One of the thought exercises that I've been tossing around is the option of using Castles & Crusades plus Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea to run an Old Mars game adventure or two. This has been on radar even since DM Steve spoke at length about the Serpent Men becoming a problem on Old Mars.
I'm thinking about using the Castles & Crusades Siege engine systems to power the whole campaign this time.
Once again I'm thinking about using a post Colonial Mars of Burroughs, & the Northwest Smith stories (1933–1936) by C. L. Moore & the Mars stories published between 1940 and 1964 by Leigh Brackett. And using this in conjunction with Clark Ashton Smith's Lovecraftian Mars. I was charged with the fact that there was very little Lovecraftian about the above writers various works. "Brackett was known as the Queen of Space Opera, and famous for a series of vivid planetary romance adventures, particularly those of Eric John Stark." Her works are intimately connected with both Lovcraftian elements & a post Colonial Edgar Rice Burroughs style solar system. In fact the Leigh Brackett (ology) by Blue Tyson has an extensive breakdown of her various works & their elements. Its a free download that is essential reading for the dungeon master who wants to use her public domain stories as a part of such a hybrid campaign.
Leigh Brackett's Future History is another free download by the same author & is an incredible help for setting up such a campaign.
So what does this have to do with North West Smith? C.L. Moore's North West Smith character often found himself at odds with various ancient and very Lovecraftian alien gods. "North West Smith stories often involve ancient alien beings who have been worshiped as gods. This theme is similar to the tales of H. P. Lovecraft though, unlike Lovecraft's tales, Moore provides a hero who always manages to win out over hopeless odds. " If we look further into the North West Smith stories the various settlements, towns, etc of the stories give a really good feel for the Martian city states of the humans. A mix between a post apocalyptic Old West style settlement & an interplanetary space port with various ancient decadent alien cultures of the solar system mixing together. The perfect breeding ground of the sorcerers of the black gate faction and group. An anti human & alien colonial group similar to the ones seen in Eighteenth & Nineteenth century China of Old Earth history.
C.L Moore's Works Can Be Downloaded Here
This brings me right back into one of the classic problems of a post colonial Mars what about the low lander & lower class Martian tribes of Leigh Brackett? Her Martians are of a much lower social strata then Edgar Rice Burrough's Red Martians seen in the John Carter books. How does one portray these lower social strata yet essential members of Martian society? Why do I say essential? Because these social strata are the bread & butter of PC's & adventurers. Well Castles & Crusades just happens to have the remedy in the form of a free character class download from Simon Washborne. Simon Washborne did the free Netbook of Classes for Castles & Crusades & this useful tome contains 15 classes for the C&C game. These are perfect classes to have low lander & dry lander Martians adventurers played by the players skirt along the edges of Martian society.
The free Netbook of Classes for Castles & Crusades can easily be turned into a very useful addition to a dungeon master who wants to run an Old Mars game setting. The classes become something familiar & yet very alien. A crowner gets converted to a Red dispossessed royal adventurer from some minor house. A dervish is an Amazon colonist sword dancer, An executioner is a man without a job. The free booter is a sand pirate. A harlequin is a spy/entertainer/assassin belonging to one of the lesser noble houses or Martian guilds. The gallowglass is a tribal warrior belonging to one of the lesser lords of the bottom sea. The horse warrior is a throat warrior belonging to one of the Martian raiding tribal warrior clans. The lore warden is an oral traditionalist for one of the more remote tribes. The marksman is a mercenary & a professional soldier for one of the various nation states of Mars. The merchant's role on Mars hasn't changed for a million years. The spell sword is a hold over from the days when magick ruled the red desert world. The houri services are always in demand in the tents of many of the noble houses & places that John Carter never visited. These are just some of the ideas that I've got floating around in my head whist reading through my Castles & Crusades books for an Old Mars game. I've got more coming up folks.