Review: Adamant Entertainment – MARS (Savage Worlds)

MARS is a pulp sci-fi fantasy setting, powered by Savage Worlds, written by Lizard, Gareth-Michael Skarka, Walt Ciechanowski, Aaron Rosenberg, and Jess Nevins and published by Adamant Entertainment.
By Lord Mhor

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If you enjoy the planetary romance genre as envisioned by Edgar Rice Burroughs, with a bit of H. G. Wells “War of the Worlds” tripod action thrown in, you’ll have fun with this product. All of your favorite people and creatures are here, whether red, green, white, or grey. This is a collection of all the best tropes in the genre along with some new perspectives, set up to deliver some serious Savage Worlds fun.


The introduction sets the mood and portrays the genre well. The art has a definite “Frank Frazetta” feel to it, though color is restricted to the covers. Barsoom as depicted is hot, with low gravity. Clothing is predictably light and a couple of the pictures portray nudity, so be aware of this before handing the book over to those who might be stunned by this. The chapters are as follows:

One: Mars provides an excellent gazeteer of the various regions of the planet, complete with a comprehensive history, providing players a great amount of material with which to grab onto the genre and run.

Two: Characters provides a nice set of concepts with an overview of the various character race options, complete with racial traits and motivations. New skills, Hindrances, and Edges are abundant. Strange Powers for Earthmen are included. There is also a section that describes how to build up non-standard races if the players want to develop something completely different.

Three: Gear has an excellent selection of goodies, both archaic and high-technology. The weird science of the Grey Martians is presented, as are radium weapons, with an excellent feel for the difficulty of maintaining ancient and degraded technologies.

Four: Setting Rules provide options to capture the heroic feel of the planetary romance genre, including the airships that have become an ancient glory of the Red Planet. Detailed airship combat rules are included, including bombing attacks and boarding actions.

Five: Gamemastering provides an excellent overview of how to run this genre, including thematic elements and adventure creation. There is a nice random adventure generator for those moments when inspiration might be lacking.

Six: Beasts of Mars contains a nice selection of Martian creatures, but the real gem is the “Making it Martian” section that provides six pages of tables and inspiration for creating creatures adapted to this environment. These resources are excellent for any arid environment and can easily be pulled out of the Martian context for use in other genres.

Seven: Slavers of Mars is a nice five-part plot-point adventure that puts players through every major type of challenge.

Eight: Encounters has a good set of random encounter tables, followed by a listing of the basic types of non-player characters with stat blocks. Several Wild Card characters are presented at the end with lots of details.


I enjoyed MARS and found many worthwhile things that could be used in various genres. One of the strengths of Savage Worlds supplements is that the materials can easily be ported over into other environments. In eight chapters with a 192 page count, the planet and its history are presented very well. Character creation, player character races, gear, setting-specific rules, a gamemastering section, a five-part Plot Point campaign, and an excellent bestiary fill this book with quality content.


Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
The production quality is excellent. There are several grammar and spelling issues which could have been avoided with some more extensive proofreading, but this is only slightly distracting from the otherwise rich content. There is a lot of “white space” which makes the content seem light for those used to very compact formats, but the art and content are very good.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
The new Edges, Hindrances, and Setting Rules presented in this volume integrate well with the core Savage Worlds rules, and they provide an excellent extension that serves this genre well. The rules for creating new character races and species are particularly useful.

Value Add: 9 out of 10
The planetary romance genre is well-represented and the materials can easily be used to spice up Savage Worlds games in completely different environments. The pricing on both the hard-copy and PDF editions is at the higher end, however the content probably justifies the investment.

Overall: 9 out of 10
Overall, this is an excellent addition to the Savage Worlds RPG and will permit the players to have a rollicking good time on Barsoom. One interesting thought might be to mix elements of Mars: Savage Worlds Edition with Pinnacle’s excellent Space 1889 – Red Sands setting, just to give the British Empire a bit of a challenge. Mars: Savage Worlds Edition is well-supported with a series of supplements available at, including Blood Legacy of Mars, City-States of Mars: Korium, Face of Mars, Minions of Mars, Rebels of Mars, Sell-Swords of Mars, Sky-Tyrant of Mars, Soul-Thieves of Mars, and Warriors of Mars.

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