Re: >H games (Was: 2001 Prometheus Award)

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Mon Apr 16 2001 - 12:52:06 MDT

Anders Sandberg wrote:
> On Mon, Apr 16, 2001 at 10:56:53AM -0400, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
> > Anders Sandberg wrote:
> > >
> > > BTW; GURPS Transhuman Space is apparently close to completion.
> >
> > I didn't know there was such a thing. I thought about trying to write
> > GURPS Singularity when I was 16, but decided that it might not be the best
> > of all possible uses for my time; a pity, since there are so *many*
> > obvious campaign ideas...
> You mean "Stop the bad SI from transcending and taking over the world",
> "Help the good SI transcend and take over the world", "Be the SI and
> take over the world" and "Fix the ridgeways clenchirions in the
> armiphlange"? :-)

Any campaign that centers altered or improved cognition is a Singularity
campaign, not just campaigns where the main action takes place in the High
Transcend or SIAI's basement. There's the entire realm of neurohacked
humans to consider, for example. And uploads. And brain-computer
interfaces. And infrahuman and human-equiv and only slightly transhuman
AIs. And all the gruesome GMing possibilities that open up when, no
matter what the players do, you can pretend that the evil transhuman
opponent thought of it three months in advance and had a horrible trap
ready; where losing a battle or being captured by the enemy or finding the
McGuffin can alter the character's mind and personality (and "IQ"
attribute); where the players, even with their magic technology, can't
outfight *or* outsmart the enemy and are forced to try and work within
whatever complex manipulative strategy the enemy is running them through;
where pieces of the character's thoughts and personality can wind up
embedded in random Internet sites, or the opponent; where the "players"
only slowly learn that they are pawns in a still more complex game, and
they're never quite sure which of the real Players are the good guys, and
they'll *never* be able to extricate themselves...

When the enemy is a transhuman, you can do *anything* to the players. You
can have them fight their way through the enemy fortress to find the
self-destruct button, and when they find it, there's a little sign saying
"Out of Order". Roleplaying a game where the players are also transhuman
would obviously be a lot more difficult, but it could be done, perhaps by
allowing the players to get away with far more devious and twisted
strategies than would ever work in real life, or by modifying the
campaign, invisibly and on the fly, so that whatever "transhuman
deductions" the players come up with turn out to be the truth.

There is more to the IQ attribute than the Gadgetry skill; roleplaying a
transhuman *properly* is the final challenge, for GMs or players.
*That's* a Singularity campaign.

And then there's simply Ravna and Pham trying to outrun the Blight, or
Roger and Deborah diverting the DoD's tanks while fighting it out with the

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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