Therns are the degenerate descendants of the auburn-haired, fair-skinned ancient race. Therns are integral to the pandemic Cult of Issus. “The therns for their part have temples doted along the entire civilized world. Here priests whom the people never see, communicate the doctrine of the Mysterious River Iss, the Valley Dor and the Lost Sea of Korus to persuade the poor deluded creatures to take the voluntary pilgrimage that swells the wealth of the Holy Therns and adds to their number of slaves.” (GM, XIII) The Valley Dor is not the promised land of peace and happiness, but a nightmare of cruelty and exploitation.
Therns are deceived by superstitions of their own; “As man may eat the flesh of beasts, so may gods eat the flesh of man. The Holy Therns are the Gods of Mars.” (GM, VIII) In addition to this, and other delusions, therns worship the plant men and white apes as reincarnations of fellow therns who have died before completing the 1000 year life cycle. Therns who die a dishonorable death are thought to forever inhabit the slimy body of an aquatic reptile, the silian. They are an immoral race given to conceit, debauchery and greed. Telepathic, but not oviparous; they fear deep water, black pirates and banths.
Therns are similar in appearance to red men except for their alopecia and milk-white skin. To conceal their bald pate, both males and females wear long, yellow wigs which they revere. It is a disgrace for a thern to be seen without this wig. An impressive, jewel encrusted diadem identifies a Holy Thern; otherwise, harness and weaponry are very similar to that of the red Martians. They are infamous as “the least honorable and most treacherous fighters upon Mars.” (WM,IV)
In their subterranean home under the Otz Cliffs dwell millions of slaves, hybrids and ferocious banths. The therns are ruled by a theocracy that sometimes receives written revelation from their goddess, Issus. The thern navy consists of some 2,000 battleships (TLVII), and one million warriors guard their surface temples, courts and gardens. Minimal level for a thern character is two.
"The arm of the Holy Thern is long. It reaches to every nation of Barsoom. His secret temples are hidden in the heart of every community. Wherever we go should we escape, we shall find that word of our coming has preceded us, and death awaits us before we may pollute the air with blasphemies." (GM III)
When generating thern characters add +2 to wisdom and subtract two from constitution.
Criminal is the preferred class for therns.
Illustration is from Neal Hoffman