Saturday, March 11, 2023

Tribal Matters, Ancient Rivalries, and PC classes - The Hyperborea rpg & Warriors of the Red Planet Hybrid Campaign Commentary

 Freak snow storm last night cancelled last night's games & that's fine. But it also meant that we could take a break and start planning out the next leg of the Hyperborea/ Warriors of The Red Planet  campaign. And I'd love to take a bit of a break so to breath a bit of life into our dead sea bottem Red Martian tribes. And here's where Hyperborea & Leigh Brackett's The Treasure of Ptakuth” • (1940) comes in really handy. The Treasure of Ptakuth” by Leigh Brackett is available from Astounding v25n02 (1940 04) here.

Brackett doesn't fill in details in her stories but implies them long hand. We've got an Indiana Jones/Rene Belloq dynamic, between the protagonist & the Venusian nemisis of the story. We almost see a 'Raiders of the Lost Artifacts' Rpg  vibe going on here. Let's take the long view here through the lens of the Hyperborea rpg. We've got our main protagonist 'hero' because Leigh Brackett characters all have thier all too human fumbles & sins about them. And the White Martians within this story. The Martian goddess is very much drawn in the vein of Clark Aston Smith's scientists & sorcerers. A pragmatic character willing to achieve immortality regardless of the consquences. And dare I say more then a little desparate. 
The fact is we also get a bit of an insight into the Red Martian tribes of Mars through this story indirectly. The Red Martians are both barbarians & savages in Leigh Brackett's stories. Forget John Carter here. Brackett's Martians are rough & ready barbarians who have thousands & thousands of years backing them up. And this means that the average Red Martian barbarian is going to be a sophiscated & dangerous customer. Barbarian & fighting man is going to be a very common occupation set among the bottom seas of Mars. 

So this where the Hyperborea rpg enters the picture. The White Martians are very akin to the Atlanteans of Hyperborea. Within the Hyperborea rpg almost 90 % of the occult technological items were made by the people of Atlantis. And my logic follows that this might be for the higher level technological items on our Mars. 
And another observation about the Hyperborea rpg & Warriors of the Red Planet is how specialized classes could become for both PC's & NPC's given the age of Mars. 
One of the themes that runs through Leigh Brackett's solar systems stories
 is you might manage to become immortal, but if you do you will regret it,”.Again this is something that we also see in the works of Clark Aston Smith. And it also help to explain the pragmatic view point of the Red Martians.  
The idea running through the early Pulp writers seems to be that death has it's place within the human and non human scheme of things. Magick is incredibly rare among the solar system because of the alien science of psionics & psychics. Almost every races & creature on Mars is psionic. 
So magick still exists is incredibly rare leading into all kinds of avenues of throw backs & wizards as atavisitic throwbacks. And this also sets up wizards & clerics being the heads of cults quite nicely. 
And what about Hyperborea's rune graver class?! Hell yes it could easily be found among some of the more isolated & rarely seen Martian tribes. And this also goes for other Hyperborea rpg classes. The fact that so many of the Martian tribes are isolated makes them have access to other forbidden & not well known rites and rituals. 
And what would keep these tribes isolated?! Two things the hordes of Green Martians & mankind. Leigh Brackett's stories are super critical of the Colonial Martian state or humanity's colonial leanings. However not even death can stop the wars between the ancient Martian states. No other place is this illustrated more then in the The Sorcerer of Rhiannon • (1942)  novelette. 
Time & again we see these forces of culture vs the person caught within the greater solar system affairs of the Ancients. And its up to the protagonist to think thier way out. 

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