Monday, January 14, 2013

Flight To Mars Movie 1951 For Your Old School Space Opera And Mutant Future Game

Flight To Mars is a "classic" 1951 movie about an expediation to Mars. The movie might as well be a companion piece to Rocket Ship X-M. The movie uses the same sets, costumes, and themes as Rocket Ship. Believe it or not there is a ton to mine for games. 

Flight has some really great things going for it. For example the whole movie could take place in a "Fall Out" Style retro future universe. The costumes, colors, etc are all very snap shot moment in time which means this has some great cross over potential for any of the Goblinoid families of games. Especially Mutant Future and Star Ships and Space Men Second Edition. 

Plot according To Wiki: 
The story involves the arrival on Mars of an American scientific expedition team, who discover an underground-dwelling, dying civilization of Martians. They are anatomically human, and are suspicious of the earthmen's motives, with the majority of the governing body finally deciding to keep the earthmen prisoner.

This film reuses almost all the cabin interior details from Rocketship X-M (Lippert Pictures, 1950, and filmed at another studio), except for some of the flight instruments. Even the spaceflight noises are reused. Similarly, the concepts of spaceflight are those postulated in that earlier film.
The main differences are this film postulates a planned flight to Mars, whereas the earlier film postulates an accidental flight to Mars, which accident occurs during a planned flight to the Moon.
Additionally, this film postulates a Martian species which is in many ways superior to Mankind, and poses a long-term, strategic threat there to, whereas the earlier film postulates a Martian species which is pre-literate, and a throw-back, as a consequence of a global nuclear holocaust which occurred many millennia earlier, and poses only an immediate, tactical threat to the voyagers.
A sequel, Voyage to Venus was proposed but never made.[2]
Here's the Trailer and Movie itself. Go take a look but be warned that this is a terrible movie with some fantastic ideas. Hey if Mystery Science Theater can get away with this so can you. 

Using Flight To Mars Movie 1951 For Your Old School Space Opera And Mutant Future Game 

This is a Mars that suffered a short sale nuclear war and is just starting to sort of crawl out of the redoubts. Mars has a tradition of vast underground mega dungeons and this film is no exception. The costumes look like they came straight out of Rocky Jones and that makes for great gaming . These Martians are the last of their kind and could be the descendants of Bouroughs Redmen or even Earth colonists left behind centuries ago. There are certainly other possibilities here as well. 

The Pioneer Class Nuclear Rocket Ship 

The United Nations Explore 12

Crew : 5 
Hit Points :55
Armor Class: 6
Drive System -Ion Sublight Pulse Drive 
Nuclear Fuel Drive sub system 
This vessel was part of the United Nations program of exploration right after the introduction of pre warp technology in 2001. The pioneer class is one of the more useful classes of pre atomic warp capable vessels. It is used in exploration, asteroid mining, and deep solar system exploration. It is noted for using an Ion Sublight pulse engine and a nuclear fuel sub system making this one of the more stable of the Atomic Rocket series the Earth was producing at the time. This rocket ship is still being produced today for a wide variety of applications.  

Weird Martian Wasteland Encounters 
  1. Scholar Scientists 3 hit points in full atmosphere suits, standard blasters 1d4 points of damage 50 yard range 
  2. Sand Rays 2 hit points each but capable of swallowing a man for 2 points of damage 
  3. Degenerate cavemen red men 2 hit points each and armed with spears, clubs, rocks. Very cunning though. 50% chance of mutations  
  4. Hover cycle riders 3 hit points each and armed with stunners. Slavers traveling in a slave barge 
  5. Armed mutant thugs looking for trouble 1d4 #  2 hit points and armed with blasters 1d4 points of damage and 30 yard range 
  6. Mutant Psionic overlord and slave party, 4 hit points and 1d4 random psychic powers. Armed with a vibro sword +1 and a ray pistol 4 hit points of damage and 40 yard range 
  7. Warriors of the Waste land in hover car, 1d4 2nd level raiders in a hover car looking for trouble armed with blaster rifles 1d4 points of damage 70 yard range 
  8. Martian Walkers 4 hit points each armed with 1d6 damage heat rays and 70 yard range scouts 
  9. 1d6 red men mutant slaves escaped from caravan 
  10. 1d4 Brain lasher warriors in a flyer looking for slaves and trouble. 1d4 random mutations 
Night Time Random Weird Wasteland Encounters 1d10 

  1. Degenerate Red men neanderthals raiding party 4 hit points, spears 20% chance  of mutant powers 
  2. Mutant Plant Monsters Cloud 1d10 hit points, spore implantation attack 1d4 damage 
  3. Mutant Raiding party 1d10 hover cars, 1d4 hit points 40% mutant powers 
  4. Dust Demon 4 hit points, level drain attack 
  5. Veterans of The Psychic Wars - Recruiting & looking for a fire, food, etc
  6. Hallucination Dealer - Time Lost ,2 hit points 6 bodyguards, 3 hit points each 
  7. Night Wolves 3 hit points ~ wolves 1d10 # powers as per blink dogs 
  8. Damned Soldiers~ 3 hit points,# 1d10 on Nightmares armed with machine guns 1d4 damage 
  9. Sonic Attack UFOS 1d3 # ,3 hit points, sonic attack 1d4 
  10. Degenerate Red men neanderthals raiding party 4 hit points, spears 20% of mutant powers 

The Post Apocalytic Mars of Flight To Mars 

Like its companion movie Flight to Mars is really a blank canvas that you as a DM can paint with. The sky is really the limit here. For my post apocalyptic Mars game this movie really offered me an opportunity to go to town. 

The underground city/redoubt was actually the ruins of a Krell outpost that connected with the Martian undergrounds of Burroughs. This was taken over by human colonists and red men descendants from the time of Earth's Imperial period on Mars. When relations broke down the nukes and worse started to fly. 

There had been terraforming going on 
 and the planet was only 78 % to Earth standard when the atmosphere plants broke down completely. 

The Earth itself has suffered during these "Atomic Wars" and are going back out to the colonies to reclaim what's rightfully theirs.
The 40s post WWII gear and space leathers from these films are great for a DM trying to create a retro futuristic campaign especially on Mars. Simply add your favorite Martian element and your ready to go.
This sort of campaign is perfect for X plorers, Mutant Future, or any number of science fantasy retroclones. This would also make a great intro game for something like Terminal Space as well. 

For further options go over here and take a look at Rocket Ship X-M for more Martian thrills


  1. I'm glad to see their still using t-squares in the future. It would make my high school drafting teacher proud.

  2. This is what I like to refer to as the "Star Trek First Contact Equation" - The idea is that in Star Trek the original series all of those computers and futuristic gadgets are "old fashioned" and out of date.
    There's a very interesting thing that happens during a nuclear war such as the one depicted in Star Trek's future or Terminator. A nuclear pulse does very bad things to delicate electronics. Basically the human race is going to be starting back from basics and given that. A slide rule and the like aren't all that far fetched again. Analog electronics and tube might not be that far off if their starting from scratch.
    So yeah the T square, slide rule, etc. might well become the order of the day for quite a while. Wishful thinking on my part but one that we get to see in such a diesel punk style retro future. Thanks for the comment Trey and there's more action coming up.

  3. Throw in a space pirate carrying a slide ruler and 1950's engineering will be complete.

    Very nice post. It is a shame copyrights last so long, as making a setting source book for these old movies would make a great pdf for sale for a couple of bucks.

  4. Well we're working on some stuff and we'll see where it goes Random. Thanks for the comment and keep watching the skies for more retro future stuff!


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