Background/History: When the Martians invaded London, Albert Place, an artilleryman in the Royal Army, stood by his gun. Directing the firing of the cannon, he kept his men at their posts as the Heat Ray sought out other emplaced weapons, destroying men and machines alike. Then the Fighting Machines unleashed the now-dreaded Black Dust, and Albert's men fell, choking and gasping for air. He fell as well, coughing and hacking, but still alive. Crumpled next his howitzer, Albert watched the Fighting Machines advance, wading through the smoke and Dust effortlessly, their Heat Rays cutting down anything that moved. Albert, driven to the edge of despair at the sight of the forces of the great and noble British Empire falling like chaff to the Martians, with London sure to follow, went a little mad.
Unable to load and fire the howitzer fast enough, Albert settled for simply throwing anything at hand at the oncoming fighting machine—be it rocks, a length of splintered log, a broken carriage wheel, or even a 12 pound shell. While he didn't seem to realize just what he was doing at the time—hurling howitzer shells with equal force and greater accuracy as the gun at this side, the War Machine did. It paused, pivoted, and unleashed its Heat Ray, reducing the cannon and its carriage to fragments and sending Albert flying into a copse of trees, where he spent the rest of the night, finally coming to his senses the following morning. Finding himself alive in a field of the dead, Albert did the only thing he could do—fled south to London, hoping to find some trace of human resistance and continue the fight.
Albert Place, now dubbed "Grenadier" in recognition of his superhuman throwing ability, has joined forces with Britannic, Donnybrook, Nike, Stella Steampipe, and the rest of the England's newfound "super-men" in fighting the Martian invasion. While strong enough in hand-to-hand combat, his throwing ability makes him for more suitable in a fire support role, and he can claim the destruction of a Martian Scout Machine, brought down with the well-aimed throw of a 12-Pound Cannon shell.
Personality/Motivation: Albert Place is a soldier through-and-through. In a world turned upside down, in which horrid jellyfish-like creatures drink human blood while striding across the green fields of England, in which a woman has proven to be smarter than the entire Royal Academy of Science, in which another woman scandalously wears an indecently tight costume, in which men can fly as birds... his best hope of maintaining some sense of the proper order of things is to follow his training, to obey his superiors, and be a good soldier. Thus, Albert fights to defend the Empire and its people, in that order. He realizes that failure is not an option and if England falls the rest of the world will follow. However, Albert also feels that England will prevail, just as it has for centuries, no matter how strange this new foe may be. This may prove to be his doing, however, as the times are changing, and he'd best change with them, or find that a "stiff upper lip" will mean nothing in the face of new technologies being fielded by men and Martians alike.
Quote: "Cry God for Victoria, England and Saint George!"
Powers/Tactics: Like many of the people changed by the Black Dust, Grenadier possesses superhuman levels of strength, agility, and endurance. He is somewhat invulnerable, as well, surviving a number of close-range explosions with minor wounds at best. His most important ability, at least as far as the Army is concerned, is an almost supernatural skill a throwing. Anything Grenadier gets his hands on can be hurled at lethal velocities, even something as simple as a small rock. The Army has experimented with simple solid cannon shells as a weapon for Grenadier. They are light enough to get the desired range, and heavy enough to have the proper impact. However, in a pinch, Grenadier will hurl anything solid enough and heavy enough to do damage, from the barrel of a wrecked artillery piece to a solid chunk of paving stone.
Appearance: Grenadier is 5'10" in height—tall for his time—with a muscular, but trim build. He keeps his hair and mustache trimmed smartly, and tries to dress as befitting a officer in the British Army. His costume is a modified military uniform, complete with sidearm and short sword. The coat is scarlet with black cuffs and collar, a white belt, and dark blue pants with a red stripe up the side tucked into knee-high boots. Borrowing an idea from Britannic, Grenadier has had the Union Jack sewn on the breast of his jacket.
Designer's Notes: This character was created for John R. Ivicek's War of the Worlds: Champions campaign setting. The idea being the Martian's Black Dust creates super humans out of a very small percentage of its victims (somewhat akin to the concept behind Wild Cards). Several people have said Grenadier has a very strong Godlike feel, which I'm pleased to hear, as Godlike had a strong influence on his design.
(Character sheet created by Michael Surbrook)