Original review found at: https://rpggeek.com/thread/1802946/savage-world-solomon-kane-review
Having finally gotten around to playing this and seeing that there are no other reviews right now, I thought I would discuss what was in this book and give some of my thoughts. This game runs off of the Savage Worlds rules system. If you don't know how Savage Worlds works, there are a ton of reviews of the system all over the net. Read one of them and then come back.
Also, I am not going to rate the book (within the text of the review, anyway). I will tell you everything about it and you can decide if it's something you would be interested in. If you really care about my personal opinion then yes, I really liked this game.
Next, in case you are coming to this review not knowing what the heck this game is about, it deals with the world of Solomon Kane, a puritan pulp action hero from the 16-17 century who fought demons and monsters, who was created by pulp author Robert E. Howard in the early 20th century. In other words, Kane is like a gun-wielding puritan Conan. In The Savage World of Solomon Kane the players are adventurers who fight and try to survive in a very dark, magic and demon filled early 17th century version of Earth. If you want pulpy action, horror, black powder weapons, and a medium to low magic world, continue on.
A WARNING: Kane is a puritan, and therefore a Christian. His religion(and others) is brought up and discussed in this book. It does not go on and on about it but, if you are to understand Kane and his world, you really need to understand the religions and the religious thought of his day. I feel that the authors handled this very respectfully, tactfully, and carefully, and I don't see how anything in this book would be offensive to anyone. I, myself, am non-religious and am majorly turned off by most games that discuss real-world religion. However, I didn't have a problem with this book or anything I read in it.
So at the beginning of the book we get almost 20 pages of Solomon Kane fluff. We get an original short story, a short explanation of who Kane is and a short rundown of all of the official Robert E. Howard Kane stories. This section is great for both fans of Solomon Kane (because it is really well done) and for people who have no idea who Kane is (because it lets you know what this whole book--and the adventures you are likely to go on with it--is all about).
This next chapter is about making characters. We get some sample archetypes that you can get inspiration from, and then we get into the mechanics of actually making a character.
Making a character in Solomon Kane is almost identical to making a character in the Savage Worlds core book with a few exceptions:
Race: All characters are human. There are no fantasy races (at least not playable ones) in the world of Solomon Kane. This also means that all starting characters get a free edge.
Money: All characters start with 5 British pounds (unless you take an edge that gets you a little more). This will get you some basic starting equipment and clothes and that's about it.
Skills: Although cut from the base Savage Worlds game, Guts is again a skill in Solomon Kane. With the horror theme it really fits. There are no sanity points, though.
Edges and Hindrances: Most of these will be familiar to readers of the Savage Worlds Core book. There is one new edge that lets you activate your righteous fury for free (see righteous fury below).
There is also a gunsmith ability that lets you build black powder weapons, bombs, and grenades.
Like other Savage Worlds books, you get summaries at the end of this chapter (and every chapter with a lot of game-mechanics information) of all of the pertinent information (lists of all of the edges and hindrances, ect).
Part 3-Arms and Equipment
At the beginning of this chapter we get information of currency (and later a list of currencies from around the world), as well as how to buy and sell goods within the game. This includes buying and selling bulk goods such as ship cargo.
Next, we are given the game mechanics of making grenades, pistol shot, and powder bombs, as well as a discussion on putting on, taking off, and swimming with armor.
After that we get a short description of the weapons found in the book, special rules for black powder weapons, cannons, and grenades, followed by tables of stats and prices for all of these things.
Again, much of the Savage World rules are the same except for a few notable exceptions:
Righteous rage: When a character spends a benny on a combat action, they have a chance (a roll of 5 or 6 on a d6) to go into a rage, giving you an extra d6 on trait and damage rolls for 3 rounds.
Bennies: In Solomon Kane, if you have unused bennies at the end of the game, you can spend them to roll a d6 for each one. On a 5 or 6 you get an extra experience point.
Mounts: Mounted combat is gone into more detail here than in the Savage Worlds Core book.
Fright: This book has similar fright rules to the Horror Companion but, without sanity points, it works a little differently.
Part 5-Magic and Devilry
In Solomon Kane, there are only two kinds of magic-Shamanism and Sorcery, and the spells are a little more subtle than throwing fireballs at your enemies. In fact, there are few (if any) directly offensive spells.
There are no power points: When you use magic you have a chance to fail and suffer backlash (which includes anything from being shaken to losing permanent levels in your arcane skill).
Spells cannot be maintained: The trade-off is that spell durations are generally longer.
Part 6-GM Section
This section is the standard "how do you GM" part of the book.
Part 7-Creating Adventures
Experienced GMs might rush past this part but I suggest everyone who runs Solomon Kane to give it a look. Not only does it give advice on running adventures in Kane's world, but it has a neat "adventure generator" which is a bunch of charts that help you create an adventure. Using these charts you can make a villain, find out what his goal is, how the characters get embroiled in his schemes, the villains henchmen, and even locations and "twists and turns" that you can incorporate into your adventure.
Part 8-The Savage World of Solomon Kane
Great little chapter about Kane's version of 17th century life. We learn about religion, medicine, science, and even slavery and sexism.
Part 9-The Rest of the Book
The remaining chapters are some of my favorite. In each chapter we are told about a part of Kane's world-Europe, Africa, the Orient, and the Americas. We are told about travel, famous people, religion, dangers, and events for these places. What we are also given is adventure seeds and story hooks galore! We learn about a haunted castle in the Holy Roman Empire's Black Forest, face off against a vampire cult in Africa, explore an ancient native city in the Americas, and fight a mummy in the orient. And that isn't even scratching the surface of all of the information in these chapters.
At the end of all of this we get a bestiary, the game mechanics for hazards such as forest fires and cave-ins, and even the stats for important people including Kane himself. The only negative I would add here is that there are very few pictures for the monsters.
The End: As I said in the beginning, I really liked this game. I am a Robert E. Howard fan so perhaps I am predisposed to liking it. If you are a fan of Howard's work, or Kane in particular, you are probably going to like this game.
Give this game a look if: You are a fan of Robert E. Howard, Kane, or pulp stories/games. You like the Savage World rules system. You are looking for a dark gothic horror game (think Sleepy Hollow or Dracula, only with more pulpy violence).
Maybe give this game a pass if: You hate the Savage Worlds system. You want a magic system where fireballs and lightning bolts are flying everywhere in combat (although, to be fair, you could port those elements in, but then you are missing a major point of playing Solomon Kane).