
  • Mighty Whitey: Played with. A few of the stories are about black people getting defeated by a quasi-Celtic white guy, who is pretty savage. Black people can also be Conan's allies; they call him Amra (Lion) and regard him as a demigod. He captained Bêlit's pirate ship and all-black crew after her death. In Hour of the Dragon the rowers in the Slave Galley of a ship he's captured on turn out to be some of his old friends from that time. He also recurrently fights against the Picts, described as having white skin but not considered white by their neighbors for being painted, cannibalistic savages. Many of his longer-term enemies were also Stygian (Egyptian equivalent), not least Thoth-Ammon, with more than a handful of clashes against white Hyboreans to even the scales. And the lily-white Vanir are the Cimmerians' worst blood enemy, whom they'd gladly cross a glacier to kill, though Conan eventually becomes more tolerant of a few of them.
  • Mistaken for Granite: In Conan the Buccaneer, the shrine of Tsathoggua the Toad God contains a stone statue of the god, watching over the treasure. If someone steals from the temple, the statue comes back to life (still remaining stone) and chases them.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Otli is a dwarf who works for the evil wizard Yara. After years of being Yara's punching bag, he joins forces with Conan.
  • Modest Royalty: Once he's king, Conan prefers a relatively simple crown and garments rather than the ostentatious displays that most kings prefer.
  • Mook Horror Show: Minions of evil forces tend to die a lot due to dissension between their bosses, opening Sealed Evil in a Can, or finding a certain black-haired warrior sneaking through their domain with panther-like tread.
  • Murder by Cremation: In "Hawks Over Shem", the mad king declares himself to be a god and demands a sacrifice of a hundred noble children. When the high priest objects and states the king is not a god but a madman, the king has him cast into the furnace in the statue of the old god that is used for sacrifices.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Thallis' motivation in "Xuthal of the Dusk." The hypotenuse in question notes that Thallis has seriously misjudged Conan if she thinks it will actually work.
  • Mystical Lotus: There are many different colors of lotus, each with their own effects and useful in mysticism, magic, alchemy, or chemistry. The black lotus shows up the most often and seems the most versatile, able to induce dreams and visions (even of things the dreamer should have no way of knowing), can be refined into deadly poison, and a line in "Hour of the Dragon" hints it may be useful for sorcerers to recover Mana. The golden lotus can be brewed into a wine that functions like a Healing Potion, the gray lotus can induce berserker frenzy.

  • Necromancer: Many throughout the assorted stories. Magic in the Conan universe seems singularly malevolent, so this sort of thing is distressingly easy to learn. Special mention to Pelias of "The Scarlet Citadel," who is either a case of Bad Powers, Good People of Affably Evil, with the narrative supplying plenty of evidence for both while refusing to draw a concrete conclusion one way or the other.
  • The Need for Mead: Quite a few stories will open either with Conan in a bar blowing all his money getting drunk, or catching up with him after he's blown all his money getting drunk. To the point it's an actual rule in the tabletop RPG that half a character's gained loot after one adventure is lost at the start of the next, representing them frittering away coin on food, drink, and pleasurable companionship.
  • New Job as the Plot Demands: Conan has had an incredibly wide array of jobs over his extensive and colorful career, and he hardly ever begins a story having the same occupation or employer as a previous one. Pretty much the only job he has stuck with long term was King of Aquilonia.
  • Ninja: The followers of Louhi are Hyperboreans wearing form-fitting black suits, blank masks and wielding platinum-tipped sticks. Yeah, that's right, Finnish Ninjas.... Finnjas.
  • Noble Savage: Conan himself certainly fits the bill, although other uncivilized types like the Picts are portrayed as Always Chaotic Evil. Quite forcefully averted in the original stories, however. In Howard's own words, "I have no idyllic view of barbarism — as near as I can learn it's a grim, bloody, ferocious and loveless condition. I have no patience with the depiction of the barbarian of any race as a stately, god-like child of Nature, endowed with strange wisdom and speaking in measured and sonorous phrases." Conan is simply far too busy enjoying his life of bloody adventure to bother with such high-minded nonsense. To put it more bluntly, Conan is a Noble Savage, but doesn't LIKE being one and spends most of his career as a mercenary, thief and warlord actively trying to get away from it... in fact, his backstory as a nature-attuned savage warrior is almost his entire motivation for his laser focus on obtaining the treasures and creature comforts of civilization. (You'll notice that in Howard's stories, Cimmeria itself is never directly depicted, largely because Conan hates it there and never wants to go back.)
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: In one case, it came from the lips of a gelatinous, tentacled, toad-headed monstrosity.
  • No-Sell: In one instance, a wizard from the east who is quite adept at hypnotism (his powers enable him to pull a Psychic-Assisted Suicide on others) tries his craft on Conan, who simply ignores it. Why? Because in his culture, people don't know of hypnotism and therefore he isn't susceptible to it.
  • Not So Extinct: Finding the pelt of a long-extinct golden leopard in "The Devil In Iron" suggests to Conan that sorcery has reverted the area he's exploring to the state it had in the remote past. This is confirmed when he fights a giant snake, also of a long-extinct species.
  • Not Too Dead to Save the Day: Bêlit in Queen of the Black Coast does this in Conan's hour of need. The scene in the movie when Valeria does this was inspired directly by the story in question.
  • Obfuscating Disability: In "A Witch Shall Be Born", Salome tossed the head of a murdered man to a deaf beggar — who proves to be Valerius, who heard that the true queen is prisoner there.
  • Off with His Head!: Conan is very skilled at lopping off the heads of his enemies. Either in groups, or as a specific comuppance to one worthy Jerkass.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted. Amalric is the name of three distinct characters within the Conan legendarium: An Aquilonian soldier of fortune who adventures with Conan throughout the Black Kingdoms in "The Drums of Tombalku", the leader of a Nemedian mercenary company who allies himself with Conan during a Khorajan civil war in "Black Colossus", and the Nemedian nobleman who bankrolls Valerius's coup in "Hour of the Dragon". It's never explicitly spelled out if they're all supposed to be the same guy, or if this is just a case of Howard's penchant for using similar-sounding names for characters catching up with him. The name Valerius was also used in "Hour of the Dragon" for the new king of Nemedia then immediately after for one of Conan's allies in "A Witch Shall Be Born".
  • Only Sane Man: Played with. Conan clearly thinks of himself as such, though how much he is the Only Sane Man is debatable; at least he can defend his position. Queen of the Black Coast starts with Conan on the run because of what happened in a courtroom. Conan refused to divulge the location of his friend, because he does not betray the trust of his allies. When the judge pressed Conan on his duty to the state, Conan responded by cleaving in the judge's skull. As Conan puts it, he clearly explained his position, and defended it.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Averted by Atala, who's human sized. Her brothers, though, are very large. This is true to Norse Mythology, where the easiest way to explain it is that giants come in all the sizes.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Akivasha in Hour of the Dragon.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Poor Valerius... he risk a lot and fight like a lion to save his beloved queen, slays the evil witch, escape from a giant toad demon.. and then Conan arrives with The Cavalry, orders them to shot down the beast and gets all the thanks of the queen (who totally ignores Valerius).
    • This was corrected in the Marvel Comics adaptation, where Conan took a more active role.
  • Panthera Awesome: Great cats, although not as iconic as demons and giant snakes, do confront Conan from time to time.
  • Papa Wolf: He really loves his family. He's prepared to confront and destroy the four most powerful magicians of his time in order to rescue his son.
  • Pelts of the Barbarian: Although the eponymous legendary warrior is often depicted wearing just a loin cloth, he'll often wear rough pelts when the need to dress warmer comes. This applies to the books and adaptations.
  • People of Hair Color: Most notably the northern barbarians. The Vanir are uniformly red-haired, the Aesir blond-haired, and the Cimmerians black-haired.
  • Physical God: In Olivia's dream in "Shadows in the Moonlight." Set himself appears briefly as a gigantic serpent in The Red Moon of Zembabwei.
  • Pirate: Conan has been a pirate more than once in his career, in many different organizations, including the Red Brotherhood, the Zingaran Freebooters, and the infamous Black Corsairs.
  • Pirate Girl: One of his greatest loves, Bêlit, the Queen of the Black Coast, was the most feared pirate of the Hyborian Age — at least, until the legend of Amra. Valeria was also one of these.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: That Conan was a pirate is well-known, thanks to "Queen of the Black Coast" (one of Howard's most famous stories), but one will see precious little real, chase-down-ships-and-murder-everyone-who-won't-let-you-steal-their-stuff piracy from him.
  • Planet of Hats: In many instances: almost every Stygian is an Evil Sorcerer or priest worshipping Set, all Picts are wild, bloodthirsty barbarians and woodsmen, Zamorans are sniveling thieves, Aesir and Vanir are viking-like Boisterous Bruiser warriors, Khitans and Eastern people are enigmatic fatalists, Zuagirs are noble sand raiders with a strict code of honor, Hyperboreans are bald scrawny members of a Church Of Evil, Bossonians, Hyrkanians, and Shemites are three different flavors of archers. Furthermore, inhabitants of lost cities tend to be depraved and decadent psychos. Generally, the more often a nation appears, the more nuanced and varied its population (Stygia being the exception).
  • Plot Armor: In "A Witch Shall be Born" he is hung on a cross in the middle of a desert, which the villain of the tale supposed would be enough to kill him — luckily, he is rescued. When an assassination attempt is made on him in a later story, "The Phoenix on the Sword" the would-be assassins fail only because a wizard finds a ring that he has lost for almost a hundred years by total accident (though since it's a magic ring, one wonders if it was an accident at all). Talk about luck.
  • Polly Wants a Microphone: The ancient talking parrot in Iron Shadows in the Moon.
  • The Power of Trust: Conan kills a judge in Queen of the Black Coast and runs from the law because he refuses to betray his friend that killed a guard for roughing up his sweetheart the previous evening. This is Conan's most noble character trait: if he considers you a comrade in arms, he will not work against you, and very little will stop him from aiding you (unless you betray that trust first, then you're in for a bad day). This is chiefly what makes him The Good King when he takes the throne of Aqulionia, he considers all of his subjects equally bound by loyalty to him, and he is bound by loyalty to them in turn. He owes the exact same services as ruler to the richest and most influential noble as he does to the poorest peasant.
  • Precursors: There are a few fragments of 'pre-human' architecture and magic, such as those of Acheron, here and there: there are also remnant artifacts from Atlantis, Valusia, Lemuria and so on - human empires that fell before the Hyborians re-invented the art of writing. And then, in turn, the Hyborian Age collapsed into savagery, leaving them as the Precursors to our age.
  • Prefers Going Barefoot: Many characters are barefoot, even more so if they're female. On one hand, it's justified given the hot and dry locales Conan frequents, but other times the terrain would be unforgivingly rugged and characters would still go barefoot. Sometimes the story acknowledges the harm barefootedness can do, showing what happens when there's a need for foot protection.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Whenever we see Conan, he's acting honorably towards people he knows. Offscreen, as a barbarian, mercenary and pirate, he has no qualms at all about pillaging peaceful villages and merchant shipping. Averted in Howard's stories where Conan would betray people he doesn't respect and come across as a murderous thug unless there is a woman nearby.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Several.
    • Conan and other characters familiar with Cimmerians are quick to point out how fierce they are in battle, with their religion being based on Crom giving them strength and courage to kill at birth and let them loose. Conan however is the only Cimmerian to boast about it as other Cimmerians are described as gloomy fatalists.
    • The Aesir and Vanir are marginally distinct flavors of Horny Vikings, which includes this trope almost by default.
    • Picts are barbarians at their most barbarous, defaulting to Always Chaotic Evil and Rape, Pillage, and Burn.
    • Even among the "civilized" races, some are known for their martial prowess. Poitanians (an ethnic group of Aquilonians) are fearsome knights, while Shemies, Bossonians (another subgroup of Aquilonians), and Hyrkanians are three different flavors of archers.
  • Pulling Themselves Together: Tsotha-lanti's body, after its beheading, starts groping about for the head.
  • Purple Prose: Robert E. Howard probably reached for his thesaurus more times in a paragraph than most writers do in writing a whole novel. This results in a kind of pomposity that is the written equivalent of the Frank Frazetta painting on the cover. That's not to say that the prose is bad: Howard had a gift for this style of descriptive narration.
  • Random Events Plot: Most of the individual stories follow a distinct arc, but there's no denying that when the short stories were combined into a 'series', it was wandering and unpredictable.
  • Rape as Backstory: Red Sonja is the most well-known example, but there's also Janissa the Widowmaker, who rebelled against her wealthy family and sought out the Bone Woman to ask for the strength of a man and deadliness with a blade. The Bone Woman offered her this in exchange for service lasting twice as long as her training would last, to which Janissa agreed. The "training" consisted of her being thrown into a pit with a sword and mainly just left to fight off a horde of demons (later revealed to be manifestations of her own mind) that would overpower and rape her every night. She eventually did defeat them all, but it's never explicitly stated how long it took.
  • Rape Discretion Shot: Queen Taramis' rape by Constantius in "A Witch Shall Be Born."
  • Rated M for Manly: But of course. Conan and his massive thews felling mighty foes with speed and strength and winning the heart (or at least temporarily, the body) of the gorgeous and scantily-clad Girl of the Week, felling everything from Redshirt Armies to Eldritch Abominations by stabbing them repeatedly with his sword (or axe, or spear, or scimitar, or poignard, or whatever readily falls to hand).
  • Real After All: In The Frost Giant's Daughter and The Phoenix on the Sword there are people who initially disbelieve Conan's stories about clashes with supernatural beings. But then Conan produces physical proof of his encounter, immediately silencing the disbelievers.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Conan gives one of these to Constantius in "A Witch Shall Be Born" while the latter is hanging on a cross.
    "Seven months ago, Constantius," said Conan, "it was I who hung there, and you who sat here."
    "You are more fit to inflict torture than to endure it," said Conan tranquilly. "I hung there on a cross as you are hanging, and I lived, thanks to circumstances and a stamina peculiar to barbarians. But you civilized men are soft; your lives are not nailed to your spines as are ours. Your fortitude consists mainly in inflicting torment, not in enduring it. You will be dead before sundown. And so, Falcon of the Desert, I leave you to the companionship of another bird of the desert."
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Conan as king of Aquilonia wears the crown well, setting taxes at a fair rate, keeping the kingdom at peace with its neighbors, and ensuring the nobility does not unduly abuse the peasants. It's implied that he's probably the most competent ruler in the world at the time. (The one group this doesn't sit well with is Aquilonia's existing nobility, leading to at least two coup attempts.)
  • Reincarnation: Howard implied more than once that Conan was the reincarnation of Kull. In "People of the Black Circle" the Master of Yimsha forces Yasmina to relive the humiliations of her past lives as punishment for defying him. "A Witch Shall Be Born" centers around a witch who keeps being reincarnated in the same family.
  • Religion of Evil: Played straight with the followers of Set. Subverted with the followers of Asura, a mysterious and shadowy cult feared by the followers of Mitra, who turn out to be decent folks.
  • Religious Russian Roulette: "To hell with you! (Crom) I'll do it myself!" Not a very dramatic example. Crom never answers prayers anyway. In a way, asking for help would be more likely to invite divine retribution from him than simply cursing him.
  • Reluctant Ruler: Although Conan dreamed of being a king his entire adult life, when he finally usurps the throne of Aquilonia he quickly discovers just how boring the day-to-day tasks of running a kingdom are. This causes him to long for the days of being a wandering adventurer, when he had total freedom and no responsibility. Nevertheless, he remains on the throne because he feels he owes it to the people who supported him in his campaign of conquest (and Conan proves to be a very wise and just king despite his violent life).
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: If a given story doesn't involve a fell being from unknown dimensions, or a demented sorcerer dabbling in forbidden powers, then it will probably involve a vast and vile ophidian from a forgotten age of the world. Oh, and the Snake Men, who antagonized both Conan and King Kull.
  • Rescue Sex: When Conan saves Princess Yasmela from an evil wizard at the end of Black Colossus, she immediately insists that he ravish her atop the very altar that she was going to be sacrificed on.
  • Retired Badass: Conan's grandfather, who did some Walking the Earth of his own before settling down with Conan's tribe. His stories of the outside world inspired Conan's wanderlust.
  • Revenge:
    • In "A Witch Shall Be Born", Conan is captured during by the Evil Twin of the queen he was serving and crucified by her general Constantius. He survives to lead an invasion against Constantius, while the impostor is slain and true queen is rescued by a secondary protagonist. Conan has Constantius crucified in the same way, and has soldiers watch him to ensure he dies.
    • In "Iron Shadows in the Moon", a fugitive Conan comes by chance upon a warlord who had recently slaughtered a mercenary band he served in (about to rape the Girl of the Story) - and, with a pre-asskicking monologue, kills him in turn.
      ..."Oh, I've dreamed of such a meeting as this, while I crawled on my belly through the brambles, or lay under rocks while the ants gnawed my flesh, or crouched in the mire up to my mouth - I dreamed, but never hoped it would come to pass. Oh, gods of Hell, how I have yearned for this!"
      ..."Shah Amurath, the great Lord of Akif! Oh, damn you, how I love the sight of you - you, who fed my comrades to the vultures, who tore them between wild horses, blinded and maimed and mutilated them all, you dog, you filthy dog!" His voice rose to a maddened scream, and he charged.
    • This is Conan's entire motivation in The Movie, although the final conflict is about how he overcomes this desire to become the Self-Made Man we recognise Conan to be.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Once betrayed by a girl he partied with in Rogues in the House Conan gets revenge by tossing her in a cesspool... and disemboweling someone he assumed was her lover since they kissed.
  • The Rival: Thutmekri, a Stygian con artist who, like Conan, tries to swindle kingdoms of their riches. The narration mentions that they know each other of old and without love.
  • Roguish Romani: The world of the Hyborian Age is supposed to be a distant era of our own past. With this as the base, many of the nations and peoples of this world are explained to be distant ancestors of ethnic groups from our current age. The Rom would find their ancient lineage during this era on the nations of Zingara and Zamora. The Zingarans are mostly painted on a positive light or at least no more negatively than their neighboring kingdoms, except for one detail. The trait they are most famous for are their fleets of corsairs, which get paid generously by the crown for disrupting trade and stealing ships. In resume, they are mostly portrayed as pirates with a fancier name. The Zamorans, on the other hand, even though Howard establishes they have a rich culture and centers of higher learning, are constantly described as decadent and evil. Their capital city of Shadizar is usually described as "the Wicked", full of dark alleys and seedy taverns; and one of their main gods is set to be Bel, the God of Thieves. Their city of Arenjun is also nicknamed as "the City of Thieves", and has the district of the Maul, where the only occupation seems to be to commit all manner of crimes.
  • Royal Blood: Averted with Conan, he is a red-handed barbarian that took the crown by force and Aquilonia is better for it. Most Eastern kingdoms however place a lot of importance on blood due to the magic arts and royal family have all their hair, blood and secretion destroyed so people can't use the magic to attack them. It is exploited twice by Conan's enemies that they can put someone from the old dynasty in charge if Conan was to die since he didn't purge them.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: After becoming king, Conan embodies this trope. When Aquilonia goes to war, you can be sure that Conan will personally be leading his army into battle (something that he most certainly enjoys, considering his love of combat and the fact that he occasionally complains about how boring sitting on a throne is). Most princes that aren't in the line of succession are just as warmongering, with the narration referring to them as war-bred nobles.
  • Run or Die: Yes, Conan himself when up against some Eldritch Abominations or really impossible odds.
  • Savage Wolves: The witch Zelata has a wolf companion who defends her, and who she sets to aid Conan in "Hour of the Dragon."
  • Scaled Up: Giant. Snakes. Everywhere. One of the most prevalent abilities of the Evil Sorcerer in Hyborea is to transform into, summon, or gain command of Giant Snakes. Stygians and the cult of Set are all about all snakes, all the time.
  • Scenery Porn: Many people have credited the revival of the Conan series to the use of Frank Frazetta's artwork on the covers. The Conan the Barbarian (1982) movie tried to copy Frazetta's paintings as much as possible for the scenery and art direction, and it's a major influence on the appearance of Age of Conan.
  • Schrödinger's Canon: As mentioned in the overview, what qualifies as a "real" Conan story is complicated. Some accept all of Howard's stories as canon, some bar "Vale of the Lost Women" (for reasons discussed on that work's page), some will accept some, most, all, or none of the non-Howard stories as canon. Many, many different attempts to "fill in" the gaps between Howard's stories have been made, none compatible with each other. So, which spaces between Howard's canon you accept, or a new writer coming to the franchise accepts, depends on which you like best.
  • Science Destroys Magic: According to the good sorcerer Pelias, Conan's kingdom brought forth an age of logic and science which is slowly destroying the magic.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: In "A Witch Shall Be Born", Salome leaves Queen Taramis in the hands of Constantius. It's made clear what he intends, but Howard leaves the scene with Salome smiling at hearing her sister scream in despair and agony.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Many, many evils could not be killed and so were sealed away, awaiting simply a sufficiently hapless moron to open the can. Then along comes Conan.
  • Seen It All: He's traveled from Asgard and Vanaheim (Scandinavia) in the north to the tribal lands south of Kush (central Africa), from West of the Baracha Isles (Azores or Canary Islands) to Vendhya (India) in the east (and in other authors' work to Khitai (China)). He's been a mercenary, a thief, a pirate, a bandit, a tribal chieftain in four distinct geographical areas, a Captain of the Guard, a wilderness scout, a General and finally a king. He's fought men, beasts (especially snakes) and demons. He's discovered lost civilizations and the ruins of lost civilizations. This was lampshaded by Thulsa Doom in one of the later Savage Sword of Conan stories, when Conan recounts his experiences. Thulsa Doom calls Conan a liar, stating that no one could have lived through so many adventures over the thirty-odd years that Conan had been alive.
  • Self-Made Man: "King by his own hand."
  • Sexbot: In Conan the Fearless, a witch whom no man can satisfy tries to make one. The only missing component is a really brave man's heart...
  • Sex Slave: Conan's rescued a few of these in his day, including Olivia from "Iron Shadows in the Moon."
    • Arguably he himself is bought as one for the Amazon Queen.
    • Conan himself is rescued by one of these in The Hour of the Dragon. Her name is Zenobia and she is a slave in the King of Nemedia's harem, although she admits that the King of Nemedia has never touched her (probably due to the fact that his harem contains dozens, if not hundreds of girls). After she helps Conan escape the royal palace of Nemedia, he rewards Zenobia by marrying her and making her the queen of Aquilonia.
  • Shared Universe: Originally the stories of Conan shared the same universe with the Cthulhu Mythos, since Robert E. Howard and Lovecraft were great friends, although currently, apparently for legal reasons, this is no longer possible. When Marvel Comucs held the Conan license, the Hyborian Age was part of the history of the Marvel universe, meaning time-travel shenanigans could see Conan teaming up with Doctor Strange.
  • Silver Has Mystic Powers: Certain types of demon are impervious to steel, but not to silver.
  • Sinister Scimitar: Both played straight by Conan's many enemies and subverted by Conan himself, who often used scimitars and sabers in battle.
  • Slave Galley: Turan has a huge slave trade and many galleys Conan either raid or become a part of unwillingly.
  • Slipping a Mickey: In the newspaper comic, Conan's ale is drugged by the tavern wench Renea, who then sells Conan to slavers while he is unconscious.
  • Sole Survivor: Conan often finds himself at the star of a story as the last remaining survivor of his side of some huge off-screen battle that kills everyone else.
  • Sorcerous Overlord: Conan made the Barbarian Hero and Sorcerous Overlord go together like a sword and a scabbard (and yes, the sorcerer is the scabbard).
  • Spin-Off: Red Sonja was an attempt to make a female version of Conan, ostensibly set in the same universe but with little interaction between Conan and Sonja.
  • Status Quo Is God: No matter how much treasure Conan carries off from an adventure, the next story will be preceded with a brief note of how he squandered or lost it all, usually by partying non-stop in the first city he comes to.
  • The Stoic: Conan, though not so much as the Arnold films would have you believe. Howard's initial discription of Conan is of "great melancholies and great mirth," as well as "sullen-eyed." Conan can joke and jest and party with the best of them, but when the mood takes him, he's as impassive (and as immovable) as a mountain.
  • Stop Worshipping Me: Crom is said to send doom, not fortune, to those who demand his attention. Crom gives men courage and strength to kill his enemies at birth and after that he'll just wait for them to die so they can serve in his dark forest.
  • Succession Crisis: In both 'The Scarlet Citadel' and 'The Hour of the Dragon', Conan's lack of an heir leads to trouble.
  • Synchronization: Zogar Sag and his demonic half-brother in "Beyond The Black River"

  • Taken for Granite: The Medusa-like vampire and the 'water' in the ''Pool of the Black Ones".
  • Take Over the World:
    • Yezdigerd, king of Turan, he managed to convert his empire into the biggest one of the Hyborian Age, his foreign policy seems to be directed ultimately to this.
    • Also the ultimate plan of Thoth-Amon and his council of sorcerers and worshipers of Set.
    • Virata, one of the lords of the Flame Knife cult may have had this as its main plans.
  • Taking You with Me: Conan, without hesitation, pretty much every time he thinks he'll die. It's a defining characteristic.
  • Taught by Experience: Conan's first appearance in "The Phoenix On The Sword" gives an excellent illustration of this. He's personally scribing a new map because the existing Aquilonian maps are, to his eye, woefully inadequate, so he's filling in regions he's personally adventured in and has knowledge of (he specifically mentions his homeland of Cimmeria as well as Asgard and Vanaheim; the Aesir and Vanir will play a notable role in the next story, "The Frost-Giant's Daughter"). In general, despite writing the stories as they occured to him and paying little thought to when they occured in Conan's life, there's a clear arc of Character Development from the brash, hotheaded, leap-before-look Conan (seen most notably in "The Frost-Giant's Daughter," "The God In The Bowl," and "The Tower Of The Elephant") to the good, kind, even-handed King Conan (of "The Phoenix On The Sword," "The Scarlet Citadel," and "The Hour Of The Dragon"). The Conan most people think of is the one in the stories in between, aggressive and violent yet able to be thoughtful when needed. Conan has seen and done much in his life, and it quickly teaches him how to be prepared for the next challenge he'll bump into.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Conan gets some mileage from this. Particularly, it's how he dispatches the Evil Sorcerer of "Black Colossus".
  • Thunderbolt Iron: In some adaptations, "Starmetal" makes for an Infinity +1 Sword (notably, Starmetal weapons and tools in Conan: Exiles). Not a feature of Howard's original stories, however.
  • The Time of Myths: The Trope Codifier. As mentioned above, Howard created the Hyborian Age setting of Conan because of his love for historical fiction but recognized the difficulties and time-consuming research in creating a story set in a specific real world time period as well as potential anachronisms. So Howard chose to create a universe that existed before recorded history was even a thing.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Book of Skelos is mentioned a few times, in such context indicating it is one of these. Interestingly, it's equally beneficial as malevolent; a good character being conversant with it knows what kinds of dark arts evil characters conversant with it can use and how to (in theory) defend themselves.
  • Übermensch: Possibly. The trope definition is complex and Conan ticks some boxes and misses others. He has the right kind of primal charisma. He works to his own rules. He is very strong — in flesh and in spirit. He is a larger than life character. But he is religious and sociable, two things an ubermensch is not. Also, he does not want to set up a new society — whereas the Ubermensch often does, though as king of Aquilonia he is very invested in the wellfare of the people as a whole, improving (but not supplanting) their society.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Discussed every time Conan tries ditching or betraying his partners-in crime, since their help was self-serving Conan doesn't feel exactly grateful of their aid when he needed it.
  • Unknown Rival:
    • In the Howard stories Conan and Thoth-Amon never actually meet or even knowingly act against each other. Conan kills monsters Thoth-Amon sent to destroy a third party in 'The God in the Bowl,' 'The Treasure of Tranicos,' and 'The Phoenix on the Sword': he indirectly destroys one of Thoth-Amon's potential rivals in 'The Hour of the Dragon.' These stories left him as The Chessmaster, so later writers tend to use him that way as well.
    • There's also King Yezdigerd of Turan, who has expansionist plans for his kingdom that Conan ends up wrecking in a few stories, such as "The People of the Black Circle." Yezdigerd seems completely unaware that one Cimmerian is responsible for foiling so many of his schemes, and Conan seems completely unaware that Yezdigerd is orchestrating so many situations that nearly get him killed.
  • The Vamp: Appears several times in Howard's Conan stories. There's Thalis the Stygian from Xuthal of the Dusk, Bêlit from The Queen of the Black Coast, Tascela from Red Nails, Atali from The Frost Giant's Daughter, and Akivasha from The Hour of the Dragon who is a vamp in the most literal sense (i.e. the blood-sucking undead kind)
  • Victory Is Boring: Conan discovers this after becoming King of Aquilonia. He takes any opportunity to visit new countries, and travelled far as king, though happily (for him) the political turmoil of the Hyborian nations meant his kingship wasn't exactly quiet. The movies also briefly touch on it.
  • Villain of Another Story: Thoth-Amon serves this role in the original stories. He is a powerful, evil wizard but he and Conan never directly clash, nor is Thoth-Amon specifically targeting Conan at any point. Most adaptations promote Thoth-Amon to Big Bad, though.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: In The Queen of the Black Coast, Bêlit swears to be at Conan's side even past the bonds of death — and the fact that she really does come back from the afterlife to aid Conan shows that she wasn't kidding.
  • Virgin Sacrifice:
    • Tsotha-lanti promises Set five hundred of these if he'll help him defeat Conan.
    • In The Hour of the Dragon Xaltotun carries a virgin to an altar with the intent to sacrifice her, but he is stopped by an old witch and a Priest of Ashura who are allied with Conan.
  • Wait Here: The Girl of the Week will frequently be told this, either by Conan or another male who has some authority over her, in an effort to prevent her becoming a Damsel in Distress. It never works.
  • Walking the Earth: Conan's adventures take him far and wide even in the original Howard tales, and other authors have greatly expanded the scope and depth of his travels. Conan is wandering in the wider world specifically because he hates his homeland so much he'd rather die than go back.
  • Warrior Poet: A surprise to anyone who first encountered Conan in his later, flanderised incarnations, but his very first appearance in Weird Tales, includes poetry that he wrote about surviving an assassination attempt! (see Badass Creed, above).
  • Warrior vs. Sorcerer: Conan's frequent clashes with Evil Sorcerers could arguably make him the Trope Codifier. Thoth Amon, Yara and Thugra Khotan are just a few of the sorcerous opponents he has faced (the first he never met face-to-face, at least in the Howard stories, the second Conan was simply delivering the mechanism whereby the Ancient Astronaut who the sorcerer had held captive and tortured could get revenge). Many sorcerers learned that opposing Conan and coming face-to-face with him was a fatal career choice.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Aside from Conan, in Howard's original stories most characters and MacGuffins only ever appear in a single tale and are then never mentioned again even if they do survive the experience. This naturally leaves the question of what happened to them afterwards wide open.
    • Conan himself gets slapped with this trope in Howard's The Hyborian Age essay, which describes the history of Conan's age, starting with the rise of the Hyborian nations (the proudest being Aquilonia) and ending with the Picts and other barbarians rising up and destroying the entire Hyborian civilization (starting with Aquilonia). Despite having been a prominent king of Aquilonia, Conan isn't mentioned once.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Conan is much more cautious when magic is involved, considering retreat or to avoid conflict when something unnatural is happening. He still ends up having to fight it and if there is a women to save he will throw his caution to the wind.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Magic, even White Magic, is a definite corruptive force in Conan's world. Use it at your peril.
  • Wizard Duel: Pelias had some of these when he was younger, and helped Conan to deal with Tsotha-Lanti.
  • Womanliness as Pathos: A commonality in Conan stories is that there are two types of women: helpless (often very shallow and naive) women who cling to Conan and require his constant protection and attention at all times...and scheming, evil temptresses. In some stories, one may also become the other. For this reason, Conan is often in no mood to deal with the women he comes across, although he will reluctantly save one in trouble because it's in his personal code to do so and because he often demands she reward him for the hassle with her body. Whenever they're together, Conan even remarks that Red Sonja is a rare exception of this, as she is just as capable as he is. But even then, she's a constant source of sexual frustration for Conan, as she's the one woman who won't simply fall into his bed.
    • Subverted by Bêlit, the self-made Pirate Girl and the eponymous "Queen of the Black Coast." She does fall in love with Conan pretty much immediately, but he falls just as hard for her, and she remains the capable, intelligent, and formidable pirate queen throughout their association. Deconstructed with Devi Yasmina of Vendhya, who is subjected to Mind Rape via Past-Life Memories to suffer the indignities of a woman not born to queenly privilege, but she endures this torment with the same determination she's shown through the rest of the story. Howard could absolutely write more interesting and compelling women when he wanted; many of the more stereotypical examples are from "assembly-line" written stories made to sell for a quick buck (and hopefully a big quick buck by landing the cheesecake cover illustration).
  • A World Half Full: Thanks to... Conan! Sure, he is not an All-Loving Hero, but he sees this as a world full of adventures and treasures and inspires those under his command, encouraging them to triumph over impossible odds. He eliminated many tyrants allowing more benevolent governors to ascend to power in various nations large and small. After ascended to the throne of Aquilonia he becomes a good and righteous monarch, ensuring the prosperity and justice of the Aquilonian Empire and its people. He saves the world from the machinations of evil sorcerers and their dark gods, ensuring an age where Black Magic is vanquished. In his last adventure, he overthrows the evil priests ruling the Antillian Isles, and then navigates to the continent of Mayapan (America) where he ends up in legend as Kukulcan/Quetzalcoatl, bringer of (ironically) civilization.
  • World of Ham: The films manage to achieve this with conservative amounts of dialogue; See Large Ham.
  • World's Strongest Man: It is not stated oughtright, yet in Howard's novels no man is described as stronger than Conan.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • In the short story "Shadows in the Skull" by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter, forty years of bitter enmity and a chase half across the world culminate with Conan and his son Conn killing Conan's arch-enemy, the sorcerer Thoth-Amon, on the shore of what will become the Indian Ocean. Afterwards, Conan muses "He was the greatest of all the foes I have overcome. I shall miss the old scoundrel, in a way".
    • Thak in "Rogues in the House", an ape that is in-between a gorilla and a caveman according to his master. After fighitng it and needing assistance to land the killing blow Conan mentions that Thak was a man and he will count him among the chiefs he killed and his women will sing of him.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Actually, Conan might knock down a woman and would certainly slap her behind, but he tries to avoid killing them. A woman who betrayed him to the police on one occasion was simply dropped into a cesspit as punishment, while Conan disembowelled her new boyfriend without a second thought.
  • Wretched Hive: Shadizar, capital of Zamora (and its thieves' quarter, the Maul, is considered even worse by the residents of other parts of the city). Tortage, the pirate city of the Barachan Islands. In a very different Lawful Evil way, the city of Khemi in Stygia may qualify as well.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Conan himself is a master of this, something that takes many of his opponents by surprise due to his general distaste for academics and tendency to start every story having drunk his money away.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: An Unbuilt Trope at the time, but Conan visited Xuthal, Xuchotl, Khawarizm, Shadizar and Khoraja: his adversaries included King Yezdigerd and the arch-sorceror Xaltotun.

Alternative Title(s): Conan The Barbarian, Conan