Pistols, Prose & Pilots from Parhoon
The City-State of Parhoon – A Brief Narrative
The city-state of Parhoon is located in the northwest corner of the British Crown Colony of
Syrtis Lapis. It is accessed by two canals, one from Syrtis Major, some 500 miles to the southeast,
and one from Gorovaan, 400 miles away, almost due east. The city is surrounded by hills, as
it is near the point where the Aerian Hills give way to the Astusapes Highlands. Because of
this, Parhoon lies almost 2000 feet in altitude above Syrtis Major, and it is just over 700 feet
above the level of Gorovaan. Parhoon maintains an impressive series of locks and cranes in
the first 200 miles of canal leading to Syrtis Major; after that, the canal is interrupted only by
intermittent cascade pools. The route to Gorovaan is subject to raids by High Martians, along
whose border it runs. Occasionally, the Queln even raid its western end, or the Wagon Masters
of Meroe its eastern end. Because of this, military craft patrol the canal to help protect shipping,
but periodic locks would be vulnerable to attack, leaving merchant vessels stranded at the mercy
of the raiders. Fortunately, the ancient canal builders cut the Parhoon/Gorovaan canal straight
and level, relying on one series of locks on Parhoon’s eastern edge to compensate for the cities’
difference in altitude.
As a consequence, the route from Parhoon to Gorovaan is very impressive as it cuts deeply
through the hills to either side. No farming is done along the sides of this canal – they are left as
raw cuts through the native stone, revealing the strata of rock laid over the ages. The low flow
channel of the canal remains near the centre along most of the way, diverting to one side or the
other only where breaks in the hills make good camping sites.
At one time in the distant past, before the coming of Seldon’s reign, Parhoon was a sister city to
Gorovaan in the combined kingdom of Haataneethra I. In those days, Parhoon was the junior
member of the two cities, a fact that rankles many Gorovaanis, whose city is now subject to
The manner in which this came about involves the coming of the British to Mars. They first
arrived in 1872 on the outskirts of Parhoon, and this was the first city they visited. Initial
relations were very friendly, and soon the British were established in their own quarter of the
city, from which they conducted trade. Then, in 1878, the Anwaak of the city and his young son
were assassinated, many ay at the instigation of Gorovaani nobles. Queen Victoria assumed
regency of the city, ruling in the name of the only surviving heir, a three-month-old infant. The
year 1879 brought an invasion attempt by the Gorovaanis, who viewed Parhoon as their rightful
property and feared that it was falling into alien hands. The British and Parhoonese fought well
together, crushing the invasion forces and annexing Gorovaan to Parhoon. Needless to say,
while Parhoon is a welcome home for the British, Gorovaan resents their interference.
(using Conklin’s Guide generation headings)
Population – 98,673 – 1885 Census (50% Canal Martian, 40% Hill Martian, 10% Human)
Government Type – Regency – of British Empire on behalf on Anwaak Mala-Daarni
Economic Type – Special Resources – includes Coal, Metals, Livestock
Economic Vitality – Wealthy – booming economy
Army Quality – Excellent – British Army and Martian Colonial units
Mercenary Quality – Good – Aerian Hill Martians and Princes’ Guard
Army Size – 9
Fleet Quality – Trained – Parhooni Auxilary Navy units, recently returnded to Prince’s control
Fleet Size – approx £400,000
Attitude – Very Friendly the largest and longest present human population of any Martian city
Some notable firms in/of Parhoon
Royal Pachyderm Transit Company
Owned by the Maharajah Harjinder Diljit Thaper the Royal Pachyderm Transit Company
provides a transportation service to the merchants and government of Parhoon. Granted its
royal charter by the Anwaak upon the company’s foundation in 1882 (with the Regent’s grudging
compliance), the Company utilises Indian Elephants, imported by the Maharajah as beasts
of burden. Far more intelligent and easily controlled than the native equivalent, the Ruumet
Breehr, the Elephants pull huge carts loaded with many times the burden they could manage on
Earth. This is due to two things – a) the gravity of Mars is lower than Earth’s and b) the carts
(designed by Charles Templeton-Smythe) incorporate Liftwood discarded as unsuitable for the
manufacture of Cloudships, to help increase the cart’s capacity.
Royal Parhooni Telegraph Service and Postal Telephone Service
See Issue 2 of TRMGS for full details.
Royal Parhooni Bank
Owned by the Anwaak, and services available for Martian and human alike.
Shipping in Safe Hands Limited
Owned entirely by Hugo Sherlock, and involved in all forms of shipping freight.
Dalaarida Wilson Shipbuilders
A partnership between Mahanoon Dalaarida and Johnathan Wilson, they make canal boats,
including steamers, from a clever mix of Martian and British designs.
Masson, Betts and Haynes
A firm of young solicitors who came to Mars when they could not get partnerships in the City of
London, they now have several Martian nobles, including the Anwaak, amongst their clientele.
Frasier-Nash Land Juggernaut Manufactory
First of all just assemblers, but now makers and designers of the Truculent class Landships,
Ramsay Frasier and Harold Nash are the proprietors of this small factory near the Western Fort.
Otis Brothers and Company
An American firm that opened an office and small factory in Parhoon in 1878 during the
construction of the Imperial Standard Hotel. The great height of the Martian buildings has
provided an ever-increasing market for their products and Princes from all over Mars have
sent representatives to negotiate with the company. They maintain the elevators in the Imperial
Standard free of charge in exchange for their use as demonstrators.
Piotyrsen and Son
Gunsmiths extrordinaire, they provide hunting and sporting weapons to most of the Colony’s
elite. All their weapons are either made to measure, or ‘tailored’ to the purchaser’s individual
Jack Hawser and Sons
A company of dredgers who were amongst the first British companies to establish a presence on
Mars, and now work extensively throughout the canals in the British region.
Some notes on the economy of Parhoon
Parhoon has one of the few working coal mines on Mars and as such is vital to the success of the
British Colony. Some say that had it not been for the coal, the Martians would still run the city. It
is Parhoon’s main export to the rest of the Syrtis Lapis colony.
Surprisingly enough, one of the economic success stories of Parhoon has been the introduction
of sheep to the surrounding hills. For some reason the Martians find mutton to be an incredibly
delicious meat and simply can’t seem to get enough of it. Also, jackets made from Parhooni
fleece have proved very popular with Cloudship crews. Although the flocks suffer from High
Martian depravations on occasion there are many thriving farmsteads in the hills around Parhoon
who make their fortune farming Sheep. The Oenotrian War has caused some to worry about
the safety of these farmsteads as the Oenotrians continue to sponsor piratical activities in, and
around, the Meroe badlands and Astutape Highlands.
A well-known and delightful – to Martians, anyway – delicacy is the Pushti fruit and lamb korma…
Characters of note in Parhoon
Anwaak (Prince) Mala-Daarni
Prince of Parhoon and Gorovaan (since it was conquered with British help in 1878), Mala-
Daarni is a very strong-willed and dynamic young man. Although he does not reach the age of
his majority until 1900, he has recently returned from Eton, England (where he was conducting
his education in the company of several other Parhooni noble’s sons). As a result of his Terran
education, Mala-Daarni is very pro-British and progressive in his outlook. Despite this fact, he
resents the amount of control exercised by the Regent’s representative – Victor Smedley-Harris -
over what Mala-Daarni views as his cities.
The Honourable Victor Smedley-Harris
Vice-Regent of Parhoon and share-holder in The Sentinel, Victor Smedley-Harris is the Governor-
General and Regent of Parhoon’s representative in Parhoon. As such he is the man at the sharp
Maharajah Harjinder Diljit Thaper
The former ruler of a small, provincial, Indian state the Maharajah agreed to abdicate his and his
heirs’ claim to the throne in return for an estate and substantial pension on Mars. He spent most
of the huge fortune that he removed from his nation’s coffers – to the exasperation of the India
Office and delight of the Foreign and Colonial Offices – on building a huge Ether Transport
which he then used to ferry a 23 strong Elephant herd – complete with mahouts to Parhoon.
Although denounced as an insane foreigner and told by the Syrtis Star that ‘perhaps the Martian
heat was too much for him’, the Maharajah has made a modest economic success from his
endeavour with his company – The Royal Pachyderm Transit Company (see elsewhere). It turned
out that the Elephants seemed to love Mars – almost as much as the Martians are entranced by
them – and have even begun to produce calves.
Michael Piotyrsen III
Proprietor of the Parhoon office of Piotyrsen and Son (in fact the son of the company’s title),
Michael Piotyrsen III is the son of the famous South African adventurer turned gunsmith,
Michael Piotyrsen II.
One of the sons in Jack Hawser and Sons, Michael Hawser had been fascinated by Mars ever
since his Father told him heard of the huge canals on Mars when he was a small boy. He
expanded his father’s business and opened an office in Parhoon where he makes a good living
using British know-how on Martian canals.
Places of note in and around Parhoon
Imperial Standard Hotel
The best hotel in Parhoon (some say all of Syrtis Lapis), The Imperial Standard was built in
the centre of Parhoon during 1874-1880. Materials were collected from the deserted ruins that
surround Parhoon’s city walls and although a Terran design was used the architect was careful to
remain sympathetic to Martian architecture. Greatly involved in the buildings creation was the
American firm Otis Brothers and Company Inc which provided the six elevators that service the
Hotel’s twelve floors – a previously unheard of height for a Terran building! The elevators use
a steam engine powered by the burning of Parhoon’s sewer gases, several outlets of which have
been redirected for this purpose. Many of the military staff remain at the Parhoon Hilton.
The Coal Mine
Located in the mountains some fifteen miles from Parhoon, this is one of the most heavily
guarded locations in the whole of the human-controlled Mars. As one of only three working coal
mines on the whole of Mars the strategic importance of the mine to the British Colony and the
Royal Navy in particular cannot be under-estimated. As an example of the seriousness in which
the Colony administration views the security of this mine – at the end of 1888 a third ground-
based Smutts Torpedo Discharger was installed here to boost the already mighty defences.
The ‘Regency’ or United Services Club
The main club for the many British civil servants and officers in Parhoon.
Parhoon Cricket Club
Located next to the Parhooni Oval, this is a home away from home for most of the British
gentlemen on Mars. With excellent irrigation and some noteworthy skills from specially trained
There are currently two privately owned Cloudshipyards in Parhoon with the Colonial
administration currently building a third modern, steel hull capable, yard which is due for
completion early next year. The two private yards are owned by the Anwaak of Parhoon and
the great engineer W G Armstrong, respectively. Although both are capable of fitting Terran
weapons to vessels and repairing steel Cloudships neither is currently capable of building a steel ship from scratch.
The Parhoon Oval
The first cricket ground built on Mars, named after the Oval, Surrey.
Citadel of Hope
The Anwaak’s residence.
Main armoury and barracks of Parhoon.
Miss Marjoram’s Tea Rooms
A famous tea-room frequented by all Ladies in Parhoon society – THE place to be seen.
British Martian Library
The first attempt by the empire to collate all extant Martian literary works.
War Office Building
The home of the British Army on Mars – now superseded by a similar building in Syrtis Major,
Connaught Military Hospital
Opened in 1880, the Connaught Military Hospital is the largest human hospital on Mars and
although primarily for British servicemen any human can expect to receive treatment here –
although wounded servicemen will take priority.