Monday, April 29, 2013


Kadabra:  Located at Barsoom’s North Pole,  this is the capital and largest city of Okar, the land of the yellow Martians. The outer wall of this enormous domed city of Kadabra is 100 miles in circumference.   The evil and wicked Jeddak of Jeddaks of the North, Ruler of Okar, Sallaneus Oll was not only a devout follower of the Cult of Issus, he also had religious reverence for the apt. 
“I was surprised to note that all the guards with the hotel at which we stopped were red men, and on inquiring of one of them I learned that they were slaves purchased by the proprietors of the hotels from the government. The man whose post was past my sleeping platform had been commander of the navy of a great Martian nation; but fate had carried his flagship across the ice-barrier within the radius of power of the magnetic shaft, and now for many tedious years he had been a slave of the yellow men.  He told me that princes, jeds, and even jeddaks of the outer world, were among the menials who served the yellow race.”  
(WM X)

  Artwork from
Michael Yeates

Saturday, April 27, 2013

More Barsoomian Magic by Michael Curtis

Ethereal Walk – 4th                           Sphere = Magic

Time/Duration = four actions/ 2d4 zodes
Range/Effect = touch/self plus one
Saving throw = none

By casting this spell, the priest and one companion/ mount suddenly exist on both the material and ethereal planes. This allows the character(s) to travel in any direction without penalty (as if walking on air).  He can pass through up to 1/50th sofad of lead, 1/10th sofad of metal, one sofad of stone, or three sofads of dirt or wood.  This spell also allows for free movement across liquids. While in this state, the character can only be struck by silver items or magical   items or relics.  Ethereal walk grants the caster the ability to survive without oxygen and imparts a +4 bonus to saving throws against gas or poison.
As the caster exists simultaneously on two planes while under the effect of this spell, there is a chance (1 in 6) that ethereal predators or guardians willtrack the priest and his companion as they travel.  Aggressive ethereal guardians (d4 encountered) will likely attack the priest if he is detected.


      The ethereal plane exists alongside our unaligned material plane, permeating our mundane reality.  The ether is a chaotic realm of dreams, archetypes, and unconscious desires.  The ethereal plane also links to various  planes:


1)       The Abyss (a demonic prison)

2)       The legalistic Elemental Plane of Earth

3)       The Plane of Shadow or Negative Energy     

4)       The libertine Elemental Plane of Water

5)       The diabolic Nine Tiers of Hell  

6)       The chaotic  Elemental Plane of Air

7)       The neutral Elemental Plane of Fire, and

8)       Paradise (holy realm of angels and saints)

Fearful Aura – 4th                     Sphere = Necromancy

Time/Duration = one action/ d6 xats
Range/Effect = 1” per   hit die/ non-friendly creatures
Saving throw = Will

This spell creates an invisible sphere of dread around the caster, forcing all sentient creatures that are not currently friends, allies, or associates of the caster within its range to make a saving throw.  Creatures that fail this roll must retreat, flee (if failed by 5 points of more), or cower helplessly in fear (rolled a ‘1’ on d20).

In their natural forms, undead, dragons, and angels radiate fear that produces a field similar to this 4th level spell, fearful aura.  The DC to resist this dread is equal to 7 + the square root of the creature’s hit points.  When creatures are encountered in groups, the DC is based on the most powerful creature’s hit point total, while the range is determined by the total number of hit dice present (i.e., a 8 hit dice vampire with 38 hit points is encountered alongside five zombies of 2 hit dice each.  The DC to resist the fear is 13 (7 + 6) and the radius of the effect is 18” ( 8 + [5×2] ).  Dragons and angels can dismiss their aura of fear with a spoken phrase; undead cannot.

Inhabitants of the Red Planet seldom retreat.  NPCs only make morale/ will checks when they:

1)       Are outnumbered by more than 2 to 1
2)       Are facing a feared enemy, or
3)       Their liege or commander has died.

Treat a morale check as a will save with the d20 roll that is normally modified by the leader’s charisma modifier (or EL modifier,) The DC for this will/  morale check is set by the GM, but is typically 10 + the current encounter level.

Upon warlike Barsoom, there are few cowards,    and that every man, whether prince, priest or peasant glories in deadly strife.”   (WM, II)


Feast – 3rd                             Sphere = Earth
Time/Duration = one xat/ once per week
Range/Effect = 1”/ 2d6×level
Saving throw = N.A.

This spell creates a nutritious and tasty meal of meat, cheese, water, and wine that feeds a number of adults equal to 2d6 × the caster’s level. Silverware, tables, chairs, plates, and containers are NOT created by the spell.  The material component is a handful of dirt and a glass of water.


Find Traps – 2nd                  Sphere = Knowledge

Time/Duration = two actions/ 2d6 xats
Range/Effect = personal/self
Saving throw = N.A.

The spell grants the priest the ability to search for traps, secret doors, and magical sigils as if he were a criminal of equal level.  Although the spell allows the priest to avoid detected traps that can cause harm, it provides no skill to remove the hazard that is unique to the criminal class.  This spell remains in effect until its duration expires; interrupting a search to enter combat, cast spells, or perform other actions does not negate this enchantment’s duration.  The material component for the spell is a live darseen (Sz0, AC 17, 1 gc) that is not harmed in the casting or duration  of the spell.

Flaming Pillar – 3rd                           Sphere = Fire

Time/Duration = two actions/ instantaneous
Range/Effect = 2” per level/ one target
Saving throw = Reflex

The spell creates a column of divine fire to strike a selected individual or target.  It does one d6 of damage per caster level.  A successful saving throw reduces the inflicted damage by half.


Ghostly Glory of Barsoom – 4th     Sphere = Combat

Time/Duration = 10 xats/ 4d6 xats
Range/Effect = 2” per level/one creature per level
Saving throw = none

This spell calls forth the spirits of Mars’ dead warriors to impart their valor upon the targets.  The affected creatures appear wreathed by ghostly forms bearing weapons of ancient manufacture.  This manifestation causes the targets to temporarily increase in level for purposes of determining attack rolls and saving throws.  It also grants them additional hit points that last until reduced by damage or the spell runs its course.  The priest affects one creature per level he possesses.

Warriors and Troopers gain additional power based on their current level of experience.  Warrior or Troopers of 1st-3rd level gain an additional three levels for the duration of the spell; 4th-7th level characters gain two additional levels; and 8th-10th level warriors and troopers gain a single level.                                               

                 All other classes are treated as Warriors of equal level for the duration of the spell, re-rolling their hit point totals using d8 hit dice.  These new, temporary hit points cannot be lower than their usual hit point total, but any wounds the character is suffering carry over to their new hit point total (a 16 hp, 6th Scientist with 5 point of damage would roll 6d8 -5            to determine his hit points while under the effect of this spell).  The material component for this spell is a handful of dirt from a famous battlefield, rubbed upon the body of each creature affected.


Haste -  2nd                                            Sphere = Magic

Time/Duration = two actions/1d6 xats
Range/Effect = 1” per level/ one creature
Saving throw = Tenacity based

This spell or power causes the target to move, attack, and cast spells at twice his normal pace.  Thus, a hasted PC can both cast a spell and make a melee attack in a single round or could fire four arrows in the same round (p. 30).  This increased rate of action does not affect armor class, saving throws, or skill throws.  After the duration of the spell ends, the target ages one year (see p. 16 for more information on the incredible Martian lifespan).  The target of the spell can make a saving throw to avoid the effects of an unwanted haste.

“Every muscle responded instantly and accurately, and almost mechanically, to the need of the instant.  I am scarcely aware that I think when I fight, so quickly does my point take advantage of every opening, or spring to my defense if I am threatened.”   (CM, VI)

This spell may be revered, creating a slow effect that causes the target to move, attack, and cast spells at half his normal pace (a slowed PC would require two rounds to cast a light spell and attack every other round with a melee weapon).  Slow also causes a temporary -4 penalty to Agility.  Unlike haste, after a slow spell has expired, the target is not aged.


Helmet of Salvation – 3rd                 Sphere = General

Time/Duration = one round/ 3d6 xats
Range/Effect = touch/one creature
Saving throw = none

         This spell imparts a mental clarity and physical resilience upon it target, granting him a +3 bonus to all saving and skill throws for the duration of the spell.  It provides no modifier to combat or armor class.

Friday, April 26, 2013


Kaol:   An isolated Martian nation with elite cavalry that is hidden beneath the towering tress of the Kaolian forest.  Their jeddak is the wise and discerning, Kulan Tith.

 “Lies along the equator almost halfway round the planet to the east of Helium. It comprises a sunken area of extreme tropical heat, and is inhabited by a nation of red men varying but little in manners, customs, and appearance from the balance of the red men of Barsoom.  I knew that they were among those of the outer world who still clung tenaciously to the discredited religion of the Holy Therns, and that Matai Shang would find a ready welcome and safe refuge among them; while John Carter could look for nothing better than an ignoble death at their hands. (WM V)

“These Kaolians are most noble fighters, nor are the green men of the equator one whit 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. . .  All day we fought, until the road was red with blood and clogged with corpses. Back and forth along the slippery highway the tide of battle surged, but never once was the gateway to Kaol really in danger.”   (WM VI)

I breakfasted with a number of the Kaolian officers, whom I found as courteous and delightful hosts as even the nobles of Helium, who are renowned for their ease of manners and excellence of breeding. The meal was scarcely concluded when a messenger arrived from Kulan Tith summoning me before him. As I entered the royal presence the jeddak rose, and stepping from the dais which supported his magnificent throne, came forward to meet me—a mark of distinction that is seldom accorded to other than a visiting ruler.”  (WM VI)
Artwork is from
Michael Whelan

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Kaolian Forrest


Kaolian Forest:   “Lies along the equator almost halfway round the planet to the east of Helium. It comprises a sunken area of extreme tropical heat . .  .The isolation of the Kaolians is rendered almost complete by the fact that no waterway connects their land with that of any other nation, nor have they any need of a waterway since the low, swampy land which comprises the entire area of their domain self-waters their abundant tropical crops.”   (CM V)

         “For great distances in all directions rugged hills and arid stretches of dead sea bottom discourage intercourse with them, and since there is practically no such thing as foreign commerce upon warlike Barsoom, where each nation is sufficient to itself, really little has been known relative to the court of the Jeddak of Kaol and the numerous strange, but interesting, people over whom he rules.  Occasional hunting parties have traveled to this out-of-the-way corner of the globe, but the hostility of the natives has usually brought disaster upon them, so that even the sport of hunting the strange and savage creatures which haunt the jungle fastnesses of Kaol has of later years proved insufficient lure even to the most intrepid warriors.”  (CM VI)

“Immense trees reared their mighty heads far above us, their broad fronds completely shutting off the slightest glimpse of the sky. It was easy to see why the Kaolians needed no navy; their cities, hidden in the midst of this towering forest, must be entirely invisible from above, nor could a landing be made by any but the smallest fliers, and then only with the greatest risk of accident.”  (CM VI)
Artwork by
Michael Yeates

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

More Barsoomian Magic from Michael Curtis

Hold Person – 2nd                               Sphere = Earth
Time/Duration = one action/ 1 round per level
Range/Effect = 2” per level/one creature
Saving throw = Fortitude
This spell causes a single target to be held in place as if encased in clay.  The magic of this invocation fastens the creature’s feet to the earth, causing flying creatures to fall and swimming creatures to sink.  The affected creature can see and hear, but may not speak, move, attack, or cast spells.  Held, sleeping, unconscious, or defenseless opponents enjoy no bonus to their armor class for dexterityor parrying and their enemies gain a +5 bonus to strike them.        A held, sleeping, unconsciousor defenseless being also rolls a d12 on  reflex and fortitude  based saving throws.

“The girl was still slightly under the spell of the creature’s influence—she had not regained full and independent domination of her powers.  She moved as one in the throes of some hideous nightmare—slowly, painfully, as though each limb was hampered by a great weight, or as she was dragging her body through viscous fluid.”   (CM, VI)


Hold Portal – 1st                                 Sphere = Earth
Time/Duration = one action/ d6 days
Range/Effect = touch/one closeable portal
Saving throw = 2d6 Strength throw
      This spell magically seals a single door or window, rendering it difficult to open.  A remove curse negates the spell, as does a successful strength throw against a DC of 12 on 2d6.  The caster of the original automatically bypasses the effect of held portals.     The material component is a reusable silver key (5 sc).


Type of Barrier
Strength Throw (2d6)
Damp/ stuck door
Solid/ locked interior door
Held Portal/ Banded  door
Reinforced door / manacles
Heavy chains /iron bars
Minor city gate  

Using a crowbar (1 sc, 2#) grants a +2 bonus to individual Strength throws.  If using a battering ram  (10 gc, 20#), a d20 is rolled adding the average Strength modifier of the four people employing the ram. 


Light – 1st                                                                    Sphere = Fire
Time/Duration = one round/1 zode per level
Range/Effect = 3” radius/1 object
Saving throw = N.A.

This spell brightly illuminates a 4” radius as if it were a torch.  The light spell or power produces no heat and can be cast on a transportable object such as a coin, dagger, rock, spear tip, etc.  The spell can be reversed, creating darkness that imposes a -4 penalty to all attack rolls made by creatures within its area of effect.  Darkness cancels out light and vice versa.  The material component is a piece of phosphorus (1 sc).


Lightning – 3rd                                    Sphere = Air
Time/Duration = one action/instantaneous
Range/Effect = 3” per level/ one creature
Saving throw = Reflex

By casting this spell, the priest creates a bolt of lightning that bursts from his palm to strike a target with explosive force.  Damage caused by the bolt is equal to one d6 per level of the caster.  Damage is increased to one d8 per level if cast outdoors or at a target standing in or immersed in water.  Likewise, damage is d10 per caster level if the target is outdoors during a rain or thunderstorm (an unlikely occurrence outside of Barsoom’s south pole). A successful save reduces the damage inflicted by half.  Casting this spell requires no vocalization, merely a series of gestures and a determined glare.

Mending – 1st                                       Sphere = Earth
Time/Duration = one xat/ 1 month per level
Range/Effect = touch/1 object
Saving throw = none

This spell repairs fractures or tears in metal, ceramic, leather, or cloth objects.  The object to be repaired cannot be larger than the caster’s level in mass units (#).  This spell will repair a magical item that has been shattered or otherwise broken, but the mended object loses its magical properties.  It retains its craftsmanship, however, and is now treated as a masterwork item (+1 modifier to skill or attack rolls, but no damage bonus).  Material component is a handful of dirt.

Message – 4th                                       Sphere = Sound

Time/Duration = one action/ instantaneous
Range/Effect = infinite/one target
Saving throw = none

      The magic of this spell instantaneously sends a spoken message from the caster to one chosen friend or ally with no restriction on distance between the two parties.  The recipient of the message is aware of who sent the message, but not the location of the sender.  The message is received without error and cannot consist of more words than the caster has levels.


Might of the White Ape – 2nd           Sphere = Combat

Time/Duration = one round/2d6 xats
Range/Effect = touch/one creature
Saving throw = Fortitude

This spell temporarily increased the Strength of a single creature by one point for every level possessed by the spell caster (maximum +10).  This divinely-granted increase is not visible to the naked eye (the target does not increase in size or physique) and it is therefore considered dishonorable to use this enchantment in duels or contests between warriors.   An unwanted might of the white ape can be resisted with a successful saving throw. The material component for this spell is a single, pristine hair plucked from a white ape’s scalp (1gc).

Negate Poison – 4th                            Sphere = Water

Time/Duration = one xat/ instantaneous
Range/Effect = touch/one creature
Saving throw = none

This spell neutralizes the effects of poison or venom from a single creature.  For the spell to be effective, no more than 10 xats per level of the spell caster can have elapsed since the moment the target was exposed to the poison.  The spell reverses mundane and magical venoms, and will restore lost ability points, but not hit points lost to the poison.   This does not impart future immunity from other poisonous attacks.  The material component is the priest’s holy symbol and a crushed amethyst (250gc).

“The fair-skinned, yellow-haired warriors, armed only with their long bows and a kind of short-handled, war-axe, were almost helpless beneath the savage mounted green men at close quarters; but at a distance their sharp arrows did fully as much execution as the radium projectiles of the green men…
                “Death seemed to follow instantly the slightest prick of a bowman’s arrow, nor apparently did one ever miss its goal.  There could be but only one explanation: the missiles were poisoned-tipped…
                “Thousands of dead lay upon the field a moment since.  It would have required many hours to remove them.  The thing is uncanny.”   (TMM, V-VI)
Artwork by Frazetta
Miniatures by BronzeAgeMiniaturesDOTcom