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Tag Archives: Martian

[Labyrinth Lord] Martian Artifacts

red weed, life from mars.

Image by adav via Flickr

And a few small items for buffing up my Martian Bloodeaters from before. I think I should have created more potions, mostly because according to the treasure tables those are the only things normal Martians would carry around. I don’t think a normal Martian would carry around a magic sword or some scrolls. What would those be for anyway? So here are a few other things to stock that Martian lair with.

Heatreay Gun
A smaller version of the fearsome heatray this weapon comes in the form of a small silver tube that can be handled by the tentacles of the Hermatophages. With smaller stature this also is less effective, doing only about 1d6 damage per hit. Every tube is loaded with up to 1d10 shot, after this battery has to be replaced by a new one. This weapon makes damage that counts as fire damage against creatures and materials especially susceptible to it.

Crystal Egg
This artifact of Martian ingenuity is a particularily interesting example of Martian science and sorcery, two areas of expertise that can lie surprisingly close together. On first glance a rather large gemstone of otherwise unknown heritage this in truth is a reconaissance/communication device that, when looking into it from the right angle, allows the user to see whatever another near-identical stone can see. This can work over unlimited distances and is designed to work even through ethereal and other barriers. The one stone always shows exactly what the other sees and the other way around. It does not allow for sound though, only visuals of the other side are possible.

Red Weed
While the Hermatophages do not need any other food than whatever they can gain from their cattle, they still have another fondness: the so called Red Weed. This reddish plant is often brought to new settlements of Hermatophages, often it is the first sign that a new colony of them has been set uo close. It’s particular growing habits are rather unusual, as it first spreads like wildfire, in new areas, only to then wither and die soon enough as the minerals it needs have been used up. Then it will grow in much smaller amounts and be less effective, if not treated by specific ways that only the Hermatophages really know about. Many of their settlements will be widely recognizable from afar by nearly wild Red Weed gardens, rarely really tended to by their owners. Ruins of Hermatophage origin are often recognizable by the red weed that grows there, unchecked and wild and slowly diminishing.
The reason for this fondness is different but clear: Red Weed, as grown by the Hermatophages themselves is nearly inedible for anyone but them, but it does give an euphoric effect when being smoked and/or used in balms for the body of the Hermatophages. Members of other races find the weed rather metallic in taste, and at best mildly stimulating. Some (about 10%) even develop ugly rashes after longer contact with red weed based products.

Red Weed Potion
Used as a stimulant of sorts by the Hermatophages this potion is taken for the sake of being able to better concentrate and think. Naturally the effect on other beings that are not Hermatophages is different and normally includes heavy hallucinations. There is a possibility it also increases the thought processes of bipedals, but so far none have been found, as the hallucinations normally were so strong as to be completely overwhelming in effect.

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[Labyrinth Lord] Tripod

Alien tripod illustration by Alvim Corréa, fro...

Ulla Ulla

   Seen nearer, the Thing was incredibly strange, for it was no mere insensate machine driving on its way. Machine it was, with a ringing metallic pace, and long, flexible, glittering tentacles (one of which gripped a young pine-tree) swinging and rattling about its strange body. It picked its road as it went striding along, and the brazen hood that surmounted it moved to and fro with the inevitable suggestion of a head looking about. Behind the main body was a huge mass of white metal like a gigantic fisherman’s basket, and puffs of green smoke squirted out from the joints of the limbs as the monster swept by me. And in an instant it was gone.
    — The War of the Worlds, Book 1, Chapter 10

  Boilers on stilts, I tell you, striding along like men.
    — The War of the Worlds, Book 1, Chapter 14

Tripod
No. Enc.: 1 (1d6)
Alignment: as Pilot
Movement: 120’ (30’)
Swim: 60’ (20’)
Armor Class: -3
Hit Dice: 15
Attacks: 1 (tentacles, heat ray, black smoke cannon)
Damage: 1d8/1d6x10/see below
Save: F15
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: as Pilot

The Hematophagian Warmachine, or simply: Tripod, is one of the most staggering examples of engineering ever found on any world. They are surrounding the Hematophages and their fragile bodies as they go about into the dangerous world outside of those beacons of civilization that are their cities. With them they are not only the world’s largest intellect, but also on the top of the foodchain, on any planet. They consist of a pilot capsule outfitted with everything even for long-term survival in dangerous areas and enough space for up to 2 passengers. They walk on three powerful, flexible legs which also can be used to attack things if the need arises.
The tripods are armed with a Heat-Ray which is held by one of their tentacles and black smoke, a type of poison gas which is deployed by cylinders. It can also discharge steam that dissipates the Black Smoke. They can use Black Smoke and dissipation agent 5x per day.
Their tentacles, which hang from the main body, are used as probes and to grasp objects. The tripods also sometimes carry a cage or basket which would be used to hold captives so the Martians could drain their blood.

Black Smoke
The black smoke is a devilish gaseous weapon. It is sent to the battlefield in canisters which wherever they land start to discharge a black, ink-like smoke covering an area of x feet circumference. Anyone who gets into contact with it has to save versus poison and take 2d6 damage, or loose 3d8 damage.
All tripods also carry a dissipation agent with them that can be used to clear the area and transform the smoke into harmless black dust.

The Heatray
The most fearful weapon of the tripod: unseen by the human eye (creatures and heroes with night- or darkvision can see it though) this weapon kills nearly instantly (doing 1d6x10 damage) if save against gaze weapons fails. The heatray can turn around in a 240 field of vision and hit everything in line of sight. In many cases whatever gets hit by the ray will just burst into flames.

[Labyrinth Lord] Martian Hematophage

Interior illustration to H. G. Wells' novel Th...

Martian Hematophage
No. Enc.: 2d6 (4d6)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 30’ (10’)
Armor Class: 8
Hit Dice: 4
Attacks: 2
Damage: Tentacles (1d4) or Beak (1d6), or according to weapon
Save: F2
Morale: 6
Hoard Class: IX

According to some these are the last remnants of an ancient people that have ruled over large parts of the world for eons. They are philosophical beings, with a long history of peace and technological advancement among their once warlike race. They now enjoy a society of leisure, their mechanical appliances allowing them a lifestyle that would seem unbelievable to anyone else. Where others toil in hardship just to survive they discuss philosophy and politics (which they see as the same), enjoy sophisticated art created during their long history, and enjoy themselves with games of the mind (their own) and body (other peoples’ at least).
This does not mean that they are not dangerous, far from it. All their ethics, advanced as they might be, only ever consider their own race, all the games in the arena are fought by slaves captured in the surrounding lands (and their three-legged walking machines can cover a lot of ground in a short time), and all the real worth they admit other beings to have is as a food source for them.
Their original form, long before they altered themselves through different methods of selective breeding and eugenics to the form they have today, might have been similar to the tripoid walking machines they so like to use. This was before they decided to get rid of all those pesky bodily functions they could replace by mechanical means. The modern Hematophage’s so called body though consists of a disembodied head up to 1.5 meters across, with two protruding eyes and a beak-like mouth. They sport two branches of eight slim, whip-like tentacles around the mouth, often called ‘hands’. They reproduce asexually, children being born by “budding” off a parent. Internally, the Martians consist of a brain, lungs, heart, and blood vessels; they have no organs for digestion, and sustain themselves by mechanically transfusing blood from other animals into their arteries by artificial means (thus earnning them the name “hematophage” or “bloodeater”).
The ear, a single membrane located in the back of the head, is nearly useless by now and most of their eugenics experts expect it to disappear within a few more generations.
Their brain is the only thing that really matters to them, as it allows them to create the technological wonders that enable them to rule over their sphere of power with an iron fist, breeding small, less technologically adapt beings as cattle and playthings for their idle minds. It also allows them to communicate with each other, telepathy long ahving taken over the role of speech for them, although a few remnants of other communication skills remain, mostly by the means of gestures.
They are not very formidable physically, barely able to move along without their walking machines, but are abe to perform great feats with their hands.

Yes, these are the Martians from H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds. I loved this book as a kid, and for some reason I always thought it might be a good source for some roleplaying stuff. Others did so as well, I at least saw Wells’ Martians done for CoC and AD&D 2nd edition before. The latter one even a weird positive variation of these creatures in  one of the Kargatane netbooks. Yesterday I was thinking about a one-shot adventure for my group, and for some reason (maybe because I am reading “A Princess of Mars” right now) I instantly thought about a Sword and Sorcery yarn with Martians in it. And these guys in particular were a fantastic concept that nearly fit right in. Just have them be slavelords as well.