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Ways to destroy the world


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I'm trying to write a scenario and I just can't nail it down.

 

Here's what I have: The scenario is provisionally titled "Kill Switch". That's probably relevant.

 

Mechanon is working through a proxy android, who is in turn bossing around various human dupes. The android is pretending to be a Mad Scientist type.

 

The "Mad Scientist" is supposedly either trying to extort money, or actually destroy "worthless" bits of humanity. Of course, Mechanon really wants to destroy all of humanity and will betray his dupes accordingly.

 

Obviously the scenario ends with the Big Reveal that it's actually Mechanon, and everyone punches him.

 

The question is: how exactly is he trying to destroy humanity?

 

Most of the obvious answers have been done to death.

 

While I intend the scenario to probably run for a few sessions, it shouldn't be a massive plot arc. Mechanon's plot is fairly direct and to the point.

 

Any thoughts? Things that have worked for you?

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1) Abduct the homeless and convert them to organic robots.

 

2) Developing nanomachiens to convert organics to mechanical lifeforms.

 

3) Developing a hyper-sonic weapon designed to drive humans to a savage, murderous rage. And...it is inaudible to the human range of hearing.

 

4) Develop a virus which not only kills the infected, but rapidly breaks down the victims body to there raw components.

 

5) Great plan to melt the ice caps to flood the world. Mechanon uses a aquatic supervillian to take the blame for this plot.

 

6) Steal atomic bombs and use one.

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A viral bioweapon like nanites programmed to render the human race infertile has already been done.

 

Sending out a satellite into deep space and have the satellite fire a powerful energy beam directly at the sun in order to trigger a massive solar flare to evaporate the entire ozone layer of Earth.

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I had this idea for Dr. Draconis (the 4th edition version)--inspired by a movie (guess which one) he builds a giant laser cannon with the intent to use it to destroy the moon.  Earthquakes and tidal waves follow, and civilization dies a slow, agonizing death.

 

Another possibility is weaponized artificial gravity technology.  Artificial gravity generators are placed in every major city and defense installation, and upon activation gravity within the generators' radius of effect becomes a hundred times greater.  The generator may only last a second before being crushed by its own effect--but that second wil be enough to kill everyone within the ROE, and crush almost every building.

 

Hope that helps.

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The trick here is that the doomsday weapon has to be plausibly targeted at only the people the dupes would like to see dead, but capable of being widened to involve everyone.

 

Nukes, moving the planet, solar flares and the like would be unlikely to meet the first criteria. Although if the dupes are assured of survival "to start again, but this time get it right" it might work.

 

Targeted viruses are good, but have been done to death.

 

Anything mystic is out because Mechanon just doesn't roll that way.

 

And Mechanon needs the dupes. They have to have some special skills or knowledge vital to the plot or he'd just do it himself. That point is essential for story credibility.

 

I'll think some more and see what I can come up with.

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A thin but opaque screen 15,000 km in diameter that unfolds at the L1 point will stay there long enough, blocking all direct sunlight, and give you global ecological collapse. Agriculture will fail in a couple of weeks. True extermination won't happen for years owing to canned food stocks etc. but he probably doesn't need real 100% wipe-out.

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The trick here is that the doomsday weapon has to be plausibly targeted at only the people the dupes would like to see dead, but capable of being widened to involve everyone.

 

Nukes, moving the planet, solar flares and the like would be unlikely to meet the first criteria. Although if the dupes are assured of survival "to start again, but this time get it right" it might work.

 

Targeted viruses are good, but have been done to death.

 

Anything mystic is out because Mechanon just doesn't roll that way.

 

And Mechanon needs the dupes. They have to have some special skills or knowledge vital to the plot or he'd just do it himself. That point is essential for story credibility.

 

I'll think some more and see what I can come up with.

 

Those are all important points to consider. Let me try to address them in a way that hasn't been done to death.

 

The dupes include people with limited psychic ability or psychic potential. They're involved in what they've been convinced is a secret government project to develop psychic "remote viewing" technology, amplifying their native abilities to enable clairvoyant and even telepathic spying on a global scale. Maybe it really was a government project, before Mechanon subverted it -- the boss android might be a replacement for the original project head.

 

However, Mechanon has been able to use the project's research to figure out how to boost its potential far beyond the original concept. When the system is fully in place, the psychics' brains will be fatally supercharged, sending out a wave of psionic energy which will overload and destroy the minds of every human on the planet. Optionally, the brains of lower animals will also be affected, down to whatever level of fauna you prefer. Mechanon wants to kill everything organic, after all.

 

Other options include the organisms not dying immediately, but being driven berserk and trying to murder each other. The psychic influence might also expand to its full global radius more gradually, In combination those options would make for scenes of PCs trying to prevent people from killing each other, and rushing to stop Mechanon before the weapon expands beyond their reach. In that case you'd also want the heroes to have or discover some means to protect their own minds. Since Mechanon's brain is described as reacting to mind-affecting powers like an organic one, maybe the heroes could hack the specs for the circuitry it's using to protect itself from the weapon.

 

If I do say so myself, the above matches the scenario title, "Kill Switch." ;)

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This is more of a departure from the parameters you laid out, assault, but in the overall spirit of the thread title :angel: , I did once think of a world-ending threat scenario involving a partnership between Mechanon and Takofanes (which another forum poster had suggested). The Archlich is sufficiently "inorganic" that Mech might at least tolerate cooperating with him for a time. Tak might not object to the genocidal robot killing everything on Earth, since the Undying King could reanimate them afterward. Of course they would each plan to betray the other once all the other forces opposing them are dead.

 

The scheme requires the resources of both villains to enact. Takofanes knows an alchemical formula to convert water into mercury. Mechanon would provide missiles to launch payloads of the formula into low orbit, saturating clouds around the globe. Result: world-wide mercury rain.

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Thank you all. Keep coming up with awesome ideas!

 


And Mechanon needs the dupes. They have to have some special skills or knowledge vital to the plot or he'd just do it himself. That point is essential for story credibility.

 

I'll think some more and see what I can come up with.

 

My current Mechanon is a bit of a couch potato. He's hooked himself up to an awesome Super-Mega-Hyper-Whatever-Computer, so he's only going to show himself in robot mode when the PCs burst into his base. When he does, he's dumbing himself down.

 

He can build an android, but his android is weird, and can't quite pass as a human in contexts other than "Mad Scientist".  Uncanny valley, if you want. (Distinctive Features.)

 

Incidentally, this is Mechanon from editions 1-4. Not the character in Book Of The Machine. He can be punched.

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Stolen from Gecko Psychopomp :

How about releasing nanite medicine.

 

For the long burn, it is initially only available to military, the very rich and some highly trained heroes. When hurt it regenerates muscle and broken bones.

 

Eventually it's released to everyone but is still very expensive.

 

Then a nasty disease appears for which the nanites are the only solution. Company resists but the government steps in and releases the cure for the masses.

 

Soon people start complaining about missing time and of waking up in unfamiliar places. Our villain can take over anyone with nanites in their system. Or just turn them into so much red pulp.

 

Give in to Mechanon or face annihilation puny organics.

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Thank you, Tech, I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed that this thread is misnamed.

 

People seem to think it is so easy to destroy this planet (or any planet, for that matter). During the Cold War with the Soviets, there was this pervasive dread that our collective nuclear arsenals had the power to "blow up the planet ten times over," and other such nonsense. What people meant to say is that we had the power to wipe out our species/civilization. Our planet would have gone merrily on its way with or without us. It is impossible for us to destroy the world; equally so for most supervillains who aren't at the top of the cosmic food chain.

 

As for destroying humanity, all Mechanon has to do is create a device that sends out a psychic signal (perhaps using a satellite network to get simultaneous global coverage) that shuts down the hypothalamus. You have a planet of dead humans in less than ten minutes, except for those with psychic shielding, which would be relatively few. He could easily mop up the survivors personally.

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Have a meteor shower deliver seeds of a strange new plant all over the world.

 

Have a second meteor shower blind all those who watch it at the same time causing the plants to grow into seven foot tall carnivorous mobile killers with a poisonous sting.

 

This works best for Robot Alien Invaders.

 

(Based on The Day of the Triffids)

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Thank you, Tech, I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed that this thread is misnamed.

 

People seem to think it is so easy to destroy this planet (or any planet, for that matter). During the Cold War with the Soviets, there was this pervasive dread that our collective nuclear arsenals had the power to "blow up the planet ten times over," and other such nonsense. What people meant to say is that we had the power to wipe out our species/civilization. Our planet would have gone merrily on its way with or without us. It is impossible for us to destroy the world; equally so for most supervillains who aren't at the top of the cosmic food chain.

 

As for destroying humanity, all Mechanon has to do is create a device that sends out a psychic signal (perhaps using a satellite network to get simultaneous global coverage) that shuts down the hypothalamus. You have a planet of dead humans in less than ten minutes, except for those with psychic shielding, which would be relatively few. He could easily mop up the survivors personally.

The "doomsday device" concept, which was discussed and theorized in the late 50s and early 60s, basically involved a massive, immobile thermonuclear device, of 10-50 gigatons yield, surrounded by a large quantity of cobalt-60.  The blast would disperse fallout all over the planet, rendering the surface uninhabitable for at least 5 years.  Such a device was technologically feasible 60 years ago.​  Pretty sure that would be a large mass species extinction event, wiping out 90+% of all species, plant, animal and otherwise.  Google "project gnomon" and "project sundial".  Keep in mind the mass of the device would be in the multi-kiloton range.  It wouldn't have "destroyed the planet", but turning it into a barren rock devoid of most forms of life is pretty darn close.  

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Not to mention the movie Dr. Strangelove.

 

Now it was my understanding that a full strength nuclear exchange between the US and the USSR when their stockpiles were at their highest would have had the same effect as a single doomsday-type nuclear weapon--not to mention the possibility, however remote, that all those bombs going off at once might have the effect of igniting the oxygen in the atmosphere, or blasting the atmosphere off the planet.  Nuclear winter seems almost preferable compared to those options.

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When they set off the first Atomic Bomb in New Mexico back in 1945 some scientists were concerned it might cause a chain reaction in the atmosphere killing everyone on Earth.  But they decided to test it anyway because no one would ever know.

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Not precisely.

 

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/bethe-teller-trinity-and-the-end-of-earth/

 

Calculations were made after Teller raised the concern and it was found to not be a problem.

 

If there had been any real possibility they wouldn't have proceeded. But there was that smartarse comment by Fermi at the Trinity test which has been taken out of context, and Arthur Compton (according to Bethe) hadn't seen the calculations.

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Not precisely.

 

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/bethe-teller-trinity-and-the-end-of-earth/

 

Calculations were made after Teller raised the concern and it was found to not be a problem.

 

If there had been any real possibility they wouldn't have proceeded. But there was that smartarse comment by Fermi at the Trinity test which has been taken out of context, and Arthur Compton (according to Bethe) hadn't seen the calculations.

 

That was only one bomb, though, and not particularly powerful compared to what was to come.  I'm talking about thousands of warheads in the high-megaton range detonating almost simultaneously.

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It's pretty clear that the raw blast power of nuclear arsenals can't destroy the bulk of the atmosphere. The radiation contamination is something else, but that is a much different effect, especially if you build the enhanced-radiation weapons and intentionally try for that result.

 

Even that won't sterilize the Earth. It is likely to extinguish the human species, but microbial life (included in "all organics") is much harder, and short of raising the surface temperature permanently above the boiling point of water, or having something greater than the thousand-kilometer "ocean-boiling" impact (the phrase "silicate atmosphere" is used in discussions of that), is probably impossible.

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Thank you, Tech, I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed that this thread is misnamed.

 

People seem to think it is so easy to destroy this planet (or any planet, for that matter). During the Cold War with the Soviets, there was this pervasive dread that our collective nuclear arsenals had the power to "blow up the planet ten times over," and other such nonsense. What people meant to say is that we had the power to wipe out our species/civilization. Our planet would have gone merrily on its way with or without us. It is impossible for us to destroy the world; equally so for most supervillains who aren't at the top of the cosmic food chain.

 

Puny Organic Lifeforms!

 

Mechanon will use this insignificant rock to build Big Giant Heads, to wipe out organic life throughout the universe!

 

Does cutting the Earth up into little bits and sending them off into interstellar space count as "destroying the world"?

 

Also, I need to work this into the scenario. Just killing off humanity is thinking too small for the Megalomaniac Machine.

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