A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    Your character (or party of characters) has arrived unnoticed on our planet in the modern day. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to take over 21st-century Earth by supernatural means, whether overtly or covertly. Assume that Common is the same as the Earth language of your choice, and that the peoples of Earth have no knowledge of magic or how to counteract it.

    There are only a few general guidelines:

    0) No mention of real-world political parties or nations, please.

    1) Please avoid using completely game-breaking effects e.g. Pazuzu, the sarrukh, ideally avoid even munchkinism like Divine Persistent metamagic etc.

    2) Use whichever class(es) you like, but please stick to as few characters as possible, of as low a level as possible (e.g. a single 1st-level adept would be a truly amazing feat if you can pull it off).

    3) Bonus points if you can make it work using 5e, given the concentration/duration limits of spells in that system.

    I myself was thinking a 5th-level wizard in 3.5. might get a lot of use out of subtle bestow curses to manipulate elections, given the permanent duration.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    Why take over? A few well placed divinations should allow me to play the market like a fiddle, making obscene amounts of wealth without drawing the attention that making myself an open ruler would. And/or, I could just go with heavy investments into Diplomacy/Persuasion boosting, have insanely high checks (3.5 having explicit target numbers for this, 5e not doing so as general principle), and just be a silver tongued social god. When you're living in luxury and can talk other people into pretty much anything, sometimes it's okay to let someone else deal with the complications of sitting on the throne.

  3. - Top - End - #3
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    Imp

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    Default Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    Is using Modify Memory on political leaders to make them think of me as a dear friend breaking rule #1? Because then I could just slowly take over the current power structures without having to actually do much.
    Black text is for sarcasm, also sincerity. You'll just have to read between the lines and infer from context like an animal

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    Plausibly, a 1st level wizard can do this. Disguise Self allows you to appear a a celebrity to gain a private audience with a regionally important person in the bureaucracy of the planet's most powerful totalitarian state. Charm Person makes them your bestie. After that it's simply a matter of working your way up the hierarchy to become the best friend of the leader of the planet's most powerful totalitarian state. You can charm other members of the leadership as necessary and in short order become the heir apparent. Once you've insured the no one will object to your taking control, you murder the leader in a fashion that appears like suicide using a combination of Obscuring Mist and Silent Image to get them to walk onto a 'balcony' that isn't actually there a few hundred meters up.

    Now you have control of the world's most powerful totalitarian state. That's close enough to world conquest for most people.
    Resvier: a P6 homebrew setting

  5. - Top - End - #5
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    become the best friend of the leader of the planet's most powerful totalitarian state
    Be careful with this, powerful ruthless people don't always treat their friends well - think about what Thanos did to get the soul stone.

    What's more, if you become close to someone like that, the security services will be running very very detailed surveillance and background checks on you - there's a good chance your powers will be found out and you will be a research lab subject before you know what happened.

  6. - Top - End - #6
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    Telok's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    You'd get a long way with suggestion, illusions, simraculum, and divinations in either system. Heal and cure disease are good for leveraging your way into powerful people owing you favors. You can get quite far into 'power behind the throne' type stuff, and probably claim a win by simming & polymorphing enough world leaders.

    In 3.x you could pump skill checks into the supernatural effect range at mid levels, or low levels with the right spells. In 5e a level 10+ bard, social rogue, or bard/rogue multiclass could do similar. Either can put you near the top of the political pile in any particular nation. Now quite world conquest, but pretty good.
    "And this, too, shall pass away."

    DtD40k7e rewrite complete.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    It could easily be done at level 1 with charm person, but I would suggest a 2nd level bard instead.

    Proceed to play out the plot of Fight Club. You need not ever target the leaders of anything. Target the common people who are easily swayed. I suggest 2nd level so the bard has access to Charm Person and Cure Light Wounds as backup plans.
    Once you have 500k+ devoted followers across the world and the leaders don't know who you are, you kind of won. You will have allies in security, transportation, military, intelligence, government, logistics, and sanitation. Imagine a network of spies with dock workers, taxi drives, airplane attendants, truck/lory drivers, and security/police at a dozens locations in each city.

    I choose Bard for good skills, and Charisma based everything. With the level of social skills, magical song, and spells. They can convince anyone to do anything. Common people don't have rooms of advisors, council members, and security teams watching their back. With cure light wounds you can suddenly switch the narrative and become a cult leader with the power to heal the wounded if needed. I prefer bard because Charm Person/ Enchantments are the BACKUP PLAN instead of the main plan.

    With disguise and various spells you can be both a famous cult leader, and the advisor to the President/Councilman/Magistrate. Why do you ever have to present yourself as the most important and famous person on the planet. You are a nobody that faded into the background.

    As a higher level bard they get hypnotize, suggestion built into they class multiple times a day.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    Quote Originally Posted by gijoemike View Post
    With disguise and various spells you can be both a famous cult leader, and the advisor to the President/Councilman/Magistrate. Why do you ever have to present yourself as the most important and famous person on the planet. You are a nobody that faded into the background.
    Thing is, being a famous cult lead with access to the global elite is a long, long way from world conquest. This is well known, because there are actually a handful of such people active right now in various parts of the world.

    Quote Originally Posted by Khedrac
    Be careful with this, powerful ruthless people don't always treat their friends well - think about what Thanos did to get the soul stone.
    Thanos is a comic book character, not a real person. In reality, the good friends/family of the leaders of modern totalitarian states are mostly filthy rich oligarchs. The average modern totalitarian state, in addition to whatever ideological goals it may possess, is a kleptocracy in which the leadership systematically plunders the wealth of the state to line their own pockets (this is something that can be easily googled). Yes there are risks, since the extremely powerful can be just as fickle as anyone else, but it's still a viable strategy.

    Charm person, alone, is admittedly high risk. An alternative low level approach is just being a Doppleganger, since that provides the ability to simply become relevant oligarchs and world leaders with minimal chance of detection and to easily escape if the heat proves too much (also Detect thoughts as a free action would allow you to make nigh limitless amounts of money fairly easily).
    Resvier: a P6 homebrew setting

  9. - Top - End - #9
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    Goblin

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    Default Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    if you are looking for a Manchurian candidate situation, in 5e a level 14 warlock with the Great Old One patron can permanently charm any incapacitated humanoid they touch AND delivery telepathic messages so long as they are on the same plane of existence. With Mask of Many Faces and Suggestion, the warlock could gain entry to any number of secure locations.

    Then suppose the leader of a very influential country, company or movement goes into surgery and wakes up the next day hearing a very persuasive voice in their head.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    The 5e version of Charm Person comes with the certainty of being caught, so it's relatively useless.

    Also, countries have systems, formal or otherwise, for dealing with insanity on the part of their leaders. Since there was in fact mind control research over half a century ago, the systems surely take the possibility of same into account.

    That said -- if we allow Level 17-20 5e characters, Glibness and 9th-level Mass Suggestion offer a lot of utility, and Subtle metamagic could impede modern surveillance. Give the character some telepathy, and don't have to speak the Suggestions at all.

    Simulacrum chaining is of course a force multiplier. If you carry out that process before becoming particularly prominent, there's no reason to expect it to have been detected.

    Getting rich enough to lubricate the rest of the process -- and doing so in ways that avoid all but the most routine suspicion -- is easy.

    The number of people you need in your pocket in order to take over a superpower or other top country is at least dozens, and possibly a few hundred. In 5e that suggests a two-step core magical strategy:
    • Mass Suggestion that they obey the voice in their head. (Because Mass Suggestion is non-concentration and can have duration >1 year.)
    • Some way of getting voices into that many heads.


    The latter requires, or at least would be much more straightforward with, a number of creatures to do it. The most direct way to achieve that would be through chained Simulacrums.

    It would probably be best to start with the freest superpower; while there's a long list of people you'd want to control, you can easily figure out who they are, and you could get by with having people from that country only. They also have intelligence services that can figure out who you need to control in other countries.
    Last edited by Corey; 2021-10-04 at 04:25 AM.

  11. - Top - End - #11
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    KorvinStarmast's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    Taking over the modern world, D&D 5e.
    Assuming that simulacrum cheese is OK, it's still expensive to get off of the ground.
    Use of dimension door to get in and out of a few bank vaults so that one can afford the first simulacrum's GP requirement is step one. (The ice is trivial).
    Simulacrums keep on cloning via wish, and the spell caster who initiates all of this has Alter Self as a prepared / known spell. True Polymorph a large object or statue into a CR 9 creature.

    For example a Silver Dragon.

    This provides misdirection. One of the sims begins a world tour showing off this dragon who can talk, fly, icy breath, and so on. Various of the sims use cantrips to supplement the show: Thaumaturgy, Minor Illusion, Prestidigitation, Shape Water - the permutations are countless.

    Money Rolls in. Use diviniation spells when you go to Vegas, or various reservations, to make money on the side at craps tables now and again. Make a few thousand at each casino, cash out, move to another. Build some low level working capital in cash that way. Stay away from big payoffs to avoid IRS scrutiny. Lots of little payoffs.

    Use similar tactics at the craps tables all over the globe. Slush fund, bribe money.
    Use enchantment spells or telepathy to find out who is bribable. Apply that to advantage.

    TP another large object into a CR 4 creature: Couatl. The faith healing big tent revival show has just begun for selected influential people, and it will spread like wildfire thanks to Twitter/TikTok/Instagram and so on. (Greater Restoration, heck of a spell). Plus, there's a decent chance that one can take over a nice sized country in the Western Hemisphere if the couatl shows up and avows that it is indeed the return of the legendary Quetzalcoatl. That country becomes the base of operations. (Other countries will do nicely as an alternative, by bringing back things like a Unicorn, Ki Rin or a Shedu to the right place. I just used that as one example of many).

    Original caster in Shapechange form uses, during selected events, Mass suggestion on influencers to get them to go along with original caster being obeyed and listened to.
    And make reasonable, incremental, changes. No Big Changes that get massive blow back.

    Boil the Frog.

    To ice the cake, have one of the sims cast wish as a resurrection spell on someone famous who dies unexpectedly. (Teleport there (7th level slot gone, wish/resurrection (9th level slot gone) and you get a famous face/beloved leader as a worthy ally.

    True Polymorph one of the sims into an adult golden dragon. (Lvl 17+/CR 17 matches). You know where this tour is going. Attract a following.

    One day, you can have them build a replica of the Titanic, and get out on the bow yelling "King of the World" and be right.
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2021-09-29 at 08:13 AM.
    Avatar by linklele. How Teleport Works
    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    (paraphrased) Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by greenstone View Post
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
    Gosh, 2D8HP, you are so very correct!

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    There are a lot of problems to overcome.

    As I understand the OP, two are taken care of for us: "Common" directly translates (heh) to a language of our choice, and this is an alternate reality version of this world, that doesn't have D&D, and otherwise doesn't start with understanding of our magic.

    Implicit in the question is several other unspoken solutions: this alternate reality has D&D planar geography, and supports D&D magic (of an edition corresponding to our character(s)).

    One more bit of data before getting into the problems: according to the best Playground estimate this world most closely translates to e7 (with a few exceptions).

    Now, on to the problems.

    To start with, unlike Quertus (my signature academia mage for whom this account is named), most D&D characters wouldn't grok this world. Technology and modern cultures are foreign to them. And it's not just "you, but with the powers of a D&D character", because there's talk of multiple characters. So this is either the "bad role-playing" thread, or most characters will draw attention to themselves long before understanding enough to implement their clever plan. As I'm sort of the Playground patron saint / avatar of role-playing, I'll focus more on the "D&D characters as I'd run them" than on the "omniscient, mysteriously understands how this world works" side of the equation.

    Speaking of drawing attention to themselves, robes, glowing staff, Mephit familiar, Ioun Stones, Nightmare mount? Your average D&D Wizard would likely be instantly famous the moment the first video hit the internet.

    Even if you're innately invisible (Pixie Sorcerer, maybe), approach the problem as infiltration (Whisper Gnome Rogue 1 / Wizard X), or are bad enough at role-playing to avoid notice, you're not a native - you don't have an ID, a birth certificate, or any other record of your existence. If you "go public", this could cause problems. Pretty big ones, of this nature:

    Quote Originally Posted by Khedrac View Post
    What's more, if you become close to someone like that, the security services will be running very very detailed surveillance and background checks on you - there's a good chance your powers will be found out and you will be a research lab subject before you know what happened.

    Speaking of ending up in a lab, Simulacrum. The first time a world leader gets assassinated on live TV and turns to snow, the cat's kinda out of the bag on magic shenanigans. Worse, humans can do stuff like get into auto accidents, trip fall & break their neck, etc, and a Simulacrum is only around half as durable as the original. If it dies *not on camera*, that gives the "put you in a lab" conspiracy that much more time to prep before you know they're coming.

    Charm, of course, has loads of problems, including that people will notice. Same with Suggestion, or even Mindrape. At least, in 3e. Not so in 2e; don't know about 5e (this caveat carries over to the next 2 paragraphs, btw).

    Oh, and if you lie, someone's likely to catch it. The power of the King's court: it's like a free "take 20".

    So, unless you're a sorcerer spec'd for Bluff, (or really high level, or…), you're not likely to get away with as much as you might think.

    What would I do? 2nd edition True Dwoemer / 3e Epic Spell of global mind control, tbh. Or, more benevolently, create a better life, and invite others to join, like I describe here (although I honestly didn't know that those words had already been put together and meant something when I named it - so (presumedly) no relation to the existing concept of that name)

    Or wipe out humanity, start over with a select population also technically succeeds.

    Anything less than something like that, I'd consider too much a "house of cards" for my tastes.

    Still, there are honest options that could allow for some good odds of at least becoming a player in world politics without requiring epic levels of power.

    One of the easiest might be to use (lesser?) Planar Binding/Ally to get one or more Angels to come down and support your claims that you're "not from around here". Of course, we hit a sticky point about how much testing the scientific community can do on planar matter (for example, some worlds, outsiders are "a soul", and souls are inviolate -> outsiders don't bleed / cannot otherwise give "samples"). But I'll continue to assume that this copy of this world holds to all the physics of the D&D world of origin of the PC, so this isn't a problem. And how much this public version needs protection from becoming a lab rat (or snipers, or poison gas, or someone crashing a plane into their building, or… I suspect Contingency or Astral Projection might suffice).

    Getting attention safely might be tricky… although 3e crazy skill boosting could make a hacker follower unstoppable, if you really want to get your message out (or into the right hands).

    Of course, once we get to (modern muggle) cloning Dragons (I prefer, as long as they have biologically mandated alignments, to create custom Dragons with custom "green/purple" alignment spectrum, so that their behavior is more acceptable), we're definitely into "major player" territory.

    What level does all this take?

    The biggest issue is defense, which requires about level 11-12 for even Contingency.

    In 3e, a Dragon egg runs around 10k, which is well within 12th level WBL (not that all or even most worlds mandate strict adherence to WBL). In 2e, there is no WBL, and your character could start with a Dragon egg for all the system cares.

    "Getting a clue" requires… unspent skill points, Wield Skill to get Knowledge: local, or Leadership + recruitment time + a good starting location. Or, in 2e, legwork… or "name level", I suppose. Still within our 12 level limit.

    Unless the character comes from a world with cool homebrew content, I'm not sure if you can summon Angels that *look* like Angels by 12th. This might be a problem… or might require purchasing scrolls. 2e characters don't have a default expectation of a magic economy, so they're a bit more limited / dependent upon their home setting / random gear here.

    3e characters can be immortal through various races / templates, or through… darn senility… huh. "Steal Life" is an 8th level spell? Well, that (plus the paucity of high-level threats to farm for XP) limits our options for playing the long game (like waiting until your underground Dragon clone army matures before going public) to things like starting at higher level, or races like Necropolitan/Lich, Elan, or grey elf. 2e is even more limited.

    So… maybe doable by a… infiltration-focused Necropolitan Whisper Gnome Rogue 1 / Wizard 11, with Leadership, an Eternal Wand of Wield Skill (via Arcane Spellcaster), and a Dragon egg?
    .
    Last edited by Quertus; 2021-10-02 at 04:58 AM.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    Neither…? Sounds like a job for Risus. Either that or you design this RPG from scratch.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    Boil the Frog.
    What?

    I even waited, and asked my Evil overlord mandated 5-year-old advisor substitute (who had talked about playing a game with some weird frog/toad stuff), and even they were lost.

  15. - Top - End - #15
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    Telok's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    What?

    I even waited, and asked my Evil overlord mandated 5-year-old advisor substitute (who had talked about playing a game with some weird frog/toad stuff), and even they were lost.
    It means to turn up the heat slowly so that the frog doesn't notice and jump out until its boiling.
    "And this, too, shall pass away."

    DtD40k7e rewrite complete.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post

    Money Rolls in. Use diviniation spells when you go to Vegas, or various reservations, to make money on the side at craps tables now and again. Make a few thousand at each casino, cash out, move to another. Build some low level working capital in cash that way. Stay away from big payoffs to avoid IRS scrutiny. Lots of little payoffs.

    Use similar tactics at the craps tables all over the globe. Slush fund, bribe money.
    Use enchantment spells or telepathy to find out who is bribable. Apply that to advantage.
    You're doing the money part wrong. Casinos have very sophisticated surveillance, including just to detect people who are inexplicably consistent winners.

    Safer would be to use mind-reading/mind-affecting magic in sectors that do large deals, each of them unique. Real estate development would be an example. Get options to buy ALL the small parcels of land needed, with no hold-outs. Then sell that package of options to somebody. That's your grubstake right there.

  17. - Top - End - #17
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    Kane0's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    I like the sound of picking 5e for additional challenge.

    Bard inspiration could make you better at basically anything a few times per day, plus their spellcasting shenanigans.

    Warlocks get telepathy at level 1, that ought to count for something even before spellcasting that needs only a lunch break rather than a nights rest. At level 2 they can also get at will illusions (on top of the minor illusion cantrip), at will disguises and/or increase your social skills.

    Level 2 wizards have all sorts of fun abilities to pick from, including at-will object creation and outright declaring how well you or someone else did twice per day. Ritual casting would also enable some pretty funky stuff.

    Guidance is a cantrip available to two of the above that can give you a consistent stacking improvement to skill checks.

    Edit: oh and for race you would probably want to be human to be as inconspicuous as possible, and theyre the only race that can start with a free feat. Skilled, ritual caster, magic initiate, observant, metamagic adept, eldritch adept... So many good choices
    Last edited by Kane0; 2021-10-08 at 03:20 AM.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    So right now I'm playing a 5e human peace cleric 1/elequence bard 6.

    Upon arriving on earth I think I could learn most of what I need to know using guidance + jack of all trades on knowledge checks. Failing that, in 5e suggestion doesn't actually automatically let the target know you charmed it, so finding someone and casting it on them and asking them to be my friend would be very helpful, and I treat them well, could make them permanently my friend.

    My character has 8str, 10dex, 10 con, 14 int, 18 wis, and 18 cha, so I'd likely be able to fit in easier than most.

    My character specializes in understanding other characters traits, then uses them to manipulate them. With expertise in insight and persuasion and a minimum persuasion check of 20, my character can usually get their way without magic.

    My biggest trump card is a magic item my GM gave me: gloves that allow me to enter into a version of Magnificent Mansion once a day. It's smaller than the normal one, and feeds fewer people, but it is persistent allowing me to leave equipment in there. It also has a single semi-angelic servant manning the place instead of many unseen servants. This means I never have to worry about a place to stay.

    So to take over the world I'd find out about it by making friends using suggestion. Then convert my gold into cash for a nest egg. Finally I'd start working on co-opting an existing religion. Once I had some people that I trusted and liked in charge we'd work on merging other religions into our own and converting nation leaders.

    A few suggestions here and there mixed with persuasion allow for much longer lasting effects. In 5e if someone likes you, on a dc20 persuasion check they will be willing to risk just about anything for you. The other good thing about being an eloquence bard is that I can increase the DC of a save I impose by 1d8. This means that my spells succeed more often then they would for most other casters in 5e.

    At the end of the day, if I level up, then many other options open up. If I don't then I could probably still pull it off. I would hope I could level up though, as casting wish to make Palor into an active god on earth would be a great capstone to the whole thing.
    Last edited by Jakinbandw; 2021-10-08 at 08:57 AM.

  19. - Top - End - #19
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    KorvinStarmast's Avatar

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    Default Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    Quote Originally Posted by Corey View Post
    You're doing the money part wrong. Casinos have very sophisticated surveillance, including just to detect people who are inexplicably consistent winners.
    Fair enough, they have skin in that game.
    Quote Originally Posted by Corey View Post
    Safer would be to use mind-reading/mind-affecting magic in sectors that do large deals, each of them unique. Real estate development would be an example. Get options to buy ALL the small parcels of land needed, with no hold-outs. Then sell that package of options to somebody. That's your grubstake right there.
    Yeah, and probably has a lot less exposure and risk of someone getting greedy and tipping your hand during a casino fleece ... I'll go with your plan. +10.
    Avatar by linklele. How Teleport Works
    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    (paraphrased) Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by greenstone View Post
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
    Gosh, 2D8HP, you are so very correct!

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    It's not a way to take over the world, but as a way to get some starting funds that were earned legally and can be linked to a legal ID, the "Business Consultant" trick from Mage also works with D&D magic.

    How it works is that you set yourself up as a visionary business consultant who can (for very high rates) turbo-charge a company's planning sessions. You use light mind-control to get an interview directly with someone C-level, and to get them to hire you.

    At the actual meeting, the key part is to telepathically implant the idea "This planning session went amazingly well, ___ is a genius and well worth the price." But if you want to not just rip people off, you can have them do some "brain exercises" which are really just an excuse for you to boost their mental abilities temporarily, resulting in probably a genuinely more productive meeting (you can also use telepathic suggestion to shut down blowhards and put rivalries on hold).

    Once your fame rises and you're getting called in to all kinds of high-level meetings, this is also a handy opportunity to insert whatever subliminal control you want for your future plans.

    You don't want somatic or verbal components for this purpose, so either metamagic or being psionic.
    Last edited by icefractal; 2021-10-27 at 02:46 PM.

  21. - Top - End - #21
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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Thumbs up Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    D&D 3.5 Wizard (don't remember what level): Animate Dead, Contagion. Boom. Zombie Apocalypse.
    Meanwhile the Cleric would do the best they can to control the remaining zombies.
    The Rogue and the Fighter...well, they can serve as bodyguards/meatshields for the Wizard and Cleric?

    No, but seriously, I would just play a normal not-evil D&D 3.5 Wizard (once again, don't know what level) with some sort of group Teleport spell that he could prepare once or twice a day. (I don't remember the spell name. Mass Teleport? Teleportation Circle? Communal Teleport? Ah, well.)
    So anyways, he would just start up an Instant Transport Service and make hundreds or even thousands per day.

    Also, sometimes I wonder, could a fireball spell destroy a modern Tank?

  22. - Top - End - #22
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    Quote Originally Posted by HumanFighter View Post
    Also, sometimes I wonder, could a fireball spell destroy a modern Tank?
    3.5 I don't think it would even scratch the armour, 5e I don't know the details. And since modern tanks are sealed against the environment it's not getting the crew unless it can get through the armour.

    For this sort of concept, if you can find a copy read the novella 'Legwork' by Eric Frank Russell. It's a little dated, but it should still be an excellent read.
    The story concerns an alien who is a pretty-much all-powerful telepath (he can read and control any mind that he concentrates on, and can make any mind in range see what he wants them to see even without concentrating on them) and what happens when he tries to investigate the earth in preparation for invasion.
    Now, the aliens in the story have a significant flaw, but I think it illustrates the point that our world is incredibly complex and aliens/D&D characters simply won't know enough about what we can do to operate undetectably. In fact, I think most of us, if given the power, wouldn't know enough either. We all know about our own fields, and usually a fair bit about those areas that interest us, but how many of us actually work in the security side of the 'corridors of power'?
    Consider how often when watching crime fiction one spots procedural errors that we know are errors from watching other crime shows? (The poor authors are not police procedural experts, they are crime fiction writers and it is easy to forget things when faced with the task of making the story work. Now consider that they have to churn out entire series of new stories every year and realise how hard they have to work compared to authors of popular book series.) Equally, those people which a science interest or background often cringe when watching MacGyver (especially the new series) or Scorpion because of just how wrong they get it.

    I'm not saying it couldn't be done, just that it would be a lot harder than most people assume - take Corey's post on casinos and unexpected winners, unless you know that about casinos then they appear to be the best place to make large amounts of money, but actually they are a way of getting noticed and your info spread to all networked casinos...

  23. - Top - End - #23
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    Default Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    Quote Originally Posted by Khedrac View Post
    For this sort of concept, if you can find a copy read the novella 'Legwork' by Eric Frank Russell. It's a little dated, but it should still be an excellent read.
    The story concerns an alien who is a pretty-much all-powerful telepath (he can read and control any mind that he concentrates on, and can make any mind in range see what he wants them to see even without concentrating on them) and what happens when he tries to investigate the earth in preparation for invasion.
    Now, the aliens in the story have a significant flaw, but I think it illustrates the point that our world is incredibly complex and aliens/D&D characters simply won't know enough about what we can do to operate undetectably. In fact, I think most of us, if given the power, wouldn't know enough either. We all know about our own fields, and usually a fair bit about those areas that interest us, but how many of us actually work in the security side of the 'corridors of power'?
    Consider how often when watching crime fiction one spots procedural errors that we know are errors from watching other crime shows? (The poor authors are not police procedural experts, they are crime fiction writers and it is easy to forget things when faced with the task of making the story work. Now consider that they have to churn out entire series of new stories every year and realise how hard they have to work compared to authors of popular book series.) Equally, those people which a science interest or background often cringe when watching MacGyver (especially the new series) or Scorpion because of just how wrong they get it.

    I'm not saying it couldn't be done, just that it would be a lot harder than most people assume - take Corey's post on casinos and unexpected winners, unless you know that about casinos then they appear to be the best place to make large amounts of money, but actually they are a way of getting noticed and your info spread to all networked casinos...
    The trick is that you have to gather and assimilate information before attempting to strike, and you need to carefully deploy magical resources to bypass the systems humans have in place. This is why mind control is the obvious approach for this sort of thing, because nothing in the real world can defend against it. It also allows you to conduct a prolonged and risk free intelligence gathering phase. Charm Person allows you to turn the first person you see upon arriving into your friend and to crash on their couch while you carefully extract information via conversation (and in most countries, their wifi) until you're ready to move up the societal food chain with some care. Being a doppelganger or having polymorph or other shapeshifting abilities so you can go through multiple identities if/when things go wrong also helps immensely, since essentially you get as many attempts as you need and you can strategically sacrifice identities as part of the asset accumulation process as needed.

    Any low or mid-level approach to solving this problem is inherently long term, probably at least six months for initial data gathering, another year to move into proximity to the halls of power in a first identity as a low to mid level official, and then several years further to leverage your way up the ladder one step at a time. The more you compress the timeframe, the more power is necessary.
    Resvier: a P6 homebrew setting

  24. - Top - End - #24
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    Default Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    The trick is that you have to gather and assimilate information before attempting to strike, and you need to carefully deploy magical resources to bypass the systems humans have in place. This is why mind control is the obvious approach for this sort of thing, because nothing in the real world can defend against it. It also allows you to conduct a prolonged and risk free intelligence gathering phase. Charm Person allows you to turn the first person you see upon arriving into your friend and to crash on their couch while you carefully extract information via conversation (and in most countries, their wifi) until you're ready to move up the societal food chain with some care. Being a doppelganger or having polymorph or other shapeshifting abilities so you can go through multiple identities if/when things go wrong also helps immensely, since essentially you get as many attempts as you need and you can strategically sacrifice identities as part of the asset accumulation process as needed.

    Any low or mid-level approach to solving this problem is inherently long term, probably at least six months for initial data gathering, another year to move into proximity to the halls of power in a first identity as a low to mid level official, and then several years further to leverage your way up the ladder one step at a time. The more you compress the timeframe, the more power is necessary.
    Assuming you take a bit of time for the above & so understand how our world works - then for me
    - "Charm" my way up to get a number of None Executive Directorships / Special advisor to the CEO of major companies, esp Banks (money is power). All pay well
    - That then also gives you access to people in Government
    - From there you can Charm / Suggestion / Dominate leaders and make them work together
    - You are the power behind the throne - leaders come and go but you meet (the important ones) and use the above 3 spells as needed
    - world peace and co-operation breaks out

  25. - Top - End - #25
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    Default Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    Quote Originally Posted by HumanFighter View Post
    Also, sometimes I wonder, could a fireball spell destroy a modern Tank?
    No. It can't. Game mechanics wise, if we are doing 5e, the crew has full cover when inside the tank.
    But...
    Depending on how the DM emulates the fireball's effects one might argue that there'd be some effect on the crew (similar to a modest Fuel Air Explosive going off) due to the rapid pressure drop inside as the air was consumed by fire. Popping of ear drums, ringing in ears, that kind of thing. And that's if the fireball was centered on the tank and a few of the air vents/hatches were open, the tank not buttoned up in anti Chem/Bio/Nuke posture.

    But even that is a case of special pleading on behalf of fireball.

    (FWIW: going back to some older editions, and playing with people who were intimately familiar with the M-1 Abrams tank, the general consensus vis a vis a burst of fire and the cover provided by a tank was "that's why they make tanks the way that they do, since WW I. To provide the crew cover/protection from those kinds of battlefield hazards" - no damage, no need to roll a saving throw." We then got into the discussion of "well, what if we cast heat metal on the tank?" )
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2021-10-28 at 07:16 AM.
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    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
    Gosh, 2D8HP, you are so very correct!

  26. - Top - End - #26
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    Default Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    Quote Originally Posted by Khedrac View Post
    3.5 I don't think it would even scratch the armour, 5e I don't know the details. And since modern tanks are sealed against the environment it's not getting the crew unless it can get through the armour.

    For this sort of concept, if you can find a copy read the novella 'Legwork' by Eric Frank Russell. It's a little dated, but it should still be an excellent read.
    The story concerns an alien who is a pretty-much all-powerful telepath (he can read and control any mind that he concentrates on, and can make any mind in range see what he wants them to see even without concentrating on them) and what happens when he tries to investigate the earth in preparation for invasion.
    Now, the aliens in the story have a significant flaw, but I think it illustrates the point that our world is incredibly complex and aliens/D&D characters simply won't know enough about what we can do to operate undetectably. In fact, I think most of us, if given the power, wouldn't know enough either. We all know about our own fields, and usually a fair bit about those areas that interest us, but how many of us actually work in the security side of the 'corridors of power'?
    Consider how often when watching crime fiction one spots procedural errors that we know are errors from watching other crime shows? (The poor authors are not police procedural experts, they are crime fiction writers and it is easy to forget things when faced with the task of making the story work. Now consider that they have to churn out entire series of new stories every year and realise how hard they have to work compared to authors of popular book series.) Equally, those people which a science interest or background often cringe when watching MacGyver (especially the new series) or Scorpion because of just how wrong they get it.

    I'm not saying it couldn't be done, just that it would be a lot harder than most people assume - take Corey's post on casinos and unexpected winners, unless you know that about casinos then they appear to be the best place to make large amounts of money, but actually they are a way of getting noticed and your info spread to all networked casinos...
    A lot of good stuff there, but I mostly just wanted to say that the rumor I heard was that, for the original MacGyver, the science was always wrong on purpose.

    Presumably not from any higher belief that knowledge should be earned, but to keep from being sued when kids blow up their homes or themselves.

  27. - Top - End - #27
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    Default Re: Taking over the modern world, 3.5 or 5e

    This is an interesting thread. I'd like to play.

    If we're doing 3.5, I would likely play a Changeling Beguiler 5, maybe with that great 1 level dip into Mindbender for the 100 ft Telepathy and pick up the Mindsight feat. If I had an extra level to play with, I would take the Changeling Rogue 1 substitution level for that amazing ability to take 10 on Bluff, Diplomacy, and Sense Motive, as well as shortening Gather Information by a factor of 6 or more. Let's call it 7th level overall.

    A Changeling has all of the advantages of being human, plus at-will disguise and alteration of the body and a bonus on social skills. They are canonically chameleons, experts at understanding and fitting into societies of all kinds - an absolutely vital skill when considering ruling a place as richly diverse as Earth - and come with baked in years of impersonation and body language manipulation. Not to mention that Beguilers have a ton of skill points, by dint of being both Intelligence based plus their base rate of 6+Int skill ranks per level. If I take the Changeling Rogue sub level it becomes an absurd 10+Int (x4 at first level). Having 52 skill ranks at 1st level is absolutely obscene, and also totally necessary for my plans. Becoming a world-class actor as a Changeling would be child's play, but while Hollywood is glamorous, it is not the most direct road to supreme executive power. Instead, I would start by infiltrating the world's intelligence community.



    Phase 1: Patron

    The first step is building a 'genuine' friendship with someone reasonably high up the chain of command that already exists in such a group. A director or deputy director of a developed Western nation in the public eye, someone who gets a reasonable amount of press but is not a celebrity - ideally a person with authority over covert operations. I wouldn't use Charm Person or anything overtly magical that alters their behaviour, for the very real risk of there being checks and balances or counter-intelligence measures in place. Instead, I would rely on a combination of Glibness, Detect Thoughts, and taking 10 on social skills to build up a more patient friendship. I would budget 18-24 months for this, but I would cement my place as a trusted friend and confidant. Getting to this person would require great care, as I would need an airtight paper trail, identification, and an established identity that can be trusted. The best thing to do here would be to stake out another person already in their life - an acquaintance or friend already in the service who has some political experience, but not one too close - and perform a kill-and-replace. Changelings can fool fingerprints and retinal scans if provided with close examination of raw materials, one presumes.

    Phase 2: Necessity

    This is where things get trickier. During the first stage of the plan, I would simultaneously be using my powers to stage conflicts across the globe. Money would be no object - Beguilers have a suite of divining spells along with their enchantments and illusions, so I would have a reasonable cash flow. Using a myriad of aliases - kill and replace as necessary to worm my way up the ranks of organizations - I would set up crises of moderate severity. Nothing with WMDs, but tangible problems that my 'friend' in the intelligence agency would have jurisdiction over. I would then use my primary social identity to subtly propose solutions to my friend in power. Our prior connection would help obfuscate any suspicion when I use Silent Spell and cast Suggestion, using my Telepathy as a delivery mechanism for the spell. Ideally, such a combination when delivered into their mind would make it think it was their idea all along, and that my main persona's opinion lines up with theirs. These problems would be handled ably - I've set them up to fail, knowing the details of each - and my friend's star would begin to rise in a rather meteoric fashion. There would be civilian casualties, but they would be a genuine true-blue hero, their own morality untarnished.

    Phase 3: Influence

    The next steps are fairly obvious. With my friend gaining political prominence, it's time to enter the public eye with a run for elected office. This is where my earlier ground work has paid off: my initial choice for my primary alias should already be someone who already has a political background, which makes me a prime candidate for a running mate. Vice president of a country or some member of a cabinet is a great position to aspire to, as it allows me access to classified information and material without nearly as much public scrutiny into my affairs. At this point, my primary alias would take over my time completely while I left the other aliases to go dormant. I would continue to work on and foster my relationship with my friend in power, as they are still a huge source of legitimacy for me. If possible, at this point I would subtly push away other people in their life, making myself the only real source of stability and happiness. In time they would come to depend on me for everything - and thus, I would control them in fact if not in name.

    Phase 4: Endgame

    Now I have secured my power base and interests on a national level. But that's not the goal of this thread, is it? The exact next steps of the plan vary greatly, and require flexibility on the part of any aspiring global dictator. However, given the nature of humanity and its insatiable desire for conflict, there will surely be enough crises to manufacture a worldwide sit down of leaders. The UN Security Council is the ultimate goal here, as it uses consensus of world leaders and any number of platform resolutions in order to set an international agenda for world nations. Alternatively, a G20 summit or similar meeting - that I would have legitimate access to as a high ranking national official - would serve my purposes. I would need to a great deal of careful research to pick my moment, finding a time when the agenda and list of attendees is optimal. The issues might be environmental, economical, social, or military, but once I'm in a room with everyone then all bets are off. The spells and skills at my disposal will have the international community eating out of the palm of my hand by the time it's over, and then I will be able to influence policy from behind the scenes all over the world.



    I anticipate this plan would take at least a few years to pull off. My schedule would have it at 3-4 years in total, assuming there are no level-ups for my Changeling Beguiler during that time. Any and all magic would be incredibly subtle, and I would avoid public attention wherever possible, focusing on private manipulations instead. The real lynchpins for this strategy would be the two individuals identified in Phase 1: the friend who opens the doors for you, and of course the ringer who you're killing and taking the place of. There are so many other variables, but by and large the plan would follow this model if I were to do it.
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