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Old 09-18-2013, 04:09 AM   #1
combatmedic
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Default GURPS Fifth Millennium

GURPS Fifth Millennium

Time and place: Earth, a few centuries after 4000 AD

TL 12 w/ conservative hard SF tech path (see page 9 of UT for guidelines)

Thinking beings:
• Baseline humans
• Eugenic upgrades
• Parahumans
• Uplifted animals (low sapient)
• AIs (hardware based only)

Man and his creations
The terrible wars of a millennium past killed more than half the population of the planet. Some men thought that their species would soon become extinct, and set to work designing inheritor races; new thinking machines, uplifted animals, variant humans resistant to radiation and to the geneered plague-weapons. Humanity recovered from the wars and now shares the planet with these other intelligences.

Space, the forgotten frontier
If you look up into the night sky, you might be lucky enough to spot one of the derelict habitats or research stations burning as it drops through the upper atmosphere, old dreams falling to Earth. Make a wish.

Only the AIs live in space now.

Electronic angels orbit the globe, lasers still set to destroy ICBMs in the event of another genocidal war on the planet below.



The Powers of the Earth
No state of the early 21st century has survived in anything like its old form, and many have dissolved or been replaced by new polities. Xin has divided and reunited and divided again since the time of Emperor Mao. The proxy wars of the long-since defunct North American and Soviet Empires are studied as the ancients once studied the Punic Wars. Three pontifices claim to be the rightful successors of the ancient bishops of the Eternal City of Ruhm.

Last edited by combatmedic; 09-22-2013 at 08:37 AM. Reason: spelling, thanks Michele--second time clarification in tone, space
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Old 09-18-2013, 04:37 AM   #2
combatmedic
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Default Re: GURPS Fifth Millennium

This is a campaign setting concept I'm kicking about.

It assumes the medium tech progression from UT, placing the advent of TL 12 around the dawn of the Fifth millennium AD. Bump the timeline a few hundred years further out than that.

Major technological and scientific progress doesn't really happen anymore. It's not impossible, but it's not likely.

If one encounters a technical problem, one requests an AI researcher to look up the proper solution from old archives. Science may be changing into a branch of History.

I could have gone with the Slow or even Retarded tech progression, making this GURPS Ninth or Twenty-First Millennium.
But it seems to me that two millennia is plenty of time for every major power in the world to fall or evolve into something markedly different.
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Old 09-18-2013, 06:25 AM   #3
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Default Re: GURPS Fifth Millennium

Wow. Sounds like a hard-sci-fi W40K. In terms of tone and atmosphere, your description sounds pretty grim. Is humanity being held prisoner on Earth? Do they willingly refuse to have a space program (and made orbital death-machines as an incentive)? Sounds like mankind as a whole has Low Self-Image and Guilt Complex.
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Old 09-18-2013, 06:50 AM   #4
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Default Re: GURPS Fifth Millennium

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Originally Posted by Seneschal View Post
Wow. Sounds like a hard-sci-fi W40K. In terms of tone and atmosphere, your description sounds pretty grim. Is humanity being held prisoner on Earth? Do they willingly refuse to have a space program (and made orbital death-machines as an incentive)? Sounds like mankind as a whole has Low Self-Image and Guilt Complex.
It could be spun that way, sure. That's not quite what I had in mind, though. It's not a Crapsack World. It's just not a techno-utopian world. The big human die-off occurred centuries past, you'll note. Human numbers have grown again since that time. Civilization took a blow, but not a knockout punch.

The average starting wealth is 100K GURPS $. Healthcare is way better, and most people can expect to live longer, healthier lives than most people in our world.

I'm thinking the space programs were all but abandoned because they had reached the point of diminishing returns. Anything worth doing in space could be done by AIs, and there really wasn't much worth doing besides possibly some mining and long, slow sling shot transport back to Earth orbit. There are no other planets capable of sustaining life, at least not in our Solar System. Mars is a dead and hostile world, although it could be terraformed if Earth powers were willing to invest in a project that would take many thousands of years to complete (the tech path means that they have no fast Mars-type terraforming, which is a TL 10 thing). In other words, the dream of extraterrestrial colonization ran into the reality of space being inhospitable and expensive for human inhabitation.


The orbital AIs don't need to crush attempts at spaceflight. Not many people attempt it these days. But if you want to get in your rocket ship and fly out there, you can do that. Make sure you don't get mistaken for an ICBM.

There might be AI civilization developing among the abandoned lunar bases, or something along those lines.

Last edited by combatmedic; 09-18-2013 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 09-18-2013, 07:42 AM   #5
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Default Re: GURPS Fifth Millennium

Humans are not more (or less) virtuous in the Fifth Millennium than in past ages. The sort of ethnic, religious, an class based hatreds that we see in our world will still exist, although the particulars have changed

There will be some nasty leftovers from the old wars fought with bioweapons.

The parahuman 'killer kiddos' I designed may feature...
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:02 AM   #6
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Default Re: GURPS Fifth Millennium

Reminds me of Warhammer 40K but more hard sci-fi, seems pretty bleak.
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:28 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by combatmedic View Post
GURPS Fifth Millennium

Three pontifexes claim to be the rightful successors of the ancient bishops of the Eternal City of Ruhm.
Pontifices.
This is interesting. It seems to imply that religion still exists and has some importance. Maybe that's because man has not achieved actual immortality, so one has to worry about what, if anything, happens after death. I suppose there is no way to gain any sort of disembodied immortality? If religion is important, what does it say about AIs, parahumans, their relationship with humans etc.? Cloning? What about other aspects of everyday life, morality, ethics?
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Old 09-18-2013, 01:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: GURPS Fifth Millennium

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Originally Posted by Michele View Post
Pontifices.
This is interesting. It seems to imply that religion still exists and has some importance. Maybe that's because man has not achieved actual immortality, so one has to worry about what, if anything, happens after death. I suppose there is no way to gain any sort of disembodied immortality? If religion is important, what does it say about AIs, parahumans, their relationship with humans etc.? Cloning? What about other aspects of everyday life, morality, ethics?
Many religions in history have not offered hope of personal immortality, including some extant today. But that's besides the point. Yes, religion is still exists and has importance. So do politics, sports, war, art, etc.

The religions of the Fifth millennium have had centuries to react to AI, low sapient uplifts, parahumans, and so on. Some faiths teach that all thinking beings, whatever their origin, ought to treated with kindness. Some teach that man's creations should serve man. A few teach that mankind has fulfilled its destiny by creating new sorts of thinking life, and should spend the rest of its span of existence praying--or partying. There are human-only religions. Non-human only sects may have formed.

Some religions may condemn cloning, others may not regard it as important.

In many cultures cloning of humans is regarded as a vain and silly form of reproduction. Forcing your children to look exactly like you is a bit gauche, don't you think? It's seen as either a barbarous custom or an outdated fad, like women using exo-wombs when they are perfectly capable of bearing children in a normal fashion.
This sort of thing varies by culture, natch.

EDIT- RE your question about 'disembodied immortality', there are religions that teach such doctrines, just as in the real world. Join one and pray that it's right. Or don't.

Last edited by combatmedic; 09-18-2013 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 09-18-2013, 01:57 PM   #9
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Default Re: GURPS Fifth Millennium

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Originally Posted by Keiko View Post
Reminds me of Warhammer 40K but more hard sci-fi, seems pretty bleak.
That's the second W040K comment.

I really like WH40K, but I'm not seeing the connection.

What about this world is so bleak?
What makes it bleaker than our world?

Is it the human modification and non-human intelligence stuff that is so disturbing?
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Old 09-18-2013, 03:10 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by combatmedic View Post
What about this world is so bleak?
What makes it bleaker than our world?
It's the loss of hope, I think. Space is off the agenda - and the way you describe the AIs in space they could be interpreted as keeping humanity down on Earth - and the consciousness of potential human extinction is also a bit doom-laden. I wasn't looking at it that way myself, but I can see how people could.
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