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1/02/2017 10:58 am  #1

Green Martian

Over the holidays I ran a one-shot game set on Mars - a BoL Barsoom game using the Savage World’s Mars book by Adamant Entertainment for setting, with the visual look of the recent film (I’ve never read the ERB books).

As this was a break from our current Ancient Egyptian game and would not necessarily be played again, I just adapted the adventure in the back of the Mars book. However, in the Adamant book the Green Martians are more like Red Martians – about the same size and just two arms. I wanted to have bigger four armed Martians, like in the film that my players (and I) were familiar with.

I confess that I’m not much of a rules guy, even with a simple system like BoL. Crunch just isn’t my thing, which is one reason the elegant simplicity of BoL appeals to me. Therefore I’m not confident at working up figures and abilities for new creature creations.

So I steal.

The Venomous Pao wrote a series of fun posts on his Strange Stones blog where he reviewed fictitious fantasy and sci-fi films and wrote up the characters as BoL PCs/Monsters.  A Bollywood fantasy epic featured Bulusu Sunita Kal, a four armed nasty out to kill the hero of the film that never existed.

​So I adapted this monster to my...Green Martian

+2 Lifeblood: Add 2 to your final Lifeblood.

+1 Agility: Add 1 to your final Agility, and your maximum Agility is now 6 instead of 5

Four Arms-Defence: add +1 to Defence for each hand carrying a weapon/shield not used to attack.

Four Arms-Attack:
Attack with one light/medium weapons – as normal
Attack with two light/medium weapons – at -1 with damage as Two-Weapon fighting option
Attack with three light/medium weapons – one attack as Two-Weapon fighting option
                                                                                     plus one single attack, all attacks at -2
Attack with four light/medium weapons – two attacks as Two-Weapon fighting option,
                                                                                   both attacks at -4Attack with one large weapon – as normal

Attack with one large weapon, plus one single attack – all attacks at -3

Attack with pistol in melee – 1 pistol at -2, 2 pistols at -3, 3 pistols at – 4, 4 pistols at -5

Boons: Alert, Born in the Saddle, Brawler, Fearsome Looks, Hard-To-Kill, Waste Born

Flaws: Arrogant, Country Bumpkin, Distinctive Appearance, Fear of Flying, Hot-Headed, Unsettling

The above was for Villains and Toughs. Rabble Did D3+1 damage and had 4 LB.

What do more skilled constructors of new creatures think? Too tough? (I think it may be too tough.)

(My players are sneaky swine, so managed to free Red Martian captives by cutting down Green Martian rabble sentries using stealth and a good run of luck with the dice. They never went toe-to-toe with them.)

Critical comment appreciated.

Has anyone else run a BoL Barsoom game?

Last edited by Gruntfuttock (1/02/2017 11:02 am)

My real name is Steve Hall

1/14/2017 7:55 am  #2

Re: Green Martian

I am very happy to know that you brought Barsoom to the table. They are my favorite stories, I read them in the days of my youth. Definitely read at least the first 3 books to really get the feel for this great grandfather of SciFi/Fantasy.
I have not run any BoL for a long time but I think your Green man adaptation is good for a named character or major villain.
The players were smart to circumvent the bad guys, classic RPG move. On Barsoom this may be seen as dishonorable however. Understand I really am steeped in Barsoom lore so adjustments must be made for the reality of the modern and gamer mind. I have the Adnmant source book and it is a great alternative Mars for gaming. Look for 'Under the Moons of Zoon' for more sword and planet gaming goodness. I toyed with the idea of some system of earning honor based on the Barsoomian code of combat etiquette and other notions of proper conduct for heroes and nobles. It would need to translate into some game bonus as well as the more important aspects of interactions with NPC both high and low. Perhaps they can be spent to give boons or flaws in an encounter?


1/15/2017 6:20 am  #3

Re: Green Martian

Thanks for the feedback! 

Pleased that my Green Martian gets the thumbs up from someone who knows the source material better than I do. I've not read the novels, so my game was more of a mash-up of the film and the Adamant setting - but I had to have the tall four-armed Green Men rather than Adamant's more human version.

​I fear my players will always take the dishonourable path (samurai games would be a disaster with them). Although I haven't read ERB, I was aware of the honour code of Barsoom, but went more with the Hollywood ethics for the one-shot. When we revisit Barsoom, I may well add honour and reputation to the mix, just to see how they'd cope.

("Come over to the Dark Side, Luke.")

My real name is Steve Hall
     Thread Starter

1/15/2017 10:33 am  #4

Re: Green Martian

The Adamant material is a great way to go. I want to use it my self. Perhaps some cities in your version can follow the Barsoomian code of combat strictly and it would be, technically, a Flaw. This would make going up against someone that can survive in a violent world with such a limitation very dangerous, they would be full of tricks and subtleties of all sorts to survive.
Perhaps the rewards would be more in the game world rather than a game mechanic. BoL seems to be better at that than many other RPGs.
However it works out it sounds lime a lot of fun and I wish I was in the game myself.


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