Orcs Invade Japan

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Re: Orcs Invade Japan

Post by KraytKing » 2016-09-29 10:26am

Simon_Jester wrote:
Do they fight in formations like a medieval army, or do they fight irregularly like screaming mobs? The former would probably be more effective to them, but not to us.
They adopt the "screaming mob" tactic. They usually fight frightened farmers, and therefore have no need for organized formations. This does not mean that they are incapable of mounting defenses, just that they aren't in neat little squares for our fighter planes.
How do orcs feel about killing humans to limit the food requirements? Japan could probably support thirty million people agriculturally, but it can't support its human population, let alone said human population plus thirty million immigrants, without food imports.
Orcs will not hesitate to kill humans, and will do so either to preserve food for themselves or to eat the humans. Those killed in the capture of the island will also be eaten eventually (and orcs have no problems with rotting food).
Do orcs perform manual labor when necessary, or are they stereotypical lazy savages?
They will do whatever is necessary. Fine work isn't their forte, but dragging trees around and moving rocks is no issue.
My main striking force will be the US Marines and other (smaller) amphibious forces with their own ships.

[Not the Marines because US Marines are somehow supermen, just because they're the largest force in the world that actually trains to perform over-the-beach amphibious assaults]

Operating out of bases on Okinawa, in South Korea, and hopefully places like Vladivostok, use airmobile and amphibious forces to stage raids against the orcs in division strength or greater. If the orcs don't magically upgrade their weapons, then we can achieve ludicrously disproportionate casualty ratios, and as long as we have helicopters and vehicles, we're vastly more mobile than them. We can seize a beachhead, set up machine gun nests and mow down orcs that attack the beachhead, while rescuing as many human slaves as possible and shoving them into helicopters or onto ships. The overall goal is to rescue as many enslaved Japanese as possible before they're all killed off (I suspect the human population of the island won't last long under these conditions).

Orcs with artillery bunkers will not be a major problem; the bunkers can be destroyed with guided weapons, and the few ammunition factories in Japan can be destroyed by precision strikes. The orcs have no native ability to manufacture ammunition for modern artillery.

Sounds good. Now what if you lose air support? The orcs now have supporting anti-aircraft mages, useless everywhere else. Please note that this is not intended to screw you over, just to extend the life of the topic. Like I said, constantly evolving threat.
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Re: Orcs Invade Japan

Post by Vendetta » 2016-09-29 10:59am

KraytKing wrote:Overrun with the rest of them. You don't seem to understand exactly how much thirty million is.
Nor, I would argue, do you.

Thirty million troops would be impossible to co-ordinate in single offensives with 15th century technology, so they can't actually use their weight of numbers to overwhelm a modern military force. You might be imagining them just coming forever and ever until all the shells and bullets and fuel runs out, but they can't. They can't because they can only communicate by runners and horse messengers which means that every assault has a lag, because they can't co-ordinate a large force to even get it all going in the right direction let alone keeping up a consistent pressure of assault against a strong position.

Also they're thinking beings not eg. zombies, which means that when they have to march for two to three dozen miles (because that's how far artillery can shoot) over fields of their own dead from the last waves, blown apart by forces they can't begin to comprehend, they're going to stop trying.

And they don't know they need to, either, because they've never imagined the model of warfare that they're up against. Their tech is basically cavalry pike and longbow, which means they are conceptually unprepared for being killed by artillery dozens of miles away. Their idea of battle and war is massed armies at literal arms length, with enemies you can see and strong points you can siege, not "formations suddenly and randomly explode for reasons they could not comprehend".

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Re: Orcs Invade Japan

Post by Simon_Jester » 2016-09-29 11:55am

KraytKing wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:Do they fight in formations like a medieval army, or do they fight irregularly like screaming mobs? The former would probably be more effective to them, but not to us.
They adopt the "screaming mob" tactic. They usually fight frightened farmers, and therefore have no need for organized formations. This does not mean that they are incapable of mounting defenses, just that they aren't in neat little squares for our fighter planes.
The flip side of that is that they won't be able to coordinate tactics very well, their communications will be really horrible, and it will be relatively easy to sucker their field armies into doing stupid things because they don't have the whole "hold ranks until told to do otherwise" meme.
How do orcs feel about killing humans to limit the food requirements? Japan could probably support thirty million people agriculturally, but it can't support its human population, let alone said human population plus thirty million immigrants, without food imports.
Orcs will not hesitate to kill humans, and will do so either to preserve food for themselves or to eat the humans. Those killed in the capture of the island will also be eaten eventually (and orcs have no problems with rotting food).
Well, there has to be a limit- unless they're specifically evolved to subsist on the absolute worst of carrion, they won't be able to eat anything that's been rotting for long enough. And there's no reason to assume they can.

That said, given the limits of medieval agriculture and that they won't be able to fish effectively, it may well be that the human slave population is already dead or will be soon enough that they simply aren't a factor, given that the orcs have already done nasty enough things that they're going to be blasted from the Earth anyway.
Sounds good. Now what if you lose air support? The orcs now have supporting anti-aircraft mages, useless everywhere else. Please note that this is not intended to screw you over, just to extend the life of the topic. Like I said, constantly evolving threat.
Anti-aircraft mages are too much of a handwave for me to accept, so you just lost me. Especially without a specified mechanism.

It's one thing to "evolve the threat" by altering the conditions- for example, by having the orcs appear from numerous portals including many that are smack in the middle of military bases, so that the military cannot mobilize against them, so that we can get to the intended scenario of "what do you do about an island full of homicidal savages who've just somehow appeared and taken the island?"

It's another thing to "evolve the threat" by saying "oh, the tools you would logically use to deal with the problem? You can't use those because lol reasons." That's just weak.

It's like saying "how would you build a house with no tools?" The answer isn't "I'd get clever about using my bare hands." It's "I wouldn't even try."

I'm willing to cooperate with you in setting up the 'game' you intend, by coming up with a way to get the "Japan is occupied by medieval savage-monsters, now what" scenario going.

I'm not willing to cooperate with you when you're trying to move the goalposts over and over in an attempt to make the game unbeatable.
Vendetta wrote:
KraytKing wrote:Overrun with the rest of them. You don't seem to understand exactly how much thirty million is.
Nor, I would argue, do you.

Thirty million troops would be impossible to co-ordinate in single offensives with 15th century technology, so they can't actually use their weight of numbers to overwhelm a modern military force. You might be imagining them just coming forever and ever until all the shells and bullets and fuel runs out, but they can't. They can't because they can only communicate by runners and horse messengers which means that every assault has a lag, because they can't co-ordinate a large force to even get it all going in the right direction let alone keeping up a consistent pressure of assault against a strong position.
Yeah. Basically, to make this scenario work as intended, what you SHOULD do is alter the scenario to have the monsters appear in distributed groups of more reasonable size, scattered all over a vast area, with large numbers of them appearing in the middle of military bases to disrupt mobilization.

That's a less exaggerated version of what I was getting at when I threw out the idea of "the lead wave of the orc attack is one orc with a big axe to materialize standing behind each soldier in Japan."

This would presumably require coordination and (explicitly magical) pre-attack reconnaissance, but the coordination and reconnaissance can all be done well in advance, so the problems of making it work are reduced. If it takes a year to figure out where everyone needs to go, and a month to put them all there, that can be done in advance and the surprise attack still works.
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Re: Orcs Invade Japan

Post by Elheru Aran » 2016-09-29 01:10pm

Essentially: You have created a scenario that at first seems fairly impressive, but which requires overwhelming force to counter, which can be easily delivered by modern technology. Hell, not even particularly modern technology, as Thanas pointed out. 1970s era SCUD missiles loaded with VX could wipe out a decent chunk of the Orc population with ease, for example, and they would have zero way of retaliating.

Better to have done is give them some things they're lacking-- effective force organization, anti-air defenses, some counter to modern firepower-- from the start. Then it would be a genuinely tough scenario. Trying to throw that stuff in after the fact is just... lame. That's what Archinist does, man. You said you didn't want to be compared to him. So...
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Re: Orcs Invade Japan

Post by KraytKing » 2016-09-29 02:01pm

As I said, this was originally conceived in a face-to-face war games setting, with myself trying to force my brother into error. Live and learn.
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Re: Orcs Invade Japan

Post by KraytKing » 2016-09-29 02:48pm

Anyone else have any suggestions to make it a better scenario?
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Re: Orcs Invade Japan

Post by Elheru Aran » 2016-09-29 03:11pm

KraytKing wrote:Anyone else have any suggestions to make it a better scenario?
I think you've already gotten some?

Consider the weaknesses of the Orcs and their strengths. Consider the modern world's weaknesses and strengths.

Generally for a low tech force to overwhelm a high tech force, simple sheer numbers won't do unless it's some ridiculous disparity like one Space Marine in the midst of a million cavemen. You need some way for the low tech force to counter the high tech. Do this either by giving the low tech force a tactical advantage (perhaps they can't be killed with small arms?) or a magical advantage (they have wizards who can project a field which will negate electrical devices within a 1-mile radius). Alternatively, simply declare a few reasonable parameters by fiat-- for example, "no NBC weapons will be permitted". This is reasonable because these are extreme weapons which cause mass death and often have long-reaching repercussions. They are also an easy solution to the scenario on the modern forces' side, so eliminating them means that the people role-playing that side have to get more creative. "Your soldiers are complete idiots which don't know one end of a gun from the other" is not reasonable because it ignores basic reality.
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Re: Orcs Invade Japan

Post by Gunhead » 2016-09-29 04:16pm

Elheru Aran wrote: Consider the weaknesses of the Orcs and their strengths. Consider the modern world's weaknesses and strengths.

Generally for a low tech force to overwhelm a high tech force, simple sheer numbers won't do unless it's some ridiculous disparity like one Space Marine in the midst of a million cavemen. You need some way for the low tech force to counter the high tech. Do this either by giving the low tech force a tactical advantage (perhaps they can't be killed with small arms?) or a magical advantage (they have wizards who can project a field which will negate electrical devices within a 1-mile radius). Alternatively, simply declare a few reasonable parameters by fiat-- for example, "no NBC weapons will be permitted". This is reasonable because these are extreme weapons which cause mass death and often have long-reaching repercussions. They are also an easy solution to the scenario on the modern forces' side, so eliminating them means that the people role-playing that side have to get more creative. "Your soldiers are complete idiots which don't know one end of a gun from the other" is not reasonable because it ignores basic reality.
Here you have in a nutshell why fantasy race/world X vs. advanced race/world scenarios are so much BS. You have to give orcs etc. every conceivable advantage be it magic, divine intervention, super powers and or all of the above, and most of the time even that's not enough.
A simple us vs them scenario like in this thread just about trying to figure out how much help will the people about to get creamed need so they won't be completely and easily curbstomped. Tech disparity is a huge thing when talking about large forces going toe to toe and people need to realize that massive firepower differences do not need hundreds of years of technological gap. A simple decade can make a huge difference, a few decades is easily enough for one side to have war fighting capability that the other side can only really defeat due to luck or having a major tactical advantage but usually they have very limited means to gain the tactical upperhand by their own actions. This also means strategically you're screwed.


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Re: Orcs Invade Japan

Post by Simon_Jester » 2016-09-29 04:17pm

Elheru Aran wrote:Essentially: You have created a scenario that at first seems fairly impressive, but which requires overwhelming force to counter, which can be easily delivered by modern technology. Hell, not even particularly modern technology, as Thanas pointed out. 1970s era SCUD missiles loaded with VX could wipe out a decent chunk of the Orc population with ease, for example, and they would have zero way of retaliating.

Better to have done is give them some things they're lacking-- effective force organization, anti-air defenses, some counter to modern firepower-- from the start. Then it would be a genuinely tough scenario. Trying to throw that stuff in after the fact is just... lame. That's what Archinist does, man. You said you didn't want to be compared to him. So...
Well, that's fine- but rewrite the scenario from scratch, don't just make random ad hoc changes on the fly. Archinist's changes look dumb in part because he's only changing specific things people point out as flawed, and he tends to change them in stupid ways because of his ignorance.

Here, the scenario has the following fundamental problems:
1) A gigantic medieval army (i.e. more than a few tens of thousands) cannot coordinate or communicate. In theory you could schedule the army's movements in advance, but in reality that would only work for the opening phase of a surprise attack (when everything goes roughly according to plan).
2) A gigantic medieval army couldn't even move. Think about the practical logistics of having thirty million people all appear in one small area and walk outwards. If they're walking along roads, then they can only fit maybe ten or twenty people side by side along the roads, which mean they must form rectangles 10-20 people wide... and thousands, or tens of thousands, of people long. There'd be immense crowding and pressure, people would get trampled, and they'd be sitting targets for modern weapons.
3) Even Japan's limited armed forces can cause huge slaughter, especially against an army that is tightly packed into a small area and has effectively no heavy firepower or long range weapons to retaliate with.
4) Modern militaries have such vast advantages of mobility and communication that it is very hard for medievals to resist them in a meaningful way- they're outmaneuvered, outrun, outgeneraled, and so on. Even if you gave the medievals modern weapons, it matters very little if they don't also have modern trucks and radios and airplanes.

So, how are we going to address these flaws? Remember that crudely neutralizing the flaws in obviously unrealistic ways will make the scenario look bad. For instance, trying to neutralize modern forces' communications advantage by saying "suddenly radios and Internet stop working" will cause people to think "did you do that just so your medieval barbarians could overrun modern civilizations, because you needed blatant magic to make that happen?"

It is much better to give the orcs some way to communicate in turn (i.e. telepaths).

Likewise, "taking away" the modern side's ability to build aircraft is a blatant attempt to 'hack' the scenario and goes over poorly. Maybe you should instead find another way to neutralize the air advantage, such as making the orcs experts at camouflage and have their forces fight in a dispersed way.

I mean, if someone said "how can the Riders of Rohan beat your thirty million orcs," and you said "that can't happen because thirty million orcs would rip apart a few thousand men with their bare hands," it would seem very stupid if the other person replied "well, what if all your orcs' hands suddenly fell off?"

That would seem ridiculous, there's no logical reason for that to happen and it represents a very blatant way to stop your side from using its strengths.

It seems equally ridiculous to say RAR SUDDENLY NO AIR ATTACKS.
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Re: Orcs Invade Japan

Post by KraytKing » 2016-09-29 05:13pm

Noted and taken under consideration for future topics.
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Re: Orcs Invade Japan

Post by Simon_Jester » 2016-09-29 08:19pm

I mean, it wouldn't even be so bad if we just had a discussion in here about how to make things more interesting without becoming stupid. The key is to approach the discussion with an open mind, willing to learn things about how stuff works.

All these things about logistics and armies moving and communications and the raw ludicrous firepower of modern weapons is not obvious, and there's almost this predictable evolutionary sequence people go through in the process of learning about it. Where they start out totally misunderstanding and not knowing things, and then gradually learn more and realize how important some of the stuff they don't show in movies can be.
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Re: Orcs Invade Japan

Post by KraytKing » 2016-09-29 09:35pm

I thought you were a dick when I first joined. Happy to be proven wrong.:D
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Re: Orcs Invade Japan

Post by Batman » 2016-09-29 09:49pm

Seriously? You thought Simon was a dick? Boy are you in for a rude awakening when you meet the rest of the board :)
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Re: Orcs Invade Japan

Post by Simon_Jester » 2016-09-30 02:19am

In our first encounter, KraytKing and I clashed because he was proposing that a hypothetical technology which did one thing could be adapted to do very, very different things.

[I'd be happy to go over why I thought that was a problem, Krayt, if you like, since tempers have cooled. In hindsight I treated a few things as obvious that may not have been obvious. And it's the kind of issue that is likely to arise here often if you keep posting here in RAR scenarios, which I sincerely hope you do]

Now, roughly six months later, while I am in the same position of pointing out what I see as a basic problem with the way KraytKing is approaching an issue, he seems to have understood immediately. I'm going to be honest, I'm a bit impressed with the implied level of progress, and I'm glad to meet someone new who's fun to talk to.

Anyway, aside from the little tangent of ancient history (i.e. March), do we want to try to come up with a revised scenario that passes suspension of disbelief, while actually presenting us with the intended question of "what do we do if a heavily populated island nation is abruptly conquered by swarms of relatively primitive savages who somehow appear out of nowhere?"
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Re: Orcs Invade Japan

Post by Lord Revan » 2016-09-30 02:30am

Primative or savage doesn't have to mean "stupid", for example the invaders can at least try to setup ambushes and similar tactics rather then trying to fight a battle on an open field.
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Re: Orcs Invade Japan

Post by KraytKing » 2016-09-30 01:38pm

What do you suggest for such a scenario? More magic, numbers, organization, or all three? And how do I quantify the magical abilities of wizards if I were to include them?
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Re: Orcs Invade Japan

Post by Simon_Jester » 2016-09-30 02:10pm

More numbers won't help for a very important reason. If the orcs are marching out of any single location, then the physical number of them who can leave that location in a single day is limited by infrastructure such as roads and by geography. Modern firepower means it really isn't that hard to kill sword-wielding primitives as fast as they can physically march down a road, so that they make literally zero progress no matter how many of them there are, until the road becomes so choked up with bodies they cannot continue.

So unless you posit literally infinity orcs, which is another one of those blatant "give my favorite side an insta-win button" handwaves, more numbers doesn't change anything. Even if more numbers DID help, you would then face the impossible task of feeding all those troops- it can't be done, except by even more blatantly handwaving.

...

Organization really helps. Having a detailed plan for how to conquer Japan, and the ability to break up the huge army into lots of little units that can all appear where they need to in order to disrupt the defenses, would make it a lot more plausible for the orcs to conquer Japan in the first place. A screaming horde materializing in one place is just going to get cluster-bombed over and over until it's a giant pile of green hamburger, by contrast.

Of course, that probably won't save them once organized military forces do start fighting back, but at least they can physically occupy the foothold they need just to start your scenario.

...

Magic can help. The trick is to balance the magic so that overcoming it is hard, not impossible, and so that its powers are not absolute all-the-time things. For example, giving the orcs magical fear powers* that work by "literally everyone always runs away the moment they see even one orc" is a blatant handwave. Giving them fear powers that "disrupt the concentration of people who see them" is not such a blatant handwave.

Likewise, a wizard whose curses can sometimes bring down a jet airplane is not a handwave; a wizard who can trivially cast spells of "protection from aerial bombardment" over entire armies every day as many times as he likes is an obvious handwave.

Think in terms of arming the orcs with tools, not in terms of protecting the orcs from threats. If you give them the tools to fight, then it just becomes a contest of tools, which can be interesting. If you give them protection from threats, then you're telling the people playing the other side "no, you can't use your strongest techniques, because I don't want you to."

*Not saying you should do this or that it would help much, just using an example.
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Re: Orcs Invade Japan

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2016-09-30 03:31pm

I'd say as an addendum to what Simon said, the best way to build a scenario is to do a LOT of research.

For example, specifically with the anti-aircraft component: education yourself on what the capabilities of a modern air force actually are. Understand the distances at which they can successfully engage targets, the speed at which they do so, and their ability to evade modern ground-to-air combat systems. And try to find a way to let the orc's compete in that context.

As a random though (I'm sure smarter people can think of better), say they have two types of spell-casters, one of which are able to rapid-fire shoot fireballs or lightning at speeds and distances sufficient to knock down planes within a certain radius (though, I should note, that don't overpower by saying it as 100% accuracy and 100% kill-rate, but merely make sure it is efficient enough to at least make it a dangerous and difficult mission to engage them) and a second-kind which casts some sort of weird theater "fog-of-war" that somehow scrambles long-distance guiding/targeting systems, so that air forces either need to get their aircraft in relatively close (where they can be engaged by fireballs or whatever), rely on high-altitude bombing WW-2 style, or otherwise get creative. This places the orcs as a credible threat to air forces without completely hand-waiving the situation, while still alloying for creative solutions on both sides.

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Re: Orcs Invade Japan

Post by KraytKing » 2016-09-30 04:22pm

Have there been any discussions on how much land a human requires to be self-sufficient?
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Re: Orcs Invade Japan

Post by Thanas » 2016-09-30 05:12pm

That depends on the human in question, the land in question and the level of technology.
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Re: Orcs Invade Japan

Post by KraytKing » 2016-09-30 06:05pm

Generic humans, 1400's technology, and somewhat mountainous terrain with a mild climate.
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Re: Orcs Invade Japan

Post by KraytKing » 2016-09-30 06:35pm

A little research into the subject of whether or not the orcs could support themselves and the humans has turned up negative results. A quick Google search showed that a family of four humans requires about 2 acres to support themselves indefinitely, including space for solar panels, a dairy cow, and egg production. Another search showed that there is, as of 2008, only 1.14x10^7 acres of land under cultivation in Japan. While this could certainly be increased if one cared nothing for the environment and the farmland per person could be reduced with the elimination of a few luxuries, this is only a little more than enough to support the 15 million human hostages, let alone twice as many of the significantly larger orcs. More research is necessary to determine what the minimum farmland is per person, how six centuries of technological degradation would affect that figure, and how quickly the land could be put to use.
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Re: Orcs Invade Japan

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2016-09-30 08:53pm

I think a rather telling figure is that Japan imports around 60% of its food, in terms of mean annual caloric intake, making it the fourth largest importer of agricultural products in the world. So, as the land in Japan is currently utilized, it would simply not be able to feed its own current population, never mind an influx of orcs. Certainly, I would bet a good amount of land not currently being used for food production could be converted (the orcs will have little incentive to maintain, for example, protected natural environments where farming isn't allowed, unused urban/suburban developments, or simply razing infrastructure they don't care about or understand).

However, that is still a process that would take years to produce meaningful results, and even then it isn't clear if it would ever be capable of non-magically supporting that population (nevermind the logistical hurdles inherent in the orcs actually managing to systematically implement a system of converting land to farms and transporting that food anywhere in the bulk necessary to support an advancing army ... do the orcs really have a system in place for other than subsistence-level agriculture for non-combatants and just pillaging food for combatants?).

There's also the geographical problem. Most of Japan's prime farmland is located on the southern part of the archipelago. And even then is more or less isolated to a handful of productive valleys/coastal plains. A lot of the northern part of Honshu, Hokkaido, and other northern areas (not to mention the central spine of Honshu) are extremely rocky and mountainous, to the point for even terracing for rice paddies isn't viable.

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KraytKing
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Re: Orcs Invade Japan

Post by KraytKing » 2016-09-30 09:31pm

However, if Japan has a population of 127 million, of which 45 million (including orcs) remain, then the 40% of the food produced at home would be more than enough to cover the needs. Logistics is another issue entirely.
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Re: Orcs Invade Japan

Post by crueldwarf » 2016-10-01 07:02pm

You also always need to remember a very simple thing when you try to construct such kind of scenarios.

If civilization have access to a magic sufficient to defeat (or even simply engage in a war with some chance of success) a modern technological world this civilization would not resemble a medieval one in the slightest.

You can either have a Anti-aircraft mages who can negate modern air superiority or you can have pikemen. But not both at the same time. Because a mage which can engage and destroy a fighter jet will also be able to destroy a medieval army with relative ease.

So the initial scenario transforms from '30 million orcs against modern civilization' into 'undetermined amount of orc wizards against modern civilization'.

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