Friday, January 9, 2015

Pulp Age: Sarmak Martians

Sarmak (Martians)
Type: Aberration
Size: Medium
Intelligence: Genius (16-18)
Hit Dice: 4 (12-16 hp)
Movement: 10 (40 on Mars)
Armor Class: 16
Attacks: 4 slams (1d4) or Heat Ray (2d6 fire)
Saving Throws: F14, R14, W11
Special: Immune to bludgeoning weapons, resistance to cold
Psychic Powers: At will—Sensitivity to psychic impressions, mind link, suspend life.
Environment: Any
No. Appearing: Tripod crew (1d4)
XP Value: 400 (CL 5)

The Sarmak Martians are the Invaders that brought so much calamity to Earth in 1898-1901 (see here for details). These creatures live primarily in the Nodus Gordii region of Mars and are greatly feared by the other peoples of the Red Planet. The Sarmak Martians are similar in appearance to an octopus, with long ropy tentacles, bulging eyes and a v shaped mouth. Though on Earth they can only crawl along the ground, on lighter worlds such as Mars they can walk upright. The Sarmak Martians feed on the bodily fluids of other species (particularly humanoids), draining them much like a lamprey or leech.
Technologically advanced, the Sarmak made much use of their perverted science to eke out the meager resources of Mars and launch their failed invasion of Earth. Their susceptibility to the chemical weapons, initially used by the French, is well reported but the impact of these chemical weapons on the Red Planet has been less dramatic. Whether this is due to atmospheric peculiarities of the Martian atmosphere or the a new development in Sarmak technology has not been ascertained.
Sarmak Martians have rubbery bodies that are immune to bludgeoning attacks. They can stretch and alter their bodies as well, allowing them to get into places that should be too small for them to access. They have no language beyond a hooting sound, using their mind link power to communicate with one another. Selenite Workers (see here for details) are kept as slaves and as food.

Martian Tripod
Huge-X Construct (Tank)
HD 31 (109 hp)
AC 22
SPD 10 mph (140)
ATK 1 heat ray (10d6 fire) and black smoke* projector
MVR +1
CP 1/0
WT 20,000 lb
The Fighting Machine (also known as a Tripod) is a favored weapon of the Sarmak. It is a fast-moving, three-legged walker, reported to be 100 feet tall, with multiple whip-like tentacles used for grasping, and two lethal weapons: the Heat-Ray and a gun-like tube used for discharging canisters of a poisonous chemical Black Smoke that kills humans and animals. It is the primary machine the Martians use when they invaded Earth in 1898, along with the handling machine, the flying machine, and the embankment machine (to be detailed in future articles).
Their tentacles are used as probes and to grasp objects and humans; the fighting machines sometimes carry a large metal cage or basket, used to hold captives. Martian Fighting Machines also have spotlights that grant their pilots vision out to 500 feet in otherwise dark conditions.
*Black Smoke: When a Martian Tripod uses the Black Smoke Dispenser, foul and poisonous vapors boil from the thin air, forming a cloud 15 ft. in radius. The cloud moves directly forward at a speed of 6 ft. per minute unless its direction or speed is affected by winds. Unusually strong gusts of wind can dissipate and destroy it. Poison-laden, the horrid mist is heavier than air, and thus sinks down any pits or stairs in its path. Even touching the cloud (much less breathing it) requires a Fortitude saving throw to avoid immediate death.

This article is using the Grit and Vigor RPG playtest rules devised by John Stater (over at The Land of NOD). If you want to know more, stay tuned for further articles. And make sure to BUY a copy for yourself when the game is ready.

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I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light
-- Henry Vaughan