APoM Adventure Design Diary #21 - Mapping Barsoom

Maps of Barsoom are always fascinating. Given the way the original books were written ERB didn't adhere strictly to an accurate map and instead chose to go wherever the narrative took the story. This resulted in locations and distances that don't match up when plotted out on a map.

To further complicate matters, no accurate map of the actual geography of Mars could even begin to be constructed until 1971 with Mariner 9, and it took decades to map out the planet in any detail. So combining this knowledge a lot of interpretation has to be made.

Since working on Warriors of the Red Planet and attempting to make sense of all of this in order to make a useful and semi-accurate map I've become a bit of a connoisseur of Barsoom maps, gathering from wherever I can find them. So I was pleasantly surprised to find this map of Barsoom from Punch Magazine 1956. In many ways it is the best way to tackle the subject as it is very illustrative and conceptual without trying to be too precise in any way. And it has a great aesthetic.


Creatuanary 2021 - the Ahool

 A few years back I participated in an art challenge called creatuanary where you post a drawing of a creature each day of the month of January. Out of that came the popular Norse Beastiary that sold out of 2 print runs in just a few months. (thank you to everyone who got a copy!)

I've been meaning to participate again but last January got away from me. This year though I've put together a great list of Cryptids that I want to draw, so I'll be posting them on my social media

Some of them could be fun creatures for your OSR game, so here is the Ahool with stats.


HD: 3
AC: 16 [4]
Atk: 2 claws (1d4x2), 1 bite (1d6)
Save: 13
Move: 12" flight, 3" crawl
CL/XP: 3/250
Special: piercing shriek, save or be deafened for 2d8 rounds. Pick up and drop.

The Ahool (or Athol as it is called by some) is a flying primate with bat-like wings. Their name comes from its loud distinct cry; "AHOOooooOL!".

Ahool live in the deep jungles, and can be found across tropical and sub-tropical climates. They have a distinct face that has features of both a spider monkey and a bat's, with large dark eyes, red-orange skinned wings, large claws on its forearms, and covered in grey fur. They have a wingspan of 18 to 28 feet (6 to 9 meters). They mainly eat local fauna; such as large fish, they will occasionally attack humans. Most likely because they're extremely territorial and opportunist and will attack larger prey under the right circumstances.

In combat they will start with their blood curdling shriek. Then they can pick up a medium sized or smaller creature, lift it up to 100' in the air and drop it. As a last resort they will engage in melee attempting to claw and subdue potential prey.