Today our Neverwinter world shall be unleashed to the sycophantic public. My AI is smarter than all of them.

[Part 4 of a 5-part Daily Victim special. Start at the beginning]

Today, friends, is the big day. After meticulous planning, locking ourselves away in a cabin, and depriving ourselves of every liberty, we are finally ready to unveil our MASTERPIECE of fantasy world design. Awed by its majesty, the fawning, prostrating public will empty their wallets into our soon-to-be-overflowing PayDar online trading account.

But first, allow me to indulge you with the secrets to our world's unique, awe-inspiring Artificial Intelligence. Early on I realized that no single entity in the game would be able to learn to become a perfect killing machine, or citizen of a truly functional NPC town. So, instead, I coded hundreds of monsters and characters, unleashed torrents of war or commerce upon them, and weeded out the survivors or each generation. Within seventeen generations I had Orcs that had developed multi-tiered levels of command and small squad tactics and shopkeepers who could speak five languages and rationally argue you into paying for higher-priced merchandise.

The question: Would AI creatures bred in such a world drift toward goodness and civilization or would they fall inevitably into the enigmatic tentacles of wretchedness, evil, and chaos? I wasn't merely game programming, nay, I was DELVING INTO THE PHILOSOPHIES OF MANKIND AND CREATION ITSELF.

I knew my AI had become self-aware when they started asking me why the Elven women wore so little clothes.

It's almost a pity to waste their machinations on the driveling masses. Of course, it is all about -- as they say -- the benjamins. I'm also in charge of our PayDar account. My minions watched me set it up on a machine networked with the ones I was running my AI breeding experiments on. Once the public got a taste of our scenarios, they'd no doubt start donating money as fast as the overburdened credit system of this country would allow.

At last, we were happy with the final product. It was the most comprehensive world ever created for a Dungeons & Dragons universe, arguably the most comprehensive piece of programming EVER to hit the PC gaming space. We copied the files over and made the files available on the Internet.

Ten minutes elapsed.

Then, the first ten-dollar donation appeared. We cried out with glee; our tedious weekend in that cramped and stifling log cabin was at last paying off! Soon, another ten dollars appeared. And another. Our hearts were pounding.

Then we had a hundred dollars in the account, and a hundred more. This was far more than even my two-week revenue forecast. Could word be spreading that fast? Before our very eyes, as I hit the "refresh" button, our PayDar account climbed to $1000. Then ... $2000. Over the course of an hour we had made $3000.

My elation turned to suspicion when we made our first $10,000. I did not believe, even in my most optimistic of estimations, that our software could've propagated that fast. By the time we hit $25,000, I was certain something was wrong. At my behest, Dave and I began to page our way through the PayDar site to figure out what was going on.

Dave found it first. "Oh my LORD!" he cried. "There's been a mistake. Our accounts are switched. We're getting all the money from some kind of Internet Porn ring!"

"How could this HAPPEN?" I bellowed, pulling at my tattered hair.

"Apparently another site was also using the description 'Hot Dwarf Action.'"

For a long time we debated whether or not we should keep the money. I was in favor of the idea, provided we had enough to buy fake Mexican IDs. Dave and our misogynist artist were opposed. For the record, my AI wanted to keep the money -- even the Wood Elves. But before we could come to a firm decision, we heard the whir of helicopter blades overhead.

Dave lunged at the portable radio we'd brought with us and clicked it on. Over a hiss of static, a female radio announcer proclaimed: "...after uncovering the largest midget pornography ring ever to hit the tri-county area. State police have zeroed in on the IP address of the offenders, who were apparently housed in a backwoods cabin, and are preparing to storm the building..."

Dave leapt to his feet, then parted a curtain to reveal two police choppers circling in the evening haze. "IT'S THE COPS!" he squealed. "Quick! Burn all the pictures of the naked Elf chicks!" He started to heave piles of art into the fireplace.

"No!" cried our artist. "They're not naked! They're only PG-rated naked! Those aren't her nipples -- those are ... apple seeds!"

Meanwhile I turned my swivel chair around and started typing on the computer. The Neverwinter server that we were running was, at present, our only available conduit to the outside world. "Please send help!" I typed to the various wizards and warriors who had joined our server. "The police are after us!"

"This scenario is even cooler than I thought," a wizard typed back at me.

"Forget that," shouted Dave. "Grab the Mountain Dew and let's clear out of here in the Bus before they pinpoint us."

The three of us rushed outside, blinking in the sunlight, and piled into the run-down VW bus. Dave lurched into the driver's seat and turned the key.

Nothing. Not even a click.

My eyes darted to the silent dashboard, then to the center console, where I saw a wire coming out of the cigarette lighter jack. I followed its serpentine trail down to the floormats, where sat nothing less than a Game Boy Advance. I picked it up.

"WHAT were you DOING!?" I demanded.

"I was solved the Zeldas," our long-haired art lead answered, brushing a lock away from his eyes. "...all of them."

Before I could respond, the wail of a siren became deafening. With the crunch of gravel and pine needles, a pair of State Police squad cars roared up, lights blazing.

[To be concluded...]

Victim Pic Small

Two oddly-shaped lawmen stepped out of the vehicle. Instinctively my hands shot to the air. If I was arrested ... who would take care of the AI?

Score: 9.06; Total Votes: 1336 as of 2009-12-09.

Friends, I tell you the truth: Man can't live on Neverwinter alone

C'mon, boys. It's time to bust us some roleplayin' freaks.

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