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Wakshaani

So, seven invaders. Where do they drop?

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So, you're wanting to start a new TORG campaign and have picked out your cosms (We'll skip on which ones they are for now) ... the next question is this: Where do they drop?

 

There are, in my eye, a handful of criteria. First and foremost is theme ... the Nile Empire needs to be in Egypt, for instance, while the Living Land could go anywhere. If the cosm has a theme it needs to match, then that's the location.

 

Next is proximity to other Lords. If you're not a good ally, dropping your bridge 301 KM from another Lord is going to start a war, lickety-split.

 

Third is proximity to defenders .... do you want to hit a hard location and overwhelm it with your initial push (For example, New York City or the Vatican) or do you want to hit an area with average defenses but a big, leechable population (Indonesa) OR do you want to attack in some sneaky, out of the way location, so that you have little resistance to deal with (Pitcairn Island or Antartica).

 

Lastly, but no less important, is for the playerbase ... if they really want to have missions in the US, but there aren't any invaders there, they'll be miffed. Equally, if they want to galavant around the globe but you insist that they stay in a three mile zone, conflict will happen.

 

SO!

 

Taking all of this into account, what seven areas seem like the best places for an invasion by the High Lords?

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Dang.

I think any choice I make will be squarely placed upon theme.

Without really getting into a nice 21 paragraph (3 para per Cosm) essay, I'm not certain I can do this justice.

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Third is proximity to defenders .... do you want to hit a hard location and overwhelm it with your initial push (For example, New York City or the Vatican) or do you want to hit an area with average defenses but a big, leechable population (Indonesa) OR do you want to attack in some sneaky, out of the way location, so that you have little resistance to deal with (Pitcairn Island or Antartica).

A corollary to this would be to think about the tactics of the High Lords; what parts of the world do they view as the ones most likely to put up a resistance and which realm(s) are best suited to neutralizing them? For example, the Gaunt Man assigned the Living Land to take out the US due to the axiomatic differences, to neutralize its high Tech and Social advantages while hitting it in its weak Spirit.

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I think the first thing you have to ask is WWHLD? What Would High Lord Do?

 

The determining factor is not whether or not a Reality belongs in a certain area of Earth, it's what is important to the HIgh Lord?

 

I would agree that The Nile Empire would end up in Egypt, but I think it is because Pharoah Mobius has an affinity for the area and his slogan is that he is "Restoring the Glory of Ancient Egypt".

 

With this in mind, what is it that is important to the High Lord in question. For Malreaux it is spreading the faith of teh Church of Redemption. With this in mind there has some debate on the boards of whether it makes more sense for The Cyberpapacy to invade a Catholic rich area or an Atheist rich area. Brazil or France is what it comes down to. Some people feel that it is easier to convince a religious person to switch to religion that is very similar to theirs and others feel it is easier to convert someone who is already adamantly oppossed to any and all religions. (I am in the Brazil camp myself). If you are playing with either the low tech version of Magna Verita or the Cyberpapacy, I think you have to carefully consider this debate and decide which works best for you.

 

For 3327 the thing he cares most about is Profit$$$. With this in mind, and the Marketplace tech axiom allowing for easy plastic surgery, I think you can make an easy arguement for the most economically viable area of the world or at least an area that 3327 feels he can turn around with his enhanced tech, to be the area that 3327 invades. I have seen some people suggest China instead of Japan, due to our current economy. One could also make a good arguement for India, or even southern Europe if the Cyberpapacy ends up in Brazil.

 

Jezreal or Kranod (depending on whether you want to have Tharkold fail its invasion of Kadandra or even invade at all) is most interested in gaining natural resources, as the world is low due to 3000 yrs of war. There is also the revenge on 3327 angle to play. Beijing or Hong Kong make better choices than Los Angeles, IMHO. There is a greater oppurtunity to expand into a high population area, greater natural resouces, and checking 3327 in China is a greater threat than checking him in California, IMHO. But if you were going to go a different route and give Tharkold a full invasion zone, with no backlash setback, you have to ask yourself would Kranod and The Gaunt Man still want Tharkold to invade Russia in 2011 or would another area be destabilizer of Earth's forces?

 

Originally the Gaunt Man had Kaah invade the U.S. as his low tech and social woudl nerf the most formidable military force Earth had to offer. Originally Uthorion and Malreaux gave Kaah intentional bad advice and had him split his forces into 3 zones. This made Kaah's forces weaker and presented him as a fool for taking bad advice from, when he himself has been invading Cosms for centuries. Remember the for formidable the villian the greater the victory when the hero defeats him. It seems to me that another way to imagine this, is to have Kaah start out with only one invaded area focused on the Eastern Land. This would make Kaah more difficult and leave the Western U.S. open if you want to have another High Lord invade the West Coast of North America. (Just spitballin here)

 

Uthorion does not seem to have any major concerns beyond those of the average HIgh Lord. He is a faithful lieutenant of The Gaunt Man. He wants to avoid the Phophecy of Towlyn Neverdeath, but other than that he wants to make The Gaunt Man and his Darkness Device happy. Destruction, high population for possibility energy, and am I missing a motivation here?

 

The Gaunt Man wants to spread Fear. He wants to be Torg. He knows that the taking of Earth's possibility energy is the quickest way to make that happen. He wants a high population dense area that will be easy to spread fear through. The jungles of Indonesia, with their high population are just the thing for that. I have also heard a suggestion for Translyvania, but never heard any rational for it, it might work for me too I just have yet to why it is a good idea.

 

Does anyone else have any other takes?

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RE: Mobius. At one point, I'd toyed with a post-war scenario where Mobius finally returns to conquer Terra (circa 1960ish). Egypt was, once again, front and center as the Pharaoh's first bridgehead. (The others being Paterksi in Brazil - with local followers who have been building a secret army since 1945, and Wu Han in China).

 

However, a secondary Nile realm in an Iconic city also makes sense. Hence all the Chicago and New York rumors in Infiniverse (despite being in the Eastern Land/Land Above), and why Mobius did finally invade Berlin.

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One thing about Realm placement that might explain certain issues with placement back in the P-Wars: "Wouldn't it be cool if...?"

Tharkold invading Los Angeles -- Demons in the City of Angels?

Definitely going for the "cool factor".

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Nippon Tech needs a dystopic urban environment. Mexico City could fit the bill. Population larger than any US city - lots of urban poor and a small percentage of upper class living in luxury. Relatively close to numerous natural resources. The Pro-Aztec faction of the canon setting (Children of Legacy) becomes a major street gang with a theme/gimmick.

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I think one of the target selections one has to consider is how much military might a nation could bring to bare in an invasion, how technically advance they're military is, and if they have nuclear weapons (since these weapons could easily uproot and destroy stelae in surface detonations, as well as kill possibility-energy-laden people). The unique thing about the Living Land was that it essentially breaks the U.S. military machine and any nuclear deterrent that could be brought against it. The Nile Empire's reality bombs defeat any conventional arms force multiplier that U.S., Europe, Israel, or the Arab States can throw at it, forcing them into a war of attrition that Dr. Mobius will can cheat at. Aysle, as well as the original plan for Magna Verita, prevented the advanced, nuclear-armed militaries of the U.K. and France from coming to bear because of their low tech axioms. A Tharkold invasion of Russia has their advanced technology and magical abilities to deal with superior numbers and, assuming the Apocularum is deployed, mobile stelae points that can easily avoid nuclear destruction. Nippon Tech has no need for such might, as they work better in economic and political subterfuge and could infiltrate anywhere at their leisure; however, China or India may be good starting points to prevent their nuclear arsenals from being used in to halt the invasion. Orrorsh, as well, can choose any densely populated area due to their low tech levels and large numbers, so China, India and/or Pakistan could be targets.

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Much of the decisions about where to place realms will depend on your desired campaign background, and how much work you are willing/have enough time to put in. People with careers and family have less time, so will likely to stick fairly close to the published material (which is, I note, entirely sane and sensible).

 

For those with the time/determination to go further, their own campaign will dictate what invasion zones make the most sense.

 

Jim's post on strategic issues is spot-on, and these are much more important than "theme." Theme is nice, but a sensible deployment strategy is better.

 

Here's my campaign background: Two alliances of three High Lords each more or less simultaneously invade Earth. An interloper, non-allied with either, invades on his own. And a nascent (or proto-) Earth High Lord has begun planting stelae and trying to find an e-Shard to corrupt to his DD.

 

Strategic considerations: large populations, populations that can be swayed to supporting the High Lord's reality, and lots of room to expand.

 

Landing Zones:

 

The Living Land was meant to take West and East coasts of America. Tharkold struck, however, and managed to replace most of the stelae in the Western Land. (Tharkold gots big beef with the Big Green.)

 

Tharkold: West Coast, USA. Living Land: East Coast, USA.

 

Aysle and the Cyberpapacy are allies, and would never land as close as they did in the official campaign. Strategically stupid.

 

Aysle: Britain and Western Europe. Cyberpapacy: Brazil.

 

The Nile Empire lands in Egypt. This is actually a very bad place to invade. The Nile river valley is reasonably populated, but everything around it is very unpopulated. the only near population centers are Israel, and north into Turkey, though this takes a lot of stelae zones to manage. Africa is frickin' huge. Take a look at Google Earth, try to map out some stelae on it, just to get a feel. He has a lot of territory to cover, and has to burn up stelae to do it.

 

(Plus Egypt's population is very hostile to pagan religions. Very. As in "Intifada 3" hostile. He'd be smarter to govern as a secular "rise of Ancient Egypt" ruler, keeping the theocratic elements on the down-low.)

 

A much better invasion spot in Africa would be coastal Nigeria-Cameroon (on the west coast of Africa), then inland and to the west, over to southern Mali and coastal Senegal.

 

In this case, Mobius' ego trumps most other considerations. (Though Egypt is, at least, far from most other High Lords.) He simply believes that these obstacles are trivial, to one of his obvious intellectual superiority.

 

Brittania Mechanika (Victoriana Steampulp) lands in India. (*Huge* population, many of whom can be swayed to supporting the Socialist government of the invader.)

 

The interloper is Kadandra, my CyberPulp reality. They are here to get blood from Tharkold, so land in Mexico.

 

The nascent Core Earth High Lord starts his realm in Hong Kong, and expands into China proper, forming the realm of Sino Tech. ("Nippon Tech" in China.)

 

I'm using Google Earth to map my Stelae zones (although it has some fiddly issues with accuracy, and I can't find out how to make a triangle with 300 mi sides that I can freely rotate.) One of the benefits of GE is not only being able to map the globe, but having a global population overlay. I can see relative population densities, in color. It makes planning an invasion much easier.

Edited by Apieros

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One thing about Realm placement that might explain certain issues with placement back in the P-Wars: "Wouldn't it be cool if...?"

Tharkold invading Los Angeles -- Demons in the City of Angels?

Definitely going for the "cool factor".

 

This. Questions of strategy are a distant second to What Would Be Awesome. I think that the juxtapositions presented by the original realms are a great source of this kind of coolness - the designers got it right in many ways. That said, it might be cool to have Orrorsh descend on Japan or other parts of the Far East - look at The Ring to see a great take on Japanese horror (although to riff on the colonial elements of Orrorsh, Iraq or Afghanistan might be more interesting choices, the latter moreso because of the British history there). I've always like the idea of the Cyberpapacy or Tharkold in the sprawling cities and slums of Brazil or Mexico. And after seeing District 9, dropping the Space Gods in South Africa would be an intriguing choice. For all its lack of juxtaposition, I still think that Aysle in Europe is the best choice, but I agree with those who would extend it further across north and western Europe. An alternative might be to have Aylse in Russia or India - there are very strong and recognisable folklore/mythic elements there that could replace the traditional post-Tolkien tropes of the current cosm.

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This. Questions of strategy are a distant second to What Would Be Awesome.

I was actually inspired by the "Big Book of Awesome" [AKA DUDES OF LEGEND by White Wolf/CCP]

 

I think that the juxtapositions presented by the original realms are a great source of this kind of coolness - the designers got it right in many ways. That said, it might be cool to have Orrorsh descend on Japan or other parts of the Far East - look at The Ring to see a great take on Japanese horror (although to riff on the colonial elements of Orrorsh, Iraq or Afghanistan might be more interesting choices, the latter moreso because of the British history there). I've always like the idea of the Cyberpapacy or Tharkold in the sprawling cities and slums of Brazil or Mexico. And after seeing District 9, dropping the Space Gods in South Africa would be an intriguing choice. For all its lack of juxtaposition, I still think that Aysle in Europe is the best choice, but I agree with those who would extend it further across north and western Europe. An alternative might be to have Aylse in Russia or India - there are very strong and recognisable folklore/mythic elements there that could replace the traditional post-Tolkien tropes of the current cosm.

I go almost from a close angle to those ideas.

 

Aysle = Haiti/Bahamas/Caribbean Islands

It miight push the boundries of Tech 15 to bring a "Pirates of the Caribbean" feel to things, but I think I like it.

 

 

 

Orrorsh = India

"Passive resistance against Orrorh's Horrors? Yes, please try it."

India has its own history with England.

A history that is a large part of the mystique of the 1890s victorian society from which Orrorsh's Gaea originates in part.

 

 

Tharkold = Russia

Russian cultural xenophobia is in ways, to my (mostly amatuerish) grasp of their history, comparable to the image of the Race on Tharkold.

Lines such as "Moscow has burned six times" or such which reflect their williness to lose a city to win a war.

There is not much glory in Russian military ballads, instead they seem to focus on how the person of the song will be just one more battlefield death.

Just imagine American soldiers composing songs about how their Humvee will eventually roll over an IED, killing them all -- and taking greater joy in service and greater dedication to fight from the song as well.

I sure as hell have a hard time picturing that.

But in Russia, that's part of their culture.

(Heck, Tharkold was SUPPOSED to be in Russia. It was in the book that Russia was their first attempt at invading.)

Edited by skeloric

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Dang.

I think any choice I make will be squarely placed upon theme.

Without really getting into a nice 21 paragraph (3 para per Cosm) essay, I'm not certain I can do this justice.

 

Feel free to knock it out. :)

 

For me, our High Lord game a year or three back was brimming with some nice notions. I confess to some vanity in that I absolutely fell in love with Orrosh sweeping into Haiti, slowly sucking in the island chains while looking for tendrils to extend into Mexico, South America, Florida, and, of course, New Orleans. Long-term expansion plans included Iceland (there was a reason!) and Nigeria.

 

Aysle moved out of the UK and into Prague also worked fantasticly well. Big ups for that idea, and having them gradually roll west while grimly glancing east and thinking about taking Moscow was downright keen.

 

The CYberpapcy ... France just *works*, and extending into Spain is a no-brainer, but a push into South America also makes a ton of sense ... and crossing eventual swords with the Orrorshian horrors also makes sense.

 

The Living Land invading the US is a given. It's perfect, but, I'd avoid Khah being used as an idiot by having him focus on the East Coast alone. He might be handy to open a second front somewhere (Japan? China? India?) that had some good technological strength.

 

The Nile goes in Egypt. It simply *has* to. A small section dropped into the US would make the playerbase happy... I use "Chi-Cairo" personally, where Chicago gets co-opted by a small triangle and run by the Red Hand. He seems the proper level of gangster-liscious to make it work.

 

This leaves a gaping hole in SE asia, however. China as an afterthought, and India overlooked entirely, just doesn't sit well with me, while Indonesia and Japan are two areas with amazing bodies per square mile numbers. We need *something* down there, but I can't think of anything that really works. I guess if we wound up with a new cosm, that'd be where it happens. (Perhaps a certain "Oriental Mastermind" that works for Moebius could be given his own "Mandarin China" Darkness Device, complete with ghosts, crazy martial arts, and so on, to replace Nippon Tech? But, that's a whole other discussion.)

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Feel free to knock it out. :)

 

For me, our High Lord game a year or three back was brimming with some nice notions. I confess to some vanity in that I absolutely fell in love with Orrosh sweeping into Haiti, slowly sucking in the island chains while looking for tendrils to extend into Mexico, South America, Florida, and, of course, New Orleans.

Man, this is awesome. Voodoo Caribbean horror. That's just perfect. Orrorsh in the Caribbean or Orrorsh in India - which to choose? Love both far more than the published version, to be honest!

 

 

Aysle moved out of the UK and into Prague also worked fantasticly well. Big ups for that idea, and having them gradually roll west while grimly glancing east and thinking about taking Moscow was downright keen.

Very cool. For me Aylse does work best with a European/UK slant, but giving it that east-European angle throws a whole darker, almost WFRP feel into the mix. Nice.

 

Agree with your other points too. There are almost too many good real-world locations and not enough official cosms, heh heh.

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Haiti worked quite well, since it already had history of horrors ... I went ahead and renamed it "Hisponola", drew on the nightmarish history of COlumbus' Second Voyage (Read up on that sometime, it'll break your heart), and redressed the Gaunt Man as Baron Samedi, which gave him a bit more of a festive energy, but still worked. Haitians were used to his sort of dispotic rule, thanks to Papa Doc and Baby Doc, while the other half of the island ... not so much. He used that half as a killing field, planting gospog like mad. Once he had enough forces on hand, he marched a bunch underwater to Cuba, to take over that island as well.

 

I had him drop his second bridge into Hawaii, which ... didn't go very well. (Darn Pearl Harbor!) ... the Big Island was intended to serve as the main gospog factory overall, since it has a great environment, rich soil, a 365 growing season, and is very much out and away from where anyone could just stumble onto things.

 

Snaking up to FLorida, via the Bermuda Triangle, was a nice angle as well.

 

Overall, my Gaunt Man was targeting the weakest populations and small countries that he could quickly subjigate, rather than large countries that would continue to put up a fight because a chunk was gone but the rest was still around (For example, the Living Land and teh US of A duking it out.) ... this let him set up nice fear harvests, get himself entrenched in way sthat made him *really* hard to dislodge, and let the other invaders take the brunt of Core Earth's counter attacking strength.

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Samedi works well for him. And "Lord Salsbury" demonstrates a history of adopting a local guise to further his needs.

 

Absolutely. It was just one of his (many, many) disguises. The long term goal included taking over Iceland in order to test some diabolic machines far from human observation (Seriously, islands that modern planes and ships couldn't travel to was an *amazing* source of privacy, doubly-so when he chose islands, like Hawaii, that were far away from the "main world". It'd be one thing to drop into Sicily, for instance, but take over Easter Island and it might not be discovered for years!) ... he'd also planned on snatching some of the New England coast from under the other High Lords' eyes (HP Lovecraft's area, in point of fact), and, for his Grand Finale, around the 5th year of the war, when he'd taken all of the possibility energy that he could gather, he would have used his Iceland base to test fire a volcano machine, distract people by firing up Hawaii, and then his TRUE goal, where he'd sat up a super-hidden area that was mixed, rather than dominant or even pure, was to erupt the super volcano of Yellowstone (Which, you may recall, is where his base was located in the Orroshian realm) and end all life on Core Earth.

 

The game we ran here never got that far, mind you, but it was the ultimate goal.

 

(The game ended early due to a rule misunderstanding on my part! I was using the typical High Lord rules, where you gained 2-3 Possibilities per 300 kmtriangle, as long as at least 10,000 people were functioning in it. The GM was, instead, awarding possibilities based on the population in each area with no cap. Thus, the player who invaded India, and had a billion people feeding him energy, won in no time. But, that's neither here nor there.)

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