View Full Version : Barbarians of Lemuria

07-10-2009, 12:35 PM
So I've stumbled across Barbarians of Lemuria (http://www.1km1kt.net/rpg/barbarians-of-lemuria). Let me immediately state for the record that while the link above is worksafe, there is a link to the PDF download that is potentially not worksafe due to some (very poorly drawn) partial nudity. I'll remove it if the mods deem it inappropriate, I wouldn't want anyone getting in trouble at work.

So anyway, BoL is kind of like Cinematic Unisystem but even faster to get started. The core mechanic is 2d6 (rather than 1d10) + skill + attribute + mods to beat a target number of 9. The average roll is higher by 2, but an average human stat is 0 rather than 2, so it evens out, and gives it a bell curve rather than linear probability curve. Max stat is around 4 for a normal human. You get some "Hero Points" (like Drama Points in CineUni or Bennies in SW). If the core mechanic sounds like a tweaked CineUni, you're right.

The game doesn't really have skills, in the traditional sense. There are 4 fighting skills (Brawling, Melee Weapons, Ranged Weapons, Defense). Then you pick 4 "Careers". Careers are somewhere between a skill package, a character class, and a FATE Aspect or Risus Cliché. Stuff like Hunter, Soldier, Barbarian, Farmer, Mage, Noble, Priest, Thief, Beggar, Minstrel, Alchemist... you get the idea. They are pretty loosely defined, and intentionally so. Again these rate from 0 to 4 or higher.

The upshot of this is that character generation is very fast but makes a pretty detailed character with a good mix of skills. Take 4 points and assign them to attributes. Assign 4 points for fighting skills. Take 10 points for your 4 careers (a 4-3-2-1 spread is recommended but not necessary, and yes you can have a level 0 career). You are assumed to have equipment appropriate for your careers, and you're ready to go.

Magic is freeform. You decide what you want to do. The GM determines what tier of spell this is based on how powerful the effect is (cantrip, level 1, level 2, level 3). This determines the spell requirements. So basically, this covers anything from a simple "light" cantrip, to raising a volcano in the middle of a city or summoning an elder god. Obviously these last two are not going to be easy, and will likely have very difficult requirements. Guidelines are provided so it's actually very easy.

It's designed for REH-style fantasy, but it is incredibly easy to port to other genres since it's incredibly easy to make careers. Just name a profession and think what that profession would reasonably be skilled at. Want a space explorer? Star Pilot 4, Engineering 3, Scientist 2, Computer Expert 1. Want a Cthulhu Mythos style occult investigator? Detective 4, Occult Knowledge 3, Literature 2, Scientist 1. I doubt anyone would have trouble understanding what these characters can do, but it took me no time to put together.

The game seems to have a bit of a following and I think it would get a lot more hype and be taken more "seriously" if the production on the rulebook were better (bad art, ugly font). Anyone else familiar with it? Looks fast, easy to learn, and versatile.

07-10-2009, 01:31 PM
Looks interesting, the art seems focused on Arnold Swartzenegger's Conan ... and Chainmail Bikini ... hmmmm, I wont complain ... but I think a lot of lady gamers out there are rolling their eyes :biggrin:

07-10-2009, 01:37 PM
Well yes, the setting is very REH. The book should be illustrated by Boris Vallejo. :lol:

07-10-2009, 01:40 PM
Well yes, the setting is very REH. The book should be illustrated by Boris Vallejo. :lol:

Hubba-friggin-hubba :laugh:

07-11-2009, 09:55 AM
Oh, and I forgot to mention. I didn't mean the REH Conan, the first barbarian in the book is very REH, but there was another drawing of a barbarian's face and it was a spittin' image of the Governator as Conan :)

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
07-11-2009, 10:05 AM
I'm not familiar with it, but it is deserving of a perusing. I'll have to go back and take a little more time reading through it when i have the time. Thanks for posting, Harwel.

Simon W
07-12-2009, 06:06 AM
Hi Guys,

I wrote BoL, so I can answer some questions.

Yes the art isn't great in the free version of the game - some of it was stuff I had lying around and other stuff was culled from the Thongor comic book or from websites with free art.

The free version is based totally on the Thongor books of Lin Carter - it just so happens that Thongor was a Conan pastiche, so BoL is adaptable to Conan or other sword & sorcery settings too.

There is a revised version, with much better art, layout, improved/expanded/tightened up rules and so forth available in print or pdf here (http://www.rpgnow.com/index.php?cPath=1460) , here (http://stores.lulu.com/store.php?fAcctID=1016378) or here (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw_0_10?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=simon+washbourne&sprefix=simon+wash). The revised version has a new setting (although it is similar) due to licensing issues.

There are fans of BoL all over the place - there is a French translation available on LULU & Amazon (look out for "VF"). A German translation is also on the cards, but that is at early days yet. The rules are being adopted & adapted to a post apocalyptic setting, that should be available in a month or two. A boardgame is being discussed. There is a possible western adaption on the cards too.

Cheers guys
Simon W
Beyond Belief Games (http://stores.lulu.com/store.php?fAcctID=1016378)

07-12-2009, 09:39 AM
Awesome, great to see a creator on here :)

07-13-2009, 09:27 AM
Great to know it's doing well, Simon. I love how the game is simple and yet seems to cover every base for the genre, and it lets you create a character with a broad skillbase so quickly and easily. I'm sure I'll end up buying your revised edition just for the art and layout improvements. I'll also keep an eye peeled for the post-apoc ruleset. I've always been a sucker for a good PA game!

Also, sorry for bagging on the artwork in the free version, I know that's kind of looking a gift horse in the mouth.

07-14-2009, 11:50 PM
I'm not familiar with that too but I'll try to read it more 'coz I find it interesting too. Thanks for sharing it here.

07-23-2009, 04:25 PM
Looks very interesting, and I'm definitely going to give it a more thorough go-thru. Is this designed for newbies? Or is it 'simple' compared to other RPG's the user must have played before?

BTW - I'm always a bit disappointed to see the female nipple described as partial nudity, when the male nipple is not. Even the beaches in Tunisia have topless women suntanning.

Vive la nipple!!

Simon W
07-24-2009, 04:56 AM
Whilst BoL has a very simple system and would be easy for new players to pick up, the GM would probably need some familiarity with how rpgs work, because there are no rules for every single thing a character might do. There are no skills for example - just a whole bunch of very broad "careers" and your character is able to attempt anything that a person of that career should be able to do. Trying to sneak up on a castle guard? Well, if you have rogue career (or maybe hunter or even tumbler) you are entitled to a bonus, based on your career rank. Each character gets 4 career choices at character creation, so they are pretty rounded guys, before you even start.

Simon W

06-01-2010, 01:40 PM
Anyone still playing Barbarians?

06-01-2010, 05:19 PM
Anyone still playing Barbarians?

Not at the moment, no.

I've been working on a game world inspired by Iron Heroes and a folder of previous ideas, but currently in search of a system. BoL is ideal: lightweight, everyone can fight to some degree, and sorcery works a lot like the setting's. (Not surprising: the setting is old-school swords-and-sorcery, where magicians can work powerful rituals but can't do much against a charging barbarian.) Mix in bits of Barbarians of the Apocalypse -- chaos mutants, psionic horrors, and supernatural beasties -- and I'm there.

Now, if I can only find players. Maybe I can convince them it's D&D 5e ...