||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.
[4 of 5 Stars!]