Technically, a barbarian could be anyone whose ways are considered primitive by the people around him or her, but Robert E. Howard’s character has been so popular that when gamers think of barbarains, they inevitably think of the Conan, a big muscular guy wearing simple clothes or furs and swinging a huge sword or battle-axe. This stereotypical barbarian has been showing up in video games as far back as Gauntlet and as recently as the PS2’s Baldur’s Gate II. It’s time to give him a little weird.
I first think of Pratchett’s ‘Cohen’ but I’m not going there.
I can’t do better than this Barbarian Weird romance, so here for your nostalgic entertainment, Edgar Rice Burroughs:
His thoughts were broken in upon by the station agent who entered asking if there was a gentleman by the name of Tarzan in the party.
“I am Monsieur Tarzan,” said the ape-man.
“Here is a message for you, forwarded from Baltimore; it is a cablegram from Paris.”
Tarzan took the envelope and tore it open. The message was from D’Arnot.
FINGERPRINTS PROVE YOU GREYSTOKE. CONGRATULATIONS.
As Tarzan finished reading, Clayton entered and came toward him with extended hand.
Here was the man who had Tarzan’s title, and Tarzan’s estates, and was going to marry the woman whom Tarzan loved—the woman who loved Tarzan. A single word from Tarzan would make a great difference in this man’s life.
It would take away his title and his lands and his castles, and—it would take them away from Jane Porter also. “I say, old man,” cried Clayton, “I haven’t had a chance to thank you for all you’ve done for us. It seems as though you had your hands full saving our lives in Africa and here.
“I’m awfully glad you came on here. We must get better acquainted. I often thought about you, you know, and the remarkable circumstances of your environment.
“If it’s any of my business, how the devil did you ever get into that bally jungle?”
“I was born there,” said Tarzan, quietly. “My mother was an Ape, and of course she couldn’t tell me much about it. I never knew who my father was.”