Monday, November 17, 2014

Warriors of the Red Planet; FH&W for Planetary Romance/ Sword and Planet 1


Sorry about the lack of posts. The season was supposed to be over, but I have been in the field pretty much every day since my last appearence here. However, I broke my leg, coming down a badland feature last Monday, so now my season is totally over. The good news is that I am getting paid. However, some dumbass fucked up my car while I was on the way back from the doctor. It has been a week.

I am going to use this time to write draw and game. I am probably going to launch a mars type game as early as tomorrow, and a Metal Earth game soon after.

Don't enlarge the pic below if yer at work, it has nipples.

Mars first. I posted this at TRPS earlier, but as I am seldom on line these days, I forgot the shit nature of forums. They're even worse for conversation than ghost towns like this blog.

First lets start with systems:

Warriors of the Red Planet, despite its authors' best efforts to conceal its actual existence, is a nice fit for this sort of game. It has some bullshit anti-world building pro illusionism DM advice (pps 55-56) which seems out of place in such a game, but this is as easily ignored as it is repugnant; it wouldn't be the OSR, after all, if someone didn't present opinion as fact.

The game has four character classes: fighting man (a cumbersome name, but an acceptable nod to nastolgia given the source material); Scoundrel (thief); Mentalist; and Scientist. The former pair hold no real surprises, the latter repackage spell like abilities as psionic powers and gadgets, respectively.

There are several races, mostly genric so it would be relatively easy to craft your own flavors of each. One could easily do Planet of the Apes, Kamandi, Dying Earth or Barsoom with this game. Mix it with something like B/X, with which it is pretty much compatible, and you could do just about anything. I think race and class are significant components of the core of a gameworlds' identity. This game does a good job of giving you just enough in this regard without forcing unwanted flavor into the mix. There are some racial level limits, however, which I have an issue with in regards to the fact I think such limits should be campaign/setting specific, not generic.

The Monster section contains over a hundred genre fitting critters by my count, although many are different types of "men" it remains an impressive selection. My only complaint here is the lack of B/X style moral rules. The authors use ascending (and descending, be cool) AC, so they don't have THE FEAR OF GARY why the fuck not use the better (or ar least more intuitive) of the DnD morale systems?

The book is rounded out by some random tables of various levels of usability.

It is a good game. I give it a 7 bumped to an 8 because it is treading newish ground, bumped back down to a 7 because no pdf/table of contents, bumped back up to an 8 because it is a beta.

Also, @ Thomas Denmark if you are here- failing to release a product has exactly the impact on sales as it does on theft. Release the pdf. I can't even believe I have to say that in 2014. 2014, man. 2014.

Another fine DnD that can do the job, easily, and has a PDF, a free one even, is Fantastic Heroes and Witchery. One would have to cherry pick the classes and races, relying mostly on the weird science bunch, but that is how the game is made to be used, anyway. However, the game currently lacks a bestiary. It being DnD, however, you can probably find whatever critters you need in a book you already own. I have to be honest here, I like WoTRP, and I am going to use it in some capacity, but FH&W is a solid 9+, has an index, a TOC, two pdf versions (paid and free) and a far better value for your momey. This is especially true if you are playing online, as the free pdf mAkes the purchase of more than one hard copy needless.

The TSR Dark Sun setting could easily be converted to a Barsoom like world by sweeping out the demi humans and replacing them with in genre races. The 4e set has some excellent shit on deserts and easily adapatable survival rules for the same, if nothing else.

Another, lesser known setting, is Savage Swords of Athanor. You can get it from the lower right colunm at the blog of the same name, here.

However, I think it is important to point out that while extreme environments are the rule in this sort of setting, they need not be homogenous. Barsoom has room for all sorts of environments ranging from deserts to jungles to frozen poles and underground seas.

Okay, so system concerns are out of the way, as well as a quick setting fix if one is desired.

Were I, and as mentioned above, I am about to do so twice, about to start up a T&P game i would begin with the characters as Earthers more or less at the moment of their arrival at the setting. See Planet of Apes and Kamandi for excellent examples of the same. This would solve the problem of introducing the setting and getting players to invest in it. The setting is a mystery that the players must solve, at least to an extent, if they wish to survive. Regardless of how I feel about seasons 4-6, early episodes of LOST are really good at revealing bits and pieces of setting lore. The island sequences on Arrow do a good job of this too. Check that shit out.



  1. 1. Thank you for the nipples and naked people.
    2. Get better soon.

  2. Thanks, man.
    I am a huge fan of naked people. I have been toying for the last couple of years with the idea of doing a faithful (and honestly, shamelessly horny) adaption of Princess of Mars as a web comic. Maybe some day.

  3. It was engendered by frustration in regards to the lack of detail regarding the game.
    If anyone has questions feel free to direct them at me, I have mothing but time and opiates.

  4. Heh, I was in the same boat last year. Broken leg and nothing to do. It is how I found out about the G+ Hangout community and on line game opportunities. If you set up any games late evening I'll sure try and join.

  5. Hey, take care of the leg man and I've directed folks your way from my blog. I agree with you about some of Warriors of the Red Planet now that the rule book is going for 16.50 or some such on LuLu. That being said its still a pretty good source book. I prefer a pre or post Colonial Mars and that's where I'm sticking my campaigns and have for the last couple of years.
    Anyhow as to why there isn't a pdf of WoRP? Because the game is still in the beta stage. Is it going to be a fully realized rule book at some point? I think so but I'm hoping this isn't going to be another vaporware retroclone. It took awhile for us to get a beta stage rule book.
    As for Fantastic Heroes and Witchery, I really do love the rule book. Sorry that I don't have the capacity for Google hangouts but this is the way of having a crap box for a computer. Cheers and hope the leg heals quick and well. All my best Metal.

  6. Your blog was just about the only place I found anything about WoTRP, really. Given the length of time the original product took to see the light of day, I am not expecting to see the full version for quite some time.
    Personally, I prefer skype to G+, and audio as opposed to video chat. G+ depresses me because it is packed full of trivial drama and epic boredom. Further, fuck social networks in general.

  7. Sorry to hear you got hurt, man. Feel better soon.

  8. Bummer about your leg, though if anybody is going to know what to do with himself during downtime, it is you.

  9. I have to agree with you about WotRP, it was p good but I was looking forward to more world building info. And I also agree about Fantastic Heroes &W, the weird science stuff was well done I was so impressed it even had a weird science section when I found it. I love the planetary romance stuff, have you seen Almuric or "Doc's" Barsoom rules?