(circa "The Hour of the Dragon")
2nd level Expert/10th level Wizard
Hit Dice: 2d6 + 10d4 + 12 (42 Hit Points)
Initiative: +1 (dex)
Speed: 30 ft
AC: 11 (Dex)
Attacks: Dagger +5/+0 melee
Damage: Rapier 1d6 melee
Face/Reach: 5 ft by 5 ft/5ft
Special Attacks: Spells
Saves: Fort +3, Ref +4, Will +12
Abilities: Str 9, Dex 12, Con 11, Int 17, Wis 15, Cha 13
Skills: Alchemy +18, Concentration +15, Knowledge (Arcana) +20, Knowlege (Religion) +18, Profession (Priest of Mitra) +6, Spellcraft +18
Feats: Skill Focus (Knowledge[arcana]), Empower Spell, Enlarge Spell, Extend Spell, Maximize Spell, Spell Focus (Necromancy), Spell Penetration
Challenge Rating: 11
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Advancement: by Character class
Orastes, a former
priest of Mitra (thus the two levels of expert) threw in with Valerius, Tarascas,
to resurrect Xaltotun
in a bid to remove Conan
from the throne of Aquilonia. Orastes was cast forth from the Order
of Mitra for delving in black magic. After Amalric saved him from
being burned at the stake, he journeyed in Zamora, Vendhya, Stygia, and
the haunted jungles of Khitai. He has read the ironbound books of
Skelos and talked with unseen creatures in deep wells, and faceless shapes
in black reeking jungles.
Orastes accompanied Xaltotun on many of his outings where he communed with the souls of the damned and Orastes discovered Xaltotun's hidden plot. Xaltotun found out that Orastes soon plotted against him and slew his student with an alchemical spell..
Howard wrote The Hour of the Dragon in four months at the behest of a British publishing house, in hopes he could finally become a full fledged novelist. Unfortunately, as described in the afterword, the publisher went under and Howard ended up selling the story to Weird Tales instead. The magazine published it in five issues, the last issue coming out only two months before Howard died. It was thus the last Conan story which he saw published.
Karl Edward Wagner called The Hour of the Dragon "one of the best novels ever written in the epic fantasy genre" and I certainly agree with that assessment..
Robert E. Howard's story, "The Hour of the Dragon," was first published in Weird Tales as a five part serial, beginning in December of 1935 and ending in April 1936. It is Robert E. Howard's only Conan full length novel. The story can also be found in the Ace/Lancer paperback "Conan the Conquerer"; and the Gnome Press collection "Conan the Conquerer". It is also available in the Burkley/Putnam edition, "The Hour of the Dragon". This is easily my second favorite Conan tale of all time (following "The People of the Black Circle")Main Index | email | recent updates | Conan main Page
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