Character creation

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Decivre Decivre's picture
Character creation

I have a few questions about creating characters. We already do know some things, but even then it leaves lots of questions up in the air.

1. I'm guessing that the game is going to have point-based creation. Can you tell us if there are going to be edges and flaws, like Shadowrun has? If so, what might they entail (since obviously certain edges and flaws wouldn't work in Eclipse Phase, like allergies).

2. It's obvious that most characters will be (trans)human, but does Eclipse Phase have the rules necessary to portray characters that aren't necessarily so? Perhaps a player wishes to be an AI (one of my game group thought it might be interesting if a person's muse could be another PC), or someone naturally born as a morph of some sort (the organic ones I assume can breed) with a mindset somewhat alien to most humans (even those who have resleeved as that morph)... will this be possible?

3. Since the game is skill based, it made me wonder if certain concepts from Shadowrun's skill system might be translated, such as Edge, skill groups, and similar goodies. Can we expect something similar? How many skills might we see in an Eclipse Phase skill group? Will there be something similar to knowledge skills?

Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age.

Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.

RobBoyle RobBoyle's picture
1. Yeah, it's point-based.

1. Yeah, it's point-based. There are positive and negative traits you can purchase, both for egos and for morphs (with some overlap). A lot of these are standard to what you'd expect to find in other RPGs, but there are a few explicit to the setting, such as familiarity with sleeving into certain morphs, having striking looks that separate you out from standard beauty, or having a look that falls into the "uncanny valley" where almost-human gets kind of creepy.

2. There aren't really rules for alien mind-sets in the core book, though you could certainly roleplay something like this. Most AIs and AGIs in the game are programmed and socialized to identify as transhuman. Same for uplifts. There are some rules for messing with minds via psychosurgery, but a lot of that ultimately rests on roleplaying as well.

3. There is a Moxie stat that is similar to Edge. There are no skill groups -- we originally playtested something like that, but it created complications with the skill purchasing so we dropped it. You can specialize in skills. There are both active and knowledge skills, like in SR, and you are required to spend a minimum number of points on knowledge skills.

I hope that helps!

Rob Boyle :: Posthuman Studios

Decivre Decivre's picture
Part II

Yes, it definitely helps.

Now with purchasing traits for your morph, are these tied directly to the body you have, so they are lost if you ever switch to a different body? In other words, is there an advantage to spending points on your morph that couldn't be gained by simply spending everything on upping your ego and then purchasing a better morph with money later?

Lastly, while I know what an AI is, and I can assume pretty easily what an AGI is (artificial genetic intelligence?), can I ask what an uplift is? I'm thinking an otherwise unintelligent creature, like dog or monkey, with their intelligence altered to be comparable to humans?

Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age.

Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.

RobBoyle RobBoyle's picture
Yeah morph traits are

Yeah morph traits are specific that morph, so if you resleeve you lose those traits. So, yeah, it's a better deal to buy a trait for an ego, because that will stick with you from morph to morph, though ego traits are in most cases only acquired at character creation. An equivalent morph trait has the same cost, but the advantage is that you can acquire a morph with certain traits in gameplay.

When we use the term "AI," we generally mean narrow AI -- of human-level proficiency in its area of focus, but incapable of self-improvement. "AGI" is indeed artificial general intelligence, which is roughly of human-equivalent intelligence and capable of slow self-improvement. AGIs are a PC option.

Uplifts are animals modified and enhanced to human-level intelligence, yeah. In EP, this has been done with a few animals: gorillas, orangutans, chimps, ravens, grey parrots, octopi, dolphins, whales, pigs. Some of these are available for playing as PCs. Other animals have been uplifted to "smart animal" status, but are not playable as PCs.

Rob Boyle :: Posthuman Studios

GregH GregH's picture
Can uplifts become

Can uplifts become infomorphed characters as well? Resleeving to new alternate morphs? In addition, given their nature I'd imagine that being a stored ego and having a backup akin to a cortical stack is easy enough in an AGI, but do they have the same trauma rolls to make if they are "recovering" from a violent end?

Jimson Jimson's picture
On the topic of animals and

On the topic of animals and uplifts, I'm going to ask something to help my confusion. On the cover of Sunward we see whales in space. Is this part of an "uplift" (giving a creature the ability to live in space)? Or would the whale on the cover have a morph that it allows it to do this.

Decivre Decivre's picture
From what I understand, those

From what I understand, those aren't uplifts. They are a morph specifically designed for the ability to live on the corona of the sun, and not a modification to an already-existing species (although they obviously used ideas from other species to design it).

Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age.

Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.

Decivre Decivre's picture
So if I am understanding you

So if I am understanding you correctly, any intelligence of human capability or equivalent that can learn (whether artificial, or from another source, or whatever) is effectively playable (save for probably alien races)?

Oh, that is so sweet. Gives me all sorts of ideas for character concepts. RELEASE THE GAME ALREADY!!! :D

Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age.

Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.

RobBoyle RobBoyle's picture
That was a surya morph,

That was a surya morph, which is specifically-designed to live in the solar corona. It's basically a body type that anyone can sleeve into and go swim around in the sun. As described in Sunward, a lot of dolphin and whale uplifts have gone for the surya lifestyle, meaning that they've resleeved from their original uplifted dolphin/whale bodies into surya morphs.

Uplifts can resleeve just like other transhumans. So you can start off as an octopus and end in a human, robot, or even a neo-avian morph.

Rob Boyle :: Posthuman Studios

RobBoyle RobBoyle's picture
Yep, uplifts can go

Yep, uplifts can go all-digital infomorph or resleeve into other bodies. Likewise, AGIs can sleeve into human, bot, or uplift bodies. All such characters are treated the same when resleeving, though the differences between your original morph and what you're sleeving into may apply some modifiers.

Rob Boyle :: Posthuman Studios

Jimson Jimson's picture
That is very interesting.

That is very interesting. Guess I've never read (or heard) any Sci-Fi that as dealt with this. Or is this a brand new idea to Eclipse Phase? I'm fairly new to the H+/cyberpunk side of Sci-Fi, so I'll try not to embarrass myself too much. :)

Colin Chapman Colin Chapman's picture
Nice. Plenty of opportunities

Nice. Plenty of opportunities for unusual characters beyond even the usual transhumans then. Hmm, what would you call them? Transanimals?

Radioactive Ape Designs: ENnie and Indie Award nominated publisher of Atomic Highway!
http://radioactiveapedesigns.com

Decivre Decivre's picture
Uplifts, silly!

Uplifts, silly!

Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age.

Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.

GregH GregH's picture
If you need a quick primer,

If you need a quick primer, Ken MacLeod's "Newton's Wake" (cited also as part of EP's inspiration) and good ol' Bruce Sterling's "Schismatrix" should get you on track. If you really like what you're seeing then grab Alastair Reynolds'es "Revelation Space" series... that's where the horror element of Transhumansim can creep in. For a shorter Transhuman-horror infusion here's Charles Stross'es "A Colder War" (http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/stories/colderwar.htm), Lovecraft's Mythos explained in hypertech terms!

GregH GregH's picture
"Uplifts". The actual term

"Uplifts". The actual term originated with the SF author David Brin in his "EarthClan/Uplift War" series where the practive of "uplifting" animals to sentience was done on a galactic level. Though the actual CONCEPT of animals being upgraded to intelligence is much older... arguably first appearing in a SF context in HG Well'es "The Island of Dr. Moreau". Some animals with human or other DNA incorporated into them have been given the term "transgenics"... though in the EP universe that would be seen as something applying to the morph alone I suspect.

Colin Chapman Colin Chapman's picture
Sounds like something you do

Sounds like something you do with platform shoes. ;)

Radioactive Ape Designs: ENnie and Indie Award nominated publisher of Atomic Highway!
http://radioactiveapedesigns.com

Colin Chapman Colin Chapman's picture
The Blue Planet RPG

The Blue Planet RPG dealt/deals with Uplifted cetaceans (dolphins, orcas, belugas, etc.), as well as hybrids. It's a great game.

Radioactive Ape Designs: ENnie and Indie Award nominated publisher of Atomic Highway!
http://radioactiveapedesigns.com

Colin Chapman Colin Chapman's picture
My real answer, of course, is

My real answer, of course, is that I suffered a Brain Fart when i asked that question (especially given that I enjoy Blue Planet). :)

Radioactive Ape Designs: ENnie and Indie Award nominated publisher of Atomic Highway!
http://radioactiveapedesigns.com

Decivre Decivre's picture
I figured that was the case,

I figured that was the case, but I rarely get to use such a lighthearted response to a question, so I figured I'd capitalize on the opportunity. :D

Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age.

Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.

fourthson fourthson's picture
Hell yeah! this game is gonna

Hell yeah! this game is gonna be freaky, weird, wild and edgey cool!

Colin Chapman Colin Chapman's picture
When you're around me you get

When you're around me you get more opportunities than you know what to do with. ;)

Radioactive Ape Designs: ENnie and Indie Award nominated publisher of Atomic Highway!
http://radioactiveapedesigns.com

Jimson Jimson's picture
So much reading, so little

So much reading, so little time. I'm still plugging through Nights Dawn and Star Wars: Outcast (Fate of the Jedi Series). Maybe I'll finish that one and pick up "Revelation Space". I'm really enjoying the Sci-Fi/horror aspect of Nights Dawn.

GregH GregH's picture
Check out the short story

Check out the short story from the "Revelation Space" universe called "Diamond Dogs"... there's a great SF/horror yarn with a strong transhumanist bent...

Cardul Cardul's picture
The skill minimums...

So, I saw the thing on skill minimums in the chargen, and I am really curious:
is this the total number of skill points, or the number of CP that have to be spent(since I think it is kind of impossible to spend those CP and not have that many points total).

Also, for skill totals: do you count the Morph and implant bonuses to the aptitude before or after calculating how many CP you are spending on the skill?

RobBoyle RobBoyle's picture
a) It's the number of skill

a) It's the number of skill points, not CP.


b) Morph and implant bonuses are not added until the very end -- they have no impact on CP costs.

Rob Boyle :: Posthuman Studios

Balfuset Balfuset's picture
This may be answered here,

This may be answered here, I'm not really sure so I'm just looking for clarification. How does the buying of skills work points wise in relation to Aptitudes. Say for example I have a Cognition of 15, and I want to buy Academics: Computer Science so I have a total rating of 30, have I spent 15 CPs to get from the base aptitude of 15 to 30, or have I spent 30.. Apologies if this is obvious, I'm just curious so I don't go overspending and get fewer skills for my points when making characters, heh.



Edit: Never mind, I just reread the character creation rules more carefully, heh... my bad for skimming it I guess

nielsk nielsk's picture
So I can have all aptitudes

So I can have all aptitudes on 15 and then have 25 skills with a skill value of 16 (16*25=400)? If that's true, why this rule in the first place?

RobBoyle RobBoyle's picture
When buying skills, you buy

When buying skills, you buy *up* from the linked aptitude -- you don't have to buy the aptitude points over again. So if your aptitude is 15 and you buy a skill at 16, you've only spent 1 skill point.

Rob Boyle :: Posthuman Studios

nielsk nielsk's picture
Exactly, that's my point. I

Exactly, that's my point. I spend 25 CP but I am reaching the minimum of 400 active skill points I have to have after character creation and therefore I do not understand why there's a minimum in the first place.

nielsk nielsk's picture
And one more: does the native

And one more: does the native tongue with its high value (70+int) count against the 300 knowledge skill points?

Balfuset Balfuset's picture
Having gone through a few

Having gone through a few character creation examples with some people, I can't help but find that this points minimum restriction does suggest that people will always be creating skill-heavy characters. This was most prevalent when I helped someone create a Lost character who, to be honest, was a concept that I would really expect from what I've read of the background, a highly traumatised individual. They weren't designed to be a combat character, and with a narrow skill base that they were rather good at (mostly the psi skills), and the player found the 400 active skill minimum to be very restrictive because they had far too many skill points they needed to spend for their character concept. Why wasn't the possibility of people wanting to make such characterful yet narrowly focused characters considered (apparently) within the game's system?



This might seem like I'm saying that I dislike the system, which isn't true, I have jsut found some design decisions that seem to encourage a certain playstyle that I'm not sure I would want to encourage, which is rather obvious when one considers my post in the Weapons of the Future thread a few days past.

Cardul Cardul's picture
I would guess: to keep

I would guess: to keep players from front-loading aptitudes, gear, and Qualities. Also to encourage players to spread out a little.



I mean, say, for instance, you were making a combat monkey, and you took
just fray, unarmed combat, and your choice of ranged weapon at 80(the maximum)
each. That is only 240 points, you also put, say, 60 total into perception, and, since you likely made savy your dump stat, have only 30 in networking, so you are at 330 points. Since, you say, you are making a combat character, you do not need anything else..and, so, go looking at all those combat implants,
and cackle madly as you spend money rediculously...since, after all, you likely
did everything you could to minimize the number of points you needed to put into
combat skills...and, without a minimum in Knowledge Skills, you would likely not take any, since most people do Combat characters as dumb psychopaths. Since, after all, they are the hammer, and every problem becomes a nail.



Honestly, I like the minimums, as they require that you take something outside of a narrow concept, and, at the same time, require that you take knowledge skills.



Something else to consider, Nielk, is, since you have spent 45 points(20 points to also make teh character a Psi), and are saying that you now have
no intention of spending any more points in skills, since you now have 16% chance of doing anything...where are you going to be putting the the 955 points you have remaining?

Balfuset Balfuset's picture
Of course, that assumes that

Of course, that assumes that your narrowly focused or skill-light character is being made by someone who;s trying to twink their character. There are just as many people there who have characters with practically no skills because it's appropriate to their back story and the situation they find themselves in when they start the game. I would cite a specific example but it's not Eclipse PHase related so it might be considered off-topic discussion.



I admit that a player like that is probably going to run into the situation of too many points in most, if not all, categories... but some character concepts just can't spend that many points, I had to give, for example, a Scum salvager/tinkerer character extensive knowledge of engineering and mathematics just to make those 300 knowledge skill points. That's not the character I wanted to make, as I was going very much for a self-taught 'bang things and stick them together with duct tape till they do something interesting' type of character, and it ends up looking like he got an engineering degree from MIT.



Granted, there are other knowledge skill categories, but really, there's only so many fields that you can fit on a certain character concept before it's silly, and even loading them up on languages (how many septilingual people do you know?) or interests makes for a slightly oddball looking character. Granted the times where I've made certain characters I easily spent the required points minimums but they do force people into creating well-educated professionals, rather than a practical hands-on type with little academic experience, or a learned intellectual with minimal physical prowess. Or crazy psychics who stay away from people and don't fight, doing what they're told only with a lot of cajoling, hehe ;)

nielsk nielsk's picture
What you are writing has

What you are writing has actually nothing to do with what I say…

I thought in the beginning (like everyone seems to do in that rpg.net-character building-forum-thread) that you have to spend 400 CP for active skills and 300 CP for knowledge skills. Ok, skill minimums, not that happy about it but at least the characters will have some skills.



But in the thread was said that it is not necessary to spend 400 CP in active skill points but that you need 400 skill points and because you can get those already with a mere 25 CP the minimum total amount of active skill points just doesn't make sense.



Once more the minimum says that you need 400 skill points not that you have to spend 400 CP. A big big difference.

nielsk nielsk's picture
I think I understood it now

I think I understood it now and then the minimum makes complete sense:

You have to buy 400 active skill points, this amounts to at least 400 CP but can be more if you buy skill points beyond a skill value of 60.