John Carter of Mars

I’m a little bit behind posting this latest “Kickstart your week” but it has probably been the easiest one to choose so far.  Modiphius Entertainment have been signposting the John Carter of Mars Kickstarter for some time, and now its live!

John Carter of Mars or to give it its full title; “John Carter of Mars – Adventures on The Dying World of Barsoom” is a planetary romance tabletop RPG. Modiphius have again secured an enviable licensing agreement and are working  with the cooperation of the estate of Edgar Rice Burroughs, author of the original Barsoom novels. And as with the Conan line they have engaged with recognised scholars of the original works to ensure authenticity with those original stories.

The game, in a similar vein to Star Trek Adventures will use a variant of the 2d20 system, tailored to fit the pulp-action narrative referred to as “Momentum”.  John Carter of Mars allows players to take the role of various adventurers and heroes as they travel, battle, and romance their way across the wondrous and dangerous world known to its natives as Barsoom. As well as creating your own heroes you can play the game as John Carter, the princess Dejah Thoris or the fearsome Thark warrior Tars Tarkas.

Unlike Conan, Modiphius look to be much further advanced with this particular product as it launched on Kickstarter.  According to Modiphius the core book is fully written, and already in layout.  Although how much more material is unlocked depends a great deal on the success of the KickstarterModiphius are clear that they are aiming to deliver the product as a single delivery in the summer, prior to a retail release in the Autumn.    Backers can also expect to receive access to the completed document for the core book as soon as the Kickstarter completes.

The Core rule book is particularly striking, it comes in an unusual landscape format, and is available in a collectors edition slipcase.


The core book reportedly contains:

  • An overview of Burroughs’ Barsoom and its peoples, perfect to introduce new players to the wondrous world of John Carter of Mars with detailed chapters on technology, creatures, and various cultures. 
  • A new skill-less Talent focused narrative variation of the 2d20 system called “Momentum”, which includes a step-by-step character generation system designed to create heroes from a variety of backgrounds and concepts. 
  • Everything you need to create a wide variety of characters such as a dashing Red Martian duelist, a brilliant First Born scientist, a savage Beastmaster, a courageous airship officer, a disciplined assassin, or even Earthborn characters, so players can follow in the bounding footsteps of John Carter himself! 
  • A detailed Narrator’s section with information on how to run genre-and-setting appropriate games and campaigns, including information about the great secrets of Barsoom covering the three eras of play based on the adventures of John Carter himself. Play during the early days of Dotar Sojat, adventure during the time when Carter was a Prince of Helium and in the years after when he was believed dead, or indeed fight alongside Carter and his allies during the later Jeddak of Jeddaks era. 
  • And most importantly an introductory adventure, the Mind Merchants of Mars, to get players and Narrators started on their adventures.

As you would expect with such a prestigious and enticing Kickstarter there are a wide range of pledges; from the Core Rulebook in print with all unlocked PDFs at £60 through to the Deluxe Prince of Helium pledge at £500.

What do I think of it?  Well as one of the most highly anticipated Kickstarters for a while I suspect it will deliver a great quality product, in keeping with the other Modiphius titles (Star Trek Adventures, Infinity, Conan, Mutant Chronicles amongst others) – and if Modiphius have learnt from previous Kickstarters it should run much closer to its proposed schedule. If I’m honest I find the products a little on the pricey side, and I have to ask myself how often would I play it?  I’ve been a fan of John Carter since I was a kid, but never once has it crossed my mind to try and role-play in the world of Barsoom.

All in all I’m a bit undecided, but have no doubt that the product will meet the high quality standards that Modiphius set for themselves.