The Alexandrian

The Great Filter -

Even if you’re already familiar with the Fermi Paradox, you might find it worthwhile to check out this excellent treatment of the subject. What makes it particularly worthy of attention is the comprehensive totality of the coverage, offering detailed breakdowns on more than a dozen different Fermi-related scenarios.

The Fermi Paradox is very relevant to both Eclipse Phase and The Strange, so I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately.

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7 Responses to “Check This Out – The Fermi Paradox”

  1. Allan Grohe says:

    I read this earlier in the year, Justin: it’s a good article, and very thoughtful.

    I’ve still not had a chance to play EP yet, but am hopeful that I will eventually (even if it means I have to run the game myself 😉 ). I’m not familiar with The Strange, but I’ve been suckered in by Moorcock-inspired ad copy for Malhavoc products in the past (Beyond Countless Doorways). What are your thoughts on it, in terms of its Moorcockian flavor/vibe?


  2. Kinak says:

    Great link! Thanks for sharing it.


  3. Justin Alexander says:

    @Allan: I haven’t actually read a lot of Moorcock’s Eternal Champion stuff. (At least in the context of specifically interpreting it as the Eternal Champion. I’ve read Elric, a little bit of Corum, and some of his SF stuff.) So take this with a grain of salt.

    The Strange is definitely quite distinct from Moorcock’s multiverse, but there’s definitely some Moorcockian influence there and it would be really, really easy to amp up those Moorcockian elements.

    I’ve played some other RPGs where the conceit is that when you move to an alternate reality your character gains different abilities or changes to a different race or whatever. But what makes the concept really fucking work in The Strange is how easy it is: In the Cypher System your character is defined by a focus, descriptor, and type. For example, you can be an appealing spinner who is licensed to carry.

    When you swap realities in The Strange you just swap out your focus. So your appealing spinner who is licensed to carry becomes an appealing spinner who regenerates tissue in Ruk. And an appealing spinner who practices soul sorcery in Ardeyn. And an appealing spinner who conducts weird science on Atom Nocturne.

    And they’ve designed this incredibly clever character sheet that has a Recursion Focus Sheet that folds in half and just slides over the top of your base character sheet. So when you flip realities you don’t have to recalculate every number on your sheet and try to keep track of which abilities belong to which reality: You just slide a piece of paper into place and you’re ready to adventure!

    And within this structure you can either have characters who reflect the same basic reality over and over again (so a character is licensed to carry is one who carries a quiver is one who integrates weaponry is one who wields two weapons at once) or you can player a character is radically different and endlessly refreshing in every reality (so licensed to carry becomes metamorphosizes becomes channels sinfire becomes shepherds the dead).

  4. Yahzi says:

    Some guy in the comments to that article points out several alternatives. Notably, we might just be listening wrong. Our radio envelope is already dying, snuffed out by cable and more efficient transmissions. Perhaps the radio phase of a civilization is just really short. and as soon as we bust open this quantum entanglement stuff we’ll be drowning in chatter.

  5. Allan Grohe says:

    Hmmm, thank you for your further thoughts, Justin—some definitely interesting ideas there.

    Is there more about gates, planes, planar travel, etc. in The Strange—from the POV of the planar architecture/planar physics and planar dynamics in game play rather than from the POV of simply detailing a bunch of new/creative/quirky planar environments (which was my major letdown with BCD—that it was simply a book of new planes rather than a book about planes/gates).


  6. Canyon says:

    Dude, thank you. I fucking love this site.
    I don’t want to get all gushy and fangirl or whatever, but I can’t get enough of your intelligent and considered treatment of literally every topic you take on here. You’ve introduced my friends and me to not just a variety of roleplaying games but also an analytic way of looking at them that I’ve never really seen anywhere else.

    I’m TOTALLY not being paid for this message.

    PS: I’m running an EP campaign and I’ve totally been using this kind of gatecrash-y stuff. There’s very few things scarier than finding an entire dead planet that’s filled with the relics of an alien civilization not so different from ours. I”m thinking that my filter event is going to be embracing transhumanism- the players are slowly losing their personalities through their intense body and mind modding and interaction with TITAN artifacts. Every other species has fallen into the same kind of trap, because, again, they aren’t that different from us. I still haven’t decided what to do with the Factors- my players haven’t been introduced to them. I’ve sort of kept the existence of an intelligent species secret from them, because I can’t figure out what to do with a bunch of slugs other than make jokes.

  7. Brotherwilli says:

    I was digging through the SMBC archives and I found this comic.

    It was amusing to me, and it made me think that perhaps there’s another twist for the Fermi Paradox …

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