View Full Version : Campaign in New York

2013-06-15, 12:50 PM
I have an idea for a campaign in Manhattan, but I need some help to work it out. The campaign is about an Illithid invasion. It starts before the invasion though, and that's where I need some help. I need some elevator pitches for this campaign that don't reveal the invasion. I'd like the game to start a bit sandboxy with the players doing what they'd like to do, but I feel that a couple of elevator pitches would help to get them in the right direction.

So far I've got one idea:
- Bank heist in New York.

There's lot's of things you actually can do in Manhattan, but I kinda want to avoid ideas like this:
- Shopping in New York.

The reason for this is that I want the players to take the initiative, instead of just being reactive.

I'd also appreciate ideas on what happens after a space ship lands in Manhattan. This is what I've got so far:
- Black out. This means that the public transportation is out, as well as other things
- People trying to get out of Manhattan. Ofcourse this causes some of the worst traffic jams ever.
- Quarantine. Yeah, it looks like I'm trying to keep the heroes in Manhattan. Then again, that's where all the action is.
- Riots in the street, with some looting on the side. Yeah, some idiots will go for the tv's, the smart ones will go for food, water, guns, etc.

Man on Fire
2013-06-15, 01:18 PM
Read Devilman, it had some pretty good scenes of large scale war on the streets between demons and human military, you might find something useful there.

You know what's classic New York trope? Spacious Sewers. With aligators. And monsters.

2013-06-15, 01:25 PM
I'm not sure the players want to hunt alligators in the sewers, but thanks.

2013-06-15, 01:37 PM
At first, you'd have earth nations attempting communication and a peaceful first contact. No one wants to start a war with an unknown enemy. If it becomes clear that all the Illithids want is brain-eating and destruction, then they'd start retaliating.

Aliens attacking New York would drop the stock market like a rock before you could say "bank holiday".

If there's one island in post-9/11 USA that would be protected against air-attacks, it's Manhattan.

Once their hostile intent is clear, I imagine the place would be pretty quickly flooded by forces from the US (probably including national guard, marines, navy, etc), NATO, the UN, and other allies, provided they aren't being overwhelmed by their own invasions. You aren't going to find a lot of controversy in defending the earth from aliens.

Having them all there, the biggest armies, air forces, and navies, would make Team Earth formidable. If they decide to occupy the island (why wouldn't they?), they can probably keep relative peace. They'd probably be able to shoot down a spaceship while it's taking off, if for nothing else than the sheer volume of firepower that would be pointed at the island.

2013-06-15, 01:55 PM
You could also have them make emergency responders. Still reactive, but at least it is their job to run toward danger.

2013-06-15, 01:57 PM
Assuming you don't live in New York, a safe assumption for most people, there are some basic things to remember;

Manhattan, for the most part, is built on a grid plan; Avenues go roughly N-S, Streets go W-E, Broadway carves a diagonal path across the island, and Central Park is a big square in the center. So in general downtown is low street numbers, uptown is high street numbers, and the West and East sides are relative to central park. This breaks down in downtown Manhattan, around chinatown-ish, which was built before the grid was a "thing."

There's a lot of cars, although a lot of those a cabs because driving is a pain and parking is worse. Unless you're celebrity-level rich you're going probably going to walk or take the subway and buses just for convenience. The subways are not half as dangerous as people think they are, and the buses are nicer than the ones in a lot of burbs I've been in. Cabbies do drive like maniacs, but they're still better than New Jersey drivers.

If you haven't lived there it can be disorienting how many tall buildings there are; especially in midtown, it's easy to tell the tourists because they're always looking up. A lot of other stuff is on that scale; my dad used to work in Bloomingdales and that place is larger than a lot of small towns, not counting the employee-only areas. Bridges, tunnels, museums, theatres, statues/memorials, everything is fairly large.

There are a lot of people living in the city (last I heard was eight million, but the last census might have changed it) and at least half that many commuters who go in every day, plus tourists. People say New Yorkers are rude, but it's more that we know what our business is; you can be as weird as you want and no-one will hassle you about it, but don't expect people to run to help you out either. Famous people sometimes walk around and people generally don't bug them, and there are at least 44 trillion panhandlers per subway stop by my last count. The city isn't all that anonymous though; there are neighborhoods, people taking the same subway route will sometimes recognize each other by sight, everyone has their "best undiscovered <pizza place/dance club/clothing store/etc.> in the city."

As far as an alien invasion, Post-9/11 New York is probably the most heavily defended city in the US. There are armed soldiers walking around the airports and bus terminals openly, as well as who knows what hardware set up clandestinely, and the NYPD have spent an absolutely enormous amount of money on anti-terrorism preparations. The tunnels, bridges, docks, airports all seem pretty well guarded; if they really wanted to quarantine the island, I'd be surprised if they couldn't shut down all traffic in and out in minutes.

With the rioting/looting, remember that New York has very very strict gun control laws. Some criminals have guns, as does every cop, but normal people generally don't. That's not to say there can't be big riots, but it's a rocks/bats/molotov cocktails v state-of-the-art SWAT teams and military situation. Most looters in a riot will just steal TVs and iPods; most people aren't used to thinking about food or water as very valuable, and those with that kind of mindset generally move to the burbs anyway.

Blackouts are a nightmare. I was lucky enough to be out of town in 2003 but that sucked a big one. But don't forget, blackouts are just one thing. Droughts, heat waves, sanitation worker strikes; there're a lot of things required to keep the city running which will ruin your day if they suddenly stop.

Hope that helps!

2013-06-15, 02:00 PM
Well, yeah that's true...

I already figured out that New York wouldn't be the only place that's being invaded, but most movies in this category tend to agree that nuking aliens is what you ought to do. (Then it turns out they're impervious to nukes)

2013-06-15, 06:45 PM
My idea - start the players out as a group criminals ("young talent" brought together by a mid-level boss to prove themselves) and have their job be somehow foreshadowing/related to the invasion (and possibly help defeat it later). Some ideas:

1) steal an artifact from a corporate boss's penthouse on top of one of the skyscrapers (turns out it's a piece of alien tech that might give the players an edge over the aliens, counts down to the invasion or gives psychic flashes of the aliens to whomever holds it)
2) kidnap/rescue a mental patient from a closed hospital (he/she is having visions of the invasion, and/or picks up telepathic "leakage" from the invasion's leader, seeing from his eyes)
3) kidnap a rival gang's boss (all mafia bosses have started behaving strange lately, like they were being mind-controlled, setting up actions that seem more like terrorist strikes aimed at crippling the city's emergency response)
4) be sent on one of the missions mentioned in 3) (e.g. set up charges to take out a tunnel or bridge)
5) find the source of a new drug on the street. The drug's effect is an intensely realistic lucid dream that can be fully controlled by the drug user, and has virtually no side-effects (aside from making all addicts be extremely easy to mind-control, even by the weakest psionic).

2013-06-15, 09:52 PM
Watch Independence Day and Mars Attacks, especially Mars Attacks.
But here are a few other things to remember about Alien Invasions:

1) Alien Surveys- Alien Invaders tend to survey potential targets to attack long before invasions. This could be anything from sending out probes, to hacking surveillance systems, to abducting people and implanting them with microchips.
Illithids would probably go with the "kidnap and brainwash" idea. So, before invasion, have the PCs run into some people or things that seem "not quite right".

2) Weaponry- Unless the characters are part of some military unit, they're going to have to get weapons somehow. My personal recommendation here is to either let them "borrow" weapons form abandoned armory stores or to hijack them from the invaders.

3) Connections- This goes both for the PCs and for the Illithids. Not every person working with the invaders is going to be brainwashed. Some are going to try to make a deal with these guys. This often comes in the from of gangs who gather black market supplies or who disable certain security systems. Have your players run into some of these bozos while they're trying to steal/recover a probe the aliens need.

Hope this helps.