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!

Saturday, 6 August 2016

8:30 to New Victoria AAR:

The 8:30 en route to New Victoria after dropping some supplies off at the British outpost at Kingston Plains has been stopped by a landfall at the entrance to the Albert Cutting.

The coolies on board were sent out to try and remove the debris before carrying on with the journey and the camel corp (sans camels) used the remaining baggage on the train to erect some hasty defences in case of Sky Martian attack.

And of course, true to form, the Sky Martians make an appearance around the cutting and rapidly dispatch the coolies clearing the debris.

A small unit of the camel corp line the front barricade while others went to the telegraph station to alert all outposts of the Sky Martian attack. Sky Martians swarm down the cutting towards the barricades but under heavy fire from the revolving cannon at the telegraph station.

The Sky Martians take heavy casualties but manage to kill the defenders at the barricade.

Meanwhile, another clan of Martians eventually break their way into the lower portion of the telegraph station and burst upon the camel corp at the top but not before a British column arrive; led by no-other than Captain Softlove and his companion in danger, Sergeant Ruffbrute, and start to inflict a heavy toll on the Martians.

The mounted camel corp on the desert floor charge some Martians who, in their previously unknown fear of camels, retreat but then through either a prompting by the gods or some other means they turn and return the charge and create havoc.

But the stalwart thin red line behind give fire and manage to see them off.

The Martians, seeing defeat close at hand retreat but not before destroying the train engine and leaving the column in disarray.

A close call indeed for the British and without the quick arrival of Softlove, who knows what might have happened. Fortuitous to say the least...

Diary of Archibald Harris-Hampton...

Sky Martian attacks in recent months are becoming ever more frequent. There even seems to be an element of luck in the way the Sky Martians are able to find, and descend on targets so quickly. Maybe there is more going on here than meets the eye...

Game was played using the Rifles and Spears variant of M+T, thanks again to Happy Wanderer!

Saturday, 30 July 2016

08:30 to New Victoria - A Red Planet Adventure

North West Frontier, Mars 30th July 1891. The Offices of the London Illustrated News Overseas Reporting Team.

Once again, your special Aether Correspondent, Archibald Harris-Hampton has been in the thick of things when a routine supply run to an outlying British encampment nearly ended in Disaster.

The eight thirty to New Victoria was on it's way back from the British outpost of Kingston Plains when Sky Martians erupted from the Albert Cutting, blocking the rails with a landfall and preceded to advance on the train...

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Martian Burial Sites and Rituals. Part One

City Martians take great reverence to their dead, an offshoot from the original Martians from before the storm. Ceremonies and burial rites are important to them but they also help to celebrate the lives that are still with them.

When a Martian dies, their body is burned along with their most prized possessions, personal effects that are chosen but aren't part of the family heirloom hoard. If no possessions have been chosen, such as through a sudden death, then close family members will choose items they deem suitable.

A small funeral pyre is built on the roof of the family house and the body is paced on top with the possessions and a small fire is lit underneath. The pyre is doused in special oils that allow the flames to burn low and slow consuming the body over several days. The closest relatives of the deceased stay with the pyre until it grow cold, feeding the pyre if it grows low, murmuring prayers and incantations to the gods. At this time, many visitors whom knew the deceased will visit for a few hours to talk about their City Martian brethren, sing songs and praise all the good deeds that occurred.

Once the pyre has been wholly consumed, the ashes are collected and placed into several small pots (one for each of the gods) and left on the roof of the house for a week whilst the family mourn, this also gives a chance for distant relatives to make the journey and pay their respects. Once the mourning period is over the family will invite other close families to join them in the procession to the Vale of the Deceased. Many Vales surround the older Martian settlements with the more important Martians being interred in the older parts of the Vales. For the new Martian communities, families either have to travel long distances or make do with what they have. The area around New Victoria, for example, is a vast expanse of level ground with the occasional mesa protruding up from the desert. In these cases an entrance way is created in the side of a mesa and the vault is dug into it as described below.

The family would have an area in the Vale solely for their use and it would be expanded as and when necessary. The main structure of the burial site would consist of an entrance mound generally built in front a rock outcrop with a short, open topped processional passage from that leading into a vault carved from the rock. Many floors would be carved into the rock outcrop going further down with each new generation buried. The walls of the vaults are generally left plain with only the family name and most recent ancestors carved above the interment area.

The grander the family, the more impressive the entrance mound and tunnel. Each one would have carvings of major family events (the skill of mural painting was lost in the Great Storm along with many others). The ruling family of course would have the grandest burial site and it would cover a large area and have many generations interred within with a suitably impressive entrance to the mound. If a family dies out (which by all reports seems to be happening more often) then the close friends of that family will block up the main tomb entrance and seal it forever

There have been reports of human explorers trying to gain access to the vaults, very likely with the simple intention of studying them, but the City Martians can take great affront to any unwarranted intrusion to their vales. Some have even placing temporary guards at the vale entrances to prevent any unwelcome visitors...

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

The Trade Delegation AAR:

The Japanese encampment about 150km from New Victoria. Aak Naks out on patrol in the distance and the Sky Martian leader Raa Maa Lam being presented to the Princess Imperial.

Seemingly from out of nowhere, Martians from the Raas Ak Naa clan sneak upon the flank and try to charge the Aak Naks. The Aak Naks take up defensive positions in an abandoned corral and give the Sky Martians some withering fire.

Closer to the camp, more Raas Ak Nar manage to get close to the proceedings and a few get past the Aak Naks in the corral and charge into the Japanese troops.

Seeing off this initial attack the Japanese turn to find another attack from both the Daas Ak Nar and the Kaas Ak Thaal.

Feirce fighting ensues and the Japanese hold their own but it is close and the Princesses own Hatamoto charge in to save their ward.

On the other flank, the Aak Naks beat off the Rass Ak Naa and turn to face remnants of the Daas Ak Nar, seeing them off in short time.

With the majority of the Sky Martians either defeated or fleeing the leader of the Kaas Ak Thaal (Takers of Heads) taunts the remaining Japanese. Or was it a warning...

A very close run victory for the Japanese. It is unknown at this point whether negotiations will continue with Prince Raa Maa Lam...

Diary of Archibald Harris-Hampton...

The Sky Martian Prince seems to be taking more risks to ingratiate himself with the Japanese/Anglo alliance and one can only assume that he hasn't spoken to the other powers yet. I wonder if they know the full extent of what is occurring here on the Red Planet...

Game was played using the Rifles and Spears variant of M+T, thanks to Happy Wanderer!

Sunday, 10 July 2016

The Trade Delegation - A Red Planet Adventure

North West Frontier, Mars 7th July 1891. The offices of the London Illustrated News Overseas Reporting Team.

Your Special Aether Correspondant, Archibald Harris-Hapmton brings you an exclusive insight into the first Sino-Martian trade meeting between representatives of the Japanese forces on Mars including Her Imperial Majesty the Princess Imperial and the Sky Martian Prince, Raa Maa Laam.

The meeting ended before it had begun when several allied Sky Martian clans launched a highly disciplined attack with only a small Japanese force between them and the Princess...

Saturday, 2 July 2016

A word on the Plains Martians.

There is a type of Martian as un-yet talked of as little is known of them. Plains Martians! These Plains Martians keep to themselves more than the Sky Martians and inhabit the deep deserts in roaming clans, never sticking to a single place for long.

It is said that they are descended from a few City Martian families who went in search of the cities that were lost after the Great Storm. It was feared that they were lost but rumours started to surface of a tribe of lost Martians in the great deserts. These rumours were not unfounded as contact was made between a Plains Martian clan and a trade caravan lost after a brief storm. The caravan were approached by the Plains Martians it seems from curiosity as no trade occurred.

The language used by the Plains Martians was different, yet understandable to the caravanners and some mysteries were solved and yet it seemed many more questions were left unanswered. The Plains Martians showed the caravan the way back to civilisation and they parted ways.

There have been scant few other meetings of Plains Martians and the caravans and they seem to want to be left undisturbed but are not hostile when contact is made. Plans are being discussed to mount several expeditions to seek out the lost brethren.

The Plains Martians are all mounted on Enk Anks, tall animals not unlike the earth giraffe and they use a large species of Naeek for their beasts of burden. They have no vehicles so to speak and seem to live on the saddle or in howdahs howdahs, only dismounting to collect water and food. Where they come by the food is a mystery but some have suggested a link with the Sky Martians...

They tend to wear many layered robes and coils of cloth on their heads as the deeper deserts can be deathly cold at nights. The weapons of choice are long glaives; longer than the Sky Martian glaive but shorter than the City Martian pikes and small but powerful 'crossbows' that can either be carried by hand or fixed upon small pintles mounted on the howdahs of the Naeeks.

Little is known of the Plains Martians family structure as the Naeeks are generally kept back from the caravans. It is assumed that the females and young ones are kept in the howdahs and that the family structure is similar to the City Martians.

With luck, more Plains Martian tribes will be encountered and the secrets of the deep deserts will be discovered in time.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

The Bridge Head AAR:

The initial dispositions of the bridgehead forces with a small column led by Lieutenant Tamiya out on manoeuvres.

The bridge construction was proceeding well.

A small element of Her Majesties (Gawd Bless 'Er) survey team scout ahead for a route for the Great Martian Western Railway... Unfortunately, they were looking in the wrong direction...

The Martians manage to sneak up on the unsuspecting imperial forces until it was almost too late.

Bitter hand to hand fighting ensued with an element of the Imperial Princesses Hatamoto (bodyguard) and a small section of the Martian Native Askari Corp giving the intruders what for and seeing them off.

With the civilians fleeing with the Princess (will she never learn) more Martians arrive and make short work of the forward column with Lieutenant Tamiya last seen going down in a seething mass of Martians polearms...

The remaining units make a stand on the newly constructed bridge, with civilians fleeing left right and centre, in a desperate attempt to hold off the madding hoards.

The lone machine gun emplacement at the fore fails to halt the attack and suffers drastically.

With civilians mostly out of harms way the Imperial troops were able to lay down a barrage of heavy rifle fire but with seemingly little affect.

A new behaviour of the Martians was noted in the fact that they seemed to want to destroy everything to do with the construction site.

With one remaining unit lead by Lieutenant Bandai in the south redoubt giving as much fire as possible but running dangerously low on ammunition, things looked desperate indeed but low and behold the Martians appeared to have had enough.

Victory! Not only were the civilians safe but the bridgehead was secured. This new behaviour of the Sky Martians has been reported back to the Royal Society for further study.

Without a doubt, War on Mars will continue...

 Diary of Archibald Harris-Hampton, Illustrated London News Overseas Reporting Team.September 20th 1890. 

The Anglo/Japanese alliance were very fortunate that this was only a small Martian war party, although it was noted there were several different martian clans banded together. Whilst during initial engagements the Martians were bent on killing they are now seen to be sating their lust for blood by butchering the recently dead and feasting on their intestines! Our loyal Martian Askari tell us these are death rituals that give the participants great power in battle. The fiends!

Thursday, 23 June 2016

The Bridge Head - A Red Planet Adventure

North West Frontier, Mars. 19th September 1890. The offices of the Illustrated London News Overseas Reporting Team. 

Your Humble reporter Archibald Harris-Hampton is grieved to report an attack by the nefarious Sky Martians against a small Imperial Japanese force expanding the Anglo/Japanese Alliance Territories of the North West Frontier of the Colony of New Victoria, some 125 miles distant.

A detachment of Imperial troops and a small section of engineers were set upon whilst constructing a new bridge across one of the old Martian canals. The area was reported safe by the locals who have had no trouble from the roving Sky Martian bands. They were unavailable for comment afterwards...

Fortunately the Sky Martian attack was not as brutal as they have been in the past and once again your humble servant was able to report in full with the outcome...

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Skiff Merchants and Their Trade Routes.

Most trade between the City Martians is conducted by the land caravans but there are a few merchants that prefer to use skiffs to transport goods across the deserts. This or course has it's risks but more often than not they are bettered by the profits. The travel time is quicker than the land caravans but the chance of meeting Sky Martin raiding parties is increased tenfold.

The skiff convoys consist of two or three tug-neffs attached to several tenders that carry the cargo. As many as five tenders can be attached to the biggest tug-neffs but this is traded off for a slower speed. The tug-neff can be armed with several ballistas and usually the rear tender will have a ballista along with a crew that are ready to fight for their cargo.

The skiffs are made in a similar way to the Sky Martian skiffs and have a more bloated appearance than the elegant Sky Martian skiffs. There is some rumour that construction methods for the tugs have been traded for rare goods and information about the land caravans with certain Sky Martian clans but this, is as of yet, unfounded... If it is to be found that trade and information is being passed between the Skiff Merchants and the Sky Martians then there will be retribution from the City Martians for the betrayal.

The tenders are basically large hulls with a main deck and a small cargo hold below this deck. The tug-neff has a similar appearance to the Sky Martian skiffs albeit shorter and rounder with an upper deck at the rear which the trimsman will use and the captain of the convoy will have his place under this upper deck. The tugs and tenders usually aren't decorated but occasionally an affluent Skiff Merchant will adorn his tug with geometric patterns and these pattens can be used as an identification of the Skiff Merchant from a distance.

Using the trade winds that traverse the planet the Skiff Merchants ply their trade between as many cities as possible using well known routes through the lowland canyons; most trying their best to avoid the Sky Martians. During the night the tugs will preferably anchor against the cliffs of the canyons with a watch posted throughout the night. If the convoy finds itself in the open then they will reduce their height and anchor to the desert floor.

The crew themselves are made up of the braver City Martians and some of them can become somewhat of a legend to the more domestic City Martians. But, there is some resentment from many of the leading families as the Skiff Merchants become arrogant the longer they are in the sky. This arrogance is increasingly likened to the attitude of the Sky Martians and if it continues then the cities elders will have to make a decision as to what to do.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

A return.

For too long have the annals of Mars been left untouched. This will now change for the better...

Along with tales and histories of Mars there will also be reports of new figures, vehicles and terrain to supplement our endeavour on the Red Planet.

Exciting times are ahead...

Thank you and Welcome back to the Red Planet