Sunday, February 26, 2012

Campaign Setting: Tripods & Titans

July, 1902:  A month after the first landing of the Martian invasion, the war enters into its second phase.

It has been a week since the Martians (so named for the world where they set up their advance bases before invading Earth - their actual homeworld is in another solar system) suffered the results of terrestrial viruses.  Some of the Martians die as a result, although the alien invaders did manage to inoculate themselves with their advanced science before their numbers were further reduced.  However, in their panic during the hours that they thought themselves to be eradicated, the Martians released a deadly virus of their own design onto the landscape, targeting the major cities of the globe that the aliens were now occupying, designed to wipe out the human race in retaliation.  Of those humans infected, the vast majority of them do indeed die, their bodies horribly mutated as death overcomes them.  A small percentage of those infected also also mutated, their bodies becoming horribly twisted, deformed and grotesque, but they somehow manage to survive (although many would say that survival is no kindness).

Of the survivors, a very small percentage are not changed  in terms of appearance, but rather become something perhaps more than merely human.  The reports that one hears is astounding, but there are enough of them from credible sources that they can not be dismissed out of hand: men (and women) who can fly, or display superhuman feats of strength, or create lightning from their bare hands, or read the thoughts of other humans, or any other number of remarkable and terrifying abilities.  These 'titans' (as some have dubbed them) are not powerful enough to to change things individually, even given their unique talents, and many have died under the heat rays and the black smoke of the Martian tripods.  However, there are reports of some of these titans banding together, each using their individual talents as part of a greater whole.  Most notably, a group of a half-dozen of these titans managed to take down and destroy one of the alien tripods in these streets of London recently.

Of course, given human nature, not all of these titans are dedicated to fighting the alien invaders.  Some are merely interested in their own survival and well-being, and avoid any contact with the Martians, using their abilities to lord over other humans for their relative comfort.   Even worse are those titans who have sided with the Martians, along with the other human quislings* who have thrown in with the invaders in hopes of retaining or achieving some degree of power over their fellow human beings.  Perhaps the worst of these quislings are the 'keepers', scientists who have thrown in with the Martians so as to learn more of the unearthly science of the aliens.

As the Martians have settled in, they now begin a number of scientific experiments, perhaps for their own amusement, which also seem to be designed to help keep humanity in line, and to also counter the threat poised by the titans.  There are rumors of Martians projecting their thoughts into human bodies, so that they may walk among the conquered undetected.  There are whispers of captured humans being experimented on in hopes of creating a Martian-human hybrid that can more easily cope with Terran gravity.  And perhaps most disturbing of all, there seems to be evidence of the Martians mutating various animals and giving them intelligence so as to act as ground soldiers against the human resistance.  The most notable of these reports come out of the dark continent of Africa, where it seems the Martians are creating a new breed of ape: apes that can speak human tongues, apes that can use tools and fire guns, apes that can organize into armies for their Martian masters, apes that hate human beings.

(Inspirations: War of the Worlds, Wild Cards, Planet of the Apes, Killraven)

*yes, I know 'quisling' isn't a term used in WOTW, and in fact would not become a word for traitor until WWII - I'm using it here anyways, so deal with it.

1 comment:

  1. Nice genre mix. Would be interesting to try this out.