Today I will show you the review of the Catalan edition by Maqui Edicions of the role-playing game Bàrbars de Lemúria, written by Simon Washbourne (see his games at 1KMKT) and originally published by Beyond Belief Games, which served as inspiration for creating other games, like La Puerta de Ishtar, written by Rodrigo García Carmona, or others you may read about in this wiki at Wikidot.
|Robert E. Howard
Public domain image
|Clark Ashton Smith
Public domain image
|Fritz Leiber, by CthulhuWho1
CC BY 2.0
|Catherine Lucille Moore
|Michael Moorcock by Rmdolhen
CC BY-SA 3.0
|Lin Carter, by CthulhuWho1
CC BY 2.0
This game falls in the sword and sorcery genre and have as inspiration works of some important authors like Robert E. Howard (Conan the barbarian, King Kull and Bran Mak Morn), Clark Ashton Smith (Zothike Cicle), Fritz Leiber (Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser), Michael Moorcock (Elric of Melniboné), Catherine Lucille Moore (Jirel de Joiry), John Jakes (Brak the barbarian) or Lin Carter (Thongor of Lemuria) among many others.
As the scenario of the game the author doesn't use an imaginary era of our planet past (like Conan's Hyborian Age), instead he moves us to the distant future and to a world hardly none of us would recognize, product of the machinations of the old sorcerer-kings which, not satisfied with their dominion over the planet, tried to dominate universe and become gods, a fact that freed Hadron, the Dark Lord (1), and changed the face of the planet forever. Thanks to the courage of the hero Hrangarth and the orb-blade, created by the gods from a fallen star, Hadron was defeated and the first age of man came, but the sorcerer-kings returned with force to reclaim their domains and had to be defeated again by Thangard, ruler of the city of Oosal, which would give birth to the second age of man, a time with the typical stereotypes of the genre: from beautiful women and strong and powerful warriors to sorcerers and priests using magic in a savage and prehistoric world (2), of sagas and heroic legends and treasures hidden in ruined cities.
To play in the sword and sorcery game proposed by Bàrbars de Lemúria a veary easy ruleset with the following characteristics is used:
Characters thac can be make in the game are defined basically with the following:
- Their Attributes (Strength, Agility, Mind and Appeal).
- Their Combat Habilities (Brawl for combat using your fists, Melee for using weapons like swords and knives, Ranged for using bows and crossbows and Defence for dodging atacs).
- lifeblood (measuring how many hits and wounds can characters endure before dying).
- Hero Points (allowing them to modify dice rolling outcome, introduce small changes in the adventure scenario to help them, recover lifeblood points and even escape a certain death).
Characters also will have access to some characteristics according to their origin and race they choose to be:
- Careers (our heroes can choose 4 careers from a wide range of options like Barbarian, Hunter, Gladiator, Mercenary, Pirate, Priest, etc.), that define the activities they can do (a Mariner or a Pirate would now to sail with a ship for instance) and also are useful to see what they were doing before the game started.
- Boons (allow the character to have a favorable capability or advantage or throw an extra dice when making an action and retain the two highest outcomes).
- Flaws (the character have some hindrances to carry out an action, some of his characteristics are reduced or throw an extra dice when making an action and retain the two lowest outcomes).
Regarding dice throwing you will see the following:
- The basic mechanic consist in throwing 2 six-sided diceand add together their outcome.
- To the resulting number you also can add the attribute rating and the suitable combat ability rating (if you are fighting) with the relevant career rating and the difficulty modifier of the action.
- If you achieve an outcome of 9 or more it means your character is successful in what he wanted to do.
- If the outcome is a natural 12 (a 6 in each dice) an automatic success is achieved (so the character is successful) and it could be a mighty Success (if the total outcome was a success in any event) or even a legendary success spending 1 Hero Point (both types of success are very important when characters are fighting with Non Playing Characters and want to know if they can quickly beat them).
- If the outcome is a natural 2 (a 1 in each dice) an automatic failureis achieved (so the character fails miserably) and it could be a calamitous failure (a failure with consequences for the character) if the total outcome is a failure (ie, the total is less than 9).
In addition to all that I have already explained Bàrbars de Lemúria also offers you:
- An equipment list (mainly weapons and armor).
- An easy system for Magic and Alchemy.
- A gazetteer with main locations for Lemuria and statistics for different races, flora and fauna you may find and also a description of gods and some Non Playing Characters samples.
- A set of ideas for creating adventures and 3 already developed adventures together with 7 characters already created (you may download tha character sheets already filled and a character sheet to fill, both in Catalan, from this link).
Bàrbars de Lemúria can be perfectly used to introduce role-playing games to all persons interested and want to play for first time because it's a game with a really easy ruleset and a background interestingly enough to inspire you and develop your adventures as you see fit; moreover there is nothing, as always, that will prevent you from including content from other games or novels of the sword and sorcery genre you know (in fact, and considering that I already mentioned at the beginning of the article that this game was served as inspiration to create La Puerta de Ishtar, it should not be too difficult to adapt content to each other).
It is definitely a game I'm sure you will like and that you can use to have a good time.
(1) Chances are, if any of you have notions of particle physics, you have recognized the name of some subatomic particle as responsible for creating the game world, but if not, you can check this link and this other one ^.
(2) The name of this game's world is based in the one of the hypotethical sunken continent of Lemúria ^.
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