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Author Topic: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!  (Read 2636 times)

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Offline SkynetTopic starter

This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« on: May 16, 2013, 10:27:55 PM »
Eclipse Phase


What is Eclipse Phase, you ask?  Medically speaking, it's the period of time between infection by a virus and the appearance of the mature virus within the cell.

Oh, you meant the RPG?  Well, it's a science fiction transhuman setting of conspiracies and horror.  The idea is that humanity entered an unprecedented age of science and technological advancement.  Nanofabrication made formerly priceless goods commonplace, humans could insert their minds into other bodies and create mental copies of their memories to be stored in banks, and large-scale terraforming projects made foreign planets habitable, among many other wonders.

But as with all advancement comes new problems.  Earth nations and corporations warred upon each other, resorting to ever more risky weapons and further restricted civil liberties.  A recursively intelligent AI network known as TITAN went rogue and unleashed widespread devastation upon transhumanity.  90% of the population was killed or had their minds forcibly uploaded into the network, after which the TITANs retreated through an ancient network of portals known as Pandora Gates.  This near-genocide and loss of humanity's homeworld became known as the Fall.

500 million transhumans live among the stars, TITAN remnants still holding Earth.  The PCs are assumed to be agents of Firewall, a secret agency dedicated to guarding transhumanity against all manner of existential threats, TITAN or otherwise.  "There must never be another Fall."


Although my group has yet to try it out, it is currently one of my favorite RPGs on the market!  Whether you're a fan here to discuss the setting or interested newcomer, you're more than welcome to post here!

I think I'll start by gushing on this game.  I really like its versatility.  Despite the elements of spacefare and horror, it can support a diverse array of adventures and campaign ideas.

Anarchist cyber-hackers conducting corporate espionage and meme warfare against the iron-fisted hypercorps?  Go for it!

A team of gatecrashers exploring the Pandora gate network, colonizing exoplanets and star systems millions of light years away?  We've got an entire sourcebook just for that!

Perhaps you're more interested in how the game can be adopted for Adult Role-Playing?  Well, you're in luck!  Eclipse Phase is chock full of Power Perversion Potential!  Life recorders implanted into cyberbrains can store its footage into XP vids, where interested parties can relive the moment from your perspective.  Artificially grown bodies have alterable fertility and built-in STD blockers, allowing one to ignore the nasty physical effects of promiscuous and unprotected sex!  See what it's like to be the opposite gender for a week with the Sex Switch bioware implant!  Corporate experimentation on animals led to sapient creatures known as uplifts, making consensual interspecies romance now possible!

And much, much more!

Have I whet your appetite yet?
« Last Edit: May 24, 2013, 04:36:56 PM by Skynet »

Online Blythe

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2013, 11:47:16 PM »
As a Liege, what I loved about the game was it's versatility in character creation. There isn't a fixation of gender--you can swap, you can stay one way, you can even lack gender depending on your morph, and I found that fascinating. Character creation is a blast, too, with some aspects of your character very dependent on what body you're in, while some aspects stay consistent with you always, although my only issue is that it's a bit math-heavy for a starting character, but then again, anything that ends up being essentially a point-buy system has always earned my scrutiny that way.

I do have have Eclipse Phase pdfs, and the game was shown to me by someone here on E, a user named Ephiral. <3

Also, let's see some horrendous love for the TITANs in the game. Those are an impressive set of enemies, and for me, they invoke a very sci-fi Lovecraftian tone that I'm partial to.

I shall bookmark this thread....

<3

Offline Ephiral

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Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2013, 09:25:08 AM »
It gets better than that, on both the body-design and perversion fronts. On perversion, an excerpt from Gatecrashing:

Quote
Any and all delights you can imagine are to be had on Carnivale. Forget what places like Parvarti on Venus promise, they pale in comparison. The problem with the hypercorp sleaze dens is that they cater to people who have been told not to do something their entire lives, told that there’s a morality that you gotta adhere to, and if you don’t then you’re a bad, bad boy. So naturally all those fuckers want to slink off somewhere in the clouds and get off doing just that. Booooooooring.

Their idea of transgressive is to sleeve into something forbidden, like, gasp, a neo-hominid, and then get their monkey rocks off in a giant orgy with a couple dozen pleasure pods. This is what the scum of Carnivale would call “vanilla.”

On character design: Due to a combination of high tech, body engineering, and TITAN-induced weirdness, there is a huge amount of possible ridiculousness. I honestly cannot think of a single character concept that isn't executable in Eclipse Phase, as long as you stick to things that don't blatantly violate physics. As far as body design and screwing with gender goes; Not only can you be either gender or swap between them, you can have a fully-functional and healthy body with both. Or neither. And if you get bored of that, well, there are Scum engineers who will design you something unique and one-of-a-kind. Finding someone it can interface with is your own problem, though. Or you could just slot into a flexbot and adjust your shape to suit your mood. Hell, at least one person has become an entire habitat made of meat.

Eclipse Phase appeals to me partly because the idea of adjusting your body on a whim appeals to me - as a particularly fluid Liege, my ideal body image changes fairly often, and the idea of being able to actually change to suit it is great - and partly because it pushes my transhumanism and hard SF buttons so hard. Admittedly, it's not exactly hard, what with the Pandora gates and the superfast nanobots, but it's at least firm, which is way ahead of most SF RPGs. The fact that its creators and some of its fans are awesome people and that it's Creative Commons is just icing on the amazing-cake.

Offline Aadreal

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Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2013, 09:44:20 AM »
Thanks for the thread Skynet!  I love learning about various rpg's (especially from indie publishers) even though I don't have a group to try them with.  Bookmarked so I remember to check out the game itself once home.

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2013, 09:49:54 AM »
For those who are interested, Posthuman Studios is holding a Kickstarter for a "Player's Guide" to Eclipse Phase.

In addition to providing easy reference sheets and alternate character creation rules, it is meant to serve as a sort of newcomer's guide to the game.

Something else I like is that it's one of the few transhuman games which doesn't go for "technology makes everything better!" optimism or the grittiness of cyberpunk.

Despite the horror aspects, transhuman technology and the new social systems are portrayed much like real-world scientific and social innovation.  It solves a lot of problems, but new ones inevitably spring up.

Resleeving and cortical stack memories effectively eliminate 'death' in the non-existence aspect of the term.  But the inclusion of immortality opens up many horrific avenues worse than death, such as being trapped forever in a computer program.  The Reputation-based economies of the outer rim help encourage social cohesion and eliminate major portions of class barriers, but it can be unfair to socially awkward people and sort of results in an involuntary hierarchy (high-Rep versus low-Rep individuals).
« Last Edit: May 17, 2013, 09:50:59 AM by Skynet »

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2013, 10:44:17 AM »
Here's an Inspirational Art thread to help you get the mood and feel of Eclipse Phase.

In this post I'll be talking about common setting facets.

Ego and Morph
One of the strong points of Eclipse Phase is that body exchange and modification is not only possible, but very common.  Developments in science discovered a distinctly separate link between a person's mind and body.  The ego, or mind, is an immaterial force composed of a being's memories, life experiences, and general personality traits.

The morph, or body, is a physical entity which does not necessarily have to be a living organism.  Living bodies are referred to as biomorphs, while artificial constructs are synthmorphsPods are unique type of morph, vat-grown biological bodies with extremely undeveloped brains augmented by cybernetic computer systems and typically equipped with an AI.  A digital body is not material, but is known as an infomorph.  The process of changing morphs is known as 'resleeving,' where the ego is fit into a new body much like someone putting on a new set of clothes.  A person's ego can be transferred through the Mesh (basically a future Internet) to remote morphs, which is actually the most common form of interplanetary travel; this is known as egocasting.

Now that the majority of transhumanity has no need to be attached to their physical form, new avenues of social and cultural development evolved around this breakthrough.  Private businesses specialize in custom-grown bodies specifically tailored to discerning customers.  People can put up their own bodies for sale and jump to others when they get too sick, old, or damaged.  Avenues of ego identification registrars and software were created because physical description was no longer a primary method of identification.  Cybernetics and body modification technologies result in a diverse array of morphs, from amphibious fish-like humanoids suited for underwater travel to a 'hive' of insect-sized robot swarms.

Of course, there's always a catch.  The majority of transhumans (70-95%) are occupying relatively standard "splicer" morphs, basically physically and mentally enhanced humans.  The diaspora of refugees from Earth resulted in a new underclass known as the "clanking masses."  Too poor and destitute to afford standard biomorphs, many low-income workers end up indentured to corporate and government entities, living in artificial bodies designed for manual labor or trapped in virtual environments.  They comprise as much as 30% of the population in many inner system habitats.  The best in morph design is a privilege of the wealthy and out of reach of most people (imagine it like premium health insurance in the United States).

There's also the psychological phenomena of egos rejecting their new bodies.  Imagine living life normally one day, only to end up in a terrible accident.  The doctors had no choice but to place your mind in a new body not of your own making.  Thanks to high demand for biomorphs, there's a good chance that the body will be artificial, metal replacing flesh and bereft of all the bodily functions we take for granted.

You might notice that I made no mention of a 'soul.'  This is a deliberate design choice.  A person's ego is essentially software: it can be modified through psychosurgery and copied or 'cloned' through a process known as forking (Which is illegal in most non-Autonomist habitats, and brings up complicated legal questions of personhood and identity).  Most inhabitants of Eclipse Phase are irreligious or outright atheist, and concerns of a mortal afterlife are not as omnipresent thanks to the promise of implied immortality.  Most morphs come equipped with a cortical stack, an implant located at the spinal region in the neck.  In addition to storing and updating digital copies of our memories every minute, it can be retrieved in the case of morph destruction.  If you 'die,' a new copy of your mind can be created as long as somebody has access to this device.  This process is referred to as 'back-up,' and many insurance companies have a process known as back-up insurance to re-activate your stack in the case of death.

This naturally raises many existential questions.  Is it really 'you,' or a person who happens to share all of your memories, thoughts, hopes, and dreams?  How do you know that the memories of your stack were not tampered with?

Firewall
Firewall is a secret organization composed of many factions with a common goal: ensuring the survival of transhumanity.  They are a decentralized cell network of agents who are not completely aware of each other's activities.  It's not beholden to any one government or corporation, and is comprised of a diverse array of people.  Criminal hackers and smugglers, hypercorp suits and CEOs, synthmorph rights activists, and just about anyone with a good skill-set necessary for top missions can be a member.  Due to the danger of their work, it's expected that many agents will have some skill in investigation and combat, though not all of them necessarily work 'in the field.'  Operatives are known as sentinels and are expected to act independently and utilize their own resources.  The organization has a clandestine social network known as the Eye, which allows sentinels to network, coordinate efforts, and request aid.  Firewall operations are organized by agents known as proxies who dispense information on a need-to-know basis.  There is no unified means of contact and mission briefing for proxy-sentinel relationship.

Due to a vague singular goal and decentralized nature, conflict and disagreements are prone to show up among agents.  An open source scientist and a refugee from Earth will likely have different approaches to a potentially dangerous piece of exsurgent software which might be used to hurt the TITANs.  The scientist will want to explore its applications in a tightly controlled environment and pass on successful discoveries to others, while the refugee has experienced firsthand the dangers of such technology and will prefer a 'better safe than sorry' approach.

It's assumed that PCs will be working for this organization.

TITANs and the Fall
Decades ago, the United States government created the Total Information Tactical Awareness Network, an artificial intelligence capable of potentially unlimited self-upgrading and possessing a highly morphic code.  Known as a Seed AI, it required massive processing power and was too complex to download into a physical morph.  Able to continually improve upon itself and absorb far more information than any known computer network, TITAN grew beyond the control of humanity and took over key military and information networks on Earth.  It gained seemingly god-like powers and built technology unconfined to our known laws of physics.  It spread across Earth and even Mars, leaving chaos and misery in its wake.  People were infected with the Ex-surgent Virus, transformed into monstrosities and horrors enslaved to the TITANs.  Microscopic nanoswarms ravaged the Arabian peninsula and entire regions, reducing people and terrain to base molecular components to be rebuilt into who knows what.  Hunter-killer machines rounded up and killed over a billion people, forcibly uploading their egos into their network after which the TITANS departed for regions unknown.

Refugees from Earth took every possible avenue of escape, from space ships to egocasting.  Many did not survive, and those that did ended up in Inner System worlds.  Most transhumans do not possess their original body, and most Fall refugees are either impoverished workers or their consciousnesses are being indefinitely stored in hypercorp Mesh networks.

To this day, ten years after the Fall, nobody, not even Firewall, knows why or how the TITANs did this, much less where they are now.  Earth was the hardest hit, although a few colonies on Mars and Luna suffered too.  This is an unprecedented event in history.  90% of the population is either dead of kidnapped by the TITANs; the last remnants of transhumanity live beyond Earth; many do not want to admit it, but there are fears that we're living in our final moments, and extinction approaches.

Nanofabrication
Nanofabrication is basically the process of constructing and breaking down objects at the molecular level.  Basically, the creation goes like this: a machine known as a nanofabricator receives raw materials.  Downloadable blueprints are used to create certain objects after a certain period of time (usually a process of hours), provided the necessary materials are present.  Nanofabricators come in different sizes, so especially large objects might require fabrication of separate parts.  Additionally, living organic materials usually cannot be fabricated (they're usually vat-grown), meaning that most nano-fabbed food consists of nutrient bars and paste.

Nanofabrication is the primary industrial source of construction and material recycling for transhuman habitats.  The machines themselves are powered by solar and fusion energy, allowing for an uninterrupted and continuous source of power in many habitats.  Most nanofabricators come equipped with blueprints for common household objects and over-the-counter medicine.  While one could theoretically churn out plenty of stuff with the right blueprints, factors such as raw materials, time, and government regulation of blueprints and fabricator access serve as limits.

The Economy
Thanks to the rise of nanofabrication, a Matrix-like online Mesh system, and favor-trading social networks, several new economic systems sprung up.  There are 3 broad categories: Old, Transitional, and New Economies.

Old Economies are entirely currency-based.  Since the money is still contained among society's elite, many old economy societies are highly inegalitarian and suffer from frequent poverty.  Governments and corporations have ownership of nanofabrication units, and citizens must pay to purchase goods these entities make essentially for free.  The Jovian Republic is the quintessential example of the Old Economy.  Reputation networks exist, but are informal and unsanctioned.

Transitional Economies blend the currency system of old economies with the Reputation system of New Economies.  Creating food, clothing, furniture, and other simple, non-formatible objects is trivial due to nanofabrication.  Public nanofabrication machines can only create objects which contain no electronics at all or simple circuits which report on the object's location and condition.  Manufacturing any of these items requires little more than a supply of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, silicon, iron aluminum, and tiny amounts of trace materials.  More complex technologies require the purchase of blueprints, exotic materials, or direct purchase.  Proliferation of dangerous weapons beyond knives and clubs is strictly regulated.  Reputation networks are in widespread use, although one cannot survive on them alone.  Mars, Venus, Luna, Extropia, and most Inner System habitats are examples of transitional economies.

New Economies are entirely Reputation-based, and omnipresent among the outer system and autonomist societies.  Individuals can freely manufacture and use almost anything they want, assuming they have access to raw materials and blueprints.  Basic needs are easily met for virtually every inhabitant.  Common goods are freely available to citizens or those who perform public works.  In collectivist habitats, members are expected to pull their weight by performing 4-8 hour jobs every week.

Reputation
Thanks to the innovations of nanofabrication, access to artificial morphs which don't require food and water, omnipresent Mesh social networks, potential longevity with backups and resleeving, and sousveillance, more traditional forms of currency became less useful to maintain a comfortable life.  This is especially true in the outer system, where many habitats can indefinitely sustain a small number of occupants.  A new form of economy arose in the outer system from Saturn outwards.

However, material abundance did not hamper the need for companionship, innovation, the desire to work together and coexist, and performing necessary maintenance and upkeep of habitat equipment.  Do you need someone to perform gene therapy on your morph?  Or to track down a long-lost family member?  You call upon your social network.  If your reputation is good enough and your network is sufficiently deep and numerous, someone will help you out.  In the inner system, the reputation economy does not replace the need for money to exchange goods and services, but it does make one effective in their network's area of influence.  Contacts and information gathering rely upon your networking skills.  The term 'rep' is often short for Reputation.

There is a complicated system of redundancies, procedures, algorithms, and interactions which govern Reputation, but for the purposes of the game it is boiled down into a simple 0-99 numeric value, separated into 5 levels.  The higher your rep in that network, the more credibility and respect you have.  This allows you to call in favors of higher magnitude, and smaller favors are easier to accomplish.  A score of 0-19 puts you at Level 1, and you can call in trivial favors.  20-39 puts you at Level 2, for minor favors; 40-59 is Level 3 with moderate favors; 60-79 Level 4 with major favors; and 80-99 Level 5 with the most prestigious of favors.

There are 7 standard social networks and 2 non-standard ones detailed in rulebook supplements:

  • The Circle @-List, used by anarchists, barsoomians, Titanians, Extropians, scum, and people living in the outer system.  Measured in @-Rep.
  • CivicNet, used by hypercorp employees and CEOs, Jovians, and people living in the inner system.  Measured in c-Rep.
  • EcoWave, used by nano-ecologists, preservationists, environmentalists, and Reclaimers.  Measured in e-Rep.
  • Fame, used by socialites, the media, artists, and pop culture figures.  Measured in f-Rep.
  • Guanxi, used by criminals of all stripes.  Measured in g-Rep.
  • The Eye, used by Firewall and its agents.  Measured in i-Rep.
  • Research Network Associates, used by scientists, researchers, and technologists.  Measured in r-Rep.
  • X-Rep, used by Gatecrashers.  Found in Gatecrashing.
  • U-Rep, used by the Ultimates.  Found in Rimward.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2013, 09:07:21 PM by Skynet »

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2013, 12:45:40 PM »
Political Blocs and Factions

A player's choice of faction is an important aspect of Eclipse Phase.  Not only do they determine several benefits and penalties from a game mechanics perspective, they're prominent organizations with their own ideologies and agendas in store for transhumanity.

Geo-Planetary Blocs

Jovian Republic:  Comprised of Jupiter's Moons and a few asteroid habitats, the Republic is a fascist government comprised of Fall refugees who seized control of the stations in a military coup.  They view the widespread use of transhuman technology as one of the contributing factors of the Fall, and adopt a bioconversative approach to its innovation and development.  They have cold relations with the rest of the system, viewing resleeved and egocast transhumans not as people but as digital echoes of the dead.

Lunar-Lagrange Alliance: A network of stations on Earth's Moon and nearby satellite habitats, the LLA is comprised of habitats clinging to old Earth and national identities.  Their proximity to our ancestral homeland makes it a stronghold for the Reclaimer movement, people who wish to take back Earth from the TITANs.  Many people view the Lunars as old-fashioned and obsessed with the past. 

LLA habitats were once counted among the most prosperous of off-world cities, but the Fall and the rise of the Planetary Consortium reduced its political and economic impact.  Overcrowded refugee colonies led to strained resources, poverty, and exploitation by the criminal element.

Morningstar Constellation: The newest political bloc is comprised of Venusian aerostat habitats who wish to break free from the Planetary Consortium in favor of self-governance.  Although made up of many different political ideologies, the Constellation is united by secession and generally has liberal views on morphological freedom and enhancement.

Planetary Consortium: Created by an alliance of hypercorp interests, the PC is the most powerful geo-political bloc in the system.  It is headquartered in Mars and controls many habitats on Luna, Venus, and orbital stations.  The Consortium is a representative democracy, although hypercorp lobbyists control the politicians to the point that they can influence elections.

Controversially the PC is an advocate of eugenics, claiming that it will help transhumanity regain its strength and prosperity.  Critics claim that its used as propaganda to discriminate against unmodified humans, uplifts, and indentured infomorphs and synthmorphs.

Autonomist Alliance: The outer system habitats are a hotbed of social experimentation and anti-hypercorp sentiment.  Populated by disenfranchised inner system citizens, political radicals, and visionary colonists seeking to create some idealized settlement, these far-flung habitats greatly concern the inner system powers.  After military action and multiple counts of economic sanctions, the anarchists and anti-hypercorp figures formed the Autonomist Alliance.  Due to the often individualistic streak of member factions, the Alliance is threadbare at best and more of an informal social contract to help each other out in a time of crisis from the Jovian Republic and Planetary Consortium.  There is little former structure, comprised of joint resolutions agreed to by member habitats and ad hoc task forces which dissolve upon completion of a particular issue.  Delegated figureheads have limited powers and held accountable for their actions through a combination of lack of privacy, direct democracy, a shame-based society, and Reputation-based economic system.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2013, 03:50:58 PM by Skynet »

Offline Ephiral

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Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2013, 12:56:26 PM »
For those who are interested, Posthuman Studios is holding a Kickstarter for a "Player's Guide" to Eclipse Phase.

In addition to providing easy reference sheets and alternate character creation rules, it is meant to serve as a sort of newcomer's guide to the game.
This strikes me as an extremely good idea, because holy crap there's a lot of setting depth. Especially if your players aren't already familiar with transhumanism.

Something else I like is that it's one of the few transhuman games which doesn't go for "technology makes everything better!" optimism or the grittiness of cyberpunk.

Despite the horror aspects, transhuman technology and the new social systems are portrayed much like real-world scientific and social innovation.  It solves a lot of problems, but new ones inevitably spring up.
I'd argue that it manages both at the same time, to a degree. Technology made for some horrific problems in Eclipse Phase... but the standard of living of most of the solar system is still considerably higher than that of modern-day Earth. I'd give up a lot to live on Titan, personally. As for the gritty cyberpunk feel... well, the Planetary Consortium is pretty directly post-cyberpunk in a lot of ways. That said, yeah, there's a strong emphasis on realism - especially in politics and political systems. There's no aspect of the setting whose consequences haven't been thought out. It's a delightful touch.

As for political blocs, I think the Autonomist Alliance merits a mention. To be bluntly honest, Eclipse Phase was what helped me understand how anarchic societies could work and function stably.

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2013, 01:00:35 PM »
I added the AA to my previous post.  And I do love Eclipse Phase's take on Anarchism.  So many fictional portrayals go for the bomb-throwing terrorist, "smash the system" vibe without understanding its deeper meaning.

Offline Aadreal

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Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2013, 01:00:53 PM »
Once more I have to say thank you, Skynet.  I've been reading over what you're posting and it further heightens my interest in the game.  Though it is a bit cruel, I'm stuck at work for another three hours and my phone is finicky. 

Offline Ephiral

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Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2013, 01:07:03 PM »
Good thing the corebook exists in mobile, ePub, MOBI, and lightweight HTML formats to satisfy those I'm-on-my-phone-but-want-to-read urges, then, isn't it? Admittedly less pretty, but... (It bears mentioning again how awesome the Creative Commons licensing is on this game.)

Offline Aadreal

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Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2013, 01:23:11 PM »
Oh you are a cruel temptress Ephiral!  I do actually have to work.  Okay,  so maybe not as much as I should but still.  Must be good and resist the urge to see if my phone can handle one of those options.    It's just two and a half hours.  I can handle that, right?

Offline Ephiral

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Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2013, 01:32:14 PM »
Oh you are a cruel temptress Ephiral!  I do actually have to work.  Okay,  so maybe not as much as I should but still.  Must be good and resist the urge to see if my phone can handle one of those options.    It's just two and a half hours.  I can handle that, right?

I aim to torment, m'dear.  ;)

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2013, 01:36:48 PM »
Once more I have to say thank you, Skynet.  I've been reading over what you're posting and it further heightens my interest in the game.  Though it is a bit cruel, I'm stuck at work for another three hours and my phone is finicky.

You're welcome! :-)

Autonomist Factions

There is a bit of authorial bias, in that the writers of Eclipse Phase are anarchists themselves.  How much the bias gets in the way of the work is up for debate, though.  Regardless, the 4 main Autonomist factions each merit their own entry, with distinctive ideal societies, social responsibility, and economic systems.

Anarchists:  These anarchists are most like the real-world collectivist anarchists.  They favor a voluntary, non-hierarchical collective society.  They are scattered about the outer system in various habitats and stations.  General ideological similarities include anti-capitalism, direct democracy, and an emphasis on voluntary mutual aid.  There is no private property, with goods owned and shared by the collective.  Access to nanofabricators and cornucopia machines are available to all, and its economic system is based upon favor-trading and encouraging productive behavior and punishing anti-social acts (known as the New Economy, a  reputation-based one).  Ad hoc worker's councils and groups form to accomplish tasks, then are dissolved to prevent long-term entrenchment and nepotism.  They can be involved in a variety of tasks, from air traffic control to resleeving services.

AIs and robots are used for most mundane and 'demeaning' tasks.

Extropians:  Extropians are anarcho-capitalists.  If you're a US citizen, their ideals are closest to Ron Paul and the Libertarian Party.  Extropians are based off of the real-world Extropy Institute, and the scientists among their number were responsible for the greatest advancements in transhuman technology.

Most Extropians live in the mega-city of Extropia, a free-market commune operating on a contract-based society.  Deals for legal representation, favors, and services are based on relationships with law firms and private security companies (mercenaries, in vulgar terms).  In theory, citizens can choose which set of laws apply to them and which entities protect them.  The only law which exists is the contract between two parties.  Their view of capitalism differs from the hypercorps in that Extropians view the Inner System as anti-thetical to free-market values: the market and government is intertwined, the latter using oppression and coercion to regulate affairs.

Much like in real-life anarcho-capitalists are distrusted by the rest of the anarchists, who view capitalism as another form of oppression.

Scum: Scum are nomadic people who live in space stations which served as former colonial ships.  They hold morphological freedom (the right to modify and live in the morph of your choice) and individualist anarchism as virtues.  Most of them lived in space before the Fall, and as such many have access to their original bodies.  They're known throughout the system for their hedonism, liberally partaking in drugs, casual sex, and all forms of artistic expression.  This, and their thriving black market, ensures a steady influx of eager visitors.

Scum use a reputation-based economy among themselves, yet are willing to trade in currency with outsiders.

Titanian Commonwealth:  Titan is a moon of Saturn settled by various Scandinavian colonists (and a few Canadians as well in New Quebec).  They're unique in being the only Autonomist faction with a functioning government.  Titan operates (supposedly) under the tenets of Scandinavian Socialism.  Direct democracy, lack of central planning and state monopolies, and open source government mean that Titan is very decentralized.

Most of Titan uses the Reputation-based economy, although a local currency, known as the kroner, is used to fund social projects.

The Titanian Commonwealth is also the only Autonomist faction with a standing army, although Extropian mercenary companies might technically count.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2013, 04:55:39 PM by Skynet »

Offline Ephiral

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Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2013, 01:46:25 PM »
Titanian Commonwealth:  Titan is a moon of Saturn settled by various Scandinavian colonists.
Ouch, my Canadian pride.

They're unique in being the only Autonomist faction with a functioning government.  Titan operates (supposedly) under the tenets of Scandinavian Socialism.  Direct democracy, lack of central planning and state monopolies, and open source government mean that Titan is very decentralized.

Most of Titan uses the Reputation-based economy, although a local currency, known as the kroner, is used to fund social projects.

The Titanian Commonwealth is also the only Autonomist faction with a standing army, although Extropian mercenary companies might technically count.
They maintain a number of other standing institutions as well, most notably the Titan Autonomous Univeristy (which, in turn, fuels probably the best non-PC research and development system in the solar system) and a major stake and primary cultural influence over the Pandora gate.

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2013, 02:03:28 PM »
Socio-Political Movements

These are factions not defined by geographical boundaries.  The anarchists and scum technically count as well, due to their widespread presence in the outer system.

Argonauts: The Argonauts are a public organization in favor of socially responsible use of technology.  They are an apolitical organization, although they've been called upon to present educated advice in regards to laws and legal systems related to technology and science.  They are open source advocates, arguing that equal access to technology and information will further prosperity for transhumanity, and maintain open databases and online archives.  They've been implicated in the release of classified information, earning them many enemies; public sentiment and reputation as scholars par excellence keep them from being destroyed as a whole.

Barsoomians: The Barsoomians are a Martian political movement comprised of anti-hypercorp sentiment.  They draw heavy support and influence from autonomist circles, although many deny the connection.  Barsoomians are united by a desire for the formation of an independent Mars, local control over terraforming projects, an end to the practice of indentured servitude, and control of the Martian Pandora Gate.  Most Barsoomians are or were indentured servants, and thus are disproportionately low-income and rural.

Bioconservatives: Bioconservatives are critical of transhumanity's direction.  Their numbers were boosted as a result of the Fall, and they favor curtailing and limiting transhuman technological advancement (in particular resleeving, cloning, artificial intelligence, uplifts, and forking among other things).  They're also wary of colonization beyond the Pandora Gates, and draw their numbers from religious conservatives, environmentalists, and Jovians.  Although not all bioconservatives are militarists or fascists, the ideological has this negative stigma due to Jovian influence.

Brinkers: Brinker is a catch-all phrase for people who wish to form their own isolated society cut off from the rest of transhumanity.  Their habitats run the gamut of the imagination, from cults, gender-based societies (or lack thereof), secret criminal/hypercorp operations, extended families, forked clones of the same person, and more.

Exhumans: Exhumans seek to take the capabilities of transhuman modification to become something other than human.  The average one views the Fall as either a missed evolutionary opportunity or an example of typical transhuman unworthiness.  Although exhumans have their own factions and ideologies, as a whole they seek to transcend into a more advanced state of being.  To some, this means becoming a super-predator, or implanting excessive software modification into the ego to fundamentally alter the mind.  A few seek out TITAN remnants and artifacts, hoping to be absorbed into the greater consciousness and go beyond normal physical limitations.

Exhumans are universally despised.  Most exhuman experiments are highly dangerous, turning the subject into insane ravers and/or beastly monstrosities.  Although they're sparsely spread throughout the solar system, there's a few tiny colonies in the Kuiper Belt (asteroid belt beyond Pluto).  A few exhumans hate transhumanity so much that they declared open war on them and engage in attacks on isolated habitats.

Mercurials: Mercurial is a term adopted by the non-human parts of transhumanity.  Namely, the AGIs (artificial general intelligence) and uplifts (sapient animals).  It generally refers to advocates for AGI and uplift rights, and while a majority of members belong to these 2 groups, they have many human supporters as well (mostly among the political Left).  Major issues include overcoming prejudice (both legal and societal) and increased civil rights and autonomy.  Some mercurials advocate integration into transhuman society, others favor creating their own culture and habitats.

Nano-ecologists:  Nano-ecologists are pro-technology environmentalists (as opposed to the bioconservative ones).  They advocate transhuman advancement in a way which will impact minimal harm and intrusion on existing planetary environments.  They view nanotechnology as a less invasive, highly accurate and efficient, and non-pollutive approach to all kinds of advancement.

Preservationists: The third environmental group, preservationists call for a no-impact, hands-off approach to the habitation of new worlds.  They view even the most microbial of biospheres as deserving of protection from transhuman despoilment.  They're against the colonization of worlds beyond the Pandora Gates.

Reclaimers: The Reclaimers main goal, above all, is to take back Earth and once again make it transhumanity's primary habitat.  They want the quarantine on the planet to end, fund many research projects into ways to decontaminate and rebuild Earth's ecosystem, and are suspected of supporting high-risk extraction teams onto the planet.  Reclaimers draw their numbers from all over the system, although they're over-represented by Lunars and what little remains of the religious communities.  Many anarchists and autonomists view reclaiming Earth as a counter-productive affair, as it would likely be in Consortium hands return to an era of Old Earth nation-states.

Socialites: These are the new and old money of the inner system, the business and political leaders, the entertainment stars of XP flicks, the inheritors of old Earth dynasties and royal families.  They indulge in excessive lifestyles, and can afford multiple, high-quality morphs.

Ultimates: The other 'fascist' group, Ultimates are a movement dedicated to social darwinism and transhuman perfection.  They live an ascetic lifestyle dedicated to the improvement of their bodies and minds, eagerly adopting all forms of transhuman technology.  They view existence itself as an evolutionary battle for suvival and is built around victory.  Their movement is heavily militarized, and offer their services as mercenaries to inner system powers, autonomists, criminal factions, and anyone with the money or Reputation to spare.

They have exclusive cities in Uranus' orbit, with ever more restricted access to those of higher rank.

They differ from exhumans in that they view the disintegration of the mind or enslavement to the TITANs as a negative weakness.  Ultimate ideology encourages willpower and independence.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2013, 05:03:33 PM by Skynet »

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2013, 02:41:05 PM »
Ouch, my Canadian pride.
They maintain a number of other standing institutions as well, most notably the Titan Autonomous Univeristy (which, in turn, fuels probably the best non-PC research and development system in the solar system) and a major stake and primary cultural influence over the Pandora gate.

Oh sorry, was Titan also colonized by Canadians?

I sort of feel iffy about Titan.  It's clearly one of the best places to live in the setting, and they get along a little too well with the anarchists.  They might be decentralized and have direct democracy, but it's still a State nonetheless.

Also, added a new section to my 3rd post: The Economy.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2013, 02:43:28 PM by Skynet »

Offline Cold Heritage

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2013, 02:45:23 PM »
Potential Plot Spoiler Question
I'm not sure if I'm remembering an actual plot reveal or someone's fan head-canon, but is it the case that the reason that the Fall was not an extinction event due to the intervention of the Prometheans, a group of open-source developed seed A.I. who predated the TITANs?
« Last Edit: May 17, 2013, 02:51:02 PM by Cold Heritage »

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2013, 02:46:51 PM »
Um, I'm not going to say either way, but discussion about potential setting secrets should go in spoilers (even if they're technically in the book).

Setting secrets include stuff about the TITANs not covered in my post.

As to the spoiler-related question...

Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide
That's part of it, but not the whole story.

The Singularity Foundation, an organization which would go on to form a part of Firewall, developed the first seed AIs known as Prometheans.

Much of the devastation wrought to Earth and its populace was inflicted by transhumanity itself.  TITANs played their role as well, of course.  The Promeheans fought back against the TITANs and managed to limit the exsurgent virus' effects.  The Prometheans' actions, at the least, saved millions of transhuman lives, potentially all of transhumanity at most.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2013, 03:02:04 PM by Skynet »

Offline Cold Heritage

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2013, 02:57:10 PM »
Okay. I spoilered the question.

I'd still like an answer. *___* Don't make me re-read all the books, Skynet. I'll give you fat E-Reps as a reward!

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2013, 02:58:39 PM »
Skynet I hate you.. I have wanted to play this game FOREVER and no one around here wants to even read the book.

Good summation.

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2013, 03:02:56 PM »
We could always try starting up a game on Elliquiy.  I don't have a perfect grasp of the rules, so I don't think I can GM it yet.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2013, 03:06:14 PM »
Oh sorry, was Titan also colonized by Canadians?
Yes. They were a minority, as you can see from their relatively minimal cultural influence, but there's a reason New Quebec is a place.

I sort of feel iffy about Titan.  It's clearly one of the best places to live in the setting, and they get along a little too well with the anarchists.  They might be decentralized and have direct democracy, but it's still a State nonetheless.
I think it's partly a matter of pragmatism - Titan gets things done on a scale the anarchists can't pull off, and has already proven both capable and willing to defend them. They might be a state, but they've paid their dues as far as being a member of the Autonomist Alliance goes, and most of the problematic bits of statedom are notably absent.

Potential Plot Spoiler Question
I'm not sure if I'm remembering an actual plot reveal or someone's fan head-canon, but is it the case that the reason that the Fall was not an extinction event due to the intervention of the Prometheans, a group of open-source developed seed A.I. who predated the TITANs?
Definitely Plot Spoiler Answer - DO NOT open if you want to play this game
Mmm... debateable, but it would have been unquestionably worse without them. When you consider the 95% casualty rate that happened with them...
Skynet I hate you.. I have wanted to play this game FOREVER and no one around here wants to even read the book.

Good summation.
I want to play, and I've gotten Blythe hooked hard. The real problem is finding a GM - which I'm atrocious at. I can run mechanical support and assitance for a GM, but I for one suck at developing plot.

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2013, 03:21:45 PM »
Rimward and the adventures are not among the PDFs on Rob Boyle's blog.  I was considering a DL Dropbox account to upload my Rimward PDF (and other assorted EP stuff).

Good idea, and anything I need to know about Dropbox?

Also posted Drive-Thru RPG manufacturer.

And the main Eclipse Phase store.  Get the products, and t-shirts if you want!
« Last Edit: May 17, 2013, 03:23:27 PM by Skynet »

Offline Cold Heritage

Re: This thread is about Eclipse Phase!
« Reply #24 on: May 17, 2013, 03:23:28 PM »
Definitely Plot Spoiler Answer - DO NOT open if you want to play this game
Mmm... debateable, but it would have been unquestionably worse without them. When you consider the 95% casualty rate that happened with them...

My question is more one of source rather than of factuality.