There are campaign settings for Savage World for almost every genre. One genre I’ve been missing for some time was Swords & Sorcery. But luckily Jeff Mejia aka EvilDM released Legends of Steel in a Savage Worlds edition some time ago. I recently had the chance to check it out as he now sells his works on DriveThruRPG now.
The 70-paged PDF is truely a great introduction into the Swords & Sorcery genre. Starting with the Introduction the author gives several examples what Sword & Sorcery is all about and clear up a couple of misconceptions. There are much more character concepts than barbarian and not every S&S game should be reminiscent of Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories.
Mejia differentiates between the “Grim And Gritty”, “Pulp and Paperback” and “Comic book and Cartoon” styles and provides some details and examples for each style. The included campaign setting “The World of Erisa” was modeled after the “Comic book and cartoon” style.
The cover artwork of Legends of Steel is reminiscent of a S&S comic cover and shows a party of adventurers fighting some kind of lizardmen. The interior artwork is black and white only and of varying quality. But overall the artwork is of pretty good quality. If you buy the digital edition of the book you not only get the regular version, but also a printer-friendly one (which doesn’t contain any artwork) and a high quality version of the map of Erisa.
The character creation section of the book provides tips on how to create interesting characters fitting for the genre and explains what sets Legends of Steel apart from other fantasy Savage World games. For example is the game geared toward human characters and player characters should start as Veterans and not Novices as in vanilla Savage Worlds. This actually sets the tone of the whole campaign. Player characters in the S&S genre tend to be larger-than-life heroes and non-human usually don’t play a large role.
Legends of Steel introduces a couple new and enhanced edges like Birthright, Fearless, Sexy Armor (I am not kidding) and Shape-shifter. Sexy Armor is actually a great idea on behalf of the author. One of the tropes of S&S are horribly underarmored heroes and heroines, but for some reason their loin cloth or chainmail bikini protects its wearer as good as plate. This is simulated in the game by this new edge.
The book also gives a lot of useful advice for players and GMs on how to set the tone of the campaign. There’s even a section on taverns – just think of the tavern scenes in the Conan: The Barbarian movie. All in all I like that the author really managed to convey the feel of the genre.
The second and larger part of the book focuses on Erisa, the campaign world of Legends of Steel. Each place of interest is described in detail. In most cases strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the city or province is given. Basically the whole chapter is crammed full of adventure hooks that the GM just needs to pick and choose for his campaign. This definitely compensates for the lack of a plot point campaign. The setting definitely reminds me of the Hyborean Age presented in the Conan stories, but this isn’t a bad thing. It’s crammed full of interesting ideas and there’s the right place for almost any adventure conceivable.
The book concludes with an introductory adventure and a couple of pregenarated characters.
If you are into the Swords & Sorcery genre, you will definitely enjoy Legends of Steel. The Savage Worlds ruleset definitely is a good fit and the book contains a lot of great tips for players and GMs. Did I tell you that the whole book in its digital form is just $12? So you really get a lot of great content for the buck. There’s only a minor drawback: instead of most Savage World campaign settings, it doesn’t come with a plot point campaign. But that shouldn’t prevent you from checking it out!
This review was written based on a read through of the PDF version of Legend of Steel which has been provided as a review copy by the author. Thanks, Jeff!
Do I need a copy of Savage Worlds to play this? Or is it already included in the book?
You need a copy of Savage World to use this. Sorry, I think I forgot to mention it in the review. But since SWEE is available for just $10 this is no big deal, if you ask me. By the way, every RPG fan should have a copy of SWEE!
Savage Worlds Explorer Edition is a great investment, a solid game by itself and full of great ideas. It also has a great fan base online with lots of cool tools documents online. Legends of Steel sounds like a fun addition to the system. The lack of a plot points campaign is a non-issue for me as I rarely use them anyway. TO me they are a fun read about a possible adventure, and if the book has so much information as you say then I wouldn’t miss it at all.
I completely agree with this review. LoS is a nice, polished product that has a lot going for it. The tone is just right, and it really made me want to play with it more. You do need the SWEE book, but it has easily been worth the $10 I paid for it a year ago.