The Ice Warriors

The Ice Warriors (Archons)

Doctor Who (2010)

The Ice Warriors and Ice Lords were a race of reptilian humanoids from the planet Mars, described by the Eleventh Doctor as biomechanoid cyborgs. They were also known as native Martians and simply Martians but at times were given the derogatory name of Greenies.


Doctor Who (2010) - 7x09-Cold War - The Ice Warrior

The Ice Warrior (7×09 – Cold War)

Adult, fully armoured Ice Warriors were large, imposing reptilian humanoids, up to seven feet tall. Unarmoured, they had flattened, scaly faces with sharp fangs and thin green tongues.  They had either five or three fingers, tipped with sharp claws. At least some Ice Warriors had large black eyes, though Skaldak had red eyes.

They had skeletons much like humans, though with flatter skulls and wider eye sockets. Females were built more slightly than males, and had spiny dorsal crests which were sexually attractive in a manner analogous to the breasts of a human female.

They preferred cold climates and could be killed by extreme heat, though small fires were no more dangerous to them than a human. Due to differences in atmosphere and gravity, in Earth-like environments, Ice Warriors perpetually wheezed and tended to move slowly, though they could move fast when needed. They spoke in a drawn-out hiss.

Ice Warriors lived a long time. Some Martians in 1997 had been alive when Shakespeare was writing his plays. The typical lifespan of an Ice Warrior was three hundred Earth years. They had a complicated genetic structure and were herbivores.


The planetary identification glyph of the Martians was a triangle overlaid with a lightning bolt with an artificial burning sun at its centre.


Ice Warriors had a strong sense of personal honour. After the Third Doctor saved the life of the Ice Lord Izlyr, he felt obligated to help the Doctor escape. Ice Warriors disliked lying, though they would do so when necessary. They believed that a victim of murder would not rest in peace until their killer had atoned for the crime. When challenged to a ritual blood duel, an Ice Warrior would spit at an opponent’s face. Terrorism was anathema. An Ice Warrior motto was “Attack one of us, attack all of us”. Ice Warriors considered it incredibly dishonourable to remove their armour, and thus only removed it under the most extreme circumstances. Even before becoming warriors, the Martian species were seldom seen outside their armour, or otherwise wore similar-looking shells. The Fifth Doctor immediately identified a Martian from this time period as an Ice Warrior, even before he knew he was on Mars, while the Eleventh Doctor later claimed he never saw a Martian outside of their armour.

The strict code of honour came from the early Martians, before they became a warrior species and their planet began dying. At that time they only hunted for food and avoided physically fighting with one another. In fact, the word “warrior” did not exist in that era. Their belief in honour was reflected in a “gift economy”, a system in which people did not pay for things but instead were given freely and gave something in return. In these early years, the Martians were more involved in the arts and crafts rather than warfare. They began to change after disastrous climatic changes. They were also a proud people who refused to admit a problem existed.


Many of the Ice Warrior myths and legends originated in the Primal Wars. They worshipped the Osirians Oras and Claatris (the god of war). They also worshipped Tuburr, who was thought to be the one who made the Ice Warriors into warriors. In the early years of Ice Warrior civilisation, the young would be sent to the surface as a ritual trial of endurance. If they survived, they took the oath of Tuburr and tried to pull the Sword of Tuburr from a brazier, after which they were considered adults. Martian law forbade any forging of copies of the holy Sword.

A typical Ice Lord funerals involved cremations, but for a short time in their history they froze the bodies in coffin-sized blocks of ice – a symbol of wealth on the water-scarce planet – and sealed them in crystal spires, a practice inspired by the Osirians. Tomb raiding was punished by summary execution and territorial reparations by the raider’s clan. Martian tombs, pyramids and burial of the dead was similar to Egyptian civilisation, suggesting that both were influenced by the Osirian race. During funeral rites, the deceased wore metallic clothes known as warding shrouds to protect them before the cremation.


Ice Warriors lived in clans and had a hereditary caste system. Fathers passed on land to their adult sons. Advancement in the hierarchy was decided on merit and skill. The skill of cooking was highly prized. This feudal way of life continued until the era of the Galactic Federation. At the start of Ice Warrior culture, conflicts were along clan lines, and struggles for power between different families became more common. When the Eighth Doctor and Stacy came to Mars in this time, they became involved in a fight between the Balazarus Mons and Darsus Mons families.

Known clans include:

  • Argyre clan
  • Thaumasia clan
  • Erythraeum clan
  • Tenssor clan

Marriages were short affairs, made when the participants were young and intended to preserve bloodlines of clans. Women and family were sacred, though women sometimes ate their young. When a marriage bond was broken, it was called Fass-jul-Aqq.

Much as in ancient Rome, it was not unusual to find graffiti scratched onto walls, often virility symbols young males used to attract females. Martian settlements were typically known as “nests”, a term that was extended to military installations. At the centre of a nest was a room called the Queen’s Chamber. Military nests were circular, built around a single spiral passageway referred to as Xssixss, the mouth of which was the only entrance or exit.

The Ice Warriors prided beauty and aesthetics above everything else except for those items related to war. The Ice Warriors were not known for their sense of humour. Nevertheless, Bernice Summerfield wrote a thesis on that very subject and knew at least one “hilarious” Martian joke. In fact, Martian humour was occasionally elusive to humans and most of it was lost in translation.

By the time of the Federation, King Peladon considered the term “Ice Warrior” — which “many” still referred to them as — “a xenophobic throwback to a violent heritage”, but also knew that this heritage was one “some sought to resurrect”.



Doctor Who (2010) - 7x09 - Cold War - Ice Warrior Armour
Ice Warrior Armour (7×09 – Cold War)
[ The Ice Warrior armour represents the reptilian scaled skin ]

Ice Warriors almost always wore some form of “bio-armour” that matched their skin. This included a half-face helmet and a red blast-screen over each eye. Ice Warrior nobility (“Ice Lords”) wore light armour with sleek, bullet-shaped, metallic helmets, simple breastplate and cape. An Ice Marshall’s helmet contained circuitry beneath its surface and acted as an additional nervous system for its wearer after it bonded with the cranium. Common warriors had much heavier and bulkier, intricately patterned. full-body armour, and stubby helmets (some designs of which also placed blast screens over the ears).

Their exoskeletal armour melded with the body of their wearer and an Ice Warrior was described as being one with their armour. This armour consisted of carapaces and helmets grown in nutrient tanks and cybernetically augmented to provide the wearer with increased strength, reaction time, spectral sensitivity and biological efficiency. It also gave them a direct link to the Martian battle net. Finally, it boosted the efficiency of their waste management systems. The armour technology included locked-sequence communicators and induced muscular hydraulics. The armour was tough enough to protect them from a swing of an axe.  This armour could also be remotely controlled with sonic technology.

By the late 26th century, some sects of Ice Warriors had undergone extensive cybernetic alteration. An implant at the base of the brain connected their armour directly to their nervous systems, making it a part of their physical makeup. These Ice Warriors also had artificial membranes inside their throats, allowing them to filter out gases not necessary for their survival.

The armour was chiefly designed to protect the wearer from extreme cold; however, a rapid drop in temperature could overwhelm its systems.


Though Ice Warriors had small sonic weapons in the wrist of their armour as a personal defence weapon, as well as making use of sonic disruptors as handheld firearms, they tended to use rifles and portable artillery that utilised sonic instead of kinetic or energy damage. They also made use of sonic grenades that operated by emitting a sonic impulse which caused a violent implosion of the eardrums of anyone within the vicinity of the blast radius. Their sonic guns could be disrupted by the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver, although it used up a lot of power. To counter this problem, the Ice Warriors used swords and battle axes.

They also used genetically-engineered weapons, such as a bacteriological weapon based on Martian sleeping fever, as well as the insidious Red Death which was programmed to target individuals with a specific DNA pattern.

During the 22nd century Dalek invasion, the Ice Warriors had a superweapon named the GodEngine, built from technology left over by the Osirians, god-like visitors to Mars long before. The GodEngine could destroy a star by making it go supernova; its deployment was prevented by the Seventh Doctor.


The Ice Warriors were capable of engineering planetary ecosystems to better suit their needs; from their perspective the process was known as “aresforming”. They could deploy seeds on a planet which altered the environment and made it an icy world. Their vessels were equipped with munitions that could knock a planet out of its orbit.


Martian rockets had remained unchanged for a hundred thousand years and followed the same technological development of tens of thousands of worlds in the galaxy. One of the reasons why the Martians had never conquered their solar system or indeed the rest of the galaxy was scarcity of resources. Their warships used a propulsion system based on electromagnetism that emitted no heat and was capable of playing havoc with primitive guidance systems.

On their homeworld of Mars, the Ice Warriors used air cars.


Martians prided themselves on secrecy. They made use of Chameleon fields to hide certain locations. The Ice Warriors made use of this advanced form of solid holography to pack out their fleets.

They bio-engineered a type of fungus for use as a form of illumination.

A notable interrogation tool designed specifically for use on humans was the brain-rack. It created artificial neural pathways in the human mind which dominated the existing thought processes and ultimately ensured obedience in the subject. These machines were said to have no harmful side effects and the process wore off after a week or so when the artificial engrammes began to decay and the natural pathways reasserted themselves. Seen as a potential brainwashing tool, the brain-rack also increasing learning rates by three hundred percent.



  1. 5×03 – The Ice Warriors (1967)
  2. 6×05 – The Seeds of Death (1969)
  3. 9×02 – The Curse of Peladon (1972)
  4. 11×04 – The Monster of Peladon (1974)


  1. 7×09 – Cold War (2013)

Archons - Doctor Who (2010) - 7x09-Cold War - The Ice Warriors


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