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simonh

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Everything posted by simonh

  1. Cool. IIRC they actually licensed BRP from Chaosium, although the system is customised so much that I never realised until I happened to spot the license notice. My copy is in the attic so I can't double check that easily though.
  2. Perish the thought that a world containing Duckburg Point, Hungry Jack, Prax, Grizzly Peak, Nochet and Gonn Orta should have punny, jokey and real-world referencing names. But sure the Rough Guide does dial that up to 11, just slightly. The Guide is a product of it's original purpose as a way to kickstart a freeform. As such it was intentionally designed to be as immediately digestible and in-your-face as possible, but it's actually pretty easy to calibrate it back down to a less slapstick level and I think a lot of these references are useful. For me, they do provide actually insightful critiques of Lunar and generally Gloranthan politics and culture in a fun way.
  3. You mean like this? It's about a foot across. Genevieve bought it in a thrift shop a few days ago. I've not yet found any evidence of her worshiping it yet. Wrong material for a shamanic totem though I suppose.
  4. Sorceress comes to us, via French Sorcieress, from Sortiaria which is Latin for "one who casts lots", so it's actually pretty appropriate in this case. Seer/ess has a very closely related derivation.
  5. I just came across this wonderful little collection of magical symbols, trinkets and idols found in Pompeii a few years ago. Do flick through the little gallery of photos at the bottom, it has some wonderful closeups of some of the tiny pieces. http://pompeiisites.org/en/press-releases/the-luck-and-the-protection-against-the-bad-fate-in-the-jewelery-of-regio-v/
  6. We need to be trying stuff like that, but we don't actually know for sure how biological neurons work. We have various ideas, but cells are incredibly complex systems and almost everything about them is in some kind of feedback loop with everything else. So even simulating single cells is a challenge as we don't understand all the mechanisms. Having a solid crack at this sort of stuff is one way to try and figure it out though.
  7. We can only predict how long it will take when we have a plan for designing and implementing one. In the absence of that, 15 years or any number is just hearsay. 1960s Herbert Simmons predicts "Machines will be capable, within 20 years, of doing any work a man can do." 1993 - Vernor Vinge predicts super-intelligent AIs 'within 30 years'. 2011 ray Kurzweil predicts the singularity (enabled by super-intelligent AIs) will occur by 2045, 34 years after the prediction was made. So the distance into the future before we achieve strong AI and hence the singularity is, according to it's most optimistic proponents, receding by more than 1 year per year. So I reckon when we get to 2045 strong AI optimists will be predicting it's on the slate to be achieved by about 2090. EDIT: I don't think there's anything unsolvable about it, I'm firmly in the materialist camp. I just think it's an incredibly hard, complex problem we currently have no conceptual framework for solving.
  8. I don't think we're anywhere close to general AI. I'm in my 50s so "in my lifetime" doesn't have the range it once had, but I'm not even sure we'll have it in my kid's lifetimes. The more we investigate it, the more we realise it's an unbelievably complex and difficult problem, and the fact is we don't even have a general, high level roadmap for even starting to think about building one. We've got zip in terms of concepts for an architecture. All we have is pattern matching, with no understanding of the actual nature of the images and data being classified. While that's an important cognitive tool we use, it seems like it's a long way from being enough to build an actual conscious intelligence. I think as we learn more about what general intelligence really is, how it works and what consciousness is, we'll have a much better grasp of the implications and how to deal with them. Have a good night. I'm just about to start my second morning cup of tea.
  9. I agree we may be in a similar position with AI. If say China has it and we don't (greater 'we', I'm a brit) it could give give them a potentially overwhelming advantage. Imagine a world run by a CCP AI that monitors, profiles and sanctions the behaviour of everyone, globally, 24/7 forever. Back in the 70s (maybe early 80s) someone asked Steve Jobs how he was going to overcome the fact that a lot of old people didn't want to learn how to use technology, and wasn't that an obstacle to universal adoption. He said that eventually death would solve that problem for him. Eventually we'll all be gamers.
  10. I honestly don't know what the right course of action might be towards the ethical treatment of artificial intelligences. One of the problems with that is that we haven't the faintest idea what the intelligence or consciousness of such a thing might be like. We can't even unambiguously define consciousness. One thing that muddies the waters a lot is the tendency to assume, mainly in fiction but out of it as well, that general intelligence and artificial consciousness are trivial. There are even people proposing that consciousness is already universal in some way, and the human tendency to develop emotional attachments to, and also see intelligence and intent in inanimate things is well documented. It doesn't take much to give someone the impression, or even convince them, that a computer script or animatronic toy is aware or has emotions. When Alphago beat the world Go champion there was a lot of speculation that this proved general AI was just around the corner. Alphago was an incredible achievement, but it's several orders of magnitude less sophisticated than the autonomic nervous system of a fruit fly. That's not a ding against Alphago, it's just that people forget fruit flies are the result of 4bn years of continuous optimisation through evolution.
  11. The rights ascribed to corporations are recognised because the organisation is owned by people with rights, and composed of people with rights acting on their behalf. Things done by a corporation were recognised as being things done by or for people, or 'natural persons' in legal jargon. There are precedents going back to the Middle Ages in Europe, and circa 800 BC in India. There have been thought experiments about automated software driven independent legal entities, which of course is a different matter, but it's not inevitable that a court would recognise such an entity as having any legal standing, at least in common law jurisdictions. Simon Hibbs
  12. It was a bit different for me, maybe I started a bit later. I first learned about Traveller (and RQ and in fact everything beyond blue book D&D) from White Dwarf magazine. It had articles and scenarios and reviews of products, so I had a decent idea about it before getting it. We started out just planet hopping using the trading system and exploring.
  13. I have Excel so I think so can be moderately objective, but personally I’d prefer to use something in Google Sheets. It’s so much easier to share things with people. It doesn’t have XLOOKUP but it does have JavaScript scripting and is very powerful.
  14. Last Breath is possibly the coolest game mechanic in Dungeon World, and a testament to the flexibility of Move based game systems. I suppose RQ has had this all the time in the from of Divine Intervention, but I thought I'd post this because I think it's a really interesting take on the problem of character death, or near-death experiences in RPGs. I'm running Dungeon World at the moment and while this moves hasn't come up, it has given the the confidence that character death or even the dreaded TPK could actually be a really interesting event in the game. Even DI is more of a "stop this terrible thing happening at any cost" saving throw, but Last Breath shows how getting knocked down the 0 HP can still actually be an engaging part of play. I'd love to see how we can adapt this to HQ and RQ.
  15. "Evil" is a very loaded term, especially in RPGs due to the influence of the Grand Old Game and it's particular take on the issue. It doesn't have a canonical definition or meaning in Glorantha though, and certainly no special significance at a rules level, even in the various magic systems. We can still talk about it though, just as we can in the real world. The Aztecs sacrificed human lives to their gods, in Medieval Europe one interrogation method was to literally roast the suspect's feet over a fire until the flesh fell off their bones. Does that make Aztecs and Medieval Europeans evil? Does it make humans evil? Clearly it means they were capable of it, but how broad a brush are we willing to paint with here? I think this is relevant to discussion of the individual relationships between members of the various races of Glorantha, because those relationships exist within the context of the relationships between their communities and peoples. I agree it will generally come down to the degree to which they can find common interests and priorities. We can see examples in Gloranthan mythology and history where people of different races have come together because they needed to as a matter of survival. There were other cases where they joined together entirely voluntarily to achieve common goals. There are examples of both of those for Aldryami and Uz too. In any of those situations they worked together and it's quite conceivable that individuals collaborating to achieve common objectives might come to understand, respect, value and even trust each other as individuals. Why not?
  16. simonh

    Illumination

    Right, I think that’s occlusion in Lunar terms. Identifying the personal self with the All. Kind of the inverse of transcendence.
  17. simonh

    Illumination

    I did point out the loophole. He achieved immortality, as did Sheng Seleris. The dissolution of the personal self has nothing to do with gods or hell. It’s simply what illumination means. Its why illumination powers work. The consequences of breaking taboos are a backlash from the macrocosm (as manifested in the gods) on the microcosm (the mortal, personal being) for violating the bonds, relationships and pacts between microcosm and macrocosm. Establishing and empowering those connections is what makes magic work. But if there is no personal self, there’s nothing to backlash against for violating those taboos. There’s nothing there to detect as chaotic, etc.
  18. Does the character want to become illuminated, or does the player think this would be an interesting way to go? It’s not a given.
  19. simonh

    Illumination

    Does anyone ever come back from the summer land heaven? I think not but I don’t know much about it particularly, it sounds like a metaphor for transcending to join the cosmic consciousness. Basically post illumination there are three possible outcomes. One is you transcend personal consciousness and join with the great self. Cool. Alternatively you take the Sheng Seleris option and use your illumination to fast track to immortality, permanence in the universe and material power, all those cool abilities you get such as ignoring taboos and cult restrictions are really helpful for this. Mostly though your average illuminate simply wipes out. They don’t achieve either and then they’re done. Of course the annihilation of the personal self is what Chaos is. That’s it right there. So the thing with truly attaining ultimate transcendence, actually joining with the Great Self, and leaving behind the material cosmos means reconciling with the annihilation if the personal self. Giving up identity. But it’s more even than that, it’s giving up the material world to chaos too. It’s leaving everything you ever knew and loved and letting it become nothing. So there is no ultimate transcendence without accepting the true and essential nature of Chaos. Without it there is no transcendence.
  20. simonh

    Illumination

    Of course the down side is they only have one lifetime to do all this in, then they're gone. The personal self is an illusion so no afterlife, no resurrection, no spiritual progression through incarnations. This here, now, is all you will ever have. Unless you can hero quest yourself into immortality. Better get on that then.
  21. Here's my wallet, take whatever you want!
  22. simonh

    Young gods

    I think no and yes. Orlanth isn't a death god, yes he wielded death but he never accepted it as a core part of his being. Rather he was revulsed by the consequences of what he had done and risked everything to set things right and remake the world. He could have become a death god, but didn't. Yes Orlanth obtained the sword death and learned to wield it, so there should be an Orlanthi sword quest. Humakt isn't an associate cult of Orlanth though, so I'm not entirely clear how that should work. Is there a subcult of Orlanth the Sun Slayer?
  23. Yes there definitely are. The open question is whether or not they work.
  24. Three pages of replies and nobody has mentioned Griselda. How can nobody have mentioned Griselda? https://www.chaosium.com/the-complete-griselda-pdf/ Back in the 80s the Griselda short stories, published in White Dwarf Magazine, were my first exposure to Glorantha alongside the occasional RQ scenario or monster elsewhere in the magazine. She's a street smart adventurer living on her wits in Pavis and the Big Rubble. These stories were probably the single thing that grabbed my interest the most. I wanted to know what some of these things meant. What are these Trolls in Glorantha like? They seem intelligent, but brutal and sometimes live alongside humans. Combat seemed dynamic and tactical, was that really how RQ worked? What is a Death lord of Zorak Zoran? What is a cult? Even street thugs can know a few low power, but immediately useful magic spells? Griselda was part of my kid's childhood, I used to read the stories at bedtime and they just loved them and couldn't wait for more. She was the perfect role model for my girls. Street smart, careful, creative and confident. Highly recommended and at $5 an incredible deal.
  25. Yep, with Scorpionmen parry twice, and parry the tail with your sword. Lop that sucker off, and then you're on a much more even footing.
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