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!

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!

Sunday, 11 November 2018

The Temple Raid Part Two - A Red Planet Adventure

North West Frontier, Mars, 9th October 1891. The Offices of the London Illustrated News Overseas Reporting Team.

Aether Correspondent, Archibald Harris-Hampton reporting again from Mars this time concerning the continued desecration of a local City Martian temple.

The last time we reported, a Japanese force attempted to stop a joint force of Germans and what we can now reveal as the mysterious forces that have been causing so much trouble recently; the Great Martian Trading Company, also known as the GMTC for short. Led by, we believe, Allan Farquarson that famed British ex-serviceman.

What he can be doing with the GMTC god alone knows but you can be sure we at the London Illustrated News will endeavour to find out.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

The Temple Raid Part One AAR

The Japanese, Germans and (what is now becoming clear) and independent force backed up by Sky Martians all converge on the newly discovered temple hoping to be the first inside to discover the secrets contained within.

The Germans came prepared though with three, as of yet, unseen walkers of immense size and they started to take a heavy toll on the smaller Japanese force.

The Japanese cavalry tried to sweep round the flank but came up against a ferocious counter attack by the Sky Martians.

The Japanese take a serious beating and with the Germans and Independents moving ever closer they decide to retire to minimise anymore losses.

Diary of Archibald Harris-Hampton...

With the Japanese in retreat the Germans and their allies set up camp and start to explore the temple. What wonders will they discover in it's dark depths...

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

Saturday, 3 November 2018

The Temple Raid Part One - A Red Planet Adventure

North West Frontier, Mars, 5th October 1891. The Offices of the London Illustrated News Overseas Reporting Team.

Aether Correspondent, Archibald Harris-Hampton reporting from Mars. A new City Martian temple has been found in the desert to the south of  New Victoria

It would seem that there have been reports of something in the temple that could be of great benefit to whomever discovers it....

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

The Weather of Mars

Mars was understood to be a ‘wet’ planet much like the Earth; at one point in its history. We are now starting to learn that a great cataclysm occurred and changed the face of Mars forever. 

It would be folly to speculate on the cause of the disaster without further learning from the Martians themselves but the subject seems to be a sensitive one and only Ebenezer Von Stypherdyk is close enough to the Martian elders to gain anything useful at this point. 

So, this being the case, let us discuss the current Martian weather systems. 

Mars is a mainly desert planet and is buffeted by high winds and regular sand storms, the harshest of which can last for days, if not weeks. As the vast majority of Mars is yet to be explored properly it is unknown whether the storms are planet wide but reports from the observatories on Earth seem to indicate that this might be the case. 

The majority of the sand on Mars is quite a heavy grain and so shouldn’t move around as much as the sand on Earth but with the ferocity and length of the storms there can be a risk of smaller settlements becoming buried. Indeed, there are rumours of large and ancient Martian city buried in the deep deserts and an expedition to discover this city has been muted by various powers. 

Of course, the wind does play a large role in several of the Martians transportation systems. Two trade winds have been identified so far and the City Martians use these to ply their wares between cities. The Sky Martian menace also use the winds to great effect when they mount their airborne skiffs and wreak havoc on the unsuspecting. Not all winds carry sand with them as some of the winds seem to keep high in the sky and not trouble the surface. The trade winds however do reach close to the ground and although they are not very strong they are steady and regular. 

Mars has seasons not dissimilar to those on earth but there is less of a variation in temperature and of course much less rainfall. It is understood that there are polar icecaps to the north and south and these are thought to keep the weather systems moving given that there are no large bodies of water on the surface. 

One strange fact to note is that the seasons on Mars last twice as long as they do on Earth, mainly because of the rotation of Mars around the sun takes almost two Earth years. This has proved a problem for the propagation and growing of Earth crops so regular supply runs are a necessary until such time as reliable crop yields can be substantiated. 

The Royal Meteorological Society are reported to be sending a team to Mars in the near future to study the weather more closely and getting a fuller understanding. They will be joining the Royal Interplanetary Society and the Royal Geographical Society in the university buildings in New Victoria.  

Once new information comes to light there will new reports on the matter. 

Saturday, 27 October 2018

The Battle of Edward Halt AAR

Edward Halt is a small forward base and is currently undergoing expansion. The Japanese military were there a day or so early to see that the area was secure before the main construction gangs arrived to start work proper.

With the Japanese distracted, a small force of Sky Martians and Earthers sneak up through the niik grass.

Rushing on the Japanese defences and attacking in force the Japanese soon become outnumbered as another group of Sky Martians attack from the west.

Once again, some mysterious mechanical suits appear on the fringe of the fight but this time don't seem to take part. Maybe they were just watching the outcome?

The Japanese slowly become over run and the train with supplies and a few reinforcements is attacked before it gets a chance to pull in at the Halt.

The Japanese suit tries to make a valiant stand but becomes a casualty of the fierce Sky Martian attack.

The Japanese make a last stand in the compound but even with the help of their loyal Aak Naks it is to no avail as the Sky Martians slaughter everyone before making off. Only the train manages to slowly pull away and make it's long journey back to New Victoria to report on the disaster.

Again, no real intelligence on the mysterious watchers. Maybe they will show their true colours soon enough...

Diary of Archibald Harris-Hampton...

The Japanese are finding life on Mars a tough prospect at the moment with their allies relatively unscathed. It is my belief that there is something bigger going on that will surely become apparent in time...

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