Mars is dying...

Mars is dying...

Not through fault or neglect or wicked reason, not even because of the Gods; though some would say this is so. Mars is dying because it is old.

For time beyond count, our world has floated with the orb of the sun god, basking in the everwarmth that it provides, the Martian brothers sailing around giving constant company.

The Ancients warned the death of Mars might be so. Long, long ago; before the Storm. It is said the Storm lasted for an age or more: I for one, do not believe this to be true even though the clan elders warn me against foolish words.

There are still some Ancient writings in the deep deserts for those who wish to learn and are willing to brave sandstorms and the creatures that live there. Most of our knowledge from before the Storm comes from stories told around the clan fires, told again and again, embellished ever so lightly with each clan teller so who knows what is true and what is not.

With each storm season, the Ancient houses and temples disappear and reappear so fast that is easy to loose them completely, Gods know how large their cites were or what final secrets they contain. Three whole clans have been lost searching for the chief city with no sign or call from them these long years past.

But now we have new troubles and concerns. The Earthers have come to Mars: to steal and pillage what they can and to take it away to their blue world. Curse them to the Gods! They have no right, no honour and no need to be here. Like parasites they come here destroying whatever they touch and leaving mayhem in their wake.

They must be sent back across the sky ocean to their blue world.

They must be stopped.

It must happen now!

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

The Japanese Army on Mars

The Japanese were the first to arrive on Mars following their successful implementation and improvement of aether technology gained from an undiscloased source. Shortly after them, the British landed and started their expansion and alliance with the Japanese.

New Victoria for many is the principle human city on Mars but the Japanese have also established their own enclave of Shin Kyoto. Simpler in form than New Victoria it has taken the shape of Martian sand banks with ramparts behind and a simple dry moat to the front. Various gun embrasures are dotted along the circumference and these are of various calibers; placed because of the Sky Martian threat. This threat appears to be less than the threat on New Victoria, possibly because of the more understated size of Shin-Kyoto.

The main advantage Japan has over the other nations is their large and expanding aeroneff fleet and the support to go with them. Various designs of neff are in the Japanese fleet including, but not limited to, armoured gunboats, torpedo cutters, destroyers and larger armoured corvettes. Many smaller support craft have also been constructed on Mars in recent months allowing Japanese expeditions to range further and further.

The first soldiers to arrive were from the recently formed Imperial Guard but these were soon added to by conscript forces from 1873 onwards. At this moment in time there are two full regiments on Mars to date with five cavalry squadrons and an artillery regiment with various engineers, medics etc. More soldiers are due in the next supply run from earth to help bolster Japanese interests.

The more recent arrivals from earth have been issued with summer uniforms; basically white made from a lighter material to help with the high temperatures experienced on Mars. Quite often, earlier and later units will be mixed together on expeditions and also more recent supply runs have meant that some units are having to wear a mix of winter and summer uniforms so the army can be quite a colourful affair. The Japanese high command are also looking at khaki uniforms but nothing much has been done about this as of yet.

The Japanese cavalry are looking to use the local Martian mounts, as getting remounts from Earth is a long process. Training these larger beasts is proving to be problematic at best as they are temperamental towards humans, the reason is yet to be ascertained. Special saddles are being designed due to the nature of the Martian mounts skeletal structure but should prove efficient when complete. Using the Martian mounts will help enormously with long range patrols as they are perfectly suited for the Martian terrain and weather.

The Japanese engineers have managed to set up a good armoury and foundry and are already starting to produce ordinance and artillery on Mars although raw metals in the vicinity of Shin Kyoto are scarce. This scarcity means that patrols deep into Sky Martian territory are becoming a necessity and large, armoured convoys are becoming a common sight on Mars.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

The Abandoned Supply Depot AAR

A small scouting force of Japanese had been dropped of by a passing Great Martian Railway express train in the hope of finding out the situation regarding the supply depot.

The Japanese advanced into the compound to assess the situation but to the surprise of the commander there was what appeared to be the Princess Imperial in amongst the City Martian animal pens.

It however turned out to be a trap as a mix of unruly looking individuals were seen moving through cover towards the compound.

The band of 'ruffians' started to approach the compound firing their weapons whilst the Japanese took cover behind the barricades. The Japanese commander, being mounted, manoeuvred his horse outside the protection of the compound in an attempt to out flank the attackers.

Unfortunately, a Sky Martian in the service of earth got into the compound and proved too mighty an opponent for the defenders allowing more of the, what can only be assumed, GMTC to approach the compound and press the attack.

With the Japanese commander down, the head ninja Igo Yugo missing, presumed dead and the compound breached it was time for the Japanese to withdraw with what survivors they could muster and attempt to return to New Victoria and report back.

 The below photograph is the last known image taken of Igo Yugo, his whereabouts are still unknown; along with the fate of the Princess Imperial...

Diary of Archibald Harris-Hampton...

It would seem that this Great Martian Trading Company are going to great lengths to disrupt the status quo on Mars. What nefarious purposes do they have in mind and what will be the outcome of these seemingly random events.

Only  time will tell...

Game was played using Wiley Games Galactic Heroes and Tales of Horror rules with suitable VSF alterations by us. Available from HERE

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

The Abandoned Supply Depot - A Red Planet Adventure

North West Frontier, Mars, 28th October 1891. The Offices of the London Illustrated News Overseas Reporting Team.

Aether Correspondent, Archibald Harris-Hampton reporting on a surprising development along the New Victoria main branch line.

Unconfirmed reports of the lack of contact from one of the Japanese supply depots meant a small expedition was sent out to investigate; and either confirm or deny the rumours...

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Some generic Martian terrain

I have been working on some new terrain to fight over in our expanding Mars campaign. Just some simple mesa and a low level railway.

The mesa are quite simple builds. I started off by cutting up cork bark to the right sort of shape and filling in the small gaps with scraps and sticking the whole lot on a hardboard base. Ready mixed wall filler was applied to the bases and tops of the mesa to fill any remaining gaps and create a slightly uneven surface. Sand was applied to all the top surfaces of the mesa and base and once this was dry the whole thing was given a wash of watered down Windsor and Newton burnt sienna ink. After a day or so, I worked up through the Foundry ochre triad to get the desired reddish hue. This is the same process as shown for the temple earlier and pretty much for most of the Mars terrain.

The next bit of terrain was a low level railway (saves getting the viaduct out all the time). A very simple build which consists of a hardboard base, 5mm foamboard on top cut with a slight chamfer and then filler and sand applied on top but being careful to avoid the sleepers that are stuck on the foamboard. Same colours as before and a bit of ‘dry’ grass tufting here and there. I have a jig to lay the rails down and the rails are simple 'i' beam styrene extrusion that don't even need painting please excuse the feet in slippers).

I also got a small, simple derrick completed to add a bit of a different type of scatter terrain. After looking at some suitable railway model photos online the construction was begun with a simple balsa frame and mechanism. The arm of the crane also rotates. The balsa was given a watered down ink wash and brought up again with some subtle drybrushing. The base was completed in the usual way.

There will be some more terrain for Martians at some point in the near future so watch this space.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Martian Burial Sites and Rituals. Part Two

Following recent expeditions into the areas around New Victoria and the discovery of new tombs that have recently been uncovered by storms, we can now continue the treatise on Martian burial rituals.

As we have previously discovered, the City Martians have rites and burials not unsimilar to ancient Egyptian practises. A recent expedition into one of the sealed tombs has allowed a more detailed study of the interiors. Each generation has a ‘level’ of the tomb with the oldest one being the first and newer ones interred further underground; why this is the case has not yet been ascertained.

The layout of a ‘typical’ level of a tomb consists of a main chamber and several side chambers. The main chamber usually contains another processional way of columns that help to support the ceiling/roof above leading to what we are calling a ‘generational alter’. This alter would appear to be the repository for the deceased possessions that were included with the funeral although none have been entered to confirm this. The side chambers contain the sepulchres of the family members, usually plain and unadorned unless that particular family member had achieved something of note for the clan.

There are usually several side chambers per level containing a generations worth of the dead numbering around ten to twelve. Females are interred on the left and males on the right with one per chamber running parallel to the processional way. Ebenezer Von Stypher-Dyke is currently researching this and we hope to gain some answers from him in the near future.

Steps down to the next level are behind the generational alter and are wide enough to allow the procession to proceed unhindered. The steps sweep round so the next level is underneath the one above and this 'switchback' method continues down and down throughout the generations. New chambers and levels are cut out of the bedrock when the last member of the last generation has passed over. Sand from the surface is spread over the floor of the chambers and the most amazing thing is the use of glowing gems in the ceilings which when torches and electric lights are extinguished the chamber gives the impression of being out in the open at night. It's most breathtaking.

Although of course to our knowledge none of the gems have been taken, their use would prove most useful as they appear to be permanently alight but where they are found has yet to be discovered and the City Martians which we have good contact with are reticent to tell us where the are located.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

A small Martian burial mesa

As mentioned in an earlier text, if a Martian family are too far away from a burial vale then they will make do with a lonely mesa for their tomb.

This project concentrates on one of the smaller of such tombs near New Victoria.

A suitable sized base was picked out and the main 'core' was roughed out with large cork bark pieces. An open entrance way was left at the 'front' to act as the entrance to the tomb. This would be covered by carved blue foam.

Some columns (soon to be released) were added to the front with one collapsed and were sprayed dark brown prior to the rest to ease painting.

Once the form was complete the small gaps were filled in with cork off cuts and glued in place. Also, the surrounding levels were added with normal filler and the whole lot was left to dry.

The front of the tomb was made from blue foam and was distressed with small rocks to give it a aged, worn appearance. Also, there were clan/family markings 'drawn' on the foam with a ball point pen. This was then coated with wood glue to help seal it before painting could begin.

The top surfaces of the temple were covered in sand and also the base was given a coating and again, this was left to dry.

Once dry he same colours were used on the cork as before and the carved stone work and columns used the same method as the Sky Martian enclave and the sand was the same as on all the terrain and figure bases. All that is left is to use it in game...

Thanks for reading :-)

Monday, 12 November 2018

The Temple Raid Part Two AAR

With the Germans recently setting up camp near the temple the Independents start to explore the environs of the temple proper.

Whilst busy in their encampment the Germans failed to notice a small Japanese force approaching from the south.

The Japanese manage to ascend to the top of the temple but are met with heavy fire from the German walkers and machine guns.

The Japanese walker suffers a critical hit and the crew have to evacuate. Meanwhile, the remaining Japanese troops are whittled down and again they have to retreat.

Unbeknownst to the Germans, the Japanese attack was a diversion as another entrance to the temple was found a short distance away and a small group of Japanese elite troops has entered in a bid to find what's there before the enemy do...

Diary of Archibald Harris-Hampton...

My thoughts regarding the current situation on Mars are mixed. Love for ones homeland is paramount but I can see the Japanese struggling and it would seem they only want to do what's best for all the powers on Mars...

Game was played using the Rifles and Spears variant of M+T with suitable VSF alterations by us. Thanks to Happy Wanderer!