|Martian Overlord from the Killraven comics|
H.G. Wells had it partly right. The last invasion failed. Bacteria were indeed the proximate cause of the invasion's failure. But there is more to the story.
The Old Martians had been to Earth many times before. They reproduce by budding, and have viewed each successive invasion of Earth as a civilizational bud off the body of their ancient civilization. A natural process.
The problem with the last invasion was that the scientist-soldiers from the Fourth Planet had been away from Earth for many generations - since the dawn of history, in fact. After Earth's last Ice Age, internecine struggles among the polities of the Old Martians, and the disintegration of Mars' ancient canal system, had diverted the Old Martians' attention to the local problems of food, water, and survival. Civilization collapsed as the Old Martians' slavefodder rebelled. The rebel slaves won, establishing the barbaric city states among the ruins of the Old Martians' vast cities and temples. The Great Rebellion happened while the Sumerians ruled the Land Between Two Rivers on distant Earth. The Old Martians did not return to Earth until the time of Wells.
But the Old Martians did not die out. They found havens below the surface of Mars and used their remaining slavefodder and machines build new havens in the world below the Mars' surface. But the long time required rebuilding their (albeit now subterranean) civilization on Mars meant the Old Martians could not mount new expeditions to Earth for many generations. This isolation reduced the Old Martian's immunity, making them more vulnerable to our diseases. When they returned to Earth in the Wells era, disaster struck. All the Old Martian invaders died.
Scientists to the last bud, the Old Martians back home observed the defeat from afar. They dissected their defeat dispassionately (as they are ever wont to do), reviewing every detail meticulously and devising new stratagems to reverse their defeat. When they returned to Earth in the 21st Century, the Old Martians brought new immune systems with them: immunological prostheses which protected them from Earth diseases, as well as from the numerous chemical and biological weapons that humans had developed after the last invasion.
Once again the invaders from Fourth Planet took their place at the apex of the food chain.
- High Concept: A cold and dispassionate intellect
- Trouble: Exemplar of a dying race
- Aspect: Tentacled connoisseur of human flesh
- Aspect: Expert craftsmen of machines
- Aspect: Dependent on machines and servants
- Careful: +2
- Clever: +3
- Flashy: +1
- Forceful: +1
- Quick: +0
- Sneaky: +2
- A Writhing Mass of Tentacles - +2 to Flashy Approach to terrorize slavefodder and other humans
- Expert Pilot - +2 to Quick Approach to operate tripods or other suitable vehicles
- Heirs to a Decadent Science - Once per session, an Old Martian may invent a technological marvel based on their mastery of ancient sciences.
- Immunological Prosthesis - +2 to Forceful Approach to resist pathogens and poisons