Wednesday, 8 February 2012

An overview of SINGULARITY

Allow me today to outline one of the projects I've been devoting the most mental space to in the past few weeks. It is an RPG called Singularity (and by RPG, I mean a Final Fantasy-type linear role playing game, but the story and concept could be adapted to anything). I originally started this while watching Record of Lodoss War and challenging myself to create a fantasy world featuring the standard adventuring party tropes while steering clear of any science fiction elements. I ended up failing that last clause, but I think I've come up with a pretty interesting concept nonetheless. Here goes.

The world of Singularity is one based on repetition. One of the many meanings of the term "singularity" is that one day, humankind will reach a point of exponential technological advancement that is incomprehensible to us right now. Technology would be used to enhance intelligence, which would be used to enhance technology... in brief, it is a theoretical point in time when we would stop being human as we understand the term today. The singularity is presumed to be brought on by technology; this story challenges that view.

What ends up happening to the species of Singularity is that they enjoy a traditional fantasy setting, with elves, goblins, and a prevalence of magic. Eventually technological advancements are made, industry is created, and the myriad of races learn to eschew magic in favor of these scientific breakthroughs. A technologically advanced civilization flourishes, and everyone thinks they're headed towards singularity... but they never make it. Advances in industry and disputes over resources inevitably cause them to annihilate each other. The flourishing "futuristic" society ends, followed by a period of post-apocalyptic rebuilding, where people rediscover magic and basic means of survival. Soon, we have the exact same situation which started this whole mess: your traditional fantasy setting.

The events of Singularity are brought on because someone in one of the "future" eras of this cycle has become wise to the cyclical nature of their world. The theory here is that the correct way for these races to actually reach a point of singularity and "evolve" is not through technology, but through the more natural and innate process of magic. But how to stop industry from taking hold again? detonating an EMP bomb into the sun, that's how. A scientist from one of the future iterations, realizing his current world is doomed, hides various parts of a rocket deep underground, with a robot being tasked to awaken in a few millenia. There, he will be able to assemble the rocket and launch it, unfettered by anyone who would know what he's doing and try to stop him. Once it reaches its destination it will explode, causing a reaction in the sun that will have it rain a steady electromagnetic pulse on the planet for another thousand millenia, thereby preventing any form of advanced electrical technology from taking hold and allowing the citizens of the world to explore magical means of reaching their singularity.

Ooof. You still with me? Good. The story here would follow said robot, who awakens to a world of magic and fantasy and must travel the world to find different parts of this rocket. Of course, being asleep for thousands of years underground means he has amnesia, so his exact goal will become revealed as the story progresses. He will also meet and assemble a party to aid him in his quest, with your standard fantasy tropes; the thief, the paladin, the mage, the berserker. But the details of his entourage are a subject for another post.

There is an entity, however, that is trying to prevent the robot from achieving his goal. It will work behind the scenes for the most part, but will ultimately reveal itself in time for the BIG BOSS BATTLE at the end. It is a dragon, a quasi-mythical being on this world. Dragons are a feuding race, and are few and far between. The thing is, they are one of the few creatures to actually live long enough so as to be able to view different iterations of the cycle that is happening. They have a nice, cushy racket going on: they lord over the myriad races during the "fantasy" portions of the cycle, bending events to their liking and manipulating entire empires by proxy. When technology begins to flourish, they burrow themselves underground and lie dormant, waiting for this era to pass and awakening when the lesser races are once again weak enough to dominate. This is a nice rhythm for them, and races actually reaching their singularity would disrupt this. Hence our main villain.

There are many more stories to be told within this world, but I think that's enough for one post. Feel free to tear this idea apart!

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