You can have your fruity Elves, your hackneyed Orcs, your crazy impossible-to-understand fucking time-warping magic spells, and your "high fantasy" ass-grabbery. For my money, shit doesn't get any better than the O.G. of barbarian motherfuckers, Conan the Ass-Kicking Barbarian. And no, I'm not talking about those 80's Schwarzenegger films where Arnold punches snake-worshipping hippie James Earl Jones in the face, head-butts a cactus and then flexes his pecs independently of one another like some sort of crazy inhuman cyborg, I'm talking about the hardcore, ball-kicking, vulture-neck-biting, blood-lusting barbarian warlord created by Robert E. Howard back in 1932, a time (as I mentioned before in my John Carter update) when men liked their men to be seriously fucking manly and for those men to be good at killing other, weaker men and then going home, getting drunk, and scoring with any hot babes they want.
Raised in the frozen wastes of war-like Cimmeria, Conan was hardened in a barbaric culture and trained from birth in all things related to kicking ass. Amongst the most ferocious and warlike culture in the Hyborean Age, Conan still distinguished himself as a peerless warrior, earning accolades as as a fifteen year-old for his valor in combat when the Cimmerians conquered the Aquilonian outpost of Venarium, killed every soldier defending it, tore the fortress apart stone by stone and then ground up those stones into a fine powder which they then ate for dinner every night for a week. He would go on to serve as an adventurer, thief, mercenary commander, bandit leader, military general, and fucking goddamned scurvy pirate captain. Later in life, once he had perfected his face-stabbing and artery-severing swordfighting techniques, he put together an army of hardcore barbarian nomad mercenary motherfuckers, destroyed the armies of the mighty Kingdom of Aquilonia, strangled the oppressive tyrant King to death on his own throne and then took the crown for himself. He went on to rule for many years and was beloved by his people for his fairness and leadership ability.
Now Conan the Motherfucking Bloodthirsty Barbarian isn't just a clever name. He's no John Carter of Mars - He's not a swashbuckling, damsel-rescuing do-gooder; he's a hard-drinking, sword-swinging, wench-groping badass anti-hero who always gets his way, who's out almost exclusively for personal gain, and who does pretty much all of his negotiating with the business end of his trusty broadsword and a swift knee strike to the ballbag.
I think the following story pretty much sums up Conan's attitude. One time a rogue pirate captain took him on as a member of the crew. Conan quickly proved himself to the rest of the men before killing the captain in a sword duel and banging his girlfriend. Then he helped his comerades slaughter an entire city of monsters before taking over as the new pirate captain.
Another time Conan was working as the Captain of the Royal Guard for some city when this jackass bandit leader named Constantinus got an army together, plundered the city, wiped out the Guard and nailed Conan to a cross in the middle of the desert. Well instead of pussying out and dying like a chump, Conan survived on the cross for like two days before convincing a wandering group of bandit nomads to cut him down. They rescued him and he within a few months they elected Conan their leader. He immediately went out, recruited a few thousand warriors, and rode back into town to get some Eastwood-style revenge. Conan's motherfuckers swept into the city, slaughtered the mercenary army, captured Constantinus and crucified him to the same cross Conan was hung from. You just don't fuck with this guy. It's never a good idea.
|As he sprang from the wall his ax dropped an outlaw with a severed shoulder, and the terrible back-hand return crushed the skull of another. Swords whined venomously about him, but death passed him by breathless margins. The Cimmerian moved in, a blur of blinding speed. He was like a tiger among baboons as he leaped, side-stepped and spun, offering an ever-moving target, while his ax wove a shining wheel of death about him.
Conan's pretty much a motherfucker on the battlefield. His power and resilience is unmatched by any man. He defeats even the most skilled swordsmen with his unorthodox, wild fighting style, his exceptional strength, his blinding panther-like speed and reflexes, and his hard-as-hell Battle Frenzy, where he gets SUPER FUCKING PISSED and starts killing everything that moves with a flurry of spinning blades and gore. He can win one-on-one duels and battle hordes of enemies, can take an insane amount of physical punishment without slowing down. The guy's harder to take down than a stampeding army of drunk armored mutant rhinos on PCP and can absorb more damage than a titanium-reinforced rocket-proof concrete wall built by Satan. Furthermore, his harsh upbringing prepares him for any situation. He can live on the land for months at a time, can go days without sleeping, can climb even the most sheer cliff faces, and has the sort of stealth skills that would make a snow leopard crap it's pants. In his travels he's also learned several different languages, can identify people by their accents, and is proficient in reading and writing a number of ancient and modern languages.
Another badass aspect of CTC is that he's pretty much the definition of wandering adventurer - he has no allegiances to anyone but himself for any significant period of time, and travels from place to place seeking wealth, power, battle, and babes. He's like the D&D character from hell. He explores uncharted cities, discovers long-lost civilizations, battles monsters, saves damsels in distress, and leads armies. He embraces his barbaric nature, attacks anything that radiates magic, doesn't take shit from any fucking "civilized men", and doesn't even blink when he's fucking face-to-face with some sort of fucked-up half-goat half-werewolf shadow demon. Basically, if it moves, Conan's pretty confident that he can jack it's shit up by hacking it's appendages off with his axe. He's pretty much always right.
He's also smooth as hell, by the way. He's had everything from queens, goddesses and noble princesses to warrior babes, bar wenches and slave girls throwing their supple naked bodies at him in the sort of way you don't really see this side of a bad porno. He's usually pretty apathetic towards them, brushing them off and being all like "whatever", and you KNOW how that just makes chicks want you even more. He's just like "whatever, babe... let me decapitate this evil Snake Demon and then we'll fuck" and they're all like swooning all over him. I assume this is why in like nine out of every ten pictures of Conan he's standing on top of a towering pile of dead bodies with a huge fucking blood-drenched instrument of slashy death and there's some random half-naked skank laying on the ground next to him grabbing onto his leg like it's the last fucking life preserver on the HMSTitanic.
Conan fucking rules.
|"I have a ship and a fighting crew and a girl with lips like wine, and that's all I ever asked. Lick your wounds, bullies, and break out a cask of ale. You're going to work ship as she never was worked before. Dance and sing while you buckle to it, damn you! To the devil with empty seas! We're bound for waters where the seaports are fat, and the merchant ships are crammed with plunder!"
Project Gutenberg Australia
Hyborean Age Sources
Conan the Barbarian