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Equipment Questions

Some NSCs in Phantoms of Mars have equipment which is not explained anywhere. What are the rules for:

  • Harness
  • Mask
  • Short sword
  • Cloak
  • Hatchet
  • Tools
  • Disguise kit
  • Raygun (I assume that the base damage is 4)
  • Spear

The character sheet has entries reserved for the ammunition of a character’s weapons, but rulebook does not say anything about ammunition. It does also not say anything about the range of the different types of firearms. How large are the magazines of Martian rifles and pistols? And what are the ranges of those firearms?

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Hi there!

For the equipment that is mentioned:

Harnesses, Masks and Cloaks are non-mechanical, these are just items that are being worn. They are unlikely to affect much other than the narrative, though a narrator could rule that if a character is wearing a mask, it would increase the difficulty of a test to identify them. They don’t have any ‘rules’ so to speak.
This would be the same for tools, they aren’t a mechanised piece of equipment, but would allow a character to take certain actions, might give a player character an idea of what the NPC was doing if the tools are found. For example, an NPC working on an airship might have tools, this would signify the tools they need to work on the airship. If player characters found these tools, they might judge that they belonged to someone who was an airship mechanic, or could use the tools to make it possible to repair an airship.

Short swords and hatchets would be covered by blades in the core rulebook (page 72). In John Carter, the types of blades aren’t separated out into individual items (short swords, long swords, hatchets, spears etc…) but instead we provide a base damage for all blades. Narrators are then free to customise weapons as they need to.

The ranges for guns are listed on page 63:
"If the attack is made beyond its usual range then
the difficulty increases by 1 for every range outside
the weapon’s normal use. For melee weapons
this is Immediate, for pistols this is Near, and
for rifles, Away. Melee weapons used at ranges
outside Immediate are thrown at their target."

The choice to count or not count ammunition is left to the narrator. Some people really enjoy tracking this, others choose not to.

John Carter guns were based on american civil war era weapons they wouldn’t have had modern magazine. If you wanted to track ammo, you could go for pistols being closer to revolvers, meaning they would fire 5-6 shots before needing to be reloaded and rifles in that era were generally single shot. If you wanted to modernise that (perhaps playing in Barsoom that would parallel our current time) you could decide to include modern size magazines (6-17 rounds for pistols depending on make and size, and modern rifles 20-30 rounds)

The system leaves this open so that players and narrators can decide what is best for their games. It can also change dramatically, depending on the era (either the eras in the book, or along a historical timeline) that a narrator bases their game in.

Hope this was helpful for you! :slight_smile:


Yes, it was. But what about the rest?

(Sorry for the length, Barsoom is one of my interests.)
(Also, Don’t know if necromancy is frowned upon, looked at the guidelines and didn’t seem to have a cutoff date for posts, if there is I apologize and will keep my posts to recent threads.)

Um, Barsoomian Radium firearms aren’t like Civil War era firearms in any way, other than being projectile weapons. Not only does the Radium rifle out range them by hundreds of miles (200 effective, 300 maximum thanks to electric sights and finders), they throw more rounds down range than any man portable firearm Jasoom (Earth) has created that isn’t militarily compromised (Rifle based drum magazines) or purpose made (The various types of machine gun). Radium rifles autoload from a 200 round reservoir, cycling rounds fast enough that a single soldier can achieve suppression in ground combat, allowing their comrades to maneuver for the kill, and firing far enough that a serviceable anti-air envelope can be achieved by infantry, though not a comprehensive one thanks to the autoguns and cannon of Red Kingdom sky navies.

These advantages are helped by the type of bullet used in Barsoomian firearms, the Radium rifle fires a bullet made from a type of preternaturally (at least for us Jasoomians) strong Barsoomian glass. Inside the rounds hollow tip is contained a certain amount of crushed Radium. Depending on the size of the round , military regulations, or for those like the Panthans and nobles, personal preference, there can be more or less Radium, creating a bigger or smaller explosion. The rounds are manufactured, at least by the Red Martians, under artificial light as the lights used by the Reds are Radium and don’t cause the explosive reaction natural sunlight does. They are kept from exploding in the field by a sunlight blocking coating that, while perfectly durable for general field conditions, is stripped away by the extreme velocities (482803 m/s for long-arms, faster for the auto-guns and cannons of the airships of the Red Kingdoms’ fleets) that the bullets are traveling at and the heavy armor of enemy airships, allowing sunlight to hit the Radium. This can make the morning after night raids more harrowing than the attacks themselves.

Sadly, I haven’t got Phantoms of Mars yet, please know that I’m just trying to be helpful.:smiley:

The harness holds a Barsoomians weapons. These are, for a Green Martian of the Thark (as an example):

1.) 1 Radium rifle (w/ ammunition)
2.) 1 Radium pistol (w/ ammunition)
3.) 1 long sword
4.) 1 short sword
5.) 1 hatchet
6.) 1 dagger

The harness also has bags for personal effects and equipment. This is explained in the equipment section of the JCOM rulebook (pg. 75 to be specific)

The cloak shades from the sun and protects from sand, it also keep a person warm during desert nights.

From the way JCOM’s rules seem to work, the listed equipment would be either flavor or a reason for the GM to call for a Momentum spend if the character didn’t have them when doing an action related to them. (Example, a character is making repairs on an airships engine but doesn’t have tools. The GM calls for a Momentum spend and the character happens to find some while rummaging around the engine room.)


I have been wondering this for a while now, would radium bullets have casings that could ejected? Also how how would they reload the rifle?

Radium bullets have casings and use a Martian developed gunpowder.
Reloading radium rifles involves loading rounds into the rifles internal magazine. How the rifle actually autoloads them when firing, whether they’re top loaded or side loaded, or what exact type of internal magazine (Straight, curved, tube etc.) is used isn’t expanded upon as far as I remember.
The bullets are of a much smaller caliber compared to their Jasoomian counterparts at the time of Cpt. Carter’s first journey to mars (late 1866), enough so that a fighting man like Cpt. Carter thought it important to bring the fact up.

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I used to play Mutants and Masterminds, and there wasn’t really an “ammo tracker” when it came to ranged weapons. One of the books suggested the following guideline:

If a critical failure is rolled (or the GM thinks it’d help the plot), treat it as the equivalent of a weapon jam/empty clip.

So maybe something like that?