1. LordWarGod

    LordWarGod Banned

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    Just how useful would giant superhuman beings be on a futuristic battlefield?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by LordWarGod, Sep 29, 2018.

    I have a race of superhuman angels that range from 5 - 11 meters in height clad in heavy armor, they wield powerful weaponry as well. But this is set in a world where pretty much every enemy has immensely powerful technology and I doubt that my superhumans would actually make much of a difference over regular humans using the same powerful weaponry.

    Tell me, is there really a point in using superhumans in a futuristic war where the only kind of weaponry that can hurt enemies is really just heavy artillery/tanks/aircraft or spacecraft? I mean, they can run faster, they can carry more armor/heavy weaponry but I can't imagine the maintenance required to repair armor and feed them. I honestly think there isn't really a need for the superhumans, they would've been useful in medieval times or even current day times but in a world like this, I feel like they'd just be absolutely useless.

    The kind of weaponry they go up against makes it hard for me to realistically imagine my superhumans even being practical. For example, Vaugers are colossal war machines that are about 1,400 meters in height with armor made out of extremely durable metal and on top of that, are protected by electromagnetic shields that can deflect/absorb almost virtually anything and are powered by the power of several stars harnessed in it's core. To go up against something like that like how the Space Marines from Warhammer 40k do and rush like it's the American civil war would just be utter suicide.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Nariac

    Nariac Contributor Contributor

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    Just copy Warhammer 40,000. Your superhuman angels are the Space Marines and regular humans are hordes of disposable vermin with pretty good artillery. I mean of course the Skaven Imperial Guard.

    The difference is your angels can use bolters and your humans have to use lasguns.

    Super elite strike force versus meat for the meat grinder.

    Just make your not-Imperial Titans really rare and expensive, your not-Space Marines really strong (so they can carry weapons the regular humans can't) but rare in some way, and immensely powerful tech rare as well. Maybe the tech priests keep it locked up in a vault on Mars or whatever the alien equivalent is.

    In short, the best way to deal with those issues is to come up with some kind of scarcity.

    If everyone has unlimited amounts of everything, it's boring.

    After all, would the Executor-class Super Star Destroyer be cool ... if that was just the standard ship every fleet in Star Wars had?

    If everything is super, nothing is super.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2018
  3. LordWarGod

    LordWarGod Banned

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    The question I'm asking is; what could a superhuman do that a human couldn't? The answer is absolutely nothing, the weapons the superhumans carry are pretty much larger versions of the standard human rifles and they can't even operate tanks/aircraft because of their size. What could a superhuman do that a battle tank couldn't? The battle tank can destroy an entire mountain with ease, the superhuman can fire a larger version of a rifle that can destroy some tanks/other small war machines and still cost more for maintenance.

    It all just feels very impractical and I can't see how I could make the giant superhumans "stronger" so that they would actually need them, what would actually make them useful? I think I should just get rid of them and stick with humans.

    This is the sort of thing they'd have to go up against (and it's a baby):

    [​IMG]

    It gets to the point where superhumans become useless and humans operating extremely powerful advanced technology becomes an absolute necessity due to the monsters they encounter. I think I'll have to get rid of my angels, as much as it pains me to say. Nothing from the Warhammer universe could touch the monsters/aliens from my universe, which is exactly why I thought I'd have to get rid of the angels in the first place. Tell me how I could find a practical use for superhumans here, it'd be appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2018
  4. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    Superpowers are useful specifically because they have an ability that humans don't.

    Imagine super humans that were impervious to being squished or suffocating. They could stand right under the abomination's belly and stick it with an all powerful vibro laser knife without dying.

    What about super humans that can teleport? When the abomination casts "radiant thermo-nuclear aura" and everyone's protective vehicles are melting, the super human can just leave.

    What if the abomination's power is to teleport you into space? It would be awesome if you could just teleport back.

    What if the abomination carefully avoided stepping on anyone over the age of 117? The power to look old would come in handy.

    Classic super human abilities are all things that mostly work against normal people. Immunity to bullets. Mind control. Radically powerful CCW. Travel faster than a car or plane. If humans can do all those things because of technology, and the monsters are too powerful, it would be kinda funny to have classic but useless super powers. But what if the odd ball powers became useful?

    Re-live childhood while retaining adult memories after death
    Transform into mud
    Be in two places at once
    Manipulate bones in others
     
  5. Azuresun

    Azuresun Senior Member

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    The obvious thing that springs to mind is commando operations, raids and other things where there's a limit on how many soldiers you can send, so quality is more important than quantity. There's a reason why real-world militaries have corps of highly trained soldiers alongside the battleships and city-flattening bomber fleets.

    I look at your descriptions of giant war machines and monsters, and I think the best way to deal with them would be to send a team inside them to leave a very powerful bomb inside the power core, heart, brain or whatever.
     
  6. Nariac

    Nariac Contributor Contributor

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    It really seems like the person with the best idea of how they can be useful in your universe is you. think about two things:

    1. Why do you want them in your story? (A plot point/deep meaningful discussion on the ethics of transhumanism/space marines are cool, etc)
    2. Can they justify their presence in your story? (Special forces/Unique traits, etc)
    Number 1 may be overwhelming, but without number 2, you should probably cut them. And only you can make that call. You mentioned in another thread you have like 60,000 years of background story for your universe. We don't have that raw material to draw on. Anything we say here can just be countered by something from your lore.

    I think only you can really answer your own question, to be honest.
     
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  7. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    War-frames/Mechs even the playing field.

    Of course they do, have you ever read anything from the Warhammer 40K
    universe? Space Marines and their Primarchs are super human, and yet
    still balance out against the other forces that they fight. Though I think
    the Demons in the Warp are a whole new ball game, and it takes pretty
    much true grit and determination to stop an invasion of them regardless
    of being super human or not. :p
     
  8. LordWarGod

    LordWarGod Banned

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    Yeah that's exactly what I'm thinking about right now, the main reason I wanted them in my story was mostly for the cool factor and a way for the humans to beat the demons but now that I've made the demons and aliens impossibly powerful, the reason for superhumans is gone. I suppose I could have them "exist" at some point in history before they became useless or went extinct and have that as a point to discuss ethics on transhumanism, that's something I'd never considered before.

    But at this point, I cannot justify their existence at all and they're essentially glorified walking tanks with over-sized weapons that have little to no impact on the battlefield. I think I'll have to cut them from the main time period I'm writing about and bring them up in history in a time when they were needed or something.
     
  9. LordWarGod

    LordWarGod Banned

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    Well, like the picture that I showed above, that's the kind of stuff they have to face and quite frankly the only thing that kills these things are "Wreaths". Wreaths are powerful gamma ray bursts that can wipe out an entire star system within seconds and leave nothing behind. Nuclear weaponry going up to the 500 gigaton range, artillery weaponry that can cause mountains to crumble and collapse and biological agents literally have no effect on things like the Great Abomination or a Vauger. While that kind of weaponry can work against more equally advanced aliens or lesser demons, it's still an uphill battle.

    So I can't really picture how superhumans are going to be of any use here, they're just stronger, capable of almost instant regeneration and can carry heavy armor/weaponry. But most of the weaponry they carry aren't going to affect the really big things or most things for that matter.
     
  10. LordWarGod

    LordWarGod Banned

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    I quite like this idea but it would be literally impossible as a Vauger has a shield stopping anything from getting in and they usually come as a swarm. Great Abominations are surrounded by billions of demons crawling in their flesh and around it on the battlefield.
     
  11. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    You might not want to make them and the weapons too overpowered. Cause they sound like
    the latter nullifies the former. There is a fine line between practical and beyond overkill.
    The reason the Space Marines work, is that they are not the majority of the Imperiums
    fighting force, as it is extremely hard to get into the program to become one. And even
    deploying Emperor Class Titans with cannons that can cut mini canyons into planets, or
    wipe a hive city off the map in one shot, are deployed only under highly strategic conditions
    that favor the odds of the Titan surviving, and not being killed or captured.

    The Wreaths sound a lot like the Halos from the Halo Universe, which is fine, and how they
    wipe out star-systems and beyond. However, destroying raw resources seems a bit counter
    productive, since they could harvest the materials in the places they conquer to keep their
    war machine and society going.

    So overall, I would say find a way to make things on some form of equal footing in some way.
    No matter how advanced or OP some are, they need to be able to be fight-able with both
    strengths and weaknesses that make things more realistic. Though overall what makes the
    story isn't the grand scale of the wars and weapons, it is the characters that are in the thick of
    things and how they cope with all that is going on in them.
    Use your super soldiers as highly specialized support units in strategic ways, and deploy them
    to help out the standard military. Unless weapons of mass destruction are the first thing that
    everyone jumps to using, then you don't really need either super soldiers or normal ones.
    Firing a kinetic missile at a planet can destroy it, just as much as a ton of nukes at a fraction of
    the cost and from the comfort of your home world.
    So don't rule out your super soldiers, just make them more practical and effective for their role.
    Along with your super weapons. Cause if super soldiers are that impressive and can't make a dent
    in more advanced species ranks, then more than likely the normal military is beyond pointless.
    And all their heavy weaponry is pretty much useless too.

    Just some things to take into account. Even the Space Marines have been beaten in some of the
    wars they have been in with the other races, so it is fine to have wins and losses.
     
  12. Azuresun

    Azuresun Senior Member

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    In that case yeah, they would be quite useless. But is there any reason you're stacking the deck towards "continent sized war machines with bigger numbers than you" so much?

    It comes down to what you want your story to be like. Since you can dictate anything you want about your setting, then if you want these guys to be useful, it's trivial to come up with reasons why they're needed. For example, the energy shields are designed to stop mega-weapons and don't keep out smaller targets. Or maybe the soldiers have been hybridised with the demon things, and some of them can control or trivially destroy lesser demons. The power is yours.
     
  13. LordWarGod

    LordWarGod Banned

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    The whole idea is that the demons/aliens are supposed to be unstoppable but I don't want the human military to be nonsensical (why have giant superhumans when they're so impractical?) and at the same time I want there to be some awesomeness to my army. I'm just not sure how to do this anymore, perhaps I'll have them exist a very long time ago but they soon became useless as the enemy began to get more powerful. I have some angels that became powerful through the corruption of the demons and turned to the evil side, they're still alive today and fight in many wars.
     
  14. LordWarGod

    LordWarGod Banned

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    I've never really read much about Halo so I didn't know about their weapons but that sounds cool. It sounds counter-productive to destroy entire star systems until you realize that what you're up against is an unstoppable horde that can swarm entire galaxies with sheer numbers, one planet gets compromised, an entire galaxy gets compromised and then more galaxies get compromised until you have 1/10th of the universe compromised which can all happen within the span of 50 years which sounds like a long time but it's insanely quick. That's why Wreaths are used, and the Wreath was actually discovered to have been created by an ancient civilization and was capable of decimating multiple galaxies at once but they can't figure out how to replicate that.

    The demons get so big and so powerful that it becomes ridiculous. There are plague demons called Deaths, which are basically thin wispy sheets of flesh made out of flesh, gore and bone. They cause anything that goes near them to age almost instantaneously until they disappear and they're about 1 billion light years in length and width, that's about 830 galaxies stacked end to end. The reason why I've made them so ridiculously powerful is because I want the demons to be the end of everything in the universe, that means that even the most powerful aliens couldn't stand in their way even if they wanted to. Then, you've got the Gods of Suffering which exist in some hellish alternate dimension that are even more powerful and will eventually amass enough power to enter the universe themselves and conquer it.

    It is literally "The Road" but on the scale of an entire universe that is at war and it's so depressing to write about sometimes.

    But since I find my angels so impractical, I just don't know whether to keep them around or not but I might keep them around anyway. There isn't really much of a difference and they actually have some part to play in the overall story.
     
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  15. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    I suppose I need to read this The Road. From what I hear it is quite tragic in the end.

    The reason I know so much about WH40K and Halo is that I have seen a ton of Lore
    videos. Though not so much on the Halo series, it isn't as interesting as WH40K. :p
     
  16. LordWarGod

    LordWarGod Banned

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    The movie is even better, watch it! I've read tons of lore myself on WH40K but the only interesting stuff was the Chaos Gods and that was about it.
     
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  17. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    I took a look at the book on Goodreads, and it got mixed reviews.
    Seems it is one you either love or hate. One thing stood out to me
    in reading the comments about it, and many said it was amatureish,
    and not very well written. Others said it was good but depressing.
    So IDK what to think about it.
    Suppose I could just find and watch the flick like I did for 50shades,
    might as well only suffer for an hour or two, than read a book that
    might deserve a toss in the bin. :)
     
  18. LordWarGod

    LordWarGod Banned

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    It's fantastic, bud. I'd recommend it anybody who wants to think about something profound for many years.
     
  19. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    I think you have a limited idea of what future battlefields will look like. I don’t think man will be there in very large numbers and neither will things like tanks or artillary. Those will be as antiquated as a trebuchet.

    The most obvious replacements to the battlefield are autonomous drones. Our AI abilities are getting really good as are our robotic abilities. Within a century battlefields will be full of three thousand pound robotic dogs that can outrun a car, scale any terrain, punch through a brick wall, outsmart any biological that stands between them and their objective, and use any technology.

    Once we have the capability to build something like that, it’ll snowball because one of the things we’ll get them to do is to make copies of themselves. They can turn from a thousand to two thousand in a day where human numbers in a war tend to go down.
     
  20. Glen Barrington

    Glen Barrington Senior Member

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    What might be interesting is that they AREN'T all that useful. Maybe the side with giants goes into battle a tad overconfident and their big boys, get creamed. The strategy to overcome that limited usefulness could add to the conflict.
     
  21. LordWarGod

    LordWarGod Banned

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    But what if that civilization's technology stagnated severely? What if over five hundred years of war and civil war that led to quadrillions of refugees fleeing the war to end up getting crammed into Great-cities and basically force that civilization to fight for survival rather than innovate or create anymore? What if there was just not enough time to advance technology to the point where they could deal with threats such as the ones I posed above in the thread because of constant invasions? And what if there was a certain royal family that intentionally held back the civilization as so to weaken them so they can be vulnerable to the demon/alien invasions? That's what's happened in my story and that's the explanation I have for the current state of their military technology/tactics.

    If you had giant planet eating demons constantly swarming your galaxy, you would be hard pressed to create technology when you have to actively fight them off first because they're right at your front door.

    That's the whole point, that's why I still have humans operating tanks, aircraft and enormous 100 km + warships that can fire gamma ray bursts that can decimate entire star systems and sometimes even galaxies. The point was that the giant superhumans are literally impractical at this point since what they carry or can do will not be able to harm or destroy the current threats they face. I just don't want it to be a Warhammer 40k ripoff with the Space Marines which I also think are impractical as well, so I'm seriously considering having them go extinct at some point in history and have it brought up later on through references or perhaps even corrupted versions of those angels would end up attacking them too.

    I want it to be an interesting, well-thought out universe that considers the consequences of historical influences dating back several hundred centuries. And it just seems like a stupid inconsistent plot-hole for the military to continue using an impractical military force that drains resources for armor, ammunition, food, transport and so on when it could better be used elsewhere. Wouldn't you agree?
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
  22. LordWarGod

    LordWarGod Banned

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    Well, that's why I'm thinking of making them go extinct at some point in history and some are still kept around as bodyguards for important people in the regime. It feels more realistic to me and I like that authentic realism that really considers what would happen in that scenario.

    Not to mention, there is a royal family that is intentionally stagnating technology as well since they're in full control of all the R&D departments, including all the patents/blueprints for technology and knowledge that exists in human history. So, there is a reason for all of this in the first place.
     
  23. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There's always a choice to be made as regards how deep into realism one wishes to tread, and the conventions in this regard can be story to story, or by the genre. For example, only very recently has the realm of superhero fiction attempted to engage the idea of how the actual, genuine real world would engage such beings, how they would be perceived and received in our real world, as threats to national security, as circumventions of systems of law enforcement and jurisprudence, and I have yet to see any superhero film even go near the question of how modern religion - as an entire epistemology, not just one particular religion - would react to the existence of something like a Superman or a Hulk or a Thor.

    With that said, my question would be regarding logistics. An army has to eat. An army has to drink. How does one handle logistics for beings as big as this, and would the logistical "overhead" outweigh the benefit of having them on the battlefield?

    ETA: And again, I'm asking more in the vein of how deep into the realism you want to get. Sometimes we decide as writers, readers, and viewers, that we just don't care all that much about the inconvenient problems in a story. For example, in GRRM's Westeros, where the climate is one that periodically goes through winters that can last years, where are the giant granaries? How does anyone survive a years-long winter with technology stuck in Medieval Statis? Even if the story did include the idea of a society totally geared towards surviving the coming winter (it doesn't), how do you keep food edible that long when the horse and carriage is the very pinnacle of technology? Even if you had enough food, it would eventually rot, go moldy, everyone would be tripping balls on ergot before they starved in the long, long night.

    But, we're okay with brushing this aside (and I mean that seriously) because the rest of the story feels so compelling. We've chosen to be okay with that glaring problem, and that's an okay choice to make.
     
  24. Glen Barrington

    Glen Barrington Senior Member

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    Yes, "the willing suspension of disbelief". A good story that can make you not care about the believability is a joy!
     
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  25. LordWarGod

    LordWarGod Banned

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    I just want to point out that this is meant to be more of a fictional/fantasy history book than a novel. I'm planning to have top secret documents/declassified files along with diaries, journals and mission reports as well. A lot of it will be written into the book as lore but that's the general idea of this premise. I just wanted to make it as realistic and as fleshed out as possible so it's quite immersive.

    You raise some really good questions about how people, especially religious people would react to such beings if they existed in real life but this world is set in an alternate time-line that is influenced by an alternate dimension full of powerful and dreadful monsters, including Gods. So, a lot of the history remains more or less the same but the myths/religions are influenced by my fictional Gods now, Norse Mythology, Egyptian Mythology and Roman Mythology are all based on the kind of monsters and Gods they encountered back then. It all remains the same but drastically changes in 2018 when an alien invasion nearly wipes humans out, that's where it all really kicks off.

    But when I talk about realism, I want to take into account all the cultural, religious, societal and civilization changes that have happened over a span of 61,000 years. I want to make sure that it all makes sense and that the things happening in the present actually have a reason to happen. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to have giant angels that drain resources and do nothing to help the military in a war when they could just opt for a more efficient method. So, I now have to rationalize having them go extinct and figure out how they go extinct, figure out what the social fallout of having lost a prominent figure in society would entail and what would the culture be like, thousands of years after they're gone?

    They're not even completely gone, some still exist as bodyguards for powerful figures in the civilization and some are corrupted demons that fell long ago in battle that now also seek the destruction of the people they once protected. Do people even question any of this? Do they know the history of how they came to be or do they know barely anything about them and they're a mysterious force to be reckoned with?

    Just a lot of hard work to do to figure out how a society would evolve over such a long span of time.
     

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