What’s been happening since last I wrote? Well, we had a fire in the kitchen at home, which wasn’t fun. To be clear, meat on the grill caught fire. It was put out speedily without any damage, other than to the meal. Made for some unneeded excitement, that’s for certain. Plus, we got pizza instead! Also, I’m set to make my housemates pancakes tomorrow morning as an isolation treat. I am a good housemate.

So, I’ve had a little more time to dig through the John Carter of Mars RPG. I’m nowhere near through the book, but I’m certainly intrigued, in that first flash of interest kind of way. You know, that feeling when you see a new and shiny thing and the brain has trouble thinking about anything but it. This normally only happens to me about a month out from a convention when I’m madly trying to finish the current game, so it’s nice that things have changed up a little.

To quibble, I’m really not thrilled with the landscape format of the book as it makes reading the PDF fiddly on a tablet. It certainly has me tempted to buy the dead tree version at some point in the future, if only to make reading the damn thing easier. In better news, I found the film’s soundtrack on Spotify and it was a delight to see that at least half the track titles were a reference or pun. For example, A Thern for the Worst, Get Carter, and The Second Biggest Apes I’ve Seen This Month, which I can’t help but hear in Maxwell Smart’s voice. Silly song titles are a fine way to get my attention, and it’s quite lovely music.

Right, back to the book. The books layout and art are lovely, with a good touch of Frank Frazetta and that’s never a bad thing to me. There’s a lot of adaptability in the system, with the combining two attributes and roll under mechanic based more around how you’re trying to do something instead of what. On the bright side, a roll low mechanic suits my dice curse just fine. I dig the Momentum and Threat mechanics, and they remind me of the Bennies from Savage Worlds. Sure, record keeping isn’t exactly my forte. and half the time I mangle systems in the name of fun, but isn’t fun the point?

From what I have read, the feel of the thing is right up my alley. It’s hitting that cinematic swashbuckling decayed civilization thing that I dig pretty damn hard. Emotions are heightened, there’s mad dashes into action, frequently against impossible odds, ancient ruins and strange technologies. Duels of honour, savage hordes, giant apes and fancy airships. That’s pretty much my jam right there.

So, there’s only a few things in the way. The ones that come to mind are:
1: Can I avoid the mistakes of previous campaigns?
2: Can I keep track of everything that’s going on, and not screw up too many details?
3: Can I keep it going for longer than my initial burst of enthusiasm?
4: Most importantly, can I put this to one side while I write my Minbari game?


There’s every chance it’ll be added to the pile of partially written ideas I have stashed away, or maybe set it aside for a future convention game. Based on my schedule, it’ll be Pheno 2022 at the earliest, as it’s Minbari this year, and the cinematic pulp heroes fight Nazi Cthulhu cultists next year. That’s the plan at least, based on the reaction to the idea. Yes, there’s other conventions I could run at, but I’m on a bit of a hiatus from them at the moment.

I dunno. Maybe a few more days and it’ll get out of my system, at least temporarily. It’s not that I don’t want to try GM’ing a regular game again, but A: I don’t have a campaign idea for this yet, B: there’s no way I’m GMing this over voice or video chat and C: I need to get across the system first. The usual issues, you know?

More to follow. Be seeing you.

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