Nov 22, 2021

PotRP Design Diary #32 - Air Plant Keeper

Air Plant Keeper
Red Martian, 3rd level Scientist

Armor Class: 10
Hit Dice: 3/9hp
Move: 120'
Attacks: shortsword or pistol
Damage: 1d6 or 1d12
No. Appearing: 1-4
Save: S3
Morale: 5
Treasure Type: A
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
XP Value: 100

Str: 11 (+0), Dex: 10 (+0), Con: 10 (+0), Wis: 9 (+0), Int: 13 (+1), Chr: 9 (0)

Equipment: shortsword, pistol.

Air plant keepers are skilled in the operations of the great air generators that maintain the breathable atmosphere of Barsoom. They are dedicated to their job and will defend the plant from hostile forces that may harm it.


Nov 18, 2021

PotRP Design Diary #31 - A Korad Building Map

 Developing the distinctive shapes for each of the 3 major cities: Korad, Helium, and Zodanga The Zodanga buildings are going to tend to be more squares and rectangles.

Nov 16, 2021

PotRP Design Diary #30 - Building Map


A clan of green martians have captured some Helium citizens and are holding them hostage. Break into the building and rescue them, hopefully without alerting the green martians.

Nov 15, 2021

PotRP Design Diary #29 - Mapping Buildings

 One of the challenges of mapping cities is the level of detail necessary to turn it into a viable adventuring area. Most city maps you see in RPG's are bird's eye view with little square boxes for buildings. Rarely are the individual buildings mapped out with the level of detail needed to conduct an adventure in. Because it would be madness.

The general approach is to highlight a few important buildings and map those out. But what if you want something a little more sandbox? The best examples of this are City State of the Invincible Overlord and the original Lankhmar city sets.

What I liked about Lankhmar is the city map had these little blank spots you could fill in with geomorphs that provided more individual details. I'm considering a variation on this idea. But it still requires drawing dozens if not hundreds of maps. I'd like this project done in my lifetime (well, by next year actually!) so I'm exploring ways to create great alien looking maps that also have the kind of maze-like density described in the Mars books.

One of the annoying aspects of sandbox adventures is leaving too much of the work up to the GM. This should be pick-up-and-play but with plenty of customizability if the GM wants that. So the approach I am taking here is providing enough info that the building is playable as an adventure by giving it basic mission types such as: a heist, a rescue mission, defeating a threat, cleaning out a hive of scum and villainy and so forth. But then leaving plenty of room for additional details the GM can custom fit to their campaign and play group. Here is one of the city building maps that I've also tried to imbue with some unusual geometry to give it an alien feel.

I've been developing a method to quickly generate these and still have a bit of hand-drawn feel to them. There will be more to reveal as the city maps are developed.

Nov 11, 2021

Sinderan Water Steed

Off the coasts of Sinder are the deep waters of Sálnahaf (the Sea of Souls). Lurking among the crashing waves, icebergs, and treacherous rocks many strange creatures swim. One of the less commonly sighted are the noble Vatnshestur, the water steeds. They are treasured by the Shahatha as a means of transportation and as beasts of burden and can be trained to endure long hours of hard work and travel. Some are even trained to be combatants.

Large beast, neutral

Armor Class: 12 (scales)
Hit Dice: 3 (18hp)
Speed: 60ft (swim)
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: nil

STR     DEX     CON     INT   WIS    CHA
20(+4)  18(+3)  14(+2)   2(-4)   10(0)    12(+1)

Senses: normal
Languages: none
Challenge: 2/12 (75 XP)

Water Breathing. The water steed can breathe only underwater.

Bite: Melee Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5ft, one target. Hit: 2 (1d4) slashing damage.
Stomp: Melee Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6 + 1) bludgeoning damage.

Vatnshestur appear as large fish with horselike forelimbs. They are swift and graceful in water, and cannot move on land. Their markings range from olive green with deep red stripes and fins to blue and white. They are kind tempered and easily tamed and trained. They can also be fierce combatants when threatened. The males can be particularly aggressive during mating season in the late summer. They are prized as steeds for aquatic humanoids. 

Nov 8, 2021

PotRP Design Diary #28 - How does the party get to Mars?

How does the party get to Mars?

Here are some options to handle the question of how the party makes their way to the Red Planet.

The easiest entry to the adventure is to simply begin on the Red Planet. If you have the Gunslinger roleplaying game you can begin the adventure on Earth as a classic western (with some strange science!) that contrasts with the weirdness of the alien world of the Red Planet.

Other options are:

  • Reincarnation and/or spirit travel: The characters die in a cave, their spirit travels across time and space, they wake up in bodies on the Red Planet that may or may not resemble their original bodies. This hews most closely to the novel.
  • Tornado of strange energy: A whirlwind crackling with strange red-orange energy overcomes the characters and whisks them away to the Red Planet.
  • Amulet or ring: The characters receive a teleportation device. It is a strange amulet, or a magical colored ring. It is a one way ticket to the Red Planet.
  • Ship: A mysterious ship is uncovered in the desert. When the characters get on board it activates and launches to the Red Planet.
  • Portal: A mysterious mirror on a wall, or a pool in a cave shows strange scenes, characters can step through and end up on the Red Planet.
  • Teleporter: The cave has a teleportation device of mysterious and advanced technology that accidentally or intentionally gets activated when the characters are near it teleporting the characters to ancient Mars.

However the characters get there, they find themselves on the Red Planet without equipment or clothes near a Thark hatchery as the eggs are hatching. The characters are first captured by Tharks and put in prison awaiting to be sacrificed in the arena for entertainment. They meet Sola who stations a calot named Woola on guard to prevent escape. What the characters choose to do now is up to the players.

The Kickstarter page is prepared, if you're interested in backing this project here is the preview page: