This game is currently in open play test and to me looks really good. I mean that both literally, the art and book layout of the quick start PDF is outstanding and as a ruleset it looks really solid.
Being a second edition, this is more evolution than revolution but there are plenty of tweaks from the looks of things. I have joined the development forum this week and it is nice to see a lot of positive feedback from the Eclipse Phase community.
I know plenty of GMs that fix dice rolls to make sure players survive fights but that is one of the cool thing about Eclipse Phase and being transhuman, death of the body is a mere inconvenience and if anything adds some interesting role play potential. If your body dies a back up of your personality or ego can be downloaded into a new body, resleeved, and away you go again but the back up only know what you knew at the time of the last backup. So if you meet someone it could be the first time for you but the second time or more for them.
There is an active discussion over at another forum I take part in about how GMs bring the party together so they will stick together. Eclipse Phase does not have that problem as the players are all cast as Sentinels, or agents of Firewall and so they are a team that has been brought together for a mission(s). This also means that it will be easy to introduce new players to an existing game, you just have the powers that be parachute in an additional team member. Likewise if someone drops out of your game then you have Firewall pull the character out for a different mission.
Game mechanics-wise this is a sort of ‘roll under’ system where you have to roll under your current skill but having said that when to skills are opposed such as you trying to hide and someone trying to spot you then if both succeed at their skill rolls the person who rolls highest wins. So you want to roll low but not too low. To me that sounds quirky but I like it. Skill rolls have plenty of opportunities for critical successes and critical failures that can give he GM plenty to play with.
As this game is currently in play test it is a great time to get involved. The playtest download from rpgnow. What you get is the quick start rules but also the beta test rules for the full second edition of the game. These take the form of a bundle of text based documents, one for each aspect of the game such as character creation or combat. Each document is typically 5 to ten pages in length. This makes them pretty easy to read and digest. Some play tests I have been involved with have been single 500 pages mammoths and it is nigh on impossible to remember if a reference to something on page 50 is consistent with an example of play of page 450!
Behind all of this is an community based around a forum where you can post questions, make suggestions and get more support.
I think if ever you want to try Eclipse Phase now is the time to do it and at the same time be able to give something back to the developers, even if it is just feedback on how your play sessions went.
I have been looking at the Eclipse Phase quick-start rules this week. This is a system after my own heart. It is d100 which is my spiritual home anyway, it is visually beautiful to look at and something that really appealed to me is that it breaks the rules of dice rolls.
Eclipse Phase is a d100 roll under system but unusually 00 is not 100 it is zero. 99 is then the worst possible result and an automatic critical failure.
These quickstart rules are an ideal primer. At just over 40 pages a quarter is about the setting and the premise of the game. One quarter is the game mechanics needed to play including how to resolve ‘tests’ such as skill rolls and the last half of the book is a starting adventure and pregen characters.
I don’t like games that are class and level based. I find classes restrictive and I don’t feel that the lumpy progression of levels reflects how people’s skills improve in real life. I appreciate that games are not real life but the only reason we have rules is to create a model of some fantastical setting and make it feel real.
Eclipse Phase is both leveless and classless, you see I told you it was after my own heart. In the game anyone can do anything, if you don’t have the actual skill you need then you can default down to the linked stat that governs the skill.
Another nice feature is that all characters are basically immortal. You can back up your characters personality and if the body dies then you download it to another body. You can even swap bodies to best fit the mission you are going on if you have the resources. This makes your physical stats largely arbitrary. If you want to play a hulking terminator style character then you can put on a heavy weight morph (body) (or sleeve as the slang has it) and away you go. Next time you may want to play a different sort of character. The personality remains the same but the physical stats all change depending on the morph you are wearing.
As far as I can see there is little not to like about this game. In the eight years (2009) since the games initial release there have been 70 supporting products, some of them free and the paid for ones ranging from $0.99 to $19.99. These quick start rules are based upon version 1.4 of the core rules. I think the fact that the rules have remained largely unchanged for 8 years is a testament to how solid the original concept was.
If you want a Sci Fi one off this weekend then you could do a lot worse than this quick-start PDF.
Yesterday I was browsing RPGNow for some free stuff, when I discovered that the PDF version of Eclipse Phase is already available for purchase. Eclipse Phase is a post-apocalyptic roleplaying game of conspiracy and horror. One of the major themes of the game is transhumanism, the technology in the far future allows humans to change their bodies and their mind at a whim.
I was pretty intrigued by the setting and the fact that both the background and the rules are licensed under a Creative Commons license allowing fans to create their own works based on Eclipse Phase as long as they give proper credit to Posthuman Studios and don’t sell it. The rules use percentile dice and from what I’ve seen so far they look pretty decent.
Of course I haven’t had the chance to read all of it, yet, but Eclipse Phase looks like a pretty cool SF game. The artwork is top-notch and if you like weird transhumanist settings, Eclipse Phase may be worth a look, especially because it’s available for just $15 right now.