Advice on starting scenario for new players

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zergbait zergbait's picture
Advice on starting scenario for new players

So I've just recently gotten into Eclipse Phase and want to get my gaming group into playing it. However not a single person in the group has played or heard of Eclipse Phase. I don't really want to just drop all the books on them and tell them to read it by next week. So I hatched a cunning plan that allowed them to be newbies in this world...pull a Futurama and make them from the past.

For my setting I decided to peg the year around 2200. The pc's are from the end of the 21st century, around the 2080's or so. In that time a method for cryopreservation was developed and the players were the lucky test subjects. They were placed in the cryopreservation tubes and frozen solid, with the idea they would wake up in 3 years. Well something happens along the way and they are never woken up. Move forward a 120-ish years and now they are thawed out and ready to party

However there are some flaws I’m trying to work out. Since none of my players have any idea I’m going to be running Eclipse Phase I would like to have them wake up to a post apocalyptic Earth. I want them to crawl out of the wreckage of the lab they were in and come out onto a wrecked planet in the middle of a nuclear winter.

1. First problem is that they would be essentially flats with no cortical stack, mesh inserts, biomods, or muse. This leaves them well behind the curve if I want to run a standard Eclipse Phase game.

2. How the hell do they get off planet?

3. Part of my story is that I want them to take an AGI from the cryo-lab with them. “She” is going to be their maltese falcon that they carry out into the solar system. Her code was planted with some info on the pre-Fall TITANs that a number of people would like to get their hands on.

A couple ideas I’ve had is to have some reclaimers find them and take them off planet. The problem there is the interdiction. I don’t want the players feeling that they can just hop to Earth, scavenge some stuff, then auction it off for easy money. So I need to have the quarantine of Earth be a real and definite threat.

Another idea was that the reclaimers have access to a farcasting station on Earth and can zap the players out. This solves the problem of getting standard Eclipse Phase bodies, but raises another question of who pays for this? I’m not really up for them being indentures right at the start. Possibly get set up with Firewall right off the bat? Firewall would probably enjoy getting some humans from old Earth on their payroll.

I’m hoping to maybe somebody has some ideas that I can use to write myself out of a corner. Otherwise I’m going to have to admit my cunning plan was not so good and start over.

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
zergbait wrote:So I've just

zergbait wrote:
So I've just recently gotten into Eclipse Phase and want to get my gaming group into playing it. However not a single person in the group has played or heard of Eclipse Phase. I don't really want to just drop all the books on them and tell them to read it by next week. So I hatched a cunning plan that allowed them to be newbies in this world...pull a Futurama and make them from the past.

For my setting I decided to peg the year around 2200. The pc's are from the end of the 21st century, around the 2080's or so. In that time a method for cryopreservation was developed and the players were the lucky test subjects. They were placed in the cryopreservation tubes and frozen solid, with the idea they would wake up in 3 years. Well something happens along the way and they are never woken up. Move forward a 120-ish years and now they are thawed out and ready to party.

I find the figure of 2143 works best for the year 10 AF (IE, starting point of a default game.) This would let you have the players be from the 2020s or so.

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However there are some flaws I’m trying to work out. Since none of my players have any idea I’m going to be running Eclipse Phase I would like to have them wake up to a post apocalyptic Earth. I want them to crawl out of the wreckage of the lab they were in and come out onto a wrecked planet in the middle of a nuclear winter.

This is the real problem: they're going to be crawling out into a wasteland filled with basilisk hacks, nanoswarms (even Picoswarms!) and headhunter bots which land on your shoulders and buzz-saw your freaking head off!

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1. First problem is that they would be essentially flats with no cortical stack, mesh inserts, biomods, or muse. This leaves them well behind the curve if I want to run a standard Eclipse Phase game.

2. How the hell do they get off planet?

The solution to 1 and 2 seem to suggest themselves to me: They get off the planet by egocasting out. This should be frightening and terrifying to them, but if they wind up barricading themselves in a functional egocast facility which is in contact with someone who's willing to take a risk on having to clean up after potentially exsurgent-infected Egos to save human lives - say, the Titanian Commonwealth, or Reclaimers - with TITAN killbots banging on the door - it might be worth it.

Make sure to play up the fact that the whole place is littered with headless skeletons. Hell, I'd even bypass the speed of light by letting them find a still-working Qubit reservoir which connects them to Titan, if that's where you want them to go. This would also let the remote operator hack into the upload facility and handle all the uplink settings.

I imagine that would be kind of terrifying; four or five flats in a facillity littered with headless skeletons, with a breathless remote operator trying to give them the Cliff's Notes version of the last century of history, and imploring them that getting on the bed and letting their brains be copied and quantum farcast to a location far, far away, is the only hope they have of preserving their unique Transhuman egos. Especially if s/he has access to the facility's cameras and can tell how close the bad news is.

Plus, of course, there's the problem of what happens to the instantiated Flats. If they ask, the operator will have to uncomfortably tell them that they have three options: she can set the ego bridge to wipe their minds in the process of uploading them, leaving their current bodies as braindead vegetables, they can kill themselves afterwards, or they can decide to have a last stand with whatever weapons they've acquired.

If they decide to do that last one, or they don't ask and she doesn't think to tell them because she doesn't realize that as folks from the early 21st century they won't realize what's what, you should have them roll it out against an impossible bunch of headhunters, or even lead with a basilisk hack that paralyzes them, so they can get a taste of the Fall.

And then, hoka-hey! Welcome to Titan (or the Moon, but I'd go with Titan.) You could even set their awakening at something like 5AF, and they wake up in 10 AF, to be told that they spent the last five years being very, very thoroughly analyzed for traces of exsurgent infection, and the Commonwealth is pleased to announce that they're clean. Introduce their new bodies - Hazers. (Or, whatever, but I'm gonna assume you're sending them to Titan because that's how I'd do it.) Welcome them to the real world, and don't forget to give them the Faulty Education and Real World Naievete traits, because they're completely unfamiliar with the way of things. Play up the fact that they have a computer in their head and both a cortical stack and backup, which work to ensure that they never, ever, come as close to being permanently extinguished as they did when they narrowly escaped from Earth. Titan should be a strange and unfamiliar place, and none of them will have Muses from before the fall, so they're going to need to get used to it. Read and re-read all the sections on what a Muse can do for you, and play up the fact that they now have helpful AI secretaries/pals in their heads.

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3. Part of my story is that I want them to take an AGI from the cryo-lab with them. “She” is going to be their maltese falcon that they carry out into the solar system. Her code was planted with some info on the pre-Fall TITANs that a number of people would like to get their hands on.

She'd have to be like, running on an Ecto or something.

Also, I'm going to guess that you're American and so are your players. (If I'm wrong, so be it.) But they'd probably make characters who were close to home. That's okay, though - play up the disorientation of having gone into cryo at, say, I dunno, University of California, and waking up in a ruined medical cryo-vault in Stockholm or something. Unless any of them speak Swedish, they'll be in trouble, but that's a good reason for them to take the AGI with them - they would be completely lost in unfamiliar territory, without any idea how to operate anything or what any of the signs mean, without her, whereas as an AGI, she can easily translate any languages.

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A couple ideas I’ve had is to have some reclaimers find them and take them off planet. The problem there is the interdiction. I don’t want the players feeling that they can just hop to Earth, scavenge some stuff, then auction it off for easy money. So I need to have the quarantine of Earth be a real and definite threat.

Another idea was that the reclaimers have access to a farcasting station on Earth and can zap the players out. This solves the problem of getting standard Eclipse Phase bodies, but raises another question of who pays for this? I’m not really up for them being indentures right at the start. Possibly get set up with Firewall right off the bat? Firewall would probably enjoy getting some humans from old Earth on their payroll.

Not what I'd do, but if you're gonna do it...

If they're launching from Earth - and it can be done, when enough money is involved - they'd probably launch in a big group of ships. Make sure to play up the fact that this launch is dangerous, and constitutes a flight with their lives hanging in the balance. The ships should be shooting upwards like their lives depend on it - because they do - and the killsats should be doing their utmost to shoot them down. The ship the players are on should be the only one which survives the interdiction. Tell them, numbly, that some fifty or so people just died for the sake of getting them and whatever salvage they brought back with them off-world; and that this constitutes a successful mission. The guys who died will be waiting when they get back to their orbital hab, and drinks are on the survivors.

Also, I'll point out that the bodies they escaped Earth in are very, very valuable, constituting ancient Earth antiques from the pre-augmentation era. They won't have to indenture themselves unless they absolutely insist on staying in the bodies they escaped in, otherwise they can trade those bodies for their freedom and high-end Exalts or what-have-you. If any of them object, well, point out that given the price of evacuating their mass from Earth, they'll be indentured for fifty years, which is longer than those bodies are likely to last without rejuvenation treatments.

All in all, though, I'd go with the farcast center that sends them to Titan. The Commonwealth would probably be willing to waive the three years' civil service for the opportunity for their historians to pick the brains of people who lived in the early 21st century, and for their intelligence agencies to pick the brains of people who have had boots on the ground recently.

Also, remember that if their ages are under 25, they're technically minors in the Commonwealth, which affords them opportunities to shirk duties and learn about their strange new world.

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I’m hoping to maybe somebody has some ideas that I can use to write myself out of a corner. Otherwise I’m going to have to admit my cunning plan was not so good and start over.

It's not a terribad idea. If it works, it'll be a smashing success. If it doesn't, though... Well, you're taking a gamble with an opening like that, but it's a gamble that's worth rolling the dice on, I'd say.

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ORCACommander ORCACommander's picture
to add to the interdiction

to add to the interdiction threat a near miss from a moonshot is always a plus

UnitOmega UnitOmega's picture
ORCACommander wrote:to add to

ORCACommander wrote:
to add to the interdiction threat a near miss from a moonshot is always a plus

That could make a great scene on the surface. The players in their survival gear (because a Flat can't comfortably breath the Earth's atmosphere, and also they'd get hella sunburnt) pop over a ridge or up a slope and see an area of TITAN activity. Warmachines and Fractals building some alien structure, or a TITAN Forest. Before they can go "what the fuck is that", there's a blinding pillar of light that streaks down from the moon and obliterates the site, throwing up a giant plume of dust and debris that the party can wonder just "what the fuck is going on". A ruined Earth is one thing, but a ruined Earth where there's somebody on the moon still shooting at it is another thing entirely.

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1. First problem is that they would be essentially flats with no cortical stack, mesh inserts, biomods, or muse. This leaves them well behind the curve if I want to run a standard Eclipse Phase game.

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Another idea was that the reclaimers have access to a farcasting station on Earth and can zap the players out. This solves the problem of getting standard Eclipse Phase bodies, but raises another question of who pays for this? I’m not really up for them being indentures right at the start.

Well, this is an easy fix. Under question 2, if you have them farcast out, they lose their Flats and can switch to whatever is appropriate for where they end up. The Reclaimers have several stations on Earth, which are permanent or semi-permanent, and any medical-science outpost they were couped up in could easily have an egocasting station if you want to. Now, the obvious question of who would take them. Titan's a solid answer for some reason's SD has outlined, One Body Per Mind and a massive social welfare net means they wont have to worry about their basic resources, and has some comfortable options for settling in and giving them a strange new world, but may not be the best jumping off point for a "standard" EP game that you want to run, especially if you're not planning on working with the Outer System as much. If they hook up with the Reclaimers, there's a couple other options for an egocast/resleeve. They could hook up with a friendly Scum Barge, which would give you a great excuse to emphasize the weirdness of the future and break out some random tables for Morphs as they end up in whatever eclectic mess the Scum have lying around to help their reclaimer friends. Or, the Reclaimers themselves could beam them up to Vo Nugyen or another friendly port, and throw them in some Splicers or Bouncers. The ERP doesn't have to hold them on the capital of the bodies, especially if they have valuable intel. The latter two have the advantage of putting you in Earth Orbit, an area ripe for some interesting classic EP problems.

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2. How the hell do they get off planet?

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A couple ideas I've had is to have some reclaimers find them and take them off planet. The problem there is the interdiction. I don’t want the players feeling that they can just hop to Earth, scavenge some stuff, then auction it off for easy money. So I need to have the quarantine of Earth be a real and definite threat.

Well, while I feel the Cordon should be treated with respect, I also don't think the Reclaimers would be setting up bases if it was some insurmountable wall costing them hundreds of thousands of credits to run each time. I tend to the have them treat the Cordon as very dangerous weather patterns. They may sit in tense silence on the surface for hours or days, waiting for the right launch window. And you never know when a manned picket ship might interdict you and haul you in for 1 million years dungeon in the PC. To emphasize the precision involved, you could do the sacrificial lion play, and have another ship with the one the players are riding up on get taken out for straying to close to a killsat, all because the weight balance of their cargo was ever so slightly off because some things had to be moved around to account for a party of player characters.

So the Reclaimers have the knowledge and the skills to reliable skirt the Cordon, but they don't take that huge risks for kicks. They need solid intel and planning and there has to be sufficient profit at the end. The PCs offer them none of this. They've been in cryo-sleep for 120 years, they don't know where anything important is, they probably have minimal decent skills to handle a scav op, so unless they have a few 100k in ISC rolling around, the Reclaimers will laugh off any attempts they might have to coordinate a scav mission. They are the valuable cargo.

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3. Part of my story is that I want them to take an AGI from the cryo-lab with them. “She” is going to be their maltese falcon that they carry out into the solar system. Her code was planted with some info on the pre-Fall TITANs that a number of people would like to get their hands on

Well, depending on how paranoid your players/their characters are, this shouldn't be too hard. The AGI obviously was managing the facility and kept them alive all this time, they should obviously feel like reciprocating and pulling her out on an Ecto or Portable server. Having an AI system (since the PCs wouldn't know the difference between AI and AGI unless the AGI tells them) around would be handy to do computer things they have no idea how to do, or physically can't because >future interface. Another solution is to do like SD said, and make them require a translator. Maybe they went to sleep in UC Berkley or MIT or University of Chicago (or some appropriate European institution which is literally under the New Atlantic right now), but, to show EP's system of complex corporate politics and mergers, they wake up in a corp or multi-owned thinktank/co-op sunk into South America, or on a remote island in the north of Japan, or built into the Swiss Alps or something. Unless they happen to know the lingo well, they'll need somebody to tell them what buttons to push and so on. A friendly AI is perfect for that.

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Possibly get set up with Firewall right off the bat? Firewall would probably enjoy getting some humans from old Earth on their payroll.

If you're doing a Firewall game, this is a solid solution. Solves many problems immediately. They get bodies, they get backups, they get networking, they get sent on deadly missions to face mind-melting horrors from Dimension X.

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I’m hoping to maybe somebody has some ideas that I can use to write myself out of a corner. Otherwise I’m going to have to admit my cunning plan was not so good and start over.

Well, one thing might be to do kind of like SD said and do a timeskip. They get rescued in AF 5, but fast-forward to AF 10. But instead of spending all that time in cold storage getting examined, they've kind of gone their separate ways and only just come back together because of PLOT. This would allow you to have them actually buy into Factions in the setting based on what their characters would want, and have the chargen options fit in a little better. Some of them might stay with or go off to join the Scum. Others might have a scientific background and sign-on to the Argonauts. Some could immigrate to the Titanian Commonwealth, or just stay there if they went there in the first place. Some might go gatecrashing, or others might migrate to Luna or Venus to try and reconnect with their home cultures. Some might say "fuck this noise" and run for the Brink or to emigrate to the Jovian Republic. This would help them better link into the EP setting and have it actually impact their characters, without them all ending up with the same pile of bonus skills because they're all Re-Instantiated/Fall Evacuee Reclaimers or Titanians or whatever.

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ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
UnitOmega wrote:That could

UnitOmega wrote:
That could make a great scene on the surface. The players in their survival gear (because a Flat can't comfortably breath the Earth's atmosphere, and also they'd get hella sunburnt) pop over a ridge or up a slope and see an area of TITAN activity. Warmachines and Fractals building some alien structure, or a TITAN Forest. Before they can go "what the fuck is that", there's a blinding pillar of light that streaks down from the moon and obliterates the site, throwing up a giant plume of dust and debris that the party can wonder just "what the fuck is going on". A ruined Earth is one thing, but a ruined Earth where there's somebody on the moon still shooting at it is another thing entirely.

Heheheh. Hell yeah. Frankly, it would be pretty hard for them not to mistake a moon-shot for a nuke detonating at first blush. You'd have the blinding flash of light, the fireball, the mushroom cloud. Only the distinct lack of excess radiological activity (assuming they have a geiger counter) and the blinding, momentary streak of light as the mass driver shot plows through the atmosphere, if they happen to be looking at it, would give it away.

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Well, this is an easy fix. Under question 2, if you have them farcast out, they lose their Flats and can switch to whatever is appropriate for where they end up. The Reclaimers have several stations on Earth, which are permanent or semi-permanent, and any medical-science outpost they were couped up in could easily have an egocasting station if you want to. Now, the obvious question of who would take them. Titan's a solid answer for some reason's SD has outlined, One Body Per Mind and a massive social welfare net means they wont have to worry about their basic resources, and has some comfortable options for settling in and giving them a strange new world, but may not be the best jumping off point for a "standard" EP game that you want to run, especially if you're not planning on working with the Outer System as much. If they hook up with the Reclaimers, there's a couple other options for an egocast/resleeve. They could hook up with a friendly Scum Barge, which would give you a great excuse to emphasize the weirdness of the future and break out some random tables for Morphs as they end up in whatever eclectic mess the Scum have lying around to help their reclaimer friends. Or, the Reclaimers themselves could beam them up to Vo Nugyen or another friendly port, and throw them in some Splicers or Bouncers. The ERP doesn't have to hold them on the capital of the bodies, especially if they have valuable intel. The latter two have the advantage of putting you in Earth Orbit, an area ripe for some interesting classic EP problems.

Ahhh, the Scum. Scum, Anarcho-Collectivists and Titanians: my favorites. But throwing them immediately to the Scum would probably be a bit much; a Scum Barge is approximately equal parts Mos Eisley, flying scrapheap, crackhouse, culture center, punk rock apotheosis, and nonstop orgy.

Imagine the poor characters: they were frozen in 2020, and woke up in a post-robot-apocalypse, managed to find a friendly group of people who scavenge the Earth, who were willing to take the monumental chance that they weren't horrible monsters pretending to be terrified victims, and take them off the planet in a literally death-defying rocket ride. Then they dock with a gigantic barge, and are immediately assaulted by the sight of a naked hermaphrodite being vigorously boinked by a cyberdolphin as they half-float, half-push down a microgravity corridor, while a guy in a little rat-faced Jenkin with prehesile feet, reeking to high heavens, is making a game of shooting himself up with four syringes at once while a petite pleasure pod or Neotenic grinds against his gargantuan crotch-bulge, and lazily waves hello to the group. Welcome to the New World.

(I love Scum Swarms, but it takes just the right group to properly appreciate them, and they're best appreciated in a text-only game environment.)

Also, something to remember: these characters will have not been in space before. They won't even have had the benefit of simulspace VR training. Especially if you turn back the clock so that they're from the 2020s or so, so as to bring the character origins closer to the players (so you won't have to explain both the state of Earth in the 2080s when they're from, and the state of it when they wake up,) then they're still going to be from the era of the International Space Station, SpaceX, and Virgin Galactic. Throwing them into a micrograv habitat is going to be very rough for them, mechanically. Titan and the moon, at least, have gravity, if very little of it.

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Well, while I feel the Cordon should be treated with respect, I also don't think the Reclaimers would be setting up bases if it was some insurmountable wall costing them hundreds of thousands of credits to run each time. I tend to the have them treat the Cordon as very dangerous weather patterns. They may sit in tense silence on the surface for hours or days, waiting for the right launch window. And you never know when a manned picket ship might interdict you and haul you in for 1 million years dungeon in the PC. To emphasize the precision involved, you could do the sacrificial lion play, and have another ship with the one the players are riding up on get taken out for straying to close to a killsat, all because the weight balance of their cargo was ever so slightly off because some things had to be moved around to account for a party of player characters.

So the Reclaimers have the knowledge and the skills to reliable skirt the Cordon, but they don't take that huge risks for kicks. They need solid intel and planning and there has to be sufficient profit at the end. The PCs offer them none of this. They've been in cryo-sleep for 120 years, they don't know where anything important is, they probably have minimal decent skills to handle a scav op, so unless they have a few 100k in ISC rolling around, the Reclaimers will laugh off any attempts they might have to coordinate a scav mission. They are the valuable cargo.

It depends on how much profit they can get out of it. Remember that literally anything which authentically got off Earth can trade for the price of a good morph, even pebbles. Actual artifacts of historical value, such as a genuine painting from an actual master, go for enough to buy whole habitats.

So yeah, losing a few hundred thousand in ships and morphs can still constitute a wildly successful mission, if you escape with something which is going to sell for millions. Other things - clothing (and I bet a lot of fall evacuees are kicking themselves for recycling the clothes that were on their back when they got offworld), family mementos, the standard-issue apocalypse-dropped teddy bear, bones of the fallen, or literally anything solid that isn't literally pebbles you picked up off the ground - are going to fall somewhere between those extremes. Note that the players, if they escape via a non-egocasting route, will have at bare minimum, something which falls between those extremes - their bodies.

You should, of course, play this up for all it's worth, that the Reclaimers want to suck their minds out of their bodies because their bodies' value for sale to an eccentric hyperelite collector is far in excess of what value said Reclaimers attach to those bodies practically.

The Morph Recognition Guide actually has a totally-not-Shadowtalk "Eyechat" conversation on the value of Flats.

Morph Recognition Guide Pg. 31 wrote:

Plasmid: Otherwise known as: a body like that in which you were born, to which you hoped never to return.
Moxie Harper: Actually, there’s a decent demand from people that want to sleeve something “old-fashioned’ and “original.” I’m pretty sure it started as a Venusian socialite fad.
Nezumi: *facepalm* The only sensible part of that is that flats are actually pretty rare outside of Earth orbit, Luna, and the Jovian Republic.
Das Frettchen: It gets weirder. I know oligarchs that collect flats. Yes, that’s right, original born-on-Earth skins are quickly becoming collector items. Especially if they are in mint condition. Interestingly, non-rejuvenated bodies that have aged well are picking up a considerable price tag.
Nova Vida: I’ve always wondered what happened to older flats. I assumed they were rejuvenated rather than retired, but even then I didn’t expect them to be top hits at the body bank.
Plasmid: The body banks I know keep a few on hand as out-of-stock last-resort options; there’s always someone who’d rather take a flat than a quality synth. The flats with recurring health problems typically go at cheap rates to desperate infugees.

So, if you want to go with money-oriented Scavengers, have them give the players a frankly blunt assessment of their situation:
It's the new world, people get indentured to settle debts all the time, and this is very acceptable. They've been rescued from Earth, which is hideously expensive, what with the cordon of killsats and the rampaging TITAN killbots, nanoswarms, etc: they occupied volume in the ship which they escaped in, their mass was boosted into orbit in lieu of, say, a few hundred kilograms of antiques they could have looted from an antiquity store.

In short, they owe the Scavengers, big time. Calculating the value they could get for "Average Earth goods" of similar mass and weight and determining what IndEx would suggest as an appropriate period of "average, unskilled, unardous" indenture to pay off a debt of that magnitude means that they'll be indentured past what was, in their day, retirement age. Of course, they won't wind up as working geriatrics, because their indenture owner will be obliged to pay for rejuvenation treatments, cortical stack, mesh inserts, basic biomods, medical treatment, life support, etc; all of which will be added to their debt.

On the other hand, their bodies are, themselves, extremely valuable, especially in mint, non-augmented, early-21st-century condition. So they can evacuate the bodies into new ones - good ones, at that - and sell the bodies they escaped with for far more than enough to pay for their own rescue, and even cash in a small nest-egg to start over with.

But again, I wouldn't reccomend doing that unless you want to go heavy-handed dystopian on them. I've already outlined how I'd get them from Earth to Titan.

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Well, depending on how paranoid your players/their characters are, this shouldn't be too hard. The AGI obviously was managing the facility and kept them alive all this time, they should obviously feel like reciprocating and pulling her out on an Ecto or Portable server. Having an AI system (since the PCs wouldn't know the difference between AI and AGI unless the AGI tells them) around would be handy to do computer things they have no idea how to do, or physically can't because >future interface. Another solution is to do like SD said, and make them require a translator. Maybe they went to sleep in UC Berkley or MIT or University of Chicago (or some appropriate European institution which is literally under the New Atlantic right now), but, to show EP's system of complex corporate politics and mergers, they wake up in a corp or multi-owned thinktank/co-op sunk into South America, or on a remote island in the north of Japan, or built into the Swiss Alps or something. Unless they happen to know the lingo well, they'll need somebody to tell them what buttons to push and so on. A friendly AI is perfect for that.

I'd play up the friendly AGI as being terrified out of her mind. She wants to get offworld, desperately, and has decided it's time to take her chances. The facility she was in somehow escaped the TITAN's notice, apparently, so she's uncompromised (or so she says, the fact is up to you,) but she knows what was going on out there. She should absolutely refuse to electronically interface with anything on Earth, and let them know just how lethally dangerous it is, to her (and to them) to do so. That might also explain why she decided not to augment their bodies at whatever facility she was in; she couldn't trust that the healing tanks hadn't been compromised and wouldn't turn them all into monsters. Ironically, entirely unaugmented flats may stand a better chance of surviving long enough to get offworld than a group of normal characters, whose mesh inserts and wireless-enabled everything would be like the smell of a delicious wounded lamb covered in barbeque sauce to a pack of wolves.

She'd communicate using only light and sound, but would also warn them to be careful what they look at, and if they see anything truly weird or mind-bending, look away immediately.

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If you're doing a Firewall game, this is a solid solution. Solves many problems immediately. They get bodies, they get backups, they get networking, they get sent on deadly missions to face mind-melting horrors from Dimension X.

I'm not honestly sure what a pack of people from a long-ago era have to offer Firewall; their education will be deficient, they'll be woefully unconnected with the main of the setting. Maybe Firewall would have had a hand in their rescue, and they get taken aside by a Firewall proxy - say, good ol' Professor Magnus Ming, if they go to Titan - for a long debriefing - but Firewall wouldn't want to immediately throw these poor people back into the face-melting, mind-devouring (or is it the other way around) horrors.

That's another reason why I recommended Titan; with all the free universities and the huge concentration of intelligentsia, they'll have people capable of bringing these poor people up to speed on the modern era, in a classroom setting.

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Well, one thing might be to do kind of like SD said and do a timeskip. They get rescued in AF 5, but fast-forward to AF 10. But instead of spending all that time in cold storage getting examined, they've kind of gone their separate ways and only just come back together because of PLOT. This would allow you to have them actually buy into Factions in the setting based on what their characters would want, and have the chargen options fit in a little better. Some of them might stay with or go off to join the Scum. Others might have a scientific background and sign-on to the Argonauts. Some could immigrate to the Titanian Commonwealth, or just stay there if they went there in the first place. Some might go gatecrashing, or others might migrate to Luna or Venus to try and reconnect with their home cultures. Some might say "fuck this noise" and run for the Brink or to emigrate to the Jovian Republic. This would help them better link into the EP setting and have it actually impact their characters, without them all ending up with the same pile of bonus skills because they're all Re-Instantiated/Fall Evacuee Reclaimers or Titanians or whatever.

I'd actually make an entirely new background for these characters, temporally displaced. It would consist of +5 Moxie, +5 WIL, Faulty Education and Real World Naivete. This would also have the effect of forcing the characters to lean heavily on their Muses and any NPC allies for support, but giving them enough Moxie to luck-bulldoze through their errors, and a bonus injection of willpower to represent the heroic drive to survive which they must have summoned in order to escape the Earth - and which they also must have summoned to volunteer for a cryogenics trial which stood a good chance of killing them. They would be forced to view the setting through the lens of the science fiction of our day, at least until they accumulate enough Rez to buy off the negative qualities.

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ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
Oh, if you want to throw them

Oh, if you want to throw them somewhere that isn't to profit-hungry scavengers, Scum, Titanians, or Luna, consider embedding them into an Anarcho-Mutualist enclave. They still use money, so would be more understandable to a group from Earth, but they guarantee everyone a minimum income, to take care of things like habitation space, life support, security contracts, etc.

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UnitOmega UnitOmega's picture
Quote:Also, something to

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Also, something to remember: these characters will have not been in space before. They won't even have had the benefit of simulspace VR training. Especially if you turn back the clock so that they're from the 2020s or so, so as to bring the character origins closer to the players (so you won't have to explain both the state of Earth in the 2080s when they're from, and the state of it when they wake up,) then they're still going to be from the era of the International Space Station, SpaceX, and Virgin Galactic. Throwing them into a micrograv habitat is going to be very rough for them, mechanically. Titan and the moon, at least, have gravity, if very little of it.

Well, I'm not altering the conceit that they're from the 2080s, so depending on why exactly they went into medical experiment cryostasis, it's entirely possible some of them may be familiar with micrograv, though unless they invest points in freefall, they won't be good at it. This is, of course, another plus to relocating them to Vo Nuygen, which is a Cylinder with a spin of .9 g.

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It depends on how much profit they can get out of it. Remember that literally anything which authentically got off Earth can trade for the price of a good morph, even pebbles. Actual artifacts of historical value, such as a genuine painting from an actual master, go for enough to buy whole habitats.

So yeah, losing a few hundred thousand in ships and morphs can still constitute a wildly successful mission, if you escape with something which is going to sell for millions. Other things - clothing (and I bet a lot of fall evacuees are kicking themselves for recycling the clothes that were on their back when they got offworld), family mementos, the standard-issue apocalypse-dropped teddy bear, bones of the fallen, or literally anything solid that isn't literally pebbles you picked up off the ground - are going to fall somewhere between those extremes.

Well, that depends on who your dealing with. Yes, simple bits of Earth have an immense sentimental value to people which translates to a decent credit value, and that's a great profit:mass ratio. But, the Reclaimers also have long term goals and a certain dedication to "Reclaim" the Earth. And personally, it seemed to me like the Earth Reclamation Project's operations to the surface were subtle, deniable and "reliable". Sending waves of ships (which each lost ship representing a loss of profit in both it's cargo, the vessel itself and the crew) to explode in a fiery cloud seems too obvious. Remember, the Planetary Consortium enforces the Cordon (even if they wont cop to building it) with real Warships. Too much movement and a couple destroyers will park in your path and it's off to cold storage or the penal simulspace with you.

Actual Reclaimers, while they'd love to get reimbursed on the effort gone to pulling some flats off the surface and would probably make reasonable demands or suggestions that they can get on with their lives and get quality bodies if they just trade in their mostly intact Flats, and could easily pull guys out out of the goodness of their hearts.

Hardcore scavengers, who may be little better than land pirates or desperate refus with access to orbit-capable ships, could easily be seen as having the players Resleeve at Plasma-point, or else they'll dump them on Fresh Kills or something and let them fend for themselves. A ruthless and unpleasant prospect, which may reinforce how shitty the situation in the Orbital is. That's up to the GM to decide.

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On the other hand, their bodies are, themselves, extremely valuable, especially in mint, non-augmented, early-21st-century condition. So they can evacuate the bodies into new ones - good ones, at that - and sell the bodies they escaped with for far more than enough to pay for their own rescue, and even cash in a small nest-egg to start over with.

I forgot to mention this in my quote-jumping around to build coherent statements. Flats in "mint" condition would be pretty valuable to anyone in the Earth Relic market. This solves several problems outlined in the original question, as each player would get a proportional value in credits they can turn into more common morphs and gear/implants.

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I'd play up the friendly AGI as being terrified out of her mind. She wants to get offworld, desperately, and has decided it's time to take her chances. The facility she was in somehow escaped the TITAN's notice, apparently, so she's uncompromised (or so she says, the fact is up to you,) but she knows what was going on out there. She should absolutely refuse to electronically interface with anything on Earth, and let them know just how lethally dangerous it is, to her (and to them) to do so.

Upselling the digital risks of the Post-Fall world is good, and the voice of warning may serve as a good vector for trust. The AGI is looking out for you, letting you know what to do and not do. However (and again, this fully depends on GM discretion) there are other options which can appear and which help form the narrative and the character's reactions. If the AGI plays the old Cortana role of "VoIP guide", it can help build trust by being helpful in non-"existentially scared shitless" ways. If the PCs have no computer skills, they may need someone to plug into and open doors, give instructions on how to manually release doors, etc, etc. The GM can arrange the situation however they like, with their only conceits to verisimilitude. If building enough trust to bring the AGI with them is vital (especially given our discussion about the high value of physical mass) the situation can be constucted in such a way that the AGI is truly helpful and also puts them in the right frame for the setting, while the narrative structure stays on track and is both familiar and familiarizing.

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I'm not honestly sure what a pack of people from a long-ago era have to offer Firewall; their education will be deficient, they'll be woefully unconnected with the main of the setting. Maybe Firewall would have had a hand in their rescue, and they get taken aside by a Firewall proxy - say, good ol' Professor Magnus Ming, if they go to Titan - for a long debriefing - but Firewall wouldn't want to immediately throw these poor people back into the face-melting, mind-devouring (or is it the other way around) horrors.

Well, this really depends on the situation they're in, and who they are. If they're a bunch of mostly broke 21st century characters who are willing to undergo medical experimentation for fun and profit, they might also have the right mindset to murderhobo for the "good guys". Especially if they've stared into the abyss and instead of running screaming out of the room, they instead scrambled backwards out of the room shouting "KILL IT WITH FIRE!" and emptying their makeshift weapons into the abyss. This again, really depends on how the GM frames and builds the situation.

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That's another reason why I recommended Titan; with all the free universities and the huge concentration of intelligentsia, they'll have people capable of bringing these poor people up to speed on the modern era, in a classroom setting.

TAU is a good source for education, to be sure. But it comes with strings attached, and it's not the only one out there. If you stay in the Orbital region, Mitre is right there, and the Argonauts are as good a source as any for an extensive open source education. Technically, so is anywhere with decent Mesh access. Depending on how and where they were put in Cryo (and the direction one wants to take the campaign), they could easily hook up with the off-world campus(es) for several of Earth's major universities on Luna or Mars, which have the benefit of being relatively familiar ground to people who have a decent grasp of classic Cyberpunk and Sci-Fi.

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I'd actually make an entirely new background for these characters...

Eh, same problem, everybody is all the same. I personally think one of the greatest strengths of EP is the mutability in characters and associate concepts, and it's a good hook to get people into the game on a meta-level. If you want to get players to really invest, they should be able to branch into their own areas based on what they like. No need to shoehorn.

On a related note, +5 to an Aptitude and +5 Moxie is in no way balanced with two +10 CP traits (which are also redundant), even with counting that they'd also have none of the standard starting cash or rep and would technically start in Flats. Real World Naivete or Faulty Education, while very appropriate, are also not good traits to use when you're trying to introduce people to a setting, since their only purpose is to give the GM call to lie to you about the setting in play. It may not breed the appropriate mentality or familiarity you're looking for.

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DrewDavis DrewDavis's picture
ShadowDragon8685 wrote:

ShadowDragon8685 wrote:

I'm not honestly sure what a pack of people from a long-ago era have to offer Firewall; their education will be deficient, they'll be woefully unconnected with the main of the setting. Maybe Firewall would have had a hand in their rescue, and they get taken aside by a Firewall proxy - say, good ol' Professor Magnus Ming, if they go to Titan - for a long debriefing - but Firewall wouldn't want to immediately throw these poor people back into the face-melting, mind-devouring (or is it the other way around) horrors.

Obviously there was a paperwork error that caused the characters to spend 120 years in cryo-freeze. Firewall's records indicated these characters were U.S. government agents who had a mysterious green triangle on their files. They were meant to rescue the A.I. who Firewall, Oversight, Ozma, Special Outreach, etc... are all eager to interrogate in an effort to gain an edge over the TITANs and each-other.

The bad news is Firewall didn't get the experienced intelligence agents they were looking for, but the team they did get seems to have some natural aptitude towards this kind of work. And they did manage to save the A.I. Any good conspiracy can find something for useful idiots to do.

zergbait zergbait's picture
Thank you all for the replies

Thank you all for the replies, there are fantastic ideas here. I've already started re-editing my plot to incorporate some of this.

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I find the figure of 2143 works best for the year 10 AF (IE, starting point of a default game.) This would let you have the players be from the 2020s or so.

I think this is a good idea, I got a little too hung up on this being futuristic sci-fi setting I think and wanted them to be in what was already the future. However since I'm going to be starting from the point they wake up out of cryopreservation it really isn't necessary to have them be from 2080 or whatever.

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This is the real problem: they're going to be crawling out into a wasteland filled with basilisk hacks, nanoswarms (even Picoswarms!) and headhunter bots which land on your shoulders and buzz-saw your freaking head off!

I recognized this as a problem right from the start. I had to be able to show them there are seriously weird threats without just outright killing them since they had no stacks or backups. I'm thinking the players are just going to be a part of a larger group, maybe 10 or 20 total sleepers in the facility. Then I can start killing them off horror movie style and just leave the players alive at the end.

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That could make a great scene on the surface. The players in their survival gear (because a Flat can't comfortably breath the Earth's atmosphere, and also they'd get hella sunburnt) pop over a ridge or up a slope and see an area of TITAN activity. Warmachines and Fractals building some alien structure, or a TITAN Forest. Before they can go "what the fuck is that", there's a blinding pillar of light that streaks down from the moon and obliterates the site, throwing up a giant plume of dust and debris that the party can wonder just "what the fuck is going on". A ruined Earth is one thing, but a ruined Earth where there's somebody on the moon still shooting at it is another thing entirely.

I am in love with this idea now, I think I've just found how I want to end the first session. They have just escaped from this hellhole where they watched their friends get beheaded by flying wasp drones and others literally dissolved by a cloud of something. As they crawl out into the wasteland of Earth they are faced with a ruined city. In the distance a strange metal obelisk is being built by more robots. Then a bright streak of light shoots down from the sky right onto this alien looking obelisk, destroying it and leaving a mushroom cloud...roll credits, end session 1.

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I'd play up the friendly AGI as being terrified out of her mind. She wants to get offworld, desperately, and has decided it's time to take her chances. The facility she was in somehow escaped the TITAN's notice, apparently, so she's uncompromised (or so she says, the fact is up to you,) but she knows what was going on out there.

This is exactly how I was going to run her. She's scared and desperate to get off planet but she's stuck here in a RF-shielded sub-basement in a research lab. She's programmed to be helpful to lab workers (players included). Some how the wake up signal is sent to the cryotubes, how or why yet I haven't completely worked out. Why after a 100 years did the automated wake up signal get sent? That's when she decides it's time to make a break for it, she can convince these people to carry her out of here. She's going to act as their initial guide in this weird new world. Then once they are attached to her she's going to be ego-napped and turn into the Mcguffin that gets them chasing her around the system.

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You could even set their awakening at something like 5AF, and they wake up in 10 AF, to be told that they spent the last five years being very, very thoroughly analyzed for traces of exsurgent infection, and the Commonwealth is pleased to announce that they're clean

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Well, one thing might be to do kind of like SD said and do a timeskip. They get rescued in AF 5, but fast-forward to AF 10.

I was initially really set on them keeping their original bodies and have some roleplay scenes with people asking to buy them. Maybe even have them get set up with some starter funds. However getting them off planet with bodies intact is getting more and more complicated. I think having them ego-cast off planet will probably be the best path. I agree that Titan is probably the friendliest place for them to get hooked up with a body and even get an education to catch up. I was initially thinking I wanted them to go to Mars as the first stop but I think that would be better as a secondary location after the players have been "broken in" so to speak.

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I'd actually make an entirely new background for these characters, temporally displaced. It would consist of +5 Moxie, +5 WIL, Faulty Education and Real World Naivete.

I think this is an excellent idea thought +5 Mox might be a bit much. I'll play around with this a bit.

I'm going to give them pre-generated characters to start with, just to do the initial sessions. Once they are off Earth we could do a real character creation session. I'll force this background on them then they'll have limited access to factions and morphs. Being on Titan and getting free bodies they'll probably really only have access to Splicers (maybe Exalts if I'm feeling generous), Hazers, or a standard synth morph if they really want. I'm going to leave it to the players to see if they'll try to bargain for something better. I'd like to leave it up to them to try to leverage their uniqueness as something to exchange for better bodies. I can imagine there's more then one scientist that wouldn't mind studying a pre-augment society human ego (maybe trade a fork for a cool morph) and historians that would want a brain dump of info about the early 21st century.

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I'm not honestly sure what a pack of people from a long-ago era have to offer Firewall; their education will be deficient, they'll be woefully unconnected with the main of the setting. Maybe Firewall would have had a hand in their rescue, and they get taken aside by a Firewall proxy - say, good ol' Professor Magnus Ming, if they go to Titan - for a long debriefing - but Firewall wouldn't want to immediately throw these poor people back into the face-melting, mind-devouring (or is it the other way around) horrors.

This is a pretty good idea as well. Firewall wouldn't send them out as field agents, more likely they'd stick them in a room and have their brains picked for info about Earth and Earth history.

I'll probably use this as the lead in for the next story arc. Here they are normal people from the 2020's who had never even been to space sitting on a moon of Saturn. They survived being cryogenically frozen, head hunting robots, face-melting nanoswarms, asteroids landing on top of them. They've had their minds shot across space and get stuck in new bodies. Now though...now 100 years in the future and they've been relegated to what is essentially a desk job. Then their friend is ego-napped! Off to action and adventure to rescue her! However their handler here on Titan doesn't want them involved. He wants them to stay out of it and he'll get somebody "more experienced" to look into what happened. Knowing my players they'll probably say "fuck that!" and go off on their own.

ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
Late to the party again :(

You've got some solid stuff here. A couple of things have really jumped out at me though.

Depending on how fast you want your players to meet up with the Reclaimers, you have a solid reason as to "Why Now?".
Suppose the facility they were stored at was being shut down, when it was subject to some sort of natural disaster. International tensions and the unlikelihood of there being any "survivors" result in the facility being abandoned as a lost cause, so no rescue operations are sent - in actuality, some cryotubes (containing your characters) remained intact, although the power to the facility was disabled, so the AI in charge (which would have woken them up) was shut down. During the fall, the inaccessibility and lack of reason to go there resulted in the area being ignored by the TITANs, and a reclaimer group has realised that the complex may be rich in artefacts, despite being "dead".
So they go down there, hook up a generator to get access to the doors and computer network... and AI wakes up.

After releasing your PCs*, you can run them through the complex to give them an impression of the ruin their world has become, before having them run into a Reclaimer squad battling headhunters, who then escort them to the landing zone.

On the way to the shuttles, gradually increase TITAN presence until they reach the shuttle(s), which are under attack from warbots, hunter killers and so on - really show of the "Earth is full of evil robot monsters" side of things, and give them a hot extraction.

Finally, the cordon - you know what the best way is to show that the cordon is lethal is?
Have it kill them.

The shuttle is shaking around, weapon turrets are firing non-stop - suddenly a huge explosion rocks the ship, sending it careening out of control. A reclaimer grabs the PCs, and shoves them in an Emergency Bubble with some choice artefacts, and flings them out the airlock.
Your PCs are treated to a view of the shuttle containing their saviours exploding under sustained weapons fire... and then a piece of debris smacks the bubble, ripping it open.
The players then get to roll each round to see how long they survive the cold darkness of the void - the last survivor gets to see a brief flame in the distance before dying.
Next session, they wake up in healing vats after their corpses were retrieved by the ship who's drive flame the long-lived-one saw. They get to meet the people they saw die, who are overjoyed at how successful the mission was (the artefacts were also recovered).

The PCs get rep and rewards for helping acquire artefacts, and in the downtime they get to use accelerated learning and psychosurgical skill implantation to get them up to snuff :)

ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
I'm not honestly sure what a pack of people from a long-ago era have to offer Firewall; their education will be deficient, they'll be woefully unconnected with the main of the setting.

Easy answer? A unique point of view.
Education and skills are implantable, and so of limited relevancy. However, pre-fall humans? They're going to see things that even the best trained agents would miss. You could run a whole campaign on this idea, with the "primitive" humans seeing signs of TITAN or other non-human influence in transhuman society, which others miss because the Fall primed them to think a certain way.
This could be played up in the intro scenario, letting the PCs save the reclaimers from traps or hazards because the Transhumans don't pick up that something's wrong.

* “You slowly regain conciousness. All around you are white, soft clouds, and you feel warm and comfortable. A gentle voice says:
“ Good Morning [Character Name Here], and welcome back to existence. Your cryosuspension period has expired, and in a few short moments your pod will open, delivering you back to the world once more. Upon exiting your pod, please proceed to the recovery room on your left, where you will find fresh clothing and an “Ecto” personal computing device waiting for you.
Thank you for using Hibernian Dream cryosuspension services, and welcome to the world of Tomorrow...”

The clouds fade away, and are replaced with the doors of your cryotube, which swing open... and the tube suddenly jerks, flinging you out. You land in a puddle of brown slime, lit erraticly by the sparks of a shorting light. The walls are cracked and bare, and the cloying stench of putrescence claws at your throat. Roll SOMx3 to not vomit on yourself. Here's how you roll...”

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

ORCACommander ORCACommander's picture
I recognized this as a

I recognized this as a problem right from the start. I had to be able to show them there are seriously

Quote:
weird threats without just outright killing them since they had no stacks or backups. I'm thinking the players are just going to be a part of a larger group, maybe 10 or 20 total sleepers in the facility. Then I can start killing them off horror movie style and just leave the players alive at the end.

heheh I was thinking similar to this but quicker and more violent but always unseen and always heard

Redroverone Redroverone's picture
As much as I love this scenario, I have one question.

Are you giving them pregens? Because I don't see how they can create a character blind.

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Lorsa Lorsa's picture
Redroverone wrote:Are you

Redroverone wrote:
Are you giving them pregens? Because I don't see how they can create a character blind.

Well, you could easily just mention the system, and if they don't know anything about Eclipse Phase they would just assume it is a generic sci-fi (which was the point). If you don't go into the morph chapter, there is very little that can't be generically used for any modern/sci-fi setting.

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zergbait zergbait's picture
Pregen characters

Sort of.

I'm going to come up with some basic starter characters for them to choose from, however they will not be complete characters. Essentially I'm doing them up on 3x5 cards with basic character concepts on them (e.g. doctor, marine, physicist, engineer,etc..). Then they'll just have Aptitudes plus a handful of skills that will be useful to them in the starting scenario(like Climbing, Freerunning, Fray, or Medicine), depending on their character concept.

They are also going to have a couple "free" slots where they can add skills as we go through the introduction. I'm only going to be giving them a skeleton of a character I want them to start putting meat on it. So for example the person playing a soldier character could decide he was in Military Intelligence on track to move to the CIA, he might then pick up Infosec and Infiltration. The physicist may decide that as a hobby he is a marathon runner so he gets Freerunning.

This will give them an opportunity to get used to how the mechanics work. Then once we're out of the initial scenario and they've moved out into the rest of the universe we'll do a full character creation session to expand on what they have.

lets adapt lets adapt's picture
Great ideas in this thread

Also late to the party! I've thought about approaching this from this angle: terminally ill people cryogenically frozen for 100+ years who were never thawed not to lack of treatment but funds to cover the ever increasing cost of whatever treatment to be required. Throw in the Fall and things get even more complicated. The company goes under getting its assets into orbit and decides to sell to whichever hypercorp would buy. After a long time of litigation and return on investment analysis, the decision is made to revive/resleeve these people. What a hypercorp would/could use them for is then anyone's guess. Living historical artifacts? Memory mining? A genetic baseline useful for experimentation? Blah blah blah.

Edit: I could see an XP cast of their lives bringing in a ton in advertising... The shock of waking up in such a drastically different environment might make for some novel entertainment.

Scottbert Scottbert's picture
lets adapt wrote:Edit: I

lets adapt wrote:
Edit: I could see an XP cast of their lives bringing in a ton in advertising... The shock of waking up in such a drastically different environment might make for some novel entertainment.

I could see this. They're woken up on Elysium, or New Nectar, or maybe Selene Station, or maybe even Paradise... The PC aren't idiots, so they probably wouldn't show the sleepers going through constant humiliation or anything... still, having to live on a reality show with the alternative being having their bodies seized and their egos put in storage (they won't be any use as indentures)... there will be people out there who think this isn't right. The Autonomists, of course, expect people from the past to jump at their way of life, while the Lunar-Lagrange Alliance considers the sleepers as belonging with them because they're what's left of old Earth society according to them... The Argonauts would love to study them humanely and offer them a more private life in return... other shady hypercorps might want them for studying un-humanely and hire mercenaries or criminals to get them... the Morningstar Constellation would offer them better lives but probably wouldn't send an extraction team.

So here's this group of people from the 21st century, with two or more competing extraction teams trying to convince them (or "convince" them) to come with them while fighting off the others...

This could be a good module, playable from the POV of the sleepers or any of the extraction teams!

While it could be played entirely seriously, it might also be quite fun to run with the comedy angle as the various extraction teams get in eachother's way and fail to anticipate the actions of the sleepers as they expect them to act like modern transhumans.

Redroverone Redroverone's picture
First, thanks for the clarification

I like that idea, and more and more I really want to run this scenario. I think I may twist it in the following way:

I have a group that will be playing EP for the first time in a couple of months. One player has jumped in whole hog, while the other players have for various reasons hardly even looked at it. By coincidence, the one player REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted to play an AGI, and specced it as a healer.

If I do this, I plan on having the other two get the general character build that you propose on index cards (I will probably ask them for a two or three word description of their character concept and bulid from there) and let him run his character straight as the AGI who woke them up to get them off Earth safely. After the initial mad dash to safety with the requisite horrific future elements, then those two can safely build their backstory and accessory skills after they farcast offworld, where I have the original idea waiting for them about owing a hypercorp.

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zergbait zergbait's picture
Redroverone wrote:If I do

Redroverone wrote:
If I do this, I plan on having the other two get the general character build that you propose on index cards (I will probably ask them for a two or three word description of their character concept and bulid from there) and let him run his character straight as the AGI who woke them up to get them off Earth safely. After the initial mad dash to safety with the requisite horrific future elements, then those two can safely build their backstory and accessory skills after they farcast offworld, where I have the original idea waiting for them about owing a hypercorp.

Yeah originally I was going to make whole characters for them and just have them grab one off the pile (like a convention style game). This would allow the game to start right away without a lot of back and forth trying to figure out a character for a system and setting they know nothing about.

That method can work but in this case I wanted more interaction from the players about their characters. So I tried to split the difference, give them a starter concept with some skills they should have (and I know will be useful) then have them fill in some of the blanks later on after they get an idea of whats going on. Then I can dole out the skills and abilities in chunks for easier consumption.

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
I feel obliged to point out

I feel obliged to point out that literally any technical skills and knowledge skills the characters could have which aren't historical in nature are going to be woefully outdated by the time of 10 AF.

Infosec, Interfacing, any Hardware skills; they should be practically helpless at them, regardless of how good they were with the technology of their day. Active skills like freeruning or kinetic weapons or swimming or climbing should still be applicable, though.

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MAD Crab MAD Crab's picture
On the plus side, that does

On the plus side, that does mean that you don't have to worry about them hacking out of situations...

UnitOmega UnitOmega's picture
Interfacing they can probably

Interfacing they can probably get away with. Assuming they get a UI they can actually use (no need for AR or a mesh signal), if they're good they can probably figure out how to get things to do what they want. Programming, on the other hand, they will probably be helpless at, because who knows what kind of coding languages they use in EP.

Similarly, while I probably wouldn't have them start with high hardware, if you did actually find somebody in the 2020s who had a functional knowledge of Robotics or implants at all, some of the fundamentals would probably stick. So a better thing to do might be to assign them certain skills, but feel free to liberally apply some -30 modifiers when they encounter some example of futuretech they, at best, had only ever seen in theory. Or in a science fiction novel. That should actually add to some of the future shock. "Oh, a little rotordrone, I messed around with these in college. I can probably fix this" to "What the fuck is a Daitya, and why does this Power Loader from Aliens NOT have a cockpit?" is a great way to transition to EP. If they complain, tell them their character should have the skill, and the penalties will go away once they know more about the technology of the era.

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ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
Big bonus on history checks though.

zergbait wrote:
I'm going to come up with some basic starter characters for them to choose from, however they will not be complete characters. Essentially I'm doing them up on 3x5 cards with basic character concepts on them (e.g. doctor, marine, physicist, engineer,etc..). Then they'll just have Aptitudes plus a handful of skills that will be useful to them in the starting scenario(like Climbing, Freerunning, Fray, or Medicine), depending on their character concept.

Neat! That sounds incredibly convenient. Any chance of you posting these?

ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
Active skills like freerunning or kinetic weapons or swimming or climbing should still be applicable, though.

I disagree about kinetic weapons, because I see them as being extremely high tech pieces of equipment. Nothing quite like pulling the trigger only to have "AC LOAD METAL" flash on the inbuilt display, or have it light up coloured LEDs and start bouncing up and down whilst blaring Skrillex.

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
ThatWhichNeverWas wrote

ThatWhichNeverWas wrote:
ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
Active skills like freerunning or kinetic weapons or swimming or climbing should still be applicable, though.

I disagree about kinetic weapons, because I see them as being extremely high tech pieces of equipment. Nothing quite like pulling the trigger only to have "AC LOAD METAL" flash on the inbuilt display, or have it light up coloured LEDs and start bouncing up and down whilst blaring Skrillex.

Sorry, that wouldn't really be a Kinetic Weapons issue, but an Interfacing issue. Actually knowing how to shoulder a weapon, line up a target in the sights, and squeeze the trigger - that won't have changed. You might find yourself compensating for nonexistant muzzle climb if you fire off a burst or a long burst, but that's about it.

There is a reason that the gear section specifies that things which are meant to be used in an emergency are typically built with fully-functional manual controls.

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Redroverone Redroverone's picture
Re:

As far as the initial scenario, I don't think you'd necessarily need to worry too much about Hacking or Hardware....because wouldn't the installation be essentially as old as the players? Much about it should be frigging antique to transhumans, but perfectly understandable to the podded players.

Alternatively, the AI should be able to tell them where meshbrowsers are. Those could be set to deliver certain information such as directions or simple instructions.

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UnitOmega UnitOmega's picture
Redroverone wrote:As far as

Redroverone wrote:
As far as the initial scenario, I don't think you'd necessarily need to worry too much about Hacking or Hardware....because wouldn't the installation be essentially as old as the players? Much about it should be frigging antique to transhumans, but perfectly understandable to the podded players.

Alternatively, the AI should be able to tell them where meshbrowsers are. Those could be set to deliver certain information such as directions or simple instructions.

Depending on the exact scenario, probably (though we've discussed the probably language barrier before). Another thing is that even if this is a corp facility, if it's Earth-based and not in a a hell-hole country, there are probably Health and Safety standards which means things like emergency releases and all kind of safety features which are suitably low-tech and failure-proofed. The hypercorps got off Earth prior to the Fall in order to get away from such governmental requirements and scrutiny, after all. And so did several governments.

I'll reiterate my point with some more thought put in it. Some skills or fields, the new characters just straight up shouldn't have. In the 2020s, there are probably not a high volume of people who have Academics: Nanotechnology above like a 20 or 30, who would also be cryogenically frozen. There would be no one with "Uplift Medicine", or at least not that isn't bundled into some other Academics skill. All those Xeno- and Astro- fields (except Astrophysics, I don't think EP's made a lot of headway in that department to throw somebody with a doctorate off too much) basically non-existent or theoretical.

But certain technical skills. Hardware, Interfacing, certain Medicine, Research, even Piloting, should all have enough of the same fundamentals that players may still have those skills, and can employ them. Same for many Academics, Art and Profession skills (again, assuming those fields existed previously). And at least while they're getting off Earth, probably wont run into anything too off the wall they wouldn't take a -10 for anyway (Like "this heavy industrial door has been shot to hell, so fixing it is hard"). But there should also be some situations where they might takes -30+ because they have no idea how a cyberbrain or an antimatter drive works, other than maybe seeing some theoretical designs. I'd say that adds to the immersion you're going for. One moment you feel confident, you know what you're doing, the next your really out of your depth. The same penalties someone with kinetic weapons would take for say, just picking up a factory fresh heavy pistol, since if they even have iron-sights they're probably not great (smartlink) and has no external safety and god knows if it has an external fire selector.

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zergbait zergbait's picture
Mini-sheets

ThatWhichNeverWas wrote:
zergbait wrote:
I'm going to come up with some basic starter characters for them to choose from, however they will not be complete characters. Essentially I'm doing them up on 3x5 cards with basic character concepts on them (e.g. doctor, marine, physicist, engineer,etc..). Then they'll just have Aptitudes plus a handful of skills that will be useful to them in the starting scenario(like Climbing, Freerunning, Fray, or Medicine), depending on their character concept.

Neat! That sounds incredibly convenient. Any chance of you posting these?

So I started on this and was originally writing them out by hand on 3x5 cards, however after the third one I decide there had to be a better way. So I did up one approximately the size of a 3x5 card in Google Sheets. They went through about 20 renditions but I think I got it where I like it. They come 3 to a page, and if you print them landscape it should look ok. There is a little gap between each one to cut them out.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwJdEzawGJY3LVFEVzVwUEdPLVE/view?usp=sharing

I'll post a link in the Homebrew forum also.

I'll have them transition to normal character sheets eventually. I also figured these would be good for NPC's.

ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
"Would You Like To Activate Sticky-Trigger?"

ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
Sorry, that wouldn't really be a Kinetic Weapons issue, but an Interfacing issue. Actually knowing how to shoulder a weapon, line up a target in the sights, and squeeze the trigger - that won't have changed. You might find yourself compensating for nonexistant muzzle climb if you fire off a burst or a long burst, but that's about it.

Shoulder weapon, line up target, squeeze trigger... get knocked of your feet because the way you were gripping it triggered the microgravity-compensation gasjet system, get the target lined up again, unknowingly brush your thumb over a touchpad and set ammo type to "Funk"...

Okay, I'm exaggerating for effect, but the principle is valid. More specifically, whilst the basics may still apply, the more advanced skills that would translate to a higher skill level would not.

That said, a character who simply shoulders a weapon, aims, and then pulls the trigger, would still be rolling against an effective skill of (15 +30 for aiming +30 for full auto = 75), which for an intro scenario is perfectly reasonable.

zergbait wrote:

So I started on this and was originally writing them out by hand on 3x5 cards, however after the third one I decide there had to be a better way. So I did up one approximately the size of a 3x5 card in Google Sheets. They went through about 20 renditions but I think I got it where I like it. They come 3 to a page, and if you print them landscape it should look ok. There is a little gap between each one to cut them out.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwJdEzawGJY3LVFEVzVwUEdPLVE/view?usp=sharing

I'll post a link in the Homebrew forum also.

I'll have them transition to normal character sheets eventually. I also figured these would be good for NPC's.

Fantastic! I am going to be using the [redacted] out of these! :D

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

DarckChild DarckChild's picture
Mind if I ask a few questions and make a few observations?

The group you intend to run this for, how many Players are in it?

Do they, the Players, have any interest in Sci-Fi?

Have you decided where the Player wake up?

What condition the facilities are in?

The reason I ask about the facility is with all that has happened the location and current state of the facility will make a huge impact on the game as it is the opening scene or atleast where the opening scene is set. With the extreme environmental damage the planet has suffered some of it might be in accessible making escape difficult. What supplies will the base be able to offer the Players? How much of that equipment and resources still work/function/edible? Has the "base" suffered any damage from the fighting prior to the TITANS? How did the TITANS miss it?

Wherever the base is situated there might not be anything nearby, meaning the Players won't be able to live of the land.

The characters will have to make a Continuity check as they are out of time or out of place in time.

When the Characters learn of the fate of the world that should trigger a Trauma check.

The AI, based on the fact that it might be made of old tech how big is it? How heavy? How long can it remain active before needing recharging? When and how did it become and AI? What will it tell the Players/Characters? Does it know that what happened to the World?

What happens if the Players figure out that the world was destroyed by AIs/TITANS? What happens if they discard it?

Are there any survivors that the Players may encounter? When I say Survivors I mean people struggling to live after they world was destroyed by the TITANS and that they are what is left of transhumanity? Every now and then the TITANS drop rocks from space... Or these Survivors could be cannibals? They, the Survivors, may have issues with the Players as they are not tanned, equipment seems unused, and have an active AI...

If they encounter "Scavengers"/Reclaimers who happen to be on earth covertly how likely are they going to welcome outsiders. The source material mention that relics are taken off earth but there doesn't appear to be any mention about these guys taking survivors off Earth...

If you go with the idea of Farcasting off Earth how are you going to convince the Players to do it? One of the Players steps up has their mind uploaded and then Farcasted but is still physically and mentally in the facility... Or the process works and there is a living body left behind with the lights on but nobody home... If the facility is full of skeletons it's going to be a tough sell. More importantly how do the Players find this as they would have no knowledge of farcasting and the AI may not either.

Is the the AI the only source of knowledge for the Players?

How are you going to handle the TITANS? The Players weapons will offer them very little protection. Carrying an active AI to me would be painting a Bull's Eye on the group?

How many sessions or seasons will they stuck on Earth?

Inspiration from:
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Identity Crisis