Chris Birch Interview

By on 8 January 2016
John Carter Modiphius Entertainment

I’m delighted to welcome back Chris Birch of Modiphius Entertainment. The last time I spoke to Chris it was all about travelling Hyboria with Conan – now we’re travelling to other worlds with John Carter!

Jonathan Hicks: Welcome back to Farsight Blogger, Chris. It seems like five minutes ago we were all getting excited about the Conan RPG, and now we’ve got John Carter to look forward to! How did you get hold of that exciting property?

Chris Birch: Yes, and the Conan kickstarter launches this month (Jan 2016) which is very exciting!

Well with John Carter I’d been chasing it for sometime but the rights were tied up with Disney. So as it happened they finally reverted and Rita my wife and business partner was working at the licensing show in the UK and happened to meet Jim Sullos from the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate. She showed me his card not knowing the relevance and I couldn’t believe it!

JH: Who have you gathered to work on this gem? Can you tell us anything about development?

CB: Well we have the very talented Jack Norris helming the project who’s a familiar name to fans of Green Ronin games, Jack’s a massive fan like many of the others on the project and we’ll be unveiling the team shortly which includes some familiar names from the Barsoom community.

JH: The 2d20 system sounds like a great choice for fast-action adventures on Barsoom – can we expect many changes to the system; is there anything you’ve had to radically change to reflect travelling Mars?

CB: We’re actually doing the first ‘2d20 Lite’ which strips it right down the chassis – a lighter than air re-interpretation that’s perfect for the fast moving swashbuckling tales of adventure we know and love from the Barsoom books.

JH: Are you going to be sticking to Burrough’s creations, or are you going to be bringing your own creations into the mix?

CB: We’re very much sticking to canon – original Burrough’s creations in the setting descriptions. The adventures will draw on that and delve deeper in to plots hinted at by Burroughs or story arcs that might have been. Our core team will ensure everything stays true to the vision of Barsoom.

JH: What can we expect to see in the core rulebook? System and setting bare bones, or system and fully fledged Barsoom to run around in?

CB: I want you to imagine a beautiful landscape book with gorgeous page-wide landscapes bringing Barsoom to life, whilst epic action scenes burst in from the page edges. We’ll be dialling down the word-count per page to focus on giving everything more breathing space and making this a fantastic read as much as an easy to use RPG core book. It will include system and a solid introduction to life on Barsoom, epic images to explain what a thousand words could not, and plenty of plot seeds to get you going.

JH: What else has Modiphius got planned for the John Carter RPG range?

CB: There will be supplements expanding on the core book, plus some quite epic campaigns, including one in which you are John Carter and friends pursuing the major plots of the books.

JH: You’ve also got the ‘John Carter: Swords of Mars’ miniatures game and the ‘John Carter: Warlord of Mars’ board game coming next year. What details can you share about these?

CB: We’re working on sculpts and will have some to show soon. The Miniatures game will have your heroes leaping between the decks of red martian navy ships, to the tops of crumbling towers or battling it out in the ancient ruins below. The system uses a version of 2d20 to let you seamless jump between the RPG and minis game. The boardgame will explore more intense conspiracies and battles in the cites and ruins of Barsoom, telling some wild tales of adventure – these will be part of a Kickstarter in the Summer. You can find out more by signing up at

JH: What else have you got on the go?

CB: Well apart from the Conan kickstarter we have the forthcoming Kung Fu Panda boardgame in 2016 plus the Airfix Battles and Achtung! Cthulhu miniatures game coming out in April!

JH: Cheers, Chris!

About Jonathan Hicks

Jonathan Hicks has been gaming for thirty years and has covered almost every type of genre, system and setting. He also runs the RPG website Farsight Blogger and created the SKETCH system for Farsight Games.

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