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, 20 March 2013

Separate weapon packs

We are now able to offer separate weapon packs, £3 for three sprues of three weapons and the code is SMA-01

Thank you

Monday, 11 March 2013

The City Martians and their ways.

The City Martians were left after their brethren took for the mountain ranges away from the canal networks. Staying around the canals that were once the lifeblood of the planet they have built new towns and cities, rebuilt a part of the canal network and have established many trading ports from the aftermath of the great storm. There are still plenty storms on Mars and Martian architecture reflects this as the buildings are steeply sloped and relatively low to minimise the damage from such storms.

The City Martians have also developed unique ways of farming in the thin soil. Angled screen protectors cover the plant beds and an underground irrigation system allows moisture to extend beyond the normal boundaries that exposed water would allow. The plants that grow in these farms are robust but do lack a certain amount of nutrition. The extra nutrition needed is gathered from algae that grow in the canals and is surprisingly quite tasty and has become a popular delicacy with the human visitors. Several types of beasts burden are reared to help with heavy hauling and also they can be slaughtered to provide a dietary change. There are also various types of fungi found in the caves of the canyons but this is in the claimed territory of the Sky Martians so as a resource it is generally left alone unless the need is great.

Each city is run by a council in similar ways to the Sky Martians, made from the elder members of the families that live in the cities. Differing to the Sky Martians in the fact that the males take the physical roles of the day to day happenings in the cities and the females look after the ever growing families in communal groups. Trade is important to the City Martians and some of the merchant families have become quite powerful in the running of the towns and cities with some families having complete control. This works up to a point until greed takes over common sense which is becoming more apparent now the humans have arrived: the City Martians taking as much advantage as possible with the new opportunities. There are two types of merchant family in City Martian society; the travellers and the dwellers. The travellers use the trade routes along the canals between cities and the dwellers stay in a local area, distributing trade goods etc.

As mentioned before the vast majority of the City Martian settlements are next to the canals, enabling quick and reliable trade: although on some of the longer routes waystations have been built with limited defences to protect from the Sky Martian raids. Long caravans of travellers sometimes spend weeks or even months on the routes travelling from town to town, city to city gathering news and new items to sell along the way. The caravans are usually composed of several different merchant families and their guards. Each family has at least two wagons if not more, one for the family and the rest for the merchandise. The guards sleep under the wagons or in a small wagon provided by the richer merchants. The journeys are normally a leisurely affair, weather permitting, and enjoyment is had from travelling rather from the crowded cities.

With the advent of increased Sky Martian hostilities the City Martians are starting to fortify their cities and develop a permanent military presence in almost every settlement. Rudimentary firearms have been constructed similar to human jezzails but using compressed gas as a propellant which is found deep in some of the canyon caves issuing from geysers. A small tank of the gas is kept on the back of the Martian trooper and a simple lever system is utilised for the firing of the projectile, usually in the form of a lead bullet. Obviously, compressed gas is not the best firearm propellant but it suffices if used in large numbers. The other typical weapon of the City Martians is the pike, very similar to the human weapon that was in use a couple of centuries ago. Used en masse against the descending Sky Martians seems to working but for how long. The most important merchant families are looking ever more to the human presence for weaponry to use against the Sky Martians but it comes at a high price with the humans demanding ten times what it is actually worth...

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Sky Martian enclave

As we've mentioned before, the Sky Martians tend to live in the canyons of Mars, using the winds that funnel down to get their skiffs quickly to the target.

The enclaves are generally high up on the canyon sides buried deep in the fissures of the cliff faces. Platforms allow the skiffs to load and offload Martians and their spoils, normal cargo, emissaries etc. The entrances to the enclaves are small to prevent them being over run. Some even have small mounted harpoon guns and rudimentary ballistas for defence around the platforms in case of a rival attack.

For our enclave I needed to get some height and also give an impression of a different type of rock that we have used before (cork bark) so I went with insulation or blue foam. It's light and easily carved and I had a lot lying around to use for this project.

The first picture shows the blue foam in its unpainted form. The layers were hot glued together and then I went about hacking into it with my Japanese saw (probably the best tool for this). I tried to keep the hacking at a constant couple of angles so it didn't look too chaotic.

It was then plastered in a mix of wall filler, small gravel and textured paint just pasted all over but taking care not to let it collect and disguise the texture from the saw. I then coated it in a matt brown spray making sure that there was no exposed foam and left it to dry.

The painting was quite simple, some heavy drybrushing in ever lightning shades of yellow ochre and some washes of various greens and browns to help break up the monotony. Some wind shaded areas had small amounts of sand applied and this was painted red and drybrushed the same way and then a few small plants were placed here and there to also help break it up (it is quite a large peice).

The platforms needed to have a ramshackle but sturdy appearance and so I started with the frame work, using natural clefts in the cliff face to position the skewers at various level and supporting angles. The planking was given a texture on the top and cut out by hand but keeping steady so there is an element of regularity but not that it looks factory made. The upper supports we're placed randomly but bearing in mind that they would be load bearing. Cotton thread was used to attach the upper supports and the level ones giving the appearance of stability.

The platforms were painted with a light brown (the colour for most of out Martian wood so far) then washed and drybrushed the normal way, picking out the thread in white.

The two entrances were given protective tarpaulins above them which was cloth soaked in pva to give some rigidity.

Overall a pleasing result and it will soon appear in our games as we have a small campaign in mind but more on that later.

Onto the pictures :-)