Mars game: Settlements.

(I know I said I wouldn’t do more of these, but I just thought of this).

Entering a settlement will have three stages.

i) Rolling to see if there are any obstacles to you entering the city.

ii) Trade. This stage will be more or less the same as in d6 Shooters.

iii) Rolling to see if there’s a flyer or canal boat going in your direction.

The first stage will work by making a Fate Roll.

1 or 2: There are no weapons allowed in the settlement. You can hand over your weapons, or leave. If you do hand over your weapons you lose 2 Morale (or Willpower if you have no followers). If you refuse you gain 1 Morale (or Willpower), but of course you miss out on the option to trade or to take a flyer or canal boat. You can still buy and sell weapons in the settlement (you’re assumed to collect the actual weapons when you leave).

3 or 4: The settlement has abandoned the outer buildings where it’s located. This is quite common, because the population is much smaller than in Mars’ Golden Age. If you choose to continue, you make another Fate Roll. If you roll equal to or under the number of people in your party you are attacked by White Apes (who roll 2 dice). You can leave food in the hope of distracting them: 1 unit of food lost = +1 on the dice, but you can’t have less than 1 chance in 8 of being attacked.

5 to 8: there are no obstacles to your entering the settlement.

Mars game: Al-Tayab.

When it was certain that we could not avoid the sand-storm, or simoom, my hosts and myself each wrapped our heads in a tayab, a long piece of treated cloth which protects their nose and eyes, while allowing respiration and sight. It was most unnerving to stand, as if in the midst of a dense fog, surrounded by still and faceless figures who called to mind the mummies of ancient Egypt.

From A Journey Among the Desert Arabs and Red Men of Mars; With an Examination of Their Customs, Shewing the Latter To Be the Lost Tribes of Israel, by Mary Henrietta Kingsley.

 

Mars game: Next steps, and encounters with Green Martians.

From now on, I’m going to concentrate on getting a playable online version of my game coded. This will hopefully make it easier for people to give feedback, compared to if they were required to print out and assemble a physical version. So it’s likely that there won’t be as many long posts about the game’s rules in the near future.

Encounters with Green Martians are based on the system in d6 Shooters for being attacked. However, in my game, it won’t automatically involve combat. In this I’m going against the way that Green Martians are represented in the Barsoom series.

This is the system I’m going to go with for now. My original intentions were much more complicated, and were intended to have more player choices and possible outcomes. For now, I feel that it’s important to get a complete set of rules which can be tested and improved.

The player has a Hostility score which starts at 4. This represents the likelihood that a group of Green Martians will be hostile. This score goes up by 1 at the start of every turn, to a maximum of 10.

If the player rolls any 8s, there is a group of Green Martians in the area. More 8s represents a larger group.

The player can choose to diverge, head for the nearest settlement, or face the Green Martians. As in d6 Shooters there is also the option to ‘hide’, sacrificing time and Luck.

Heading for the nearest settlement ‘costs’ 1 Morale (if any followers are alive) and 1 Willpower. The player makes a Fate Roll. If the result is equal to or less than the number of haads travelled this turn (ie the total of 1s and 2s), they make it to a settlement and do not have to encounter the Green Martians. Otherwise they have to fight.

Diverging ‘costs’ haads equal to the total of two Fate Rolls. That is, in taking the long way round to avoid the Green Martians, the heroes end up with further to travel.

If the player chooses to face the Green Martians, they may choose to offer gifts of Food and/or Shells. Each gift reduces the Hostility score by 1. Whether or not they offer any gifts, they then make a Fate Roll. If the result is higher than the current Hostility, the Green Martians allow the heroes to pass through their territory. If not, combat results.

Combat works as follows: the Green Martians re-roll all 8s. The total is their Combat Total. The player rolls as many dice as they choose to sacrifice Luck points and/or Willpower, and adds half their number of followers (if any).

If the Green Martians’ total is higher, the party takes casualties equal to the difference, in followers and in Morale. A lone hero who loses a combat is out of the game. D6 Shooters gives casualties equal to a number of dice, not to the total rolled, which I found to be too few.

After a combat, the player loses 1 Willpower. Thus Willpower has a role similar to Ammo in d6 Shooters.

Winning a combat gives the player 2 Morale if there any followers.