Saturday, August 22, 2020

Tom Moldvay's B4 'The Lost City', Free E.C. Weird Science Fantasy, Classic D&D, Warriors of the Red Planet & More Mars Campaign Commentary


Sometimes all it takes to send me down a memory hole is a classic pop culture in this case the comic titled “Lost in Space” inked by the late great Al Williamson & published in Weird Science-Fantasy No. 28 (March/April 1955, EC Comics). 

All of the classic Martian aka ERB's Barsoom &  Pulp elements are here in this story. Plus there's several that fit into the classic Fifties era Cold War paranoia. So with the coming of a new campaign cycle do we destroy the Earth or keep it?! 

Chesley Knight Bonestell, Jr.'s fantastic piece of artwork for the bombing of Manhatten 1948 used without permission from here. 

The idea of a post colonial Mars that has suffered its own limited nuclear or entropic weapon war was one that formed the heart of several of my campaigns. Do the colonists from Earth survive on this war torn world & how do the Martians cope with these interlopers from Earth?! Recently my copy of Warriors of the Red Planet by Night Owl Workshop has made its way back into my purview. 

These days I'd probably supplement Warriors of the Red Planet with Adventurer,Conqeuror,King's  Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu for doing the expanded  tribal  warfare of Mars. There are a ton of Martian elements that could be added into the mix to greatly expand on the Martian war between the Old Ones & the Martian gods. The Martian gods were murdered by the Old Ones who moved on. The 'fall of Gods'  out was written about Edgar Rice Burrough's The Master Mind of Mars.  This fall was further expanded upon by the Queen of Space opera  Leigh Brackett within her Martian stories. 

Original 1927 magazine publication

The gods of mars were killed & locked away by Tur whom they relied as both their jailer & their keeper. Eventually the gods of Mars came back with the defeat of the religion of Issus 

 But not all gods rest easy, the 'sorcerers of the black gate' do not & their looking to restore Mars to a vastly more dangerous system. This is evident in the fact that in there are interloper gods that have come on to the scene. There's a period of confusion that allows some of the 'replacement' gods to come into play. Once again I'd dressing up parts of Tom Moldvay's 'The Lost City' here. 

The Martian low lander tribes would know about the Lost City & would shun its inhabitants. These inhabitants might be ancient Martians under the influence of the power of  Zargon. Its within the Lost City's dungeons is a gateway to Cha'alt in my own campaigns. 

And its right here where Doc's Dungeons & Dragons Warriors of Mars comes in real handy. This book plus Jason Vey's other Conan supplements works out really nicely for filling in some of the background for this campaign. 
Cha'alt itself is on a whole other star system & that brings up several real issues that we'll be exploring coming up. 

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