I recently chatted with Gareth-Michael Skarka, the Director of Adamant Entertainment, about MARS concerning it's past, present and future.
Yes -- I'm the director of Adamant Entertainment, and was one of the contributing authors on MARS. I came up with the original outlines of the setting, which were then expanded upon by "Lizard", who wrote most of the setting material and rules for the original d20 version of the game. When we converted over to Savage Worlds, I was the one who took over rules design for that version.
Q: What inspired MARS?
The entire genre was my biggest inspiration -- whether you choose to call it "Sword and Planet" or "Planetary Romance". I've always been a huge fan of the genre, from the time I was a kid.
Q: I take it you are an Edgar Rice Burroughs fan?
Absolutely -- his Barsoom books are my favorite planetary romance series -- through those, I discovered the other great authors in the genre, like Otis Adelbert Kline, and later revival authors like Michael Moorcock and Lin Carter.
Q: MARS seems to skirt around the ERB source material. I take it that is due to copyright concerns?
Not at all. Given the fact that the first five books in the series are in the public domain, we actually would've been just fine using those. We wanted to create an original setting within the style of the genre, though, because it afforded us wider options. (For example, I liked the idea of including Welles-ian tripod Martians in the setting, as well as the more usual Barsoom-esque species.)
Early on (back when we were prepping the original d20 version), we did get a letter from the ERB estate questioning whether we were infringing on their property, but we showed them what we were doing, and told them that our project was a tribute to the wider genre -- not just Burroughs, but Welles, Moorcock, Kline, Carter, etc. We offered to put a brief disclaimer in our credits, making sure that it was clear there was no connection between us, and they were satisfied by that.
|Faces of Mars|
FACE OF MARS is an adventure for the game, written by H.M. "Dain" Lybarger. We'll be releasing it in PDF before the end of the year. It's an adventure involving red nomads, green martian hordes, and a lost treasure in an ancient tomb buried beneath the Face of Mars.
Q: Besides the growing list of MARS products listed on RPGNow.com, what is coming up MARS?
We've got a ton of stuff underway which will be released over the next couple of months:
Blood Legacy of Mars -- another adventure, featuring secrets, assassination and political intrigue.
Sell-Swords of Mars -- an adventure featuring a daring group of mercenaries up against the focused might of a Grey Martian citadel!
Sky Tyrant of Mars -- the first installment of a trilogy of connected adventures.
City-States of Mars - Korium -- the first of a series of setting supplements, featuring fully-detailed campaign locations.
Airships of Mars -- a supplement with advanced and expanded rules for airships in the setting.
We're also considering launching a line of MARS fiction via Amazon.com (available in Kindle and in print) -- if your readers are interested in that, they should drop us a line and say so!
|Warriors of Mars|
Actually, it's already happened! Both were converted and included in the main Savage Worlds MARS book.
MINIONS was just a collection of NPC stats for the game (because designing d20 NPCs was so time consuming, we figured a collection of pre-generated stat blocks would be helpful) -- including some "featured" NPCs that were much more detailed. We decided to include the "featured" NPCS from MINIONS in the core book of our Savage Worlds version, where they appear on pages 172-178!
SLAVERS was a d20 adventure, and we converted it to Savage Worlds and included it in the core book release as well -- the whole adventure features as Chapter Seven of the core SW Mars book (starting at page 135)!
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
We would love to hear from fans of Martian gaming, to help us decide what to work on in the future -- what sort of stuff would you guys like to see for MARS? Drop us a line and let us know!
I would like to thank Gareth for taking the time to answer our Q&A and I encourage people to send there ideas and feedback to him.