From YSDC Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Barsoom, also known as the Martian Dreamlands

Short Description: The Dreamlands version of waking Mars, a vaguely "post-apocalyptic Wild West in an exotic wasteland dotted with antique ruins" setting.

Origin: Barsoom was originally a setting created by Edgar Rice Burroughs for a popular series of action/adventure "planetary romance" novels featuring the character "John Carter"; that setting has been adapted and re-imagined as a fan setting for the Call of Cthulhu Dreamlands RPG.

Supporting Materials (if any)

This is essentially an extension of the standard Dreamlands setting, which should be able to use the standard Dreamlands character sheet.


Earthly dreamers may find their way from time to time into the Martian Dreamland through some elaborate route via Earth's Dreamlands, and in near-future game settings Dreamers living as Martian explorers and colonists will often find their way directly into Mars' Dreamland.

Mars' Dreamland is a terribly ancient and alien place, technologically slightly more advanced than Earth's equivalent. Earthly Dreamers might generally interpret the technological level of this Dreamland as being roughly equivalent to Earth's Victorian Era, in a harsh and desolate desert comparable to the American "Wild West", though with more exotic trappings. Crude repeating handguns and rifles based on Barsoomian technology are available, but swords, clubs, and such have become far more common and traditional weapons among Martian Dreamers over the last few centuries of Mars' decline, and are far more common and stable in Dream. Thoats, six-legged Martian creatures that serve as the equivalent of horses, do exist, though various kinds of awkward pack-animals loosely equivalent to llamas or camels are more common.

To enter the Martian Dreamland, Dreamers must find their way through the cavernous Black Vaults of Martian Dream, and then ascend Seven Hundred Steps of Slumber to an Onyx Temple for meditation and preparation of the Red Martian silent monks of the Temple; a yawning gate on the other end of the temple leads up the Seventy steps of Deeper Slumber to a passage leading out of the Ziggurat of Dream into the Martian Dreamland.

The ochre, red, and grey-green deserts of Martian Dream are dotted with great dunes of shifting sand concealing or revealing cyclopean ruins, vast pyramids, alien sphinxes, graceful stone canals full of cool and clear fresh water, cities carved into mountainsides, and pleasant oases decorated with shrines to long-forgotten Martian gods, while the deserts are crossed by Vortlup caravans of Martians in search of their fortunes. Occasionally found among the canals and oases are signs of the influence of Earthly Dreamers: ranches, wooden ghost towns, deserted grand hotels, weather-beaten churches and temples to Earth's mild gods, petrified forests of the skeletons of Earthly trees, bizarre towering cacti, the wreckage of stage coaches and ruined wagons and the hulks of ancient and stranded river boats, and the rusting rails of abandoned attempts to build railroads across the searing Dream deserts of Barsoom.

Barsoom is a natural stopping point for journeys further out into the Solar System's Dreamlands, and the Canals of Mars eventually link to those of Venus and Yuggoth, as well as several moons of Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus, and travelers and merchants from Earth's Dreamlands as well as many alien worlds within the Solar System and from beyond find their way here; alien sailing ships from other Dreamlands often make their way up and down the canals of Barsoom, and strange caravans and sand-ships make their ways across the deserts of Barsoom, moving to and from many strange and alien destinations.

Most of the population of Barsoom today are "Native" Barsoomians: the humanoid White and Yellow Martians, though Barsoom is being settled and colonized more and more frequently by Dreamers from Earth, whose truce with the Native Barsoomians is tenuous, at best. Tribes of savage, nomadic Green Martians may also be found roaming the deserts, fighting eternal wars for glory among each other. Cats are also as common in the Dreamlands of Mars as they are of Earth, Saturn, and elsewhere, with the enigmatic six-legged Martian Sorak cats being only slightly more common than Earthly cats, with whom they hold and respect a solemn treaty not to interfere in each other's business, and to join in mutual defense against raids from the Cats from Saturn. A few pockets or individual Dreamers of other races can also be found on Barsoom, including Red and Black Martians, Horned Martians, Uliri, Kaldanes, Zoogs, Ghouls, Men of Leng, Moon Beasts, and other, more mysterious and exotic alien beings.

Additionally, occasional Dreamers from among Mars' other inhabitants, the Uliri and the Horned Martians, though usually barred from Barsoom by ancient spells and wards and by the force of Barsoomian heroes, have nevertheless left a few marks of their own in Dream across the landscape of Barsoom, in the form of rusting hulks of strange steam-driven machinery, or long-abandoned organic, bio-mechanical buildings and machines which have been left to their own devices for aeons - intelligent, but slowly going mad from strange aeons of neglect and isolation.

Ziggarut of Dream


Dreamlands of Phobos and Deimos


Associated Mythos Elements

Associated Mythos Elements