Tuesday, February 7, 2017

'Old Mars' With The Adventurer, Conqueror, King, System & How I Got Started With ERB's Barsoom

Well thanks for the email Bill, how did I get started with Mars & Barsoom? And at the end of this blog entry I'll help you out with running 'Old Mars' with Adventurer, Conqueror, King. Way back in Seventy Eight I was a very precocious eight year with a Star Wars fan streak a mile long.  I also had an adopted uncle who loved Edgar Rice Burroughs almost as much as I loved Star Wars. He was my dad's best friend & a retired RAF pilot who had retired to New York State with his family back in the Seventies. 'John Carter could kick Luke Skywalker's arse!', was one of the most vivid statements I remember hearing. Of course I rose to the bait as any good eight year old would,'John who?'. 'Why don't you come over to the house tonight with your dad to find out', was the gravely voice of doom that had perfectly set me up for a round of war gaming & a severe ass kicking on the sand table. Around the sand table was a cryptic little volume that was by Gary Gygax & Brian Blume the ill fated Warriors of Mars along with some  Grenadier Miniatures figures. I had only been introduced to Dungeons & Dragons the year before. These had an odd look about them. Guys with swords, hooks, & warriors with weird pistols. This wasn't the usual fantasy stuff! And the Warriors of Mars book sold for five bucks! That was a lot of money to a kid back then.

Down the stairs we went with the usual creaks, slightly moldy smell in the air mixed with wood working & paint. It smelled like a workshop & war gaming basement! Two things I associate with my hobby to this day. Waiting for me was my uncle & his 'boys'; a whole round of Heritage miniatures that the family had been painting for the last couple of months. You can see examples of the  Grenadier minis here and the Heritage Miniatures Inc.  figures & line.
On the table were a couple of curious volumes, besides the TSR rules there was another book from Heritage Miniatures Inc. called Adventure Gaming Hand Book Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter - Warlord of Mars & the Barsoomian Battle Manual  also from Heritage, 1978. Suddenly I was in a life or death struggle against the navies of Helium and hordes of Green Martians after my flier crashed into the wasteland floor.

Bloody hell it did exactly what it said on the tin! We were facing down the hordes of the wastelands & it was green men vs our heroes!
"Here is action with a single man or small group of men pitting their abilities, skills and courage against other men or fearsome Beasts in settings from dank, poorly lighted underground dungeons to the swirling, desperate hand to hand battle raging on the deck of the flyer a thousand feet above the ground., The clash of naked steel...the test of manhood and courage...this is the essence of life on Barsoom! "
Of course it wasn't until a year later that I would be facing down these same forces in the SPI war game later on!

Well, after the game was over & I lost then the real fun began; we got to play on Barsoom as one of the flier crew's survivors using the original Dungeons & Dragons rules. The game has been burned into my mind as one of the most dangerous and fun games we ever got to run. We weren't John Carters but red Martian rank and file trying to get back to Helium. "The  first published D&D campaign world might arguably be Barsoom, because TSR's Warriors of Mars game had notes on using it with D&D"

At the end of the evening there was a pile of Marvel John Carter comic books & paperbacks for me to start to dive into. I also inherited my 'uncle's' minis & Heritage Miniatures books along with his minis (these were later on lost to an apartment fire back about Nineteen Ninety something).

It wasn't until the Seventy Nine & Nineteen Eighty that we moved back to Connecticut & my descent into Hell began. But that's another blog entry for another time, I've had a long & very storied history with my Mars, Edgar Rice Burroughs, & science fantasy  obsession over the years.
 Now do I think that you can add in Warriors of The Red Planet & Adventurer, Conqueror, King along with Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea? In a word quite easily to do an 'Old Mars' campaign. First of all grab the Laser Guns & Light Swords at the ACK's download section under 'supplemental rules' over at  Autarch website under downloads.
Next head over to KSlacker's    Adventurer, Conqueror, King & Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea mash up system. & grab what you need for PC's & NPC supplies. His work is amazing stuff. Since you already own Astonishing Swordsmen then head over to the Sword & Sorcery Solar System & Old Mars Campaign Resource Round Up

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