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, 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.