Drift stately canals of Mars. Escort caravans through the desert
domains of the steppe nomads. Fight the winged warriors and cloud ships of the
Martian Sky Lords.
Undertake a secret mission for the crown on Venus. Elude the agents of the Kaiser; avoid capture by the German war zeppelins; survive the steaming, Venusian swamps, with their savage amphibious natives and gigantic dinosaurs.
Explore the mysterious caverns and grottos of Luna. Venture deep into the dark interior on search of the Selenites.
SPACE 1889 Reprinted
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Mars was the first planet explored by humans, and in 1889 is being colonized and subjugated by the European powers. The English, French, Germans, Russians, Belgians, and Japanese all have established colonies, and American traders are everywhere in evidence. The reasons are plain -- liftwood is a valuable commodity, and the growing importance of aerial navies has made many countries desirous of establishing their influence on Mars. Moreover, in addition to liftwood there are other Martian products that bring a good price on Earth, and the huge Martian population is a ready market for European manufactured goods.
Mars is much older than Earth, and over time has gradually lost its water and has become hot and dry. The only thing that makes life possible over much of the planet is the enormous canal system. Built long ago before Martians became decadent and weak, the canal system is an amazing feat of engineering. Criss-crossing the globe, the canals bring water from the annual melting of the polar icecaps. Powerful pumps lift water over mountains, huge bridges span valleys, and other devices link the canals to make them avenues of commerce, all powered by mysterious sources of energy beyond current human understanding.
Martian cities are at the intersections of canals, where they serve as centers for trade. The canals are not entirely watertight -- the small leaks create aquifers along the banks that support crops and small villages. The canal system is old, however, and not all of the ancient pumps still work or ancient bridges stand. As a result, many of the canals no longer have running water, and serve only as caravan routes across the harsh deserts.
There are three distinct Martian cultures. The most advanced is made up of the Canal Martians. They live along the canals and in the Martian cities. Tall (well over 6 feet), with pointed ears and pale ocher skin, they vaguely resemble the elves of human myth. Their hands, like other Martians, have only three fingers along with a thumb. Canal Martian food is much like human food, though more spicy.
Their level of social and technological development is roughly that of Europe in the Renaissance. Each city is ruled by a royal family, their armies use black powder muzzleloaders, and horse-like Gashants are the main means of ground transportation. Although civilized, they are clearly a culture in decline, with baroque and incomprehensible art and science that lacks the innovative spark. Nowhere is this decline clearer than in the arena of government, which in Martian cities is almost incomprehensibly bureaucratic and extraordinarily corrupt.
The second Martian culture is that of the Hill Martians. They are slightly shorter and stockier than Canal Martians (but still average slightly over 6 feet in height), and their skin color tends toward a golden brown with brown or red hair.
They are frontiersmen of Martian society, living beyond the power of the Canal Martian governments. They have a variety of cultures, but their social structures most closely resemble those of human nomads like the Sioux of North America or the Tartars of Asia. Their government is tribal, usually based on clans. Many Hill Martians have never encountered humans -- since they respect courage, determination, and skill with weapons, humans who demonstrate those traits are the most likely to be well received.
Finally, we come to the savage High Martians. In physical appearance they resemble the other Martian races, but are much shorter and walk with a stooped, apelike posture. Their skin is dark, their hair is black, and they have wing membranes under their arms. These wings aid them in flight -- High Martians have a lifting gland that cancels gravity in much the same was as liftwood does.
High Martians live far from civilization in hill fortresses called Kraags. Ruled by kings, high Martians steal from more civilized peoples and enslave captives. All work in High Martian communities is done by slaves, who are unable to escape since they cannot fly down from the Kraags as the High Martians do. Many High Martian kings are wealthy, since liftwood only grows in the mountains, and High Martian tribes usually control the groves and tend them with their slaves.
One last thing about Mars: the surface gravity is 90% of that of Earth, when orbital calculations indicate that it should be less than half. No one has been able to explain the discrepancy.
Source: "COLONEL BLIMP ON MARS or AN INTRODUCTION TO THE GAME SPACE: 1889 BY MARK CLARK"
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A. The Belgian Coprates.
B. Ideus Fons region, center of French presence on Mars.
C. Western Dioscuria, German trade posts and military stations.
D. The Crown Colony of Syrtis Major.
E. Hecates Lacus, Russian gulag.
F. Euxinus Lacus, Japanese research stations and trade posts.
The Martians have been building cloudships for hundreds of years, although their design has changed little until quite recently. Most cloudships have traditionally been "kites", large sail-powered cessels which are fast but dependent on the wind for propulsion.
Illustration and text (adapted)"Cloudships and Gunboats" by Frank Chadwick
The Swiftwood is a popular ship in Martian service, although vessels of this type have suffered heavily whenever they have been matched against British ships. The rogue is a powerful weapon, but its low rate of fire means that the ship relies heavily on its secondary armament, two light guns which are nearly useless against any sort of armoured vessel. When employed against wooden-hulled vesseles, however, they are much more effective.
News has reached Earth that whilst researching the Martian Crystal Cult the Challenger Expedition has discovered a major temple complex. So far the exact site of the temple remains a closely guarded secret. but word has reached us that the expedition is planning to enter the underground complex that has been discovered at the base of a shaft on the temple plinth. More new is expected soon.
Situated on the outskirts of Syrtis Major the Golden Palace is a dizzyinly beautiful building. Amazingly this masterpiece is not the palace of the ruler of Syrtis Major. Both the Emerald Palace and this Golden Palace are in fact examples of smaller palaces. The largest, Seldon's Palce, is now a ruin but nonetheless it is still a hugely imposing sight.
The Golden Palce is now the home of is now inhabited by a cousin of Amraamtaba X the deposed ruler of Syrtis Major.
Science-Fiction Role Playing in a More Civilized Time.
Space: 1889 is Frank Chadwick's registered trademark for his game of Victorian Era Space-faring.