Save the Dying World of Barsoom in a new John Carter of Mars RPG

Saving the Dying World of Barsoom in a new John Carter of Mars RPG

By Jacky Leung     Twitter

Journey to the world of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom, from the creators at Modiphius, in the upcoming John Carter of Mars roleplaying game coming to Kickstarter this January. The game acts as a planetary romance experience, created with a variant of Modiphius’ 2d20 system called Momentum, allowing players to become adventurers and heroes across the dangerous and wondrous world of Barsoom. Players can assume the roles of the novels’ iconic heroes or create their own. The core book consists of details on technology, creatures, and various cultures; a step-by-step character generation system, sections covering three eras of play from the adventures of John Carter himself, along with overviews to introduce new players to Burroughs’ Barsoom and John Carter of Mars.

The new Momentum system is a streamlined version of the original 2d20 system employed Modiphius’ other products such as Conan, Infinity, Mutant Chronicles, and Star Trek Adventures. It focuses on abilities that ultimately build into talents instead of skills. Characters are described by six attributes to form target numbers for all tests or checks. Talents define how a character uses their traits such as science or piloting but with specific features such as a character taking hours of scrutiny and research to uncover discoveries or instead makes leaps of inspiration while under pressure. The purpose for this 2d20 “lite” version is to accentuate the fast-paced, heart-pounding action just like the adventures from the books.

Time for some backstory. Published in 1912 by Tarzan author Edgar Rice Burroughs, John Carter was a Confederate officer from the American Civil War who found himself transported to a fantastical version of Mars called Barsoom. The John Carter of Mars series would inspire generations of writers to create worlds like Dune, Avatar, and Dungeons & Dragons. The books also inspired the founder of Modiphius, Chris Birch, which seemed fitting that John Carter would be brought to life as a roleplaying game as well. This RPG rendition is a faithful adaptation of Burroughs’ work and draws from the author’s original text.

The John Carter RPG is part of a tabletop gaming product line which will consist of the core book, a set of miniatures along with accompanying rules, and Modiphius has listed a board game as well. Modiphius has planned for the core rulebook to be a landscape book (with a portrait slipcase available) to embrace the vast landscapes of Barsoom and allow for easy-to-read text but a traditional portrait version will also be available. At the time of this article, the Kickstarter is not officially live and Modiphius presently only lists draft pledge levels. Interested backers may sign up for Modiphius’ newsletter to receive updates. But according to Modiphius’ tweet, the Kickstarter officially goes live January 9, 2018.

Modiphius’ Twitter page:

Modiphius’ John Carter RPG page:

John Carter of Mars RPG Kickstarter survey:

Update: The John Carter RPG is now live on Kickstarter:


I'm a blogger, writer, RPG designer, and longtime Dungeon Master living in eternally sunny Florida in the United States. Storytelling is one of the many core aspects of our human condition, along with food and music, I want everyone to share their stories. Always hungry to learn more, eat more, and discover more. You can check out my blog:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *