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Beasts & Barbarians Golden Edition
Publisher: GRAmel
by Olivier S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/20/2016 07:37:38

One more review of B&B Golden Edition... Why should you believe me ? Why ???... The fact is : I don't play Savage Worlds. I only bought the book by curiosity !

So what can we say about this universe for SW ? Clearly, it is not original compared to other universes : mere "Sword & Sorcery". Then, what makes B&B so good ? To sum it up, B&B is not the big "never-seen-before" universe; on the contrary, in a rather classical genre, this is a plenty of excellent small ideas on how to manage this universe as a Game Master, and these rules reflect perfectly the S&S genre. Congratulations to the author, Umberto Pignatelli, who really gives the impression to have actually served as a GM. In the gaming world, there are some extremely detailed RPG universes like Middle-Earth or Tékumel (by Pr. Barker), but I must say that all rule systems failed to render the mood of these settings (including MERP for Middle-Earth). On the other hand, most of the rules contained in B&B GE are tailored for S&S, and all of this for a cheap price.

After the long presentation of the world (the Dread Sea Dominions) and of the races inhabiting it, the rules for player characters are representative of S&S tropes, let's just quote the "Damsel in Distress" hindrance or the "LOincloth Hero / Bikini Heroine" edge... Likewise, the section on magics contains valuable information, especially about Lotusmastery. Humour is present everywhere, most notably in the downtime random generator about the adventurers' carousing between two adventures. The GM section has an interesting adventure generator, working with a card deck. It is maybe too general for S&S, if we compare it to the ones in "Barbarians of Lemuria" or (this one downloadable for free) on the website of "Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyberborea", but U.Pignatelli gives clues on how to "flavour" it.

The section with the stats for Beasts & Denizens is excellent. There are not a lot of monsters, but Umberto clearly favours quality over quantity, and that's by far the better way : we don't need a menagerie of useless beasts we don't know how to introduce into an adventure but rather a few iconic creatures with all elements to captivate the players. The list of denizens is superb : nearly every kind and every (human) race you can dream of for a S&S setting.

I have only a couple of little criticisms. No scale is given for the map of the Dominions. Umberto gives in the book a clever method of "abstract navigation" and explained elswhere that a scale would break the sense of mystery in the Dominions' geography. OK, but I keep on thinking that a GM needs a scaled map, for a realistic view of the background, even if the players will never use it. Another point (found in other books of the series) is that not all of the "heroic concepts" suggested for player characters is found in the "Denizens" section : in my view, this would provide some guidelines for the creation of such "heroic concepts" for a player.

To conclude, at nearly every page, U.Pignatelli gives advice on how to get a better experience of the game. At this rate, the Pdf book is definitely worth its (cheap) price !

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Beasts & Barbarians Golden Edition
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