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Beasts & Barbarians Golden Edition
 
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Average Rating:4.8 / 5
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Beasts & Barbarians Golden Edition
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Beasts & Barbarians Golden Edition
Publisher: GRAmel
by Black K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/09/2014 18:56:12
As a big fan of classic sword & sorcery, I really love Beasts & Barbarians. In my opinion, it is the best sword & sorcery rpg product on the market for a variety of reasons:

1. Most importantly, the mechanics work very well. Savage Worlds is already an excellent system for pulp adventure: it's fast, simple, and fun, without being dumbed down. Beasts & Barbarians was obviously written with the Savage Worlds rules system in mind, and features a great variety of cleverly designed edges and hindrances that ooze with Sword & Sorcery flavour. For example, the Loincloth Hero/Bikini Heroine edge lets you make a free soak roll for each wounding attack as long as you are unarmored. This makes a bare-chested barbarian feel very different from a heavily armored hoplite, while remaining effective in combat. The magic system is also well-designed to emulate sword & sorcery literature. Even if you prefer using another setting like Conan's Hyborian Age or Morten Braten's Xoth, it's worth getting this book just for the mechanics.

2. There are a lot of well-written adventures and supplements to support the setting. If you're busy like me and don't have much time to come up with your own adventures, there are plenty of published ones to chose from. Even if you don't use the published lore for Beasts & Barbarians, the adventures easily adapt to other setting; just change up some names and you're good to go.

3. The setting lore feels familiar but fresh. Beasts & Barbarians doesn't reinvent the wheel: its world has all the important sword & sorcery tropes you expect to see, like Amazons, barbarians, horse-nomads, and vile sorcerers, but it doesn't just plagiarize existing sword & sorcery lore. There's a section devoted to each culture, to give you a feel for how to roleplay them. This is very nice for GMs who just want a pre-made world to use, so that they can focus on running the adventures and roleplaying.

If you're a fan of sword & sorcery, I can't recommend this setting book highly enough. If you are currently playing a reskinned D&D or Pathfinder game to get your sword & sorcery fix, as I once did, I encourage you to give Beasts & Barbarians a try instead.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Beasts & Barbarians Golden Edition
Publisher: GRAmel
by Kevin K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/22/2014 21:46:08
What a great read!!! Such a world to explore and vast history to explain. Beasts & Barbarians is a great setting for Savage Worlds. A definite Swords & Sorcery look at fantasy in Savage Worlds. B&B gives you more than a setting, they also pave the way for small group/single player interaction within a table-top RPG. The artwork is beautiful and the writing tasteful when portraying such a dark world. So many cultures and depicted in this setting that they truly emphasis a full world to explore and entertain. I heart-fully endorse this setting and can't wait to play in it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Beasts & Barbarians Golden Edition
Publisher: GRAmel
by Jeffrey C. L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/23/2014 08:44:04
Ok,

Where to begin. I was just a kid when Conan the Barbarian movie came out on the TV for the first time. And since that day, those style of movies really shaped and formed my visions and views on the Dark, Gritty, Sword and Sorcery style of RPGs.

I truly do, love the style of dark fantasy settings. Over the years, I have been playing various forms of RPGs systems and in the past few years have pretty much migrated all my games over to the Savage Worlds system, which as far I think is the best system out there.

So, over they last few years I have been searching for a dark gritty fantasy setting, and I really didnt pay much attention to Beast and Barbarians at first.. But after some time, I decided to ask around and everyone I spoke to pointed me towards this setting.

So I took the plunge and bought it.. and you know it turned out to be the Best RPG buy in the last year for sure.

First of all, the artwork through out the book is awesome!

The book describes a setting, which fits the feeling, atmosphere, and darkness of what the old style conan movies betrayed to me as a kid. But it does it in such a way that you dont see a copy and paste with new names but it actually transports you to the lands in which the books describe. Which is very well done, I might add.

There is a lot of information on the setting, but not to much where you can not add your own ideas and you need to worry about it not working with the already established cannon.

The new edges, hindrances , and skills in the book capture the feel for this style of genre superbly. Also, what really makes this book shine (for me) is that they take full advantage of the flexibility of Savage Worlds and make go well past any set expectation you think you are gonna get ahead of time.

The book also offers a great GM section, gives great advice and support in running your games. Based on what I have read, the author must be a true fan of the setting as he covered aspects that makes this genre so unique in a dark fantasy rpg.

Hats off!

Pros:
Book is well laid out.
Artwork really captures the feeling of the setting.
Very flexible setting, allowing lots of room for your own person touches.
Great background story overall.
Chocker blocked full of info and useful stuff.
Good GM support.
Great Read, if you are just looking for setting info!

Its a great book. Buy it...

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Beasts & Barbarians Golden Edition
Publisher: GRAmel
by Andreas B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/15/2014 07:45:10
[please excuse possible spelling or grammar issues in the following review, English is not my native language]

Beasts & Barbarians is a wonderfully done Sword & Sorcery-Setting for Savage Worlds.

The book begins with a hand drawn map of the dominions which is immediately followed by the book of lore. It gives an overview over lost and existing kingdoms, followed by a description of the different races (which are all human). As Howards hyborean age, there is a resemblance towards the ancient cultures of Europe, Asia and northern Africa. This makes describing the game world quiet easy, since anyone can relate to those realms quite easily, which I like.

Character creation explains changes to hindrances and edges and which ones are not used in the setting. Then there are about 30 new hindrances and edges which nicely set the sword & sorcery touch of the game (my personal favorites are the hindrance damsel in distress and the edges ghoulblooded and loincloth hero).

The next chapter introduces three arcane backgrounds, which replace those found in SW.
Lotusmastery is the art of making powers usable as potions by brewing them with ingredients won from the lotus plants (and is the only arcane background offering magic healing).
Sorcery is more or less classic magic (I love the related failure table, where the dark gods demand their tribute, wonderful idea).
Path of Enlightenment is the mystical martial arts of far eastern monks with mostly self affecting powers.
This is complemented by a modified version of Summon Ally and four new powers (Analyze Foe, Draining Touch, Ledgerdemain, Poison).

The chapter gear covers weapons, armour and other equipment common in the dominions. It is mentioned which metals are used by which cultures. Iron is only commonly used within the iron empire, otherwise bronze is most common. The more primitive and barbaric cultures even use stone, bone and wood. This can be used to great effect during dramatic moments, because a weapon can brake if used against weapons or armour made of a stronger material.
The magic metal in this setting would be steel, granting weapons the ability to be armour piercing and armour to be lighter and tougher.

The players guide part is concluded by some setting rules and the “After the Adventure”-chart, where players can optionally draw a single card and, depending on colour and value, see what happens between adventures (this can even lead to another adventure, much room for creativity here).

The GM-section begins with an introduction on how to set the tone in sword & sorcery adventures, how to play with only few players, alternative healing rules and other gm-stuff.

The relics chapter describes the magical items of Beasts & Barbarians and reminds the gm that they should be scarce, of limited use or plot relevant.

The adventure generator is a true gem within the book. One can create a whole adventure by simply drawing four cards, look up what parameters depending on value and colour are given and flesh things out. A wonderful tool which I really like.

The bestiary covers some additional animal and monsters and features a lot of npc-opponents sorted by their origin.

Finally there is the introductory adventure “Night of the branded Devils”, which is not a short one (can easily fill 2-3 evenings) and covers nearly anything one can expect from an introductory adventure.

Beasts and Barbarians is a wonderful sourcebook which really shows the authors love and knowledge of the sword & sorcery genre in all its appearances (movies, comics and the classic pulp tales). I can recommend it to anyone interested in the genre.


P.S. There are several supplements available to further flesh out the setting:

Beasts of the Dominions: ten new monsters embedded in their own savage tale each, plus a new group of potential villains, the disciples of the black temple. Nice sourcebook.

Tattered Banners - Bandit Lords and Mercenary Captains: a sourcebook covering bandit and mercenary companies and how players can manage them, new mass battle rules and a chapter covering conquest point campaigns (allowing conquest-centered campaigns). Good source for many SW-settings.

Jalizar – City of Thieves: as much a sourcebook to Jalizar as a thief/assassin companion with new equipment, Jalizar specific setting rules and extensive history for a more urban campaign, new creatures etc. Wonderful stuff.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Beasts & Barbarians Golden Edition
Publisher: GRAmel
by collin s. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/17/2013 16:46:18
I have yet to play B&B but I've used the adventure generator it contains twice to generate successful adventures, one for a Barbarians of Lemuria session and the other for a Mutant Future one. A lot of cool concepts are contained in B&B that can be used with other Sword and Sorcery games as well as other SW settings. That being said, even though I have yet to play it on it's own it looks really good as a SW campaign setting. Recommended.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Beasts & Barbarians Golden Edition
Publisher: GRAmel
by Kristopher R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/11/2013 16:02:04
I bought Beast and Barbarians Gold Edition as part of the GRAmel starter set. I am so glad I did!! It captures the Sword and Sorcery Genre perfectly. It explains the genre so even a complete novice can get it but does not feel cumbersome or overwhelming. There is no dead weight or filler in this book but it isn't pure crunch either. If you have any interest if capturing the feel of Conan or other sword and sorcery settings in your game I strongly advise you get this book.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Beasts & Barbarians Golden Edition
Publisher: GRAmel
by Morgan S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/02/2013 12:25:50
I bought the B&B starter bundle and was so immensely impressed with this great sword & sorcery setting that i bought almost everything else for B & B.
It is griity, has so much intrigues and best of all, will keep the players on their toes.
It is indeed Conan meets Kull, just with a little more grit.
The layout on the books are easily followed with beautiful illustrations that reaaly gives you tons of ideas for great campaigns.

It is well worth the investment, and will give me and my players countless of gamingtime.

/Mogge

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Beasts & Barbarians Golden Edition
Publisher: GRAmel
by Niels A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/11/2013 13:19:40
If you are looking for a fantasy setting where Conan and Kull would be proud to adventure in and if you are looking for a fantasy setting that would place your characters in situations fresh out of Frank Frazetta paintings, then Beasts and Barbarians is for you.
Beasts and Barbarians has decadent crumbling empires, lost jungle civilizations, scheming sorcerers, wandering warrior monks, an island ruled by Amazons, demon worshipping horsemen that would make Genghis Khan proud, independent free cities rules teaming with rogues and thieves, and, of course, barbarians. Reading the Beasts and Barbarians core book, like a good novel, really can take you into another world.
One of the first things that struck me about Beasts and Barbarians was the wonderful map at the beginning of the book. It immediately conveys the feeling that you are picking up a sword and sorcery novel from the 70’s or 80’s. It reminded me of the first time I opened a Conan paperback and found the map of the Hyborean age or when I opened Micheal Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné and looked upon the map of Elric’s world. The map really set the tone of setting and the rest of the book did not disappoint.
Beasts and Barbarians is RICH with ideas and details. The book lays out the history of the world and the various cultures that have arisen over the course of time. Every culture is given a significant write up with more than enough information for a player to create a character with that cultural back ground. Along with the cultural background, there are details about archetypes, new edges and optional rules that can be applied when running a campaign set in the world of Barbarians and Beasts.
If you enjoy sword and sorcery novels and Frank Frazetta paintings, I would highly recommend checking out Beasts and Barbarians. The setting is written for Savage Worlds but I could easily see taking the setting and adapting it to any rule set that you want.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
Thank you, Niels!
Beasts & Barbarians Golden Edition
Publisher: GRAmel
by Tyler D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/07/2013 12:18:06
I picked up the Beasts and Barbarians Starter Bundle during the GM Day Sale, and I couldn't be happier. The amount of work and great writing in this book is amazing. I'm new to Savage Worlds and needed a good, fully realized setting to introduce my players to the system and this is perfect, exactly what I was looking for. Definitely worth the money. Get it and swing a sword at something! A++

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
Thank you very much Tyler for your kind words! And I hope you`ll get our other products - for that line or for other lines.
Beasts & Barbarians Golden Edition
Publisher: GRAmel
by Brennan O. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/14/2012 06:53:40
Really, what I want to say is "thank you" to GRAMEL. This is a wonderful, rich setting with great information and amazing support. What I particularly like is the ability of the author to capture the essence of Swords and Sorcery, yet provide some unique twists to a world that is somehow incredibly "relatable". The cultures have easy to explain analogs in our world, but none of them are straight knock-offs. The backstory is interesting and doesn't require a massive suspension of disbelief to buy into. The modifications to mechanics always seem to add to the game rather than unnecessarily bog it down.

While I have tinkered with the setting a small amount, each of my own modifications have been based on flavor and personal preference rather than the actual need to correct something. Make no mistake -- this product is fully and completely playable out of the box. Couple it with one of the short free adventures and you can have several hours of great game-play ready to go in no-time -- and yet, feel like there's a whole world left to uncover. Truly one of the best purchases I've made.

In terms of migration, because of some of the "plug and play" nature of Savage Worlds, it might be hard to migrate this to another system unless the system can handle low magic worlds-- but it absolutely could be done.

I also want to tell a little story... I've reached out for some additional information from GRAMEL a couple of times. Not only did I get quick responses, but when I posted in a player-seeking-player forum on the Savage Worlds boards that I was going to be running B&B, the author (based in Italy) created himself a meetup.com account, subscribed to the Portland area gamers group and posted a "good luck and have a great time" type of message to my game... My players LOVED hearing that and everyone felt like GRAMEL was taking real interest in the success of our particular game. Can't get much better than that, as far as I'm concerned.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Beasts & Barbarians Golden Edition
Publisher: GRAmel
by Brian S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/27/2012 15:43:13
I purchased this product last week and am still enjoying reading it. The grammar and choice of words were sometimes a little laboured. I guess English is not the author's first language, but that is about my only criticism of the product. I am doing a wholesale pillaging of this book to flesh out my own savage worlds "Sword and Sorcery" game. Thoroughly recommend this to any fan of S&S.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Beasts & Barbarians Golden Edition
Publisher: GRAmel
by Eric L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/18/2012 02:04:02
I'm glad I'm updated my Player's Guide copy to the Golden Edition. The Book of Lore (Gazetteer) offers enough information about the different locales and provide enough hooks to craft your own adventures. The Gear section offers new weapons and armors that adds flavor to characters. The new Edges offers fun options to characters.

I haven't tried it yet but the Adventure Generator is a new take on a tool we've seen before. It requires a bit more work from the GM but instead of producing random results it gives the GM the tools to come up with his own story. It stimulates your creativity. The Setting Rules are few but enough to give this Sword & Sorcery feel. The Bestiary is filled with new monsters and archetypes of the Dread Sea Dominions' inhabitants. This 210 pages document also contains a great adventure that I can't wait to run for my players. The Map reminds me of old school rpgs maps, as if hand drawn.

The layout is beautiful, the black and white artwork will blow your mind and everything is laid out to be easily read and found.

Overall, I find it highly inspirational and evocative of the genre. Material like the Edges, Hindrances, Gear, Carousing Rules and Bestiary can also be used with other settings like fantasy.

Every product I download (because Gramel offers great free support products) or buy from Gramel is of great quality. You can tell these guys love what they do and care what we (buyers) think about the work they put out. There are already several adventures and tales out for purchase or to download for free. I can only expect more great products to come!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Beasts & Barbarians Golden Edition
Publisher: GRAmel
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/19/2012 19:55:42
Beasts & Barbarians is a Swords & Sorcery sourcebook / setting for Savage Worlds. It's kinda cool to be reading so soon after Crypts & Things, as it gives a different POV (as well as ruleset) for the Swords & Sorcery genre.

So, what do we get in Beasts & Barbarians which we aren't getting elsewhere? Well, for one thing we don't get into any of the rules / numbers until around page 60. Yep, those first pages, almost a third of the book, is all setting information. Pretty snazzy, and it does a great job of drawing you in before hitting you with actual game info.

Next up is the Characters section. It doesn't only deal with character generation but also new and changed skills and edges. Surprisingly, it also covers some asian tropes, such as fighting monks and the like. I truthfully didn't expect to find them here, but I'm glad they are, as they seem to fit well.

Arcane backgrounds are modified in this setting. I don't have a full grasp of them in the standard Savage Worlds rules, so I'm going to need to spend some time on these before I can fully comment. It should be noted that the party is limited to one member with the arcane background.

Gear is gear. When it comes up, you look it up.

Around page 110 we get to the GM section of the book. It does a great job of showing the GM how to set the tone. It's a gritty, evil world full of larger than life nasties. Sounds like fun.

Chapter 7 is the Adventurer Generator. It uses a deck of cards help determine potential plots for your story lines / adventures. It looks to be a handy tool. I may just print out this one section for handy use whenever I'm in need of something to prod me when I need a quick adventure regardless of system.

Next up is the obligatory monster section. Nice nice selection of demons and devil, along with a recognizable selection of less supernatural (yet still lethal) adversaries. When you included the templates for NPCs, this is a pretty complete (and long) section.

Vengeance of the Branded Devils is the introductory adventure included with Beasts & Barbarians. It has a pretty strong introduction and it reads well. As for lethality - one will only know for sure when it is run ;)

Beast & Barbarians is a very complete setting / sourcebook for Savage Worlds. The artwork, from the flu color cover to the black and white drawings inside are excellent. My one complaint is that for a PDF of 210 pages in length, there are no bookmarks, which makes navigation more difficult than it should be.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Beasts & Barbarians Golden Edition
Publisher: GRAmel
by Idle R. H. P. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/09/2012 07:06:37
As I mentioned in another review, I'm not a big fan of the Savage Worlds system. That being said, I would gladly play in a Savage Worlds game if we were using this as our setting. Heck, I actually want to run a Savage Worlds game using this setting. Beasts & Barbarians really captures the spirit and flavor of the pulp sword & sorcery stories. Magic is rare and dangerous, and mighty heroes solve problems with cunning and the edge of their swords.

Part of my problem with the standard Savage Worlds rules is how undeveloped the social skills, Edges, and mechanics felt to me. Social characters never feel as effective or as useful as more physical characters. Beasts & Barbarians doesn't change that mechanically, but what it does do is create a game setting where that seems right. Just like the source material it draws from, social interactions in this game are going to mostly focus on intimidation, seduction, and taunting.

In addition to the social aspect, the author has done a great job of creating other rule modifications that really make the system match the setting. The book has frequent sidebars that discuss the pulp sword & sorcery genre, while gives a nice insight into why certain rules are the way they are. Wrap this all up in a gorgeously illustrated book with a richly detailed game world complete with a bestiary and a sample adventure, and you have a product that is well worth the asking price. Highly recommended.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Beasts & Barbarians Golden Edition
Publisher: GRAmel
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/10/2012 14:24:07
Beasts & Barbarians is a gritty, sword and sorcery setting for Savage Worlds placed in a land filled with a stark variety of people and creatures (although there are no elves or dwarves here). As with many sword and sorcery settings, Beasts & Barbarians is brimming with heroic opportunities and barbarian debauchery. It is a land heavily influenced by fantasy stories from the pulp fiction of many years ago. And most of all, it is a setting designed for cinematic action and big adventures. But it’s not all hulking barbarians and scantily clad damsels, all types of characters can be found; just don’t expect to be walking around in full-plate armor carrying magical weapons. So what can you expect? Short-story oriented adventures resulting in enough money to keep you drunk for days.

OVERALL

Beasts & Barbarians is not only an excellent Savage Worlds setting, but a great depiction of sword and sorcery compared to any system. With Savage Worlds’ inherent modularity, it’s easy to add in heroic mechanics alongside gritty mechanics without breaking the system. Creating characters akin to pulp and heroic fantasy is so easy that very little changes from the core rulebook. This helps to decrease the amount of prep time needed to play. Players may find themselves a little taken aback by the lack of magic, but that’s the dark side of the setting. This isn’t epic fantasy and magic is dangerous.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
Beasts & Barbarians is a beautiful book, albeit with a bit too much spacing. It’s a well-laid out and formatted book with some excellent illustrations to support the sword and sorcery aspect. Even the dark background helps to enhance the gritty nature of the setting. I would have preferred additional illustrations in the bestiary section for some of the more obscure beasts and bookmarks for the PDF are a definite must. These are very minor issues and the publication is still of a high quality.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Considering it is a Savage Worlds setting, Beasts & Barbarians has all the standard new mechanics such as Hindrances, Edges, Equipment, and Arcane Backgrounds. Out of these, what stands out the most is the Arcane Backgrounds and the Adventure Generator (which is designed in a mechanical way). The Arcane Backgrounds change the regular mechanics to a more dangerous version where characters should be cautious with magic, especially sorcery. This is an excellent addition to the grittiness of the sword and sorcery setting. The Adventure Generator, on the other hand, is one of the most awesome tool-kits I have ever seen for designing an adventure. By dealing out four cards, using this tool-kit, you have everything you need to create the framework for an awesome sword and sorcery adventure. However, much of this tool-kit can be applied elsewhere for use within other settings and even systems. After seeing it, you may never create an adventure any other way… maybe.

Desire to Play: 10 out of 10
Those who enjoy pulp fantasy, heroic fantasy, and dark fantasy will definitely find this sword and sorcery setting falling into areas they enjoy. Fans of epic fantasy looking for a 180-degree change of pace will find sword and sorcery to fall into that desire. But most of all, fans of Savage Worlds will find a great use of the system and many of its capabilities within the pages of Beasts & Barbarians.

Overall: 9 out of 10
Beasts & Barbarians is not only a great sword and sorcery setting, it is a well-designed Savage Worlds setting that utilizes the flexibility of the core rules to bring out the most colorful aspects of the setting. Game Masters will also find that adventures within the Beasts & Barbarians settings are very three-dimensional and utilize rules within Savage Worlds many settings tend to avoid such as chases, social interactions, and heroic setting rules. Remember, the setting may be dark and gritty, but the characters are over-the-top heroes who boast, quite loudly, about their adventures within the tavern after saving the damsel in distress.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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