Your mind is software. Program it.
Your body is a shell. Change it.
Death is a disease. Cure it.
Extinction is approaching. Fight it.
Welcome to Eclipse Phase
, by Posthuman Studios, a pen-and-paper roleplaying game featuring a transhuman setting.
The rest of this OP shamelessly jacked from Rainfall. (thanks rainfall!)
Let's face it. You can only take so many dwarves and elves, swords and spells, before you want to try something else.
Science Fiction is a pretty underdeveloped aspect of the RPG industry, with only a few standouts like Traveller even making an impression on the general consciousness. And if you're looking for transhumanist sci-fi? You're out of luck.
The guys who made Shadowrun got together with the artists for Cthulhutech, and decided to fill the gap.
A whole load of transhumanist literature turned into pure liquid awesome, and placed inside some of the best formatting ever seen in an RPG book, and you've got Eclipse Phase.
So that's cool, but it gets better.
The game was released under the Creative Commons License. It's free to download. You can find it at the bottom of the page. Of course, if you like it, buy it, but check it out, at the very least. It's worth at least a casual investigation.
So what exactly is Eclipse Phase, aside from an RPG about Transhumanism Conspiracy and Horror?
Well, I'm not good at explaining things. So, I'm going to take this straight outta the book.
We humans have a special way of pulling ourselves up and kicking ourselves down at the same time. We'd achieved more progress than ever before, at the cost of wrecking our planet and destabilizing our own governments. But things were starting to look up.
With exponentially accelerating technologies, we reached out into the solar system, terraforming worlds and seeding new life. We re-forged our bodies and minds, casting off sickness and death. We achieved immortality through the digitization of our minds, resleeving from one biological or synthetic body to the next, at-will. We uplifted animals and AIs to be our equals. We acquired the means to build anything we desired from the molecular level up, so that no one need want again.
Yet our race towards extinction was not slowed, and in fact received a machine-assist over the precipice. Billions died as our technologies rapidly bloomed into something beyond control... further transforming humanity into something else, scattering us throughout the solar system, and reigniting various conflicts. Nuclear strikes, biowarfare plagues, nanoswarms, mass uploads... a thousand horrors nearly wiped humanity from existence.
We still survive, divided into a patchwork of restrictive inner system hypercorp-backed oligarchies and libertarian outer system collectivist habitats, tribal networks, and new experimental societal models. We have spread to the outer reaches of the solar system and even gained footholds in the galaxy beyond. But we are no longer solely "human"... we have evoled into something simultaneously more and different -- something transhuman.
Huh. Sounds neat. What's this about transhumanity?
Transhumanity is damn simple. In the future, we'll theoretically be able to enhance our bodies and minds, eliminating weaknesses like sicknesses, disabilities, genetic disorders, and even death. So as a theme, it raises questions like what defines humanity? What does it mean to defeat all these weaknesses? What does it mean when you can upload your mind and personality onto a flash-drive? If we can make computers and animals sentient, are we responsible for them? What defines 'you'?
So this stuff sounds pretty deep. Why would I want to waste entertainment time with it?
Well, because this stuff also means you get completely badass technology, robots, guns, space ships, virtual worlds, killer AIs, and awesome other stuff.
The default campaign setting of Eclipse Phase
sets up the party as agents of a shadowy network known as "Firewall," which is an organization dedicated to stopping things that threaten the entirety of transhumanity. Whether this is rogue AIs, aliens, terrorists with WMDs, nanotech swarms, or hyper-biological superplagues, you've got a good chance of being up on the front lines being totally badass.
Or, if your skills run in different directions, you can also be sneaking around gathering information and performing pre-emptive operations to stop threats before they even begin. It's a wide range of possibilities, and offers a lot of great starting points for getting into the world of Eclipse Phase.
So what makes Eclipse Phase unique as a game?
There's a distinct lack of transhumanist games out there, an obvious lack of sci-fi games, and a distinct lack of games that are as well-presented as Eclipse Phase. However, one of the key things that makes Eclipse Phase is rather unique to the setting. Your character has an Ego, your mind, your personality, your skills. You only get one of those.
However, you also get a Morph, which is your body, your speed, your strength, your durability, your looks. You can swap between these, they are expendable, they can die without anyone batting an eye. provided you've backed up your mind.
The simple idea that your mind isn't inherently linked to your body is a key point of transhumanism, allows for thousands of interesting character ideas(one of the characters in the opening fiction grumbles about always getting stuck in a Morph with a smoking addiction, even though he doesn't smoke,) and is rather unique. There's more, but that's the big one.
How do the rules work?
Eclipse Phase uses a d100 system, from 00(low=good) to 99(high=bad.) You try to roll under your skill, and if you roll double digits, it's a critical result. Neat and simple. That's it. Your character has an array of attributes split between Ego and Morph, skills(which are linked to your Ego,) and positive/negative qualities(again, split between Ego and Morph depending on the quality.)
So you're making a giant thread here, are you going to run a game?
. In fact, let's meet the cast!
- The Game Master
- Theodore Henry Ewerst
Muse: Raye (cyan)
- ANDI (Artificial Nascent Derivative Intelligence)
Muse: Wallace (lime)
- Irgvin Ridwyler
Muse: Gideon (darkorchid)
Muse: Ivan (orange)
You guys should begin generating your characters as soon as you can and we will, finally, get this show on the road. This will also be the OOC thread, and so audience participation and discussion in this thread is, of course, welcomed and encouraged. Feel free to use this to discuss Eclipse Phase in general, or comment on the state of the game.