Warriors of the Red Planet is a "Swords & Planet" role-playing game of classic pulp science-fantasy by Al Krombach and Thomas Denmark, under Night Owl Workshop. The theme of the game is based largely on Edgar Rice Burroughs' iconic Barsoom Saga, with a mix of Michael Moorcook, Jack Vance, Otis Adelbert Kline and many others. Due to the similar nature between old-school pulp sci-fi and post-apocalypses science-fantasy, Warriors of the Red Planet can be used wholesale to run a Gamma World-styled setting, or maybe picked piecemeal for one's Gamma World or Mutant Future game.
Night Owl Workshop produce other rulebooks under the same core rules, each with a different genre, with rules for presenting the themes and tropes of their respective genre. Colonial Troopers is a Starship Troopers-themed RPG. Freebooters is pirate-themed, set in the Age of Sailing. Guardians is comic book superhero themed. And Raiders of the Lost Artifact is based on Indiana Jones and the pulps and film serials the movie was based on. Each of these books offer their own rules, ideas and list of suggested reading that maybe useful for Mutant Lords running cross-genre MF settings.
The rules used an Night Owl Workshop products are similar to the popular Swords & Wizardly rule-set, in that it is based on a more streamlined version of the original 1974 Dungeons & Dragons rules, AKA "OD&D", with a number of modern improvements like listing Armor Class with both "assenting" and "Descending" scores and using a "BAB"-like To-Hit Bonus (THB) instead of large THAC0-based to-hit roll charts.
The game presents a new attribute called Social Standings, which represents reputation, social-status and cultural relevance. Unfortunately, there is a lack of information on how it effects game-play.
Saving throws are listed as: Explosions, Mentalism, Energy, Poison, Falls and General.
There are five Races:
- The Ancients represent the type of once dominant, but now near-extinct race found in many classic pulp sci-fi, like the Lotharians from Barsoom or the Martians from Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles. They are represent as being mentally stronger, but physically weaker to most humans. In MF, they could be humans form before the great war or cataclysm.
- The Elevated represent "uplifted" animals and plants, or animal-/plant-like alien creatures with human or near-human intelligence. The Coeurl is a prime example of the latter. In MF, they are basically Mutant Animals and Plants.
- Exotics represent more unusual types of humanoid aliens, like the green-skin Thark and Warloon tribes on Barsoom. In MF, they are basically Mutant Humans.
- Humans represent common human and human-like people, even if they are not earth humans, like the red-skin people on Barsoom, who look human, but live a long lifespan and are oviparous (lays eggs). In MF, they are Pure Humans.
- Unliving represent people created through artificial means, like Frankenstein's creation and the Synthetic Men from Barsoom. They are noted for having a distorted would view that can make them troublesome or unhinged. In MF, they are Androids.
There are four Classes:
- The Fighting-man is your standard warrior type, found in nearly all fiction.
- The Scoundrel is your rogue, thief, swashbuckler and scruffy-looking nerf-hearder.
- The Mentalist possesses psychic abilities.
- The Scientist is your classic "Mad Scientist" type.
Scientists are able to "invent" gadgets, who's effects are similar to D&D spells, with daily limits based on having to keep them powered or maintained. Than is, an irradium torch works like a D&D light spell, but gives off a green hue and can maintain power for one hour per level of inventor. (Or for 10gp, you can buy an irradium lantern from the Basic Gear list that shines brighter and lasts longer.) Mental powers also work like D&D spells.
Mentalists, Scientists and Sorcerers are good if one wants to play Mutant Future with the Mutants & Mazes conversion rules.
The book contains a large list of monsters and people to fight, as well as a great ideas on campaign and adventure design.
This game includes a number of useful appendixes:
- A list of playable Barsoom races.
- A Sorcerer (of the Black Gate) class for more "Sword & Sorcery" with your "Swords & Planet" setting.
- Random tables for names, random encounters, ruins, and strange artifacts.
- Rules for naval combat with airships and fliers.
Rules From the Other BooksEdit
Colonial Troopers contains rules geared towards military-based space opera settings. Mutant Lords would find the high-tech gear vary useful for lost & found artifacts. If using classes, it contains rules on mixing classes, and has a rule for gaining psychic powers independently of any class.
This whole game is retooled for super-human abilities, as well as more fine-point characteristics that rounds out a superhero. Using this system in Mutant Future would result is some powerful characters with some unusual weaknesses. Mind you, this game assumes that characters are operating in modern civilization.