'Weapons Technology and Equipment' and 'Beasts of Barsoom'

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


    ‘Weapons, Technology and Equipment’ is the first ludic adaptation of the technological aspects of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Martian storyworld, Barsoom. As such, it is original both in terms of its creative distillation of Burroughsian fictional artefacts and its gamification of those artefacts. Accordingly, it makes practical use of my theoretical approach to tabletop roleplaying game adaptation, deploying specifically the processes of distillation, accentual emphasis, ludic systematisation and diegetic elaboration. Broadly, the chapter distils storyworld material from Burroughs’ Martian novels, re-presenting this formally and tonally as ethnographically-inflected non-fiction. In its presentation of this material, the accentual emphasis is directed to evoking and sustaining the pulp sensibilities of Burroughs’ tales. Ludic systematisation is achieved, in part, by attributing ludo-narrative qualities to weapons, et cetera, in a manner that emphasises the cultural aspects of the storyworld material adapted. Diegetic elaboration occurs in the synthesising of Burroughs’ often expedient worldbuilding into a coherent and cohesive gameworld.

    ‘Beasts of Barsoom’ is the first ludic adaptation of the fauna populating Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Martian world. It is original in terms of its creative distillation, development and gamification of Burroughs’ creatures. In making practical use of my theoretical approach to tabletop roleplaying game adaptation, it is the result of 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. The entry on each creature is accompanied by a plot seed and the chapter concludes with an innovative 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 on the Dying World of Barsoom Core Rulebook
    EditorsJack Norris, Benn Graybeaton
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherModiphius Entertainment
    Chapter5 and 13
    Pages70-82; 158-184
    Number of pages36
    ISBN (Print)9781912743117
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


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


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