“I fell almost directly in the center of the fierce combat, among warriors who had not seen my approach so busily were they engaged in life and death struggles. The men were fighting on foot with long-swords, while an occasional shot from a sharpshooter on the outskirts of the conflict would bring down a warrior who might for an instant separate himself from the entangled mass.” (PM XXV)
Melee combat is the preferred method of conflict upon Barsoom as
“Few red men are good shots, for the sword is their chosen weapon.” (TMM, IV)
To a lesser extent, large scale or army size combat is also governed by the code of arms; however, the unit with the lesser weapon has to attack first, before being attacked in ranged combat by the unit with the more advantageous weapons.
Javelins are used by Yellow Martians Bows are used by ancient white Martians or isolated red Martian nations such as Manator. Pistols are equivalent to revolvers and used by red warriors. Revolvers are used by therns and black pirates and red Troopers. Rifles are used by therns, Red troopers, and red kadars/ guards.
Green Martian rifles (GMR) are used by the 15' green troopers. “Thar Ban reached the side of his mount he snatched his long radium rifle from its boot, and, wheeling, poured three shots into the oncoming red men. Such is the uncanny marksmanship of these green Martian savages that three red warriors dropped in their tracks as three projectiles exploded in their vitals.” (TMM IV)
The attacker rerolls all 1s if he is on higher terrain such as a hill, battlement, flier, etc. .
Saving throws are allowed if the defender/ target has cover. Chance of avoiding injury (d6) is based upon target’s cover - - >
a ‘6’ if light cover; smoke, brush, etc.,
a ‘5’ or ‘6’ if medium cover; trenches, walls, ruins, small flier, etc.,
a ‘4’, ‘5’ or ‘6’ if heavy cover; battlements, forests, battleship, etc..
This bonus is increased
An additional one in six if night combat, and/or
An additional one in six if elite or crack unit, and/or
An additional one in six if rapidly moving target, and/or
An additional one in six if target is at long range (twice that listed).
Regardless of defender’s cover and circumstantial modifiers, the defending unit or target always fails its saving throw on a natural one on the d6 throw.
Upon the Red Planet, sword fights are the preferred method of settling individual and unit combat; melee combat is resolved according to the ancient or traditional code of arms: “Scarcely had his hideous laugh rang out but once, when I was upon him. The brute was twelve feet in height and armed to the teeth, but I believe that I could have accounted for the whole roomful in the terrific intensity of my rage. Springing upward, I struck him full in the face as he turned at my warning cry and then as he drew his short-sword I drew mine and sprang up again upon his breast, hooking one leg over the butt of his pistol and grasping one of his huge tusks with my left hand while I delivered blow after blow upon his enormous chest.
“He could not use his short-sword to advantage because I was too close to him, nor could he draw his pistol, which he attempted to do in direct opposition to Martian custom which says that you may not fight a fellow warrior in private combat with any other than the weapon with which you are attacked. In fact he could do nothing but make a wild and futile attempt to dislodge me. With all his immense bulk he was little if any stronger than I, and it was but the matter of a moment or two before he sank, bleeding and lifeless, to the floor.” (PM X)
R = red, G = green, T = thern, B = black, Y = yellow, and W = warrior, T = trooper or cavalry and P = pirate.
Players may assign modifiers to the die roll based upon the circumstances; i.e.,
Charging, surprise, terrain advantage, troop quality, etc. . .
Retreat does not appear to be a common option for the determined warriors of Barsoom; therefore, unlike terrestrial based war games, morale rules are not a necessity. Each unit within base contact rolls d6 in melee and if the attacker’s die roll is equal or greater than number assigned to defending, a casualty (remove miniature or model from play). This continues until either player is eliminated or chooses to withdraw his forces from battle.
“These Kaolians are most noble fighters, nor are the green men of the equator one bit less warlike than their cold, cruel cousins of the temperate zone. There were many times when either side might have withdrawn without dishonor and thus ended hostilities, but from the mad abandon with which each invariably renewed hostilities I soon came to believe that what need not have been more than a trifling skirmish would end only with the complete extermination of one force or the other.”
An enormous beast used by green Martians to pull their three-wheeled chariots. “There were about two hundred and fifty of these vehicles, each drawn by a single animal, any one of which, from their appearance, might easily have drawn the entire wagon train when fully loaded. The chariots themselves were large, commodious, and gorgeously decorated. In each was seated a female Martian loaded with ornaments of metal, with jewels and silks and furs, and upon the back of each of the beasts which drew the chariots was perched a young Martian driver. Like the animals upon which the warriors were mounted, the heavier draft animals wore neither bit nor bridle, but were guided entirely by telepathic means.” (PM II)
“The fifty extra mastodons, or heavy draught animals, known as zitidars, and the five or six hundred extra thoats of the warriors running loose within the hollow square formed by the surrounding warriors. The gleaming metal and jewels of the gorgeous ornaments of the men and women, duplicated in the trappings of the zitidars and thoats, and interspersed with the flashing colors of magnificent silks and furs and feathers, lent a barbaric splendor to the caravan which would have turned an East Indian potentate green with envy. “The enormous broad tires of the chariots and the padded feet of the animals brought forth no sound from the moss-covered sea bottom; and so we moved in utter silence, like some huge phantasmagoria, except when the stillness was broken by the guttural growling of a goaded zitidar, or the squealing of fighting thoats. The green Martians converse but little, and then usually in monosyllables, low and like the faint rumbling of distant thunder." (PM XV)
'Jasoom' is the title given to our Earth by the Martians of Edgar Rice Burroughs' novels.
This blog serves as a forum to discuss CLASSIC pen-n-paper, role playing games. Featured herein are pages from the author's pnp game written and copyrighted in 1990. RED PLANET was based upon ERB's Barsoom novels that are now within the Public Domain . . .
PM = A Princess of Mars GM = The Gods of Mars WM = The Warlord of Mars TMM = Thuvia, Maid of Mars CM = The Chessmen of Mars MM = Mastermind of Mars
This blog is a product of fan fiction. Most artwork on this site is the sole property of the respective artist or copyright holder and reproduced here out of admiration or respect. Much of this art work and more is available at Damon Orellz excellent blog, The ART of BARSOOM. If your artwork appears on this site, and you want it taken down, send me a comment.
“I know that you are interested and that you believe, and I know that the world, too, is interested, though they will not believe for many years; yes, for many ages, since they cannot understand. Earth men have not yet progressed to a point where they can comprehend the things that I have written.”
Forward to The Gods of Mars by E.R.B.