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  1. - Top - End - #31
    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    A dragon is a fearsome foe. Until a jet of liquid metal goes through it's head.

    Modern armies are combined arms units. There isn't just a battalion of men involved. There is artillery support, armor (even if it's just a Bradly), attack choppers and drones. In addition modern body armor would actually be very good at stopping most weapons from Faerun. The arms and legs are unprotected, but the head and torso would be more or less immune from the effects of slashing and puncturing weapons. The soldier would just have a bruise. And arrows? If those hit body armor the soldier might not even notice. Body armor would also blunt spells like Magic Missile. Of course that's if a mage got into range. Remember drones? The soldiers are going to know a lot more about the enemy than the enemy will about them. Drones and many soldiers also have such things at night vision goggles and inferred sensors.

    In the end though what will give the modern soldiers a huge advantage over anything in Faerun is they adapt, change, modify at a rate the people of Faerun could not comprehend.
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  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    I don't much about the setting, is it feasible to just drop some types of ghosts or something else that just can't be hurt with non magic physical weapons on the modern army?

    My general rule out thumb for modern army against magic is (if you assume the mages actually make effective use of their magic), pure blasting should ordinarily be outmatched by modern weapons but if you add the right types of other magic then if the number mismatch is not to extreme I expect it to go to the mages. Tech has no defense against scrying, teleport or mind control beyond alertness. Combine those efficiently and your enemy either has no leaders anymore or worse leader that are your puppets. I guess it might still be fairer than harry potter mages (if they were deadly efficient and ruthless with their magic. Harry potter magic is really weak offensively but beside teleport, mind control and shapechanging they also have magic that can make a building completely undetectable if you don't find the secret keeper. If you can't find an enemy even if you know where their bases are and they can just teleport somewhere and enslave your leader? Yeah that would be a guerilla warfare nightmare. Though their numbers are real small.)

  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kitten Champion View Post
    But that's not realistically the range of combat, at least according to those participating in modern wars

    In interviews with US Marine rifleman during the Iraq conflict --



    Which isn't fundamentally different than WW1 apparently.

    The main reason? You need to be within a certain visual range to identify threats. Especially in an urban environment that don't give you extensive sight-lines for kilometers.
    They wouldn't be fighting a Faerun knights battalion in an urban guerilla warfare environment. Also, modern warfare like you're thinking of doesn't even exist anymore. Putting a battalion of soldiers on a field and telling them to fight an enemy is intrinsically unfair. Modern warfare is conducted at large range with artillery. Boots on the ground are a last resort.

  4. - Top - End - #34
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Originally Posted by Forum Explorer
    Honestly though, a preliminary bombardment or bombing….
    You’re presuming air support, which the OP hasn’t specified. Obviously a B-2 at high altitude would be a game-changer, but the OP hasn’t mentioned that, only infantry.

    Originally Posted by Forum Explorer
    Combined with snipers set up to target important people leaving the city, and most of those mages would be wiped out day 1.
    Since these soldiers aren’t familiar from the Realms, there’s no automatic way for them to know who’s “important” and who isn’t. I’m pretty sure the wizards won’t be standing on the battlements waving hats with the letters “WIZZARD” facing the invaders.

    As for snipers, Invisibility is a second-level wizard spell and Fly is a third-level wizard spell, so I’m not sure how snipers would be targeting a dozen invisible flying wizards.

    Yes, they’ll become visible when they cast an offensive spell (apart from those with Greater Invisibility), but the modern soldiers, thanks to their training, will be looking for human targets on the ground or on rooftops, not hovering in the sky hundreds of feet directly above them. To the modern soldiers, they’ll be taken by surprise by spell effects they’ve never seen before, and they’re more likely to be looking at the ground for IEDs than in the air directly above them.

    Even if they do manage to spot human figures hundreds of feet above them, that's so far out of their experience they'll need to overcome their disbelief--and even after that they'll need to be firing their weapons effectively straight up, which may have some negative consequences for their unit.

    Originally Posted by GloatingSwine
    The way modern training works is that it gives a very short period of time to fire at a human shaped silhouette, which means that modern soldiers are conditioned to reflexively shoot at human targets….
    Yes, they’re trained to shoot human targets, not hippogriffs and fire elementals.

    No one in today's army is trained to fight fantasy monsters. That will be an immense psychological disadvantage, because for a modern soldier seeing a xorn up close is the stuff of nightmares. For a dwarven druid it's Tuesday.

    Originallly Posted by GloatingSwine
    Every different way an enemy is attacking you is called a "form of contact", and the more forms of contact a soldier is exposed to at once, the more training it takes to remain functional.
    And things like hippogriffs and fire elementals are forms of contact which the modern soldiers have never seen before. Taking your definition literally, then each summoned creature and each offensive spell becomes a separate form of contact, and with dozens of different spells and creatures hitting them from all around, these soldiers simply wouldn’t be human if they weren’t overwhelmed by things they’ve never seen and felt in their lives.

    Think about a flash-bang. That’s disorienting enough to deal with. But every new spell attack will have the same effect as a flash-bang, all different and all dangerous. That’ll be complete sensory and cognitive overload.

    Originally Posted by HandofShadows
    In addition modern body armor would actually be very good at stopping most weapons from Faerun.
    By the same token, rings of protection and armor bonuses should work on bullets, to say nothing of special materials for armor.

    Originally Posted by HandofShadows
    Remember drones? The soldiers are going to know a lot more about the enemy than the enemy will about them.
    Meanwhile, the defenders have druids who can take the form of perfectly innocuous owls, much better than drones in all respects, including perfect silence. You won’t hear an owl when it flies right past your head, so the soldiers won’t hear one when it flies a hundred feet above them.

    Also, scrying is available to at least a dozen of the defending casters, so that’s a lot of remote intel that again, the soldiers will have no idea is even being conducted.

    Originally Posted by HandofShadows
    Drones and many soldiers also have such things at night vision goggles and inferred sensors.
    Plenty of races with darkvision, plus darkvision items and a ranger spell called Darkvision.

    (Also, I presume you mean infrared sensors, and that autocorrect worked its evil ways on your sentence.)

    Originally Posted by HandofShadows
    In the end though what will give the modern soldiers a huge advantage over anything in Faerun is they adapt, change, modify at a rate the people of Faerun could not comprehend.
    And this is tremendously unfair to the people of Faerûn.

    In the example of Silverymoon, they have all manner of threats to contend with, and there’s no reason to believe they’re any less capable for having met them. Plus, never forget the defenders are in their own world, in their own country, defending their own homes. That's a powerful advantage in itself.

  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    We should assume that the soldiers are as familiar with general fantasy tropes as typical young men from our time. And the Forgotten Realms are as tropey as any fantasy setting gets. I am sure, half the army would be able to guess that the strange robed person with the glowing staff is some kind of important wizard, after the first spell flies and they realize, that this is some kind of Isekai situation. In the same vein, someone could guess to try silver or other exotic metals if they encounter an untouchable spectre. Or even try if a holy symbol works (would a symbol from our world work?).

    On the other hand, modern warfare is completely unknown to the Forgotten Realms side. They would probably take some costly losses that they cannot afford, before they learn what a modern army can do and how it works.
    Last edited by Seppl; 2020-09-18 at 09:39 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #36
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seppl View Post
    We should assume that the soldiers are as familiar with general fantasy tropes as typical young men from our time.
    There is a significant probablity you can go one step further and note that said soldiers may contain folk actually be roleplayers intimately familiar with the Realms specifically and thus, after their initial surprise that This Is Actually Happening, will have a very good idea of what the limitations are and how to counter them (and if not, it's a simple trip back to look it up on the internet).

    Perhaps, dangerously meta-ly, they might start a thread exactly like this one on a roleplay board and then take specific note of all the counters everyone brings up and then work out how to apply them.



    At which point, to get around that, you need to be much more specific than "modern soldiers." Whose? Earth's? The Aotrs? ('Cos that would be an entirely different debate entirely, I can tell you.) Heck, which Earth? If Earth's, which nation? America? Germany? Russia? Austrailia? Latveria? And, in that country, which branch? The regular army? The marines? The SAS? S.h.i.e.l.d? The DEO? What date? Now, i.e. 2020? (And then, is Corona a factor?)

    All these questions need to be sensibly anserwed.

  7. - Top - End - #37
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    I think the assumption should be that they are from a world like ours except for that setting and game system not existing. Otherwise I think it gets a bit silly unless the intended topic is supposed to be about the very uneven starting information.

  8. - Top - End - #38
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    It largely depends upon what D&D edition and how optimized the casters are. Though I am going to be assuming that the regiment has some idea of what they're up against and don't freak out the first time they see a wall of fire or an earth elemental being summoned.

    If it's 3.5 and full-on tippy-verse optimization, no question that Faerun wins because the 18th level wizard is basically a demi-god, and can spend a century in their private demi-plane prepping thousands of countermeasures to unleash etc.

    If it's 3.5 with the optimization of the modules or novels, then it would likely depend upon whether the regiment can call down artillery & air support and have armor assets. If they have the support, then the regiment would win.

    If it's 2e, then it's similar to 3.5 except the tippy-verse isn't quite so crazy.

    If it's 4e, the regiment wins. No question - hands down. Nothing in 4e has a long enough range to be threatening so long as they keep their distance. They don't need air support.

    In 5e I'd again give the edge to the regiment if they have the artillery & air support to call down (might not need the tanks), but a likely a bloody victory to Faerun if it's just the infantry.

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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    If it is a battalion, against the entire FR, then, sure, the FR are going to win. The soldiers will run out of ammo long before the FR runs out of creatures to throw at them. But by the same token, any army from the FR coming to modern Earth is going to be wiped out if they attack, by attrition if nothing else.

    Same number of people, with the same amount of training, on both sides? (By training, I'm simply going years. Take a group of soldiers trained for a year, or two, or five, and put the other side with adventurers with the same length of training.) I think the Earth group wins, depending on how long it takes a wizard to learn their craft. If that's anything more than a year of training to get to fifth level, the FR loses.

    World vs world? Curb stomp in favor of Earth. As soon as Earth figures out that they are in a full on battle for their existence against a planet that is not their own, it's time to use the nuclear weapons that are enough to wipe out everything on the planet several times over. Bunker buster nukes to break into and wipe out the Underdark, high yield nukes hitting every place that more than 100 sapient beings have gathered, and so on. Invisibility and flying aren't going to help someone when a fireball four kilometers in diameter vaporizes everything, and a blast wave that kills pretty much everything for another kilometer or so beyond that. Any casters that have survived all of this are now just trying to survive the wasteland left behind, rather than bringing the fight. Divine intervention would be the only thing that could turn it around for the FR. If you say the gods can turn all of the nukes into flower pots, eliminating the threat, then there's no point in making the comparison since the FR wins by plot armor.

  10. - Top - End - #40
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibrinar View Post
    I think the assumption should be that they are from a world like ours except for that setting and game system not existing. Otherwise I think it gets a bit silly unless the intended topic is supposed to be about the very uneven starting information.
    But if it doesn't exist specifically, it will almost certainly exist conceptually - how many fictional Earths either have D&D or an equivilent, after all? Let alone fictional and fantasy media in general.

    You can't disregard that a modern soldier WILL be more genre-savvy than a peasant in Faerun; pretty much by definition, the modern soldier will have been exposed to mass-media and fiction therein- else you are NOT comparing a modern Earth military. It's a fundemental part of the structure (mass-media) that allows advanced technology to exist at ALL, at the end of the day. A modern earth where concepts such as "wizard" or "dragon" are completely unknown and unheard of in some form or other ceases to be a valid point of comparison, as at the point you have diverged the culture that far, you're not talking about modern warfare at all, you're essentially talking about an entirely fictional one, so the answer is "whatever you want the answer to be."



    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Credence View Post
    If you say the gods can turn all of the nukes into flower pots, eliminating the threat, then there's no point in making the comparison since the FR wins by plot armor.
    And that could quickly escalate into forbidden territory if you asked the question of "but does Earth have any gods that can or will say 'no, they don't.'" (Which is as far as anyone should take that line of thinking in-thread.)

  11. - Top - End - #41
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    My question is a bit different: What ability do the magic-users have to replace losses and resupply? I suspect it's a lost easier to train a modern soldier to the level of a conscript than it is to train a high-level magic user. If the magic users are few and they cannot replace their losses , they will eventually lose.

    Of course, if this really happened it is extremely unlikely that the battle would remain purely "magic vs. modern soldiers" for long. If I were a wizard from Faerun, I'd be trying to recruit local despots or countries to serve as my cannon fodder and allies. Rather than directly opposing modern armies with my magic, I'd use my magic to buff and improve existing armies, to much greater effect.

    And of course the converse applies as well; modern armies will both attempt to recruit magic users and to study magic as a phenomenon in the abstract.

    The upshot is, within a generation armies in this modern world will both understand magic and field magic users as part of a larger combined arms strategy. Perhaps some of these armies were originally founded by colonists from Faerun, perhaps not, but their evolution will converge regardless of their respective origins.

    ETA: There was actually a series of novels called The Empires Trilogy which focused on war in the Forgotten Realms. It was mostly fought by ordinary soldiers using medieval weapons; high-level magic users were rare enough, even in that setting, that they didn't participate frequently in wars between nations. I think after thirty years it's not really a spoiler to point out that, in the story, the one country that had a flying legion of wizards did not fare well against soldiers from their world with better tactics and generalship.


    E Again to add: I see I got the scenario reversed and we have a modern army invading Faerun. Well, in this case I think a modern's army true advantage lies in logistics and organization, not necessarily in weapons or ability to kill. The ability to move troops and supply on modern roads, the use of scouting helicopters or drones, the use of radio, allows them to strike swiftly and gain intelligence to react far more quickly than their opponents. Modern technology allows a much tighter OODA (orient-observe-decide-act) loop than medieval technology does even if a small number of the opponents can use telepathy, scrying, etc. I don't believe there are enough high-level magic users to tilt the balance permanently when the rest of their society is overwhelmingly medieval. What is available to a few high-level magic users is available to even third-world modern armies en masse. Technology is magic for the masses.

    I think what happens is the same as in my original: Social evolution. The modern army will recruit local allies who can use magic. Even if the modern army is defeated someone will find them useful to ally with, and the power of magic + modern technology will prove unbeatable, until other countries are able to imitate their success. The result is , ultimately, a modern world with modern organization supplemented by magic users. Faerun would not survive in its classic form.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Last edited by pendell; 2020-09-18 at 11:01 AM.
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    There's an anime that kinda simulates this, although in a low-magic setting. Its name is Gate: Jieitai Kano Chi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri, which translates to: Gate: Thus the Japanese Self-Defense Force Fought There, some interestng topics are shown, apostles are still stronger than humans and are impervios to weaponry, and an old enough dragon doesn't mind bullets to its face.
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  13. - Top - End - #43
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yael View Post
    There's an anime that kinda simulates this, although in a low-magic setting. Its name is Gate: Jieitai Kano Chi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri, which translates to: Gate: Thus the Japanese Self-Defense Force Fought There, some interestng topics are shown, apostles are still stronger than humans and are impervios to weaponry, and an old enough dragon doesn't mind bullets to its face.
    Who would be stupid enough to fire bullets at a dragon when you can fire linked radar-guided 23mm cannons firing at 1000 rounds per minute ? That's forty year old technology at this point. See video .

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Last edited by pendell; 2020-09-18 at 11:08 AM.
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  14. - Top - End - #44
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Credence View Post
    World vs world? Curb stomp in favor of Earth. As soon as Earth figures out that they are in a full on battle for their existence against a planet that is not their own, it's time to use the nuclear weapons that are enough to wipe out everything on the planet several times over. Bunker buster nukes to break into and wipe out the Underdark, high yield nukes hitting every place that more than 100 sapient beings have gathered, and so on. Invisibility and flying aren't going to help someone when a fireball four kilometers in diameter vaporizes everything, and a blast wave that kills pretty much everything for another kilometer or so beyond that. Any casters that have survived all of this are now just trying to survive the wasteland left behind, rather than bringing the fight. Divine intervention would be the only thing that could turn it around for the FR. If you say the gods can turn all of the nukes into flower pots, eliminating the threat, then there's no point in making the comparison since the FR wins by plot armor.
    The invisible people presumably are already in earth cities already taking out/over leaders if earth had time to bring over nuke. If the war doesn't escalate quickly to that they will know about nukes because questioning some earthlings about our worst weapons is logical and everyone knows about nukes. So what protection does earth have against a team of wizards scrying someone high in the government of a nuclear power, teleporting in to get the information about the crew of an active nuclear submarine, scrying someone there and then teleporting in and dominate the right people to fire those nukes on earth? If earth opens with nukes and can get them over quickly, sure there is little you can do beside divine intervention. But scrying, teleport and mind control is a devastating combo against someone with zero magical defenses and low saves.

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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    The question is what this battalion or regiment actually has at its disposal. An infantry regiment may not even have anti-air. And then we have questions like supply lines and communications.

    I think the Faerun city would win, if it knows about it beforehand. All it needs is someone to scry for the top officers, get close without being noticed, and charm them. There are a lot of reasons in war why an attack may be halted, the soldiers aren't going to complain.
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    The question is what this battalion or regiment actually has at its disposal. An infantry regiment may not even have anti-air. And then we have questions like supply lines and communications.
    Every modern army I can think of is more likely to advance into battle naked as it is without some form of air defense, even if it's no more than MANPADS. Any regiment should have at least one air defense company , consisting of both SAMs and AAA. And, of course, no modern nation would invade another one by sending out one regiment in isolation; they would support them with their air force.

    ETA: And if the regiment isn't supported, Faerun wins without any magic whatsoever. Simply step back and wait for the modern regiment to run out of gas, then send out level 1 fighters to round up the now-dismounted crew. Same with infantry: After a few engagements they're out of ammunition and their pretty rifles are no more than overly complex clubs.

    If I were a regimental commander who found his regiment teleported to another world, conquering a local country would be the last thing on my mind. I'd be more interested in getting back to the war I was actually supposed to be fighting. At worst, I'd hire out as a mercenary band in exchange for the gold necessary to pay a high level wizard to get us the heck out of here and back to the land of Mcdonald's, Burger King, and Starbuck's.

    ETA: And again, because of the aforementioned inability to replace fuel or ammunition, I'd be hiring out "technical advisors" rather than deploying my own combat units directly. We need to conserve that, because once it's gone we won't get it back, not until we can pay someone to research 'create diesel'.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Last edited by pendell; 2020-09-18 at 11:29 AM.
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    Who would be stupid enough to fire bullets at a dragon when you can fire linked radar-guided 23mm cannons firing at 1000 rounds per minute ? That's forty year old technology at this point. See video .

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    To be fair the first time they encounter the dragon they're just in a convoy of humvees covering a (local) refugee column and a fifty cal is the biggest gun they have.

    It still loses an arm to a panzerfaust though.

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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Army versus army, modern soldiers have the edge, but in asymmetric warfare, Faerunites have it.

    More specifically: on open terrain or fighting from a fortified position, modern infantry with token machine gun support can slaughter masses of cavalrymen, orc hordes, giants etc.. This scenario has essentially been tested in real life. Faerun forces would need massive archery and blaster wizard support to overcome their disadvantage.

    Modern infantry wouldn't be that good in siege warfare; however, modern artillery so massively outperforms and outranges Faerun tech that they'd just reduce their cities to rubble.

    However, Faerun is full of individually extremely dangerous creatures that would be close to impossible for modern forces to deal with. I'm not talking about dragons or other fliers - those are fairly easily handled by modern anti-air tactics and equipment. It's things like incorporeal undead, teleporting demons, pixies etc.. What is a modern force supposed to do about a spectre appearing in their camp at night? Or a succubi disguised as non-combatants sneaking behind their supply lines and charming the pants off of everyone? Sooner or later, a modern army in Faerun would be subverted and incapacitated by those magical creatures that can't reliably be held in check by non-magical means.

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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    Every modern army I can think of is more likely to advance into battle naked as it is without some form of air defense, even if it's no more than MANPADS. Any regiment should have at least one air defense company , consisting of both SAMs and AAA. And, of course, no modern nation would invade another one by sending out one regiment in isolation; they would support them with their air force.
    Assuming our regiment has anti-air, does it have anti-underground? Because this is D&D, where monsters burrow at a walking pace. Let's take ankhegs, they can get close, emerge, and grab people. But, even if they don't, they can be used to create tunnels which I assume can be rigged for a number of uses. I guess you could flood the regiment. Or you could use the tunnels to unleash rust monsters on the armour during the night, I don't know if their ability makes any sound.

    Is it possible to craft a magical trap that casts polymorph on any creature that passes by and tries to turn it into a rust monster?
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    As said, it depends on edition, but one point...

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    D&D offensive magic is actually not that impressive at the battlefield level. A Fireball is great when you're fighting Orcs in a dungeon, but it's actual radius and effect are not that much more impressive than an grenade, and the number of Fireballs even a relatively elite Wizard can produce is not that much larger than how many a soldier can carry.
    It becomes substantially more effective if your enemies brought gunpowder to a fireball fight. A single fireball, even if it didn't kill anyone itself, could cook off most of their ammo, and that's going to smash magazines and the like, if it doesn't cook off grenades or other explosive weaponry (at which point, the magazine doesn't matter).
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    Assuming our regiment has anti-air, does it have anti-underground? Because this is D&D, where monsters burrow at a walking pace.
    There are a couple of potential countermeasures I see:
    1) This is only really useful if the regiment stays in one place for an extended period of time. Being able to tunnel somewhere at a walking pace isn't going to be terribly useful in a mobile campaign. Though it would have some application in stalemated WW1-style trench warfare.

    2) This has been attempted in the modern world without magic . It looks to me like the kind of trick that would work once. Afterwards, the regiment will adapt audio equipment to listen to, say, the noise of thousands of ankhegs tunnelling under their feet. That's assuming they don't already have dedicated sonar intended originally for finding land mines. From there it's a matter of isolating where they are, and either countermine or simply collapse their tunnel with explosives. Mining and countermining have been a part of nonmagical warfare since ... I guess the Trojan War? The Siege of Ambracia, at any rate.

    Is it possible to craft a magical trap that casts polymorph on any creature that passes by and tries to turn it into a rust monster?
    While it's almost certainly possible to build such a trap, is it possible to build it in enough quantities to be useful? Why don't the armies of Faerun do this already? Seems like it would cause problems for an army of knights in shining armor and footmen in chainmail just as it would for a modern army. More so, since a modern army uses aluminum and composites and plastics, not just straight rustable iron and steel.

    ETA: We can't assume that either side will immediately adapt the optimal strategy to fight the other side. Even if we have gamers in the modern army and scryers of other planes in the magical, there's still a lot they don't know about each other. Expect a lot of trial and error and muddling through before a resolution is reached, not the immediate selection of the optimal strategy by either side.

    Which means that a lot of the war is going to be decided by who can collect the best intelligence, make the best allies, best understand both themselves and their enemy, then apply a solution which matches their strengths to the other side's weaknesses. Both sides have considerable advantages and problems. The winner is the one who can best adapt.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Last edited by pendell; 2020-09-18 at 12:29 PM.
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by dancrilis View Post
    I don't really think it is about the gun or the damage so much as the fact that modern humans are effectively very low hp creatures - if an average strenght person gets the drop on a non-helpless modern solider and critical hits them with a knife that solider is out of the fight (almost certainly), on the other hand a level 1 fighter is still standing and effectively fully functional.

    Guns in real life are deadly because people (and other creatures) in real life are flimsy (compared to DnD standards) - I don't see any reason to assume that if modern humans attack a fantasy kingdom that there weapons would become more powerful or they would get more hitpoints.

    For instance to take The OOTS, panel 12 has Elan impaled and panel 1 has him up active and talking with little problem - that is fine for DnD rules (even if some people like to pretend that hit points are glancing hits and stamina etc).

    Now if the soliders invade a more narrative and less rules based Faerun it might balance things out a bit to need the Faerun side to have more high level people - but even if they enter a narrative Faerun that means that the gods are likely even more active, and the soldiers might still get seriously messed up by any underground attacks, creatures or people with invisibility etc, it would just mean that the Faerun side needs to actually consider some basic tactics.
    This is where things really break down. Because the question wasn't 'what happens if an army invades my D&D world?' it was 'what happens when an army invades Faerun?' which we have a ton of fluffy books for. And in those books impalement is a big deal. Same with losing limbs and the like. Basically, a grievous injury in real life would be a grievous injury in the books.

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    You’re presuming air support, which the OP hasn’t specified. Obviously a B-2 at high altitude would be a game-changer, but the OP hasn’t mentioned that, only infantry.



    Since these soldiers aren’t familiar from the Realms, there’s no automatic way for them to know who’s “important” and who isn’t. I’m pretty sure the wizards won’t be standing on the battlements waving hats with the letters “WIZZARD” facing the invaders.

    As for snipers, Invisibility is a second-level wizard spell and Fly is a third-level wizard spell, so I’m not sure how snipers would be targeting a dozen invisible flying wizards.

    Yes, they’ll become visible when they cast an offensive spell (apart from those with Greater Invisibility), but the modern soldiers, thanks to their training, will be looking for human targets on the ground or on rooftops, not hovering in the sky hundreds of feet directly above them. To the modern soldiers, they’ll be taken by surprise by spell effects they’ve never seen before, and they’re more likely to be looking at the ground for IEDs than in the air directly above them.

    Even if they do manage to spot human figures hundreds of feet above them, that's so far out of their experience they'll need to overcome their disbelief--and even after that they'll need to be firing their weapons effectively straight up, which may have some negative consequences for their unit.



    Yes, they’re trained to shoot human targets, not hippogriffs and fire elementals.

    No one in today's army is trained to fight fantasy monsters. That will be an immense psychological disadvantage, because for a modern soldier seeing a xorn up close is the stuff of nightmares. For a dwarven druid it's Tuesday.



    And things like hippogriffs and fire elementals are forms of contact which the modern soldiers have never seen before. Taking your definition literally, then each summoned creature and each offensive spell becomes a separate form of contact, and with dozens of different spells and creatures hitting them from all around, these soldiers simply wouldn’t be human if they weren’t overwhelmed by things they’ve never seen and felt in their lives.

    Think about a flash-bang. That’s disorienting enough to deal with. But every new spell attack will have the same effect as a flash-bang, all different and all dangerous. That’ll be complete sensory and cognitive overload.



    By the same token, rings of protection and armor bonuses should work on bullets, to say nothing of special materials for armor.



    Meanwhile, the defenders have druids who can take the form of perfectly innocuous owls, much better than drones in all respects, including perfect silence. You won’t hear an owl when it flies right past your head, so the soldiers won’t hear one when it flies a hundred feet above them.

    Also, scrying is available to at least a dozen of the defending casters, so that’s a lot of remote intel that again, the soldiers will have no idea is even being conducted.



    Plenty of races with darkvision, plus darkvision items and a ranger spell called Darkvision.

    (Also, I presume you mean infrared sensors, and that autocorrect worked its evil ways on your sentence.)



    And this is tremendously unfair to the people of Faerûn.

    In the example of Silverymoon, they have all manner of threats to contend with, and there’s no reason to believe they’re any less capable for having met them. Plus, never forget the defenders are in their own world, in their own country, defending their own homes. That's a powerful advantage in itself.
    I was presuming artillery mostly. For sake of the OP, I'm guessing Army only, no Air Force or Navy.

    Considering how wizards dress and where they live, they are not hard to figure out as a VIP. Ditto with Clerics. As others have pointed out, this is a modern army. While for the sake of argument, I'd say they don't know of Faerun or D&D specifically, they should know about fantasy worlds in general. Otherwise they aren't actually a modern army.

    Seriously though, Faerun is a big place. Where is the army showing up? A war in Thay would be much different than fighting in Silverymoon, which would be different from fighting in Chult.

    I mean, Thay would be a war of liberation, where you could recruit slaves as you went. But you'd fight a bunch of undead (mostly zombies and not a threat, but they would have other stuff too), and of course the infamous Red Wizards.

    Silverymoon would be hard to justify invading for most modern armies. Blah blah blah, politics, there are some who would do it anyways. Look at what nations you think would do it, they use different tactics than other nations, so where the modern soldiers come from is the big factor here.

    Chult is like Vietnam almost, but the locals are friendly, except when they are actually snake people, the plants are literally trying to eat you and there are dinosaurs around every corner. It's like gurrelia warfare except there is no actual opponent. Everything just wants to kill you.

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    My question is a bit different: What ability do the magic-users have to replace losses and resupply? I suspect it's a lost easier to train a modern soldier to the level of a conscript than it is to train a high-level magic user. If the magic users are few and they cannot replace their losses , they will eventually lose.

    Of course, if this really happened it is extremely unlikely that the battle would remain purely "magic vs. modern soldiers" for long. If I were a wizard from Faerun, I'd be trying to recruit local despots or countries to serve as my cannon fodder and allies. Rather than directly opposing modern armies with my magic, I'd use my magic to buff and improve existing armies, to much greater effect.

    And of course the converse applies as well; modern armies will both attempt to recruit magic users and to study magic as a phenomenon in the abstract.

    The upshot is, within a generation armies in this modern world will both understand magic and field magic users as part of a larger combined arms strategy. Perhaps some of these armies were originally founded by colonists from Faerun, perhaps not, but their evolution will converge regardless of their respective origins.

    ETA: There was actually a series of novels called The Empires Trilogy which focused on war in the Forgotten Realms. It was mostly fought by ordinary soldiers using medieval weapons; high-level magic users were rare enough, even in that setting, that they didn't participate frequently in wars between nations. I think after thirty years it's not really a spoiler to point out that, in the story, the one country that had a flying legion of wizards did not fare well against soldiers from their world with better tactics and generalship.


    E Again to add: I see I got the scenario reversed and we have a modern army invading Faerun. Well, in this case I think a modern's army true advantage lies in logistics and organization, not necessarily in weapons or ability to kill. The ability to move troops and supply on modern roads, the use of scouting helicopters or drones, the use of radio, allows them to strike swiftly and gain intelligence to react far more quickly than their opponents. Modern technology allows a much tighter OODA (orient-observe-decide-act) loop than medieval technology does even if a small number of the opponents can use telepathy, scrying, etc. I don't believe there are enough high-level magic users to tilt the balance permanently when the rest of their society is overwhelmingly medieval. What is available to a few high-level magic users is available to even third-world modern armies en masse. Technology is magic for the masses.

    I think what happens is the same as in my original: Social evolution. The modern army will recruit local allies who can use magic. Even if the modern army is defeated someone will find them useful to ally with, and the power of magic + modern technology will prove unbeatable, until other countries are able to imitate their success. The result is , ultimately, a modern world with modern organization supplemented by magic users. Faerun would not survive in its classic form.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    They can literally ressurect their dead so they do have that going for them.

    But you do bring up a good point in a different way. The modern army will begin recruiting locally for guides as well as just treating the locals well, and typically they can provide much more and better stuff than what already exists in the setting.

    Which, hilariously, means they'd have the same solution to succubi, wraiths and other weird magic creatures that the cities do. Hire some adventurers to take care of it for you.
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    I mean, not really. The Return of the Archwizards trilogy actually describes a third team of extradimensional invaders - specifically about 200 Phaerrim released from behind the Sharn Wall and their thousands of enslaved beholders - and while the resulting war encompasses multiple Chosen of Mystra, Evereskan High Mages, and Princes of Shade the descriptions are startlingly conventional and painfully anti-optimized (for instance, I don't think anyone, on either side, summons anything).

    The people who made the Forgotten Realms did so with a very, very different idea of what high-level full casters were capable of compared to 3.5e D&D. Ed Greenwood, Troy Denning, Jeff Grubb, Elaine Cunningham, RA Salvatore, and others worked off a 1e and 2e model where casters simply weren't that powerful compared to everyone else, had specific vulnerabilities that could be exploited, and power boosts like metamagic simply did not exist.

    For example, in Siege of Darkness, Silverymoon dispatches forces to Mithril Hall to fight the Drow invasion. Specifically they send two hundred mounted knights and also Aulustriel herself. Salvatore actually values the knights more than Aulustriel, which in a 3e context would be absurd.

    The overall problem is that the Realms simply doesn't work when converted to 3e rules, there are simply too many high-level casters for the setting to not tear itself apart

    The question of a 21st combat unit invading the 2e or 5e Realms is much more interesting. I suspect in that case they would initially do very well, and might in fact take whatever city they invaded, but that the various high-level casters and urban monsters (Steel Dragons, etc.) would easily escape using magic and would then be able to wage a very successful guerilla campaign to retake the city over the next few weeks by gradually grinding down the enemy force once they had a grasp of the invaders tactical capabilities.
    I would like to quibble a bit about salvatore considering the kind of shenanigans he had cadderly pulling out of his hindquarters. As an example, in book 4 of the cleric quintet, cadderly uses magic to make an ancient red dragon think they are best friends, and proceeds to use him to literally obliterate a massive army of giants ogres and goblins. Then, when the red dragon breaks free of the mind control effect, proceeds to de-age him to the point where a dwarf druid and warrior, a human monk, and an exhausted cleric can kill him. (There might have been more, its been awhile since I read the story) That doesnt even take into account some of his other odd magic during that battle like animating a canyon exit to EAT the enemy army as they try to pass through. So yeah, when a caster is the main character, he has absolutely no issues with making said caster hilariously overpowered.
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    It becomes substantially more effective if your enemies brought gunpowder to a fireball fight. A single fireball, even if it didn't kill anyone itself, could cook off most of their ammo, and that's going to smash magazines and the like, if it doesn't cook off grenades or other explosive weaponry (at which point, the magazine doesn't matter).
    But Fireball doesn't do that in most editions of D&D. Getting with with a Fireball doesn't set off your vials of alchemist's fire (on instantly blow-up your gunslingers in fire-arms allowed D&D games, e.g. PF1), so it's not going to set off modern ammunition, either. (If you roll a nat 1 on your reflex save and take item damage AND that item happens to have explosives in it, you might get unlucky.)

    MAYBE more plausible in AD&D an earlier, but then you're dealing with a LOT less powerful enemies overall, aside from at the very top spell-casters, and even THEY aren't as powerful then.



    Quote Originally Posted by Forum Explorer View Post
    But you do bring up a good point in a different way. The modern army will begin recruiting locally for guides as well as just treating the locals well, and typically they can provide much more and better stuff than what already exists in the setting.

    Which, hilariously, means they'd have the same solution to succubi, wraiths and other weird magic creatures that the cities do. Hire some adventurers to take care of it for you.
    This is extremely true.

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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    The soldiers would do well until they ran into one of the many "immune to non-magic" creatures and then all die. When a single werewolf or wraith can kill your entire army you are going to have a bad time.
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    The soldiers would do well until they ran into one of the many "immune to non-magic" creatures and then all die. When a single werewolf or wraith can kill your entire army you are going to have a bad time.
    Yeah this is honestly the biggest weakness to the modern army. The wide assortment of potential foes that can only be hurt by specific things a modern army wont have.
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Originally Posted by Seppl
    We should assume that the soldiers are as familiar with general fantasy tropes as typical young men from our time.
    Originally Posted by Aotrs Commander
    There is a significant probablity you can go one step further and note that said soldiers may contain folk actually be roleplayers intimately familiar with the Realms specifically and thus, after their initial surprise that This Is Actually Happening, will have a very good idea of what the limitations are and how to counter them….
    There’s a world of difference between rolling dice and moving minis around a table on the one hand, and confronting a chitinous monstrosity dragging your buddy underground on the other.

    I’ve gamed with a lot of military guys, and I know that gaming is widespread on boats and bases around the world, but rolling a d20 and adding some numbers does not make you an effective combatant against magical beasts and undead.

    Originally Posted by Vinyadan
    The question is what this battalion or regiment actually has at its disposal. An infantry regiment may not even have anti-air. And then we have questions like supply lines and communications.
    It really is difficult to take this much further without knowing these details—especially whether the battalion has easy access back to Earth, and whether they have air support of any kind.

    Originally Posted by pendell
    Modern technology allows a much tighter OODA (orient-observe-decide-act) loop than medieval technology does even if a small number of the opponents can use telepathy, scrying, etc.
    Why does everyone discount the druids and rangers?

    Druids can do this directly, by observing in animal form—and they can do this from substantial altitude as birds of prey.

    Rangers can do this by proxy, with spells like Speak With Animal, and since they know their home terrain (a point that keeps getting overlooked here) they can spy out the modern soldiers directly as well.

    And between Message, Sending, Animal Messenger, Whispering Wind, etc., I think the FR defenders won’t be substantially behind in communications either.

    —And it's worth emphasizing that these modern soldiers won't have access to GPS, which will severely curtail their ability to orient themselves in a completely different world.

    Originally Posted by Forum Explorer
    Considering how wizards dress and where they live, they are not hard to figure out as a VIP.
    Disguise Self is a first-level wizard spell—and wizards not being dummies, if their city is threatened they’re not going to make themselves obvious targets. Modern soldiers won’t have any way to tell if that cowering peasant is actually a cowering peasant or something else entirely.

    Short version being, wizards are quite skilled at not looking like wizards.

    Originally Posted by Mark Hall
    It becomes substantially more effective if your enemies brought gunpowder to a fireball fight. A single fireball, even if it didn't kill anyone itself, could cook off most of their ammo, and that's going to smash magazines and the like, if it doesn't cook off grenades or other explosive weaponry (at which point, the magazine doesn't matter).
    Very much agreed on these points, since I made them on the previous page.


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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yael View Post
    There's an anime that kinda simulates this, although in a low-magic setting. Its name is Gate: Jieitai Kano Chi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri, which translates to: Gate: Thus the Japanese Self-Defense Force Fought There, some interestng topics are shown, apostles are still stronger than humans and are impervios to weaponry, and an old enough dragon doesn't mind bullets to its face.
    Dragons can be hurt and killed by many anti-tank weapons (See the now dead Fire Dragon). And the Apsotles are NOT impervious to human firearms weapons. Rory took a little time to heal from the damage she took from the spec ops groups. And those where just assault rifles. Ma Duse would tear her apart and if it didn't kill her, it would certainly slow her down enough so that something that would kill her could be used.
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Originally Posted by Forum Explorer
    As others have pointed out, this is a modern army. While for the sake of argument, I'd say they don't know of Faerun or D&D specifically, they should know about fantasy worlds in general. Otherwise they aren't actually a modern army.
    Depends where the modern army is from.

    We all seem to be assuming this is an American army, perhaps British—and as I mentioned, gaming is widespread enough in the US military that it does make sense that some of the soldiers will have heard of this. And plenty of them will have seen Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, Onward, etc.

    But what about modern soldiers from China, or Sri Lanka, or Pakistan, or Botswana? All using roughly the same equipment, but these are all very different cultures, and I don’t know that TTRPGs are well-known in their respective services.

    Originally Posted by Palanan
    Druids can do this directly, by observing in animal form….
    To follow up on druids, I think they can inflict serious casualties on the invading soldiers long before the battalion is in sight of its target city.

    1. Scout. Druids can scope out the battalion’s camp from a thousand feet up as peregrines, merlins and other mid-sized raptors. The modern soldiers will have no reason to suspect that ordinary-looking birds are any threat.

    2. Customize Weapons. Using Stone Shape, druids can use natural obsidian to create flechettes, essentially sharp arrows with small stabilizing fins.

    3. Bombard. Again flying at altitude, the druids can rain down hundreds of obsidian knives, maiming and/or liquidating many of the soldiers.

    4. Undermine. Druids in burrowing forms can dig trenches around the APCs and other mechanized units. They won’t be submerging the full vehicles underground, only dragging their wheels and treads down below the surface, where they again use Stone Shape to immure the wheels and treads in solid stone. The mechanized advantage is lost before the battalion ever motors into view of the target city.

    .
    Last edited by Palanan; 2020-09-18 at 01:20 PM.

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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    There’s a world of difference between rolling dice and moving minis around a table on the one hand, and confronting a chitinous monstrosity dragging your buddy underground on the other.

    I’ve gamed with a lot of military guys, and I know that gaming is widespread on boats and bases around the world, but rolling a d20 and adding some numbers does not make you an effective combatant against magical beasts and undead.
    So you, if confronted with a real zombie, would immediately panic and curl up into a foetal position? You, if in the possession of a firearm to hand, not go "oh, [snap], a REAL zombie" and nevertheless not make a spirited attempt to shoot it in the head?

    I don't believe that.

    That's the point everyone ALWAYS misses in these crossovers and often in fiction generally when confronted with the unknown. The simply fact that a modern human has a basic mental kit - provided by media and especially fictional itself - that allows comprehension of something you have not seen before. Gives you suggestions. The head-space that, say, something might be immune to fire. That magic could do things. Modern human culture has provided humans with the ability (and the LUXARY) of being able to experience, however vicariously, beyond your daily-life; be that as simple as seeing an elephant watching Sir David Attenborough, or going to see [insert fantasy movie here]. We are all, as Elan would observe, genre-savvy. It is inescapable, as it is, to borrow from the Science of discworld (I think) a part of the "make-a-human (or Lich) kit."

    (Even in places like China have movies and stuff, even if they don't have TTRPGs.)

    You might be initially terrified of a dragon that is REAL, but you won't (unlike a Faerunian peasant exposed to an artillery strike) be facing something which you life and culture have no in way provided a base reference for. You've seen movies with aliens and zombies and magic - you have at least a set of understandings of what such things MIGHT or COULD be, even if you don't understand the specifics of how this thing right here now WORKS. But you have a mental kit supplied to you that will allow you, after the initial shock has worn off, to think of things to TRY next time. (It is immune to bullets? How big bullets (because there's a difference between a bullet from a Walther PPK and a GAU-8/A Avenger rotary cannon)? Is is immune to LADs? ATGMs? Can you snatch that staff what was clearly some sort of magic-user was wielding and make it shoot a wave of frost like she did on the dragon?)

    Now, if you are talking about someone from a third-world country... They, being sufficently impoverised, might not have had the same exposure as the rest of us, granted; but by then, we're stretching the definition of "modern army" a bit, since they, perforce, won't be using modern technology anyway.



    Now, by the same token, outside the peasants, most of your wizards and adventurers are going to have at least a level of that, because magic exists, so they are not likely to curl up into a ball crying either - but they most likely won't have had the same sort of exposure to different concepts (not until they've had a good few levels under their belts) and it won't be to quite the same degree, because as more technologically advanced society, moderns humans have opened up more head-space to concievably possibilities.
    Last edited by Aotrs Commander; 2020-09-18 at 01:31 PM.

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