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Eliezer_Yudkowsky comments on The Hero With A Thousand Chances - Less Wrong

63 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 31 July 2009 04:25AM

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Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 31 July 2009 04:27:31AM *  18 points [-]

Notes:

(1) As best I recall, this is the first story idea to come to me in a dream, that has actually worked. Though it's more of a story fragment than a story. And I left out the part about how Albert Einstein was the hero summoned immediately before this one, and then ever afterward Einstein was only happy when working on carving a sculpture of a dragon, because when I woke up, that part didn't seem to make any sense.

(2) I think the hero might be overcomplicating things and taking an overly direct approach. I can think of something else I'd be trying in this situation. Besides intelligence-enhancement spells, I mean.

Comment author: BrandonReinhart 01 August 2009 01:41:51AM *  39 points [-]

Ah yes, intelligence enhancement spells. I like to call this a "Morrowind Singularity." Drink intellect enhancing potion: craft another, better, intellect enhancing potion. Repeat until incredibly intelligent. Craft special weapon using enhanced intellect, defeat boss in a single hit.

Comment author: gwern 01 August 2009 08:07:09AM 11 points [-]

Does that actually work?

(I can't decide whether that would mean Morrowind's game mechanics are broken, or just really awesome.)

Comment author: Auroch 30 December 2010 09:29:33PM 13 points [-]

Yes, and both.

It is also possible to increase your jumping to such a high level that you jump across the continent in one leap. However, the spell wears off before you have crossed halfway, so you have to refresh it just before landing in order to not die on impact.

Comment author: ShardPhoenix 01 August 2009 03:58:43PM 10 points [-]

Yes, it does work, and the answer to the latter question is arguably "both".

Comment author: HungryHobo 15 December 2015 01:34:28PM 3 points [-]

I loved the spell mechanics of morrowind far more than the system in the later games.

It was broken and for the game to remain fun you had to restrict yourself from taking full advantage of the most broken elements.

But it also gave you almost unlimited freedom because you could use any spell in any way.

My favorite was a low powered levitation spell. At high power it allowed you to fly fast. At low power it allowed you to drift very very slowly.

Powerful, fast creature charging at you? Simply gift it weakly with the power of flight and laugh as it floats in the air unable to reach you at anything above a slow crawl.

For bonus cast it on a flying creature and it falls when the effect wears off, often hurting it.

Comment author: Nanani 03 August 2009 12:45:44AM 2 points [-]

Awesome!

I've never played Morrowing but now it seems like a good way to spend future vacation time.

Comment author: SoullessAutomaton 02 August 2009 02:01:07AM 3 points [-]

I believe there's a video of a speed run done that way somewhere on the internet.

It took less than 15 minutes to beat the game, if memory serves me.

Comment author: gwern 02 August 2009 09:05:13AM 6 points [-]

http://speeddemosarchive.com/Morrowind.html has a ~14 minute speed run that has as one step 'Create and drink Fortify Intelligence in batches of 5'. That it?

Comment author: TheLostHibiki 28 August 2012 01:40:26PM *  1 point [-]

Such a thing as your Morrowind Singularity might be better called the Elder Scroll Singularity as you can do this in all of the Elder Scroll games to one extent or another. A cycle of potions of Fortify Enchantment and magic items of Fortify Alchemy will give you the same results in Skyrim. Though I will admit that the Morrowind Singularity is a better sounding name than the Elder Scroll Singularity.

Comment author: JamesAndrix 31 July 2009 05:46:48AM 7 points [-]

I suggest linking the 'untranslated' words to appropriate articles.

Comment author: Emily 01 August 2009 10:10:57AM 1 point [-]

Aw. I like the Einstein bit.

Comment author: nazgulnarsil 31 July 2009 11:10:04AM 0 points [-]

stories can gain richness through unexplained details. this may be "cheating" on the author's part, but who cares, they make them more enjoyable. otherwise you fall into the pure allegory trap.

Comment author: SilasBarta 31 July 2009 03:15:16PM *  1 point [-]

It is cheating; otherwise, why I can't I just randomly generate a story and then wag my finger at people who don't "get" what everything refers to, while never offering an explanation of my own?

For an example of this practice at its worst, see the move 2001: A Space Oddessy, starting from the "Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite" card.

Comment author: nazgulnarsil 03 August 2009 01:37:38PM 4 points [-]

and 2001 is considered a masterpiece. kubrick wins.

Comment author: orthonormal 31 July 2009 06:10:23PM 0 points [-]

Well, you know that there was a quite coherent idea behind that sequence (made clear in the 2001 novel Arthur C. Clarke then wrote), but that when it came to filming it... well, it's Stanley Kubrick.

Comment author: Douglas_Knight 03 August 2009 05:37:37PM 0 points [-]

How much evidence do we have that the idea preceded the sequence, rather than being a post-hoc rationalization ("techno-babble")? I'm sure there's a lot of both in the relation between the book and the film.

Comment author: SilasBarta 01 August 2009 04:32:28AM *  0 points [-]

Yeah, good point. Just to clarify, the book is okay with regard to that sequence, but the movie, taken in isolation, basically gives up on trying to make sense there. And Kubrick wasn't big on explaining what it meant, thereby leaving the heavy lifting to the viewer.

Moviegoers should not be expected to bring their own superior allegory mappings.

Comment author: CronoDAS 01 August 2009 05:05:50AM 0 points [-]

And then there are those that never tried to make sense in the first place, such as the film Eraserhead by David Lynch, and the anime/manga FLCL...