A green Martian community will field 400 to 500 troopers. All green Martian warriors are cavalry whom typically Troopers ride five abreast. In addition, to its warriors a community, also supports 200- 300 youth as well as 200- 230 adult females. Each adult female commands a spacious, three-wheeled chariot followed by a calot and pulled by a zitadar upon whom sits a GM youth. (PM VII, XV)
“The training of myself and the young Martians was conducted solely by the women, who not only attend to the education of the young in the arts of individual defense and offense, but are also the artisans who produce every manufactured article wrought by the green Marians. They make the powder, the cartridges, the firearms; in fact everything of value is produced by the females. In time of actual warfare they form a part of the reserves, and when the necessity arises fight with even greater intelligence and ferocity than the men.
“The men are trained in the higher branches of the art of war; in strategy and the maneuvering of large bodies of troops. They make the laws as they are needed; a new law for each emergency. They are unfettered by precedent in the administration of justice. Customs have been handed down by ages of repetition, but the punishment for ignoring a custom is a matter for individual treatment by a jury of the culprit's peers, and I may say that justice seldom misses fire, but seems rather to rule in inverse ratio to the ascendency of law.” (PM IX)
The regular military units are organized into squads of twenty which are lead by a lieutenant or padwar. Five squads equals a company which is commanded by a chieftain. A community has 10 to 15 chieftains that are overseen by a jed. There exists upon Barsoom about a dozen large tribes of green Martians that are 10 – 60 communities in size. These massive tribes (Thark, Thurd, Torquas, Warhoon) are lead by a jeddak and derive their name from the deserted city that serves as their capitol.
“This, then, must be the notorious Hortan Gur, Jeddak of Torquas, the fierce old ogre of the south-western hemisphere, as only for a jeddak are platforms raised in temporary camps or upon the march by the green hordes of Barsoom. As the Heliumite watched he saw another green warrior push his way forward toward the rostrum. Beside him he dragged a captive, and as the surrounding warriors parted to let the two pass, Carthoris caught a fleeting glimpse of the prisoner.” (TMM V)
Due to their determination, strength, lethality and training, it is estimated it takes 10 unentrenched red Martian infantry warriors to oppose a single green Martian trooper. The greatest detriment of the green trooper in battle is his own bellicose nature. Tribalism runs deep and alliances do not last long. “Why, oh, why will you not learn to live in amity with your fellows, must you ever go on down the ages to your final extinction but little above the plane of the dumb brutes that serve you! A people without written language, without art, without homes, without love; the victim of eons of the horrible community idea. Owning everything in common, even to your women and children, has resulted in your owning nothing in common. You hate each other as you hate all else except yourselves.” (PM X)
Although green Martians have no aircraft, no artillery and no permanent fortifications, their skill with their rifles makes them a threat to the mighty armadas of the red Martian navies.
“The fire from the vessels was most ineffectual, owing, as I afterward learned, to the unexpected suddenness of the first volley, which caught the ship's crews entirely unprepared and the sighting apparatus of the guns unprotected from the deadly aim of our warriors. “It seems that each green warrior has certain objective points for his fire under relatively identical circumstances of warfare. For example, a proportion of them, always the best marksmen, direct their fire entirely upon the wireless finding and sighting apparatus of the big guns of an attacking naval force; another detail attends to the smaller guns in the same way; others pick off the gunners; still others the officers; while certain other quotas concentrate their attention upon the other members of the crew, upon the upper works, and upon the steering gear and propellers. “Twenty minutes after the first volley the great fleet swung trailing off in the direction from which it had first appeared. Several of the craft were limping perceptibly, and seemed but barely under the control of their depleted crews. Their fire had ceased entirely and all their energies seemed focused upon escape. Our warriors then rushed up to the roofs of the buildings which we occupied and followed the retreating armada with a continuous fusillade of deadly fire.” (PM VIII)
A Pentecostal man is stranded on his porch in Queensland during the big flood. He is on his knees praying as the wind and rain beats about him. His neighbor pulls up in a fishing boat and asks him to get on-board, the pious man says “No thanks, I am waiting on the Lord.”
Hours go by and the water level rises and the wind blows harder, so the man climbs into his attic. A Coast Guard Patrol drives by and implores the man to climb-aboard. The devote man declines, “I am waiting on the Lord.”
Another two hours goes by and water is now above the roofline and the stranded man is desperately clinging to his chimney. A Channel Three News helicopter flies above the man’s house and a bullhorn bellows for him to grab the rope and climb on up. The shivering man squeaks out, “No thanks, I am waiting on the Lord.”
Well, the man drowns. When he gets to Heaven he finally meets his maker. He exclaims, “Lord, Lord, why did you abandon me? I am a faithful and descent man with a large family. How could you abandon me in my hour of need?”
Then God responds; “What more should I do; I sent you two boats and a helicopter"
Our five characters (cleric, thief, agent* and two fighters) in our party fought our way with ease through the tunnels of the troglodytes. The wily troglodyte shaman unleashed his worse on us; poisonous snakes, flaming strike, devil rays, but to no avail, he and his minions were soaking up damage. Realizing all was lost, the trog shaman tried to flee behind an obscuring mist. But our pseudodragon, Whiskers quickly tracked the cool trail of blood from the retreating shaman to a arrow crevice. The wounded troglodyte made a defiant final stand with his viper rod, but was decapitated by my battle axe.
This all was leading up to a showdown with a scheming dragon, Rathulagon. Our hope centered on the other fighter, George making a lucky hit from his masterwork composite bow with an arrow of evil slaying.
Upon entering the dank lair of the evil Rathulagon, the thief was well-prepared with his potion of invisibility and his stealth sword. My fighter, Clovis drank his potion of haste. The lawful good cleric blessed the party and cast fire resistance upon Clovis (front and center), then hung back in gaseous form waiting to aid the injured or dying with her staff of curing. Whiskers flew high and right armed with a wand of magic missiles. The agent (house rule - mage/thief), Lexus prepared her lightning bolt spell. Our intention was to scatter quickly; the dragon wouldn’t get all of us, but I feared, he would get enough of us. The surprise/initiative dice were rolled . . . Drat, a tie. At least we weren’t surprised, and ties go to player characters.
“Who disturbs my rest?”, bellowed the mighty Rathulagon (AC 23, 152hp).
Clovis’ reply was a solid strike in the chest with a javelin of lightning. Lexus let loose with a lightning bolt to the head. George rolled a ‘2’ and his arrow of evil slaying bounced pathetically and impotently off a stalactite. The red dragon shrugged off the 40+ hit points (hp) of electrical damage and breathed fire, searing both fighters, Clovis and George. Fortunately, we both made our reflex saves and were only moderately injured (18hp).
The next round, our thief pounced from hiding, rolling a natural ‘20’, but Rathulagon had a +12 fortitude save and no critical hit was obtained. The thief inflicted merely 6 hp with his back stab. The thief earned no glory that day, but he did gain the ire of an all ready angry dragon. The rest of our party did their best to inflict damage with melee weapons, but Rathulagon was a brutal and dangerous adversary. This was going to be a brutal battle of attrition; axes, swords and magic missiles, versus fangs, talons and dragon fire.
Six rounds latter, after failing his attempt to take escape, the smoldering dragon corpse lay adjacent to the bodies of an eviscerated thief and a crispy critter, we used to call George. Battered, burned and bleeding, the survivors gathered up the loot; gold, silver, gems, a flaming sword, and a mithral suit of elven mail. It was going to be expensive to reincarnate our fallen comrades, but our previous good deeds had earned us the respect and sympathy of the provincial church. Fortunately, our prior generosity also allowed us access to a high level (10th) priest.
A sign was placed in an office window: “HELP WANTED; Must be a skilled typist and have computer skills. Successful applicant must be bilingual. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer.”
A short time latter, a wolf trots up to the window, saw the sign and went inside. He looked at the receptionist, bared his teeth, then walked over to the sign, looked at it, howled and pawed at the air.
The frightened receptionist called the office manager. He was surprised to see a canine applicant but as the wolf looked determined, he was shown into the manager’s office. Inside the wolf jumped up on a chair and stared at the manager expectantly.
The nervous manager said. “I apologize, I cant hire you. The sign says you must be able to type.”
The wolf went to the typewriter and proceeded to quickly type a perfect letter. The manager was stunned, but told the wolf, “That was fantastic, but I am sorry. The sign clearly says that whomever we hire has to be good with a computer.”
The wolf went to the computer and proceeded to demonstrate his skills with various programs.
The manager was dumbfounded! He said to the wolf, “Look, I realize that you are a very intelligent applicant with fantastic talent, but you are a dog. No way, that I could hire you.”
The angry wolf jumped down from the chair and pointed his paw at the words, “Equal Opportunity Employer.” The exasperated manager said, “Yes, I know what the darn signs says. But the sign also says you should be bilingual.”
The wolf jumped up on the manager’s desk, looked him directly in the eye and said “Meow.”
'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.