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A Fantastic Journey to Mars

A Fantastic Journey to Mars is a role-playing scenario with a built-in rules system based on Risus. You can play this game in an evening, or stretch it into several sessions. It can also be played with or without a GM.

The players control a group of Victorian-era adventurers in a Jules Verne-style story of planetary romance. They begin in the marvelous Steel Sphere, en route to Mars. What happens next is up to them.

The game is played with six-sided dice. Each character sheet includes an explanation of the rules, so you can just hand each player one sheet of paper and they have everything they need to play.

This makes A Fantastic Journey to Mars an ideal convention game.

How to Get It

A Fantastic Journey to Mars was released to Brent's Patreon supporters on 4 December 2013. It should become available as a pay-what-you-want PDF on DriveThruRPG in February 2014 (later than expected; other games got a lot more attention). This page will update as soon as it's available.


Play Sample

<html> <p><span style=“color:blue;font-weight:bold”>Jim:</span> Okay, so I'm playing Professor Julius Stratum, inventor of the Steel Sphere.</p>

<p><span style=“color:green;font-weight:bold”>Bob:</span> And I'm playing Sir Barnabas Steelhart, the fearless explorer.</p>

<p><span style=“color:purple;font-weight:bold”>Octavia:</span> I'm playing Miss Ophelia Stargazer, the reporter.</p>

<p><span style=“color:red;font-weight:bold”>Jean:</span> And I'm playing Joan Worthington-Smythe III, the millionaire industrialist.</p>

<p><span style=“color:blue;font-weight:bold”>Jim:</span> Okay! So I know I organized this game, but it doesn't require a Game Master, so we can just play. The game's laid out in a series of scenes. Octavia, you want to read out the first one?</p>

<p><span style=“color:purple;font-weight:bold”>Octavia:</span> Okay. “Scene 1: Introductions All Around.” Um, it says to choose your characters; we've done all that. We're gathering at the construction site for the Steel Sphere. It says “Feel free to describe the setting as your characters see it.”</p>

<p><span style=“color:blue;font-weight:bold”>Jim:</span> It took a lot of work, so there are a bunch of buildings, plus a metal dais that the Steel Sphere is on.</p>

<p><span style=“color:purple;font-weight:bold”>Octavia:</span> Does it need a launch platform?</p>

<p><span style=“color:blue;font-weight:bold”>Jim:</span> No, because it uses the Amazing Power of Gravity!</p>

<p><span style=“color:purple;font-weight:bold”>Octavia:</span> Ha! Okay. I'm scribbling down lots of details about the buildings and the Sphere. There've got to be lots of workers around.</p>

<p><span style=“color:red;font-weight:bold”>Jean:</span> As the industrialist who financed this, I've already sent most of them packing, because the Sphere's complete. Don't want too many wagging tongues.</p>

<p><span style=“color:green;font-weight:bold”>Bob:</span> I'm just ready to explore.</p>

<p><span style=“color:purple;font-weight:bold”>Octavia:</span> Okay, so next the game says, “a large meal is provided before the Sphere launches. Describe your characters' conversations. This is a great opportunity to reveal a bit about your character and decide on a few things about him or her.”</p>

<p><span style=“color:green;font-weight:bold”>Bob:</span> That's good, because these characters are pretty basic.</p>

<p><span style=“color:blue;font-weight:bold”>Jim:</span> Yeah, apparently you're supposed to flesh them out as you play them.</p>

<p>(The players have a spirited conversation about the Steel Sphere.)</p>

<p><span style=“color:blue;font-weight:bold”>Jim:</span> Okay, what's next?</p>

<p><span style=“color:purple;font-weight:bold”>Octavia:</span> “At the end of this scene, the characters enter the Steel Sphere. With a touch of a panel, Professor Stratum lanches the Steel Sphere upwards.</p>

<p><span style=“color:blue;font-weight:bold”>Jim:</span> To Mars, and the history books!</p>

<p><span style=“color:purple;font-weight:bold”>Octavia:</span> Nice. All right. “Scene 2: The Trip Through the Void. The group has now spent a few hours in the Steel Sphere. They're closing in on Mars. They're all nervous. Suddenly, the Sphere enters a meteor storm! How do the characters react?”</p>

<p><span style=“color:blue;font-weight:bold”>Jim:</span> I suddenly look nervous. My hands fly to the controls. My brows furrow.</p>

<p><span style=“color:red;font-weight:bold”>Jean:</span> (as Worthington-Smythe) What's the matter, Professor?</p>

<p><span style=“color:blue;font-weight:bold”>Jim:</span> (as Stratum) The vibro-sensors indicate an obstruction of some sort ahead of us.</p>

<p><span style=“color:green;font-weight:bold”>Bob:</span> (as Steelhart) Excellent! Time for a little adventure, eh?</p>

<p><span style=“color:purple;font-weight:bold”>Octavia:</span> (as Stargazer) What sort of obstruction, Professor?</p>

<p><span style=“color:blue;font-weight:bold”>Jim:</span> (as Stratum) It appears to be a shower of meteors! If I do not navigate around them, they may damage the Sphere.</p>

<p><span style=“color:green;font-weight:bold”>Bob:</span> (as Steelhart) Then do it, man!</p>

<p><span style=“color:blue;font-weight:bold”>Jim:</span> Okay, how do I do that?</p>

<p><span style=“color:purple;font-weight:bold”>Octavia:</span> Oh! So look at your character sheet. At the bottom, it says….</p>

<p><span style=“color:blue;font-weight:bold”>Jim:</span> Ah-ha! I choose a catchphrase, and roll as many dice as the number next to the catchphrase.</p>

<p><span style=“color:green;font-weight:bold”>Bob:</span> And we're using six-sided dice, right?</p>

<p><span style=“color:blue;font-weight:bold”>Jim:</span> Right. So I have two catchphrases, “For SCIENCE!” and “I really don't understand other people.” That first one makes sense, and I have 3 dice in that. So let me roll three six-siders….</p>

<p><span style=“color:green;font-weight:bold”>Bob:</span> First roll of the night! Woohoo!</p>

<p><span style=“color:blue;font-weight:bold”>Jim:</span> So that's a 2, a 4, and a 5. Totaling 11. That's 7 or more, so I get to narrate what happens. Good!</p>

<p><span style=“color:green;font-weight:bold”>Bob:</span> So just to be clear: if you rolled a total of 6 or less, we'd all describe how that went badly for you instead, right?</p>

<p><span style=“color:purple;font-weight:bold”>Octavia:</span> Right, plus you lose one die in that catchphrase. On the other hand, if you roll a 6 on all your dice, you get wild success.</p>

<p><span style=“color:red;font-weight:bold”>Jean:</span> What if you only have 1 die?</p>

<p><span style=“color:purple;font-weight:bold”>Octavia:</span> Then you basically can't get a normal success, but if you roll a 6, you get a wild success.</p>

<p><span style=“color:green;font-weight:bold”>Bob:</span> Cool. So what happens?</p>

<p><span style=“color:blue;font-weight:bold”>Jim:</span> Oh, so I narrate what happens. I twist knobs with authority, and we spin away from the meteor shower.</p>

<p><span style=“color:green;font-weight:bold”>Bob:</span> As the Sphere spins around, I catch the reporter in my arms.</p>

<p><span style=“color:purple;font-weight:bold”>Octavia:</span> I'll run with that. (as Stargazer) Why…thank you, sir. You have such…strong arms.</p>

<p><span style=“color:green;font-weight:bold”>Bob:</span> (as Steelhart) I once boxed a yeti! (as himself) Hey, wait, that's actually a catchphrase. Can I use that to try to romance the reporter?</p>

<p><span style=“color:purple;font-weight:bold”>Octavia:</span> Fine by me!</p>

<p><span style=“color:green;font-weight:bold”>Bob:</span> Okay, I only have two dice in that. I roll…and I get a 2 and a 3. That's only 5, which is less than the magic number of 7. Blast it.</p>

<p><span style=“color:purple;font-weight:bold”>Octavia:</span> (as Stargazer) You may have boxed a yeti, sir, but you also have the grace of one!</p>

<p><span style=“color:blue;font-weight:bold”>Jim:</span> Oooooh, burn! So you lose one die in that.</p>

<p><span style=“color:green;font-weight:bold”>Bob:</span> Okay, so I'm down to one die in “I once boxed a yeti.” What next?</p>

<p><span style=“color:purple;font-weight:bold”>Octavia:</span> Now we move on to scene 3. We're about to arrive on Mars, everyone!</p>

<p><strong>All:</strong> Hooray!</p> </html>


Thanks to Constance Chamberlain and Sophie Lagace for their design advice.

Thanks to my Patreon patrons Matthew Bannock, Ryven Cedrylle, Tony Dowler, Seth Drebitko, Joe England, Pete Figtree, Andrew Hauge, and Dave LeCompte for their financial support of this product.

Dungeon Delvers is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license (CC BY-SA 3.0).

games/fantastic_journey_to_mars.txt · Last modified: 2015/07/09 07:19 by brent