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!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Softlove's Drift

Softlove woke abruptly to the racket of men running and shouting; as he gathered his wits he could here Ruffbrute’s voice rising above the clamour, “Stand to my lovelies, c’mon, up and at ‘em”. He rose quickly, shook the sand from his uniform and drew his service revolver. “Right then” he thought to himself “lets see what’s going on in paradise today.”
Softlove’s Drift 

It had been three long, hot days since Softlove had been rescued. He was now in the unenviable position of commanding of a rag tag column of soldiers and civilians that he and his men had rescued along the way to New Victoria.  A column that consisted of regulars and friendly Martians, as well as settlers and civilian officials, a column that was low on food, water, ammunition and most anything else they needed. 

The previous day a light scout ship had landed after spotting the column and its captain; Lt A A Milne RN, had spoken to Softlove.  Lt. Milne explained that the Martian attack was much more widespread than was initially thought, with many of the smaller settlements coming under attack at the same time as the city.  He and his crew were picking up as many people as they could, and dropping supplies where necessary; especially to the die-hard settlers were refusing to give up their farmsteads. Milne had also reported that a bad sandstorm was approaching and suggested Softlove lead his column to a nearby abandoned farm so they could let it pass. In the meantime he would take back the most seriously wounded and arrange for one or more of the larger aeroneffs to rendezvous with the column at the farm and take it back to the safety of New Victoria.

The sandstorm had been truly awful; the worst Softlove had ever experience on Mars.  He had just managed to get the column to the farm when it hit, throwing everything into disarray; the few pack animals they had were lost and it was impossible to post sentries for fear of losing them.  The column had just hunkered down where it stood, making use of the little protection afforded by the farm buildings. 

The storm raged throughout the night and it was dawn before the column was able to get any respite from the bighting winds and stinging sand; but while dawn may have brought respite from the storm, it brought with it an even greater danger, Martians!
Ruffbrute had been awake for most of the night, he and Cpl. Bloward had been struggling with the wagon covers that protected what little remaining rations and water they had from the storm.  Now, as he and Blowhard sat atop the wagon sharing some sausage, he caught sight of a Martian warband moving rapidly towards the farmstead.  He turned to Bloward calmly telling him, “OK lad, get your bugle and sound the alarm, ‘ere we go again.”

Medical orderly William Tickel tends to Private Partts

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Red Planet Adventures - The Search for Softlove AAR

A Dr Death production, starring

Malamute as Captain Sebastian Softlove

And Jimbibbly as Sergeant Rawley Ruffbrute

The game was played on a 6 x 4 table using a mix of figures from Perry Miniatures and Red Planet Miniatures.  We used a set of home grown skirmish rules, inventively entitled Red Planet Adventures, which use simple mechanisms as lots of d10s.  No doubt they will appear as a free download somewhere 'Soon'TM once they're sufficiently tweaked.

Terrain was laid out as below, with Ruffbrute and his men entering in the centre of the short edge on the far right.  There were 24 markers placed randomly around the board numbered 1 - 24 underneath.  As Ruffbrute and his men searched these revealed various items and characters, as well as additional troops to swell the search party and Martians to trim it down .  Marker number 1 was Softlove himself.  The whole game lasted a couple of hours.

Ruffbrute and his men pose for the obligatory press photo

Before setting off to find Softlove

Ruffbrute decides to split his forces to speed up the search and details off Aak-Nak Fish (Martian Askari) and some of the Camel Corps troopers

Who promptly discover a group of Martians

Who charge into contact (the Martian reactions were determined by dice roll, and varied from Ambush to Flee)

After some vicious fighting the Martians are repulsed but not not before Fish takes a nasty wound that slows him for the rest of the game and requires him to be assisted by one of the troopers

Meanwhile Ruffbrute has discovered some soldiers returning to the city and dispatches them to investigate a cave in the nearby mesa.  Unfortunately for brave lads the cave turns out to be full of Martians who have been sheltering from the sandstorm.

A short and very bloody melee ensues

With fatal results for all the redcoats involved

Unaware of the carnage behind him, Ruffbrute presses forward, picking up another straggler from the Camel Corps

then running into more Martians sheltering in the lee of a large rock who are quickly dispatched

Aak-Nak Fish, supported by one of his men, presses forward on the left flank adding more and more stragglers to his section

Ruffbrute's advance is watched from a distance 

But as he and his men approach a crashed Martian skiff another group of stragglers break cover and engage the Martians

Aak-Nak Fish and his men come to the aid of Professor Artemis E'ffakt, Professor of Ancient Studies, University of Cairo, (Art to his close friends) who they find hiding amongst the martian thornbush.

And just as Ruffbrute is starting to lose hope, he notices a red coated figure ahead in the thorn bush.  

"Captain Softlove Sir, pleased to be finding you in good 'ealth Sir.  If you care to be comin' along with us, there's a good chance we can 'ave you back in town in time for tiffin."

At this point the game ends but Ruffbrute and Softlove will return...

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Red Planet Adventures

Being the Continuing Tales of Adventures of various Dramatis Personae on the Red Planet:

'Sergeant Rawley Ruffbrute looked over the canal to the Martian plain beyond. As he surveyed the remnants of yesterday’s battle, he cursed his luck and mumbled to himself, “‘Ere we go again”.

Ruffbrute was Captain Sebastian Softlove’s orderly and had been since the young officer joined the Prince’s Own Regiment at the start of the Martian campaign some five years earlier.  He’d grown to like him too; Softlove was a decent officer who knew how to soldier, was fair to the men and wasn’t afraid to lead from the front. 

Softlove was providing an escort to reporters of the Illustrated London News when the Sky Martians attacked New Victoria, but now he was missing in action and feared dead.  One of the reporters, Harry Wallop, had reported seeing Softlove and his men overwhelmed by the Raas-Taa-Faari tribe as they defended the vehicles carrying the pressmen.  The fight had been vicious and bloody, and Wallop was convinced that The Prince’s Own had been slaughtered to a man.

At the time of the attack Ruffbrute had been leading an independent patrol and wasn’t with his captain when he fell, a fact that had been preying on his mind.  If he’d been with Softlove at the time things may have turned out differently.  He needed to be certain that Softlove wasn’t still alive, he couldn’t leave his friend out there wounded and at the mercy of the heathen Martians.

However Ruffbrute’s desire to find his captain was not solely out of a sense of loyalty, he had another reason too; money.  A few days prior to the battle, Softlove had spoken to him about an opportunity for them both to become wealthy men. Whilst entertaining Everelda Dyke, one of New Victoria's debutantes and niece of the renowned Professor von Stypher Dyke, Softlove learned of how her brother Everard had discovered a valley full of Martian tombs. By the end of an enjoyable but very exhausting evening, the captain had all the information he needed to mount a small expedition to the valley.  Unfortunately for Ruffbrute he had none of the details, they were all still in Softlove's head; if he was to become a rich man he had to find his captain alive. 

Ruffbrute shouldered his rifle, turned to the ragtag group of men at his side and said "C'mon lads, let's get to it." '

Sergeant Rawly Ruffbrute:

Captain Sebastian Softlove: