Tuesday, September 6, 2022

OSR Commentary On The Free OSR book - Doc's Original Dungeons & Dragons Warriors of Mars Resource Book

 "Beginning in 1912, Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first (and arguably the greatest) of what would be considered the pulp authors began his tales of adventure and romance set on Mars, AKA Barsoom. John Carter, a man with a mysterious past that even he cannot fully recall, finds himself transported from the fields of Virginia to a bloody warrior world. Is Barsoom real, or is it merely a fleeting dream from the mind of a man succumbing to death? Barsoom, for all its technological wonders, is more a feudal world than a cosmopolitan society. Warriors travel great miles in lighter than air sky craft, only to do battle with sword and dagger. It is a dying world, far past its prime, where the noble red men strive mightily to live up to their world's legacy"

Doc's Original Dungeons & Dragons Warriors of Mars is a set of original Dungeons & Dragons supplemental rules that have been created for Barsoom role playing. These rules by Doc have Barsoomian alterations to the usual character classes including Fighting Men, the Beserker, Scout, Asssassin, & Psion. One of the really solid areas that Doc's Original Dungeons & Dragons Warriors of Mars shines is in the realm of psionics; "There are four types of psychic powers on Barsoom, the Telepath, Mesmerist, Necromancer, and Beastmaster. All four classes are written to be played very simply with the DM adjudicating their use as applies to his own campaign. Let's start out with some basics. ALL Barsoomians posses a low-level psychic awareness that allows them to tell how many people are in their general area. In game terms, they have a 75% chance to detect all humans (which includes Red, White, Black, and Yellow Martians, but not Green Martians or beasts) within a 50' area around them. This applies even if the other people are in another room, building, or in hiding. This does not give the character any idea of the identity or the intent of these people, merely that they are there. Also, the character MUST be concentrating to use this detection. Assassins (Gorthans) have learned how to nullify their psychic trace for short periods of time to render them invisible to this form of detection. Regarding psychic characters, all four classes attack, save, and rise in level as clerics."
And while Doc's Original Dungeons & Dragons Warriors of Mars isn't superior to Nightowl Workshop's Warriors of the Red Planet. Warriors has been made to emulate a specific set of rules namely the ultra rare TSR 1974 Warriors of Mars wargaming rules. Doc's Original Dungeons & Dragons Warriors of Mars takes it's 'p''s and 'q's from the Original Dungeons & Dragons rpg set of rules. 

And we get a good cross set of the Barsoomian monsters & these are as lethal as they are deadly. Then we dive down into the Martian underworld & a bit of an overview of the Martian combat or melee. How honor & combat overlaps. This is followed by the religions of Mars including how the Tharns play into this. Doc's Original Dungeons & Dragons Warriors of Mars also touches on the sham aspects of the Thern religion. 
There's an overview of the various Martian cities & locations featured in the Burroughs writings. And finally an overview of the main NPC personalities featured within Barsoom. And finally Barsoomian adventure hooks all within the free supplement. 
Doc's Original Dungeons & Dragons Warriors of Mars is an interesting fan work & homage certainly worth the download. For OSR games such as Lamentations of the Flame Princess it represents an interesting variant that could be added into the DM's tool kit. But is Doc's Original Dungeons & Dragons Warriors of Mars weird enough?! In the normal Lamentations direction?! Not really or maybe it is. Consider that there's a whole bunch of Earth history that dates back thousands of years & Barsoom has been the red planetary witness to all of it. What if the Therns have had a foot hold on Earth as sham cults?! Using a combination of telepathy, technological trickery, and even inhuman guile to use the human race as puppets & experimental fodder. There's far more going on with the Therns then the Burroughs books talks about but there are hints. 
Doc's book could also be used as a resource for Carcosa where you've got Martian monsters being imported by aliens for sacrifice, gladiatorial games, and more. 

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