Fauna and Flora


apt [aţ]

“Only man could have placed that collar there, and as no race of Martians of which we knew aught ever had attempted to domesticate the ferocious apt, he must belong to a people of the north of whose very existence we were ignorant—possibly to the fabled yellow men of Barsoom; that once powerful race which was supposed to be extinct, though sometimes, by theorists, thought still to exist in the frozen north.” WM/8

A huge, white-furred beast of the northern polar regions. It has six limbs, four of which, short and heavy, carry it over the snow and ice; the other two, which grow forward from its shoulders on either side of its long, powerful neck, terminate in white, hairless hands with which it seizes and holds its prey. Its head and mouth are similar in appearance to those of a hippopotamus, except that from the sides of the lower jawbone two mighty horns curve slightly downward toward the front. Its two huge eyes extend in two vast oval patches from the center of the top of the cranium down either side of the head to below the roots of the horns, so that these weapons really grow out from the lower part of the eyes, which are composed of several thousand ocelli each. Each ocellus is furnished with its own lid, and the apt can, at will, close as many of the facets of his huge eyes as he chooses – a few for use in bright sunlight and snow, or many for the dark caves which are its home. Its fur is highly prized for garments and throws. At one time, the Okarians considered the apts sacred and forbade hunting or killing them.

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d4 (A), Spirit d10, Strength d12+1, Vigor d12
Skills: Fighting d8, Notice d10, Stealth d6
Pace: 7; Parry: 6; Toughness: 10 (2)
Special Abilities:
• Alertness: The apt’s eyes grant 2 to Notice.
• Bite or Claw: Str
• Grapple: Apts often try to grapple a foe then tear him to bits. When grappling, they don’t suffer the normal “unarmed” penalties to their attacks. If they can grapple a foe, they have +1 to hit with their bite attack.
• Low Light Vision: Apts ignore penalties for Dim and Dark lighting.
• Size: +2

ahr [âr]
A general term for Barsoomian insects, though it specifically refers to the flying creatures that resemble jewels. Barsoom harbors a wide range of insects from dainty pollinators to giant winged monsters, which can best small reptiles.

arbok [âr-bâk]
A poisonous tree lizard that feeds on insects.

athurth [â-ŧür-iŧ]
The great white “ape” of Barsoom. Colossal (stand 10-15 feet high) and six-limbed. Hairless except for a bristly shock of hair on its head. Athurths are tribal in nature; they have a spoken language, carry clubs and some even wear strips of cloth to imitate harnesses. They infest the dead cities of the Barsoomian landscape. It is said that the white apes are the only living creatures that can instill fear within the breasts of the green men of Barsoom which is why they are prized for hunting.

Occasionally these creatures are captured when young and trained to perform, and so intelligent are they that they can be taught to do almost anything that man can do that lies within the range of their limited reasoning capacity. No one has been able to subdue their ferocious nature and they are always the most dangerous of animals to handle, which probably accounts more even than their intelligence for the interest displayed by the large audiences that they unfailingly attract.

Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d4, Spirit d6, Strength d12+2, Vigor d8
Skills: Climbing d8, Fighting d8, Intimidation d8, Notice d8, Stealth d6, Throwing d6
Pace: 6; Parry: 7; Toughness: 8
Gear: Club (Str+d8)
Special Abilities:
• Bite or Claw: Str+d6
• Improved Sweep: White apes may attack all adjacent foes at no penalty
• Multi-Limbed: White Apes have two extra limbs between their arms and legs that can serve either as extra hands, or as extra legs when needed. When used as arms, they may make up to four attacks a round with a weapon in each hand, but all attacks face the normal multiple action penalty. They can instead use these extra limbs as legs instead of arms; this adds +2 to Pace, and +2 to Climbing rolls.
• Size: +3

banth [ban-iŧ]
The Barsoomian “lion”. A fierce beast of prey that roams the low hills surrounding the dead seas of ancient Mars singly or in packs. It is almost hairless, having only a great, bristly mane about its thick neck. Its hide is yellow and it has a powerful tail. Its long, lithe body is supported by ten strong legs, its massive jaws are equipped with several rows of long needle-like fangs, and its mouth reaches to a point far back of its tiny ears. It has enormous protruding eyes of green which can see in the dark. They emit a low moaning cry when hunting and a terrifying roar that paralyzes their victims. Human flesh is the food most craved by the banth, whose size require enormous quantities of meat to sustain them. The female is sometimes called a she-banth or bantha [ban-iŧ-â].

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6 (A), Spirit d6, Strength d12+2, Vigor d10
Skills: Fighting d10, Notice d6, Stealth d8
Pace: 10; Parry: 7; Toughness: 9
Special Abilities:
• Fleet-Footed: Banths roll a d8 when running instead of a d6
• Bite or Claw: Str+d6
• Improved Frenzy: Banths may make two Fighting attacks each action at no penalty
• Low Light Vision: Banths ignore penalties for Dim and Dark lighting.
• Pounce: Banths can leap 1d6” to gain +4 to its attack and damage, but a pounce reduces Parry by -2 until its next action.
• Roar: Fear check.
• Size: +2

calot [kal-ât]
The Barsoomian “dog”. Packs of calots roam wild on the dead sea-bottoms, but this squat, reptilian beast is often kept by green men as guards or hunting animals. With ten squat legs and the size of a Shetland pony, the calot is a ferocious fighter. It head resembles a frog except that the jaws are equipped with three rows of long, sharp tusks. Faster than a greyhound, it is the fleetest animal on Barsoom. Highly intelligent, it is loyal to his master and has tremendous endurance. It is omnivorous but prefers fresh meat.

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6 (A), Spirit d8, Strength d8, Vigor d8
Skills: Fighting d8, Notice d6
Pace: 8; Parry: 6; Toughness: 6
Special Abilities:
• Fastest Runner: Calots roll a d10 when running instead of a d6
• Bite: Str+d8
• Low Light Vision: Calots ignore penalties for Dim and Dark lighting.

dane [dén]
The Barsoomian “spider”. A large, venomous creature with beady eyes, powerful, gleaming fangs and twelve legs which grow upward from their spine, giving them a most uncanny appearance. They issue an infernal screaming when scurrying after prey caught in its spun web, comprised of thin silver threads of a gossamer-like substance strung from tree to tree. The webs are almost invisible, yet they are strong enough to impede the progress of small and medium-sized creatures. The strands are surprisingly difficult to break, and when there is a dozen or more at a time barring the way, it is necessary to use sharp edges to cut a path through them. From this silk, the weavers of Ghasta produce an unbelievably light fabric, mulma [mül-mâ], which gives the impression of spun silver. Its tight weave is able to hold water and is of such great strength that it is nearly impossible to tear.

darseen [dâr-sēn]
The Barsoomian “chameleon”. It can change its color at will.

gek [gek]
A forest beetle. The stats below reflect the mutated giant insect created by the thern Zallia.

Attributes: Agility d4, Smarts d4(A), Spirit d8, Strength d10, Vigor d8
Skills: Climbing d10, Fighting d6, Notice d8
Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 10 (2)
Special Abilities:
• Wall Crawling: Pace 4.
• Claws: Str+d6
• Poison Sacs: Large Burst Template, Knockout (2d6 minutes)
• Size: + 2
• Armor: +2

jel [ĵel]
The Barsoomian “bird”. They are brightly-colored and voiceless and come in odd shapes and sizes. They only inhabit forested areas, so they pose no problems to the agricultural lands near the canals.

malagor [mal-â-gōr]
A giant bird-like beast, thought to be extinct but rediscovered in the heart of the Great Toonolian Marshes. They have been captured, domesticated and used as aerial transport by hormads. With two riders, flights are limited in range.

malthurzil [mal-ŧür-sil]
A great white lizard with gaping jaws large enough to engulf a man at a single swallow. It emits an angry hiss before advancing menacingly and will defend with its tail and talons. There is something peculiarly disgusting and loathsome about the purple blood of this subterranean creature, not only in its appearance, but in its odor, which is nauseating.

moak [mō-ak]
A flesh-cleaning beetle (scarab). The stats below reflect the mutated giant insect created by the thern Zallia.

Attributes: Agility d4, Smarts d4(A), Spirit d8, Strength d10, Vigor d8
Skills: Climbing d10, Fighting d6, Notice d8
Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 10 (2)
Special Abilities:
• Wall Crawling: Pace 4.
• Claws: Str+d6
• Size: + 2
• Armor: +2

orluk [ōr-lük]
An elephantine beast of prey of the north with a black and yellow striped coat hunted for its fur.

rykor [rī-kōr]
Once a burrowing animal domesticated by the kaldanes and trained as a hunting steed. Later, the kaldanes bred the creature to walk erect. Needing only its sense of taste to survive, its head was reduced to nothing more than a mouth, and the kaldane rode on its neck, controlling the beast by attaching tentacles to its spinal column. In order to improve the rykor’s physical structure, the kaldanes crossed it with captive red men and eventually produced with a muscular and aesthetic mode of transportation which they could abandon when the rykor became ill or injured.

Attributes: Agility d4, Smarts d4 (A), Spirit d4, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: None
Pace: 6; Parry: 2; Toughness: 5
Special Abilities: None

sept [seţ]
A root bug. The stats below reflect the mutated giant insect created by the thern Zallia.

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d4(A), Spirit d8, Strength d10, Vigor d8
Skills: Climbing d10, Fighting d8, Notice d8
Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 10 (2)
Special Abilities:
• Wall Crawling: Pace 4.
• Bite: Str+d8
• Size: + 2
• Armor: +2

sil [sil]
A general term for Barsoomian reptiles, though it specifically refers to slithering snake-like creatures. They are hideous creatures, indescribably repulsive and venomous.

silian [sil-ē-an]
A giant slimy reptile inhabiting the lost sea of Korus. Silians have long necks and ferocious teeth. When angered they will attack viciously.

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6 (A), Spirit d6, Strength d12+2, Vigor d12
Skills: Fighting d10, Notice d6, Swimming d12
Pace: 8; Parry: 7; Toughness: 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.
• Low Light Vision: Silians ignore penalties for Dim and Dark lighting.
• Size: +3

silkis [sil-kis]
Sixteen-legged worms which, according to myth, were the progenitors of all forms of animal life on Barsoom.

sith [si-iŧ]
An insect of Kaol resembling a giant hornet. Bald-faced and about the size of a bull, the sith has frightful jaws in front and a mighty poisoned sting behind. The eyes, of myriad facets, cover three-fourths of the head, permitting the creature to see in all directions at the same time. It moves with lightning speed. Its venom has commercial uses and is the best weapon against the sith itself.

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d4 (A), Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d8
Skills: Fighting d6, Notice d4
Pace: 3; Parry: 5; Toughness: 8
Special Abilities:
• Chitin: Armor 2
• Bite: Str
• Poison Sting: Str+d6; sith venom (-4) is feared, with good reason. Anyone injected must make a Vigor roll or die in 3d6+10 seconds.
• Flight: Sith have a Flying Pace of 18", with an Acceleration of 6".
• Quick: The lightning speed of the sith’s movements allow it to discard and redraw any initiative card of 5 or lower, keeping the best result.

sorak [sō-rak]
The Barsoomian “cat”. Native to the southern regions of Barsoom, the sorak is a six-legged arboreal creature kept as household pets among the red men. It is about the size of a hand.

tahmad [tâ-mad]
The plant men; a race inhabiting the Valley Dor. They are ten or twelve feet in height when standing erect; their arms are very short and fashioned after the manner of an elephant’s trunk, being sinuous; the body is hairless and ghoulish blue except for a broad band of white which encircles the protruding, single eye, the pupil, iris and ball of which are dead white. The nose is a ragged, inflamed, circular hole in the center of the blank face, resembling a fresh bullet wound which has not yet commenced to bleed. There is no mouth in the head. With the exception of the face, the head is covered by a tangled mass of jet-black hair some eight or ten inches in length. Each hair is about the thickness of a large angleworm. The body, legs and feet are of human shape but of monstrous proportions, the feet being fully three feet long and very flat and broad. They are equipped with a massive tail about six feet long, quite round where it joins the body, but tapering to a flat, thin blade toward the end, which trails at right angles to the ground.
Plant men move about in great leaps of 1-2 ads, much like kangaroos. In fighting, they leap over their opponents and slash down at them with their tails. Their method of feeding consists in running their odd hands over the surface of the turf, cropping off the tender vegetation with razor-like talons and sucking it up from two mouths, which lie one in the palm of each hand. Their blood is a thick, green sap.
The young of these repulsive creatures start as a swelling in the armpits, which burst into buds, which in turn develop into tiny replicas of the parent, suspended by a cord from the armpit to the head of the infant. When they reach one sofad, the cord breaks and they become independent entities.

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d12+1, Vigor d8
Skills: Fighting d6, Notice d8
Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 8
Special Abilities:
• 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 d6 damage to his target.
• Improved Frenzy: Plant men may make two Fighting attacks each action at no penalty
• Blade-Like Tail: Str
• 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 do Str+d10 damage.
• Leap: Plant men can leap 12” in a single bound.
• Size: +2

thoat [ŧōt]
The Barsoomian “horse”. It towers ten feet at the shoulder, has four legs on either side, a broad flat tail, larger at the tip than at the root, which it holds out straight while running. Its gaping mouth split its head from snout to its long massive neck. Hairless, thoats are a dark slate in color and exceedingly smooth and glossy. Its belly is white, and its legs shaded from the slate of its shoulders and hips to a vivid yellow at the feet. The feet are heavily padded and nailless. The thoat can survive indefinitely without water, obtaining sufficient moisture from the ochre moss that covers most of the surface of Barsoom. When mounted for warfare, the rider’s weapons are fastened to a thoat’s saddle and harness. The red men employ a smaller domestic breed, which is around five feet at the shoulder. Some nations raise thoats for food. The rare albino thoat ridden by jeddaks is called a pure thoat or thu thoat [ŧü-ŧōt].

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d4 (A), Spirit d6, Strength d12 (2 for great thoats), Vigor d8 (d10 for great thoats)
Skills: Fighting d6, Notice d4
Pace: 10; Parry: 5; Toughness: 6 (8 for great thoats)
Special Abilities:
• Bite: Str
• Fleet-Footed: Thoats roll a d8 when running instead of a d6
• Size: 2 (3 for great thoats)

ulsio [ül-sē-ō]
The Barsoomian “rat”. This fierce, burrowing rodent lives in colonies beneath cities. It is many-legged and hairless, its hide resembling that of a newborn mouse. In size and weight, the ulsio is comparable to a large terrier. Its eyes are small and close-set and almost hidden in deep, fleshy apertures. Its most ferocious and repulsive feature is its jaws, the entire bony structure of which protrudes several sofs past the flesh, revealing five sharp, spade-like teeth in the upper jaws and the same number of similar teeth in the lower, the whole suggesting the appearance of a rotting face from which most of the flesh has sloughed away.

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6 (A), Spirit d4, Strength d4, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d6, Notice d6
Pace: 6; Parry: 4; Toughness: 4
Special Abilities:
• Bite: Str+d4

zar [zâr]
A general term for Barsoomian “fish”. Rare since the planet is almost waterless. They are found in the underground rivers, the lakes of the Great Toonolian Marshes and in the remaining seas. Origin of the word for “flier”.

zitidar [ziŧ-dâr]
A mastodonian draft animal; sometimes harnessed to three-wheeled chariots by the green men, impelled to movement by goads. Zitidars are raised by some red nations for their flesh and hides, and a few, Ptarth for one, use them as draft animals as well. Like thoats, they are hairless, herbivorous and possess padded feet. They emit guttural growls.

Attributes: Agility d4, Smarts d4 (A), Spirit d6, Strength d12+4, Vigor d12+2
Skills: Fighting d8, Notice d8
Pace: 2; Parry: 6; Toughness: 18 (8)
Special Abilities:
• Trample: Zitidars can trample foes in an area-attack slam that causes STR damage
• Goring Tusks: Str+d10; zitidars have frighteningly huge tusks
• Low Light Vision: Zitidars ignore penalties for Dim and Dark lighting.
• Size: +4


ERB’s description of Barsoomian plant life is brief and vague. There is the ubiquitous lichen or moss that covers the surface and the carefully-tended lawns of gardens. He mentions numerous brilliantly colored and strangely formed wild flowers. He names a few trees. In the lost areas of Barsoom there exist plants that survived the great drought which is often a strange sight to Barsoomians accustomed only to seeing trees near the canals.

asta [as-tâ]
A slender, purple grass that grows to a height of an ad (9.75 feet) and bears red and yellow fronds. It is found in low-lying equatorial areas.

calot vak [kal-ât-vak]
Known as the “calot tree”; a large carnivorous plant the size of a sagebrush that thrives in tropical climes, especially in the forest of Kaol. Each branch ends in a set of strong jaws, capable of seizing and eating large beasts of prey.

gloresta [gel-ōr-is-tâ]
A flowering plant (a weed) that grows in profusion in any depression that contains traces of moisture.

maday [mad-dé]
Known as the “man-flower”; a creeping vine found in the forest of Kaol. Its blooms have eyes and hands with which to see and seize the insects which form the plant’s diet.

mantalia [man-tâ-lē-â]
A large plant that grows in groves to a height of 8-12 feet with very little water. It is found scattered over the dry seabeds of all but the polar regions. The “milk” from the mantalia is called famanta [fâ-man-tâ] which it distills from the soil, air moisture and the sun. A single plant when tapped yields eight or ten quarts per day. Green men ferment a hard “cheese” from this milk.

palta [pal-tâ]
A bright scarlet, short grass cultivated as swards or lawns by red men, often close-cropped.

pimalia [pē-mâ-lē-â]
A flowering shrub of great beauty found in most gardens, as well in the wild in depressions among the hills. It is prized for its large, disk-shaped silver blooms and its oil, which is used as a body lotion by red women. Unfiltered and unrefined, pimalia oil stains objects (including skin) a reddish-copper.

raptharta [rap-ŧâr-tâ]
The soft and soundless ochre moss that covers practically the entire surface of Barsoom. It provides sustenance for herbivorous animals, such as thoats and zitidars.

skeel [si-kēl]
A tall, drought-resistant tree that provides most of the lumber for construction since its fine, hard wood is practically indestructible, lasting for millennia. The tree bears large, delicious nuts, and is popular in gardens and parks.

sompus [sâţ-is]
A fruit tree cultivated widely along the canals and grows wild in tropical valleys. It produces the delicious, pulpy somp [sâţ], a sweet citrus-like fruit with a thin, red rind somewhat resembling a grapefruit. The somp is considered a delicacy by the red nations.

sorapus [sō-rap-is]
A tree having very light and intensely hard wood. Because of its beautiful grain and capacity to take a high polish, the wood is extensively used in wall paneling and furniture. It is a garden favorite, with widely spreading branches and gorgeous blooms of varying hues. The sorapus bears a great hard-shelled nut containing succulent meat.

usa [ü-sa]
A common tree that requires little irrigation and bears fruit abundantly. The fruit, which ranks high in food value, is one of the staple foods of the poor, and because of its cheapness and nutritional value forms one of the principal military rations. For this reason, it has earned the sobriquet the “fighting potato” or septak [seţ-ak].

Fauna and Flora

Barsoomian Adventures jroberts96