The professional assassin or gorthan [gōr-ŧan] kills others without compunction, relying mainly on stealth and using a dagger or poison. While their skill in firearms is questionable, gorthans are handy with swords. When a notable person hires a bodyguard the hireling is expected to also serve as his personal assassin. Particularly notorious assassins are looked upon by the common people as national heroes. Most assassins belong to a specific guild or udak [ü-dak]. Even though their activities are illegal and punishable by death, these organizations exert political influence within a city-state. The members of this ancient fraternity are guided by a code of ethics which they scrupulously observe and seldom, if ever, can anything persuade or force one of their number to divulge the name of his principal.
The personal bodyguard or kadar [ka-dâr] protect nobility or the wealthy. A bodyguard is responsible for thwarting assassination attempts. Major nobles will have a personal guard, comprised of multiple bodyguards, such as Tul Axtar’s Black Guard or Kadar Kil [Ka-dâr Kil] or the former Zodangan’s jeddak’s force, The Guard or O Kadar [Ō Ka-dâr].
The mentalist or toonlat [tün-lat] possesses superior psionic talents. Some nobles find it wise to keep a skilled mentalist on staff, appointing them as “psychologists”.
The wandering soldier of fortune or panthan [pan-ŧan] is common upon Barsoom, where most men love to fight. Panthans sell their services wherever war exists, and in the occasional brief intervals when there is no organized warfare between the red nations, they join one of the numerous expeditions that are constantly being dispatched against the green men in protection of the waterways that traverse the wilder portions of the globe. When their service is over they discard the metal of the nation they have been serving until they shall have found a new master. In the intervals they wear no insignia, their war-worn harness and grim weapons being sufficient to attest their calling. In times of war such panthans within the domain of a belligerent nation are compelled to don the insignia of that nation and fight with her warriors.
The scientist or var [vâr] seeks knowledge and invents technology to exploit it. Barsoomian scientists begin as specialists in one of five disciplines: “imaginary scientist” or povar [pō-vâr], “ray scientist” or isvar [is-vâr], “planet scientist” or soomvar [süm-vâr], “life scientist” or morvar [mōr-vâr], “man scientist” or madvar [mad-vâr]. The most gifted scientists master multiple disciplines.
The scout or tabthan [tab-ŧan] is sometimes referred to as an air scout (navy) or an outrider (cavalry). They are used to reconnoiter and report on enemy defenses and movements.
The warrior or than [ŧan] is the primary fighter of Barsoom. A than of the navy, infantry or cavalry wears a battle harness and is armed with the long sword, short sword, dagger and radium pistol. Warriors also carry extra ammunition and a supply of concentrated rations.
The natural lifespan for all races on Barsoom is more than a thousand years, but few reach that age since violent death is very common. Sickness and disease claim a few.
Red men or aysismad [é-sis-mad] are the dominant civilization on Barsoom, inhabiting fortified city-states protected by disciplined warriors and flying navies. They were originally bred to survive the shrinking of the oceans, but are now the self-appointed protectors of the planet. Red men differ but little in physical appearance from Earth humans. Apart from their longevity, the fact that their skins are a light reddish-copper color and that they are oviparous constitute the two most marked divergences from terrestrial standards.
• Free Edge as a starting character
• d6 Piloting
“Xodar, Dator of the First Born of Barsoom, is accustomed to give commands, not to receive them.” GM/7
The black men or kilmad [kil-mad] call themselves the First Born or Ee-ay [Ē-é] based on the story of the Tree of Life or Mors Vak [Mōr-is Vak], also known as the First Mother or Ay-vai [É-vī]. They are a proud and handsome people; the men stand six feet and over in height. They have fine, regular features; their skin is like polished ebony. Their eyes are well set and large, though a slight narrowness lends a crafty appearance; their irises are black and set in clear white eyeballs. They are a grim, bloodthirsty race with an unquenchable desire to fight and a cultural aversion to work. This last no doubt explains why they did not become the paramount civilization. The red men and white men call them the black pirates or kilrav [kil-rav] since they historically raided enemy cities for female slaves. The First Born once spoke a different language and only a few words are still in use – one of which is dator which is their term for jed and padjed. Dators are especially vain, wearing harnesses thick with jewels; their wives lead a life of leisure, being fed by slaves and keeping ornamented pet soraks. The black nobility has developed a taste for the flesh of the other races of men, partaking of it in arcane rituals.
• Free Edge as a starting character
• Free Combat Edge
• Hindrances: Arrogant, Bloodthirsty (-4 Charisma)
The white men or thermad [ŧür-mad] were once masters of Barsoom, but now exist only in small numbers. The dead cities of Horz, Korad and Aanthor still stand as monuments to their supremacy. They were a fair-skinned, auburn- or yellow-haired race – peace-loving, creative and industrious. The ancient civilization of white men called themselves the Orovar [Ōr-ō-vâr]. Three groups of white men are known currently:
• The former priests of Issus are still called therns or thern [ŧür-en]. Once strongly entrenched at the South Pole, this arrogant cult considered themselves demigods, servants of the goddess Issus. They set themselves up as the priests and guardians of all Barsoom, establishing temples and spies in all of the major red cities. Their lies exposed by John Carter, the therns are now scattered across the face of the planet.
• When the oceans were evaporating, the pacifist Lotharians fled in panic before the onslaught of the savage green hordes. Millions died, including all the women, in their terrible trek across Barsoom. Only 20,000 men lived to reach a hidden valley to build a new Lothar. Today only a few hundred are left, under their jeddak, Tario. The two factions of Lotharians are realists and etherealists. Both groups are powerful mentalists, specializing in the creation of illusions including the incredible feat of recreating the existence of long dead heroes of ancient Barsoom.
• Instead of fleeing, the xenophobic Horzians hid themselved below the dead city, forming a sanctuary for the Orovar civilization. They are led by the jeddak Ho Ran Kim.
• Free Edge as a starting character
• Starting d6 in Smarts
• Hindrance: Arrogant (Thern)
• Hindrance: Pacifist, Minor (Lotharian)
• Hindrance: Xenophobic, -2 Minor (Horzian)
The yellow men or ilissmad [il-is-mad] inhabited the northern regions of Barsoom. As the oceans withdrew, they retreated to the polar ice cap, where they devised ways to combat the climate with glass-domed cities. In ages past, their skin was more orange in hue (thus, explaining why jetan pieces are traditionally orange), but after generations under glass in the polar north, their skins are the color of ripe lemons. Their hair is black and unlike most Barsoomians, the men are bearded.
• Free Edge as a starting character
• d6 Survival
• Starting d6 in Vigor
• Hindrance: Xenophobic, -2 Minor
“When…will we enjoy the death throes of the red one?” PM/9
Between the two poles and scattered over all the and wastelands of the dead sea bottoms, often inhabiting the ruined cities of another age, are the feared green hordes of Mars or torismad [tōr-is-mad]. The terrible green warriors of Barsoom are the hereditary enemies of all the other races of this martial planet. Like the red men, the green hordes are ruled by jeds and jeddaks, but their military organization is not carried to the same detail of perfection as is that of the red men.
Olive-skinned, hairless, six-limbed, with protruding and independently-working white eyes with red irises, slitted noses, cup-shaped antenna-like ears, white upward-curving tusks, and an almost complete lack of human emotions, they suggest an origin more reptilian or insectoid than human. Their intermediate limbs can be used as arms or legs. Their size – 12 to 15 feet in height – their hatred for all other races and non-aligned green tribes, their cruelty and lust for battle make them the most feared creatures on Barsoom. Green men organize into nomadic tribes or “hordes” in search of plunder across the dried sea bottoms. The various hordes continuously war with each other. The estimated population of green men is about five million.
Like most Barsoomians, green men are oviparous. They maintain remote incubators containing several hundred large, snowy-white round eggs. When born, hatchlings are yellowish-green in color. Female green men manufacture all of the firearms, ammunition and weaponry. In time of actual warfare they form a part of the reserves; and when the necessity arises fight with even greater intelligence and ferocity than the men. They are an equestrian race, never walking other than to move about their camps. Green men find torture and cruelty hilarious, rolling on the floor when watching beasts devour children during the Great Games. They admire physical prowess and feats of courage.
• d6 base for Strength and Vigor; natural maximum Strength is d12+3, which can be reached without requiring the Professional Edge
• +1 to Size and Toughness
• Smarts requires two points per step to increase; must also dedicate two leveling opportunities to raise Smarts
• Green Men receive Ambidextrous Edge, but it only applies to the first set of limbs. The intermediate limbs suffer the -2 penalty unless the character takes the Multidextrous Edge
• Natural weapons (tusks) – Strength + d4 damage
• Large target; all attacks against receive +2 to hit
• -4 Charisma due to reputation as inhuman killing machines
• d6 Survival
The tree-dwelling cat-men of Thuria or masena [mâ-sēn-â].
The spider men or kaldanes [kal-dén] are small crablike creatures (a little larger than a human head), who possess great intellect (and even mental powers). Kaldanes have developed a race of creatures – the rykors – which have full-sized human bodies, and serve them as mounts to do fighting and labor. Rykors have no head, and only the simplest of sensory and central nervous systems: they are all but blind and deaf, and possess no true will of their own. A kaldane can place itself on the neck of a rykor and use its peculiar appendages to take control of the rykor, serving as its head. The resulting combined creature is then able to do anything a normal human can do, and the two creatures become one for all practical purposes.
When mounted, the kaldane uses the higher of the stats between itself and its mount for all game purposes, and is able to use all skills, edges, and powers in perfect coordination. The kaldane can dismount at any time (consider it part of movement) with no harm to either. In combat, the kaldane uses the higher Toughness and Vigor traits, unless the attacker makes a called shot to the “head” with the usual -4 penalty. An attacker also has the option of trying to forcibly separate the kaldane rather than doing damage, which takes a successful called shot and a raise on a Strength contest against the kaldane (not the rykor!).
Rykors are freely interchangeable, though not all have the same attributes. It is assumed that a kaldane character has a small number of rykors available which have been specially bred and trained to have the traits selected by the player. Note that, unless the result of a called shot, all damage is assumed to affect the rykor rather than the kaldane. The combined kaldane/rykor still suffers all Shaken and wound penalties as normal, but if the kaldane separates from the rykor, wounds generally stay with the rykor, not the kaldane.
For the purposes of character advancement, a Kaldane character can raise its attributes once per Rank for each of its two parts – that is, once per Rank for the Kaldane itself, and once per Rank for the rykor. If the kaldane loses access to its personal herd of rykors, it can still advance the rykor’s attributes, but if that rykor is killed, it must obtain a new one with starting attributes. Wealthy and powerful kaldanes will have a selection of impressive mounts to choose from. When learning Skills, a kaldane may use the attributes of its rykor to determine the cost of a new skill level.
• d6 base for Smarts and Spirit. They cannot raise Strength through advancement.
• Kaldane are small; -1 to Size and Toughness.
• Detached; kaldanes are almost devoid of emotion, and have little understanding of it. Thus, their Charisma is reduced by 1 when dealing with any other race.
• Mental Discipline: Most Kaldanes have the Arcane Background: Psionics. Common powers include Puppet and Remote Rykor Control.
The synthetic men or hormad [ōr-mad] were created by the scientist Ras Thavas.
Men from Earth or Jasoomians are stronger on Barsoom due to their musculature accustomed to heavier gravity. They are able to leap prodigious distances.