Eclipse Phase: Think Before Asking

An  Eclipse Phase Scenario written by Anders Sandberg and available as a free PDF.

“We call it the gorgon-in-a-box problem. There is a gorgon inside the box, and we want to figure out  what it is doing. Unfortunately we will turn to stone if we see her face, and she might try to make us see  it.

Dr Toshiro Driscoll-Toyoda, presentation to Naos Planning Board

  28 comments for “Eclipse Phase: Think Before Asking

  1. joe
    September 1, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Score. New EP AP. Also, Ross approve my forum sign up dammit.

  2. Jay Dugger
    September 1, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Hooray! I hope you emailed the author to let him know how play went.

  3. September 2, 2011 at 12:31 am

    I’m always excited to see new APs but a new Eclipse Phase gives me that special extra thrill.

  4. Dom
    September 2, 2011 at 1:47 am

    Wow. This game was mind-bendingly amazing.

    There aren’t enough words to describe how awesome this scenario was and unfortunately I can’t basilisk hack to implant the idea in your brains, so instead I’ll just say kudos to Anders Sandberg for creating this impressive adventure.

    Caleb, your GMing was amazing and I can’t wait to listen to the Eclipse Phase campaign that you’ve been running.

    The APs where Ross plays tend to be one of my favorites. Bartleby seems like a very interesting character, I hope to learn more about him in the EP campaign.

    To Bill, though EP has a very daunting setting you seemed to get immersed in it pretty quickly. Hope you stick around for more games, it’s always good to have you on the table.

    Overall this is easily one of my favorite APs. Rock on, RPPR.

  5. Haroudo Xavier
    September 2, 2011 at 3:45 am

    You need a GooglePlus/Facebook share button. Let me know when you have one. 🙂

  6. Fridrik
    September 2, 2011 at 10:10 am

    If I had been playing I would have asked a world destroying question. Just to see what happens.

    I think the question would have been “What is the answer to the question about life, the universe and everything?”

  7. September 2, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Added some share buttons – couldn’t find one for Google+ though.

  8. Omega
    September 2, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Yes, new EP AP. I loved you guy’s early APs, and they actually got me into Eclipse Phase in the first place. This scenario is really well written, and Caleb ran it wonderfully. I was especially interested once I checked the pdf and saw what you were up against, like, halfway through the episode.

    BTW, you guys are technically doing Fray wrong (Or at least, wrong as it is now, I don’t know what version of the book you have). The use of Fray to dodge is an opposed test, vs the weapon skill of the attacker. In Fray, he who passes and rolls highest wins. Now, you might think this is contrary to the whole MoS thing, only it isn’t. This is how MoS actually works, at least in the 3rd Printing. If your skill is 55, and you roll 20, your MoS is 20. Anybody can pass if they roll an 01.

  9. September 2, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    With all the little things they got wrong I can’t Fray out as being particularly bothersome. I try to just put it aside, as much of a detail focused GM as I am. The in character “mistakes” where much more fun. I would pay money to see Caleb’s face when Ross decided to just tell the NPC “chick” about the vial.

  10. crawlkill
    September 2, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    long have I hungered, and yae, you have delivered! <3 Bartleby, <3 him having to confront some PTSD trauma on day fucking one out of the chargen…museum or whatever. Hopef Bill will be as enchanted by the game as everybody else and dive into it.

    I love that transhumanity is all either ridiculously driven power-mad megageniouses or incredibly eccentric immortal cosplayers with microscopic idiosyncratic obsessions. I feel like that's what we would DO in a post-scarcity world.

    (also Caleb did you reuse the word-sound kalexishi here? the incantation from Bryson Springs?)

  11. Caleb
    September 2, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Omega and Tad–Yeah, we screwed up Fray. That is kind of why I ran the pregen adventure first, to beta test myself on the system and work out the bugs. We caught it and worked out most of the kinks after the first few sessions. Now if I could just put together an interesting plot line, we’d be set! It’s cool, though. We are only, like, twenty sessions in; I still got time.

    crawkill–Yeah, I might have thrown it in there. Anders Sandburg writes some deep stuff (he regularly quotes No Exit and Solaris in his adventures), and I was pretty out of my element on that first game. I might have been clinging to anything familiar.

    BTW, when I looked it up, the term from Bryson Springs was spelled “Kuileixi Shi.” Google translator tells me that it means “marionette death,” but that’s all I got in the way of sources. Any Chinese listeners out there?

  12. Brandon - SimonLucid
    September 2, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Everything Caleb runs is awesome, I can’t wait for the campaign it self.

  13. Jay Dugger
    September 2, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    So you’re running Indigo Latitude next? And you’re mining Ex Tempore to find out where the TITANs went? 😉

    I enjoyed this AP very much, although I think those PCs count as utter gun-bunnies. I also found it very surprising you two decided to alternate asking questions–after you knew better. Perhaps it doesn’t count as mind-rape if you really do ask for it.

  14. crawlkill
    September 3, 2011 at 4:04 am

    I studied Mandarin for a couple years and lived on the mainland for a few months a few years back. it’d be pronounced (very loosely) “kway-lay-shee shuh” (pretty hard to romanize the shi syllable with standard English vowels, heh). let’s do a little dictionary diving…

    It looks like kueleixi, 傀儡戏, means ‘puppet show:’ 傀儡, puppet, 戏, trick, performance, act. took me a while, but I think I might’ve tracked down your shi: at first I thought it was 死, pronounced, uh…”suh” or “sih,” hard to write. it’s the standard word for death and dying and the syllables shi and si collapse into si in many varietes of spoken mandarin. but! some more investigation revealed the existence of 尸, which is indeed a character pronounced shi, and means either corpse or something being used to represent a corpse! fantastic! so they’re the 尸傀儡 and they take part in the 尸傀儡戏…or something. classical Chinese had seriously fucked up rules for adjective attribution which I have naturally not bothered to remember.

    so yeah! wow! THE MORE YOU KNOW. I’d always wondered where you’d gotten that from. wild!

    and since I’m outing myself as a language student anyway, I hafta nonsequitur that Tom’s German fetish is hilariously cute.

    but yeah, so ready to hear more! the knowledge that there are twenty sessions of Caleb running Eclipse Phase -extant in the universe somewhere- tantalizes me to the point of cruelty.

  15. September 3, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    [Author here]

    Cool! In fact, beyond cool – as a GM I rarely get a chance to see how other people handle my scenarios. This was amazingly educational: I really need to learn how to reduce the initial technical infodump in the mission brief, and I loved hearing the variant descriptions of the places and scenes from how I imagined them. Some good ideas there I really must borrow… that yucky hiding place was simply brilliant.

    The funniest thing is that the actual academic paper by me and a fellow researcher I based the adventure on (“Thinking inside the box: Oracle AI”) will be presented at a conference on AI and philosophy in a few weeks… and the question about making AIs for asking safe questions is one of the trickier possibilities we are looking at for further research (we think it doesn’t work, but proving it is another matter).

    Otherwise, what happens in Kirkwall stays in Kirkwall 🙂

  16. Z
    September 3, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Eclipse Phase is the only RPG I know of that deals with new and interesting philosophical and sociological issues and Caleb handles it exceptionally well. WHY IS AN RPG MAKING ME THINK?

  17. Journ-O-LST-3
    September 5, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    That’s a great scenario, crazy children are great for creepy but it’s much better when they’re dangerous too.

    On a side thought I just realized that Adam Warren has been making transhuman things. The Iron Man one was the story of a frok and Dirty Pair: Run from the Future could be an Eclipse Phase game.

  18. September 6, 2011 at 7:55 am

    _Think Before Asking_ is possibly my favorite adventure to read. I have yet to inflict it upon my players, however, so I think this episode will be useful for getting a feel for how it might unfold. Thank you!

  19. Beast
    September 7, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Fantastic scenario! Thank you guys for memorable experience.
    Too bad Tom, Cody and Aaron couldn’t join in. That would be shiny.
    By the way, did someone else cracked on precise sync of Caleb’s word “decompression” and sound of opened beer-can? Hell that was immersive 🙂

  20. September 8, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Good EP ep. Harr. Bill Sunwall makes me laugh everytime. I endorse all his roleplaying.

    I thought this might be a test run for ye Caleb, looking forward to the rest of the APs.

  21. Vigil
    September 13, 2011 at 12:56 am

    Great stuff, keep the EP coming!

  22. Ethan C.
    September 24, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    This is such a great introduction to the brilliance Eclipse Phase of capable of. I’m thinking that if I ever get to run an EP game, I’m going to start with a training scenario like Ross’s Fall adventure, and then go into this one. 🙂

  23. Toby
    January 14, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    The crack of thunder when Caleb described the switch of the nested simulspaces (I may have the terms wrong) at 2:29:44 creeped me out so much. I will choose to believe that it was a sound effect used deliberately by Caleb.

  24. kane
    November 12, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Sooo.. was the computer at the end a TITAN ?

  25. Omega
    November 12, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    @kane

    Technically, no. The TITANs are a specific type of military-grade Seed AI associated with the Fall, the “Oracle” or whatever at the end of Asking is a Seed AI, but is not of the same type, and hasn’t come into contact with any cosmic juju (as far as I recall) to make it go full crazy hard-takeoff… yet. Players of the Scenario can easily cause it to go full crazy Seed AI if they start asking it questions.

  26. Cameron
    January 28, 2015 at 10:12 am

    I know this is a late question, but did this campaign come about from the idea of Roko’s Basilisk?

    http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/bitwise/2014/07/roko_s_basilisk_the_most_terrifying_thought_experiment_of_all_time.html

  27. Dylan
    February 19, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Bill, thanks for asking all the questions I wished someone would ask!

  28. KenR
    February 4, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    This is a really awesome idea for a scenario. I love the idea of the super-powerful AI causing problems not because it’s broken free but because it perceives that it must demonstrate the danger of superpowerful AI.

    Well-run and investigated as always, too. After listening to all of Know Evil, it was fun to see where Bartleby’s playground flashbacks started.

    I have to admit – I wish Aaron had been there to ask a doomsday question at the end.

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