Gaming on Mars: a (mostly) complete list of Barsoomian role-playing games

I’ve always been a a big fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom novels, set on his dying, fanatstic version of Mars. There has been a good number of role-playing games set on Barsoom. Here’s the list I’ve put together so far.
Let me know if I’ve missed anything in comments.

John Carter of Mars

external-content.duckduckgo.comThis is the big one. John Carter of Mars – Modiphius’ lavishly illustrated RPG, with the official backing of Edgar Rice Burroughs estate. It uses the same 2d20 system that their other games use (Conan, Star Trek). They’ve published multiple supplements, miniatures, tile sets, and a GM screen.
Even if you’re using another system, anyone interested in gaming on Barsoom needs to pick this up. There’s a lot of background material for running a game on Barsoom, in a clear usable format.

Warriors of Mars: The Warfare of Barsoom in Miniature

WarriorsOfMarsTheWarfareOfBarsoomInMiniature1974_0000In 1974, Gary Gygax and Brian Blume put out wargaming rules for Barsoom, including individual man-to-man combat. You can get it for free at the Internet Archive.

Dungeons & Dragons: Warriors of Mars

This is a free, fan-made supplement designed to run Barsoomian games using original D&D rules. It’s even formatted to look like one of the original D&D books.


Savage Mars

A unofficial fan hack of Savage Worlds

Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Mars: Shadows of a Dying World (An OGL Guide to Monsters, Races, and Beasts)

Skirmisher Publishing put out an OGL version of Barsoom that should 51403work with most D20 systems.



Heroes of Mars

Jeffrey Kazmierski put together a version of Barsoom for the FUDGE system. It’s no longer online, but you can still see it on the Internet Archive

A Dream of Mars

132419Little Red Goblin Games has a cheap ($1.00) adaptation of Barsoom for Pathfinder

9+KjsrLords of Mars

Ray Otus made a simple hack of Tunnel Goons set on Barsoom. It’s only a few pages long, but includes rules for mass battles and airship conflict. I made a character sheet for it here
In addition to games set explicitly on Burrough’s Mars, there are many games set on fictional versions of Mars that are clearly inspired by Barsoom.

Warriors of the Red Planet

171363-thumb140Night Owl Workshop puts out several games using Original D&D-style rules for variety of genres, including Warriors of the Red Planet. It’s set on a thinly-disguised Barsoom. It has rules for airship combat, underground exploration, and sorcery. It has a particularly nice “Appendix N” section, listing almost every Sword & Planet novel ever published, including a lot of obscure stuff more casual fans probably haven’t heard of.


Revelations of Mars

150488Exile Games had an expansion to their Hollow Earth Expedition set on their pulpy version of Mars, using their Ubiquity system.

Cavaliers of Mars

LandingPage__0020_CavsofMarsOnyx Path Publishing’s fantasy Mars setting.


60955Adamant Entertainment put out two versions of this. One is a D20 version, the other is in Savage Worlds.


Steve Jackson Games’ GURPS supplement covers several different versions on fictional Mars. Chapter 7 – “Dying Mars” describes how to design and run a Barsoom-like game.

B/X Mars

278089Setting for old-school D&D\OSR games. Lovely B&W illustrations




Space 1899

This Victorians-in-space game features a very Barsoom-like Mars. There have been a few different versions:
The original GDW game
The Savage Worlds edition – Red Sands
And the Modiphius version using their Ubiquity system


***UPDATE – Almost forgot, the original D&D, specifically Book 3 – The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures does include an encounter table for Mars, for both animal and human encounters

mars tablemars table2
Please list anything I missed in the comments.

***UPDATE 01/20/2020

I’ve gotten a bunch of suggestions from Reddit and elsewhere. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions

Rocket Age – Blood Red Mars

Rocket Age’s Mars is clearly Barsoom-like with an ancient, dying Martian civilization.–Blood-Red-Mars
Suggested by roninnemo from Reddir/rpg

Thought Lords of Mars

This one looks out of print as far as I can tell. I think it’s a supplement for John Harper’s Danger Patrol
Suggested by omnihedrom from reddit/rpg

Adventures on Dungeon Planet

A supplement for Dungeon World that helps to create a Sword & Planet like world. Easily adaptable to Barsoom
Suggested by J_Standberg on Reddit/rpg

Jarkoon – Adventures on Planet X!

An OSR game for Sword & Planet–Adventures-on-Planet-X
Suggested by Simon W at

Swashbucklers of Mars

A Searchers of the Unknown hack available for free at
Suggested by RedwoodRhiadra at reddit/rpg

Under the Moons of Zoon

This is its own light RPG system, with a strong Burroughs influence on the world.
Suggested by RedwoodRhiadra at reddit/rpg

Distant Worlds

The Pathfinder supplement Distant Worlds lists some of the other planets in the Pathfinder universe. One is Akiton, clearly a take on Barsoom.
Suggested by high-tech-low-life on Reddit/rpg

Update *** 01/21/2020

Found this one. It’s a free add-on to the man-to-man tactical game Swordplay. It’s more of a wargame than a RPG, but it’s close enough.

It’s called John Carter For Swordplay (free PDF)

Update *** 2/13/2020

Goodman games put a series of adventures for Dungeon Crawl Classics called the Purple Planet series. It’s set on an dying alien world, with a clear Barsoom influence.

Suggested by hodaza on Reddit/rpg


Update *** 03/29/2020

Planets of Peril: The Sword & Planet Role Playing Game

This is Keith Vaughn’s sword & planet adventure game – much of it is Barsoom-inspired.–Planet-Role-Playing-Game

Suggested by the author in the comments below.

Update *** 6/6/2020

Iron Lords of Jupiter

A D20 Modern setting published in Dungeon Magazine – issue 101

Update *** 6/14/2020

83636459_10157640780235519_2106901889294532608_nJohn Carter, Warlord of Mars

A RPG put out by Heritage Models, Inc. in 1978. It’s currently out-of-print, and I don’t believe there’s a PDF available anywhere.,_Warlord_of_Mars_(role-playing_game)

Update *** 06/18/2020

Sword & Planet: An Old School Roleplaying Game of Planetary Romance

This is an OSR game by Jason “Flynn” Kemp designed for general Sword & Planet adventures, but the core rules are designed around Barsoom.

You can get a free rough draft version at

Update *** 06/28/2020

Deserted Cities of Mars (article)

Not a full game, but an interesting article in the August 1975 edition of the Strategic Review, the gaming fanzine TSR put out before Dragon magazine. Its called the Deserted Cities of Mars by Jim Ward. It’s got a description of the ancient cities of Barsoom, along with some generation tables.

Update *** 10/11/2020

Pulp Triumphant: Red Planets & Dark Jungles

PulpTriumphantKnight Owl Publishing recently put out Pulp Triumphant, a pulp adventure RPG. It has several settings, including one called Red Planet. It’s clearly Barsoom, even using the same names for cultures and creatures.–Dark-Jungles


Update *** 04/06/2021

Bad Barsoom: A setting for Troika!

Here’s one I actually created – Bad Barsoom. It’s a short setting for the Troika! role playing game. It’s set on Barsoom in a future age, after the death of John Carter and Dejah Thoris. It’s not entirely serious – Cathoris XI is the corrupt Jeddak-For-Life, propped up by Jarsoomian military advisors. Tharks have become gangsters. Most Red Martian princesses and princes are social media influencers who fake their own kidnappings for sport. It’s a PWYW booklet in the PocketMod format. I’m thinking of expanding on the world into a full Troika! supplement.

Barsoom: 1960

I’ve updated and expanded my Bad Barsoom setting to a full Troika! supplement:

Update ***05/06/2021

Life on Barsoom

Here’s a free adaptation of Barsoom for the Advanced Fighting Fantasy system by Alessandro Viola

Life on Barsoom PDF (Link to PDF on Arion Games website)

suggested by user gruelove on Reddit

John Carter: Warlord of Mars

This 1979 game from SPI is a lot closer to a wargame than a RPG, but I believe it has enough RPG-like elements to count. In addition to running armies, players can play individual heroes, get invloved in treachery and romance, and rescue princesses.

Warlord of Mars (Board Game Geek site – PDF files are available for download)

Suggested by Neal Sofge in comments

11 thoughts on “Gaming on Mars: a (mostly) complete list of Barsoomian role-playing games

  1. Years ago I put up one on called Planets of Peril: The Sword & Planet Role Playing Game. It’s brought in several hundred dollars to me so it’s had some success. It’s more of a generic planetary romance game but one of the moons to adventure on was modeled on barsoom/mars


  2. Not sure if it would be considered a full rules system, but a list this comprehensive should also include the Grim Tales/d20 sourcebook Slavelords of Cydonia


  3. What about the SPI John Carter Warlord of Mars game? It’s a unique concoction of wargame technologies attempting to coalesce into an RPG-like thing. Way, way out of print but someone’s recreated the components for download on BoardGameGeek.


    1. Interesting. I thought that was entirely a wargame, but looking at the rules, you’re right – it does have a lot of RPG elements. I’ll add it to the list. Thanks.


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