Warriors Of Mars... a side project

Tchklinxa's picture
July 16, 2016 - 4:26pm
I love the old school sword and fantasy novels especially of the "Dying Mars" type like presented by ERB in his Mars/Barsoom series.

I happen to have the PDF of WoM and I am missing D&D type gaming, so I have decided to also plug away at my dusty old Mars Campaign Research and get that off the ground and running. For fun I think I will completely retro-fit the ideas around WoM rules. I have a lot of just research/planet building info to sort through but the idea of playing this d6 based game sounds like fun to me. 

I will still be workking on SF stuff too but I have a lot of research notes to sort through for SF & Barsoom & related games so expect to gradually see stuff posted as I sort through all the stuff.

WoM is some place in between Chainmail rules and OD&D rules from the looks of it. 

Besides Barsoom is 100% Weird Science, so I just got to go there. I do not think I will be converting WoM to SF type rules though, for a variety of reasons, some OD&D might get converted to WoM. We shall see what I come up with.


 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."

Tchklinxa's picture
July 18, 2016 - 4:36am
Despite WoM suggesting picking up OD&D to use with, and the fact OD&D suggest using parts of Chainmail rules I have to say WoM is a bit different... so I have made some calls in how to deal with such early 1970s kit-bashing of games.

1) WoM is the default system 
2) Convert to WoM
3) determine which things can be imported whole vs converted.

One example difference OD&D like modern D&D has hit dice to determine PC's hit points whereas in WoM hit points are directly linked to a PC's level.

WoM only has the Fighting-Man class and a comment on Assassins, so by default all other PC classes will have to based on an analysis of the FM class.

I converted hit dice in general thus 1d8 = +1 the level till level 13 when it becomes +2 per the FM WoM pattern, 1d4 is basically -1 the level (except for level 1), 1d6 equals same as level. I will need to fiddle with when to allow the bonus +1 or +2 jump for the other classes...

Next challenge Experience Points, clearly WoM is using a different ratio then OD&D.
 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."

Tchklinxa's picture
July 18, 2016 - 8:56pm
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I have continued to tweeak things I am moving away from my first idea for conversion. The bellow is a break down of what I think OD&D & WoM level charts are saying in game mechanics, Fighting Capabailty from OD&D seems to have to do with Chainmail rules which I am currently trying to understand...


Fighting-Man of Mars:


Ability Level & Typical Examples

Points to Attain it WoM

Hit Points


Level, Points to Attain It OD&D, Name, Hit Dice, Fighting Capability


1 (Humanoid Martian Females)



0 level... NPC

civilians, peasants, females

2 (Novices)



1st level 0 Veteran

(1+1) Man +1


3 (2nd Rate Levies)



2nd level,2000 Warrior

(2 ) 2 Men + 1


4 (Levies, 2nd Rate Regulars)



3rd level, 4000 Swordsman

(3) 3 Men or Hero -1


5 (Regulars, 2nd Rate Guards, Green Martian Females)



4th level, 8000 Hero

(4) Hero


6 (Padwars, 1st Rate Guards, Green Martians, 2nd Rate Red Jeds)



5th level, 16000 Swashbuckler

(5+1) Hero +1 or 5 Men


7 (Teedwars, Odwars, Guard Padwars)



6th level, 32000


(6) Hero +1 or 6 Men


8 (Princes, Dators, Chiefs, Dwars, 2nd Rate Red Jeddaks)



7th level, 64000 Champion

(7+1) Superhero -1


9 (1st Rate Jeds, Jedwars)



8th level, 120000 Superhero

(8+2) Superhero


10 (1st Rate Red Jeddaks, Green Cheiftans)



9th level, 240000 Lord (9+3) Superhero +1

Average top out of skill level for average Martian

11 (Mors Kajak, Tardos Mors, Kantos Kan, Thuvan Dihn, Gahan of Gathol, Dotar Xodar, Green Cheiftans)



Lord, 10th Level (10+1) Superhero +1


12 (Carthoris, Tars Tarkas, Solon of Okar, Ulysses Paxton)





13 (John Carter)




normally Jasoomians only reach


All adult Martian Humans are assumed to have a minimum Fighting-Man level 1 skill, and 2 Hit Points. All Martian Human Children have 1 Hit Point.

This makes the most sense for compairing the two systems on fighting ability.


 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."

Tchklinxa's picture
July 19, 2016 - 4:42am
I think looking at the WoM & Chainmail they are more a like in concept then they are to D&D even though D&D defaults to Chainmail rules and WoM also suggest using or referring to D&D rules on one page.

As you can see there is a big difference in Experience Points needed to advance.

Assassins are noted in WoM but as NPCs and it is stated they have the Fighting-Man skill of 5 through 10... in D&D Assassins are a prestige class of Thief. Thinking on this.
 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."

Tchklinxa's picture
July 21, 2016 - 4:09am
There are several charts to compare in this game and I believe I misunderstood one... so the "hit points" are actually higher.

Two equal level Fighting-Men have a much higher to kill number that must be rolled, and a higher to to wound number. This game is very different. so I will need to revise this yet again.  
 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."

Tchklinxa's picture
July 21, 2016 - 4:50am
So no difference in level means a wound or initiative roll must be 10 or higher to hit/be successful & a roll of 15 or more kills. These numbers are modified by +/- based on the level differences.

"Men are killed (from wounds) at one wound over their level of fighting ability, and it takes 15 wounds to kill John Carter."

So I confused my self last night as I do have the "hit points" figured right in the chart above.

Each level increase seems to equal a +1 to hit until level 7 when to hit becomes automatic, except for the kill to hit which tops out a bit after level 7.

Thus the 10 to hit # becomes a 9 and so on... but the chart increases the difficulty as well... it is all based on level differences. So if one fighter is a lower level he will have a harder time getting a hit, for instaance 10 becomes 11 if the attacker is one level lower.

 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."

Tchklinxa's picture
July 25, 2016 - 3:22pm
I am thinking Assassins will need to be a multi-class as they top out in fighting skill at level 10 but have a minimum fighting skill of level 5... so upon reaching level 5 in Fighting Ability the player could choose to become an Assassin.

I am working on scale issues for the armies in the tactical section as it is a bit vague in WoM about bases, stands, and trays. Plus I need to expand it so Earth Armies of the 1980s can enter into conflicts with the Martians as well.

But I have started building a Red Martian Army out of 1/72 Libyans.

I will probably end up writting a whole updated rule book... lol.
 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."

jedion357's picture
July 28, 2016 - 6:49am
To be honest I was kicking around the idea of Martian Frontiers or Barsoom Frontiers, SF converted to serve this setting and a detailed setting book but I sat on the idea too long and you started this. (You lose me with the D20 system).

I'm actually thinking to re read Borroughs books and make careful notes of setting details while doing so in preparation for a setting book. Think I'll down load Princess of Mars to my phone from the Gutenberg site today.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Tchklinxa's picture
August 3, 2016 - 6:52pm
I am cool helping with a d10 system, or at least us figuring out some critters for SF from the ERB Universe... me and critters. LOL.

WoM is a 3d6 based game, and uses matrix charts (which makes adding to it a bit dicey but not impossible)... and well D&D is all the dice lol... so big difference. WoM is heavy skill level based, so any ideas from D&D or other sources must not over power this contest of skills vs natural abilities. I am thinking abilities may help with certain activities or allow a PC to be a certain class, maybe give an edge somehow... but skill must always trump raw ability. 

I think we are going to play test all the basic rules... then start adding.

I have to add Psionics... as Psionics in ERBs material is there big time. The magic and religion of ERB seems to be science & psionics.

I started thinking on what sort of classes will be needed and what those might look like level wise.


Fighting Man


So got to figure out tons but this is fun... I am delving into old dusty game systems, researching miniatures and generally gearing up for some tactical fun... plus I am out browsing the game stores for supplies just found a huge one! Hubby came with me today and we now have a tactical Star Trek game lol... he likes space ships and Star Trek, so we will be playing that soon too. 

The earliest date I have found for Earth Humans on Mars from literature is 1830... so I figure for Earth Tech 1830 is a good start. The Victorian Age. 

The life span of Martians is huge, but not just them Tarzan never dies, it is questionable if J. Carter is also an immortal type... and at least a few Martians ended up on Earth in other stories of ERBs... so I am thinking the back story to Humans is a bit of a mystery since they are the only race that is everywhere... but heck it's weird science. 

Just fun the ERB Universe and the other folks who wrote similar stories. 

 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."

Tchklinxa's picture
August 5, 2016 - 8:42pm
Okay we have decided to add in movement changes from Chainmail. 
 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."

Tchklinxa's picture
August 8, 2016 - 3:42pm
Adding changes is going slow, but I am finding type-O's some that are important and holes in the rules... fun to see though how WoM is connected to D&D and Chainmail mass battle systems yet different. I am clarifying everything I can. 

I decided to retain the no split-firing rule for now. I think I have hammered out the two kinds of land battle turn systems.

I added to the Terrain penalties

Fixed a movement type-o

Added in all titles of officers and what they command and how that manifests for units of human-type infantry units. I will probably need to make a chart for fliers & cavalry as well, but foot soldiers first... I also noted origin of names many are attested ERB, words, others conjecture from ERB's Barsoomian root words, and 1 from LC's works.

I got to figure out how to get the Word to make a book & get art and charts done but for right now straight typing up info.

I also need to put something together for Earth Troops, you know there is no reason why people moving between planets are limited to the 1800-mid 1900s, especially if we go with the woo woo astral travel stuff... I mean anyone form any culture and known time period could get zapped there I suppose. I will have to clarify how one can get to Mars and back as well to other planets... it seems to me all planets in this fantasy sci-fi setting could have life. 

Decided the Campaign Setting/Rules will be called Swords & Planets. 

 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."

Tchklinxa's picture
August 27, 2016 - 9:25am
I realized working through the rules and thinking on the effects of Armor & Weapons I need to avoid the D&D way of thinking... but rather view these things as adding or subtracting 1 to die rolls. 

 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."

JCab747's picture
August 27, 2016 - 10:20am
I never had WoM, but I remember picking up a few non-TSR games which I may still have. One was a swords game called, I think, "Arena of Death," I even picked up the Elfquest RPG and there was an RPG about Ancient Egypt.

Maybe you could convert WoM to Star Frontiers! ...Or maybe not...

Oh, here's a link to Arena of Death.

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
August 27, 2016 - 10:22am
OK, I looked a little more into the history of Arena of Death. It was initailly produced by SPI, which TSR later bought. Interesting...
Joe Cabadas

Tchklinxa's picture
August 30, 2016 - 9:31pm
I'll check it out... 

 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."