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A couple of questions from a first-time EP GM

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ottomancer ottomancer's picture
A couple of questions from a first-time EP GM
Hi, Finally started running Eclipse Phase with my regular gaming group, and a couple of rules and background questions have arisen that I hope the excellent people on these forums can help me clarify: Starting skills: Is there a recommended maximum skill level new characters can start with? I have one player who has maxed out with a Fury Morph and combat skills up at 99, so any combat he walks into he stands very small chance of missing any shot. Salaries: Several players have asked me about whether their characters get any form of salary in the game if they have some form of job. I have no idea what constitutes a 'living wage' in Eclipse Phase. Is there any list of example career salaries I can use as a benchmark for creating new ones? Also, do Firewall ever pay their operatives, either in the form of a salary or 'rewards' i.e. one-off payments for successful missions? Thanks in advance. Love the setting/system and want my players to love it too, so want to get it right. :-) John
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
ottomancer wrote:Salaries:
ottomancer wrote:
Salaries: Several players have asked me about whether their characters get any form of salary in the game if they have some form of job. I have no idea what constitutes a 'living wage' in Eclipse Phase. Is there any list of example career salaries I can use as a benchmark for creating new ones? Also, do Firewall ever pay their operatives, either in the form of a salary or 'rewards' i.e. one-off payments for successful missions?
I did some simple economics here: http://www.aleph.se/EclipsePhase/Transhuman%20capital.pdf
Lifestyle costs per month range between Moderate for poor people, High for a nice middle class life, and of course, high-class lifestyles start at Expensive and then continue endlessly. People can survive on Low, but would then need to rough it. This cost is not just basic material needs like housing and nanofab access, but the intangible parts of modern life – transport, online services, entertainment, enhancement, education, and so on. These costs depend to some degree on location and lifestyle choices; it is possible to live a frugal life or to spend far too much by living in a pricey environment. ... An employer will hence tend to pay High for an employed professional (1,500-10,000) and Moderate (500-1,500) for simple service labour. In some polities payroll taxes and social fees are added, bringing it up by between 10-60%. If course, in such polities there is always a certain amount of black market work.
Quick version: it is usually easiest to ignore details like money for lifestyle unless it is a gritty low level campaign (where it is *fun* to struggle to get credits! One side-campaign had PCs taking all sorts of menial jobs to fund their big plan) I think Firewall rarely pays in a straight fashion: "follow the money" is far too possible, and could jeopardize the organisation. However, it does have resources and could give generous compensation (even beyond what was used for a mission) - it is just that it has to be untraceable or impossible to prove that it was a reward for Firewall activities. The classic intelligence agency formula for recruitment is MICE: Money, Ideology, Coercion and Ego. Firewall wants people who are ideologically aligned, since they will be highly motivated. Money and coercion are bad motivators and agents may switch sides. And you don't want agents with too much ego...
Duke Rollo Duke Rollo's picture
As for starting skills, I
As for starting skills, I just asked the same question yesterday (not sure where that thread went... ) It goes like this: You take your starting attribute (we'll say SOM). That's where you start. Add to that any skill bonuses from backgrounds. This gives you the base that you start buying from. So if my SOM is 15 and I get a skill bonus of 20, my starting skill is 35. From 35, you buy up to 60 at on CP per skill point. So 25 gets you from 35 to 60. From there, you spend 2 CP per skill point to get to 80 which is the max you can buy. So another 40 CP takes you from 60 to 80. 80 is the max starting skill. NOW you add in your morph bonus to the skill. Your morph bonus should be the only bonus you add above that cap of 80. So your Fury can buy a skill up to 80 and then add +10 SOM bonus to get a starting skill of 90.
-Duke Rollo
ottomancer ottomancer's picture
Oh thanks so much for the
Oh thanks so much for the info about salaries and the PDF link - I've downloaded that PDF. :-) RE: starting skills - can you point me to where in the rules it says no modifiers other than Morph bonuses can take skills above 80? The chap in question has 80 skill points in kinetic weapons, a Morph bonus and a Smart Link on his weapon, maxing his weapon skill out at 98.
OneTrikPony OneTrikPony's picture
Gear bonuses also add after
Gear bonuses also add after the Skill Rating has been determined. It might help to have a general understanding that skills are a feature of the Ego. The soft cap of 60 and the hard cap of 80 only relate to the Ego, not the morph or the gear or situation. The other terminology issue is skill points as in; "The chap in question has 80 skill points in Kinetic Weapons". There is no such thing, but the Ego may have a Skill Rating of 80. That maximum starting rating may be increased by; Morph bonus to Linked Aptitude, Gear bonus to linked Aptitude, Gear bonus to Skill Rating, Specialization in the skill Because of this the actual Target number for a skill may exceed 100. Taking Climbing as an Example: The Ego SOM Aptitude 15, + Skill Ranks 65 (costing 85CP) = Climbing 80 (the maximum for the Ego) +5 aptitude bonus to SOM (Neo Homonid) = Climbing 85 +5 Aptitude bonus to SOM (Muscle Augmentation Gear) = Climbing 90 +10 Skill bonus to Climbing (Neo Hominid special bonus) = Climbing 100 +30 skill bonus to Climbing (Grip Pads Gear) = Climbing 130 +10 specialization to Climbing skill (Free Hand) = Climbing[Freehand] 130[140] Don't be scared of characters being very good at one or two things. It's possible with a specialization, smart weapon, ghost morph, smart gun system, and Homing ammo for a character to have a base T# of 120 for kinetic weapons[Sniper Rifle] However that character just used a fifth of all the CP he's likely to have to spend on all skills which will cut deep into all the other skills the character need to actually function in EP. He will definitely be a one trick pony. ;) {Edited to use Neohominid as a better example due to morph specific skill bonus}

Mea Culpa: My mode of speech can make others feel uninvited to argue or participate. This is the EXACT opposite of what I intend when I post.

RustedPantheress RustedPantheress's picture
This is where the
This is where the difficulties come into play... Such a good shot? Fine then, he's the one tasked to do the shots that other people can't. meanwhile, in so many other situations, he's got nothing.
Somebody is using bad science! Snark, facts, snark. Your body is corrupted: Cool, do more science to it. Your mind is warped: That's nice, want a cookie? What do we say to the God of Death? Not today!
ottomancer ottomancer's picture
Yes - he's going to be a tank
Yes - he's going to be a walking tank and not much else. Thanks for all the help and advice, I really appreciate it. :-)
Oroborous Oroborous's picture
Money and wealth
Regarding wealth and pay, I kept it simple for my players. I told they them get paid from their day jobs and things they do outside Firewall. Firewall itself does not pay salaries, they are not employees. They were recruited because they believe in the cause completely, otherwise they would not be in Firewall. They were recruited in various ways that fit into their character concept. Things like living expenses and travel were "covered" by their normal jobs/activities. If they wanted more credits on their character, they could spend REZ as the book says, 1 REZ = 1,000 credits. The expenditure of REZ meant that they were able to save some money now and again for various purchases. I have since then moved on from tracking credits and abstracted wealth out similar to how Reputation works. We no longer track individual credits. I added a new value called Assets and a new skill called Finances. They are both used to acquire things and represent the property, investments and wealth a character has acquired. I posted up these new rules here: http://eclipsephase.com/abstracting-wealth