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Author Topic: John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)  (Read 432 times)

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Offline MadPandaTopic starter

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John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)
« on: November 28, 2019, 05:02:18 PM »
There's a delightful little thing called John Carter of Mars put out by Modiphius, done in cooperation with the Burroughs Estate and using a slightly simplified version of their 2d20 system (Conan, Star Trek Adventures, Mutant Chronicles 3e, et al) which gives my inner child an excuse to run amok in a swimsuit and flip-flops like the manic little trash panda that he is.  And now that the three 'era' supplements have been released, adding a few neat options to the established eras of play, plus a full campaign, I have enough material available to consider trying to get this flyer off the sands of Barsoom and on the way.

(This has also been an excuse to re-read the original books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, which are a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine from junior high and high school.)

So I'm hoping to find a few stout, bold souls willing to brave a few villainous threats to life and limb in proper Heliumite fashion!  Probably won't officially start until after the holidays for obvious reasons, but it's always good to get the ball rolling early.

A couple of notes:
1. There is a freely available quickstart version of the rules (pm me and I'll share!) and for the interested the Player's Guide is available in PDF.  There are several pre-generated PCs as well.  With one exception, we'll otherwise be sticking to the core rules for this.
2. I'm planning on setting this in the Jeddak of Jeddaks era of play, which covers the longest period in the published works and allows for the greatest variety in player character options, including some lovely suggestions for characters of mixed heritage. It also opens up some of the other worlds for exploration!  Will probably start with the sample adventure in the core book before moving on to the published campaign.
3. I'd prefer to have no more than half the party be Earthborn, but change my mind!  Canonically the Jasoomians in the books come from the 1870s at earliest to 1918 at the latest...but I'll take any reasonable concept between the Battle of Sekigehara and October 23. 2077.
4. Hoping for three to five steady players.  Most GMly updates will happen on the weekends when I will be in the same place as my books so this won't be the fastest moving project out there.
(4a. I've been flirting with a post-Jeddak of Jeddaks era setup, which will involve a love letter to the Nendo-kata and the Asari, but that hasn't been decided for sure yet because it might be less awesome on paper than it is in my head.)
5.  Rating has not yet been determined.  Moments of capture and/or abduction are a regular occurrence (and are a staple of the genre!) but out and out ravishing is more threatened than enacted.

Soooo...floor's open!  Anyone wanna go storm Zodanga?  ;D

Offline Hoshino

Re: John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2019, 05:34:04 PM »
I remember a few side one-shots were played with this set up... Might be fun to try playing a Basoomian for a change. Consider me interested!

Offline MadPandaTopic starter

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Re: John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2019, 05:44:34 PM »
Well, friend, Barsoomians come in a couple of varieties.   You got yer bog standard, common everyday Red Martians, who're by far the most numerous.  Next most common, and the only type that can't interbreed with any of the others, are your Green Martians.  The Tharks are the nicest of the bunch, mostly 'cause their main man Tars Tarkas is a good friend and sworn ally of John Carter.  Then there's the Okar, or Yellow Martian who are mostly like the Reds except that they're bright lemon yellow instead of crimson.  Also the only Martians prone to facial hair, if they're men.  After them you have the Firstborn, or Black Martians.  Black like Drow Elves, you understand?  Haughty bastards but they're getting better about it.

There are also the Therns, or White Martians, but canonically those guys rare as brass hens teeth and assholes to boot, not suitable as PCs.  But they could be your parent, if you wanted to risk playing a Half-something/Half-Thern.

Also canonically, it was centuries of cross-breeding between the Therns, Okari, and Firstborn that produced the Red Martians.

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Re: John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2019, 06:54:39 PM »
  I'd like to play please! 
 
  I've started reviewing the rule books, but only just.  Likewise I'm only about 2/3rds of the way throuhg A Princess of Mars, so i'll start reading again.  I have seen the fun movie, and was far enough along in the book to get some of what was right and some of what was wrong. 

  I'm messing with two character concepts, and I'd love some feedback.   One is an earth born woman.  While I'm not too fond of most of my ancestors in this period, a can see an athletic tomboy type who considers Barsoom a chance to define herself free of the limitations of the early 1900s. 

  Plus I really love being able to do incredible leaps! 

  Okay, so I confess, the jumping might be the biggest draw. ;) 

  The second concept might not fit, depending upon the erotic content desires of the group.  A man who takes after Tars Tarkas--a true warrior, steeped in the traditions of his people, equally skilled in war, the hunt, and an appropriate craft.  Like Tarkas, he is possessed of compassion and a sense of heroism that is uncommon in his culture.   Where Tars Tarkas and a lot of the Green Martians I've encountered so far seemed to be a bit low in the libido department, this guy would be fairly libidinous, interested in a building a harem and enjoying their company.  (Being a harem king with four arms is one of my dreams.  :)  I can somewhat blame Vekseid for that._ 

Offline MadPandaTopic starter

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Re: John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2019, 08:14:08 PM »
Well, one of the pregens is more or less Amelia Earhart with the serial numbers filed off, so the first would be easy enough to figure out.

The sensual proclivities of the Green Martian are not outlined in the original source material: whether they'd be at all inclined to regard any other sort of Martian as a potential romantic interest is speculative. Crossbreeding is unlikely.

A harem of Greens poses a completely different though by no means insurmountable problem, and would over time consist of spending enough Renown to form your own personal brute squad of significant others.  ;D

Offline evilnerf

Re: John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2019, 06:48:26 PM »
I'd be interested in playing, but I'm having a hard time making sense of the different kind of martian, and I would also like to know what the different character types are.  I downloaded the quick start, but couldn't find much about character creation.  Is there anywhere I can find more information?

Offline MadPandaTopic starter

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Re: John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2019, 08:39:00 PM »
The quickstart does not have char-gen information, alas.  The best source is the player's guide itself.  So, very roughly...

The main difference between everyone but the Greens is the distribution of points between the six attributes (Cunning, Daring, Empathy, Might, Passion, and Reason).  All of these start with a rating of 4 and then get adjusted up or down according to your heritage, archetype, and descriptor. 

Here's the attribute adjustment for your basic Red Martian.
Quote
Add +2 to one of the following attributes: Daring, Empathy, Passion, or Reason. Then add +1 to any two others.

And here is the baseline for an Okar or Yellow Martian:
Quote
Add +1 each to Cunning and Daring. Then add +1 each to two of the following: Empathy, Might or Reason.

There are also some differences in cultural knowledge.  Okar, for example, tend to know more about how to survive in the cold polar regions, but don't know a lot about the particulars of Red Martian cities.

Your attributes are further modified by your Descriptor (which grants +1 to 2 different scores) and your Archetype (which grants +2 to 2 different scores).

Greens have a special extra Talent that covers their four arms.  They tend to know less about science and technology than most of the other Martians.

Earthborn have a special extra Talent that covers their ability to leap great distances.  They also start naked, unarmed, bereft of renown, ignorant of almost everything that doesn't have a direct Earth equivalent, and unable to speak the language (but learn quickly).

Offline evilnerf

Re: John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2019, 11:04:07 PM »
So Here's my first draft of a character.  I'm going to take another pass on it tomorrow, but I want to know what you think.

Katra Kah of Helius
Bold Red Martian Envoy

A young woman from the heart of Helius.  Although she could easily have lived a cushy life amongst the upper crust of Red Martian society, she felt the urge to travel away and help manage the tenuous peace between the Martian peoples.  She's set off into the desert to represent her people's interest.  She thinks she can take care of herself in the wilds, but has never faced the true dangers out there.

Daring 7
Cunning 5
Empathy 6
Might 4
Passion 7
Reason 6

Talents:
Passionate Rider (1)
Keen Marksman (1)
Skilled Infiltrator (1)
Speak from the Heart (2)

Flaw:
Target of Opportunity

Core Equipment:
Thoat Mount
« Last Edit: November 29, 2019, 11:05:15 PM by evilnerf »

Offline MadPandaTopic starter

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Re: John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2019, 11:08:02 PM »
So far, so good!

Offline evilnerf

Re: John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2019, 06:05:02 PM »
Okay, so, I've done some reading of the renown rules.  Would it be too much if I went and made my character a full blown Princess?  If so I might mix things up and make a rough and tumble princess type.

Offline MadPandaTopic starter

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Re: John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2019, 06:16:02 PM »
That would not be too much, not at all. Go for it!

Offline Athem

Re: John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2019, 12:10:54 PM »
I'm interested (and it was a good excuse to read some of the later Barsoom stories  :-)); I have the rules, but I'm not too familiar with the system.

Here's my character idea:

Princess Tiana of Amhor

Summary: Brash (Overconfident) Red Martian Rogue

Tiana is the daughter of the Prince of Amhor, Dur Ajmad. He led the forces that overthrew the despicable Jal Had; unfortunately, despite the popular face he put on, in private he was as depraved as the man he overthrew. He maintained the 'zoo' of his predecessor, but kept up his popular front by making it secret, for private visitors only... and he made his own daughter one of the exhibits.

[OOC: can rework with Tiana being the daughter of Jal Had if that fits the timing better; Jal Had is mentioned in The Master Mind of Mars, and is killed in one of the last books, Synthetic Men of Mars]

Tiana's cage was comfortable, even luxurious, but it was still a cage, intended to keep her on display and show her off as a political bargaining chip to people her father thought useful. She amused herself by teaching herself how to pick locks and break out of her captivity. Soon, she was roaming the palace at night, stealing small items and taking amusement at the consternation she caused. Finally, when she grew tired of being an exhibit, she stole a flier and left.

Since then, she has evaded attempts to take her home to Amhor, and continues to steal for fun, to challenge and amuse herself. She's irrepressibly good-humoured; even when things go wrong, she's certain that 'the moons spin in their orbits', i.e. that her luck will always turn, and usually for the better.

Initial: Cunning 4  Daring 5  Empathy 4  Might 4  Passion 5  Reason 4

Race: Red Martian. +2 to Daring; +1 Passion & Reason
Archetype: Rogue. +2 to Cunning & Empathy
Descriptor: Brash. +1 to Daring & Passion

Final: Cunning 6  Daring 8  Empathy 6  Might 4  Passion 7  Reason 5

Stress tracks: Fear 8, Injury 6, Confusion 6
   
Talents: Acrobatic Dodge (1), Skilled Infiltrator (1), From every chandelier (3)

Flaw: Curiosity killed the banth

Offline MadPandaTopic starter

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Re: John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2019, 01:17:23 PM »
Welcome aboard our tricked out Flyer of Depravity, O Princess!  ;D

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Re: John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2019, 01:52:12 PM »
Mild interest as I spotted this on a whim. I have a Thoughtful Okar Assassin built up, mainly using a bunch of custom Talents and Flaw.

Built to be a skilled sniper character, sort of a vigilante that stands up against the more tyrannical of Barsoom. A Robin Hood type if you will. Unsure on what style of campaign you're going for, though if you have room for a cunning archer, I wouldn't mind stepping in, long as I don't need to put out too many words per post.

Offline MadPandaTopic starter

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Re: John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2019, 02:08:08 PM »
You'd be number five or six, so we'd probably cap it about here.  ;D  (We have two, maybe three characters pending at the moment.)

I tend to prefer slightly shorter to medium posts, as massive wall-o-text isn't my personal style and, unless there's some serious exposition required, also often leaves other people in the unpleasant position of trying to work around what you've established.  Problem is, since most of my availability for this project will be on weekends, we'll be moving a touch slower.

Probably aiming for Bondage/Exotic.  Sound about right?

Offline evilnerf

Re: John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2019, 02:44:45 PM »
Bondage/Exotic sounds fine.

I think I'm going to rework my character since Tiana made a concept pretty similar to mine.  I might do something a bit different.  Maybe a dashing Airship Captain.

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Re: John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2019, 03:02:23 PM »
Fair enough  ;D

Offline evilnerf

Re: John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2019, 04:43:12 PM »
So, I haven't read the books or anything, so let me ask this here.  What is the Red Martian (or Martians in general) attitude on Gender Roles and same sex relationships?  I can't imagine that this was addressed in a book written in mid century 1900s, but if not, can we figure out how that's going to work in our game?

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Re: John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2019, 04:59:25 PM »
Canonically they are monogamous and hetero.  That said, John Carter is our primary source of information and it isn't like he spends a lot of time asking about that sort of thing!  So there are broad and deep silences in canon on a number of topics, leaving plenty of room to shoehorn in other things like warrior jeddaras and same-sex relationships and casual dalliances.

(Greens with a harem of non-Greens is problematic for other reasons, not least of which being that non-Greens are too soft and fragile.  Also, the mating habits of Greens are largely unexamined in canon, which may be for the best.)

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Re: John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)
« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2019, 05:07:57 PM »
Is there any "typical" way people from Earth end up there?

Offline MadPandaTopic starter

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Re: John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)
« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2019, 05:11:03 PM »
That is an excellent question!  Canonically, this is never fully explained, but basically you die here and wake up there...and there's some handwaved astral projection stuff going on as well.

Offline evilnerf

Re: John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2019, 05:27:18 PM »
Katra Kah of Lesser Helium
Romantic Red Martian Envoy

Attribute
Daring 5   Cunning 4   Empathy 7 Might 5   Passion 8   Reason 6   

Talents:
Keen Marksman (1)
Passionate Rider (1)
Speak from the Heart (2)
Passionate Orator (1)

Flaw:
Soft Hearted

Core Equipment:
Rifle

Reputation:
Ally - Hasia Mal, Ambassador to Amhor (2)
Ally - Thoroughbred Thoat (3)
Membership - Nobility (5)

Born to a noble house of Lesser Helium, Katra Kah studied at the best academies under the best tutors.  She was a rising star in the political arena, and many said she was destined for a distinguished career as a diplomat.  Unfortunately, it was not to last.  She fell in love with a fellow student by the name of Hasia Mal.  It was a passionate tryst that started casual at first, but Katra soon found herself falling completely in love.

When Hasia's father arranged an advantageous marriage to a noble of Amhor, Katra did everything in her power to end the betrothal in the hopes that the two women would be allowed to keep the love they shared.  Katra was soon disappointed to find out that the marriage itself had been Hasia's idea from the start.  She sought a position as a powerful ambassador and saw such a marriage as the surest way to get what she wanted.

With Katra's own career ruined, she left the comforts of Lesser Helium and made for the desert.  Instead of sharing sparkling drinks in the gardens of the Red Martian cities, she'd make her mark by wandering the desert and making common cause with the Yellow and the Green Martians.  Plus, who knows?  Maybe she'll even manage to find love.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2019, 05:31:18 PM by evilnerf »

Offline MadPandaTopic starter

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Re: John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)
« Reply #22 on: December 01, 2019, 05:34:58 PM »
Okay, just to make sure I understand this correctly...

Hasia is also a woman, and an ex, and you're still on reasonably good terms (hence the 'ally' designation).  Yes?

Offline evilnerf

Re: John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)
« Reply #23 on: December 01, 2019, 05:38:56 PM »
Yeah, not quite a 'friends with the ex' situation, and more of a 'for old times sake' kind of alliance.

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Re: John Carter of Mars (Interest Check)
« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2019, 05:44:40 PM »
Okay!  You're the girl she left behind.  Got it.