Many tabletop gamers are also fans of Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Cimmerian. The Conan stories are listed in the venerable Appendix N in the AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide. Howard published numerous Conan stories, and writers such as L. Sprague de Camp, Lin Carter, and others have added to the cannon. Marvel comics produced a great run of Conan comics and the excellent black and white magazine The Savage Sword of Conan. Dark Horse Comics has reprinted many of these and continues to produce new Conan comics.
|Marvel's adaptation of "The Elephant in the Tower" form The Savage Sword of Conan|
Today I want to talk about the Conan tale “The Tower of the Elephant”. This is a classic D&D adventure story, as it involves Conan breaking into a wizard’s tower to steal treasure. I think that this is one of the reasons tabletop gamers find Conan to be such an alluring character. Conan behaves more like a D&D character than many other fantasy heroes. He steals, he is always fighting, and he generally looks out for himself. I am writing about this story because there are some cool free internet resources available for gamers that relate to "The Tower of the Elephant".
I. The Story
According to Wikisource, “The Tower of the Elephant” is in the public domain. I highly encourage you to support authorized editions of Howard’s work such as The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian. However, you can click on the following link and read the story for free:
II. The D&D Adventure
Mongoose Publishing put out an adventure for their D20 Conan rpg called Conan and the Tower of the White Elephant. That module is currently out of print. However, the excellent D&D fanzine Footprints has an issue in which someone wrote an adventure based on the story. The issue is free and it is stated out for Basic D&D, AD&D, and most retro-clones. Make sure to check out other issues of Footprints, as they are full of awesome material for your fantasy role-playing games. Here is the link:
III. The Text Adventure Game
Any gamer who is old enough to remember descending armor class should be familiar with text adventure computer games. These were games where you read a paragraph and then typed in your instructions using certain commands. Zork is one of the earliest and most famous, although I had fun playing the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy game when I was young. Someone has created a free text adventure game based on “The Tower of the White Elephant”. The link is below:
IV: Cromcast Podcast
I would be remiss if I did not mention the Cromcast podcast. The Cromcast is a show dedicated to the fiction of Robert E. Howard and has many shows about Conan. Their main page can be found at thecromcast.blogspot.com. Episode number 3 is about “The Tower of the Elephant”. This show is where I found out about the text adventure game. You can listen to it by clicking on the following link:
Cromcast Episode 3
Cromcast Episode 3