'Beasts of Barsoom'

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


‘Beasts of Barsoom’ is the first ludic adaptation of the fauna populating Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Martian world of Barsoom. It creatively distils, develops and gamifies each of Burroughs’ creatures by making practical use of Wright's theoretical approach to tabletop roleplaying game adaptation. As a consequence, it deploys the processes of distillation, statistical quantification, ludic systematisation and diegetic elaboration.

The chapter distils and re-presents Burroughs’ storyworld material formally and tonally as an ethologically-inflected non-fiction bestiary. Here, distillation and diegetic elaboration interact, to preserve the source texts’ pulp sensibilities and add greater credibility to Burroughs’ fantastic and sometimes anomalous creations. Ludic systematisation ensures such creatures are interactively deployable in the gameworld and their statistical quantification is balanced to ensure coherence with the game system.

In dividing each entry into Attributes, Talents, Physical Description, Behaviour and Species Range, the chapter cultivates a sense of scientific rigor that deepens the authenticity of each imagined creature. Many of the entries contain original, innovations to Burroughs concepts, authorized by the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate, which strengthen the creatures’ credibility in the gameworld.

Each entry is accompanied by a plot seed and the chapter concludes with a species generation system for producing further beasts consistent with Burroughs’ creations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEdgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars
Subtitle of host publicationAdventures in the Dying World of Barsoom Core Rulebook
EditorsJack Norris, Benn Graybeaton
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherModiphius Entertainment
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9781912743117
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • John Carter
  • Barsoom
  • Roleplaying Game
  • Martian
  • Mars
  • Adaptation


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