Sunday, February 18, 2018

Barsoomian Evaporated Ocean Nightmares With Thuvia, Maid of Mars By Edgar Rice Burroughs For Your Old School Campaigns

"A forbidden love, a base betrayal,  a tale of political intrigue, &  blood thirsty combat all set against the tides of Barsoomian warfare amid the dead sea bottoms and ruined city of Mars. "

An email request for more campaign information from dungeon master Chris, so once again I dug through my notes to talk about the fourth of the Barsoom novel series  Thuvia, Maid of Mars & how it relates to the Warriors of the Red Planet rpg. Thuvia Maid of Mars features the son of  John Carter, Warlord of Mars, and Dejah Thoris of Helium as the principal protagonist of the novel.

Art by James Allen St. John
from Thuvia, Maid of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, McClurg, 1920.

This is a  'Carthoris' novel focusing on his romance with Thuvia, princess of Ptarth who is promised to Kulan Tith, Jeddak of Kaol. The real backdrop here is the diplomatic tension between Helium and Ptarth which are both prominent Barsoomian city state/empires because of Thuvia's engagement to Kulan Tith which only death can break but this death can't be caused by a new suitor. This situation goes out the window when Thuvia, princess of Ptarth is kidnapped! Here's where things get interesting as we get lots of details about the Barsoomian fliers when an auto pilot device and navigation system gets tampered with &  Carthoris finds himself in the unexplored & undiscovered south of Barsoom in the ruins of ancient city state of  Aanthor.
Here we are given our first taste of the Green hordes of Torquas whom are among the most dangerous of Green Martian war clans. Of course  Thuvia, princess of Ptarth & Carthoris of Heluim are reunited but can they stop all out war between two of the most powerful city states on Barsoom? Well you'll just have to go read it for yourself.

Art for Thuvia, Maid of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, McClurg, 1920.

For a Warrior of the Red Planet dungeon master this one of the most essential books in the ERB canon. Why?! Because its one of the Barsoomian novels that contains many of the details on Barsoomian psychic abilities! These abilities transcend life & death itself in the form of the psychic abilities of the inhabitants of the lost city state of
Lothar. "Lother is home of an ancient fair-skinned human race gifted with the ability to create lifelike phantasms from pure thought. They habitually use large numbers of phantom bowmen paired with real and phantom banths (Barsoomian lions) to defend themselves from the hordes of Torquas."
Mind bullets artwork from the Warriors of the Red Planet rpg & used without permission.

So these are high level Mentalists with the ability to telepathically & psychically  project their own reality of Barsoom's past onto the present. The people of
Lothar are the  text book PC class mentalists bar none! The illusionary bowmen come to life and defend their ruined city. So is there enough room to squeeze into the events of Thuvia, Maid of Mars  a party of adventurers?!
Hell yes there is! A Barsoomian princess of the realm is missing! Thuvia, princess of Ptarth has been kidnapped and every royal & bottom feeder tribe of adventurers is going to be looking for her!  There are lots of opportunities to screw over parties of adventurers who get themselves lost on Barsoom!

There are several things about 
Thuvia, Maid of Mars   to remember :
  1.  We get lots of details about the background of Barsoom including city ruins, dungeons, and other underworld details that are glanced over in the novel. 
  2. The wickedness of  Kulan Tith, Jeddak of Kaol is only touched on & there's plenty of other secrets that this Jeddak could have hidden in the underworld. 
  3. Treasures, artifacts, etc. from the city state of
    Lothar are just waiting to be plucked out by worth adventurers. 
  4. We have lots of opportunities for mercenary adventurers to take full advantage of the racial division of Barsoom and make a killing because there is a vast Barsoomian underworld  just waiting to be exploited, the dwindling resources are just waiting to be fleshed out;
    "A million years before the narrative commences, Mars was a lush world with oceans. As the oceans receded, and the atmosphere grew thin, the planet has devolved into a landscape of partial barbarism;[13] living on an aging planet, with dwindling resources, the inhabitants of Barsoom have become hardened and warlike, fighting one another to survive.[14] Barsoomians distribute scarce water supplies via a worldwide system of canals, controlled by quarreling city-states. The thinning Martian atmosphere is artificially replenished from an "atmosphere plant." "
    Many of the elements here hint at deeper dungeons below the novel's surface.
  5. The Lotharians are another faction that exploits the mental powers of the Barsoomian psychic powers. Another faction that takes this to extreme is the Kaldanes who appear in the Chessmen of Mars. I don't think that these two Barsoomian psychic geo political entities get along since they both represent opposite ends of the spectrum. This is something that adventurers can exploit. 
  6. The women in ERB' s tales are power players. They've got more on their minds then mere biological imperatives and it doesn't involve our heroes. This is no more evident then with Thuvia whose more then capable of picking up a dagger or sword to murder anyone who gets in her way. Remember this book was written in 1916! 
  7. The Green hordes of Torquas are every bit as dangerous and fully horrid as any you'd find on Barsoom. These bastards give orcs a run for their money as one of my all time favorite bastard raider races! They also make excellent antagonists to throw at PC's. 
  8. A who lot of little details can be picked out of this novel to start as campaign jump point! 
  9.  There are other city states around Lothar that are perfect canvas for DM's wanting to create their own Barsoomian adventure locations! They are glanced over and that' it in the novel. 
  10. Thuvia, Maid of Mars ' has the potential to create a whole cloth adventure campaign based around the Martian city states preparing for all out war.  
Personally I would grab a copy of Dark Albion to help flesh out some of the comings and goings of the royals within the court of Thuvia, Maid of Mars '. This is a personal opinion based around having to quickly and painlessly flesh out some of the NPC's in the past that quickly die and are bumped off yet there own importance to the adventure's events remains!

You can down load
Thuvia, Maid of Mars from here!

Thuvia, Maid of Mars   is still owned by the ERB estate with the  trade mark & copy right. This blog post is not an attempt to violate that trade mark or copy right.This  download  is for educational and entertainment purposes. The makers of Warriors of the Red Planet are not anyway responsible for the content of this blog. All commentary here is copyrighted & trademarked to Dark Corner productions @2018.

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