Design Diary

Help us build a better Eclipse Phase GM screen

From now until October 1, we'll be conducting a survey on what you'd like to see in our upcoming reprint of the Eclipse Phase Gamemaster Screen.

The survey takes about 10 minutes to complete. We'll use it to prioritize which charts, tables, and rules summaries make it into the new version of the screen. So far over 200 Eclipse Phase fans have given their input. Please take a few minutes to tell us what you think, too!

Thanks much, and as always, beware the nano-bees.

Religion and Nations in EP

Questions and comments concerning our treatment of religion and old nation-states in Eclipse Phase have arisen in a couple of different forum threads. I'm going to try and explain the thought processes behind some of the decisions we made with the setting, so folks can at least understand a little more clearly where we're coming from with regards to these elements.

The status/decline of old religions was something we actually debated quite extensively as we put the game together. I don't think it's any secret that many transhumanist and religious ideas don't play well together, so when you mix them, something has to give.  We certainly wanted to avoid the trope of having major religious revivals as you find in many sci-fi settings -- while sometimes handled well (see Dan Simmons as an example), it is quite often a poor application of fantasy with sci-fi trappings.

Transhuman Parkour

One of the choices we made when choosing the skills available in Eclipse Phase was to combine running/sprinting with gymnastics into a general Freerunning skill. Our idea was that since many people in EP are sleeved in bodies that are optimized for health and athleticism, there would be a more widespread adoption of athletic activities. When you also take into account that most people live in habitats that are essentially tight and complex urban environments, often having or spun for gravity well-below Earth standard, then the ability to move quickly and athletically through these areas in a style similar to parkour would be commonplace. So Freerunning is the skill you use to run, jump, flip, and otherwise move quickly. (There is a seperate Free Fall skill for microgravity environs.)  

With that in mind, I was pleased to find this promotional Nike video that shows what a transhuman practicing freerunning might look like:

400 pages!

As previously noted, the Eclipse Phase core rulebook clocks in at a hefty 400 pages. That's a lot of book! Given the intricacies of the game, we felt it was necessary to include a solid chunk of text to the setting as well as details and rules for key technologies. Here's a short breakdown on what the book covers, and how many pages are devoted to each subject:


Blackmage asked on the forums:
Off the top of my head I would like to see more on morphs. They're one
of the core elements of the game(as far as I have seen) but I don't
think we heard or seen much of them but that the effect physical
stats/skills. It be interesting to see how they work and what can
morphs do. It also be nice to see an example of a morph.

One of the ideas we had from the beginning when designing Eclipse Phase was to highlight resleeving, or the ability to digitally emulate your mind, upload it into a computer, and download it into another body. This raised the question of what characteristics stayed with/were determined by the character (the "ego"), as they moved from body to body, and which stayed with/were determined by the meat (the "morph"), or metal in the case of robot bodies.

Why Percentile?

There's a new thread about Eclipse Phase over at Some questions were raised about Eclipse Phase's percentile system, and I thought it'd be good to repeat/summarize my responses over here.

As we've noted elsewhere, Eclipse Phase uses a d100 roll-under mechanic, with some tweaks from traditional percentile systems. To some folks, this may seem an odd choice, and the trend is for new games to have their unique systems, to stand apart from others.

Our intent with Eclipse Phase, though, was to go for "complex setting, simple
mechanics." So we opted to go with a d100 system since such mechanics are fast and easy, it's not
difficult to gauge odds when the gamemaster needs to fudge numbers,
most gamers know the system already, and it's super easy to each. There's a lot of heavy concepts and
advanced technology in the setting that can be overwhelming to people
unfamiliar with the genre, and we wanted players to be able to focus on

Spacecraft in Eclipse Phase

One of the problems any space-faring sci-fi game has to deal with is how to handle space travel and space combat. Both of these can be significant glitches in an RPG setting. Space travel can mean a long delay between action, as the players must board a ship to get from one setting locale to another. Planets and space stations are not stationary objects, however, and so travel time can very between the same two places by a matter of months or more, as their orbits take them nearer to or further from each other. Add in the many different types of potential spaceship drives, and you have another complication. Some games deal with this by including charts and complex mathematics, actually requiring you to do the math to figure out how long your journey from Mars to Saturn will take.

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