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Author Topic: Here I go again...trying to choose my preferred sword & sorcery game!  (Read 485 times)

Batjon

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I want to run a sword & sorcery game soon for my local players in the style of Robert E. Howard's Hyborian Age with a mixture of a little weird fantasy thrown in and dark magic.  I am not gaming in Conan's Hyborian Age in an effort to not allow the player characters to be overshadowed and to allow more freedom.  I kind of like it when a setting also includes cultures like Atlanteans, Hyperboreans, Lemurians, even the Kimmerians from AS&SH (similar to Conan's Cimmerians) that seem to be from a pre-dawned earth age.

Which would be your choice for rules and setting between the ones I haver it narrowed down to?

Beasts & Barbarians Steel Edition (Savage Worlds)
Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea 2nd Edition
Crypts & Things Remastered Edition
Barbarians of Lemuria Mythic Edition
Atlantis the Second Age

myleftnut

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Here I go again...trying to choose my preferred sword & sorcery game!
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2019, 01:10:33 AM »
Why the Adventures in an Age Undreamed of hate?  2d20 is fun.  Plus either you love the Howard esthetic or you don’t.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2019, 01:34:01 AM by myleftnut »

S'mon

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Here I go again...trying to choose my preferred sword & sorcery game!
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2019, 02:47:16 AM »
Quote from: daddystabz;1087211
I am not gaming in Conan's Hyborian Age in an effort to not allow the player characters to be overshadowed and to allow more freedom.  I kind of like it when a setting also includes cultures like Atlanteans, Hyperboreans, Lemurians, even the Kimmerians from AS&SH (similar to Conan's Cimmerians) that seem to be from a pre-dawned earth age.

Which would be your choice for rules and setting between the ones I haver it narrowed down to?

Beasts & Barbarians Steel Edition (Savage Worlds)
Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea 2nd Edition
Crypts & Things Remastered Edition
Barbarians of Lemuria Mythic Edition
Atlantis the Second Age


Setting - again I cannot recommend Primeval Thule strongly enough. It is a coherent and very well designed setting that does exactly what you want. You can likely pick up a print copy for eg 13th Age cheaply and use for your preferred system, though I love the 5e D&D version.

Rules set - this is about what you want out of the rules, and I'm not familiar with all of these. All D&D derivatives will tend towards an everyman-to-superhero feel, which I like, it is very gamable and lets you start small and low key, then see the game build over months or years to earth-shattering conflict in a now very well developed setting. Of the listed systems I like Crypts & Things, which is basically OD&D, best.

Re Barbarians of Lemuria, in the edition I have armour is damage reduction, and the more bits of piecemeal armour you have, the more you reduce damage! This is very poor design IMO and doesn't give me much confidence in the system.  I also dislike Savage Worlds combat, especially the bennies, but for non combat task resolution SW works very well. I have no idea about Atlantis the Second Age.

If I were not going to use a D&D based game for S&S, I'd probably go for a WEG-d6 system like Mini-6 or maybe d6 Fantasy for an heroic tone. Or for low powered horror a BRP d% system like Runequest 2e and Call of Cthulu. Runequest/Stormbringer PCs vs CoC Great Old Ones would be fun. Nasty brutal & short, but fun. :D

Batjon

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Here I go again...trying to choose my preferred sword & sorcery game!
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2019, 03:05:39 AM »
Quote from: S'mon;1087224
Setting - again I cannot recommend Primeval Thule strongly enough. It is a coherent and very well designed setting that does exactly what you want. You can likely pick up a print copy for eg 13th Age cheaply and use for your preferred system, though I love the 5e D&D version.

Rules set - this is about what you want out of the rules, and I'm not familiar with all of these. All D&D derivatives will tend towards an everyman-to-superhero feel, which I like, it is very gamable and lets you start small and low key, then see the game build over months or years to earth-shattering conflict in a now very well developed setting. Of the listed systems I like Crypts & Things, which is basically OD&D, best.

Re Barbarians of Lemuria, in the edition I have armour is damage reduction, and the more bits of piecemeal armour you have, the more you reduce damage! This is very poor design IMO and doesn't give me much confidence in the system.  I also dislike Savage Worlds combat, especially the bennies, but for non combat task resolution SW works very well. I have no idea about Atlantis the Second Age.

If I were not going to use a D&D based game for S&S, I'd probably go for a WEG-d6 system like Mini-6 or maybe d6 Fantasy for an heroic tone. Or for low powered horror a BRP d% system like Runequest 2e and Call of Cthulu. Runequest/Stormbringer PCs vs CoC Great Old Ones would be fun. Nasty brutal & short, but fun. :D

I own Primeval Thule for 5e and it is a contender as well.  I was a KS backer.  The main thing holding me back on it is that it contains high fantasy races like Elves and Dwarves in a sword & sorcery setting.

S'mon

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Here I go again...trying to choose my preferred sword & sorcery game!
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2019, 03:16:44 AM »
Quote from: daddystabz;1087229
I own Primeval Thule for 5e and it is a contender as well.  I was a KS backer.  The main thing holding me back on it is that it contains high fantasy races like Elves and Dwarves in a sword & sorcery setting.

The Elves are very much Moorcock's Melniboneans, and they are clearly on their way out. You could start your campaign with Katagia executing its plan to sack Imystrahl, a la The Dreaming City. Voila, no more Elves. :D

The Dwarves are more secure, but isolated up in Kal-Zinan. There are no dwarf NPCs outside of Kal-Zinan in the campaign setting. You can either play up their Assyrian/Persian feel, or if you hate them, the Zinandar volcanoes erupt, there is a massive earthquake, and Kal-Zinan is buried forever. Voila no more Dwarves. :D

BTW when I started running Thule I required only human PCs, that very much got things started off on the right foot.

edit: If you refer to them as Imystrahli & Zinandar rather than as Elves & Dwarves, that might help too.

Batjon

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Here I go again...trying to choose my preferred sword & sorcery game!
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2019, 03:21:35 AM »
Quote from: S'mon;1087231
The Elves are very much Moorcock's Melniboneans, and they are clearly on their way out. You could start your campaign with Katagia executing its plan to sack Imystrahl, a la The Dreaming City. Voila, no more Elves. :D

The Dwarves are more secure, but isolated up in Kal-Zinan. There are no dwarf NPCs outside of Kal-Zinan in the campaign setting. You can either play up their Assyrian/Persian feel, or if you hate them, the Zinandar volcanoes erupt, there is a massive earthquake, and Kal-Zinan is buried forever. Voila no more Dwarves. :D

BTW when I started running Thule I required only human PCs, that very much got things started off on the right foot.

edit: If you refer to them as Imystrahli & Zinandar rather than as Elves & Dwarves, that might help too.

Very interesting.  Does Thule contain equivalents of northmen and Cimmerians? Is there corruption for magic or is it D&D standard Vancian stuff?

S'mon

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Here I go again...trying to choose my preferred sword & sorcery game!
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2019, 04:00:26 AM »
Quote from: daddystabz;1087232
Very interesting.  Does Thule contain equivalents of northmen and Cimmerians? Is there corruption for magic or is it D&D standard Vancian stuff?

To first question, yes - the Nimothans are Norsemen and the Daray are Cimmerian analogues, though they live in a wider variety of environments - the Ammuran Daray are classic forest-dwelling Cimmerians who butt heads with nearby city states, especially expansionist Lomar and slave-hunting Marg. Other Daray tribes include the Narthan mammoth-hunters of the Highlands (the Narthan PC IMC wears a kilt) :D, and the Tarzan/Sheena-esque jungle tribes such as the Bolotanga.

Spellcasting - the obvious answer is that it uses the default game's casting mechanics, and there are not Thule-specific default Corruption mechanics. However the campaign set & player's supplement include a lot of Thule-themed spells that enhance the flavour. I would say that the apparently widespread priestly/divine magic is the biggest departure from low fantasy swords & sorcery. But again this is up to the GM - NPC opponents casting Cleric spells are common villains, but this could be rare in the wider setting. No city description requires priest magic to function. It could be run with Cleric magic being a gift from the Great Old Ones and all the published adventures would work fine. There is no sign of Raise Dead working in this setting - I disallow Raise/Resurrect spells, IMC they just create Undead, though I decided to keep Revivify.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2019, 04:03:57 AM by S'mon »

Theory of Games

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Here I go again...trying to choose my preferred sword & sorcery game!
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2019, 11:19:56 AM »
BoL:ME is a fun game. I like the "Careers rather than Classes" aspect. Replacing spell lists with "magnitude" was fun to play with. The entire game flows very well because there wasn't a lot of looking up stuff.

The predecessor to Atlantis 2, the Arcanum/Atlantean Trilogy, is my goto S&S system. I gave A2 a very hard look but it couldn't unseat the Arcanum.

Teodrik

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« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2019, 05:32:35 PM »
My default answer would be BOL. But I have grown a bit weary of it. So maybe Savage Worlds? With Primeval Thule perhaps? Ignore elves and dwarves.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2019, 05:35:07 PM by Teodrik »

S'mon

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Here I go again...trying to choose my preferred sword & sorcery game!
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2019, 06:16:19 PM »
Quote from: Teodrik;1087316
My default answer would be BOL. But I have grown a bit weary of it. So maybe Savage Worlds? With Primeval Thule perhaps? Ignore elves and dwarves.

Good plan (even though I prefer D&D). There is a Savage Worlds Primeval Thule edition, and like I said you can just call them Imystrahli & Zinandar instead. At $20 for pdf very reasonable IMO https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/178350/Primeval-Thule-Campaign-Setting-for-Savage-Worlds