I'd like to preface this playtest report with a personal note: Rob Boyle was very kind to me, for reasons which escape and confound me. He forwarded me a more complete playtest set, which on the document I cannot and would not give out with out express direction or consent to do so. In that regard, I have documented the game session in the context of what has been released more generally as follows.
I couldn't quite make character with what was given for the playtest thus far, though it was mostly there. I had to reference First Edition for stuff, and before I notice that Rob gave me access, I was well underway making pre gens for this game. I was gonna BS pools for the characters. Then I went through and converted those characters to 2E. That went fine really. There are differences, but it's not dramatically different.
I had a group of four players, and they never played Eclipse Phase. I ran 'Dont Mind the WMD', which is something I've ran a few times before.
I gave them a rambling primer about the setting, and which organization they were part of. It started off slow, but I think that was mostly due to them being handed their character sheets just a few minuets ago, and were still digesting the information, trying to figure out what everything was. The character sheet that was included was functional, if sparse and very space expensive. I also provided a separate sheet that explained what their individual cyberware did, as well as a sheet that explained what the pools were used for. In hindsight, I should have also provided a similar sheet to explain their gear, as it was all new to them.
So 'Don't Mind the WMD' for those that don't know, is a starting scenario for Eclipse Phase. The player characters are on a scum barge, where they are conscripted and coerced into becoming a Firewall cell to investigate, and if necessary intercede, on the sale of a weapon. In a sense of need to know basis, they are not considered needing and are in the dark about the details.
So the players tried to investigate, they weren't RNGeezus was not with their die rolls and they weren't using their pools, probably related to their unfamiliarity with the system before now. So after bumbling looking for this weapon deal, an associate of Grey Xu contacted them. This associate, told them this was for serious buyers. I didn't sell this well enough, but assumed because a Novacrab was asking around they couldn't have the money.
One of the players had the idea, to go look for a rich guy having a vacation. Very reasonable thing, and they manage to find such a mark. One of the players had Profession: Resleeving Tech, so I informed them that there may still be a copy of that individual on the ship. I also informed them that since they've been on the scum barge, they've probably worked there to keep their hours up, part of the social contract of living on a scum barge is contributing in some way to a quota, since this context wouldn't be intuitive to a new player. This would have been a good use of the flex pool here to establish and NPC, or establish a relationship with an NPC after I set it in place.
I had Stacy, one of my NPCs be there. One of the players chose to use his Deceive skill, to force Stacy out so that the Resleeve Tech could get a copy of the Ego and abscond with the morph. I dinged the first players @-rep for his treatment of Stacy.
They wanted some sorta truth serum to make the wealthy vacationer mark give up the credentials, or give them hefty sum of money to buy them off instead. It wasn't quite a thing in the RAW but I try to follow the "Yes And" practice and roll with the player improvisation. I had them do a rep test to see if they could acquire the drug. They got a superior success. So I have them pick one of the modifiers to their task. And they picked Quantity. I had their drug dealer, just kinda get interested in what they were doing with so much of that drug. It wasn't a secret, and way more than what was generally used for recreationally.
One of the players said it was for a party. So the drug dealer asked if they could come. The buck was passed to another player, who just said sure. Which kind put the group in a bind. Further conversation occurred and I told the group about the Neonetic morph. The group decided to do a party of truth or dare with folks who reside in Neonetics, and have the scum barge bet on their ages. They did this in part because they found it hilarious and because they had to solve the problem of committing crime under sousveillance. Sousveillance, or sous surveillance for those that don't know, is the act of recording an activity by a participant of the activity. One of the players being a hacker, decided to force stream, the feed of this party to a super majority of the scum to help promote and distract folks. The group made some Rep and some money on it. I just gave arbitrary amounts as in this playtest didn't quite have that information for me to pull from.
This is when one of the players, after the fact, asked what a dazzler did. This would also have been an answer to this particular challenge for the group. They did the show, and it went reasonably well. I had them do Savvy (SAV) checks, since Art skill is no longer a thing.
The players used Provoke to coerce the information they needed out of the rich martian.
Back to Grey Xu. The group got an appt made. At this time the group was using their pools. So I gave them a short rest to allow the pools to recover, knowing that the exchange at Xu had a bit of combat and possibly tense rolls.
One of the players noted they had an insane amount in Gunnery. So with the profits they made from the show, they got the Novacrab a gun emplacement mod, and a heavy machinegun for it. One of the players asked if the Scum Barge was cool with it, and my reply, “Just as long as you don’t discharge it.”
The player group decided thir goal would be to just bum rush and take the thing from Grey Xu.
Oh. So they did some light prep work. One of the players rolled a crit, and I gave the selection of things they can use. They picked +20 moving forward. I said that they could give that to themselves or to any party member. I just wasn't sure what it could be used on, or how really. I think they ended up using the bonus on a sanity test.
Two of the players went forward. They picked the Novacrab and had to take its heavy gun off of his back, and two Slitheroids did a pat down, Slitheriods Perception to the players Infiltration. Two of the group were standing outside with the big gun, the combat gorilla, and the Psi-Psychosurgeon. (Which I made a call and put it under the Medical Field, since its not an independent skill anymore.)
Ten or so folks come charging for the goods, and start firing. The Psychosurgeon had a lot of gunnery skill, and the Gorilla held down the machine gun, and just rained ammo down range , forcing them to treat. Notable in the exchange, I told the player that the weapon had burst auto, and full auto modes. He replied "You keep giving me options, I am telling this gun only has one firing mode."
The two players inside decided to unload on Grey Xu and her two gorilla bodyguards… for whatever reason.
No one was really rolling any crits for the fight inside the ship so the container holding the nanoswarm remained contained. The Gorrilla decided to try and force open the door to the ship, which seemed fine. The morph had cyber claws, so they stuck it into the seam, and I had them roll their Somatics (SOM) check.
So here was something that is funny. The Gorilla SOM Check is 90. But they had an Athletics of 60 something. Their defaulting amount was higher than their Applied Skill. I am not sure how to reconcile that.
Eventually the two Slitheroids turned on the PC outside. The Pychosurgeon, I had him make an Athletics check to hold the gun down and fire it. He managed to fire the weapon, and kill one. The second time he did it, he failed and was sent spinning on the Y-Axis. Meanwhile, the entire Scum Barge is arming themselves, forming a sizeable militia to deal with the problem presented by the players disruption.
Eventually the Novacrab and the Gorilla are working on forcing the airlock open. I have them eventually break the door. The group that was pushed back was making a second attack on the spaceship. The Gorilla closed the airlock. He found it way easier this time, but it wasn't sealing. They also managed override the ship AI and now have a ship owned by Nine Lives.
Overall, the mission was a success. They did not expose Firewall, and they stopped the sale of a WMD.
I think giving them a Black Mark for their @-Rep seems reasonable.
All the players reported that they enjoyed the module, and wish to continue. So next week, I’ll be doing part two where they go to Mars. I'll be writing a report for that session as well. For myself, I'm intrigued, and enjoying the new inclusions, making calls and gap fills where needed. I look forward to more of the playtest.