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Start of an Alien Invasion


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So aliens invade Earth. There are no superhumans yet, since the invasion is what creates them.

 

Prior to the actual start of the invasion they bathe Earth in an energy field that disrupts all broadcast EM transmissions within certain wavelength ranges. No radio, cell phones, satellite communication, or RADAR.

 

Is there a technologically plausible way that landline communications could be similarly disrupted, short of blacking-out the entire planet's power grid?

 

Or would it be better to leave them intact, to demonstrate the differences between human and alien technology?

In Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series, aliens invaded Earth in the middle of World War II. One of the first things they did was detonate nuclear weapons in the upper atmosphere over major cities to disrupt communications. They didn't realize that human radio technology was still using vacuum tubes and wouldn't be affected by an EMP. Other than some temporary interference from atmospheric ionization, the tactic was useless.

 

Would it be better to leave landlines intact because the aliens don't realize that humanity still uses such primitive technology? Old-style phones, the internet, and local cable TV could then be used to coordinate the military and emergency services and alert the public about the invasion.

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Re: Start of an Alien Invasion

 

it is going to depend on how much info the aliens gathered before they invaded

 

in Footfall the elephants knew the humans had radio communications so that implied some electronics

they had no clue about nuke pumped x-ray lasers since they saw nukes as a destroyer of enviroments they want to use

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Re: Start of an Alien Invasion

 

Id say your best bet is to decide which way you want to go (either -all- communications are shut down, or the aliens missed something because we out-primitived them), and just present it to your players as being the way you want it.

 

If you want the Humans to have very little chance of organizing a resistanc,e knock out all communications. If you want the routing of the aliens by the world's armies to be a plot point, leave the landlines intact. My experience is that your players will accept the situation as being however you present it to them, so decide which works best for the kinds of stories you want to tell :)

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Re: Start of an Alien Invasion

 

So aliens invade Earth. There are no superhumans yet, since the invasion is what creates them.

 

Prior to the actual start of the invasion they bathe Earth in an energy field that disrupts all broadcast EM transmissions within certain wavelength ranges. No radio, cell phones, satellite communication, or RADAR.

 

Is there a technologically plausible way that landline communications could be similarly disrupted, short of blacking-out the entire planet's power grid?

 

Nowadays most of the major communications landlines in the industrialized West are fiber optic rather than electrical conductor, so it's hard to imagine something from our understanding of physics which could disrupt both them and EM transmissions. OTOH if it's mainly intended to be a plot device there's no pressing need to define it. The aliens are simply advanced enough technologically to have a "photonic dampener," which works the same way that force fields, teleporters, and FTL drives work -- because the story requires them. ;)

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Re: Start of an Alien Invasion

 

My thought would be to leave global communications intact because there's no upside from the GMs point of view to eliminating it. Everything you destroy or disable reduces possible storylines. How will the heroes know the invasion is worldwide and /or find each other if communications beyond the horizon is eliminated?

 

You can always have the aliens discover the mistake later if it becomes necessary.

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Re: Start of an Alien Invasion

 

My thought would be to leave global communications intact because there's no upside from the GMs point of view to eliminating it. Everything you destroy or disable reduces possible storylines. How will the heroes know the invasion is worldwide and /or find each other if communications beyond the horizon is eliminated?

 

You can always have the aliens discover the mistake later if it becomes necessary.

 

OTOH an initially local fight against the invaders, with the PCs unsure of the status of the rest of the world, can add a lot of drama and roleplaying potential to the game. Many post-apocalypse settings take advantage of that uncertainty. If you want a more optimistic tone to the campaign, the local defenders can gradually make contact with other resistance groups, rebuild national and international connection and cooperation, and start a concerted push against the invaders. You then have the potential to take your heroes out of their home base and deploy them in counterattacks against the invaders elsewhere in the world, especially as the heroes grow more powerful and widely known.

 

Don't forget that for most of our history, a great deal of long-distance communication was carried out by couriers on foot or horseback. As this proposal is for a supers campaign, heroes who can fly, teleport, or run incredibly fast, may be vital in coordinating the war effort.

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Re: Start of an Alien Invasion

 

How about turnabout Independence Day? (Or for those who remember such things, City of Illusions) Before the invasion starts, the aliens beam down a Really Big Virus. Practically all communications go through some kind of computer-tainted filter these days, so in theory they could all be corrupted. The Internet, phone networks, broadcast stations all function --but nothing they say can be trusted.

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Re: Start of an Alien Invasion

 

The aliens are simply advanced enough technologically to have a "photonic dampener' date='" which works the same way that force fields, teleporters, and FTL drives work -- because the story requires them. ;)[/quote']

 

Since the energy field also has the side effect of turning one person in a million into a superhuman all over the world, I guess it's clearly not conventional physics.

 

My thought would be to leave global communications intact because there's no upside from the GMs point of view to eliminating it. Everything you destroy or disable reduces possible storylines. How will the heroes know the invasion is worldwide and /or find each other if communications beyond the horizon is eliminated?

 

You can always have the aliens discover the mistake later if it becomes necessary.

 

This is actually all backstory. The setting is our world until the alien invasion creates superhumans. The actual campaign begins about 10 years later after society has started to adjust to the new status quo.

The original plan was that all communications go down and resistance to the invasion is crippled. Then a few days later superhumans start manifesting their powers. Some of them use their abilities to help coordinate against the aliens, and then a super-genius eventually devises a way to restore communications.

I suddenly realized that I couldn't really think of a way that all communications could be disrupted short of a "handwavium field generator".

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Re: Start of an Alien Invasion

 

This is actually all backstory. The setting is our world until the alien invasion creates superhumans. The actual campaign begins about 10 years later after society has started to adjust to the new status quo.

The original plan was that all communications go down and resistance to the invasion is crippled. Then a few days later superhumans start manifesting their powers. Some of them use their abilities to help coordinate against the aliens, and then a super-genius eventually devises a way to restore communications.

 

I must say, this backstory sounds very similar to "War of the Worlds Champions" from Digital Hero #39, a campaign setting created by John R. Ivicek Jr., aka "proditor" here on the boards, with art by D.T. "Sketchpad" Butchino.

 

Set in Britain in 1902 and following the premise of H.G. Wells's original novel, WOTWC changes two important details: the Martians are prepared for Earth's microbes and aren't overcome by them; but their poisonous "black dust" weapon, while lethal to almost every human, in a very few cases actually mutates humans into superbeings who spearhead the war against the alien invaders. Yes, Victorian superheroes vs. Wellsian Martians and their war machines! :cool:

 

You can view a free sample from the article with the campaign background here, and some of Sketchpad's artwork for it on this thread.

 

(I apologise for the thread derailment, Armitage; I just consider this a particularly cool "superheroes vs alien invaders" setting.) :o

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Re: Start of an Alien Invasion

 

So this just popped in my head:

 

So all communication is down, everything, nothing works.

 

But within the first year a young boy is found with telepathic powers, amazing in scale, but not overly dangerous.

 

He can link any number of minds together for communication. He's basically got all the Mind Link. That's it. He can't read minds or blast them or anything.

 

He also would become a valuable resource for the resistance.

 

If the game is set 10 years after the Invasion he'd a be a teenager, probably angsty and tired of being used. So many plot hooks.

 

Aliens trying to locate him.

Him just trying to be normal and running away.

What happens if he can start linking to the aliens?

What happens if he discovers his powers have a galactic scale?

 

Just a thought.

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Re: Start of an Alien Invasion

 

I'd go with Trebuchet's comment. Leave the hard wired stuff alone. As to 'certain wave lengths', consider how much wave length the worlds militaries use. The US Navies ELF signal system for its submarines, Army microwave burst transmissions, Laser satellite bounce links... there will be SOME way for signals to get through.

 

So don't fret about it, get on to the meat of the story.

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Re: Start of an Alien Invasion

 

Y'all are sort of moving on, but wouldn't an EMP disable the substations directing the landlines? I mean, the lines themselves are intact and it would certainly be possible for a suitably-motivated individual to MacGuyver a working phone from Point A to Point B (on a direct line), but everything's routed through SOMEwhere, so yeah, the landlines would be kaput with an EMP.

 

Wouldn't they? :think: I mean, if that's what you wanted to do.

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Re: Start of an Alien Invasion

 

The switching stations, cell towers, internet backbone, satellite phones, local area network servers would go down from a strong enough emp.

 

All atomic power plants built before the 70s will still be viable to generate but their steam emission should make them easy to pick off from orbit, the same applies to coal, fuel burning plants and just about any hydroelectric plant more advanced than a water wheel.

 

Power may be a bigger problem in the short run but the atomic subs that were under way during the attack aught to be ok and their plants could run a powerful com at short notice before they slip back below the surface, kind of a maritime voice of the resistance.

 

The aliens don't have to create the "pulse", it might be a period of solar activity or a huge gamma ray wave front from a not too distant supernova, if the radiation hadn't gotten here yet there would be no way for human civilization to detect it till it was happening. The aliens could just take advantage of it.

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Re: Start of an Alien Invasion

 

a few large EMP bombs(2 dozen or so) to disable or destroy most(at least 70%)of ground based electronics

the with the control of space maybe a day or two to laser all gps and comm satalites to death

 

pretty much only military grade hardware will survive but then they will be limited and any radio traffic will be detected and can be suppressed

after most comms are down then attacks or takeovers of power generating can begin

 

 

 

Since the energy field also has the side effect of turning one person in a million into a superhuman all over the world, I guess it's clearly not conventional physics.

 

 

 

This is actually all backstory. The setting is our world until the alien invasion creates superhumans. The actual campaign begins about 10 years later after society has started to adjust to the new status quo.

The original plan was that all communications go down and resistance to the invasion is crippled. Then a few days later superhumans start manifesting their powers. Some of them use their abilities to help coordinate against the aliens, and then a super-genius eventually devises a way to restore communications.

I suddenly realized that I couldn't really think of a way that all communications could be disrupted short of a "handwavium field generator".

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