In January 2020 we revived the August 2018 Beasts & Barbarians Bundle featuring the sword-and-sorcery campaign setting from GRAmel Publishing for the fast-furious-fun Savage Worlds Explorer Edition rules from Pinnacle Entertainment. The Savage Worlds roots of Beasts & Barbarians run deep and cross borders: The prolific Italian Savage contributor Umberto Pignatelli created it for GRAmel, the Polish SW licensee. GRAmel’s Piotr Korys was once Pinnacle’s Savage Worlds line editor.
Beasts & Barbarians channels the vintage spirit of Robert E. Howard, Michael Moorcock, and Fritz Leiber for Conanesque adventures of iron-thewed heroism, sanity-twisting sorcery, and base treachery. Cursed by the gods, the Keronian sorcerer-priests lost their empire 2,500 years ago in the cataclysmic fall of the Dread Star. Amid its scattered ruins, power-hungry despots rule the Dread Sea Dominions, a realm of colorful cities, dark mysticism, dramatic turns, and larger-than-life heroism — of barbarians, Amazons, alchemists, monks, and thieves. Travel the Iron Empire from barbarous Northelm to the theocratic City of Clouds, and meet (and battle) foes from the mercenaries and greedy merchants of Jalizar to the fallen sorcerers and slavers of Tricarnia. Venture into ancient ruins to battle pre-human beastmen — fight in the sun-scorched arenas of Faberterra to appease the crowds of the decadent Iron Empire — and stop mad sorcerers from invoking demons in temples older than humankind.
Funded in 2017 in a successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, Beasts & Barbarians Steel Edition (the game’s second) adds lots of material, furthers the setting’s timeline, and makes useful corrections in tone. B&B‘s Golden (first) Edition (2011), while faithfully capturing the spirit of Robert E. Howard’s pulp fiction, also followed Howard’s practice of characterizing some races in stereotyped ways. “We didn’t want to offend anybody,” Piotr Korys explained on the RPG.net forum. “Cultural differences (I’m from Poland, Umberto is from Italy) could be the reason and explanation, but our game was proofread and edited by US-born English native speakers — and they left [the characterizations] there. We have changed a lot of things, which were put there not because we are racist (both Umberto and me hate white supremacy — or every supremacy — movement), but because they were in pulp games.” This offer’s Steel Edition (2017) removes the problematic characterizations.
This bargain-priced revival once again presented the complete Steel Edition and lots of character supplements, location sourcebooks, adventures, and play aids — everything you need to tread the jeweled thrones of the Dread Sea Dominions under your sandaled feet. There were seven titles in this revived offer’s Starter Collection (retail value $68) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the full-color Steel Edition Player’s Guide, Game Master Guide, and the Heroes of the Dominions collection of pregenerated player characters; the bestiary Beasts of the Dominions; the introductory adventure Soul in the Water; the Steel Edition Figure Flats print-and-fold character standups; and the Game Master Screen.
Those who paid more than the threshold (average) price also got this revival’s entire Bonus Collection with eight more titles worth an additional $76, including three location sourcebooks (Dark Places of the Dominions, Jalizar – City of Thieves, and Tricarnia – Land of Princes and Demons); three character supplements (Gladiators of the Dominions, Pirates of the Dominions, and Tattered Banners – Bandit Lords and Mercenary Captains); and the full-length Steel Edition adventures Enyia’s Song and Trollhunt.
Ten percent of each payment (after gateway fees) goes to this offer’s designated charity, Ocean Conservancy.