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  1. - Top - End - #241
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Vinyadan's Avatar

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

    By the way, how would submarines do against Metal to Wood? Or rusting hands? Or a wall of force created in front of them?
    Quote Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien, 1955
    I thought Tom Bombadil dreadful — but worse still was the announcer's preliminary remarks that Goldberry was his daughter (!), and that Willowman was an ally of Mordor (!!).

  2. - Top - End - #242
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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

    I wonder, will anyone agree to actually run such a game? No idea what rules can be used though.

  3. - Top - End - #243
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Edreyn View Post
    F) Adding after seeing previous post: incorporeal\astral\ether projections. If this works in our world, that let's think why? If they aren't physical bodies, what are they? Particles, waves or something similar? EMP is designed for this.
    No, that's not what EMPs do.
    Quote Originally Posted by Edreyn View Post
    G) Finally, how many mages that can cast really complex spells can Faerunians deploy?
    Faerun-we-have-an-ancient-netherese-lich-under-evey-pepple?
    Quote Originally Posted by Edreyn View Post
    Mages that have Divination spells will simply refuse to come.
    Except that there's no risk. They astral project from their extraplanar domain and wreck havoc until they are bored or their astral body is actually destroyed, then wake up from the astral projection, have breakfast and do it again the next day. Esepcially with Divination spells we're ####. Scry the president, general, admiral, whoever. Teleport your astral projection to him, disintegrate him and let his security shoot your fake body because that way you don't need to bother dismissing it and can have breakfast in your planar domain half a second sooner.

    Protection against saboteurs is mostly keeping the would be saboteur away from your stuff. It would be a nightmare to protect anything from people that can pop up in the middle of your vehicles at any time and wreck them without even needing a srew driver. Sure, thanks and planes in motion are almost untouchable. But in their hangars they are undefendable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Edreyn View Post
    That's what modern armies to against terrorist organization leaders and it usually works.
    Very poorly unfortunately. And that's not even accounting for "congratulation, you just killed my astral body for the 12th time. And I even only got 1,000 of you today. See you again tomorrow"

  4. - Top - End - #244
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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

    How about an alternate scenario?

    Instead of sending a conventional armed force, Earth sends a small detachment of technologists+diplomats+special forces+security. They make contact with a local leader who's already powerful (say , the Emperor of Shou Lung) , then start building up their security and technology assets in order to become a 'puppet' ruler on Earth's behalf. Or "ally", if you prefer the euphemism.

    The ruler has all the resources of their own nation of Faerun while the special force detachment provides them both with technical and tactical innovations unheard of on the planet. The earth forces also arm, train, and equip the army using local resources, as opposed to anything imported from earth. Part of their effort is to create an indigenous infrastructure which can support a modern army.

    Once the friendly nation is developed enough, it embarks on world conquest. Alone if need be, but potentially with assistance from a real conventional earth force, as opposed to a mere battalion or regiment.

    What do you think? Does it work?

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    "Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later, that debt is paid."

    -Valery Legasov in Chernobyl

  5. - Top - End - #245
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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

    I don't really know that much about Faerun, but let's imagine a standard D&D metropolis (this means ignoring any specific Faerunian weirdness WRT gunpowder or whatever) versus a downsized MEU (for no other reason than that I have a convenient list of the MEU's vehicular equipment offhand and it's a slightly more conventionally-equipped force than the Luxemborgois army mentioned previously), stripped of all its air forces and reduced to one-third of its ground vehicles and one-quarter of its personnel, meaning 550 troops, which is about average for a battalion. They have 4 LAVs, 3 AAVs, 2 howitzers, 3 mortars, 3 TOWs, 3 Javelin AT missiles, a water purification unit, three different engineering vehicles and several logistics vehicles, 21 humvees, and 10 MTVRs.

    The metropolis has at least 25001 people in it, and up to 100,000 before it hits planar metropolis size, meaning that the population of an average metropolis is 62,500. It rolls 4 times per class to determine the highest-level characters of each class, at a +12 bonus each time. Its inhabitants break down by class as follows (I guessed on the standard deviations for some of the NPC classes rather than working it out properly, rounded roughly according to the example they give, and assumed that neither monk nor barbarian got the special bonus for being common in the area, don't @ me on this one):

    Spoiler: Big ol' table
    Show
    Level Ade Ari Brb Brd Clr Com Drd Exp Fgt Mnk Pal Rgr Rog Sor War Wiz
    1 304 304 64 64 48 55388 64 1826 64 64 64 64 64 64 3043 64
    2 16 32 32 16 16 32 16 32 32 32 16 32 16 32
    3 16 16 8 32 32 16 16 16
    4 8 16 16 8 8 16 8 16 16 16 8 16 8 16
    5 8 8 4 16 16 8 8 8
    6
    7 4 4 2 4 2 4 6 6 2 4 4
    8 4 4 4 4 2 4 2 4 2 2 2 4 4 4
    9 4 4 2 2 2 2 4
    10 8 6 2 2
    11
    12
    13 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
    14 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 1 1
    15 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
    16 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
    17 1 1 1 1 1
    18 1 1 1 1 1 1
    19 1 1 1
    20 3 2 1


    To summarise: the metropolis has a spellcaster who can cast 9th-level spells, followed by 7 more who can cast 8ths, 6 more who can cast 7ths, 3 more who can cast 6ths, 4 more who can cast 5ths, 32 more who can cast 4ths, and a whole mess of lower-level spellcasters, with almost two casters per marine. Four characters rolled an epic level and had to be restrained by the restriction on 20th-level characters. Many of the rogues will be invisible to low-level warriors on their stealth bonus alone. On the other hand, only 1635 people have multiple levels or PC class levels or both, while 55448 of the members of the metropolis are commoners.

    Let's summarise three scenarios:

    1) The army behaves like an army and the metropolis behaves like low-OP idiots and get slaughtered, albeit at significant cost to the army.
    2) The army behaves like an army and the metropolis behaves like high-OP cheese-weasels and destroy the army.
    3) The army behaves like an army and something between those two things happens that leads to an interesting situation that a good writer could justify going either way.

    Starting forces:

    Marines: 550 troops, 4 LAVs, 3 AAVs, 2 howitzers, 3 mortars, 3 TOWs, 3 Javelin AT missiles, 1 water purification unit, 1 tractor, 1 bulldozer, 1 forklift, 1 MTVR dump truck, 1 LVS, 2 water containers, 21 humvees, and 10 MTVRs.
    Metropolis: 14 VII+ casters, 39 IV-VI casters, 950 I-III casters, 20 high-level martials, 32 mid-level martials, 688 low-level martials (other than War1), 3043 first-level warriors, 60 levelled experts, 1826 first-level experts, 55448 commoners.

    Spoiler: Scenario 1
    Show
    0000

    LTC Davies (SmOrd 5/ChOrd 1) and the 99th Q-MEU are plane-shifted to a field 20 miles Southeast of the city of Alacastria. The Third Druid, Alfonse Ocarion (Drd 15) spots them within 20 minutes, by which point Davies has established a perimiter and has the locations of the entire Q-MEU and everything within half a mile of them on a hastily-scrawled map, though if anyone comments on the hawk flying ahead, it doesn't make it back to Davies, who is currently trying to figure out where they are and what exactly is going on. Alfonse immediately flies back to his circle to discuss what's going on.

    0117

    Davies has several scout patrols out by this point, which is when Alfonse makes it back to the circle, insisting that it's important.

    0123

    A scout patrol radios in to report that they've got a visual on what appears to be a large city to the Northwest.

    0145

    Every major group outside of Alacastria is recalled into the city via sending, although most of them won't make it by the time Davies and his men make it to Alacastria.

    0242

    Davies is ambushed - at least in theory - by a high-level adventuring group who didn't heed the order to recall. They attack under the guise of greater invisibility but show up on the 99th's sensors. Ava Iskaria (Wiz 14) and Magister Kirion Amadeo (Clr 13) manage to get a spell off each, tearing apart a humvee and 12 marines, before they and their party are shredded. Davies splits his forces over a larger area in response, and orders his troops to pay attention to objects and undergrowth that appear to move on their own.

    Marines: 538 troops, 4 LAVs, 3 AAVs, 2 howitzers, 3 mortars, 3 TOWs, 3 Javelin AT missiles, 1 water purification unit, 1 tractor, 1 bulldozer, 1 forklift, 1 MTVR dump truck, 1 LVS, 2 water containers, 20 humvees, and 10 MTVRs.
    Metropolis: 12 VII+ casters, 39 IV-VI casters, 950 I-III casters, 18 high-level martials, 32 mid-level martials, 688 low-level martials (other than War1), 3043 first-level warriors, 60 levelled experts, 1826 first-level experts, 55448 commoners

    0423

    Davies reaches Alacastria city, and starts firing on it from outside of longbow range. The highest-level spellcasters use whatever blasting spells they can to respond, and the balistae on the city walls start shooting vehicles with mild success, before being picked off by snipers that Davies has set specifically to respond to both of them. The Alacastrian Cavalry Legion rides out from the front gate, while the Royal Archers try to return fire from far beyond the effective range of their weapons on targets who are turning anti-tank weapons on them.

    0425

    The Alacastrian Cavalry Legion routs. The archers and spellcasters get off the walls. A few skirmishers return fire at the marines.

    Marines: 536 troops, 4 LAVs, 3 AAVs, 2 howitzers, 3 mortars, 3 TOWs, 3 Javelin AT missiles, 1 water purification unit, 1 tractor, 1 bulldozer, 1 forklift, 1 MTVR dump truck, 1 LVS, 2 water containers, 20 humvees, and 10 MTVRs.
    Metropolis: 8 VII+ casters, 21 IV-VI casters, 950 I-III casters, 17 high-level martials, 27 mid-level martials, 688 low-level martials (other than War1), 2307 first-level warriors, 54 levelled experts, 1826 first-level experts, 55448 commoners

    0433

    Cpt Sanchez (SmOrd 3/ChOrd 1) notices that the winds around his troops are starting to pick up and orders them to start moving while notifying Davies, who passes it back down the chain of command. The 99th is on the move quickly.

    0436

    The 99th are scattered as the winds start to pick up. Everyone who can't fit on a vehicle starts to run, while the rest take pot-shots from the side of humvees.

    0443

    The winds turn into a full-fledged hurricane, upending some of Davies' vehicles, including some of the supply vehicles that he left miles back. Most of the troops make it out (Sanchez will later recieve a medal for his quick thinking) and start launching artillery into Alacastria city.

    Marines: 510 troops, 4 LAVs, 3 AAVs, 1 howitzer, 3 mortars, 3 TOWs, 3 Javelin AT missiles, 1 water purification unit, 1 bulldozer, 1 forklift, 1 MTVR dump truck, 1 LVS, 1 water container, 17 humvees, and 8 MTVRs.
    Metropolis: 8 VII+ casters, 21 IV-VI casters, 943 I-III casters, 17 high-level martials, 27 mid-level martials, 688 low-level martials (other than War1), 2147 first-level warriors, 54 levelled experts, 1647 first-level experts, 52435 commoners

    0449

    The lower-level Alacastrians use some of their remaining evocations to snipe out the artillery, but get shot down themselves in response. Almost everyone capable of casting fireball but nothing much stronger trades their life for an attempt at a field gun of some kind, while the city walls crash down around them. Many of the Alacastrians flee the city, while the Alacastrian Second Infantry legion charge straight into Sanchez's troops, and actually manage to get their swords into the odd marine before the entire legion is shot down or, in a few cases, meets the business end of a combat knife or even an e-tool. Some of the Second Infantry Legion manage to burn out a humvee with some of their splash weapons.

    Marines: 499 troops, 4 LAVs, 3 AAVs, 1 howitzer, 1 mortar, 3 TOWs, 1 Javelin AT missile, 1 water purification unit, 1 bulldozer, 1 forklift, 1 MTVR dump truck, 1 LVS, 1 water container, 16 humvees, and 8 MTVRs.
    Metropolis: 8 VII+ casters, 21 IV-VI casters, 943 I-III casters, 17 high-level martials, 24 mid-level martials, 628 low-level martials (other than War1), 1526 first-level warriors, 54 levelled experts, 1647 first-level experts, 52435 commoners

    0454

    The entirety of the Alacastrian military fractures, with one group striking at the 99th, one group hiding in Alacastria's many buildings, and one group fleeing the city. The defending army are slaughtered with 4d6-damage AoE fragmentation grenades and picked off with the marines' rifles, while the 99th are lifted off their feet, struck by lightning, and beset by weird creatures from another dimension, many of which seem highly resistant to anything short of anti-tank weapons. The 99th brought anti-tank weapons.

    Marines: 436 troops, 3 LAVs, 2 AAVs, 1 mortar, 2 TOWs, 1 Javelin AT missile, 1 water purification unit, 1 bulldozer, 1 forklift, 1 MTVR dump truck, 1 LVS, 1 water container, 12 humvees, and 6 MTVRs.
    Metropolis: 3 VII+ casters, 11 IV-VI casters, 353 I-III casters, 7 high-level martials, 12 mid-level martials, 321 low-level martials (other than War1), 642 first-level warriors, 44 levelled experts, 1256 first-level experts, 20127 commoners
    Defectors: 2 VII+ casters, 4 IV-VI casters, 103 I-III casters, 3 high-level martials, 5 mid-level martials, 106 low-level martials (other than War1), 508 first-level warriors, 10 levelled experts, 402 first-level experts, 31142 commoners

    0510

    The marines carefully make their way into the city. Several of them are blown off their feet by blast glyphs. Those left in their homes fire crossbow bolts and the odd spell out of the window, and Marius Gustavo (Rog 8) manages to make his way into a humvee which lost a door earlier and take it over, although he doesn't last long enough to do anything interesting with it.

    Marines: 431 troops, 3 LAVs, 2 AAVs, 1 mortar, 2 TOWs, 1 Javelin AT missile, 1 water purification unit, 1 bulldozer, 1 forklift, 1 MTVR dump truck, 1 LVS, 1 water container, 11 humvees, and 6 MTVRs.
    Metropolis: 3 VII+ casters, 11 IV-VI casters, 353 I-III casters, 5 high-level martials, 8 mid-level martials, 311 low-level martials (other than War1), 638 first-level warriors, 43 levelled experts, 1234 first-level experts, 20110 commoners
    Defectors: 2 VII+ casters, 4 IV-VI casters, 103 I-III casters, 3 high-level martials, 5 mid-level martials, 106 low-level martials (other than War1), 508 first-level warriors, 10 levelled experts, 402 first-level experts, 31142 commoners

    0637

    King Amadeus Estarrion (Ari 16) offers his surrender to the 99th, who recieve it. Staff Sergeant Fox (StOrd 3) and her squad raise the US flag above the castle a few minutes later.

    Marines: 425 troops, 3 LAVs, 2 AAVs, 1 mortar, 2 TOWs, 1 Javelin AT missile, 1 water purification unit, 1 bulldozer, 1 forklift, 1 MTVR dump truck, 1 LVS, 1 water container, 11 humvees, and 6 MTVRs.
    Metropolis: 3 VII+ casters, 10 IV-VI casters, 252 I-III casters, 4 high-level martials, 5 mid-level martials, 291 low-level martials (other than War1), 523 first-level warriors, 38 levelled experts, 1162 first-level experts, 19820 commoners
    Defectors: 2 VII+ casters, 4 IV-VI casters, 115 I-III casters, 3 high-level martials, 6 mid-level martials, 109 low-level martials (other than War1), 526 first-level warriors, 12 levelled experts, 408 first-level experts, 31542 commoners.
    Spoiler: Scenario 2
    Show
    0000

    LTC Davies (SmOrd 5/ChOrd 1) and the 99th Q-MEU are plane-shifted to a field 20 miles Southeast of the city of Alacastria. Immeidately, they trip a magical alarm. The angel Imrika (Out 14) and her platoon of devas descend on the 99th, demanding their surrender. Davies refuses, shooting Imrika and her angels. Imrika leaves immediately while the other angels go to town on the 99th with their blade barriers, holy words, and even just their maces.

    Marines: 345 troops, 3 LAVs, 2 AAVs, 2 howitzers, 2 mortars, 2 TOWs, 2 Javelin AT missiles, 1 water purification unit, 1 bulldozer, 1 forklift, 1 MTVR dump truck, 1 LVS, 1 water container, 18 humvees, and 8 MTVRs.
    Metropolis: 14 VII+ casters, 39 IV-VI casters, 950 I-III casters, 20 high-level martials, 32 mid-level martials, 688 low-level martials (other than War1), 3043 first-level warriors, 60 levelled experts, 1826 first-level experts, 55448 commoners.

    0015

    Imrika, certain that she's now at a safe distance, uses sending. Davies struggles to keep order among his men as he sets up a perimeter.

    0025

    Everyone in the city capable of casting sending and any kind of planar binding or planar ally contacts their own personal army. Davies manages to get his men organised.

    0035

    Davies and the 99th are on the move as several armies converge on their position.

    0112

    Captain Sanchez (SmOrd 4/ChOrd 1) notifies Davies that there are several unidentified entities on his sensors.

    0113

    Staff Sergeant Fox (StOrd 3) and her squad open fire on an invisible creature.

    0117

    The inevitable occurs.

    Marines: 0 troops
    Metropolis: 14 VII+ casters, 39 IV-VI casters, 950 I-III casters, 20 high-level martials, 32 mid-level martials, 688 low-level martials (other than War1), 3043 first-level warriors, 60 levelled experts, 1826 first-level experts, 55448 commoners, 3 LAVs, 2 AAVs, 1 howitzer, 2 mortars, 2 TOWs, 2 Javelin AT missiles, 1 bulldozer, 1 forklift, 1 MTVR dump truck, 1 LVS, 1 water container, 12 humvees, and 6 MTVRs.
    Spoiler: Scenario 3
    Show
    I'm going to leave this one to the viewer, because it's very similar to scenario 1 and I have other things to do today. Alfonse goes straight to the city, which recalls its troops fast enough to work out a plan. Ava and her party get a visual on the 99th, maybe drop a few summons on them, and then go back to Alacastria and tell people what they're up against. Actual defences are put in place. The infantry legions hide in the woods, or the entire city does the empty city gambit and Staff Sergeant Fox makes her way into the castle only to have her face blasted in by the defending army. The 99th end up resorting to close-range firefights that they'd rather not be having with people with lower effective ranges than them. But at least they're not getting their faces wiped out by a million planar whatevered creatures that they can't actually kill.


    tl;dr: This scenario is interesting, but almost entirely depends on the optimisation of the city, not the army. A city which plays stupid games will win stupid prizes, whereas one which remembers that planar binding is a spell will just win automatically. In my opinion (which has never been humble), you have to play like an experienced non-forumite in order to make the battle compelling.

    I do sorta wanna run this as a game now, though.

  6. - Top - End - #246
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Tyndmyr's Avatar

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Edreyn View Post
    I wonder, will anyone agree to actually run such a game? No idea what rules can be used though.
    I would totally DM such a game. I find the premise fascinating, and it'd be interesting to see what actual people do with it. We'd need to nail down the rules fairly tightly, though.

    D20M does have a fair amount of weapon rules that could probably be cobbled together with D&D 3.5 to make something relatively workable, but we'd want specific objectives and rules for composition of each side.

    Probably multiple players for each side as well, rather than a pure 1v1. It'd be a lot for one person to handle.

    If there's interest in playing this out, I can start a thread so folks can sign up and what not. I'd like to make sure that both sides have at least something of a shot.

    I would probably suggest some sort of variety requirement for spell selection to better simulate a thriving metropolis. Not every wizard's gonna have perfect combat spell selections, yknow?

  7. - Top - End - #247
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Originally Posted by Tyndmyr
    I would totally DM such a game. I find the premise fascinating, and it'd be interesting to see what actual people do with it. We'd need to nail down the rules fairly tightly, though.
    Earlier I mentioned a tactical encounter between an adventuring party and a recon squad. Assume both have five members, both are trained and equipped for their respective specialties, and assume they happen across each other unawares and unsupported.

    That would be a fun encounter to run, and could also help point up what aspects of the rules need to be clarified before embarking on a much larger campaign.

  8. - Top - End - #248
    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    Earlier I mentioned a tactical encounter between an adventuring party and a recon squad. Assume both have five members, both are trained and equipped for their respective specialties, and assume they happen across each other unawares and unsupported.

    That would be a fun encounter to run, and could also help point up what aspects of the rules need to be clarified before embarking on a much larger campaign.
    Mmm, that should be fairly quick and easy. I'll toss up a recruitment thread either today or tomorrow and link it here. If multiple people are interested, I could run a couple, because a strictly one-encounter combat is pretty easy to run.

    Edit: Thread up at: linky. Lemme know if you think anything needs to change.

    In particular, level for the modern team seems at least a bit subjective. I feel like juuust about anyone can be killed by a critical rifle hit with maximum damage, which places an upper limit on the amount of HP anyone from the modern side could reasonably have. Level 5 is probably still within this range, but probably not much beyond it.
    Last edited by Tyndmyr; 2020-10-08 at 04:48 PM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    How about an alternate scenario?

    Instead of sending a conventional armed force, Earth sends a small detachment of technologists+diplomats+special forces+security. They make contact with a local leader who's already powerful (say , the Emperor of Shou Lung) , then start building up their security and technology assets in order to become a 'puppet' ruler on Earth's behalf. Or "ally", if you prefer the euphemism.

    The ruler has all the resources of their own nation of Faerun while the special force detachment provides them both with technical and tactical innovations unheard of on the planet. The earth forces also arm, train, and equip the army using local resources, as opposed to anything imported from earth. Part of their effort is to create an indigenous infrastructure which can support a modern army.

    Once the friendly nation is developed enough, it embarks on world conquest. Alone if need be, but potentially with assistance from a real conventional earth force, as opposed to a mere battalion or regiment.

    What do you think? Does it work?

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    That depends on the strategic details, but if executed intelligently, yes. Granted, I know little about either the political situation of Faerun or the kind of Earthly coalition who this local puppet is allied with/obeying, but this kind of tactic has worked wonders in the past.

    Assuming that the puppet kingdom contains the portal to Earth or whatever (because obviously), and assuming for the sake of this paragraph that neither the nation on the Earth side nor any other* world power objects to the plan, logistics become almost a nonissue (unless Earth needs to supply so many soldiers that throughput becomes an issue). Worst-case scenario, they can ship any supplies needed to the portal, then have a plane on the other side drop supplies by parachute...but this will almost certainly not be needed, especially once the Earthlings start setting up infrastructure in their puppet.

    That said, I think the most straightforward and obvious form of this plot would fail for reasons explained in the comic...and all the more so, because Faerun has a literally storied history of big bad empires trying to conquer the whole world.
    There are two alternative strategies that come to mind immediately. One of them is kinda political, so I'll just link to a Wikipedia article. I will refer to the other as "the Roman model".

    See, ancient Rome had what on paper seems a peculiar way of growing its empire. It expanded its territory by defeating other people, forcing them into alliances, supporting local aristocrats to build "public" support, and fighting anyone who threatened their allies. (Eventually, said allies would be properly annexed into the Roman state.) Throw in the popular-knowledge bits about handing out Roman citizenship and integrating local religions into the Roman system† and you've got a Republic! ...no, wait, it's an empire now.

    Obviously, this plan would need a few adjustments to fit with modern social norms, and could benefit with a few more to take advantage of modern institutions (and Faerun's habit of fighting BBEGs). But the general framework would work pretty well: Wait for a justifiable war, intervene, stick around to rebuild while ensuring the region's leadership is aligned with Earth-coalition desires, repeat.

    There are two big threats to this plan of action, and they're both political. For simplicity, I've assumed a fractious Faerun and a unified Earth, but this plan gets more complicated if either of those factors changes. The unified-Earth thing is pretty easy to contest, because we live on Earth. While open warfare between world powers is a thing of the past‡, our world has no shortage of other reasons and methods for nations to screw each other over. If there was a single access point to Faerun (or, probably, any world with perfectly mundane untapped resources), control over that access point and what it was used for would be hotly contested topics. If there were many, proxy wars between powers would interfere with any nation's attempt to consolidate power (draining resources from wars which would expand Earth's overall control of Faerun). If the number was somewhere in the middle, you'd get a bit of both.

    If the numerous kingdoms, tribes, and other polities of Faerun recognized Earthling influence as a threat and united, they could marshal a dang impressive force. Even if they left out the singletons**, the magical support provided by hundreds of mid- to high-level spellcasters (and I guess a bunch of non-spellcasters of equivalent level) could easily overwhelm any modern military. I did a quick Google search to look for likely states to lead such a coalition.

    Spoiler: Political Analysis of Faerun
    Show

    The things I do in my spare time...

    I'm going to assert a Lawful Good alignment as ideal for building an effective coalition a lot in the following section, so I should probably justify that.
    The Lawful requirement should be straightforward. CG is good at resistance movements, but for a coalition against an impending conquest, you want an an overarching plan and a clear chain of command to make sure it gets executed, not a bunch of freedom fighters pursuing independent ends, often without regard for long-term goals.
    (I'm going to cite an essay collection/blog segment to counter a possible counterargument—that more chaos-ey types in tribes and whatnot which produce fighters better able to resist states.)
    The Good requirement is a little trickier, but easy to justify within D&D lore. One of the most distinctive elements of D&D cosmology* is the Blood War. Fiends are divided into multiple factions (instead of just a Heaven vs. Hell dynamic), and those factions hate each other as much they hate the good guys. On the other hand, Good is basically a big extended family, if not always a happy one. Elves and dwarves might squabble, the paladin might disagree with the wizard on appropriate tactics, and nobody really likes the one guy who realized he could get around the DM's kender ban by playing a halfling like Tasslehoff, but at the end of the day they all come together to take down the evil warlord/cult/dragon in a dungeon/whatever.
    LG, for all its flaws, combines the clear structure of Law with the jolly cooperation of Good into a perfect coalition stew.

    In the order I saw someone suggesting them as a powerful Faerunian nation:
    • Thay has a powerful military which already integrates magical elements into its military; it possibly also has facilities for (relative) mass production of magic items. There are a couple of issues with a Thay-lead coalition. First off, they trend towards N/LE, and Evil is not very good at coalitions (at least in D&D worlds). Worse, Thay is explicitly a human supremacist state—not only would their diplomacy with non-human-dominated nations be strained at best, Thay might well side with Earth if a coalition featuring the "lesser races" started to emerge.
    • Cormyr, land of the purple dragon, is off to a better start. They also have a sizable military, honed by a history that (if the wiki is to be trusted) consists of little but war. It also tends towards Lawful Good, perhaps the ideal alignment to head a Faerunian coalition. (It also sounds like the police-state variety of LG, in the sense that the Purple Dragons have more official "police powers" than historical militaries generally did without any signs of the thin protections modern civilians have from the police. And also, you know, feudalism.) Its two blemishes are the near-constant threats on all sides that it faces and the fact that it periodically has to deal with squabbling aristocrats impeding efforts to fight them.
    • Amn initially struck me as a Venice sort of power—lots of wealth and lots of colonies, but relatively little in the way of traditional military. But judging by the vaguely-described extent of its empire, maybe the colonial-era Dutch would be a better comparison? They were both powerful in their time, but differently from larger realms. Alignment-wise, Amn is smeared between NG and LE, which on one hand suggests a lack of political cohesion (supported by the discussion of feuding noble houses) but on the other suggests that Amn may hold the elements needed for an effective coalition. However, Amn has basically no allies—not in the "nobody bothered to list them" sense, but in the "even its one stated ally is suspicious of it". All in all, Amn would have a difficult time marshalling a coalition of its own forces!
    • Rashemen, like Thay, is powerful in magic more than arms, though it also has some arms-based power (in the form of its berserkers). Rashemen doesn't sound especially strong, however (only surviving Thayan invasion because Thay really sucks at getting everyone on the same page without backstabbing everyone else), and their isolation and CG leaning make them unsuited to sudden diplomacy.
    • Calimshan, the mash of Orientalist stereotypes masquerading as a nation, oddly trends towards Law and Evil without trending towards Lawful Evil (according to the wiki, anyways)? It seems like Calimshan's recent history has been a series of slave revolts and conquests and slave revolts. It sounds like they're currently between cruel overlords, but Calimshan doesn't sound like a terribly stable region. I have little doubt that Earth would be able to knock them down if Calimshan tried to start something.
    • Semphar is something like the classic Mongol horde, but fantasy. The Mongols are one of the big exceptions to everything, but I'm not convinced that they'd be the exception to "tank beats bow," even if they have the same social inventions that let Chinggis conquer so much of Eurasia.
    • Aglarond is another magocracy, which we can directly compare to Thay because they've fought—with Aglarond coming out on top! Unfortunately, Aglarond is both chaotic and isolationist, making a coordinated diplomatic effort unlikely.


    It bugs me how there's so much more detail about little mercenary bands or tribes of <150 get several times more wiki-worthy flavor than some powerful nation-states.

    *Well, the Great Wheel in specific. Some D&D settings have different cosmologies which invalidate this argument, the most obvious of which is Dragonlance, which does have a single Good God and a single Evil God as the prime movers and shakers of the setting, with most other powers (including basically all good/evil-aligned ones) falling behind them. Alongside a neutral god who talks a big game about free will but doesn't do anything to protect it, and there are a lot of political jokes you could make about him on some forums.

    So with nation-states being largely impotent as coalition-leaders, is Faerun doomed?

    Not necessarily. After all, there are still roughly five organizations with reach across Faerun, disproportionately among the most powerful—the factions. The Harpers, Order of the Gauntlet, Emerald Enclave, Lords' Alliance, and Zhentarim seem like some of the most powerful political entities in the Forgotten Realms. Moreover, all could have reasons to oppose the Earthling incursion. The Harpers would oppose apparent tyranny, the Order is all about fighting evils too big for any single party, the Enclave would oppose the desecration of nature caused by modern industry, the Alliance would oppose threats to their power, and the Zhentarim...well, basically the same, except with less legitimacy.

    However, all of these reasons (except probably the Emerald Enclave's) are dependent on Earth's approach and PR. They'll end up angering either the Harpers or the Alliance (Earth could present itself as freeing Faerun from tyrannical feudalism or work to support local lords, but not both), the Zhentarim could be bought without too much politicking, and the Order wouldn't lift a finger if the Earth people avoided getting labeled as a threat (or better yet, started out by opposing the various evil regimes).

    Moreover, the factions are hardly regimented institutions. In my play experience, they "rule" by suggestion rather than anything concrete. They could point powerful warriors (and, in a crisis, maybe sympathetic nations) at the problem, but they're unlikely to organize anything. Maybe they're more organized than meets the eye, but it's not looking good.

    Spoiler: Footnotes
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    * If San Marino had the sole access to a world full of magical wonders, it would be a world power on that basis alone. You know, assuming no other nation managed to take control of the region before it made enough money off the portal and gathered enough magicians to fortify itself politically.
    † Fun fact that I learned a couple weeks ago: The Romans were, religiously speaking, tolerant of the Jews. They refused to honor the Roman gods, but since they had traditions of not worshipping most gods lasting into the mists of time and no gods had taken vengeance on them for this, the Romans figured they had a system that worked for them. Maybe their god had a deal with the other gods? Christians, on the other hand, were persecuted because their traditions originated in the recent past and lacked that weight of history. If you're interested in learning about historical polytheism, here is the blog posts I was reading when I learned that. Or maybe it was mentioned in the comments?
    ‡ At time of writing.
    I hope this is just a jokey-joke and not a helpful administrative note for future historians.
    ** "Singleton" is here used to refer to an individual entity with power comparable to an entire polity. I've seen it most often used to refer to ultra-powerful AI, hive minds, and tyrants ruling over mind-controlled slaves, but it could easily refer to beings of great magical power (such as archmages, great wyrms, and artificers with mindless construct armies).
    Note that it has other definitions in different contexts.


    TL;DR: Supporting puppets and finding good excuses to attack other nations has, historically, been a winning strategy. Moreover, Faerun lacks any strong nations or organizations suited to lead a coalition against an encroaching Earthling threat. Likely there would eventually be some kind of effort, but without such a natural coalition-starter it is likely to be too little, too late.
    (Incidentally, if I was running the alliances Earthside, I'd mainly work with the Lords' Alliance, the Zhentarim, and whatever nation my "landing site" was in, while actively sending forces against openly villainous regimes—either replacing them with puppet democracies or letting friendly nations annex their territory—and trying to minimize the heavy industry present in Faerun itself.)
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    If the numerous kingdoms, tribes, and other polities of Faerun recognized Earthling influence as a threat and united, they could marshal a dang impressive force. Even if they left out the singletons**, the magical support provided by hundreds of mid- to high-level spellcasters (and I guess a bunch of non-spellcasters of equivalent level) could easily overwhelm any modern military. I did a quick Google search to look for likely states to lead such a coalition.
    Cormyr served as the coalition leader for the Heartlands when it rallied forces against the Tuigan Horde invasion - in an event that so blatantly crimps the historical record I think it violates forum rules to even talk about in detail (pretty much all FR events that involved metaplot with forces from beyond the core FR region are really, really bad rips on the actual historical record). However, it's an interesting point of comparison that the people in charge of FR at the time thought that an admittedly 2e Heartlands faced an existential threat from ~300,000 steppe nomads who had almost no spellcasters of their own. If that's a threat, than modern Earth armies ought to be utterly overwhelming.
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    Cormyr served as the coalition leader for the Heartlands when it rallied forces against the Tuigan Horde invasion - in an event that so blatantly crimps the historical record I think it violates forum rules to even talk about in detail (pretty much all FR events that involved metaplot with forces from beyond the core FR region are really, really bad rips on the actual historical record). However, it's an interesting point of comparison that the people in charge of FR at the time thought that an admittedly 2e Heartlands faced an existential threat from ~300,000 steppe nomads who had almost no spellcasters of their own. If that's a threat, than modern Earth armies ought to be utterly overwhelming.
    The Tuigan had a number of casters and didn't seem that magically ill-equipped compared to the armies they faced.

    Spoiler
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    They take the Dragonwall in the first novel with a magical ritual which releases the spirit chained within the wall, resulting in its destruction. In the second novel, a shaman uses smoke from cooking fires to weave a smoke bridge to the top of a besieged city wall, allowing the army to storm the town.


    In all three of those novels, the ordinary armies and nations of Faerun fight relatively low-magic wars. They have clerics for healing, but the bulk of their wizards seem to be low to mid-level. The war is primarily decided by the actions of soldiers and technology not out of place in our own ninth century. The Thay Griffin Legion is an exception, but even they have trouble against an ordinary army with competent leadership.

    I suppose , at least in story, despite the setting's reputation, the bulk of the citizens and nations are living a medieval life. The powerful magic-users are doing things like traveling to other planes or achieving lichdom or attempting to overthrow gods. Perhaps the rulership of a particular patch of dirt on the Prime Material plane is for the most part beneath their notice?

    ETA: In the DragonLance Twins Trilogy this is spelled out explicitly.

    Spoiler
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    Raistlin, the evil arch-mage, dismisses the idea of ruling the world. He could do that tomorrow if he wanted, or so he says. What HE cares about is throwing down Takhisis Queen of Darkness and taking her place among the gods.


    E A to a: GreatWyrmGold, your plan is better, long term than mine. Rather than conquering the world, act as a resolver of disputes and intervene in local conflicts. In any power struggle, choose a winner and back them, in exchange for becoming a client of the earth government. If they are careful about the conflicts they choose and the sides they back, they can even be seen as a force for good, something that brings law and justice from chaos, as opposed to a military empire out for conquest. Bit by bit and little by little they will eventually become the dominant force on Faerun and, perhaps, eventually, the sole legitimate government.

    The downside is that this will take generations, perhaps centuries, to achieve. It's something that is well beyond the attention span of most earthly governments. The reason colonization and imperialism happen in the real world is because there are long-term economic conditions which keep the system rolling even as the people in charge turn over. Consider the British East India Company: their imperialism spanned two centuries, but we barely know the names of any of the board of directors or many of the major players today. What kept them going for so long was a drive for economic prosperity and a particular way of getting it that continued even as individual cogs in the machine died and were replaced. For Earth to repeat the feat in Faerun, they will likewise need an economic incentive that will outlast the attention span of modern governments or the lives of individual human participants.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Last edited by pendell; 2020-10-12 at 10:28 AM.
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Originally Posted by Pendell
    For Earth to repeat the feat in Faerun, they will likewise need an economic incentive that will outlast the attention span of modern governments or the lives of individual human participants.
    Healing magic would be one possibility, assuming it can be used here on Earth. Or, failing that, clinics set up in Faerūn for natives of our world to use for treatment.

    This might start out with good intentions, but would almost certainly be skewed towards wealthier individuals--who might have used their political influence to drive the initial invasion, perhaps specifically to secure access to healing magic.

    This depends in part on what sources are in play in this version of Faerūn. Standard healing is valuable enough, but summoning an Elysian thrush to sing you into health, with a bard to amplify the effects, could be considered luxury treatment. And if sanctified magic from BoEd is available, then a much broader range of mental and physical ills could be addressed.

    Faerūn could represent a potential revolution in healthcare that would render many of our "modern" techniques obsolete. The question, as always, is access--and an invading army might seem like the best way to secure that access.

    .
    Last edited by Palanan; 2020-10-12 at 10:37 AM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    Healing magic would be one possibility, assuming it can be used here on Earth. Or, failing that, clinics set up in Faerūn for natives of our world to use for treatment.

    This might start out with good intentions, but would almost certainly be skewed towards wealthier individuals--who might have used their political influence to drive the initial invasion, perhaps specifically to secure access to healing magic.

    This depends in part on what sources are in play in this version of Faerūn. Standard healing is valuable enough, but summoning an Elysian thrush to sing you into health, with a bard to amplify the effects, could be considered luxury treatment. And if sanctified magic from BoEd is available, then a much broader range of mental and physical ills could be addressed.

    Faerūn could represent a potential revolution in healthcare that would render many of our "modern" techniques obsolete. The question, as always, is access--and an invading army might seem like the best way to secure that access.

    .
    Oh, you just wait until Earth finds about Raise Dead and Resurrection. I predict an entire social revolution on earth when people learn that , for the wealthy, death is optional for everything save old age.

    Not to mention polymorph magic. Suffering from gender dysphoria? Identify as another species entirely? Well , look no further! Forget expensive hormone treatments or surgery. And if you change your mind five years down the road? Poof! More magic just switches you back, no hassle and no lingering aftereffects.



    Respectfully,

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

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    Oh, you just wait until Earth finds about Raise Dead and Resurrection. I predict an entire social revolution on earth when people learn that , for the wealthy, death is optional for everything save old age.
    Perhaps not even just the wealthy. Diamonds can by synthesized with relative ease, it's just a matter of compressing carbon in the right way, and even naturally mined diamonds are actually quite abundant. 5,000 gp is just a game contrivance, the actual amount needed for the spell is some number of carats, and with Earth's vastly greater diamond production capabilities compared to Faerun, the limitation would be the number of casters, not the amount of minerals. Conceivably earth could also import divine casters to Faerun in order to have them gain supernatural abilities (even in the purely military situation this would happen since most armed forces contain a chaplain or equivalent post), which raises interesting questions as to what happens to such persons and whether or not some new deity might emerge in the pantheon.
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Technically even old age isn't necessarily a bar if you can make friends with Druids and are willing to gamble. Unless they've changed it in newer editions, Reincarnate specifically creates an early adult body for your new species.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Liquor Box View Post
    So, in 5ed a werewolf beats a storm giant? Sounds silly.
    I believe this one being a misstake. Since the werewolf is the only (non deity level) creature in the entire of 5e with that trait it clearly just an remnant of an earlier design stage that was never removed from the werewolf like from any other creature.
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    Technically even old age isn't necessarily a bar if you can make friends with Druids and are willing to gamble. Unless they've changed it in newer editions, Reincarnate specifically creates an early adult body for your new species.
    If you can get enough castings, you can ensure you eventually get back to human, since it's on the table.

    This might require something of value for druids, naturally. They're definitely not going to cast reincarnate over and over for just anyone.

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

    Its a bit off topic but an interesting idea nonetheless. If there is an active portal to earth realm, would the gods of faerun be willing to exert some influence on earth as well? Lets face it, there would probably be a LOT of converts if they could offer tangible benefits to worshipping them. "Hey, all I had to do was pray to pelor and now I can summon food!" Things would probably get very complicated VERY fast. Too many converts would mean no long term war because the people on earths side are like, "Heck no, if we stay friendly we get to have MAGIC." That might also cause chaos on the side of faerun as the gods fight over converts as there are another 7 billion people to try and get as followers which probably would make a difference in relative power levels.
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Traab View Post
    Its a bit off topic but an interesting idea nonetheless. If there is an active portal to earth realm, would the gods of faerun be willing to exert some influence on earth as well? Lets face it, there would probably be a LOT of converts if they could offer tangible benefits to worshipping them. "Hey, all I had to do was pray to pelor and now I can summon food!" Things would probably get very complicated VERY fast. Too many converts would mean no long term war because the people on earths side are like, "Heck no, if we stay friendly we get to have MAGIC." That might also cause chaos on the side of faerun as the gods fight over converts as there are another 7 billion people to try and get as followers which probably would make a difference in relative power levels.
    Eh, the thing is gods of Toril include the gods of Earth though. Well, some gods are directly from mythologies of certain civilizations. Tyr is the most notable that I can think of off the top of my head. Also, yes, he's the literal Norse deity and not a similar figure also named Tyr, apparently.

    There's even a whole Stargate-esque backstory to Faerun where mages made portals to Earth to kidnap and enslave - predominantly - ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian peoples from Earth, and it was members of the Egyptian pantheon which showed up across realities and fought said mages to eventually emancipate their worshippers.

    Basically, the portal shouldn't matter as it's not lack of access to deities which is the issue, it's whatever constraints our reality has relative to the Forgotten Realms.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    Cormyr served as the coalition leader for the Heartlands when it rallied forces against the Tuigan Horde invasion - in an event that so blatantly crimps the historical record I think it violates forum rules to even talk about in detail (pretty much all FR events that involved metaplot with forces from beyond the core FR region are really, really bad rips on the actual historical record). However, it's an interesting point of comparison that the people in charge of FR at the time thought that an admittedly 2e Heartlands faced an existential threat from ~300,000 steppe nomads who had almost no spellcasters of their own. If that's a threat, than modern Earth armies ought to be utterly overwhelming.
    Assuming equal caster support, as pendell suggests, it's not surprising that steppe nomads could overwhelm the kingdoms of Faerun. The advantages provided by the steppe-nomad lifestyle would still apply in a world of magic; you could argue that some aspects of magic would make their tactics more or less effective, but it doesn't seem like it would affect that much unless the Faerun armies were more magic than man.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kitten Champion View Post
    Eh, the thing is gods of Toril include the gods of Earth though...
    Basically, the portal shouldn't matter as it's not lack of access to deities which is the issue, it's whatever constraints our reality has relative to the Forgotten Realms.
    I really want to provide some suggestions, but this discussion is treading on the (extremely fuzzy) line of "don't discuss real-world religion" and I'd probably shove us right over it.
    So, um, keep to the correct side of that line if we continue discussing this here. And have another ACOUP link (about historical polytheistic religions), because I apparently feel like sharing history today.
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    Default Re: Modern soldiers vs. Faerun. What do you think happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    Cormyr served as the coalition leader for the Heartlands when it rallied forces against the Tuigan Horde invasion - in an event that so blatantly crimps the historical record I think it violates forum rules to even talk about in detail (pretty much all FR events that involved metaplot with forces from beyond the core FR region are really, really bad rips on the actual historical record). However, it's an interesting point of comparison that the people in charge of FR at the time thought that an admittedly 2e Heartlands faced an existential threat from ~300,000 steppe nomads who had almost no spellcasters of their own. If that's a threat, than modern Earth armies ought to be utterly overwhelming.
    While this horde stomped all over fanatasy asia, annihilating forces several times their number (however the novel pointed out the incompetence of the shou generals who had their posts due to political maneuvering rather than military knowledge) the western alliance defeated them with merely 30k troops and a much more practical application on battle magic (though they had ovet 50% casualties)

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