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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    The Mormegil's Avatar

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    Default [Any] How to conquer the world

    I've got a problem with my new campaign. I'm the DM, and the setting is a post-Apocalyptic world. See Rifts for the main idea (magic energy unleashed, natural and supernatural disasters...), but in a fantasy world instead of our beloved Earth.
    My players want to conquer the world. Well, not now (they are still level 1...), but they are working towards that goal and therefore that's where the campaign is going. With a couple twists, maybe, but in the end they should be able to do it.

    Now, my problem is a simple one: how do you conquer a world?

    They are starting with... well, nothing. I can give you details if you need.
    Useless arcane powers are better than no arcane powers!

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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    It really depends on how you want to go about it. The two simplest are probably big nuke/artifact/thing other people can't realistically oppose and then forcing them to acquiese to your control, or building an army slowly but surely and then conquering people as you go. You could also manipulate a current regime and take control, work through merit to get elected to the position, and probably a hojillion I'm not even thinking of. But initial conditions are usually pretty important.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    Well tha main problem is with the post-apoc setting, as most people would be scattered everywhere and therefore hard to conquer.

    Though if you wanted to follow a sort of linear progression and assuming there are power groups like in settings such as Fallout, the players can start off trying to work their way into one, and then when they take over one they begin to subvert or conquer the next.

    Failing that they could always try to create somekind of mass mind control.

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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    The two simplest are probably big nuke/artifact/thing other people can't realistically oppose and then forcing them to acquiese to your control, or building an army slowly but surely and then conquering people as you go.
    They don't want to force the world under their dominion. They want to build the "perfect nation". So compelling people under their dominion with an artifact won't really work. They need something stable.
    The part about building an army is ok, but there are two problems: first, the setting is post-Apocalyptic, which means that it's not easy to just "conquer" the world, nor to "build" an army. The second problem is that I've got no clue about how to DM such a thing...

    You could also manipulate a current regime and take control, work through merit to get elected to the position, and probably a hojillion I'm not even thinking of. But initial conditions are usually pretty important.
    There's no real "regime" right now, since the world was pretty much destroyed in the past weeks or so...
    So this won't work.

    Though if you wanted to follow a sort of linear progression and assuming there are power groups like in settings such as Fallout, the players can start off trying to work their way into one, and then when they take over one they begin to subvert or conquer the next.
    The setting is still unclear about this (read: I haven't yet decided) so if it helps, I could create power groups. But then? What would you do to conquer the world in such a situation?

    Failing that they could always try to create somekind of mass mind control.
    I strongly dislike such a solution.
    Useless arcane powers are better than no arcane powers!

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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    Quote Originally Posted by The Mormegil View Post
    They don't want to force the world under their dominion. They want to build the "perfect nation". So compelling people under their dominion with an artifact won't really work. They need something stable.
    The part about building an army is ok, but there are two problems: first, the setting is post-Apocalyptic, which means that it's not easy to just "conquer" the world, nor to "build" an army. The second problem is that I've got no clue about how to DM such a thing...
    That makes it a whol lot easier. If you don't have to conquer the world you can just hole up in some inaccessable place and build a small city that's self sustaining (not a bad idea in general in a post appoc setting). After that you just start cranking your self-sustaining, breeding and education/research for a few generations while everyone else wallows in the dark. bing, nice little utopia grows from a hidden underdark/mountaintop city into a small expansionist nation into a huge expansionist empire on the basis of there being several genereations of weapons ahead of their opposite numbers. The timy little island of Britain ruled a quarter of the globe on the basis of this one, ok it didn't last but that's mostly because other people caught up and started playing the same game.
    Give them bread and circusses and the plebs wont rise against you. Give adventurers dungeons and trapped chests and they won't waste time looking to ransack your home and kill your wife.

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    Well, first off you should define why and how the power groups in your world hold their power. In a post-apoc setting that is usually access to a scarce resource - water, food, women, energy (electricity or magic or so). By distributing this to people who lack it, a group can gain control over other people, who help this group conquer more resources and thus more power.

    You could just have your characters come across such a scarce resource. People will flock to them because they want what they have. Of course, some will try to take it by force rather than submit - a perfect adventure. Once their control over their dependents is firmly established, they can be the ones robbing others of their control - preferably those others should be manipulative bastards who oppress their subordinates. As their zone of control expands, other problems will crop up, such as who to trust with those areas they cannot run themselves, how to integrate people into a coherent whole without continually depending on scarcity and so on.

    DMing this should not be so different from any other campaign. Your heroes quest not for treasure but for whatever resource their power is built on, raiding petrol stores or wells instead of dungeons.
    The one issue that arises is always the same: give people power, and they will delegate dangerous work. That is just logical, but may take the tension out of your campaign. I'd solve this by focusing on the internal issues, once your heroes reach this level. They must ferret out traitors, avoid attempts at usurping their power, and generally stay on their toes around the people closest to them.

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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    Well, the doomsday approach is usually used to initially garner a large following, and then you actually win them over to your side, whether via good leadership or the 1984 mindrape method. Considering the setting though, they might want to just pick up random stragglers, set up some kind of city/semblance of civilization, and get people to come to them until they're at the point they can claim territory effectively.

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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    Another thing to look at would be something along the lines of the Leadership feat from D&D, with modifications for your setting. Basically, you build up a group of followers, develop a stronghold (see Mostlyharmful's suggestion), and go from there. If they don't want to force the issue, but want people to want to join them, then they need something to offer that nobody else has. In a setting like yours, safety, food, shelter, and other basic things should be a good starting point. Build a small settlement, and let it grow. Create a "government" (start out small), and build from there. As more people come in, the government will have to change to adapt to the population (of course), but if your group is the one starting it out, they should be at the top of the pecking order from the get-go making "ruling the world" (conquering probably isn't the best word) more realistic and accessible. Again, start small (they are level 1), build a following and let it grow from there. Your "campaign" will probably end up more as a knife-and-dagger / diplomatic campaign as opposed to the generic I-go-hit-____-in-the-face campaign. But it can be fun too. Good luck, and be sure to let us know how it turns out.

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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    Quote Originally Posted by mostlyharmful View Post
    That makes it a whol lot easier. If you don't have to conquer the world you can just hole up in some inaccessable place and build a small city that's self sustaining (not a bad idea in general in a post appoc setting). After that you just start cranking your self-sustaining, breeding and education/research for a few generations while everyone else wallows in the dark. bing, nice little utopia grows from a hidden underdark/mountaintop city into a small expansionist nation into a huge expansionist empire on the basis of there being several genereations of weapons ahead of their opposite numbers. The timy little island of Britain ruled a quarter of the globe on the basis of this one, ok it didn't last but that's mostly because other people caught up and started playing the same game.
    They want the whole world to be part of this perfect society...

    Quote Originally Posted by Halaster, Crazy Scott View Post
    Things about managing resources.
    This sounds like a rather strange campaign, even by my standards. I might use this. Thanks a lot, and keep them coming!
    Useless arcane powers are better than no arcane powers!

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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    Quote Originally Posted by The Mormegil View Post
    They want the whole world to be part of this perfect society...
    'Yes, and I'd like to be the king of all Londinium and wear a shiny hat.' What they want and what they can achieve at level 1 are two very different kettles of post appocalyptic zombie infestations. All I'm saying is start small and work up, think longterm and invest. If you've got ultimate world cracking power just lying around then sure, go for it but if you're throwing around sleep and glitterdust don't expect them to take seriously that they can conquer the world.
    Give them bread and circusses and the plebs wont rise against you. Give adventurers dungeons and trapped chests and they won't waste time looking to ransack your home and kill your wife.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    Quote Originally Posted by mostlyharmful View Post
    If you've got ultimate world cracking power just lying around then sure, go for it but if you're throwing around sleep and glitterdust don't expect me, the DM, to take seriously that you, the PCs, can conquer the world.
    So basically you are suggesting to quit the campaign and start another one? No, thanks. I'd rather find a way to make it work. I don't care if they'll need to invest the first 25 levels of their progression in acquiring power, but if you think they should, then list it in your plan as step 1.

    So far we had:
    1) Search for a resource that people lack, such as food, water or protection.
    2) Let people come to you attracted by that rescource, then start ruling them.
    3) Start your conquest on a larger scale.
    Useless arcane powers are better than no arcane powers!

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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    Quote Originally Posted by The Mormegil View Post
    They want the whole world to be part of this perfect society...
    Yeah. Umm... perfect societies can't work that way. There's *aways* sects that wants to secede (or take over and do it their way, instead) and try violence to do it. If you take the entire world (and thus, rule out the option of exiling such groups), you will either need to forcibly get rid of such sects, or find a way to mind-control them. Neither of which really works out to being a "perfect society" by most definitions.
    Of course, by the time I finish this post, it will already be obsolete. C'est la vie.

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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack_Simth View Post
    Yeah. Umm... perfect societies can't work that way. There's *aways* sects that wants to secede (or take over and do it their way, instead) and try violence to do it. If you take the entire world (and thus, rule out the option of exiling such groups), you will either need to forcibly get rid of such sects, or find a way to mind-control them. Neither of which really works out to being a "perfect society" by most definitions.
    Yeah, well, this is why we're not trying to pull this off in the real world but rather in a fantasy RPG setting where it could actually be cool and fun...
    Last edited by The Mormegil; 2009-04-14 at 07:00 AM.
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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    Well, I don't think anyone's saying "This is impossible". I think people are just pointing out that they're going to have to start small if they want to do this from first level. The first obvious step would be to set up a small town with what people they can gather, offering protection. They're not gonna be worth anyone big going after at that point, so they'll contend with bandits, animals, what have you.

    After news gets out of their providing safety, people will naturally head to them, and their place can expand. With more people, you have more skills, can gather more resources, and grow even more, attracting more people. Eventually, you can take over other cities (likely because they attacked first, from what I'm getting of the players' mentalities) and they slowly but surely get people to join them and gain more and more land, until they rule the world and people are happy. Perfectly feasible, if requiring quite the bit of work on everyone's part.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    This all seems pretty obvious to me...

    First, they need a power base: people. They need food production to support them (farming, fishing, picking mushrooms, whatever), they need either incredible personal power (D&D PCs can pretty much make up for armies, what with scrying, teleport, and being able to defeat infinite amounts of common people) or a military to first protect what they have, and later expand it, and they need an infrastructure.

    They can start out in multiple ways:
    - Become the chosen/elected/self-appointed leaders of an existing community.
    - Conquer an existing community.
    - Find a good spot (good resources; a river valley with good ground, a coast with fish, the ruins of an old city or town) and settle it by enticing people from other regions to come there, and initially escorting them to make sure they arrive.

    Then, they need to make the place grow. This means one of:
    - Conquering neighboring regions. This won't be easy, as habitation is likely to be scattered, and they'd have to scout, map, and patrol large areas per person. On the other hand, if they're patient, habitation will congregate in the best places. They just need to find them, monitor them, and strike when the situation is optimal: once the target is juicy but still not strong enough to repel them. They could also use some of the tricks from above: they could replace the old leaders by showing themselves superior, and get the others to join them voluntarily.
    - Attracting people to their region. This will require a great choice of location, and securing surrounding areas with similarly abundant resources before anyone else settles them. They'll need a lot of food production, excellent infrastructure (roads, homes, services), and so on. They'll also need to be able to secure all this land against bandits, raiders, monsters, and whatnot.

    Eventually, they'll need to establish proper government, with taxation and either conscription (if they can move past a medieval agrarian society, so that a majority of the people will be freed up to do other things), feudalism (each farm has to send one person to the military per so-and-so much land or people, etc.), or a paid military (probably easier to pay off with resources than cash, at least until they are able to establish enough trade to re-create a fiat economy; fiat here meaning anything where they say "this coin is worth so much", because most precious metals and gems have absolutely no inherent value in a post-apocalyptic society, and useful metals are too useful to turn into coins).

    None of this requires actual GMing of warfare, building, bureaucracy, and the like; it's easy to abstract. Just focus on whether their ideas are good, and whether their missions and fights are successful (although only if the ideas are good; if they're fighting the wrong people in the wrong place for the wrong reason, it shouldn't help them get ahead). If they do everything right on a personal level, and don't do anything spectacularly stupid ("Let's have our 100 militiamen make a frontal assault on that city of 10,000 people!"), their venture will chug along, growing slowly.

    The above is basically continued and expanded ad nauseam. They'll have to keep either conquering new regions or enlarging their own region (probably a combination of both), and establishing an infrastructure between these places (easy if you've got magic; teleportation circles and such are a great way to reduce distances of thousands of miles to one step).

    Along the way, they'll face crises from within and without; other would-be leaders or world conquerors, monsters, natural disasters, rebellion, war, banditry, scarcity of resources, failure of crops and other existing resources, corruption, coups, and so on.


    Edit: Having written all that, I realize that while it answers your questions, it's a plan to conquer the world. Shouldn't your players be coming up with their plan? Make them sit down and hatch a basic plan, and then you can prepare for it.
    Last edited by Tsotha-lanti; 2009-04-14 at 07:51 AM.

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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    I remember once discussing a campaign with similar objective, with a somewhat similar concept. In short, it was about settling the nation for Humanorcs. the similitude is starting with disseminated people and having them gather to create a society from scratch. Then, you'd have to work toward helping that society, gaining allies in the world, foiling ennemies, etc...

    I think you should look at examples like the New Californian Republic. They are probably the best example of a workable federation of gatherings - which is the only unifying concept you'd want if you really want to go into country-scales.

    In the meanwhile, work on settlements. Have them develop cooperations. Increase their security, secure magical items for their protection, recruit magical gifted people to have them trained, etc... that should cover between lvl 1 and 5. Starting then, have them doing relation with other big settlements, and work on your way there.

    Do it 1 session at the time, and don't be afraid to let the players take the initiative about what they'd like to do to help their powerbase. If they want to go treasure-hunting, fine (have such a quest ready). Maybe they want to go in explorations, setting up a base... etc...

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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    I think that Tsotha-lanti basically covered it with, "Having written all that, I realize that while it answers your questions, it's a plan to conquer the world. Shouldn't your players be coming up with their plan? Make them sit down and hatch a basic plan, and then you can prepare for it."

    I don't think you should be worried about the details, you need to focus on the bigger picture (you're the DM after all). Let the players determine their course of action, and you get to decide the outcome.

    Plot ideas to consider:
    1) first few levels [getting started]
    --a) location - let the PCs find a location, it may require some exploring or maybe clearing out a location so they can set up shop
    --b) base of operations - they will need to build, or find someone else who can build, a base of operations (a town/village, remember to start small)
    --c) resources - if they are going to try to entice people to join them, rather than by force, what is the "sugar" that will entice the "ants"? let them try to develop something that they can use to make their settlement grow

    2) lower-levels [small expansion]
    --a) what is over the next hillside? - knowing what is around the corner provides some modicum of protection as you can prepare. also might provide communications with neighbors.
    --b) the in-laws - what is their plan when the neighbors come to visit? what is their plan when they like it, and decide to stay permanently? how do they feed / house / cloth / etc their settlement when it doubles overnight? triples? (at early stages when numbers are small, this is probably quite possible)
    --c) the obnoxious neighbors - what do they intend to do if they meet people they would rather not? what if the neighbors over the hill aren't nice? will the neighbors ignore you since you are small? what happens as you grow?

    3) mid-levels [getting there slowly]
    --a) "you're not welcome here" - what happens if the original land-owner decides to show up again? oh, and he wants the land back? what if the original owner was the local shaman, and that would explain the mass profusion of "natural" events that keep hitting your settlement (earthquakes, tornadoes, monsters)? how do you pacify them when they only want you gone?
    --b) bored yet? - so your PCs are bored with running a city...okay, they decide to do a little bit of exploring. what happens when they are gone? how do the townsfolk proceed when their leaders are gone? what happens if they are invaded while the PCs are out galavanting around the local area? ...
    --c) not in my house - so the PCs decide to stay home and keep an eye on things? okay, how are they gonna spread the word with their neighbors? who will pay the explorers to go find what is over the next hill? how do you intend to provide some sort of payment for this? ...enter the financial side of running a settlement.

    4) higher levels [on the scene]
    --a) a player now - you've managed to set up a thriving community, and now the neighbors are definitely aware of your presence. how do you deal with the neighbor that just wants your goods. wants your people as slaves. And is willing to take it by force? you want peace, but he won't have it (peace is for wimps).
    --b) there and back again - travelling from place to place is long and tedious. how do they intend to make travel faster? safer? if they can't do this, why are people coming to their city? how do you trade/meet new neighbors? again, supply and demand, if they provide safe travel, then people will want to travel to your area. if not, trade will probably quickly disappear. oh, and now would be a good time to throw in some pirates (water trade routes), robber mobs (forest trade routes), or pillaging armies (land routes on the borders of their settlement).

    Well, these are just some ideas, but you get the idea. It may not be a "normal" campaign by any measure, but there should be plenty of other stuff to keep them busy. Managing a settlement will be a big job, but there should be some time for other things too. Oh, and if they decide to sit back and develop so as to provide better ____ than the neighbors, just remember that the neighbors aren't just sitting there doing nothing. They are progressing as well. So the PCs should probably be trying to juggle everything at the same time (development, exploration, supplies, finances). If they let something slip, give them a gentle "reminder" (read: problem that comes up) that they shouldn't be neglecting these other things. As their settlement evolves, new things should come into play (diplomacy with other groups, warfare (at least defensive if not offensive), trade, etc).

    Also, if you can get your hands on a copy it, there is a whole book (Stronghold Builder's Guidebook) about building and running castles. Again, you will probably want to modify it for your setting, but it could give you whole groups of ideas for running / managing settlements. It could also give you a few ideas about encounters that might spring up from time to time. Modifications will definitely be needed, but any book that provides that kind of theme could come in handy.

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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    Whelp, the Palpatine route is usually easiest (by pushing away the established order and replacing it with yourself), but if that's not possible (because there is no established order), then the easiest way should be by getting allies.

    Lots and lots of allies, until people gets the point on who's bossing who around in this place

    So yeah, being homicidal maniacs ain't going to help in case they are trying to conquer the world. Being suave politicians might though (it's a flavor difference)
    Totally getting something nice here, when the time is right that is.

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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    The problem is not conquering the world. Any sufficiently advanced technology should be able to do that. The problem is administering the world. You might be able to destroy all of your enemies, but what do you do with them once they're defeated? Unless you're a complete nihilist, you have to set up a government. The larger any organization becomes, the less efficient it is. The bureaucrats and officials that run your government will become corrupt with power, and as that power multiplies, so will their avarice. Without huge strides in communication/oversight coupled with a unifying ideology (religion, nationalism, esprit de corps, etc) ruling the world would be impossible.

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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    Pull out a fantasy gaming system like "Reign" that includes the concept of large power groups that the PCs control.

    Steal ideas on how to adjudicate the actions of huge power groups in a way that generates adventure seeds.

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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    A lot of good things have already been said. As it is, setting up a nation will require a lot of paperwork for DM and PCs - as their settlement will grow, they will have to set up administration, take care of building important structures (roads, bridges, walls and plain houses), keep track of resources avaliable at hand (food, water, wood, stone, metals etc.) and how many people are avaliable to do the job. This all should be carefully written down.
    The whole game will be very different from regular RPG - more like "Civilisation meets Settlers".

    Also good diplomacy can be more powerful tool then military. Uniting various groups peacefuly is always better then conquering them - they are less likely to rebel and killing potential citizens is never a good idea. If you wage wars too often your citizens can get very unhappy with your reign and you can easily run short of resources - war costs a lot (foods get eaten, equipment breaks).

    PCs rule over their nation will (at least at first) based on authority - keep in mind, how they treat their subordinates and what sort of political system they are aiming for. Will they listen to peoples complains and advices or stick always stick to the plan of their own? How will they punish different crimes and how in general will they enforce law? How will thay treat captives and prisoners? As the nation will grow, PCs will have to delegate administration to other people - will it be one person, or will they set up local councils? The list of questions can go on.

    All in all it will definately an interesting campaing - i would really want to know, how it went.

    It could be helpful to read "Evil Overlord List" as well.
    In a war it doesn't matter who's right, only who's left.

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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    Quote Originally Posted by Radar View Post
    Also good diplomacy can be more powerful tool then military. Uniting various groups peacefuly is always better then conquering them - they are less likely to rebel and killing potential citizens is never a good idea. If you wage wars too often your citizens can get very unhappy with your reign and you can easily run short of resources - war costs a lot (foods get eaten, equipment breaks).
    Real World Example: the EU is much more tight knit and cooperative than pre-European Community europe ever was. The chances of another big war in the near future in Europe are unlikely, while before that, something like that happened about every other decade. (The violent history of Europe is one of the biggest reasons Europe got to become so powerful, there was an eternal weaponry race in Europe, and as such, weapon development went much faster than any other region in the world.)
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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    Before I forget, there are several good resources for "running a kingdom"-style gaming. AD&D had the Castle Guide, Rolemaster had Castles and Ruins and Pendragon had Lordly Domains, all concerned with how much income (in the form of food and goods mostly) a lord can derive from a domain. Rolemaster, in its usual meticulousness even lists various forms of society, from hunter-gatherer to full agriculture. Pendragon is aimed at high feudal society but offers maximum playability for the money. AD&D is probably most easily converted to D&D3+, but was meant to tie in with some obscure D&D-based warfare system, although you could use or ignore that.
    I suggest you get yourself one of these, they might help with the paperwork, not so much by diminishing it, but by helping you realize what needs to be discussed and written down.

    On another note, later on things might be hard to handle with dice rolls, you might get a tennis elbow from rolling so much. A friend of mine suggested the following as a framework for a tabletop campaign, but I think a campaign like yours might use it too.
    Whenever an action is planned, the player planning it must state three good reasons for it coming out the way he expects. He may only invent one reason of the three out of thin air, and the GM can reject it. The other two must be a) established facts (we know that the General of the East is a drunk) or b) a logical conclusion from things we know, with the GM as the final judge of "logical" (the General of the East is rarely at home, so his wife is probably having an affair, which is why he drinks). The GM then rules all three reasons presented either convincing, not so convincing or unconvincing in the context of the action planned, and rolls a d6 with a target number equal to two per convincing reason, one per not so convincing reason and zero per unconvincing reason. That's relatively quick and covers large things like empires better than even the most elaborate simulationist approach. It also means you players actually might take note of some of the detail you develop, because they might use it as an explanation later.

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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    Well, read The Prince and The Art of War to start.

    Really though, you need to, more then anything else, make people want you to be their leader. You can do this any number of ways, divine mandate being a popular one in the olds days. But no matter what you do, you need a significant portion of the population to want you to be their leader, even if it is for all the wrong reasons.
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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    Quote Originally Posted by The Mormegil View Post
    So basically you are suggesting to quit the campaign and start another one? No, thanks. I'd rather find a way to make it work. I don't care if they'll need to invest the first 25 levels of their progression in acquiring power, but if you think they should, then list it in your plan as step 1.

    So far we had:
    1) Search for a resource that people lack, such as food, water or protection.
    2) Let people come to you attracted by that rescource, then start ruling them.
    3) Start your conquest on a larger scale.
    OK, here's Oracle Hunter's Guide to Conquering the Wastelands

    (1) Gather Followers
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    These kinds of worlds are full of weak bands of survivors who are barely clinging to life, deathly afraid of bandits and such. Find such a town and take care of local threats - radscorpions, raiders, Tandi, etc.

    (2) Find Tech/Magic
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    Next you're going to need power projection capabilities. This can be acquired by improving your Followers' infrastructure, gaining mechanized transport, and similar measures. In general, this means you're going to have to find some lost tech/magic, fix it, and put it into service. If possible, find an Automated Factory or some similar creative device - get it under your control and re-establish your town around it.

    (3) Gather More Followers
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    By now, you should have a well-fortified town filled with shiny weapons and lost technology. Leave your chief lieutenant in charge, and start finding other bands of survivors. Move them into you fortress if possible, or have them take up purified land nearby. In general, they should be happy enough to have some security that you won't have to worry about rebellion - but watch out!

    If possible, invest in mind control devices for your lieutenants and omnipresent sensors to train on other elites. You don't have to use them now, but you will need them in the next step. If you can't find any such tech/magic, start training up a Secret Police. Make sure they are loyal veterans who have personally served with the PCs and, if possible, are trained in covert operations. Actually, always train the Secret Police - they're pretty useful.

    (4) Establish a Nation
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    Now you have the manpower to establish patrols to maintain some sort of borders, and technological superiority over all adjacent threats. If not, get more manpower and stomp out more threats.

    At this point, you are a regional power. Send out scouts to find other power centers in the world and to report back on your opposition. Send diplomats to weaker power centers to establish relations, and to convince them to ally themselves with your Nation. Eventually you will annex them - but now, you merely need good relations. Hide yourself from other regional powers which may prove a challenging fight. Trade technologies and resources and encourage more people to emigrate to your Nation.

    (5) Train a Kickass Army
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    By now you will have incredible access to resources (hooray capitalism!), a large amount of manpower, and decent manufacturing capabilities. Start arming and outfitting an honest-to-god army; infantry first and foremost, and an airforce if you can. Navies can wait, unless there is a lot of coastline nearby.

    While training the army, try to keep word of it down. It'll be hard, but hopefully your diplomats with your allies (and the spies with your peer competitors) can keep your profile low.

    (6) Take Out Regional Threats
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    Even though you have a fairly secure nucleus of a Nation, there will probably be large, entrenched banditry organizations around and/or peer competitors with bad PR.

    Start small, and work your way up - offer your "assistance" at taking out an allies' persistent bandit problem, liberate the bandit's resources and establish a "defensive" base in your allies' town. After you have your friendlies covered, take out a particularly unpopular enemy ruler, liberate his people and add them into your kingdom. Presumably you'll be somewhat less oppressive than those bastards, so their serfs will be happy to work for you.

    This is when you need that mind control. Now you have armed and scattered a large force of heavily armed and well-trained soldiers across a large region; all you need is one regional commander who is a little too popular with his troops to find yourself facing a coup. Even with reliable, speed-of-light communication you can't keep tabs on everyone, all the time.

    As Machiavelli said, "It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both." This goes double for your military command. Make sure you have at least one overt loyalist (and one covert loyalist) stationed with any individual who controls enough force to be a problem and listen to them. Execute plotters publicly and quickly - always be sure to reveal the plot, if possible, or doctor up evidence to fill the holes. By earning a reputation for being both just and merciless you can keep most of your military in line without undue expense.

    (7) Establish National Infrastructure
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    Now that you have a good chunk of land, it is important to make it dependent on central authority. Build roads between trading posts, power plants and electrical grids, and other large projects that can only be maintained by a large and functioning central government.

    This will not only increase your power projection abilities, but it should also make your more far-flung settlements appreciative of the Nation.

    I am assuming that the Nation will still be governed by the PCs as a Council of Peers - don't do democracy or something silly like that right now. That can wait until after you conquer the world.

    (8) Conquer your landmass
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    By now, you should be, by far, the strongest power in the continent. If not, check the Balance of Power:
    Spoiler
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    - 2 Great Powers (you and someone else)
    Gather as many Lesser Powers as possible under your banner and begin a campaign of containment on the opposing power - stifle it's expansion, thwart its military projects, etc. Eventually, you should be able to wear them down into submission, or make them weak enough to be conquered.

    - 3 Great Powers (you and two others)
    Ally with one, crush the other. The see above.

    - 4 or More Great Powers
    Worst case scenario. Keep an eye on all the other powers, forming alliances and breaking up alliances against you. Eventually one or more powers will drop out due to war/disease/magical bug invasion. Once there are only 3 Great Powers, See Above.

    IMPORTANT: make sure that nobody from another continent (or island) has made contact with your continent. If they have, drive them out at once. Yes, even if they are friendly - they will be a pain in the ass when you're trying to conquer your landmass, trust me.

    (9) Consolidate Power
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    Do #7, but for the whole continent. If there is a popular insurgency, build first, crush later. As long as you can keep giving everyone incremental improvements, they're unlikely to get pissed off.

    At this point, you're going to have to have regional governors. Ideally, appoint them yourself and give them no direct authority over military resources. And always keep a rapid strike force to take out rebellious governors.

    (10) Find a quick, cheap, and safe way to cross water
    Spoiler
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    This is the hardest step. Land-based defenses are always stronger than whatever you can mount on sea or flying fortresses. Establishing beach-heads is terrifically hard to do.

    If you're lucky, there are no other Nations in the world. If you can find a landmass without any sort of organization larger than a few towns, establish a beach-head, seduce the local survivors as in #1 and go from there. But eventually you will run into organized resistance. This is bad. Don't talk, trade or anything with them - just say "hi, we're just passing through" and leave. You don't want them to organize some sort of defense before you're ready.

    Now, what are some good ways to defeat water? The absolute best is Space. If you can get a Space Elevator or rebuild a Moon Colony, you are set. Take command of Space and you can either drop your forces anywhere you want, or you can drop chunks of rock on opposing military forces without opposition.

    Failing Space, some manner of Teleportation would be good. Instantly transporting materiel across water to a small facility allows you to reinforce your position and attack as if you were actually on the same land mass.

    If you can't get those, Airships are all that's left. Take dominance of the skies and build massive transport ships that can move entire cities if they have to. With any luck you won't have to face much in the way of anti-air defenses, but you never no - that's why this is the worst option.

    A Navy with Arks is also a possibility, but anti-sea defenses are far more likely to exist, and sub-hunting is a lot harder than fighter-hunting.

    IMPORTANT: If you find someone else has access to any of these technologies, peacefully acquire the tech and then kill them all. You don't want to take over Europe only to find out that Neo-Japan just occupied your west coast with a surprise assault via drop pod.

    (11) Repeat Step 8
    Spoiler
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    Once you can quickly cross water, start doing it, using the same strategies described above. Provided you don't suffer a rebellion or die, you will conquer the world.

    Oh, and if you start running short on men, try to find a way to grow them faster. Either cloning Supersoldiers or Drone Armies are your best bet.


    Questions? Comments? Concerns?

    EDIT:
    Note that, even if there is no tech in your world, "any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from Science." The general principles remain the same, even if you have to build ley lines rather than power lines.
    Last edited by Oracle_Hunter; 2009-04-15 at 02:23 AM.
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  26. - Top - End - #26
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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    A bunch of people conquering the world (even a DnD world) is, frankly, ridiculous. The inherent stupidity of the idea aside, it's cool.

    That said, let them worry about the details. You are to make the setting, not play the game for them. Just steer the campaign to get them into a position of power. At which point there should be stuff around their conquered territory (neighbors, monsters, bandits, Brotherhood of Steel, etc), and let them have it. Ruling/conquering isn't easy, they gotta do it themselves.

    One neat little point would be to have PCs spend their whole life on it. Then they die, and their descendants/heirs/successors keep going. That way players can get new PCs (or identical grandsons if they're too attached to their PCs), PCs will've spent their lives for the cause they believe in, and the conquering of the world by a bunch of guys takes a somewhat believable (instead of totally stupid) amount of time.


    As for Oracle Hunter's suggestion: It's good (as in logical and feasible), but what you're describing is a Civ game win after the initial steps. I suppose that's inevitable when you're out to conquer the world, but as a RPG campaign it'd be boring as hell (not to mention inevitable interparty conflicts if/when they start to have success about how to rule their land [and even more not to mention the possibility of PCcide: imaginary or not, power corrupts]).

    Actually, that's a good point regardless, what if once they're controlling a big enough nation one PC/player decides things'd be better off if he had total control?
    Last edited by Pronounceable; 2009-04-15 at 02:55 AM. Reason: for JUSTICE!
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  27. - Top - End - #27
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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    Enough people have had good ideas here so that I don't feel the need to repeat things already said, so I would like to bring up something else that may or may not be an issue.

    You said that you have a fantasy world that has a magical apocalypse, and used rifts as an example, so I have this question for you - Was the world non magical before the apocalypse, i.e. did the apocalyptic events bring magic to an otherwise techological world, disrupting the existing technology and replacing it with magic, or was it always a magical world and the apocalypse just scattered civilizations and destroyed infrastructure?

    If there was technology before the apocalypse does any of it still work? I have run a campaign a little like this before (not the taking over the world part, just the post apocalyptic newly magical world part) and I had to spend a lot of time figuring out exactly what tech worked and what didn't, and why, so that I could be consistent across the board.

    My choice was that all electronics stopped working, and nuclear reactions no longer appeared to be self sustaining. This was easily enough to bring civilization crashing down (Thank you S.M. Stirling for your excellent series Dies the Fire for some of the basic concept. Which, come to think about it, you might want to read as a very basic source material.) and cause massive death and destruction to the whole world. However, this left gunpowder working which was fine for my game, but might cause problems in yours.

    Anyway, when you brought up Rifts I thought I might want to mention this since it seems pretty early days yet in your campaign, and tech levels can be pretty important to figure out ahead of time.
    I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.
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    Time. To die.

  28. - Top - End - #28
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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    Am I the only one who thinks that the OP needs to actually, you know, sit down and flesh out the world a bit more before any of this has ANY meaning?

    How can there be NO groups out there existing? Even in post apocalyptic worlds, people band together, some older powers survive, and the landscape, while mostly chaotic, should have powers existing try to fill the gap.

    The absence of such groups seems highly unrealistic and if you go with that you WILL run out of fun things to do. think about it, how fun do you REALLY think it is to sit around and micro-manage your government budget?

    And really, how can any of these plan have any meaning unless you actually know the world that you're operating in? It makes no sense to me.

    I suggest you go with a route that basically treats nations and groups as characters with their own set of skills. i.e. economic knowledge, magic, etc, to represent the various strengths and weaknesses of your empire (this also means it'll be a little easier on bookkeeping, since you're basically abstracting everything)

    Do this for every possible group, and you'll more or less be set.

    i.e. a typical profile would be commerce, technology, magical know how, religion, institution, administration (as a skill), diplomacy, wealth (seperate from commerce since commerce represents your ability to earn while wealth represents how much you actually have), and then you can do things like armies and such. National Hit Points would basically be the stability of the state. when it hits 0, your government structure is basically gone and you're reduced back to scattered populace. Each area you conquer will add to a small number of hit points to the empire, good stable government structure will add to it, and so on so forth. do it this way and you'll have less of a headache trying to gauge your empire's ability to perform.

    You can even have your empire inherit skills from your top performers in cases like diplomacy, where your top diplomat is basically handling diplomatic relations, gather info would then be the skill rank of your spymaster network, knowledge (magic) would be the average knowledge of your magical institution, etc, and so on so forth.

    (and obviously, certain skills would go out the window like move silently or any "personal" skills)

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    AD&D's Birthright was a decent system for political type business, with most of this stuff covered, and I believe that there was an update for 3.X.

    Now to pose a different method of world conquering: Religion.
    Spoiler
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    Step 1: Find a lawful god who's credo will keep the masses in check, while giving you you divine authority, or failing that, set one of you players up as a deity, and once you have conquered enough, it might very well become true.
    Step 2: Take over the nearest settlement's spirituality,
    Step 3: start preaching (subtly), that theocracy is the best form of governance.
    Step 4: concurrent with step 3, Find other settlements and start hedging out those who worship different gods, and begin step 3 in these villages.
    Step 5: Whip your adherents in city one into a fervor and use them to take control of the town.
    Step 6: Preach to the other cities the glory and piousness of City ones folks, repeat step 5:
    Step 7: Start a crusade to convert the abominable unbelievers of the world, And head out with a holybook in one hand and a sword in the other.
    Step 8: To each city not held by your faith, send missionaries to try to win the people over peacefully, If they succeed begin step 3, if they fail move onto to step 9
    Step 9: Have your crusading hordes deliver a timely justice to the towns that question you divine mandate to rule, destroy any military forces utterly, and to the civilians: Convert or get Dominate Personed
    Step 10: So long as you administer the faith consistently and find ways to outrage your citizenry with the iniquity of those outside the faith, the empire should grow sustainably.
    Last edited by Darth Stabber; 2009-04-15 at 12:22 PM. Reason: reduce possible offence
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  30. - Top - End - #30
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    Default Re: [Any] How to conquer the world

    careful there, buddy, you're gonna get this thread locked.

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