Sorcerously Advanced

This section lists books, games, movies, and more that led to the creation of this game. None of them are a perfect match for it. This is a weird game, and I had to piece it together from a lot of different sources.


Earthpower was strongly inspired by both the Broken Earth trilogy (N.K. Jemisin) and the Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (Stephen Donaldson).

Alchemy has roots not only in our world’s European and Taoist alchemy and in D&D-type magic, but also in the magic portrayed in the Oz series by L. Frank Baum.

Elementalism, beyond its many real-world inspirations, also drew from Celestial Matters (Richard Garfinkle) for its high-end magitech applications.

The original six books of the Elric saga (Michael Moorcock) show what Patron-based magic looks like.

The art of Rapport was inspired in part by kything from A Wind In The Door (Madeline L’Engle).

The Diskworld series (Terry Pratchett) not only gave us the term “thaum” but also a world where no organizations are without some blemish, and few are irredeemable.

The Mahabharata and the Ramayana provide excellent benchmarks for character power, as well as good examples for the Glory fount. In the Basin, thousands of people in each city-state are that powerful.


Kill Six Billion Demons (Abbadon). Fantastic work, set in a bizarre and baroque hell (and more than a little grotesque in places). There are a lot of books and comics that don’t live up to their titles, but in this one you really get the feeling that by the end of the story, some motherfucker is gonna kill six billion demons.

Oneiromancy drew substantial inspiration from The Sandman (Neil Gaiman).

Top Ten (Alan Moore / Gene Ha / Zander Cannon) is a good example of a setting where everyone has super-powers. Promethea, another Alan Moore creation (with fantastic art by JH Williams III), has some great rules-of-magic bits that would fit well into Sorc. Warning: neither of these has aged particularly well. There are parts of Promethea that were considered extremely problematic even when they were initially published (I’m looking at you, issue #10).

Most wizard characters in comics aren’t great examples for Sorcerously Advanced. Their powers just do what the writers want them to do that month The general feel is often right, though. Mystic, the comic book series from Crossgen (Ron Marz / Brandon Peterson / John Dell) (not the more recent Marvel version) is probably the best fit for Sorc. The central character has to learn many different kinds of magic, each of which comes from its own culture. Unfortunately the series is long out of print and almost impossible to find these days.

Roleplaying Games

Nobilis and Glitch (both Jenna Moran) are games about weird high-powered fantasy with a modern setting.

Mage, either Ascension or Awakening (White Wolf and Onyx Path, respectively). Both games involve wizards of fairly low power level (at least until you give them time to prep), but the underlying ideas of symbolism, tradition, and multiple approaches to the same goal were very influential on Sorc.

Exalted (Onyx Path). Oh you start with a spell called Chill Touch? That’s cute. I start with a spell called Death of Obsidian Butterflies. Solar charms are a great example of a Discipline → Glory Tradition, whereas the Dragon-blooded charms lead to Elementalism instead.

Mythender (Ryan Macklin) hits the power level approximately right: you’re god-hunters who will probably eventually become gods, at which point your friends will be obliged to hunt you.

Meanwhile, Everway (Jonathan Tweet / WotC) hits the feel of Sorc’s multiverse, with many worlds that would fit well into the Kaleidoscope and an elemental approach to magic that helped inform Sorc’s own elementalism.

Mystic Empyrean (Brad Talton), for both its similarity to the Kaleidoscope and for the way your character’s actions and personality define their powers and their bodies. Mystic Empyrean characters all have amazing levels of Becoming.

A few D&D supplements, especially Dragon Kings (2e) and the Planescape boxed set (2e). Relevant third-party supplements include The Dreams of Ruin and Immortals Handbook, both of which worked hard to actually handle extending D&D’s setting to high-powered characters and what they were capable of.


The Sandia Report, most easily found under its full title, “Expert judgment on markers to deter inadvertent human intrusion into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant”. How do you mark a space that’s so dangerous it could be deadly to enter ten thousand years later?

The Geometer’s Guild was inspired by the Pythagoreans of ancient Greece, a cult that blended religion and geometry.

Sufficiently Advanced

Here are a few of the books, movies, and other sources that inspired Sufficiently Advanced. If there are sources that inspired you in your own games, feel free to add them here!

Singularity Sky by Charles Stross. A great example of what happens when a pre-singularity culture attacks a post-singularity one. Entangled data transmission, black-hole driven starships, and plenty of nanotech behind the scenes. Also, one can make a good compare & contrast exercise between the Eschaton and the Transcendentals. Its sequel, Iron Sunrise, works almost as well.

The Golden Age by John C. Wright, and its sequels (The Phoenix Exultant and The Golden Transcendence). You want humanity in a thousand variations? Technology so extreme it creates entire new societies just by its very existence? Giant piles of drama? Right here.

The movie GATTACA could fit nicely into the timeline of SA, roughly 10-20 years before the nanotech wars (and thus thousands of years before the game’s default start date).

The Collapsium by Wil McCarthy, and its sequels (The Wellstone, Lost in Transmission, and To Squeeze the Moon). This is the primary source for the Replicants, programmable matter, and the arbitrary frequency doubler (which makes most Stringtech possible). In fact, everyone in this series is basically a Replicant.

Dune by Frank Hebert is a great example of humanity enhanced without the aid of computers. If you’re wondering what high Metatech and Cognitech can do, take a look in here.

Hyperion by Dan Simmons, and its sequels (Fall of Hyperion, Endymion, and Rise of Endymion). The AIs here and the Transcendentals make for another good compare/contrast exercise. The web of worlds was too good an idea not to borrow, and the Ousters are completely awe-inspiring. If you haven’t read the series, I won’t spoil it for you except to say that the second and fourth books utterly overthrow everything you read in the first and third. Highly recommended.

Bloom by Wil McCarthy and The Diamond Age by Neil Stephenson are both excellent examples of what one might do with nanotech. If you’ve read Diamond Age, the nanotech in SA is much closer to Seeds than to the Feed. Diamond Age’s franchised nations are also a very catchy idea.

Engines of Creation by K. Eric Drexler is a must-read for anyone involving nanotechnology in their works, though Drexler himself has said that some of its predictions (especially grey goo) are a bit extreme.

Foundation and its myriad sequels, by Asimov and others, and Psychohistorical Crisis by Donald Kingsbury. These are the only books I’ve seen that tackle the idea of highly advanced social science. Crisis’ “fam” technology is a good analogue to the netural meshes in this game.

It has been pointed out to me that many episodes of the original Star Trek series make for surprisingly good S.A. plots, especially those dealing with first contact, skirting the Prime Directive, or technology gone bad.

Vernor Vinge’s A Fire Upon the Deep influenced not only the group-mind society, but the Aia as well. Good primary source for these two odd groups, and an excellent book as well. It and its companion, A Deepness In The Sky, are excellent references for comprehensible non-human activity as well.

Greg Egan’s Diaspora is an example of what this game’s Stored might some day become, and where the cultures of Sufficiently Advanced might one day go. The humans still living on Earth are also a great example of how a Heterolinguist civilization might hold together, though they weren’t the original inspiration for that society.

Hannu Rajaniemi's Jean le Flambeur trilogy about a semi-reformed thief in a trans- and post-human Solar System where the Sobernost group minds strive to accomplish their great work, Oortians live in the vast outer system, Jupiter is gone, gamers play with quantum entanglement, Mars is … Mars is odd. The Quantum Thief, The Fractal Prince and The Causal Angel.

If the Union were a group-mind and ran Mars, it would look like the webcomic A Miracle of Science

Orion's Arm is a multi-authored online science fiction world-building project, first established in 2000 by M. Alan Kazlev, Donna Malcolm Hirsekorn, Bernd Helfert and Anders Sandberg and further co-authored by many people since. The website itself is a fun browse and inspiration for civilizations, societies and technologies. There are also 2 books Against A Diamond Sky and After Tranquility. This was also the inspiration for the Orion's Arm parts of the forum.

Big Ideas, Grand Vision is a roleplaying science fiction setting written by Anders Sandberg 1999. It is intended as hard science fiction, dealing with the question "What can humanity become?" It was originally run using the Alternity system, but should work fine in most other general systems.

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