First, the blurb:
Sufficiently Advanced is a transhuman roleplaying game of the far future.
Humanity has been reconstructed by time and technology. Wield incredible technological enhancements and thousands of years of expertise, or the ability to mold the story of the game. Play a digital intelligence with remote-controlled robot drones, a diplomatic team that shares a group-mind, a soldier infused with nanotechnology, or even a living starship. Play an Old-Worlder witnessing our fantastic universe for the first time, or a Masquerader taking on different identities each day.
This second edition runs on an entirely new diceless system. What consequences you are willing to accept in order to win? Or, when you are outmatched, can your failure help your team succeed? Use Plots and Projects to change the world, and force Complications on your characters now to warp the plot in their favor later on.
Discover five different futures: To The Stars, where you form a first-contact team reconnecting with the lost seeds of humanity. The Divide, full of espionage and intrigue, where trust is hard to find and the sides are ever shifting. The Powder Keg, a universe tumbling into a war that may mean the end of everything. Sublight, where secret societies champion their causes by transmitting their operatives across the stars. The Patent Office, where your team of Inspectors seeks to protect humanity from its own worst excesses.
The future is bright, but not without danger. Come explore it with us.
I like the game mechanics and settings, I admit. It isn’t without its biases: the game rules are rigged to put the low-power PCs in the spotlight, and inhibit the nigh-invulnerable demigods. And whenI say “rigged”, I mean “rigged hard enough so that, if you squint, you can actually see the thumb on the scales.”
(Amusingly, as a Christian who believes in a personal — as opposed to an impersonal — First and Final Cause, I suggest that this actually makes the game more realistic than most other rulesets…)
There are other clearly-spelled out biases: individuality over collectivism, helpfulness over hostility, etc. And finally, the focus is not on the technology, but on relationships; prices to be paid, not powers to be gained.
A quote from the rules:
In SA2, the philosophy is freedom of information and difficult choices. You typically know your opponent’s ability levels. You know your own very well. Almost every conflict results in a Complication. The question is not whether you can accomplish something, but whether you’re willing to pay the price for what you accomplish.
Keep an eye on those price tags — they can get steeper than you can imagine.
In a setting with astonishing levels of technology and time travel (thanks to FTL wormholes) — but no psionics, brain duplication, inertial dampers, force fields, or other flavours of something-from-nothing magic — it pays to ask what the price is, before making the commitment.
So, Sufficiently Advanced, Second Edition is a really good transhumanist game setting, with the kind of built-in biases I can live with.