Sunday, June 15, 2008


These many-legged Barsoomian scavengers are the equivalent of earth rat; of course, they are somewhat larger, the average being the size of a terrier dog. They have vicious fangs and when hungry or threatened they can be quite aggressive.

Ulsios are not particularly bold, but often run in packs and will use their superior numbers to overwhelm stronger prey.

Agility: d8Smarts: d6(A)Spirit: d4Strength: d4Vigor: d6

Fighting: d6Notice: d6

Secondary Attributes:
Pace: 6Parry: 4Toughness: 4

Special Abilities:
Bite: Str+d4

More details from The Chessmen of Mars

The Martian rat is a fierce and unlovely thing. It is many-legged and hairless, its hide resembling that of a newborn mouse in repulsiveness. In size and weight it is comparable to a large Airedale terrier. Its eyes are small and close-set, and almost hidden in deep, fleshy apertures. But its most ferocious and repulsive feature is its jaws, the entire bony structure of which protrudes several inches beyond the flesh, revealing five sharp, spadelike teeth in the upper jaw and the same number of similar teeth in the lower, the whole suggesting the appearance of a rotting face from which much of the flesh has sloughed away.

It was such a thing that leaped upon the breast of the panthan to tear at his jugular. Twice Turan struck it away as he sought to regain his feet, but both times it returned with increased ferocity to renew the attack. Its only weapons are its jaws since its broad, splay feet are armed with blunt talons. With its protruding jaws it excavates its winding burrows and with its broad feet it pushes the dirt behind it. To keep the jaws from his flesh then was Turan's only concern and this he succeeded in doing until chance gave him a hold upon the creature's throat. After that the end was but a matter of moments. Rising at last he flung the lifeless thing from him with a shudder of disgust.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cities & Nations

Barsoom has a long history which encompasses near geologic time frames. When the planet was young sailing ships conducted commerce upon the five mighty oceans of Barsoom, traveling from one fabulous port to another. Over the millenia, as the oceans dried up and the "barbarian races" began to make inroads upon the older Orovar civilization, many of the early cities were abandoned after centuries of struggle. The green hordes moved into the vacated cities, often taking the name of these deserted metropoli as their tribal names.

During the same time period (the drying up of the oceans of Mars) the red, black, and yellow races were organizing and beginning to build their own city/states. On a planet where dwindling natural resources insured constant battle between tribes, cities, even nations, the strongest survived and those less strong were doomed to obscurity. The upstart red race, perhaps the youngest of all the Barsoomian races, has a history stretching back nearly 100,000 years. In that time many cities and nations arose, blossomed, and eventually succumbed to invaders.

One of the more interesting pasttimes of Barsoomian readers is locating the various cities, "dead" or currently occupied, as listed in the stories told by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The following list of Barsoomian cities contains physical locations by Latitude and Longitude which are found either in the texts themselves or from the hand drawn maps Ed Burroughs created.


dead city located southwest of Helium and southeast of Torquas. (50S 80E or 55S 70E)


700 miles north of Morbus, at war with Duhor; The avenues leading to it [Jal Had's palace] were lined with the palaces of the nobility, just beyond which were the better-grade shops and hotels. Amhor is a small city and the only one in the principality which might claim the dignity of such a title, the others being but small and widely scattered villages. The chief business of the principality is the raising of thoats and zitidars, the former the saddle animals and the latter the mammoth draft animals of Mars. Both are also raised for food, and Amhors exports preserved meats, hides, and other by-products to Duhor, Phundahl, and Toonol. (42N 118W)

Nation of Kaldanes. A pastoral valley with running water used for agriculture. Land of the spider-men and the headless rykor, which appears to be a fully developed red martian of both sexes, but without heads. (46S 46W)

10,500 haads NW of Helium. 7,800 haads west of Toonolian Marshes on western side of Artolian Hills (aka Snow Clad Mountains) at war with Amhor (40N 178W)

West of Ptarth, noted for honey production. (15N 60E)

Barsoomian Grenwich. (0 lat 0 lon)


NW of Helium. Titled the oldest inhabited city of Barsoom. Gathol began as an island in Throxeus and as the ocean disappeared, the city built down the emerging seamount. Surrounded by salt marshes, Gathol has never been conquered though many have tried to take possession of the fabulous diamond mines beneath the city. Noted for fine grazing lands. (6N 15W)


located Hohr Valley (extinct volcano) NW of Tjanath. (58S 70W)

city on Island of Ompt in the Toonolian Marshes. Inhabited by the Kangaroo men of Barsoom.

city/nation of Helium; located southwest of the twin cities of Helium; noted for shipyards that service the Heliumetic navy. (33S 106E)

1,600 miles from Exum. Helium is the nation of red men that accepts, and elevates, John Carter to Warlord of Mars. Helium is comprised of several city/states, including Greater Helium, Lesser Helium, and Hastor; has a vigorous industry, including great shipyards which produce thousands of aircraft each year, agriculture, ranching, some minor forestry, science and technology; one of the more populous red nations; maintains a standing army and navy of 1,000,000 men. Greater Helium and Lesser Helium, often referred to as the twin cities, are actually 75 miles apart; both cities feature immense towers reaching one mile in height--the Scarlet and Yellow Towers. (30S 106E)

1,500 miles NW Gathol, 5,000 miles NW Helium, last stronghold of surviving Orovars except Lothar (48N 0Lon)


domed city of Okar, north pole which is most distant from Kadabra.

city located in the Forest of Lost Men near Polodona (the equator).

City/state in southern hemisphere; U-Gor is a province of Jahar. (30S 35E)

Okarian capital, north pole; ... the walled and glass-roofed city of Kadabra. It lies in a low depression near the pole, surrounded by rocky, snow-clad hills. ... Its crystal domes sparkled in the brilliant sunlight gleaming above the frost-covered outer wall that circles the entire one hundred miles of its circumference.

city in the Valley of First Born between Gathol and Horz

located in the Kaolian Forest; noted for lumber exports; a city surrounded by glass-smooth walls 75 feet in height. (Warlord)

Kaol, Tangorvassal city/state of Helium (25S 45W)


a dead city; Dejah Thoris related many interesting facts and legends concerning this lost race of noble and kindly people. She said that the city in which we were camping was supposed to have been a center of commerce and culture known as Korad. It had been built upon a beautiful, natural harbor, landlocked by magnificent hills. The little valley on the west front of the city, she explained, was all that remained of the harbor, while the pass through the hills to the old sea bottom had been the channel through which the shipping passed up to the city's gates.

a dead city deserted over 1,000 years. Pew Mogel set up shop here. The City of Korvas, as every Martian schoolboy knew, had been deserted for a thousand years; yet many of the skulls and bones were recently picked clean of their flesh. Carter had seen no evidence in the city of any life other than the great white apes and the mysterious giant, and the rats themselves.

a lost city of the ancient Orovars? (Kar Komak was an incarnation of an Orovar captain); home to a race of white human martians with uncanny mental abilities; Guided by the noise of these habitually angry beasts, he stole forward through the trees until at last he came upon a level, treeless plain, in the centre of which a mighty city reared its burnished domes and vividly coloured towers. (43S 30E)


see Manator

814 miles west of Gathol. The main city of the Manatorians. Notable for lacking technology common to other red martian nations and maintaining extensive exhibits of deceased citizens and honored enemies in a form of taxidermy. In Manator the game of Jetan is taken seriously, every ten years the Fields of Jetan are the scene of violent and deadly contests of human players taking the parts of Jetan pieces. (3N 38W)


see Manator

a principality of Okar with natural defenses that preclude easy conquest by land.

700 miles south of Amhor; where Ras Thavas pefected the hormad; ...approached a large island rising from the surrounding morass. One of the innumerable winding waterways skirted its northern boundary, widening here to form a small lake on the shore of which lay a small walled city...clusters of small huts scattered about the island... Morbus differed from any Maritan city I had ever visited. The buildings were substantial and without ornamentation, but there was a certain dignity to the simplicity of their lines that lent them a beauty all their own. It gave the impression of a new city laid out in accordance with some well conceived plan, every line of which spelled efficiency. Morbus was rebuilt by Ras Thavas over the foundations of an ancient city; densely populated by hormads; ruled by the Council of Seven Jeds, seven hormads.

undefined area of Jupiter ruled by Bandolian.

nation of yellow men at north pole

The Tarids castle/fortress on Ladan (Thuria); constructed of precious and semi-precious stones, many lofty towers, located near a river and surrounded by forest (Swords)


a city in the Forest of Lost Men near Polodona (the equator).


Nation of red men at North Pole ruled by Hin Abtol.


city of Panar; Pankor was much like Kadabra, the capital city of Okar, only much smaller. Though the country around it and up to its walls was clothed in snow and ice, none lay upon the great crystal dome which roofed the entire city; and beneath the dome a pleasant, springlike atmosphere prevailed. Its avenues were covered with the sod of the mosslike ocher vegetation which clothes the dead sea bottoms of the red planet, and bordered by well kept lawns of crimson Barsoomian grass. Along these avenues sped the noiseless traffic of light and airy ground fliers with which I had become familiar in Marentina and Kadabra long years before.

west end of the Toonolian Marshes; located near broken canyons and hills containing tracts of sompus trees to the southwest; continually at war with Toonol. (20N 120W)

allied to Helium by the marriage of Carthoris and Thuvia; 9,500 haads northeast of Helium; also allied with Kaol. (13 or 15N 168W)


northern hemisphere, sacked by Hin Abtol. (60N 40W)

undefined area of Jupiter with invisible houses.

ancient city where a group of green martian tribes take their name and is their main gathering place. (50S 122E)


ancient city where a group of green martian tribes take their name and is their main gathering place.


southern hemisphere, near Ghasta (60S 70W)

East of the Toonolian Marshes; continually at war with Phundahl. From the summit of the landing tower I had my first view of a Martian city. Several hundred feet below me lay spread the broad, well-lighted avenues of Toonol, many of which were crowded with people. Here and there, in this central district, a building was raised high upon its supporting, cylindrical metal shaft; while further out, Where the residences predominated, the city took on the appearance of a colossal and grotesque forest. Among the larger palaces only an occasional suite of rooms was thus raised high above the level of the others, these being the sleeping apartments of the owners, their servants or their guests; but the smaller homes were raised in their entirety, a precaution necessitated by the constant activities of the followers of Gor Hajus' ancient profession that permitted no man to be free from the constant menace of assassination. Throughout the central district the sky was pierced by the lofty towers of several other landing stages; but, as I was later to learn, these were comparatively few in number. Toonol is in no sense a flying nation, supporting no such enormous fleets of merchant ships and vessels of war as, for example, the twin cities of Helium or the great capital of Ptarth. (21N 98W)


an ancient dead city that is home to a group of green martian tribes. That he was within the boundary of Torquas, Carthoris was sure, but that there existed there such a wondrous city he never had dreamed, nor had the chronicles of the past even hinted at such a possibility, for the Torquasians were known to live, as did the other green men of Mars, within the deserted cities that dotted the dying planet, nor ever had any green horde built so much as a single edifice, other than the low-walled incubators where their young are hatched by the sun's heat. (28S 36E)


province of Jahar approximately 1,000 haads southeast of the captial city. (58S to 50S and 2W to 7E)


dead city. (I believe it is 40S 16E)


remote island on Jupiter unconquered by the Morgors, where the Savators live.


1900 miles E of Helium; a nation at war with Helium; later sacked by Tharks under John Carter's command; rebuilt Zodanga is a modern trading city with strict air traffic control, warehouses, inns and hotels, rich and poor quarters of the city. 30S 172E (ERB's map says 10S 150E)


380 miles SE of Helium (40S 120E)

You will find a variety of maps on

Art by Michael Whelan

Description by David Bruce Bozarth, from

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Barsoomian technology is a curious mixture of the sophisticated advanced scientific society and the primitive innocence of barbarism. Mars, according to Edgar Rice Burroughs, has a human history spanning millions of years and in that time races have risen to scientific heights exceeding our planet and then faded to memory as a younger, more vital race emerges. Much of the technology has been passed down over the ages, but a significant part of the elder races' knowledge has been lost. For example, the great atmosphere plant created by the Orovars as the oceans of Mars evaporated, has never been duplicated by the red race which now maintains the gigantic device. Methods of cold light, radium light, or some forms of manufacturing have been lost. Yet, for all the knowledge lost there remains a significant core of scientific study that is astounding.

-- range in size from single seaters to 10,000 man crafts. The swift scout flier (pre-Fighting Man of Mars) had a top speed of 1,100 haads per zode (166 mph). At some time before the events of Fighting Man, an unknown padwar in the Helium navy developed a new motor with half the weight and twice the power. The motor depended upon the planet's magnetic field for energy, thus was practically unlimited in range. The new one-man fliers built with that motor achieved speeds of 2,000 haads per zode (approximately 300 mph). Effective max appears to be 3,000 haads per zode until better ship building methods are developed. Hastor launched the largest battleship ever, with the capacity to carry 10,000 men (Fighting); John Carter and Vor Daj left Helium (Synthetic) in a small cruiser of new design that could attain speeds over 400 mph.

Airships play a vital role in the Barsoomian novels. The vessels of Barsoom are of varying sizes ranging from personal units not unlike surfboards in size and shape to immense 10,000 man battleships. These airships are found in every novel. The airship, or "flier" as it is called in the books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, connect the widely separated and isolated Barsoomian communities for either trade or war. All follow a basic configuration as illustrated in the image below.

It is apparent that Barsoomian airships are constructed in configuration similar to surface water vessels as the First Born have routinely converted stolen Barsoomian fliers for use on the surface of the underground Omean Sea.
In the matter of equipping a fleet to enter Omean the details were left to Kantos Kan and Xodar. The former agreed to take such vessels as we required into dock as rapidly as possible, where Xodar would direct their equipment with water propellers.

For many years the black had been in charge of the refitting of captured battleships that they might navigate Omean, and so was familiar with the construction of the propellers, housings, and the auxiliary gearing required.
Equally apparent are the immense numbers of Barsoomian airships. In Gods of Mars Kantos Kan assembled a substantial rescue fleet of modified Heliumetic warships over a period of 300 days without arousing the suspicion Zat Arras, a Zodangan jed then currently in control of Helium.
"To-night there lies about the great docks at Hastor a fleet of a thousand of the mightiest battleships that ever sailed above Barsoom, and each equipped to navigate the air of Omean and the waters of Omean itself. Upon each battleship there are five ten-man cruisers, and ten five-man scouts, and a hundred one-man scouts; in all, one hundred and sixteen thousand craft fitted with both air and water propellers." (GODS)

"At Thark lie the transports for the green warriors of Tars Tarkas, nine hundred large troopships, and with them their convoys. ..."
Facts/statements found in the texts that are general in nature: Upon each battleship there are five ten-man cruisers, and ten five-man scouts, and a hundred one-man scouts (Gods). An Amhorian airship of some size traverses 750 earth miles in seven and one-half earth hours, indicating a cruising speed of 100 miles per hour. (Synthetic)

artificial life
-- see hormads

atmosphere factory
-- an ancient constuct built by the Orovars and operated by the red Martians which provides the artificially generated atmosphere of Mars. (Princess, Llana)

atom gun
-- hand weapon described as a pistol or rifle in Giant of Mars.

brain and organ transplants
-- and other surgical/medical miracles (Master Mind, Synthetic).

-- man-made waterways transporting water from the polar caps into the inhabited regions of Barsoom. Generally bordered by trees and agricultural areas, often accompanied by a broad roadway.

carborundum aluminium
-- a light-weight material, nearly impenetrable, used in the construction of Barsoomian fighting airships.

-- mechanical brains; a device capable of responding to telepathic commands and utilized in Fal Sivas' spaceship (Swords)

Destination Compass (directional compass)
-- a aerial navigation device which Carthoris improved. In operation one sets the desired latitude and longitude. The device then navigates to the location, then shuts down the propulsion and lowers the craft to the group. It also has altitude ranging which operates by reflected light (think lasers) which prevents ground collision. The device is so light sensitive that it functions by starlight, or in the event of the rare occasion the night sky is covered with cloud, by the beam of a downward directed artificial light.

Directional lighting
--of cities, see street lighting below (Swords)

Disintegration Ray
-- invented by Phor Tak of Jahar; a weapon which can be set to selectively destroy organic or inorganic materials. (Fighting)

Eighth Ray
-- a form of antigravity produced from forces emanating from the planets and stars.

Electromagnetic devices
-- most significant is the Guardian of the North, a vast magnetic device built over the North Pole for the defense and destruction of airships. (Warlord and Thuvia)

-- identical in function to the Jasoomian equivilant. (Swords)

-- personal flying belts based on the Eighth Ray; The equilibrimotor is an ingenious device for individual flying. It consists of a broad belt, not unlike the life belt used aboard passenger ships on Earth; the belt is filled with the eighth Barsoomian ray, or ray of propulsion, to a sufficient degree to equalize the pull of gravity and thus to maintain a person in equilibrium between that force and the opposite force exerted by the eighth ray. Attached to the back of the belt is a small radium motor, the controls for which are on the front of the belt; while rigidly attached to and projecting from the upper rim of the belt is a strong, light wing with small hand levers for quickly altering its position.

-- Barsoomian airships ranging in size from personal one-man filers to 10,000 man battleships. When John Carter first arrived on Barsoom, top speeds were 166 miles per hour. By the end of the series speeds approaching 550 miles per hour were attained. (see Airships)

fliers, ground
-- airships with a maximum ceiling of 100 feet and maximum speed of 60 miles per hour, otherwise similar in design and shape as ordinary fliers and airships. Several varieties falling into two categories: ground effect machines using over-large tired inflated with the Barsoomian Eighth Ray with motive power supplied by a small radium driven propeller at the rear, and smaller personal fliers with limited lift designed for use in urban areas. (Thuvia and Gods)

Flying Death, the
-- a "smart" torpedo that will adjust trajectory to destroy a designated target; invented by Phor Tak of Jahar.

food tablets
-- concentrated energy (Warlord)

-- lightest and hardest of metals used by Barsoomians; principally a building material.

Gridley Wave
-- not of Barsoom; radio-like frequency/device discovered by Jason Gridley of America. Ultimately used for real-time communication between Earth and Barsoom.

-- another name for destination compass, Giant.

-- rare form of headdress, perhaps an apparel of defense.

holographic telescopes
-- Princess and again in Synthetic Men

-- hormads; produced from large vats and a chemical mixture; cannot be killed though can be incapacitated by striking the head from the body; self-regenerating, though the process is flawed--a hormad head might regenerate a leg from the neck down instead of a body and have to be again decapitated or thrown back into the vat; created by Ras Thavas of Toonol during his residence at Morbus (Synthetic)(see Non-Human Martians)

hypnosis and deathless minds
--specifically the Lotharians, additionally the creature in the pits of Horz, also references the intellects of Bantoom.

International air travel
--freight and passengers. (Thuvia)

invisibility and cloaking devices
-- organic and inorganic methods of inducing invisibility; Phor Tak of Jahar developed an invisibility paint that, when applied to cloth or warships, bent light rays around the object producing the invisibility effect. The humans in the Forest of Lost Men swallow a pill which renders one invisible for ten zodes. On Sasoom the Savators plaster their dwellings with a sand of invisibility which reacts in the same fashion as the Phor Tak paint, bending light around objects.

-- radio with at least one secret frequency at 2000 kilocycles.

Nerve machine
-- controls the bodies of indexed and encoded subjects in the First Born valley of Kamtol. (Llana)

Ninth Ray
-- used in atmospheric plant

personal home protection
-- houses hydraulically raised at night.

photostatic copies
-- reproduction of images in an instant. Described as a service of the Temple of Knowledge, Greater Helium (Fighting).

Pneumatic tube transport systems

-- aerogram, wireless, etc., headphones and morse code.

- everlasting light bulbs

- explosive bullets

- pistols and rifles

range finders
- wireless, generally used to target large weapons from airships.

Recording Machine
-- type of computer assisted telefax which records weights and measures, and transmits from a distance.

space ships
- Two vehicles are described capable of space flight--the manually operated ship created by Gar Nal of Zodanga and the thought-operated ship created by Fal Sivas of Zodanga. Both ships traveled to Thuria, the nearer moon. (Swords)

street lighting
-- A peculiar feature of the street lighting of Toonol, and in fact the same condition applies to the lighting of other Barsoomian cities I have visited, I noted for the first time that night as I waited upon the landing stage for the return of Bal Zak with the watchman. The luminosity below me seemed confined directly to the area to be lighted; there was no diffusion of light upward or beyond the limits the lamps were designed to light This was effected, I was told, by lamps designed upon principles resulting from ages of investigation of the properties of light waves and the laws governing them which permit Barsoomian scientists to confine and control light as we confine and control matter. The light waves leave the lamp, pass along a prescribed circuit and return to the lamp. There is no waste nor, strange this seemed to me, are there any dense shadows when lights are properly installed and adjusted, for the waves in passing around objects to return to the lamp, illuminate all sides of them.

The effect of this lighting from the great height of the tower was rather remarkable. The night was dark, there being no moons at that hour upon this night, and the effect was that obtained when sitting in a darkened auditorium and looking upon a brilliantly lighted stage.

-- First Born vessels capable of navigating the depths of the Omean Sea. (Gods)

-- used in Okar for solar energy and heating.

suspended animation
- the many frozen warriors collected by Hin Abtol of Panar, a red Jeddak of the Barsoomian North. Humans cached in frigid conditions then later thawed to supplement Hin Abtol's armies. (Llana)

- invented by Ras Thavas, Giant

"Theoretical Mechanics"
-- a technical book authored by an unnamed Barsoomian. (Swords)

torches, handheld
-- a portable illumination device found in Horz. It is a cylindrical object producing a cold light when exposed to atmosphere; the greater the exposure, the more light produced; an ancient device manufactured by unknown methods that have not been duplicated in modern times.

traffic flow, standardized
-- in urban areas. These ground fliers are a common means of private transportation in many Martian cities. (see fliers, ground) In Amhor all north and south traffic moves at ground level at intersections, east and west traffic passing above it. East and west traffic is compelled to rise above north and south traffic at each intersection because there is a short runway inclining upward to a height of about ten feet at each intersection, ending in an abrupt drop at the intersection. These inclines force all east and west traffic to rise above the north and south traffic intersections. All vehicular traffic moves in but one direction on any avenue, the direction of flow alternating so that half the avenues carry traffic in one direction and the other half in the opposite direction. Left turns are made without diminishing speed by the simple expedient of rising above both lanes of traffic. The result is that traffic flows steadily in all direction at an average speed of about fifty miles per hour. Parking accommodations are frequent, and are found inside buildings at a level of about sixty feet above the pavement. North and south pedestrian traffic moves without interruption in either direction on both sides of North and South Streets at the ground level; and, similarly, on East and West Streets through underpasses at street intersections. (Synthetic)

watch or chronometer
-- In a cylindrical bracelet of gold about my wrist was my Barsoomian chronometer--a delicate instrument that records the tals and xats and zodes of Martian time, presenting them to view beneath a strong crystal much after the manner of an earthly odometer.

Description by David Bruce Bozarth, from

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Weights and Measures


-- 11.17 earth inches. (On map 11.69 earth inches)

safad -- martian inch

-- 9.75 earth feet. Various conversions between Barsoomian and earth measure can be found. 300 ads is described as approximately 3000 feet and 50 ads converts to 490 feet. (Synthetic)

- 1,949.05 earth feet (listed as 1,949.0592 feet, Fighting Man)

10 sofads
-- 1 ad

200 ads
-- 1 haad

100 haads
-- 1 karad

1 karad
-- 1 degree of latitude (36.914 earth miles)

360 karads
-- circumference of Barsoom at the equator.
circumference of Mars, 13,289 miles

1 mile
-- 2.709 haads

Speed of fast fliers is 166.1 earth miles per hour, or 450 haads per hour; calculated from distance/time description in Thuvia and supported by Barsoom map reference.


-- 1 second

-- 1 minute

-- 1 hour

4 tals = 1 xat, or 200 to a zode

5 xats = 15 earth minutes

50 xats = three hours

zode = 2.5 earth hours (listed as 2.462 earth hours, Fighting Man). ERB occasionally offered exact conversions between Barsoomian and earth measures, for example: Martian time 8:25 is 12:13 AM Earth time. (Synthetic)

25 xats past 8th zode is midnight (Swords).

10 zodes daily

martian day, little over 24 1/2 earth hours (Princess 112)

martian year, 684 earth days

Barsoomian Month = They remain on this duty for one month, which is equivalent to about seventy days of Earth time; then they are relieved and return to Gathol city. LLANA


There appears to be little logic to the numbers listed in the books, though some aspects seem to hold together. bar -- 8

-- 1,000,000

-- 7

-- 100

-- 10

-- 11

-- 4


-- 1 cent

-- 10 cents

-- 1 dollar

hard coinage is oval shaped in bronze, silver and gold.

paper currency--a form of check issued by the payee and redeemed twice a year. If the payee is unable to fulfil his obligation, the government pays the debt and requires the debtor to serve time on a farm or in the military until the debt is paid.


-- John Carter's observations of the Barsoomian methods of weight measurement have never been translated. Apparently a Barsoomian pound is similiar in relation to an Earthly pound, but is correspondingly less based on the reduced gravity of Mars.

-- without terrestrial referrent, many airships and construction techniques are described in terms of tons.

Description by David Bruce Bozarth, from ERBList.c

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Monday, June 9, 2008

Yellow Martian

The Yellow Martians live at the North Pole, shielded from the world by a great barrier wall of ice which entirely surrounds their territory. The only means of entrance is through The Carrion Caves, which are every bit as unpleasant as the name suggests. Air travel over the barrier is discouraged through the use of a great magnetic pillar called "The Guardian of the North," which draws fliers of all sizes inexorably into their doom as they collide with the massive structure. Their cities are domed hothouses which keep out the cold, but outdoors they favor orluk furs and boots. Physically, they are large and strong, and then men wear bristling black beards as a rule. They are the only race of martians to use shields, favoring a concave buckler attached to the wrist while they fight with hooked and straight swords. They show no evidence of using radium rifles, but instead maintain the use of javelins as their primary ranged weapon.

Yellow Martian Weapons: When attacking with a the Yellow Martian trademark weapons, a hooked and straight sword, he rolls each attack separately but ignores the multi-action penalty.

Art by Joe Jusko

The Martian Code of Honor

Virtually all of the inhabitants of Barsoom subscribe to the same basic code of honor. This code covers many aspects of life, but is best known for its application to personal combat. In this case, honor demands that a warrior can only respond to a personal attack with a weapon considered equal or inferior to that used by the attacker. Thus, a warrior attacked with a long sword may use his or her longsword, shortsword, dagger, or even a hatchet, but may not draw a pistol to combat his or her foe.

Art by Michael Whelan

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Edgar Rice Burroughs' interpretation of Barsoomian terms for jeds, princes, or high-ranking officers. In some areas of Barsoom is equivalent in rank to "king."

Council of Seven Jeds
rank/title: the ruling class of Morbus.

rank/title: a prince of the First Born.


Emperor, King of Kings

Empress, Queen of Kings

Used only to describe the kaldane leaders

Prince or Princess
Frequently appears in the royalty of the red Martians, usually regarding off-spring of Jeddaks or Jeddaras


ordinary warrior or seaman

a mercenary without house or nation.

a lieutenant, ranks of first and second class.

a captain

general, commands 10,000 men.

see Chessmen

general of generals (a warlord)

10,000 men commanded by a odwar

100 men commanded by a dwar.

1,000 men. (Possibly 10 dars per odwar command?)


Daughter of the Lesser Moon

Death upon Barsoom
Matai Shang's Hekkador alias

Father of Holy Therns
Matai Shang; leader of a religious cult

Goddess of Death

Goddess of Life Eternal

High rank in Thern sociey

Holy Hekkador
perhaps same rank as Hekkador

Master of Life
Matai Shang

Mother of the Nearer Moon

Ninth Cycle
Rank one level below Hekkador

Tenth Cycle
Rank of Hekkador

Therns of the Tenth cycle
Hekkadors; cannibalistic, though they will not touch human flesh which has not been thoroughly drained of blood by the vampiric plant men.

a Rank of Hekkador

Description by David Bruce Bozarth, from

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Plant Men

One of the more bizarre races on Barsoom, the plant men inhabit the Valley Dor. To learn more, read the entry at the bottom of the page for a detailed description from John Carter's first encounter with the plant men.

Agility: d8Smarts: d6Spirit: d6Strength: d12+1Vigor: d8

Fighting: d6Guts: d8Notice: d8

Secondary Attributes:
Pace: 6Parry: 5Toughness: 8

Special Abilities:
Improved Frenzy:
Plant men make two Fighting attacks as one action with no penalty.
Blood-sucking hands:
If a plant man gets a raise on his Fighting roll, he does no additional damage, but automatically grapples his target. If he maintains the grapple, he does +2 (or +d6 with the current rules) damage to his target.
Size: +2
Plant men stand 10 to 12 feet tall.
Tail Slap:
Plant Men use this maneuver to strike their opponents from above with their tails. If they can charge at least 6" before attacking, they add d10 to their damage total.
Plant Men can leap 12" with a single bound.

More details from The Gods of Mars

But it was not these inspiring and magnificent evidences of Nature's grandeur that took my immediate attention from the beauties of the forest. It was the sight of a score of figures moving slowly about the meadow near the bank of the mighty river.

Odd, grotesque shapes they were; unlike anything that I had ever seen upon Mars, and yet, at a distance, most manlike in appearance. The larger specimens appeared to be about ten or twelve feet in height when they stood erect, and to be proportioned as to torso and lower extremities precisely as is earthly man.

Their arms, however, were very short, and from where I stood seemed as though fashioned much after the manner of an elephant's trunk, in that they moved in sinuous and snakelike undulations, as though entirely without bony structure, or if there were bones it seemed that they must be vertebral in nature.

As I watched them from behind the stem of a huge tree, one of the creatures moved slowly in my direction, engaged in the occupation that seemed to be the principal business of each of them, and which consisted in running their oddly shaped hands over the surface of the sward, for what purpose I could not determine.

As he approached quite close to me I obtained an excellent view of him, and though I was later to become better acquainted with his kind, I may say that that single cursory examination of this awful travesty on Nature would have proved quite sufficient to my desires had I been a free agent. The fastest flier of the Heliumetic Navy could not quickly enough have carried me far from this hideous creature.

Its hairless body was a strange and ghoulish blue, except for a broad band of white which encircled its protruding, single eye: an eye that was all dead white--pupil, iris, and ball.

Its nose was a ragged, inflamed, circular hole in the centre of its blank face; a hole that resembled more closely nothing that I could think of other than a fresh bullet wound which has not yet commenced to bleed.

Below this repulsive orifice the face was quite blank to the chin, for the thing had no mouth that I could discover.

The head, with the exception of the face, was covered by a tangled mass of jet-black hair some eight or ten inches in length. Each hair was about the bigness of a large angleworm, and as the thing moved the muscles of its scalp this awful head-covering seemed to writhe and wriggle and crawl about the fearsome face as though indeed each separate hair was endowed with independent life.

The body and the legs were as symmetrically human as Nature could have fashioned them, and the feet, too, were human in shape, but of monstrous proportions. From heel to toe they were fully three feet long, and very flat and very broad.

As it came quite close to me I discovered that its strange movements, running its odd hands over the surface of the turf, were the result of its peculiar method of feeding, which consists in cropping off the tender vegetation with its razorlike talons and sucking it up from its two mouths, which lie one in the palm of each hand, through its arm-like throats.

In addition to the features which I have already described, the beast was equipped with a massive tail about six feet in length, quite round where it joined the body, but tapering to a flat, thin blade toward the end, which trailed at right angles to the ground.

By far the most remarkable feature of this most remarkable creature, however, were the two tiny replicas of it, each about six inches in length, which dangled, one on either side, from its armpits. They were suspended by a small stem which seemed to grow from the exact tops of their heads to where it connected them with the body of the adult.

Whether they were the young, or merely portions of a composite creature, I did not know.

As I had been scrutinizing this weird monstrosity the balance of the herd had fed quite close to me and I now saw that while many had the smaller specimens dangling from them, not all were thus equipped, and I further noted that the little ones varied in size from what appeared to be but tiny unopened buds an inch in diameter through various stages of development to the full-fledged and perfectly formed creature of ten to twelve inches in length.

Feeding with the herd were many of the little fellows not much larger than those which remained attached to their parents, and from the young of that size the herd graded up to the immense adults.

Fearsome-looking as they were, I did not know whether to fear them or not, for they did not seem to be particularly well equipped for fighting, and I was on the point of stepping from my hiding-place and revealing myself to them to note the effect upon them of the sight of a man when my rash resolve was, fortunately for me, nipped in the bud by a strange shrieking wail, which seemed to come from the direction of the bluffs at my right.

Naked and unarmed, as I was, my end would have been both speedy and horrible at the hands of these cruel creatures had I had time to put my resolve into execution, but at the moment of the shriek each member of the herd turned in the direction from which the sound seemed to come, and at the same instant every particular snake-like hair upon their heads rose stiffly perpendicular as if each had been a sentient organism looking or listening for the source or meaning of the wail. And indeed the latter proved to be the truth, for this strange growth upon the craniums of the plant men of Barsoom represents the thousand ears of these hideous creatures, the last remnant of the strange race which sprang from the original Tree of Life.

Instantly every eye turned toward one member of the herd, a large fellow who evidently was the leader. A strange purring sound issued from the mouth in the palm of one of his hands, and at the same time he started rapidly toward the bluff, followed by the entire herd.

Their speed and method of locomotion were both remarkable, springing as they did in great leaps of twenty or thirty feet, much after the manner of a kangaroo.

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Saturday, June 7, 2008


These water reptiles are known to exist in the Lost Sea of Korus. Therns believe that if a man dies before his alloted 1,000 years then his spirit passes into a plant man. If the plant man dies before his allotment the spirit continues into the body of a white ape. If the white ape dies before his time the spirit passes to live forever in the body of a Silian. Silians are reptilian, with long necks and ferocious teeth. When angered they will attack viciously.

Agility: d8Smarts: d6(A)Spirit: d6Strength: d12+2Vigor: d12

Swimming: d12Fighting: d10Notice: d6

Secondary Attributes:
Pace: 8Parry: 7Toughness: 16 (8)

Special Abilities:
Bite: Str+d8
Tail: Str+d12
The tail attack is -2 to hit, and is generally used against larger targets, such as a vessel or craft upon the water in an attempt to sink or capsize it.
Size: +3

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Bronze Age Miniatures

Bronze Age Miniatures make an awesome line of Barsoom-like miniatures; Green Men, Red Men, White Apes, Plant Men and more! Check out their site >>

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The following thumbnails go can be clicked to enlarge, but all of them and more can be found on the Bronze Age Miniatures site as well:

If you know of other companies producing Barsoom-like miniatures feel free to point them out; we want to be fair and point all sources out.