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!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Softlove’s Survey: The Maligned Influence of Colonel Richard Fitzherwel

“What the hell was Softlove doing there in the first place?” roared Fitzwell. “I’ll have his bloody commission for this”. Colonel Richard Fitzwell, commander of the Prince’s Own, was on the verge of apoplexy; and the young subaltern who had just delivered the news was considering bolting for the door before the Colonel drew his revolver.  The Colonel was furious that Captain Sebastian Softlove had dared to returned from the Martian wastes ahead of his men. "It's a bloody outrage I tell you! Bad enough being rescued by the Japanese Navy in the first place, but leaving men behind! Unthinkable! What will they think of the Prince's Own at Horse Guards now".  

Colonel Richard 'Dick' Fitzherwel was an old school soldier, duty before all and be damned of the consequences. One of his uncles had died at Gandamak with the 44th and another had been blown to pieces charging the guns at Balaclava; his older brother had perished with Gordon at Khartoum. He came from an ever dwindling family of military martyrs and Softlove's conduct was an anathema to him. He was determined to remove the Captain to somewhere where he couldn't discredit the regiment further and two days later an ideal opportunity presented itself, courtesy of the Japanese Ambassador.

Softlove and Ruffbrute pushed through the thronging midday crowds of New Victoria, wending their way through the packed streets towards the Victoria Barracks.  Earlier that morning Softlove had been requested to present himself at the Regimental HQ to receive new orders.  Jackson, the ADC who delivered the message, didn't give any details but explained that "it was best the Captain wasn't late on account of the Colonel looking for any excuse to flog him".  Softlove wasn't looking forward to the meeting, he'd managed to avoid the Colonel since he'd got back and he had hoped the whole affair would blow over.  He'd fallen foul of his commanding officer once before and it was a very disquieting experience; fortunately the Padre's daughter was a shrewd young lady and without any solid evidence the Colonel had to let the matter drop, but this time he'd doubted he'd be so lucky.

"Ah, Captain, 'bout time" grumbled Fitzherwel as Softlove and Ruffbrute wheeled into the Colonels office and presented at attention. "I'll not beat about the bush Softlove, I don't like you. I'd have you shot myself for dereliction of duty but Horse Guards won't let me, apparently we've a shortage of officers on Mars. So I'm going to do the next best thing." He half smiled, half grimaced as he imagined the possible horrors that could befall the unfortunate Captain. "Those damn fool Japanese have a mind to go digging around in the sand looking for some Martian Atlantis or other such nonsense and their embassy think it politic that it's a joint endeavour".  He paused and looked Softlove and Ruffbrute up and down, then continued.  "I don't hold with it myself 'cause it aint real soldiering, but we need to show willing for the politicals." He paused again for effect. "Pack your kit Captain, you're off into the desert where you can't do the Regiment any more harm; and if God is willing you'll not come back. Dismissed."

Softlove and his sergeant stepped out of the Barracks into the bright Martian sunlight, and as Ruffbrute paused to adjust his pith helmet he thought to himself, "'ere we go again.”

Friday, 20 June 2014

Softlove's Drift AAR:

A Dr Death production, starring Malamute as Captain Sebastian Softlove and Jimbibbly as Sergeant Rawley Ruffbrute

The game was played on a 4 x 4 board with the abandoned farm in the centre.  All three players played earthers, with the martians following a simple 'arrive and attack the nearest earthers' rule.

Martian arrivals: There were 8 entry points, two on each edge. At the start of each turn 4 cards were drawn from a standard deck of playing cards, with a heart indicating Martians 2-10 + 8 figures, A,J,Q,K = 16 figures. More of which later . . .  

Forces involved: 2 units of The Prince's Own (10 figures each), 1 unit of The Camel Corp (10 figures) A detachment of Imperial Japanese (5 figs), the medicals and commissariat (5 figures) and some civilians (5 figures)
There was no limit to the number of martians available, cards drawn from the deck were discarded to be reshuffled once the deck had been exhausted

Game length: A d10 was rolled at the end of each turn and a cumulative total kept.  When the total reached 35 or more the aeroneff arrived to rescue the survivors. Once in place over the farm 2d10 were rolled each turn and a total kept, a total of 30+ indicating all survivors were aboard and the game complete.

And now to the pictures:

Table layout from above with numbers showing the 8 entry points:

William Tickel tends to Private Partts

The troops stand to

Improvised defences: the medical wagon is used to block one of the openings

The Camel Corps troopers prepare to defend the animal pens

While Softlove commands the troops overlooking the crop field

The first of the Martian units attack, probing Softlove's defensive ring but are easily repulsed by the withering fire of the Prince's Own

A second unit attempts a similar attack but us also repulsed

A third Martian unit attacks from the South

However it transpires that these initial attacks are only to test for a weakness in the defence. Which they find and then launch a massed attack (or in real terms, the start of turn cards include the 5, 8 and Q of Hearts for a total of 32 Martians, and Bibbly manages to roll 4 sixes so they all arrive in the same place!!)

The assault begins

The main force charges the wagon barricade which is now defended by the Camel Corp troopers

While a smaller group attacks Ruffbrute's position

The fighting is bloody and desperate 

But help is in sight. As the assaulting wave of Martians hits the barricades the rescue party comes into view

The Martians start to break through

But the neff is now over the farm and loading passengers

With the ship full to capacity, the captain gives the order to return to New Victoria, leaving those unable to be carried to continue the fight with the Martians

The game finished at this point, with all the civilians and notable individuals aboard it was deemed a success for the Earthers.  Not sure the unfortunate souls left behind to continue the fight would agree though...

Will Softlove's return be hailed or renounced, stay tured to find out.

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:

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Mars lift

With Cavorite being discovered a couple of decades ago and it's implementation in the use of flying vessels; enabling the crossing of continents and oceans faster than ever before, the next thought was expansion into the Aether and the Solar System.

Initial tests by the Great Powers (each having gained the knowledge through nefarious means or otherwise) proved to be very successful and the first expeditions to the moon were made in the mid 1870's. Several valuable resources were discovered on the moon but only in small quantities; smaller than was previously thought and the local indigenous population were starting to get in the way...

Several prominent scientists had suggested setting up expeditions to explore and harvest the asteroid belt but given the nature of the belt only a few small outings have so far been there. What they have found has been looked on favourably but the vast expense in travelling all that way had so far negated any serious endeavours.

Mars on the other hand was ripe for the picking. A civilised culture has always been thought of to live on Mars and this being the case they would surely be open to trade for whatever valuable resources the Red Planet had to offer.

The first landings occurred in 1886 of which there is a more detailed description earlier in this journal. A series of encampments were established by the Great Powers and the exploitation of Mars began in ernest. Many similar minerals to what was already found on earth were discovered in the first few months and small mining operations were set up all over to begin the extraction process.

One of these small outposts made a discovery in early 1887 that would change the way 'Aeroneffs' were built and designed. The mine was run by the small, yet well established Sumitomo Metal Mining Company with an attached minerals scientist from The Royal Geographical Society. The discovery was of a certain type of gem that seemed to be in abundance just above the bedrock in the deserts. They came in various sizes and had the appearence on being semi precious but all had the same curious attribute; when they were dug out of the ground they shot into the sky never to be seen again. Some repelling force of nature was thought of for the strange gems and much research has gone into the discovery of what this may be.

Of course, the Royal Geographical Society were astounded by this scientific discovery but when people in power got hear of it, another purpose was destined for the gems.

Cavorite was incredibly expensive to produce and as such only the most important missions, ships and endeavours were given access to it's 'unique' properties. Now with a seemingly endless supply of lighter than air substance the arms race was on to equip new and existing neffs with the gems. 

Each gem singularly could not even support a mans weight but if enough were held captive together then the possibilities seemed endless and bigger and bigger neffs were ordered.

Shipment after shipment were sent back to Earth but with disastrous consequences... The massive Aether flyers that plied trade between the planets had all but been converted to use the new gems but it wasn't to be such an easy trip. The gems had no effect on Earth at all and two Aether fliers crashed on Earth in spectacular style with the rest on hold between the planets.

The Aether fliers were converted back as soon as possible to Cavorite at great expense and the notion of cheap interplanetary flight was  pushed aside.

Of course the Mars neffs were still able to use the gems but one thing has gotten in the way of mining: the Sky Martian clans don't want the humans to have them and seem to be trying to stop them from harvesting them at any cost...

Friday, 18 April 2014


Red Planet Miniatures hosted a game at this years Salute and a selection of the pictures are below.

The scenario was of a Sky Martian leader wanting to defect to the earther forces and he was being transported via train to New Victoria to begin talks, unfortunately for him a few of the Sky Martian clans got wind of this and tried to capture him...

Thank you