I'd say that Barbarians of Lemuria is a great PDF value for $7.50. If you want a rules light game that works well for Swords and Sorcery this is it. There is a free version out there, but a few things are missing and hey, for under $10 I'll support the author of the game through a purchase.
The PDF layout and style is a solid 3 stars, it is very...indie. But it does the job. As far as they system goes, as a rules light system it would appear to work very well, though to be honest I haven't gotten a campaign going yet. I can easily see expanding this system out to cover more genres, like Barbarians of the Aftermath does very well. If you look on the Lords of Lemuria site there are a lot of simple but interesting suggestions by other players and GM's on how to tweak or add to the rules which are well worth a look though. I can see myself running several Barbarians of Lemuria campaigns in the future and tweaking the rules a bit here and there each time to expand out the game a little bit more. Other reviewers have already gone into how the BoL works in depth so I'll just hit the highlights.
No skill list, you have careers instead (kind of like Warhammer but much simpler). Skills that would go along with a career are assumed to be had.
Innovative four tiered magic system that with a little creativity would be very interesting and enjoyable for players.
Combat is quick and abstract, no real need for figures or maps but you can use them obviously if you wish.
Generally skill test are 2D6 + attribute + skill (sometimes) - difficulty trying to beat a 9. 12 and 2 are special.
There is a simple boon/flaw system, hero points are used, and though level-less there are rules for character advancement.
- Armor is an after thought, no rules of magical weapons per se, but there are semi-fleshed out rules for making special items through alchemy. My take is that too much majic might skew probability curve a bit much if too many pluses are thrown into the mix.
All-in-all I really like the system. Some old school players, especially consummate D&D fans might find the BoL rules system a little too light. Also high fantasy folks might not like the fact that wizards in Lemuria are very powerful but spell use is less common. A wizard might throw just a few spells per game session. Also magic items aren't laying around everywhere. Advancement is through stats, not items so much, but GM's can teak to suit.
I'd like to jump on the Lemurian band wagon and give it a five. I give the rules light system a five. But after getting the PDF and hard bound copies of Barbarians of the Aftermath and Barbarians of Lemuria on the same week, comparing the too is like night and day. Barbarians of Lemuria's manuscript could use some layout enhancement.
So I'll initially give BoL four stars. the game system is innovative, looks to be very fun to play, will move fast with rules generally staying out of the way, and BoL has most if not all of the rules you need to run a Conan-ish swords and sorcery game. I give the BoL system a 4.5 or a 5.
So my combined score would be four stars.
But...since I'm a rookie and this is one of my first reviews I'm going to mark it as five. I don't want to diss any Barbarians out there...and for $7.50, or the price of a taco bell run, it is five stars for the value.
[5 of 5 Stars!]