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Volume 1147

by James Killian Spratt

James Killian Spratt: Artist ~ Sculptor ~ Creator of Jetan-Sarang

Deep in the winter of l996, I think it was, with deep snow on the ground and the cold wind whispering "ss-s-stay in,  ss-ss-stay in-n-n," I gave up the notion of slogging out to my dreary, freezing little workshop. This would be a good time to be elsewhere, like, um, BARSOOM!  It had been a few years since I'd been there, and a quick thumb through the shelf of aged Ace paperbacks plucked Chessmen free from its tight nest between Thuvia and Mastermind. Like Linus with his grubby blanket, I grabbed up my ubiquitous ball of sculpture wax, opened the little door marked F-170, emblazoned with RGK's dashing swordsmen on a field of black and orange,  stepped through and was gone.

By nightfall the shelf beside me was graced with a grim-faced little Gahan of Gathol, sword drawn and ready to kill or die for the honor of the beautiful, ever-desired Tara, and by the next day there stood eight.  It was Jetan.

The eight became forty, then two hundred, more--then one day it occurred to me that Tara might like a female companion, so I made her one, Dejah Thoris, of course, then Thuvia, then Phao, Sanoma Tora, Tavia, and more, and then a Banth, a Dwar with a Calot, and it dawned that I could make a bigger game, with more Barsoomian characters and creatures.  The detailed, hand-painted Jetan pieces were quite lovely little figures all by themselves, and I couldn't resist the wish to see them with all their companions.

The logical step was to expand the playing board from Jetan's ten spaces by ten to a larger field, a twelve by twelve, and equip it with three rows of pieces per side.  The joy of producing the little Barsoomians led me to a total of twenty-five different original figures for use as playing pieces, in character with their roles in ERB's tales of Mars.  I called the game Sarang, which is a Korean word meaning "love," and also an east-Indian name, sort of like "Barsoom."  I think ERB would have approved.

It was necessary to "balance" the new game so that it would be playable and workable as a chess-type game, so I endowed each new playing piece with chess-piece moves, such as the Jedwar moving as a Rook, and the Teedwar moving as a Bishop, so that they could cover the large board adequately, and kept the original moves for the eight original pieces of Jetan unaltered to eliminate confusion between the two games.  As we speak, I now have fifty separate Barsoomian figures, each of which is endowed with the same movement pattern for its use in Jetan and now four separate variant games derived from Jetan, of which Jetan-Sarang is the first variant game.

Jetan-Sarang is now ready for online play at, by Chess Variant Pages Editor Tony Quintanilla, using small pictorial icons (shown below) which I drew especially for that purpose, using a system called Game Courier, invented by Fergus Duniho of Chessvariants, and which is an excellent, fun way to play by email.  Below you will see larger versions of the icons, colored by Pat Toner, and photos of the actual sculpted playing pieces, beautifully hand-painted by one of the hobbyists who have purchased sets to hand-finish themselves.  A word of caution, kiddies, I sculpted the figures the way I perceived them to be dressed--or rather, UNdressed--in ERB's great stories, so bear in mind that the hand-painted figures look almost real, and if you're squeamish about the unclad body, think twice about looking them over.

Listed under the icons and their piece photos are the moves of the individual pieces; each piece has the same powers and moves throughout all the different variant games I'm creating.  I hope you will try the online games, and know that I'm now producing physical sets of Jetan, Jetan-Sarang, Jetan-Jeddara (to come soon,) Warlord Jetan (being developed), and another larger game using all fifty of the pieces, which I ain't tellin' about just yet, and enjoy our efforts. 

James Killian Spratt, master sculptor and Barsoomian at Large
The photos and sketches on this page are chosen for the more modest viewer.
Front, rear and side photos of the actual pieces are featured 
in a companion page at:
Beware: Do not visit this page if you are bothered by Barsoomian nudity.
JEDDARA  (Dejah Thoris)
JEDDA (Janai)
JEDDA (Thuvia)

Moves as the Queen in Chess
Moves 2 squares in any direction or combination; does NOT kill; her promotion (crossing to the enemy's last row) wins the game
Moves 2 squares in any direction or combination; does NOT kill; her promotion (crossing the board to the enemy's last row) wins the game
Moves 2 squares in any direction or combination; does NOT kill; her promotion (crossing the board to the enemy's last row) wins the game

(Sharu, the dancer)
(Sanoma Tora, the faithless one)
(Tara, who is also a Princess)

Moves 3 squares in any direction or combination
Moves two spaces in any direction or combination; she may promote any piece from Dwar down; she immobilizes any enemy male adjacent
Moves two spaces in any direction or combination; she does not promote; she immobilizes any enemy male adjacent, and is controlled by the team with the most men on the board
Moves two spaces in any direction or combination; can kill; she may promote any piece from Jeddak
down; she may Escort other females beside, before, or behind her, as long as they are clear to land in the same relative position to her at the end of 
her move

THA   (Female of Than)
PANTHA  (Female of Panthan)


Moves two spaces in any direction or combination; can kill; she may promote any piece from Jeddak down; she may Escort other females
Moves one or two square moves in any direction or combination, can kill; may promote any piece from Than down
Moves 2 moves in any direction, can kill; may promote any piece from Jeddak down; can Escort females
Moves one square in any direction except diagonally backward, promotes Panthan

THARK   (Tars Tarkas) 
THARK  (Sola) 
JEDWAR  (with Banth)

Leaps any one square and two diagonals; can Escort females
Slides any one square and two diagonals, and kills to both sides left and right; promotes Thark
Moves as the Rook in chess


Leaps any 3 diagonal squares, in any direction or combination

TEEDWAR or Colonel 
DWAR or Captain
PADWAR or Lieutenant 
CALOT or Wardog 

Slides any distance diagonally, as the Bishop in chess
Slides any 3 square moves, in any direction or combination
Slides any 2 diagonal moves, in any direction or combination
Slides 1, 2, or 3 spaces in any straight line, square or diagonal

THAN  or Sergeant
PANTHAN or Private Mercenary
GORTHAN or Assassin

Leaps one square and one diagonal, in any direction
Slides any 2 square moves, in any direction or combination
Slides one space in any direction except straight backwards
Slides any 2 spaces in any direction or combination; does NOT kill females

Moves one space diagonally only; does NOT kill; promotes Panthan; her presence on the board enables the Jeddara's "Escape" move of any 10 spaces to her own half of the board, once in the game
Moves one space square only; does NOT kill; his presence on the 
board enables the Jeddara's "Escape" move of any 10 spaces to her own half of the board, once in the game



JETAN-SARANG is a large chess-type variant of Edgar Rice Burroughs original game of JETAN, invented in 1922 and published in his great science fiction novel CHESSMEN OF MARS.  Jetan-Sarang is played on a 12 x 12-square board, using three rows of 12 pieces each.  The twenty-five different playing pieces contain the original eight pieces from Jetan and additional pieces representing other characters and creature from Burroughs' series of eleven Martian books.  Some of the thirty-six pieces per side move in novel ways, in character with their identities in the exciting Martian tales, and the playing pieces are represented by pictorial icons designed to fit their descriptions.

l.  WARLORD:  John Carter, a former Confederate cavalry Captain mysteriously transported to Mars at the end of the Civil War, who fought his way to become the Warlord of Mars.

2.  JEDDAK:  A King or Emperor, ruler of one of the many warring nations of Mars.

3.  JEDDARA, Dejah Thoris:  A Queen or Empress; Dejah Thoris was the beauty of a world and the love of John Carter's life, whom he rescued from the wild green hordes of monstrous Tharks of the dead sea bottoms of Mars.

4.  JED:  A Chieftain of a tribe or village of Mars.

5.  JEDDA, Princess Thuvia:  The wife of a Jed, or tribal Chieftain; Thuvia, whom John Carter rescued from the evil priests who had kept her for years as a plaything, had a mysterious power over the huge wild Martian lions, or banths.  Thuvia later wed the son of John Carter and Dejah Thoris, Carthoris.

6.  PRINCESS, Tara:  The daughter of  John Carter and Dejah Thoris, an adventurous and wilful beauty, was saved by her rejected suitor, Gahan of Gathol, from the Kaldanes and from the deadly live chessgame of Manator, whose pieces fought to the death.

7.  THARK Tars Tarkas:  The giant green Chieftain of the hordes of Warhoon, who befriended John Carter for his fighting prowess, a rare just and sincere savage.

8.  THARK Sola:  John Carter's female custodian while he and Dejah Thoris were prisoners among the Tharks, a kind and gentle green maiden, who, lamenting the brutality of her kind, helped them escape.

9.  PRINCESS Haja:  A Princess of Gathol, a slave in Manator, where the deadly Jetan games were held in the arena, who helped Gahan and Tara escape the evil Jeddak O-Tar, who craved Tara for himself.

10. SWORD Princess Rojas:  A Princess of Invak, whose people made themselves invisible, who escaped with John Carter and Llana by giving them invisibility pills; their romantic co-deception turned out to be funny and forgiveable.

11.  SWORD Princess Llana:  Daughter of Tara, granddaughter of John Carter and Dejah Thoris, a spunky girl who, with John Carter, fought their way free of imprisonment by the Black Pirates of the First Born, and wed the courageous Pan Dan Chee.

12. ARMED Consort Phao:  Lost Princess of Jahar, a slave in Tjanath, Phao helped and escaped with Hadron of Hastor and Princess Tavia of Tjanath.

13.  TAVIA:  Boyish orphan slave-girl of Tjanath, rescued and loved by Hadron, and rescued and reunited with her noble father, who recognized her by her likeness to her beloved mother.

14.  SORAK Princess Kara Vasa:  The lost love of Dar Tarus, who helped Ulysses Paxton, who had been killed in the trenches of France and teleported to Mars much like John Carter; the aged evil Queen Xaxa had stolen the body of Paxton's love, the beautiful Valla Dia, by having Mad Doctor Ras Thavas switch their brains.

15.  JEDDA Princess Janai:  A Princess of Amhor and a prisoner of Ras Thavas, at his sinister medical research facility at the island of Morbus in the Toonoolian swamps, who fell in love with Vor Daj, a Padwar in the Navy of Helium, and helped him escape with John Carter, despite the fact that his brain had been transferred to the huge, deformed body of one of Ras Thavas synthetic men, the Hormads.

16.  PRINCESS Vaja:  A Princess of Zor, loved by U Dor, a Padwar, who helped Dejah Thoris escape from the evil Skeleton Men of Jupiter.

17.  JEDWAR with Banth:  A high-ranking officer, equivalent to a 3- or 4-star General, and just below a Chieftain, or Jed, in rank;  the Banth is symbolic of his power, and is a ferocious 10-legged Martian lion.

18.  ODWAR, or Flier:  A high-ranking officer, similar to a Colonel or Brigadier General;  the Odwar is one of the original eight figures in Jetan, represented by a 3-bladed aircraft propellor.

19.  TEEDWAR:  Equivalent to a Lieutenant Colonel commanding 10,000 troops.

20.  SHARU, the slave dancer:  A good-hearted slave and concubine of the wicked Jed Ghron of Ghasta, who helped Hadron and his companion Nur An escape by giving them a needle and dagger to fashion a hotair balloon

21.  OLVIA Marthis:  A beautiful Princess of Hastor, who married Tara's uninspired long-time fiancee', Djor Kantos, who was more like a brother to Tara.

22.  LAN-O:  A slave-girl in Manator, born in Gathol, who helped Tara hide the dead body of her would-be assailant, the wicked son of O-Tar, Jeddak of Manator, city of the Dead and home of the bloody live Jetan games.

23.  ZANDA:  A slave-girl in the house of Fal Sivas, head of the Assassins and mad inventor, assigned to attend John Carter, who had infiltrated incognito to destroy the arrogant and over-feared Assassins' Guild, and helped him excape at great risk to herself.

24.  SANOMA TORA:  An ambitious, beautiful-but-spoiled girl who spurned the love of poor Padwar Hadron, and betrayed him to the evil Jeddak Tul Axtar, even after he'd risked his life to rescue her.

25.  ZITIDAR:  An enormous, 6-legged mastodonian beast of burden, used by the Tharks and red men alike for heavy hauling.

26.  GORTHAN or Assassin, Gor Hajus:  Known and feared as the Assassin of Toonol, Gor Hajus followed a strict code of honor--he would not kill women or the innocent--and was betrayed and executed.  Ras Thavas brought him back to life in another body, and he helped Ulysses Paxton find his beloved Valla Dia and restore her to her former beauty.

27.  DWAR with Calot:  A Dwar is the same as a Captain, and he is teamed with a trained, ferocious 10-legged 'dog' of Mars, the Calot, whose 3 rows of tusks, incredible speed, and Shetland-pony size made it a formidable ally.

28.  DWAR:  Equivalent to a Captain in military service, below Teedwar and above Padwar.

29.  DWA:  A female Captain; this character is a pastiche addition to ERB's martian cast, intended to add an element of gender variety.

30.  THOAT, or Cavalryman:  The Thoat is the 8-legged 'horse' of Mars. The Tharks rode one variety of these bad-tempered, half-wild beasts, 10 feet high at the shoulder and weighing possibly 5 tons, and the red men, or civilized nations rode a smaller version about the size of our horses.

31.  PADWAR:  A young officer, equivalent to a Lieutenant in military service.

32.  PADWA:  A Female Padwar, or Lieutenant, a pastiche character on the order of the Dwa and Tha (below).

33.  THAN, or Warrior:  A Non-Commissioned Officer, or Sergeant, just below a Padwar in rank, responsible for the direction of Panthans, or mercenary soldiers;  the Than was dedicated to his country and in line for higher rank.

34.  THA:  A Female of the Than, or Warrior; a pastiche character like the Padwa and Dwa.  One might imagine her to be a single woman who had lost her mate, with no children, and rather submit to the doubtful future of another man, had chosen to serve her country.

35.  PANTHAN:  A fighting man of no country--a wanderer whose blade was for hire to any nation who would give him a meal and a bed--or a private soldier of his own nation.  The Panthans were the ruffians, the front-line troops who lived hard and died hard for the joy of battle.

36.  PANTHA:  A Female Panthan; a pastiche character like Padwa, Dwa and Tha, a female who, for her own reasons, had chosen to follow the sword. One might imagine some would be rough wenches, ready for anything and not to be crossed, with pasts they choose to keep to themselves, and secrets best left unspoken.

37.  FEMALE SLAVE, Uthia:  Dejah Thoris' handmaiden, who refused her freedom, frequently offered, to serve her beloved mistress.

38.  MALE SLAVE:  A captive man of low esteem, put into forced labor.

39.  RAS THAVAS:  The Mad Doctor of the Island of Morbus, in the Toonoolian swamps, whose brilliant mind was untainted by moral judgments about the propriety of his experimenting, which included brain-transfer surgeries and the creation of the horrible synthetic men known as Hormads, unkillable human travesties.

40.  KALDANE Ghek:  A spider- or crab-like creature who was 90% brain, who attached himself to the neck of a headless human known as a Rykor, controlling it by means of a spinal attachment; the Kaldanes could detach and scuttle into small spaces.  Tara enchanted the Kaldane named Ghek with her singing, and he helped her and Gahan through many troubles.

41.  GREAT WHITE APE:  Twelve-foot, six-armed denizens of deserted, ancient cities of the dead sea bottoms, these monsters resembled nothing more than earthly gorillas, but for a huge shock of hair upon their heads. Carnivorous, vicious and extremely strong, to meet a White Ape was to face extreme danger or death.

42.  WILD BANTH:  The giant wild 10-legged lion of the wild wastes of Barsoom, these 1000-pound night hunters could be upon the unwary in a moment, and make short work of their prey with their three rows of needle-sharp fangs.

43.  HORMAD:  One of the most dangerous creations of Ras Thavas, these synthetic people grew in vats by the million, intended to overrun the entire planet.  Dismemberment merely slowed them down; burning was the only sure way to kill them.

44.  BATTLESHIP Jedwar:  The more advanced nations possessed navies of huge ships, some of which exceeded 600 feet in length and carried more than 2000 men.  Defying gravity by use of the 8th ray, they floated majestically in great fleets at their Jeddaks' bidding.

45.  CRUISER:  A slightly smaller ship of the line of the great navies of Barsoom, carrying perhaps 1200 men.  Not as large as the battleships, they were still able to do great harm with their huge guns.

46.  SCOUTSHIP:  The great ships, small outposts and city forces were equipped with many of these smaller 10-man aircraft, or Fliers, able to carry small groups on patrols and long-range, high-speed forays.

47.  SITH:  A gigantic, scorpion-tailed hornet of the Kaolian marsh, the size of a Hereford bull.

48.  APT:  A huge, centauroid monster of the frozen wastes of Barsoom. Their heads are shaped much like a hippo's with two large patches of multi-faceted eyes, from which project two large tusks.  Their torsos are humanoid and they walk on four stocky legs; they are covered with white fur and are highly carnivorous.

49.  MYSTERIOUS PRINCESS:  No one knows where she came from, or how she got here, but everyone wants her.


l.  Either player goes first, by mutual agreement.
2.  TO WIN: 
   A. Capture all enemy royal females--Jeddara, Jedda(s), and Princess Tara
   B. Any Jeddara or Jedda to cross the board wins
   C. Capture all enemy males
3.  PROMOTION:  Any female to reach the opponent's back row may be replaced at that point with any lost piece, according to her promotion ability as listed in her piece description.  She returns to her original starting position on the board, or as close behind it as possible if that space is occupied.
4.  SLAVES may only be captured by armed pieces of their own gender.
5.  ASSASSINS do not capture unarmed opponents, or females, armed or not.
6.  ESCORT:  Any female may be escorted by any armed companion of either gender, if she begins the move behind, beside or before the escorting piece. If the escorted piece is armed, she too may capture at the end of the move, and must land in the same position relative to the escort as at the beginning of the move.
7.  RAPID DEPLOYMENT:  (OPTIONAL)  Any unbroken rank may advance one rank forward as a normal turn, whether it is in its original configuration of  pieces or not.  If any particular piece in the rank is blocked from forward movement, it does not move.
 8:  SQUAD MOVE  Any fighting piece may institute a squad move, wherein it takes along with it up to three other lower-ranking pieces than itself from within four adjacent squares, within one of which it sits.  The escorted pieces must land in the same relative position to the leader, and may make concurrent captures if they land on enemy-occupied squares.
9.  The CHARGE:  (OPTIONAL) When a player has no fewer than six of his men within one move of direct threat position, he may call a "Charge", wherein he may move one of his pieces from each of his twelve rows.
Immobilization by the charming, unarmed females does NOT include the following pieces:
1. APT ~  2.  ASSASSIN ~ 3.  WILD BANTH ~  4.  CHIEFTAIN  ~  5.  GREAT WHITE APE  ~  6.  JEDDAK  ~ 7.  BATTLESHIP  ~  8.  RAS THAVAS  ~  9.  SCOUTSHIP  ~ 10. SITH  ~ 11. THARK SOLA  ~ 12. CRUISER  ~ 13. THARK TARS TARKAS  ~ 14. ZITIDAR  15. HORMAD ~ 16. WARLORD  . . . or any other Female

1.  Jeddak - 1
2.  Jeddara  - 2
3.  Jed - 2
4 . Jedda - 2
5.  U. Consort - 2
6.  A. Consort - 2
7.  Tha - 2
     Tavia - 2
     Pantha - 4
8.  Thark - 2
9.  Jedwar - 2
10. Odwar - 2
11. Teedwar - 2
12. Dwar - 2
13. Calot - 2
14. Padwar - 2
15. Thoat - 2
16. Than - 2
17. Panthan - 8
18. Assassin - 2
19. F. Slave - 1
20. M. Slave - 1

48 x 2 = 96 Pieces

The Jetan-Sarang Board

The Chess Variants Site

The blue and red icon displayed above include other new ERB characters and creatures
which will be used in two more new and even larger Jetan variants --
Jetan-Jeddara, on a 12 x l6 or l8 playing field, and
Warlord Jetan, on a 20 x 20, both still being developed.
Capture both the enemy Jeddara and Jedda 
or Jedda and Tara
Any Jedda  or Jeddara to cross the board wins
If all males are captured game is lost

Thuvia and her Banth

James Killian Spratt At Work In His Studio
Thuvia and her Banth

ERBzine Presents:
James Killian Spratt
Master Sculptor and ERB Artist

ERBzine 1148: Jetan Artist 
Master Sculptor I
ERBzine 1149: Jetan Artist 
Master Sculptor II
ERBzine 1147: Jetan-Sarang
Photos ~ Sketches ~ Moves
ERBzine 1301: Contents
ERB's A Princess of Mars Illustrated

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