|RPG published by
|Rule System||Custom d100
Your mind is software. Program it.
Your body is a shell. Change it.
Death is a disease. Cure it.
Extinction is approaching. Fight it.
Eclipse phase is a Transhumanist RPG published by Posthuman Studios. It was released in 2009 and all Eclipse Phase products (including printed rulebooks/sourcebooks and PDFs) by Posthuman Studios are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. This means it's actually legal to go out and download it and share it with whoever you want. The game is set around 10 years after the singularity (called the Fall in the game) renders earth a nano-technological wasteland, and trans-humanity lives scattered around the solar system. Characters typically work for a shadowy organization called 'Firewall', who are attempting to ensure the survival of the solar system.
The game was originally published by Catalyst Game Labs but is now published by Posthuman Studios.
In the not too distant future...
There was a massive war between first world nations and corporations, then the singularity happened, and a bunch of AIs went crazy, Earth had to be evacuated. Now everybody lives elsewhere- on the half terraformed surface of Mars, on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, floating above the clouds of Venus, space stations and hollowed out asteroids across the solar system. Nanotech is readily available, people can upload their minds to computers, and humans uplifted a couple of species (chimps and octopuses).
There are several Wormholes left behind by the AIs that link to various other solar systems- these are called the Pandora gates. Also, there are some aliens calling themselves 'The Factors' who claim to represent the rest of galactic civilization, but they are very mysterious.
Also there are space-whales living in the sun, and all kinds of weird ass fucking to be had.
Eclipse Phase: The core rulebook with the general information on the setting.
Sunward: A sourcebook focusing on the inner solar system, detailing the Sun and its whale-like Suryats, the nomadic miners of Mercury, the city-states of Venus, the fallen Earth, the Moon and associated space stations, the first autonomists of Extropia, with the particular focus on the Big Boy of the sandbox, the Planetary Consortium of Mars.
Gatecrashing: A sourcebook focusing on Pandora Gates, the totally not Star Gates that lead to places outside of the Solar system, one of which is giant dyson sphere big enough to fake being a planet. Discover the majesties of the universe as it tries to kill you.
Panopticon: A sourcebook focusing on the various facets of Transhuman culture, particularly the titular total surveillance of everyone by everybody. Big brother is watching you, but also every soccer mom stuck as a bored infolife, every wannabe stalker who thinks your morph fits their fetish, every preachy neighbour with "values", every sleazy paparazzi, every scam artist looking for a mark...
Rimward: A sourcebook focusing on the outer Solar System and the various Autonomist factions that set up shop there, in particular the Titanian Commonwealth, while also trying to make the Jovian Republic into more than the paranoid luddite nazis. Also, briefly touches on Firewall, since it is their main playground.
Transhuman: A Player guide with the more streamlined character generation rules, which was one of the biggest weaknesses of the core rulebook. Also has more information on Transhuman culture that didn't initially make the cut in Panopticon. Random tables for the random table gods!
Firewall: A sourcebook focusing on the default protagonist faction, the loose underground organization fighting against the extinction of humanity. Helps with differentiating them from these guys
One of the more unique things about Eclipse Phase is the differentiation between a character's Ego (mind) and Morph (body). Given the ability to upload a character's brain to a digital repository, characters can make back-ups of their personality and if one body dies, simply swap into a new one. This allows combat to be highly lethal without having to introduce new characters constantly, similar to the 6-pack system of Paranoia.
Morphs are also more varied than many standard RPGs, ranging from unaltered humans to robotic "shells" to swarms of nanotech to genetically engineered octopi.
Furies: The most combat-oriented biomorph available. They are quick, fast, strong, and usually biologically female, to
introduce strong wymynz to the setting offset their natural aggressiveness.
Reapers: An armoured disk with four arms, each capable of fucking your shit up. It can also maneuver in microgravity, due to having small thrusters. Reapers are forbidden on most habitats because people fear their sheer potential for badassness. For extra lulz, visit a Scum Barge with one of these things and four flamethrowers installed and when they object, burn them all down while shouting something about your morphological freedom.
Swarmanoids: A swarm composed of thousands of insect-sized microbots that share one consciousness. Awesome in theory, but have fun arguing about the intricacies of the sensory input of the damn thing, or watch your player stack every fucking implant in the book on the swarm and then try to electrocute a thousand enemies at once. That the Swarmanoid has special rules on fucking everything, including picking up fucking crates, doesn't help. Just introduce strong winds and watch the Swarmanoid get literally pulled apart and die if it pisses you off too much. Or use EMP's. Normal synths can survive those, but Swarmanoids get positively rekt by them.
Novacrabs: For when you want to play a mansized sapient spider crab. To stay in-character and catch the spirit of the developers, then complain loudly about how no one in the inner system wants to hang out with you just because you're a giant fucking monster crab from hell. MUH MORPHOLOGICAL FREEDOM!
Jenkins: Jenkins look like 75% human and 25% rat, making them the ugliest motherfuckers around in a universe that has the Novacrab. They also stink like shit, to the point where you can't remove their smell from furniture if they sit on it for a longer time. The scum's are particuarly fond of this morph and are known for rubbing themselves on visitors to make them smell as bad as they do, for teh trullz. This is usually followed by whining about how it's the policy of most Hypercorps to glass them on sight, just because they hate
lazy, degenerate assholes FREEDOM.
The default protagonist faction, dedicated to fight against the x-risks and other threats to humanity by any means neccessary. Before The Fall, there were many anti-x-risks orgnization and state agencies who were not taken seriously, and after the shit hit the fan the remnants of these groups met and founded Firewall. They are extremely compartmentalized in order to avoid the house of cards situation, to the point that it is more accurate to say that there are lots of different groups that identify themselves as Firewall that are barely connected with each other only by equally loose councils.
If you're wondering how they stayed relevant against other more organized factions, a friendly ASI's (the Super AI like the TITANS) influence might have had a hand in it.
Your typical PCs are Firewall Sentinels, a team of agents who are tasked to assess the potential problem without drawing too much attention and, if possible, neutralize it. If something is way above their capabilities or things goes south, the Min-Maxed All-Combat Erasure teams are called in to purge everything in general vicinity, including the Sentinels if they are unlucky.
Notable Factions (roughly Sunward to Rimward)
Morningstar Constellation: An alliance of floating city-states of Venus that used to be ruled by the Planetary Consortium, but decided to say fuck you to Mars and decided to form their own nation. Essentially a "neutral" version of the "Evil" Mars, or at least that is what the biased narrators all say. Decided to prevent their world being terraformed because they liked clouds.
Lunar-Lagrange Alliance:: The former colonies on the Moon and nearby space that house the remnants of Old Earth Governments. This decaying state is the most conservative transhuman, non-jovian state in the system, and has the largest amount of people wanting to reclaim Earth.
Mars: As the closest place that need only minimal technological aid for humans to live, the bulk of Fall refugees naturally came here first. After ten years, two distinct faction now live on Mars:
- Inter-Planetary Consortium: PROFITPROFITPROFIT...profit? PROFIT! All the wealthiest and coolest bastards got together on Mars after The Fall and formed this super-club. They don't use slaves for menial labor jobs. They employ indentured infuegees in tasks they wouldn't trust a self-aware AI to do. Sure, they sometimes extend a persons contract for arbitrary reasons like "Letting anti-corporate terrorists damage valuable property." But can you blame them? they're trying to run a business here, not some charity. There are various interesting corporations within the Consortium.
- Barsoomians: The blue collar working class of the planet Mars. I guess they should called red-collared since they have to deal with the rusty dust storm. Anyways, their needs aren't always met by the Consortium, who they share Mars with. Besides being Populists, most Barsoomians don't have much in common with each other than speaking like Texans and having Korean names. Some of them are actually Islamic Terraforming Engineers, who roam the planet and, in a role reversal, dodge giant explosions thrown at them by corporations.
Jovian Republic: Take a South American Junta republic (secret police, Elected Dictators), combine it with the worst aspects of McCarthy-era North 'Murrica politics (Red Scare-style Paranoia, Lobbyists, Military Dominance) and put all that in orbit around the planet Jupiter. What do you get? This faction. The biggest reason you should respect these luddites is that they'll never be eaten by a swarm of self replicating nanobots of their own design. Another reason they deserve respect is that in combat they employ the equivalent of Imperial Guardsmen: Unaugmented human fodder armed with simple robust weapons and balls of steel, though recently this shifted to just-as-augmented Jovians who think that they sold their souls to the devil for the sake of their country. Politically, these guys are a "republic" in the Classical Age Greek sense of the word, as in: If you have fulfilled mandatory military service or are the offspring of a politician, then you get to vote. If not, NO VOTE FOR YOU BECAUSE YOU AREN'T A CITIZEN, YOU'RE A USELESS CIVILIAN. What are you voting on? You're voting for a Senator who will hopefully vote yes on the bill to give your space station some radiation shielding. Seriously. Unfortunately, they'll never be expanded on - the designers have noted in the forums that they like to keep a 'big bad guy' faction for Space Sweden to face off against despite all the interesting possibilities inherent in the idea.
Autonomist Alliance: The loose bloc of anarshists, whose main stated ideal is to restart progress of knowledge and humanity by taking off the shackles of entranched traditions enforced by old governments, thought in practice in most cases it amounts to people just wanting to get away from Earth. Obviously, they got a substantional membership boost after the fall. Notable members of the Alliance are:
- Firewall: The default protagonist faction. It is an underground organization dedicated to fighting x-risks, extinction level threats to humanity, formed by the remants of the similar national units who were not taken seriously before The Fall. It is very loosely organized, with individual cells barely working together for the sake of secrecy, if they even know of each other at all.
- Extropians: The First Autonomists living in the space station Extropia orbiting close to the asteroid belt. Unlike the rest of anarshists who have communists leanings, these are the followers of extreme free market with no standardtization or regulation whatsoever.
- Titanian Commonwealth: Scandinavia IN SPACE! This communist-technocratic nation is the only autonomist faction large enough to qualify as an actual nation. Follows (or tries to) the principles of direct democracy, with the only currency outside of the reputation economy is the krones that can only be invested in research projects.
- Argonauts: Essentially a loose cooperation of scientists doing whatever they want. Sometimes they go a little too far and have to rescued and/or purged.
- Space Station Anarchists: Anarchy only works as a viable system of government under specific conditions like aboard a self-sufficient space station. Even then, things don't always work out. However, Post-Fall, most space station inhabitants have a vested interest in each others well being.
- Scum Barge Nomads: Similar to the anarchists but way more hedonist and cray-cray. Seriously, they have ships called "Lick me, I'm Delicious" and "Rule 34," and that's just to fuck with the poor gal who's giving them permission to dock. Okay some of them aren't totally crazy but a lot of them are. Before I tell you anything, consider this: about 2/3rds of transhumanity got killed (or worse) by the TITANs and deep down the scum are a little tiny bit traumatized. That's why they have their yiffing futa rave pit orgies in a zero-g recreational drug lab. It takes their minds off the horrors of The Fall, which they probably didn't see personally. But perma-death is a scary possibility no matter how far from Earth you fly, whether it's by the guns of the corporations or by the blades of TITAN spawned horrors. The important thing is to enjoy life which is what the Scum try to do every artificial day cycle.
The Ultimates: Buddhist modified super soldier merceneries who live around Uranus, who seek perfection by pushing the ever changing limits of mind and swappable bodies. While many of them actually follow that philosophy, many of them are also your garden variety "master-race supremascists".
Mass Effect-Eclipse Phase
/tg/, in its infinte wisdom, decided to combine the setting of Eclipse phase with the Galaxy of Mass Effect. The result was some very good threads and some high quality writefaggotry. Now if only someone who knew where it is could show the rest of us plebs...
Path of Totality
A certain fan of the game called Anders Sandberg is noteworthy for getting shit done, big time. He has created a metric ton worth of background information and homebrew rules for the game, including historical information, new corporations, characters and everything else under the sun.
Honorable mention goes to the cognoweapons he designed. To most people, a deployed cognoweapon looks like random, incoherent static, but for the specific person it was individually tailored to, it is
literally like PTSD mixed with TEH RAEP. As if this wasn't grimdark enough, the best way of creating cognoweapons is to run someone's ego through a so-called hellcube, a quantum computer that will torture the ego in a million different ways at once to see which one is the most painful. This is the kind of sickfuckery that would make Urien Rakarth nod in acknowledgement.