Monday, March 9, 2009

The Savage World Of Mars!

Mars! The Red Planet.

For time immemorial our crimson neighbor has held a certain fascination with us. For as long as we have realized that it was a planet, we've wondered whether or not Mars harbored anything resembling life. Nineteenth century astronomers Camille Flammarion and Percival Lowell thought they saw "canals" on the planet's surface, obvious products of intelligent life. Science Fiction writers and Hollywood films fueled speculation that life existed on the forth planet. Even today, after numerous space probes have found that Mars is a barren ball of rock and ice, we still speculate whether microbial life may have developed in the tiny world's ancient (and warmer) past and could possibly still be there. Even the rantings of proven pseudo-scientific kooks, namely Richard Hoagland who popularized the long debunked "Face on Mars", still shows our fascination with this red, iced-capped, world.

Perhaps the most amazing vision of Mars comes from Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs. Buxom, red-skinned, and naked Martian princesses; warlike, 14-foot tall, four-armed, green nomads; flying ships; guns that fire radium bullets; swashbuckling Civil War vets who mysteriously "willed" himself to Barsoom (the natives word for "Mars") and wins the heart of one of the aforementioned Martian princesses. Did I mention she was naked?

Prime real estate for Savaging. And there are two resources for gamers who want to do just that!

Adamant Entertainment is about to release Mars-Savage Worlds Edition, a pulp, "sword and planet" setting in the vein of Burroughs' Barsoom tales with a little bit of H.G. Wells (i.e. cepholopod martians who stomp about in tripod fighting machines) thrown in for good measure. While not entirely based on ERB's original stories it promises to retain much of the flavor. I pre-ordered a copy, so expect a review as soon as I have read through them.

Also, for those who want a "purer" set of rules, there is Savage Barsoom, a direct translation of ERB's Mars to Savage Worlds. Therein, you will find all the races, weapons (I do recommend that the author update the melee weapons stats to SW: Explorer's Edition), monsters, vehicles, and other material for the Savage who wants to game on a pulp Mars.

(WARNING: The above site features some "artistic nudity" here and there, so you have been warned. Don't come complaining to me if your backward "moral" sensibilities are offended or you're sacked for going to an "inappropriate" website.)