What do you want to see in a Barsoom RPG?

“As you know I am not of Barsoom; your ways are not my ways, and I can only act in the future as I have in the past, in accordance with the dictates of my conscience and guided by the standards of mine own people.” All RPGs based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom stories can be discussed here.
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Yaztromo
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What do you want to see in a Barsoom RPG?

Post by Yaztromo »

This thread is based on various comments on this forum about RPG rulesets that seem OK in themselves, but do not catch the "spirit" of Barsoom to the fullest extent.
What do you think is critical to achieve it? Which aspects of which rulesets satisfy or disappoint you most under this point of view? :geek:
If you can, please provide examples. :ugeek:
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Baron
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Re: What do you want to see in a Barsoom RPG?

Post by Baron »

I contend that the style of a game is a result of the players involved in the session. Give me monsters and items lifted or inferred from the setting, but characters are mostly a matter of style. At a basic level, characters in any RPG need to be defined in game terms that provide players with task resolution methods. So, Barsoom characters need to be able to do what the stories say. They fight with swords and radium arms, they fly airships, they operate pseudo-scientific equipment, they also need to be able to do the usual things that a sword-wielding tech level might require, such as hunting, foraging, lighting a fire and so forth.

Now there are aspects of Barsoomian stories that might not be reflected in standard D&D -type games. For instance, an inspirational leader, or a court intriguer, or a hero who manages to do amazing feats without dying like a dog. Some of that is role-play. How can you drag that out of a rules system?

D&D does this with levels and increasing hit points, so the characters soak a lot of damage. There are limited rules for social interaction (Reaction Rolls). Is that enough? Between role-play and reaction rolls, I think so.

So what does that mean I want from a Barsoom-inspired system? Honestly, not much. I have my Barsoom references here. The rules system isn't that much of a factor in my re-creation of the stories.

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Re: What do you want to see in a Barsoom RPG?

Post by Yaztromo »

In my experience, there is one specific psionic power that all Barsoomians have and that makes fairly difficult roleplaying: it is the power of "perceiving" others. This way you very seldom have surprises.
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Re: What do you want to see in a Barsoom RPG?

Post by Havard »

How about mass combat?

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Re: What do you want to see in a Barsoom RPG?

Post by Yaztromo »

Havard wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:02 pm
How about mass combat?
There are many rulesets doing mass combat, but I think that the big issue in this case is doing mass combat á la Barsoom! This means that one single man with a radium rifle can kill huge numbers of assailants that choose to keep charging instead of hiding behind rocks and sneaking forward while staying under cover, or having huge carnages of armies that gladly annihilate each other without even thinking about strategies such as strategic retreats etc. leaving the winner terribly weakened....
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Re: What do you want to see in a Barsoom RPG?

Post by Yaztromo »

How would you do psionics á la Barsoom?
While in a book it is possible having a psionic power that allows all Barsoomians to "feel" is somebody is around and, to some extent, read minds, in a RPG this makes all adventure design more complicate.
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Re: What do you want to see in a Barsoom RPG?

Post by Yaztromo »

One thing that I found a bit hard to fine tune is that John Carter on Mars is a real tank! He can singlehandedly take on armies!
This is quite difficult for me to introduce in a RPG: if everybody expects to be at that level of power from the very start, things can become really complicate, especially for Game Masters (like me) that like having a "proper" character progression "from zero to hero" and that in general never felt too comfortable with high level gaming.
What do you think is the right compromise?
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Re: What do you want to see in a Barsoom RPG?

Post by Princess Strega »

It depends on the power level of the army. I mean a 3rd level character in D&D can take on a quad of goblins and by 7th level a whole army of goblins.

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Re: What do you want to see in a Barsoom RPG?

Post by Yaztromo »

John Carter did something similar at the very beginning of his adventures, while reaching 7th level can take quite a while, in game time.
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