John Carter Art by Rafael Kayanan

I learned a lot about the tortured journey of John Carter from the books to film when doing research for the Warriors of the Red Planet roleplaying game.

There were several attempts to bring John Carter to film going all the way back to Bob Clampett's attempts in 1936 with an animated version. I think prior to the advent of CGI it would have been impossible to satisfactorily portray the fantastic imagination of Edgar Rice Burroughs and his wondrous and weird Barsoom, so animation would have been the best option. Disney made a fun little Mars & Beyond show back in the 50's that had a snippet of Barsoom. Then there is this terrific fan made animation that shows more imagination and faithfulness to the book than the recent live action film.

The John Carter live action movie was enjoyable, certainly better than the unfair reviews claimed, but it missed many opportunities. They did have great artists working on the concepts and I love the Art Of book. But in an earlier iteration there was a concept artist who I felt really nailed the energy and exotic flavor of the books. Rafael Kayanan. Here are a sample of some of the concepts he did.

Now some of you might be saying "but he drew John and Dejah with clothes on! The books say they are butt naked!!". Ok, ok, but you know we are never going to get butt naked John and Dejah on film except maybe on PornHub. Still, these are some kick-ass concepts.

You can see more of Rafael Kayanan's Barsoom concepts here.

How Many Barsoomian Mars RPG's Are There?

Fans of Edgar Rice Burrough's classic Mars novels (barely novella length by today's standards) have it good these days with several high quality fan made and official Barsoom inspired RPG's. This wasn't so until somewhat recently.

Before Warriors of the Red Planet the only Burrough's RPG material was few and far between, there was the ill-fated Warriors of Mars by TSR that was quickly squashed by the Burrough's estate. Which wasn't really an RPG, it was a miniatures war game. There were a few other wargames with some RPGish elements like John Carter Warlord of Mars and John Carter Warlord of Mars ... yeah, really and they came out a year apart. But the influence of ERB and his incredible imagination could be felt all across the world of tabletop gaming.

Recently Polyhdral Nonsense compiled a good list of current Barsoomian RPGs with some addendum by commentators here:

Polyhedral Nonsense

btw. While looking up the links for this post I stumbled across my old review of the Disney John Carter movie, which I gave pretty positive marks. I stand by that review, especially when compared to what they've done with Star Wars since then.

Pine Treant

Treant, Pine (Coniferous)
Giant (28’ tall) humanoids that look like pine trees and live in subarctic forests. They are concerned only with protecting the plants of their home. They speak their own long-winded and labyrinthine language. Far taller and more powerful than their warmer, southern cousins, a Pine Treant is a cantankerous secretive creature. They spend most of their time hibernating in the cold, but if stirred by fire become enraged and dangerous. They will chuck their unusually large and spiky pine cones at enemies.

AC 14, HD 10 (48hp), Att 2 × fist (2d6), Ranged Att 2 x pine cone (1d8) BAB +6, MV 60’ (20’), SV 12, ML 9, AL Neutral, CL/XP: 6/1200

  • Surprise: On a 1-3, in a forest, due to being mistaken for a tree. Encounter occurs at 30 yards or less.
  • Animate trees: Each individual can animate 2 trees (within 60’; may switch trees at will). These fight as treants with movement rate 30’ (10’).
  • Immune to cold.

Complete Original Dungeons and Dragons set for sale including Chainmail

Alright, I know I'm pushing a lot of stuff to sell lately, and it's Christmas time so you are being bombarded. My wife had me clean up the home office and I'm using the classic "Keep, Sell, Toss" method. So, lots of great old gaming stuff going up on ebay. A great present for that gamer in your life! (or yourself)

I'm selling my original white box set and all the expansion books for it. Chainmail through Swords & Spells. They are all in very good condition, with Chainmail having the most wear because it's been played a lot, it's still pretty good.

Original 1974 White Box Dungeons and Dragons Set




Eldritch Wizardry

Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes

Swords & Spells

Colonial Troopers: Knight Hawks Starship Combat Print Edition

A tad late with this one, but Knight Hawks has been set to Available for General Audience on Lulu. There is a Black Friday 25% sale going on today so you can get it for a good price. You can see a preview of what the book looks like inside here.