Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Classic Dungeons & Dragons Edition Sword & Planet - Post Apocalyptic Mars & Beyond Campaign Start

The classic TSR era has some incredible modules & its these modules adaptability that makes them such classics. If Tom Moldvay's 'B1 The Lost City' was set on Mars or another science fantasy  planetary campaign.   'B1 The Lost City' could used as the basis for an entire Sword & Planet  campaign beginning. The PC's awaken from a desert  caravan in the middle of an alien desert with no memory of how they got there. Adventure events heat up as B4 usual encounters kick in. This gives the PC's an experience path for levels one to three right outta of the gate. But this is only the beginning of a Sword & Planet OD&D or B/X path. 

You know there are times when I really should be checking out the Mutant Future Wiki & their entry on Warriors of the Red Planet rpg. Tonight I was listening to the Old Man Grognard podcast about the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea rpg. 
Now back in the past I've written about using these two sources together in the past. This is kinda of a bit different. 

I'm really thinking of returning to a post apocalyptic Mars but one set within a vastly different universe. This is one of those periods where its the reading & research phase of a campaign setting. Now I've been talking about this Cha'alt/Carcosa hybrid campaign. But the PC's are going to need to cut their teeth someplace before I set them down within the back end of nowhere squared with the star spawn of  Cthulhu breathing down their necks. So why Warriors of the Red Planet? The Mutant Future wiki breakdown has the following; "The rules used an Night Owl Workshop products are similar to the popular Swords & Wizardly rule-set, in that it is based on a more streamlined version of the original 1974 Dungeons & Dragons rules, AKA "OD&D", with a number of modern improvements like listing Armor Class with both "assenting" and "Descending" scores and using a "BAB"-like To-Hit Bonus (THB) instead of large THAC0-based to-hit roll charts.

The game presents a new attribute called Social Standings, which represents reputation, social-status and cultural relevance. Unfortunately, there is a lack of information on how it effects game-play.

Saving throws are listed as: Explosions, Mentalism, Energy, Poison, Falls and General.

There are five Races:

  • The Ancients represent the type of once dominant, but now near-extinct race found in many classic pulp sci-fi, like the Lotharians from Barsoom or the Martians from Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles. They are represent as being mentally stronger, but physically weaker to most humans. In MF, they could be humans form before the great war or cataclysm.
  • The Elevated represent "uplifted" animals and plants, or animal-/plant-like alien creatures with human or near-human intelligence. The Coeurl is a prime example of the latter. In MF, they are basically Mutant Animals and Plants.
  • Exotics represent more unusual types of humanoid aliens, like the green-skin Thark and Warloon tribes on Barsoom. In MF, they are basically Mutant Humans.
  • Humans represent common human and human-like people, even if they are not earth humans, like the red-skin people on Barsoom, who look human, but live a long lifespan and are oviparous (lays eggs). In MF, they are Pure Humans.
  • Unliving represent people created through artificial means, like Frankenstein's creation and the Synthetic Men from Barsoom. They are noted for having a distorted would view that can make them troublesome or unhinged. In MF, they are Androids.

There are four Classes:

  • The Fighting-man is your standard warrior type, found in nearly all fiction.
  • The Scoundrel is your rogue, thief, swashbuckler and scruffy-looking nerf-hearder.
  • The Mentalist possesses psychic abilities.
  • The Scientist is your classic "Mad Scientist" type.

Scientists are able to "invent" gadgets, who's effects are similar to D&D spells, with daily limits based on having to keep them powered or maintained. Than is, an irradium torch works like a D&D light spell, but gives off a green hue and can maintain power for one hour per level of inventor. (Or for 10gp, you can buy an irradium lantern from the Basic Gear list that shines brighter and lasts longer.) Mental powers also work like D&D spells.

Mentalists, Scientists and Sorcerers are good if one wants to play Mutant Future with the Mutants & Mazes conversion rules.

The book contains a large list of monsters and people to fight, as well as a great ideas on campaign and adventure design." 

I'm thinking of reviving the Clark Ashton Smith Solar System campaign that my players were in about two years ago. At its heart there was a nasty Atomic War that the humans were responsible for! This world was a post Fifties or Sixties alternative Earth with advanced technologies that had bombed itself back to the Stone Age. 

This campaign was a sort of cross between 'Thundarr The Barbarian' & Hanna Barbera 'The Herculoids' meets the video game Fallout in a dark alley. Here's the Hanna Berbera 'Herculoids' free AD&D files. 

The real problem with this campaign is the fact that the players wanted to concentrate on Mars especially after downloading B/X Mars by Michael Gibbons

Add in Grey Elf (Jason Vey)'s reformat of Warriors of Mars - Barsoom by "Doc" along with Jason's Conan Original Dungeons & Dragons Conan supplements & you've got literal Conan on Mars; 

  • 4-panel DM Screen for the Age of Conan

    Not only does this whole cloth original Dungeons & Dragons or B/X Dungeons & Dragons material give the players a real & legit Mars campaign but the tool kit to bring everything into focus for may years to come with a solid Sword & Sorcery base. 

    Using the Grey Elf free resources the DM can literally take the 'wizards  of the black circle' from Warriors of the Red Planet & entirely flesh them out from the ground up! I can already here much gnashing & tearing of garments! Why haven't you mentioned the  Planet Algol blog?! Because I consider much of the Algol stuff advanced in concept. This is a set up from levels 1-3 & a campaign foundation. 
    Clyde Caldwell's 'Virgin Planet' hits this campaign's high notes. Used without permission. But its a great piece of Caldwell artwork.

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