Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?

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krank krank's picture
Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
First of all - yes, I know I'm not really a conventional roleplayer. I mean, there are others like me, but I'll never be "mainstream". Most players out there like their characters to be "heroes" or at least "main character". I just don't need that. I'm just as happy, if not happier, with playing "regular people", even if those regular people get caught up in all sorts of weird conspiracies and the like. Right now, I'm reading the Eclipse Phase book, and a thought struck me. The players begin the game with a lot of information (providing they read the parts of the book that seems to be "players-safe"), and I'm just not very comfortable with that. They'll know about Firewall, about the Exergent virus, about PSI... Are these things common knowledge in the game world? You see - roleplaying campaigns, to me, is a lot about [i]finding stuff out[/i] about the game world. Preferable cool, mysterious, horrific and/or shocking stuff. Therefore, I kind of like secrets-heavy worlds, and players starting the game with the bare minimum - more or less what any ordinary person in the game world would know. Eclipse Phase is supposed to contain an element of [i]horror[/i], yes? And is information not the absolute bane of actual horror? The fear of anything known isn't likely to surpass the fear of that which isn't known. It just seems like EP wastes a lot of its potential by making its player characters "heroes"; people who are Competent and In The Know. The slightly-too-heroic and positive spin on the Argonauts and Firewall, not to mention the overly negative portrayal of the Jovians... Well, it seems like the game might turn out to be more Heroes Vs Villains and less, well... horror. What are your thoughts? Should Psi and the Exergent virus be hidden from view, or should the players come to the table with a lot of info? What kind of campaigns do you run - action-heavy, investigative, horror? (There isn't a Hack Pack for the main rulebook, is there? I might need to censor it before my players read it... =) Am I making myself understood? Or am I just rambling?
Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist
evapor8 evapor8's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
This is kind of how I like to engage with the game world. I have started writing up a starting adventure for our group. Rather than go all out for Transhuman saving heroism, the focus is on interacting with the setting (It's less about Titans and Firewall and Exsurgent virus in that way, though you could argue that those elements are instrumental to understanding the game in its entirety). It's understood that the characters will be hired for a job. What happens next is up to the players and the factions/groups/organisations they find themselves caught between. The 'big picture' elements relating to The Fall aren't hidden, they just won't be made apparent to the players immediately. I believe there is a huge amount of other 'stuff' happening that it is worth investigating in between what is made apparent.
Sepherim Sepherim's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
I agree with you completely. So I turned this into the basic element of my campaign. To do so, and let them find out the universe while playing, I didn't allow them to read the book, and instead started playing out from scratch (not even character creation, we RPed the creation of the characters in a strange way). To allow this, I started the story when they were resleved after being stored for ten years in a chip, with their IDs completely frozen. I made up a psychological problem that arises for being frozen for too long, and that damages the memory functions of the brain, causing a temporal yet complete loss of memory. From then on, when they woke up, I didn't create a story of any kind for them, and instead left them the door open for exploring the universe at their will. They can do/go/think/investigate/... what they like and find interesting, and the story develops this way. From time to time, they may get a mission or contract from a corporation or a friend asking for a favor returned (for example, http://www.eclipsephase.com/game-module-story-politics-and-economics is one of them), but most of the time they are free to do as they like, investigate their pasts, and do as they like. They saw a corner of Firewall once, but ignore what it is; they saw a few exsurgent nanos but haven't seen them in action; they've seen corporate bickering and infighting; etc. And so, they slowly come to know some more of the game with each session, which keeps the game both interesting, new and refreshing.
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
So long as the players do not read chapter 12, much of the game information will not be known. Prometheans will be a rumor; the exsurgent virus will largely be a myth; ETI are nonexistent; the Factors are a curio that they likely know nothing about, and Project OZMA might not even be something they've heard of. The first chapter largely details things that most people know. In the case of Firewall, do note that the default campaign assumes that players have already been approached and accepted by Firewall as a Sentinel. But yes, people should know about Psi. They might not know much about how it works, but they know it exists (thanks to the debacle of the Lost Generation, and public announcements about Watts-Macleod). There is little info that the public knows about the Exsurgent virus, but Firewall agents (and therefore the players) will likely have at least a little info on it. In short; keep your players from reading chapter 12, and everything should be fine. They should know everything they need to know about the setting, and there should be plenty of mystery for you to play with... so long as they don't read chapter 12. Hell, the PDF copy I distributed to my players for them to learn the game from has that chapter completely removed.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
krank krank's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
Decivre wrote:
In the case of Firewall, do note that the default campaign assumes that players have already been approached and accepted by Firewall as a Sentinel.
I've been thinking about this part, and I'll probably end up not making my players Sentinels at the start of the game. Might make it a bit more difficult to pull the group together, but on the other hand we all have some experience in creating "group concepts" that bind characters to one another. Combined with not letting the players read more than they absolutely have to (either just things like skill and morph lists, or a censored PDF) and modifying the campaign world somewhat (removing PSI from the public eye), I'll have a lot more to play with... Like I said, I prefer my players to be more or less on a "regular people" level of knowledge. I'll remove PSI simply because a) The whole "Psi exists, and it's because of x" seems like something I'd like to build an adventure or two around, and b) letting a player play someone with Psi abilities, or even just read about Psi in skill lists etc, demystifies the whole concept. I'm generally kind of sceptical of the whole Psi concept in sci-fi settings. It tends to lend a kind of star-wars-fantasy-with-lasers kind of feel to the whole concept, a concession to those players who can't imagine playing in a world without "magic"/"wizards"... I like my scifi kind of [b]hard[/b], and most of the EP feel is rather hard (Psi and the Pandora gates being notable exceptions; I'd also like to give my players minimal information on the latter; the idea that it's like Stargate must at all times be discouraged)... To me, I guess Psi and the Pandora gates just seem like later-in-the-campaign stuff. Things the player might not even know about in the beginning of the campaign, and might have worked better separated from the rest of the rules and stuff... (Not to mention the players will likely already be suffering from information overload, since the world is so rich in [b]difference[/b] from most other settings etc)
Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
krank wrote:
I've been thinking about this part, and I'll probably end up not making my players Sentinels at the start of the game. Might make it a bit more difficult to pull the group together, but on the other hand we all have some experience in creating "group concepts" that bind characters to one another. Combined with not letting the players read more than they absolutely have to (either just things like skill and morph lists, or a censored PDF) and modifying the campaign world somewhat (removing PSI from the public eye), I'll have a lot more to play with... Like I said, I prefer my players to be more or less on a "regular people" level of knowledge. I'll remove PSI simply because a) The whole "Psi exists, and it's because of x" seems like something I'd like to build an adventure or two around, and b) letting a player play someone with Psi abilities, or even just read about Psi in skill lists etc, demystifies the whole concept. I'm generally kind of sceptical of the whole Psi concept in sci-fi settings. It tends to lend a kind of star-wars-fantasy-with-lasers kind of feel to the whole concept, a concession to those players who can't imagine playing in a world without "magic"/"wizards"... I like my scifi kind of [b]hard[/b], and most of the EP feel is rather hard (Psi and the Pandora gates being notable exceptions; I'd also like to give my players minimal information on the latter; the idea that it's like Stargate must at all times be discouraged)... To me, I guess Psi and the Pandora gates just seem like later-in-the-campaign stuff. Things the player might not even know about in the beginning of the campaign, and might have worked better separated from the rest of the rules and stuff... (Not to mention the players will likely already be suffering from information overload, since the world is so rich in [b]difference[/b] from most other settings etc)
Asyncs and pandora gates are closer tied to the horrors of the setting than they are to the science fiction concepts. After all, every psi user has to have lucked out when contracting the Exsurgent virus to even exist, and pandora gates were built by the TITANs, who are the closest thing to eldritch gods that the setting has physically presented to the human race. You're right that it isn't hard sci-fi, but it does fit the horror of the setting, and the ridiculous technological capabilities which produced psi and the pandora gates are meant to show you just how little the human race knows, and just how much more advanced the TITANs (and the ETI who infected them, for that matter) really are. That said, I would ask you to look at psi for a bit. It isn't the magic that some people might presume it to be from the description, and comes off fairly limited, in the context of psychic powers of most settings, and is actually pretty close to "hard" sci-fi (most psi abilities are nothing more than enhancements to your mind which could easily be very advanced bioimplants; manipulating others with psi actually requires physical contact and involves you affecting their bioelectric field). I am currently GMing for four campaigns, and only one has players which requested such parts of the setting be removed. You might like what you see if you give it a hard look.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
King Shere King Shere's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
My impression of EP psi are that they are "mega savant" ego's. Quick, Intuitive & deductive. More related to "Robert Downey Jr" Sherlock Holmes or persons having eidetic memory http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Peek Not as "Firestarter" ala Steven King, nor fireball wizards. Though those cheeses- was what I initially though when first reading the label.
krank krank's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
Decivre wrote:
Asyncs and pandora gates are closer tied to the horrors of the setting than they are to the science fiction concepts.
Agreed. And this is exactly why I would prefer them to be a bit more "under wraps". Horror is about not knowing how stuff works or even looks, effect with no known causem, etc. Consider Call of Cthulhu. As some have pointedout, there are two ways to play the game (in the Trail of Cthulhu rules set, it's even pointed out in the rules): Either it's Indiana Jones with tentacles (pulp horror), or it's creeping, incomprehensible and otherworldly horror, insanity and hidden terrors. Could one argue that both of these are part of the "horror" genre? Well, sure... I prefer the latter, though. I like letting my players discover things. The first time one runs a ne game is a [i]unique[/i] opportunity to discover cool stuff - stuff cannot be undiscovered. Sure, we can make new, less experienced characters later on, but the [i]players[/i] know. They can [i]act[/i] as if they don't, disregard their knowledge from past campaigns, but their experience will never be the same as that first time, when everything was new and truly unknown - and horrifying. The umptieth time you stumble upon a Shoggoth, it's less "AAAAAAAAAAHHH!" and more "Hey, anyone got a lighter?" So; when analyzing a new game world, I tend to divide information into two rough groups: Stuff that'd be interesting to discover in-game (there are Psi's, for instance. There's an organization called Firewall - I'm already looking forward to the "recruiting" adventure. There's a horrific virus going around, which may or may not have come from outer space...), and stuff that aren't. Since I'm not particularly interested in "culture shock" campaigns, I'll give my players a quick primer to the world's basic concepts, such as sleeving, the end of the world as we knew it, XP, implants etc. Those aren't things I think of as interesting to [i]discover[/i].
Decivre wrote:
That said, I would ask you to look at psi for a bit. It isn't the magic that some people might presume it to be from the description, and comes off fairly limited, in the context of psychic powers of most settings, and is actually pretty close to "hard" sci-fi (most psi abilities are nothing more than enhancements to your mind which could easily be very advanced bioimplants; manipulating others with psi actually requires physical contact and involves you affecting their bioelectric field). I am currently GMing for four campaigns, and only one has players which requested such parts of the setting be removed. You might like what you see if you give it a hard look.
Yes, I know. It seems more simular to underpowered "jedi mind tricks"... All the more reason to actually keep a bit of the mystery and suspense, by letting the players explore and discover these things during the game, rather than work out how Psi works by reading skill descriptions and game mechanics during character creation. Would I allow a Psi character at some point? yes, but right now it seems like a waste of a perfectly good mystery... //Krank, once again using too many words
Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist
nick012000 nick012000's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
Personally, I like knowing all of the canon. Besides, things can be plenty horrific, even if there aren't any secrets. The Exsurgent Virus is only really scary if you know what it really is. It's downright paranoia-inducing. All it takes is a single nanobot or a single piece of tainted software getting in, and an entire habitat can be infected and destroyed. Am I infected? How can I tell? How can you know for sure? You can't. It could just be laying in wait; manifesting subtly to catch me of guard or making me into a Typhoid Mary. Once you come into contact, the only way to know for sure is to kill yourself and start from a backup. And that's leaving aside things like missiles that light people on fire from the inside (splash warheads loaded with Liquid Thermite and DMSO; nerve impulses set off the thermite reaction). That's pretty horrific in its own right, and it's the sort of thing PCs do all the time.

+1 r-Rep , +1 @-rep

Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
King Shere wrote:
My impression of EP psi are that they are "mega savant" ego's. Quick, Intuitive & deductive. More related to "Robert Downey Jr" Sherlock Holmes or persons having eidetic memory http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Peek Not as "Firestarter" ala Steven King, nor fireball wizards. Though those cheeses- was what I initially though when first reading the label.
It really depends on the sleights they take. Some asyncs might be quick and deductive if they take such sleights as multitasking and pattern recognition, but others might have different specialties. Mine is a master social animal, capable of seeing through any lie (superior kinesics), showing any emotion he desires (emotion control), or pretending to be any person he has ever met and studied (mimic). The only sure things are that they can usually do things that no normal person can do, and that they are almost all batshit insane. :D
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
krank krank's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
nick012000 wrote:
Besides, things can be plenty horrific, even if there aren't any secrets.
But it's another kind of horror, at least the way I see it. The horror that comes from lack of knowledge is a rare thing, it can't be regained once lost. The horror you speak of can always be created. And as we're dealing with one finite resource and one infinite resource, and the usage of the infinite resource depletes the finite one, the logical thing, to me, is to begin with the finite. And I guess it all boils down to this: My enjoyment of any setting comes from gradually unveiling things. Knowing everything from the beginning takes most, if not all, the fun out of it...
Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist
Sepherim Sepherim's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
nick012000 wrote:
The Exsurgent Virus is only really scary if you know what it really is. It's downright paranoia-inducing. All it takes is a single nanobot or a single piece of tainted software getting in, and an entire habitat can be infected and destroyed. Am I infected? How can I tell? How can you know for sure? You can't. It could just be laying in wait; manifesting subtly to catch me of guard or making me into a Typhoid Mary. Once you come into contact, the only way to know for sure is to kill yourself and start from a backup.
Believe me, my players were pretty scared the first time they saw the strange nanos that modified themselves and had to be held in a special container not to corrupt it. And they didn't know anything about it being exsurgent, or what it could do. Only knew they had been injected into someone.
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
krank wrote:
Agreed. And this is exactly why I would prefer them to be a bit more "under wraps". Horror is about not knowing how stuff works or even looks, effect with no known causem, etc. Consider Call of Cthulhu. As some have pointedout, there are two ways to play the game (in the Trail of Cthulhu rules set, it's even pointed out in the rules): Either it's Indiana Jones with tentacles (pulp horror), or it's creeping, incomprehensible and otherworldly horror, insanity and hidden terrors. Could one argue that both of these are part of the "horror" genre? Well, sure... I prefer the latter, though. I like letting my players discover things. The first time one runs a ne game is a [i]unique[/i] opportunity to discover cool stuff - stuff cannot be undiscovered. Sure, we can make new, less experienced characters later on, but the [i]players[/i] know. They can [i]act[/i] as if they don't, disregard their knowledge from past campaigns, but their experience will never be the same as that first time, when everything was new and truly unknown - and horrifying. The umptieth time you stumble upon a Shoggoth, it's less "AAAAAAAAAAHHH!" and more "Hey, anyone got a lighter?" So; when analyzing a new game world, I tend to divide information into two rough groups: Stuff that'd be interesting to discover in-game (there are Psi's, for instance. There's an organization called Firewall - I'm already looking forward to the "recruiting" adventure. There's a horrific virus going around, which may or may not have come from outer space...), and stuff that aren't. Since I'm not particularly interested in "culture shock" campaigns, I'll give my players a quick primer to the world's basic concepts, such as sleeving, the end of the world as we knew it, XP, implants etc. Those aren't things I think of as interesting to [i]discover[/i].
Remember that asyncs do not necessarily know much about the exsurgent virus, despite being one of its many victims. To that end, there are plenty of mysteries involved, even for them: is the Watts-Macleod virus really inert, or is it just biding its time? What do my powers really mean? Psi users tend to be very paranoid about their powers, whether they have embraced them or not. They often feel that the virus may take control of them at any time, and that they will just become another exsurgent... even after having psi abilities for years. Plus, their vulnerability to other strains of the virus makes them more afraid of future infection, which when tacked on with all their other sanity problem is just adding insult to injury. If it'll make it more malleable, force players to choose psi before they get to look at the chapter about it. Make it a "pandora's box"... if they don't want it, they can't look, and if they choose to have psi there is no going back. It might even give them a bit of a paranoid feeling about whether they even want to make the decision to have psi. Imply constantly that there will be... drawbacks.... You won't be lying if you do. I wouldn't recommend completely cutting psi out of the game, however. A good portion of the fun is the fact that players get to play any person from the multitude of the setting... including such people as the Lost Generation.
krank wrote:
Yes, I know. It seems more simular to underpowered "jedi mind tricks"... All the more reason to actually keep a bit of the mystery and suspense, by letting the players explore and discover these things during the game, rather than work out how Psi works by reading skill descriptions and game mechanics during character creation. Would I allow a Psi character at some point? yes, but right now it seems like a waste of a perfectly good mystery... //Krank, once again using too many words
I don't even know if the jedi are a good comparative. Asyncs require physical contact to affect others, and most other abilities either allow them to affect themselves or are restricted to sensing others. Chi sleights are akin to super-advanced mental modifications (they simply grant you bonuses and personal effects which don't affect others, and could just as easily be implants as they could be psychic abilities). Restricting access to level 2 psi might serve your purposes well if you simply wish to cut out the "magic factor" (limited it and level 3 exclusively to exsurgents, of course). But with people who want to play asyncs, I would only allow them to read that section if they have already agreed to being psi users... again, much like a Pandora's box. Hell, what they see might make them wish they could turn back, even though its too late.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
krank krank's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
Decivre wrote:
Remember that asyncs do not necessarily know much about the exsurgent virus, despite being one of its many victims. To that end, there are plenty of mysteries involved, even for them: is the Watts-Macleod virus really inert, or is it just biding its time? What do my powers really mean? Psi users tend to be very paranoid about their powers, whether they have embraced them or not. They often feel that the virus may take control of them at any time, and that they will just become another exsurgent... even after having psi abilities for years. Plus, their vulnerability to other strains of the virus makes them more afraid of future infection, which when tacked on with all their other sanity problem is just adding insult to injury. If it'll make it more malleable, force players to choose psi before they get to look at the chapter about it. Make it a "pandora's box"... if they don't want it, they can't look, and if they choose to have psi there is no going back. It might even give them a bit of a paranoid feeling about whether they even want to make the decision to have psi. Imply constantly that there will be... drawbacks.... You won't be lying if you do. I wouldn't recommend completely cutting psi out of the game, however. A good portion of the fun is the fact that players get to play any person from the multitude of the setting... including such people as the Lost Generation.
Yeah... That portion doesn't really work for me. I strongly dislike groups of characters that are too "strange" or too dissimilar. It makes the group less an adventuring party and more a bunch of travelling circus freaks. And that's not really what I want from EP. I'll probably restrict my players quite a bit on their first few visits to the world of EP. There's a lot of stuff I'd like to introduce as NPC's or let the players figure out [i]before[/i] giving them the option to play it. A lot of the weirder morphs, for instance. Uplifts and crabs and swarms... just seem, to me, like stuff you experiment with when the basic concepts of EP have become too "normal", too "boring". Breaking out all the weirdness at one time, again, strikes me as very much a waste. Again, I guess I'm just more into unveiling cool stuff than letting the players run hog wild from the beginning... More than half the fun of a new setting is (when I'm a player) to [i]not[/i] know a lot of things, and get to discover them and then, perhaps some time down the line, play a Psi or some other strangeness my first character has famliarized itself with. (And as a GM, I like giving my players the same thing: The sense of [i]discovery[/i], preferrably starting from almost-scratch). The thing that turns me off the most from parts of EP is the whole "Star wars cantina"-esque thing, with truly weird morphs etc at every turn. I'll prbably want to turn that aspect of the game down a bit, at least in the beginning. Circus freakishness just doesn't doesn't work very well with the mood of hard-sf transhuman horror I'm going to be aiming for. (Less Star Wars, more Alien, in terms of scenography and general feel)
Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist
krank krank's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
Sepherim wrote:
Believe me, my players were pretty scared the first time they saw the strange nanos that modified themselves and had to be held in a special container not to corrupt it. And they didn't know anything about it being exsurgent, or what it could do. Only knew they had been injected into someone.
Indeed. Being afraid of something which you know can harm you, and that you possibly even know HOW it might harm you, is never as intense as the horror of something you don't, or //almost// know...
Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
krank wrote:
Yeah... That portion doesn't really work for me. I strongly dislike groups of characters that are too "strange" or too dissimilar. It makes the group less an adventuring party and more a bunch of travelling circus freaks. And that's not really what I want from EP. I'll probably restrict my players quite a bit on their first few visits to the world of EP. There's a lot of stuff I'd like to introduce as NPC's or let the players figure out [i]before[/i] giving them the option to play it. A lot of the weirder morphs, for instance. Uplifts and crabs and swarms... just seem, to me, like stuff you experiment with when the basic concepts of EP have become too "normal", too "boring". Breaking out all the weirdness at one time, again, strikes me as very much a waste. Again, I guess I'm just more into unveiling cool stuff than letting the players run hog wild from the beginning... More than half the fun of a new setting is (when I'm a player) to [i]not[/i] know a lot of things, and get to discover them and then, perhaps some time down the line, play a Psi or some other strangeness my first character has famliarized itself with. (And as a GM, I like giving my players the same thing: The sense of [i]discovery[/i], preferrably starting from almost-scratch). The thing that turns me off the most from parts of EP is the whole "Star wars cantina"-esque thing, with truly weird morphs etc at every turn. I'll prbably want to turn that aspect of the game down a bit, at least in the beginning. Circus freakishness just doesn't doesn't work very well with the mood of hard-sf transhuman horror I'm going to be aiming for. (Less Star Wars, more Alien, in terms of scenography and general feel)
Except in this case, the "Cantina" style is generally justified. The human race is quite varied, and the transition to space has made us more of a cultural melting pot than ever. Hell, there are 10 languages that largely permeate the system. The loss of Earth during the Fall has scattered refugees of all types. But always note that unlike Star Wars, everybody in the system is human or an uplift (or an AGI designed by humans to act human). There is no real alien beings in the setting. However, you shouldn't be thinking of morphs as species... but rather as [i]clothing[/i]. People change their bodies as they egocast to other locations, or even when they go to work in order to have a body more suited to their daily lives. That said, most morphs don't look dramatically different from humans. Flats, splicers, exalts, mentons, olympians, furies, futuras, ghosts, hibernoids, rusters, pleasure pods and worker pods, as well as cases and synths with synthetic mask options, all look essentially like any adult human on the outside. Sylphs look like very sexy adult humans, and neotenics look like children. Bouncers look human in every way so long as you don't look at their feet. Morphs which don't look human are not nearly that popular (especially synthmorphs), and are only used by those who can't afford another morph (esp. with cases), require them for their job, or are eccentrics who doesn't cater to human norms (as is the case with Ultimates and the remade morph). The largest majority of those in the middle and upper class still look very human, even if they have dramatically different morphs.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
krank krank's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
Decivre wrote:
That said, most morphs don't look dramatically different from humans.
Exactly. So, cantina - not so much. At least for their first characters, I'd like my players to explore the world as something at least recognizably human - partly because it'll be easier for them to immerse in the role (it's easier to think of "me" as a human than making an Uplifted octopus a "me", if you get my drift - i want my players to "think in first-person" when they play... Not "my character would think this", but just "I'm thinking this"...), and partly because it allows me to let them meet, interact with, and form an understanding of the more "cantina-ish" creatures - before they play as them. This is the same thing as with Psi's really. [i]The first time you meet one[/i] could be an awesome scene to play out, perhaps a whole adventure revolving around the players finding out that such things really exist etc... But not if one of the player characters is one. A lot of the mystery - gone. After that first introduction, when Psi has become an accepted part of the players' view of the world, and we've milked the dramatic potential of *not* knowing as much as we can - *then* we can move on to playing them. It's all about exhausting venues of discovery... (And also, like I said - I don't really like the whole "bunch of traveling circus freaks"- kind of advanturing group. Most morphs are OK, but I'll restrict the players from choosing anything too exotic on their first run.)
Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
krank wrote:
Decivre wrote:
That said, most morphs don't look dramatically different from humans.
Exactly. So, cantina - not so much. At least for their first characters, I'd like my players to explore the world as something at least recognizably human - partly because it'll be easier for them to immerse in the role (it's easier to think of "me" as a human than making an Uplifted octopus a "me", if you get my drift - i want my players to "think in first-person" when they play... Not "my character would think this", but just "I'm thinking this"...), and partly because it allows me to let them meet, interact with, and form an understanding of the more "cantina-ish" creatures - before they play as them. This is the same thing as with Psi's really. [i]The first time you meet one[/i] could be an awesome scene to play out, perhaps a whole adventure revolving around the players finding out that such things really exist etc... But not if one of the player characters is one. A lot of the mystery - gone. After that first introduction, when Psi has become an accepted part of the players' view of the world, and we've milked the dramatic potential of *not* knowing as much as we can - *then* we can move on to playing them. It's all about exhausting venues of discovery... (And also, like I said - I don't really like the whole "bunch of traveling circus freaks"- kind of advanturing group. Most morphs are OK, but I'll restrict the players from choosing anything too exotic on their first run.)
If that's how you wish to play it, then so be it. I just think it potentially robs the players of a lot of roleplaying opportunities in trying to make some. If you think about it, your players' choices should dictate what they want out of the game; if one of your players wants to be an octomorph, then the prospect of meeting one in the setting is apparently not as appealing to them as the prospect of [i]being[/i] one. To that end, you can roleplay their "first encounter with an async" as a dialog between the PCs... essentially making their first psi acquaintance a fellow player. The roleplay possibilities for new discovery are still there if players are given the option. The only person for which the mystery is really lost is the person who is playing as the async/AGI/uplift... leaving a lot of opportunities for between-character roleplay situations as the other characters grasp what it means to know someone like this. Remember that every player is different. While you may have a hard time setting yourself in the character concept of being an uplifted animal, you can't necessarily speak for all of your players. One of them may be intrigued by the idea, want to explore the idea, have no problem with placing themselves in the concept... but you're robbing them of the opportunity. Half of the point behind Eclipse Phase is to give players a chance to explore life within a transhuman universe. While you may wish to do so gradually, some might want to dive in all the way. You should let the players decide how they feel like doing it, rather than necessarily choosing for them.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
nick012000 nick012000's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
Decivre wrote:
krank wrote:
Yeah... That portion doesn't really work for me. I strongly dislike groups of characters that are too "strange" or too dissimilar. It makes the group less an adventuring party and more a bunch of travelling circus freaks. And that's not really what I want from EP. I'll probably restrict my players quite a bit on their first few visits to the world of EP. There's a lot of stuff I'd like to introduce as NPC's or let the players figure out [i]before[/i] giving them the option to play it. A lot of the weirder morphs, for instance. Uplifts and crabs and swarms... just seem, to me, like stuff you experiment with when the basic concepts of EP have become too "normal", too "boring". Breaking out all the weirdness at one time, again, strikes me as very much a waste. Again, I guess I'm just more into unveiling cool stuff than letting the players run hog wild from the beginning... More than half the fun of a new setting is (when I'm a player) to [i]not[/i] know a lot of things, and get to discover them and then, perhaps some time down the line, play a Psi or some other strangeness my first character has famliarized itself with. (And as a GM, I like giving my players the same thing: The sense of [i]discovery[/i], preferrably starting from almost-scratch). The thing that turns me off the most from parts of EP is the whole "Star wars cantina"-esque thing, with truly weird morphs etc at every turn. I'll prbably want to turn that aspect of the game down a bit, at least in the beginning. Circus freakishness just doesn't doesn't work very well with the mood of hard-sf transhuman horror I'm going to be aiming for. (Less Star Wars, more Alien, in terms of scenography and general feel)
Except in this case, the "Cantina" style is generally justified. The human race is quite varied, and the transition to space has made us more of a cultural melting pot than ever. Hell, there are 10 languages that largely permeate the system. The loss of Earth during the Fall has scattered refugees of all types. But always note that unlike Star Wars, everybody in the system is human or an uplift (or an AGI designed by humans to act human). There is no real alien beings in the setting. However, you shouldn't be thinking of morphs as species... but rather as [i]clothing[/i]. People change their bodies as they egocast to other locations, or even when they go to work in order to have a body more suited to their daily lives. That said, most morphs don't look dramatically different from humans. Flats, splicers, exalts, mentons, olympians, furies, futuras, ghosts, hibernoids, rusters, pleasure pods and worker pods, as well as cases and synths with synthetic mask options, all look essentially like any adult human on the outside. Sylphs look like very sexy adult humans, and neotenics look like children. Bouncers look human in every way so long as you don't look at their feet. Morphs which don't look human are not nearly that popular (especially synthmorphs), and are only used by those who can't afford another morph (esp. with cases), require them for their job, or are eccentrics who doesn't cater to human norms (as is the case with Ultimates and the remade morph). The largest majority of those in the middle and upper class still look very human, even if they have dramatically different morphs.
There are aliens. Well, the Factors, at least. Odds are that Echo IV has half a dozen species capable of being uplifted, though I dunno if they'd count as proper aliens given how they'd have been created by humanity. Also, I must emphatically disagree with Krank as to this. Playing weird and wacky morphs is half the fun of Eclipse Phase. It's a game about transhumans and our posthuman future; playing with that fact is half the point of the game. It's not just a horror game; it's a transhumanist horror game. If someone wants to play a catgirl or a crab or a swarm of lolis, well, the game is designed to accomodate that.

+1 r-Rep , +1 @-rep

krank krank's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
nick012000 wrote:
Also, I must emphatically disagree with Krank as to this. Playing weird and wacky morphs is half the fun of Eclipse Phase. It's a game about transhumans and our posthuman future; playing with that fact is half the point of the game. It's not just a horror game; it's a transhumanist horror game. If someone wants to play a catgirl or a crab or a swarm of lolis, well, the game is designed to accomodate that.
And to me, wackiness is anathema to horror. You can't have both, not at the same time. Wackiness is definitely something I want to banish from my games, if at all possible. I want hard contrast, horror, transhuman angst, Alien-inspired grittiness, and a mood of hard SF, cold steel and the empriness of space. Not the Star Wars cantina and circus freaks. I liked the feel of the introductory story in the main rulebook. Dark and gritty, angst and coldness. Transhuman ideals and postapocalyptic visions. That's the EP I want. If that means restricting a few choices to avoid GM:ing a bunch of wacky freaks, then I consider that a cheap price.
Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist
krank krank's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
Decivre wrote:
If you think about it, your players' choices should dictate what they want out of the game
Just want to point out that this is largely a matter of style, not necessarily the only way to go. Personally, I prefer - both as a player and as a GM - clear frames of reference, good limitations that maximize the amount of interesting exploration and discovery I get to do. I am emphatically [b]not[/b] the "sandbox" kind of player. I like focused campaigns. As a GM, I like preparing stories with depth and long perspective, and as a player I'm more interested in finding out what plot the GM has in mind than I am in influencing or changing that plot, or even make my own. In my prefered play style, the GM makes the story, the players experience it. They may influence outcomes etc, but they do not influence premises, nor do their choices dictate what kind of story I run. That would just take all the fun out of being a GM. If they want sandbox, go play GTA or something - I'm not a computer, my job is not merely reacting to their choices. My job is creating an enjoyable experience, a good story, letting them discover, in the most interesting way available, the strangeness of the world. And if that means I restrict them in what they get to play, or if it means not letting them know about or be a part of Firewall from the beginning, well - they adapt, or they find some other GM to play with. (I should clarify that the players of my current group have gathered precisely because we have similar views on rolepaying and what we want out of it. We all favor slow discovery of a game world, keeping things a bit low-key and gritty as opposed to freakshow-ish, and trusting the GM to be capable of making the correct choices in regards to campaign limitations)
Decivre wrote:
The only person for which the mystery is really lost is the person who is playing as the async/AGI/uplift.
No. The other players have been participating in the discussions and seen the Async/whatever been created (I always create characters collaboratively, since I want to create groups, not just individuals who happen to work together), and they know that, after all, this is their buddy. In some sense, at least. A mysterious/strange character played by one of the other players is definitely less mysterious/strange than a character controlled by the GM. For instance, the GM may let an Async character appear for a few minutes, do something mysterious and hard-to-explain, then disappear for a few meetings. If the Async is a player character, he or she will constantly "be around". The mystery quickly dissipates.
Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist
krank krank's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
Just to make things clear (the disclaimer I almost always tend to feel obligated to use...): I'm not trying to tell you how to play the game. I'm not trying to tell the makers of the game they should have made the game differently. I'm not saying you're playing it wrong, that your play style lacks merit, that your campaign is substandard. I have, at any point, given you the impression that this is what I've been saying and meaning, I apologize from the bottom of my heart, for it was never my intention. What I'm doing, is reacting and trying to get an idea on how I might realize [b]my[/b] style of playing roleplaying games in EP. I find EP's world to be rich in content and conflict, perhaps the best roleplaying setting I have ever come across, only rivaled by Nobilis and perhaps one or two others. However, the way the world is [i]presented[/i] does not really deem to be completely compatible with how I prefer to do things. I like things a bit low-key, gradually expanding the players' and characters' horizons slowly. I am not a sandbox type of GM; giving the players all the tools from the beginning means my play style doesn't work. So, this thread has been my way to examine the issue, and trying to decide on how to proceed. Though I might have seemed stubborn, I have gotten a lot of neat ideas on how I want to structure my campaign. I'll probably create a new thread as soon as I've finished reading the main rulebook, where I try to discuss a basic tiered structure of my campaign; with particular focus on what information and secrets to reveal at which points. Thanks for helping =)
Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
nick12000 wrote:
There are aliens. Well, the Factors, at least. Odds are that Echo IV has half a dozen species capable of being uplifted, though I dunno if they'd count as proper aliens given how they'd have been created by humanity.
Yes, but the factors are an extreme rarity in the setting. They have taken great pains to stay largely hidden from humanity. Most people will never even see one in their lifetime.
krank wrote:
And to me, wackiness is anathema to horror. You can't have both, not at the same time. Wackiness is definitely something I want to banish from my games, if at all possible. I want hard contrast, horror, transhuman angst, Alien-inspired grittiness, and a mood of hard SF, cold steel and the empriness of space. Not the Star Wars cantina and circus freaks. I liked the feel of the introductory story in the main rulebook. Dark and gritty, angst and coldness. Transhuman ideals and postapocalyptic visions. That's the EP I want. If that means restricting a few choices to avoid GM:ing a bunch of wacky freaks, then I consider that a cheap price.
Uplifts and AGI are only "wacky" in context with our society. Remember that you are trying to portray people in a society and culture dramatically different from our own. It's like cultural assimilation today in contrast to two centuries ago. To them, our ability to accept Native and African Americans, not to mention women, as social equals might have been "wacky". The fact that most of us utilize machine rather than animal or wind power for travel might have been "wacky". Hell the fact that we don't use bloodletting, have theories that living organisms gradually change over long periods of time, and have vehicles that fly us through the air might also be "wacky". Fortunately, we aren't living in the early 18th century. In that same vein, characters in Eclipse Phase aren't living in our century. In removing these concepts from the setting, you ironically risk making your setting less sci-fi, and more of an anachronism of the modern day.
krank wrote:
Just want to point out that this is largely a matter of style, not necessarily the only way to go. Personally, I prefer - both as a player and as a GM - clear frames of reference, good limitations that maximize the amount of interesting exploration and discovery I get to do. I am emphatically [b]not[/b] the "sandbox" kind of player. I like focused campaigns. As a GM, I like preparing stories with depth and long perspective, and as a player I'm more interested in finding out what plot the GM has in mind than I am in influencing or changing that plot, or even make my own. In my prefered play style, the GM makes the story, the players experience it. They may influence outcomes etc, but they do not influence premises, nor do their choices dictate what kind of story I run. That would just take all the fun out of being a GM. If they want sandbox, go play GTA or something - I'm not a computer, my job is not merely reacting to their choices. My job is creating an enjoyable experience, a good story, letting them discover, in the most interesting way available, the strangeness of the world. And if that means I restrict them in what they get to play, or if it means not letting them know about or be a part of Firewall from the beginning, well - they adapt, or they find some other GM to play with. (I should clarify that the players of my current group have gathered precisely because we have similar views on rolepaying and what we want out of it. We all favor slow discovery of a game world, keeping things a bit low-key and gritty as opposed to freakshow-ish, and trusting the GM to be capable of making the correct choices in regards to campaign limitations)
Letting the players decide the style of game does not necessarily mean letting them run amok in a sandbox. It means allowing them to decide the direction of the story. It's like when you go to the movies... you decide which film to watch depending on your preferences. You don't go to a romantic comedy when you want mindless violence, and you don't watch a Disney movie when you're looking for porn. In that same vein, most people aren't intrigued by Eclipse Phase because they want to play regular humans IN SPACE! They come to Eclipse Phase to play as citizens of a Transhuman society, which happens to include uplifts, AGI, and the very rare async. Let your players decide their style. If one of them wants to play an octopus uplift and you disallow him, you're robbing him of an opportunity. Your making him watch a spaghetti western when he wants a Bruce Lee flick. On the other hand, if they really do want the same thing out of the game as you, they will gladly steer clear of such concepts. Giving them the option will let you know if what you want really is what they want.
krank wrote:
No. The other players have been participating in the discussions and seen the Async/whatever been created (I always create characters collaboratively, since I want to create groups, not just individuals who happen to work together), and they know that, after all, this is their buddy. In some sense, at least. A mysterious/strange character played by one of the other players is definitely less mysterious/strange than a character controlled by the GM. For instance, the GM may let an Async character appear for a few minutes, do something mysterious and hard-to-explain, then disappear for a few meetings. If the Async is a player character, he or she will constantly "be around". The mystery quickly dissipates.
I don't want to sound condescending, but you might not be playing the character right. There are two things you have to remember with asyncs: [list=1][*]Their minds have been touched by an alien influence, so they come off as being at least strange to most people, and downright alien to others. [*]They have mental disorders, and they are intended to be played up. If your player isn't a good roleplayer, he probably can't handle it. Otherwise, other players should be questioning their usefulness as the async juggles lucidity and insanity.[/list]
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
krank wrote:
Just to make things clear (the disclaimer I almost always tend to feel obligated to use...): I'm not trying to tell you how to play the game. I'm not trying to tell the makers of the game they should have made the game differently. I'm not saying you're playing it wrong, that your play style lacks merit, that your campaign is substandard. I have, at any point, given you the impression that this is what I've been saying and meaning, I apologize from the bottom of my heart, for it was never my intention. What I'm doing, is reacting and trying to get an idea on how I might realize [b]my[/b] style of playing roleplaying games in EP. I find EP's world to be rich in content and conflict, perhaps the best roleplaying setting I have ever come across, only rivaled by Nobilis and perhaps one or two others. However, the way the world is [i]presented[/i] does not really deem to be completely compatible with how I prefer to do things. I like things a bit low-key, gradually expanding the players' and characters' horizons slowly. I am not a sandbox type of GM; giving the players all the tools from the beginning means my play style doesn't work. So, this thread has been my way to examine the issue, and trying to decide on how to proceed. Though I might have seemed stubborn, I have gotten a lot of neat ideas on how I want to structure my campaign. I'll probably create a new thread as soon as I've finished reading the main rulebook, where I try to discuss a basic tiered structure of my campaign; with particular focus on what information and secrets to reveal at which points. Thanks for helping =)
No problem. I'm just glad our input was a help, especially to a fellow Nobilis fan. :D
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
krank krank's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
Decivre wrote:
Uplifts and AGI are only "wacky" in context with our society. Remember that you are trying to portray people in a society and culture dramatically different from our own.
Yes. And this means that to our 21st century players, the setting will seem wacky. At least it might, depending on how the campaign is structures. And I don't want my players to associate EP with wackiness. I want to ease them into the setting. The idea is to make them think this new, strange society is "normal" - because that's what their characters should be thinking.
Decivre wrote:
you decide which film to watch depending on your preferences. You don't go to a romantic comedy when you want mindless violence, and you don't watch a Disney movie when you're looking for porn. In that same vein, most people aren't intrigued by Eclipse Phase because they want to play regular humans IN SPACE!
Well, if my players' preferences don't match what I'm serving, they don't have to use me as their GM, either. I'm not the cinema - I'm making the movies. See the difference? Anyways, my players aren't "drawn" to EP at all, at the moment. At least, most of them aren't. Why? Because I haven't told most of them yet. In my group, we play all kinds of games, and the usual approach is: 1) One of us finds a really neat game or comes up with a good idea for a campaign. 2) He or she presents the game to the group. 3) We check how many other campaigns we have running, and decide whether or not we have the time for a new one. 4) If there's not time for a new campaign, we do a oneshot, to see if we like it enough to put one of the other campaigns on ice. We play anything. That is, as players we're the antithesis of picky. If anyone feels they want to GM a campaign, the go-ahead is ONLY dependant on the amount of other campaigns running. We trust eachother to make good campaigns. This means I don't really have to justify anything. The ONLY concern is, "how do I want to play this". The players will adapt. (This is, btw, my ideal situation for roleplaying groups - no players who become like petulant children because a GM won't give them all the toys, no unnecessary whining - just trust, fun, and open-mindedness)
Decivre wrote:
They come to Eclipse Phase to play as citizens of a Transhuman society, which happens to include uplifts, AGI, and the very rare async.
They come to EP to play whatever I tell them to play. Restricting character creation is natural. For instance, a GM might require everyone to create Anarchists, or crew of a spaceship, or members of the same organization - whatever works for the campaign.
Decivre wrote:
Let your players decide their style. If one of them wants to play an octopus uplift and you disallow him, you're robbing him of an opportunity. Your making him watch a spaghetti western when he wants a Bruce Lee flick.
I'll explain, beforehand, that the movie I want to show is a spaghetti western. If he wants Bruce Lee, he's rented the wrong movie. The whole idea about group-based character creation is that the players aren't really creating individuals; they are creating parts of a group. If the group concept doesn't include wacky extreme-transhumanist morphs, then those are the rules. It's like not letting them play TITANs or Factors - sure, they're in the setting, but that doesn't mean they need to have the ability to play them. The game has already made some choices as to which characters are "suitable" and which aren't. All I'm doing is adding a few extra choices, in order to tone down some aspects of the original game that I'm not too fond of. Dont get me wrong, EP is an awesome game - but no game is "perfect". I don't see any reason whatsoever to ever play any game "as is". The core rulebook is a suggestion, an inspiration. The core game has potential, but makes too many concessions to gaming styles that just don't work for me. Therefore, I mod. Just like making house rules, only for the setting in stead. Just watched Pandorum, btw. Now there's a flick with exactly the right kind of ambiance. Especially the first, say, fifteen minutes or so. Simply beautiful.
Decivre wrote:
On the other hand, if they really do want the same thing out of the game as you, they will gladly steer clear of such concepts. Giving them the option will let you know if what you want really is what they want.
Giving the the option, again, tells them that I'll be using Asyncs in my version of the game world. And I don't want to do that.
Decivre wrote:
I don't want to sound condescending, but you might not be playing the character right. There are two things you have to remember with asyncs: [list=1][*]Their minds have been touched by an alien influence, so they come off as being at least strange to most people, and downright alien to others. [*]They have mental disorders, and they are intended to be played up. If your player isn't a good roleplayer, he probably can't handle it. Otherwise, other players should be questioning their usefulness as the async juggles lucidity and insanity.[/list]
The player's ability to "act" is irrelevant. Consider the difference between immersion and expression... I want my players to feel like they ARE their characters. Being a "good roleplayer" is irrelevant. The threshold into immersion isn't supposed to be a challenge. I'd rather try and lower it as much as possible. And, weird or not - that which is familiar becomes less mysterious and less frightening. Having an Async around will deplete their usefulness as mysterious/strange creatures far too quickly for my tastes.
Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist
nick012000 nick012000's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
Decivre wrote:
nick12000 wrote:
There are aliens. Well, the Factors, at least. Odds are that Echo IV has half a dozen species capable of being uplifted, though I dunno if they'd count as proper aliens given how they'd have been created by humanity.
Yes, but the factors are an extreme rarity in the setting. They have taken great pains to stay largely hidden from humanity. Most people will never even see one in their lifetime.
Given that they're likely to possess biological immortallity, I wouldn't say this for sure, especially if the Factors get more friendly to transhumanity in the future. ;) Besides, I'm sure Skinthetic is probably working on creating Factor morphs for Transhumans to sleeve into, even now. Wouldn't take much to get a DNA sample, especially if they come on board your ship.

+1 r-Rep , +1 @-rep

Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
krank wrote:
Yes. And this means that to our 21st century players, the setting will seem wacky. At least it might, depending on how the campaign is structures. And I don't want my players to associate EP with wackiness. I want to ease them into the setting. The idea is to make them think this new, strange society is "normal" - because that's what their characters should be thinking.
Again, wackiness is going to depend on how you create the setting. If you're running a game like Scooby Doo, then it won't matter if everyone's a human or not... it'll be wacky. If you run Eclipse Phase how it's intended to be ran, it'll work fine. The problem with your interpretation is that the hard sci-fi aspects start to get lost. Your game risks falling from a simulationist approach for trying to portray the future, and instead becomes an anachronism of the modern day interspersed with sci-fi elements. It's like Star Wars, which was a samurai/western film interspersed with sci-fi and spiritual aspects; or Futurama, which was the modern day parodied against the backdrop of a thousand years in the future. That's not necessarily a bad genre, but it contrasts what you seem to want to portray. You say you want hard SF, but are forcing contemporary concepts into it and removing the predicted transhuman elements of the setting.
krank wrote:
Well, if my players' preferences don't match what I'm serving, they don't have to use me as their GM, either. I'm not the cinema - I'm making the movies. See the difference? Anyways, my players aren't "drawn" to EP at all, at the moment. At least, most of them aren't. Why? Because I haven't told most of them yet. In my group, we play all kinds of games, and the usual approach is: 1) One of us finds a really neat game or comes up with a good idea for a campaign. 2) He or she presents the game to the group. 3) We check how many other campaigns we have running, and decide whether or not we have the time for a new one. 4) If there's not time for a new campaign, we do a oneshot, to see if we like it enough to put one of the other campaigns on ice. We play anything. That is, as players we're the antithesis of picky. If anyone feels they want to GM a campaign, the go-ahead is ONLY dependant on the amount of other campaigns running. We trust eachother to make good campaigns. This means I don't really have to justify anything. The ONLY concern is, "how do I want to play this". The players will adapt. (This is, btw, my ideal situation for roleplaying groups - no players who become like petulant children because a GM won't give them all the toys, no unnecessary whining - just trust, fun, and open-mindedness)
It's not a question of whining or whatever, but a question of why you're going to limit what they play. I understand the desire to allow discovery, but that doesn't necessarily mean you have to limit so much of what they know about the universe. The book doesn't give a massive degree of information on everything... cultures, habitats, and even the lifestyles of most people in this setting are left vague enough that you can craft and explore them to a large degree. Except for Chapter 12 and having to omit information on Firewall, there is plenty you can provide without spoiling the wonder of the setting. If you give them too little, it'll feel less like being a person in a different world/time, and more like being some guy who wakes up naked in a dark cave. It can feel contrived. Though if you wish to play a game where the players are literally not from the "modern day" (which would justify them knowing nothing), I'd recommend making them all play re-instantiated humans who were cryogenically frozen in the modern day and destructively uploaded to the future, to be able to live in the EP universe. It would make sense that they were anachronistically tied to now, and must now figure out how to live in this brand new world.
krank wrote:
They come to EP to play whatever I tell them to play. Restricting character creation is natural. For instance, a GM might require everyone to create Anarchists, or crew of a spaceship, or members of the same organization - whatever works for the campaign.
If that's how they like it, then so be it. I only agree to such a thing if they actually do like that, rather than you simply choosing their game for them, tastes be damned.
krank wrote:
I'll explain, beforehand, that the movie I want to show is a spaghetti western. If he wants Bruce Lee, he's rented the wrong movie. The whole idea about group-based character creation is that the players aren't really creating individuals; they are creating parts of a group. If the group concept doesn't include wacky extreme-transhumanist morphs, then those are the rules. It's like not letting them play TITANs or Factors - sure, they're in the setting, but that doesn't mean they need to have the ability to play them. The game has already made some choices as to which characters are "suitable" and which aren't. All I'm doing is adding a few extra choices, in order to tone down some aspects of the original game that I'm not too fond of. Dont get me wrong, EP is an awesome game - but no game is "perfect". I don't see any reason whatsoever to ever play any game "as is". The core rulebook is a suggestion, an inspiration. The core game has potential, but makes too many concessions to gaming styles that just don't work for me. Therefore, I mod. Just like making house rules, only for the setting in stead.
This is a bit of an exaggeration. TITANs and Factors are the plot devices of the setting, and no one is asking you to let your players portray them. It's like with D&D; allowing your players to play what they want to doesn't mean letting them play as the Sun, it means letting them be whatever allowable characters there are. It's also not about the setting being perfect, but really about how much of the setting you are actually going to use. I mean I'm creating a brand new campaign setting using Eclipse Phase's mechanics, but I doubt asking everyone about the style of game I plan to run is going to be helpful, since I'm designing the setting largely from the ground up... it's style will be solely chosen by me, and it would be trivial to claim I'm having its players play Eclipse Phase. We're playing something else using Eclipse Phase's mechanics (which more closely resembles Ghost in the Shell). If there's so much of the setting you don't like, why not simply make your own setting? At some point, the latter becomes a more effective alternative... and from the amount that you consider to be "wacky", it might be a good option in this case as well. If you keep cutting out parts of the setting, eventually you'll get to a point where the players are essentially playing small parts of a larger game, or you'll have changed so much that it'll be arguable as to whether they are playing Eclipse Phase at all.
krank wrote:
Just watched Pandorum, btw. Now there's a flick with exactly the right kind of ambiance. Especially the first, say, fifteen minutes or so. Simply beautiful.
However, it's also a different sort of horror. Pandorum portrays the crew of a sleeper ship full of humans. Eclise Phase is a transhuman setting, where our race is gradually transcending to something that is only human in looks (and on occasion, not even that). Pandorum was also a bit more of a slasher flick, while Eclipse Phase is more akin to Lovecraftian horror.
krank wrote:
The player's ability to "act" is irrelevant. Consider the difference between immersion and expression... I want my players to feel like they ARE their characters. Being a "good roleplayer" is irrelevant. The threshold into immersion isn't supposed to be a challenge. I'd rather try and lower it as much as possible. And, weird or not - that which is familiar becomes less mysterious and less frightening. Having an Async around will deplete their usefulness as mysterious/strange creatures far too quickly for my tastes.
The only way for immersion to be a total non-challenge would be for the players to portray themselves in the setting. That is a very limited form of roleplay in context. There is only so much you can do in a setting by playing yourself. If at any time you try to be something you aren't, you've begun to step into territory where roleplay becomes a challenge of putting yourself in someone else's shoes. I only say that asyncs can be difficult because not many people can pull off crazy. Though one thing I'd like to note is something from a previous example... Pandorum didn't really rely on much mystery in itself. The characters knew that the world was dying, they knew that Pandorum existed and how it could affect them, and they knew about the genetic augments that they received. The horror came in from the fact that they didn't realize that Pandorum had already taken hold of one of their crewmen, or the realization that the genetic augments turned the awakened crew into mutants, or when they realized that one of the crewmen weren't who they said they were. There was no exploratory horror in that movie at all. Eclipse Phase's horror comes from the fact that we have faced an enemy with intelligence far beyond our own, who is nearly unfightable and currently unknowable. The Exsurgent virus, ETI and the TITANs are all essentially eldritch horrors that the human race are practically destined to fall to. Firewall is fighting a war against extinction, when all signs point to inevitability. Immortality stops being a wonderful idea when there are things so horrible that they can mentally break you down until you spend the rest of your eternity as a catatonic drooling mess. It's like the Sword of Damocles: most people would rather not know these things, as they could live their lives more carefree if they didn't. In Lovecraftian horror, the world tends to be more scary when you know about the horrors than when you don't.
nick012000 wrote:
Given that they're likely to possess biological immortallity, I wouldn't say this for sure, especially if the Factors get more friendly to transhumanity in the future. ;) Besides, I'm sure Skinthetic is probably working on creating Factor morphs for Transhumans to sleeve into, even now. Wouldn't take much to get a DNA sample, especially if they come on board your ship.
They've made it quite adamant that they don't respect two things: the creation of AI, and the use of Pandora gates. Unless the entire human race unanimously agrees not to do either, it is unlikely that everyone will get the opportunity to meet them. Plus the factors have been very cautious around us. It may be some time before we get the opportunity to get that DNA sample.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
nick012000 nick012000's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
Decivre wrote:
They've made it quite adamant that they don't respect two things: the creation of AI, and the use of Pandora gates. Unless the entire human race unanimously agrees not to do either, it is unlikely that everyone will get the opportunity to meet them. Plus the factors have been very cautious around us. It may be some time before we get the opportunity to get that DNA sample.
Not really. I'll point out that with modern technology all you need is to run a cotton swab along the inside of your mouth. Odds are that EP humanity would be capable of analyzing the Factor equivalent of dead skin cells and their bodily fluids for their DNA patterns.

+1 r-Rep , +1 @-rep

Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
nick012000 wrote:
Not really. I'll point out that with modern technology all you need is to run a cotton swab along the inside of your mouth. Odds are that EP humanity would be capable of analyzing the Factor equivalent of dead skin cells and their bodily fluids for their DNA patterns.
If they excrete dead cells, and if they leave us body fluids to begin with. As I mentioned, they are [i]very cautious[/i] when dealing with humanity. They may even have Genewipe technology in their bodies, a la Shadowrun (dead cells deteriorate so fast that they no longer have cohesive usable DNA in 5 minutes).
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
krank krank's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
Decivre wrote:
Again, wackiness is going to depend on how you create the setting. If you're running a game like Scooby Doo, then it won't matter if everyone's a human or not... it'll be wacky. If you run Eclipse Phase how it's intended to be ran, it'll work fine.
There's no reason to assume that running EP "the way it's intended to be ran" is the best way for me and my players to experience the setting. The way EP is told is a product of the tastes of those who designed the game, and there is no guarantee whatsoever that their tastes coincide with mine.
Decivre wrote:
The problem with your interpretation is that the hard sci-fi aspects start to get lost. Your game risks falling from a simulationist approach for trying to portray the future, and instead becomes an anachronism of the modern day interspersed with sci-fi elements. It's like Star Wars, which was a samurai/western film interspersed with sci-fi and spiritual aspects; or Futurama, which was the modern day parodied against the backdrop of a thousand years in the future. That's not necessarily a bad genre, but it contrasts what you seem to want to portray. You say you want hard SF, but are forcing contemporary concepts into it and removing the predicted transhuman elements of the setting.
I disagree strongly. Just because I disagree on what knowledge and what character options are available in the first few adventures or the first campaign, doesn't mean the world itself changes. It just means their initial window, which will grow over time, is smaller. I'll probably make other changes to the game as well - if the example adventure from the quick start rules is how the game is "supposed to be played", for instance - which doesn't seem like much of a stretch - then it's "supposed to be played" with a bit more combat than I like.
Decivre wrote:
It's not a question of whining or whatever, but a question of why you're going to limit what they play. I understand the desire to allow discovery, but that doesn't necessarily mean you have to limit so much of what they know about the universe. The book doesn't give a massive degree of information on everything... cultures, habitats, and even the lifestyles of most people in this setting are left vague enough that you can craft and explore them to a large degree. Except for Chapter 12 and having to omit information on Firewall, there is plenty you can provide without spoiling the wonder of the setting. If you give them too little, it'll feel less like being a person in a different world/time, and more like being some guy who wakes up naked in a dark cave. It can feel contrived.
I think you're exaggerating. I have stated a few things I'd like the players not to know at the beginning of the first campaign we run: - The Exergent Virus - The Asyncs - Firewall The world will be modified so that the first and second aren't common knowledge. perhaps rumors, but certainly not rumors everyone believes or takes seriously. Firewall is supposed to be a secret society. Therefore, it's very possible that there are people in the world (quite a lot of them) that don't know about it. Otherwise, it wouldn't be much of a secret. The only reason why the player characters in the [b]default[/b] campaign premise know about it, is because they are created as Sentinels rather than ordinary people. And I'd like to play through their recruitment, and add more than a touch of paranoia regarding Firewall's actual goals etc. firewall will be a secret for... about one, perhaps two, adventures. I have also said I'd like to restrict the players' choices in regards to morphs. This does not mean I will remove other morphs from the setting. I think the difference of opinion here stems from the fact that, to me, discovery is more important than player freedom. The opposite is a valid point of view, of course.
Decivre wrote:
Though if you wish to play a game where the players are literally not from the "modern day" (which would justify them knowing nothing), I'd recommend making them all play re-instantiated humans who were cryogenically frozen in the modern day and destructively uploaded to the future, to be able to live in the EP universe.
I've already said that's not what I want.
Decivre wrote:
If that's how they like it, then so be it. I only agree to such a thing if they actually do like that, rather than you simply choosing their game for them, tastes be damned.
Again, by choosing me as their GM, they ARE choosing their game. They know what they get. The game is not separate from me; As a GM; I am the game. The main rulebook is something I read for inspiration.
Decivre wrote:
TITANs and Factors are the plot devices of the setting, and no one is asking you to let your players portray them. It's like with D&D; allowing your players to play what they want to doesn't mean letting them play as the Sun, it means letting them be whatever allowable characters there are.
In most RPG's, getting the player characters together is a huge undertaking - trying to motivate why a dwarf, a half-orc, an elf and a human are going around "adventuring" together is hard. I generally prefer to restrict my players' choices in that kind of game as well - simply because it makes more sense from a plot/campaign standpoint to create the PC's as a [b]group[/b]. If you're into the whole "things need to be explained" thing, of course. In the default campaign premise, the group works together because it's a Sentinel cell. I get that, but because I don't want to [b]use[/b] the default campaign premise, I need to restrict their character choices in another way. You see, "create a PC that's a Firewall character" is [b]also[/b] a restriction. It's limiting their choices. It just doesn't seem that way because it's a restriction imposed by the book, rather than one imposed by the GM. To me, those are the same thing. When playing the game, the book becomes irrelevant. The world does not "belong" to the writers of the book. It belongs to me and my players. The world is the way I portray it. Like I said before, the book is just something used for inspiration. hard adherence to what it says seems... Unnecessary. Why would their choices in what to restrict make more sense than what I choose to restrict?
Decivre wrote:
If there's so much of the setting you don't like, why not simply make your own setting? At some point, the latter becomes a more effective alternative...
Yes. But since I'll be keeping EVERYTHING except whether or not the Exergent virus and the Asyncs are common knowledge, this argument seems like a bit of hyperbole. It's not like I'm digging out chunks of the game world. I change two small things, and you think I should change the entire setting? And like I said, crabs and uplifts etc won't stop existing. They just won't be available as morphs from the beginning. I'll probably not want the players playing AGI's or Uplift background either. This does not mean there are no Uplifts or AGI's. It just mean they aren't available [i]as player characters[/i] in the first campaign I run. Why? Partly because of their potential for discover, and partly because I want to "normalize" their existence before allowing players to portray them. Uplifts, for instance, carry with them great potential for silliness - as long as one is not "used to" the idea. I want to get my players used to the idea [b]before[/b] they are allowed to play as them.
Decivre wrote:
playing Eclipse Phase at all.
Is this important to you? That we all play the "same" game, the "same" world? I'd argue we never will. We all play in completely different EP-settings. You play in yours, I play in mine. If yours differs less from the common source of inspiration, that's OK. Just don't think you're playing a "more correct" version, because no such thing exists. As an in-setting example: Consider remix culture. Every movie now has countless variants, different endings, different plots etc, depending on the consumer's choice. This is excatly how roleplaying games, and to a lesser extent books, work today. In books, the story and visuals are created when text meets reader, and in roleplaying games, the world is [i]created[/i] when then the GM meets the player or players. There's no "true version", the author's "intention" is largely irrelevant. The author's interpretation is no more valid than the reader's.
Decivre wrote:
Pandorum was also a bit more of a slasher flick, while Eclipse Phase is more akin to Lovecraftian horror.
Agreed, which is why I specified the mood (not sthe story or the setting), and the first 15-20 minutes or so, before the muties appear. Up until then, it's very suspensful, and has a deep ambiance of angst and fear, which I thing EP could benefit from. Also, the tech all looks extremely nice, that's very much an aesthetic I'd like to use in EP.
Decivre wrote:
The only way for immersion to be a total non-challenge would be for the players to portray themselves in the setting. That is a very limited form of roleplay in context. There is only so much you can do in a setting by playing yourself. If at any time you try to be something you aren't, you've begun to step into territory where roleplay becomes a challenge of putting yourself in someone else's shoes. I only say that asyncs can be difficult because not many people can pull off crazy.
This argument always pop up when discussing immersion. The counterargument is, of course, that immersion isn't the only goal. Discovery is another, experiencing new and cool things. Most of the time I GM contemporary horror, with the players as pretty much normal people. In such a setting, like in some urban fantasy, the threshold is very low. In EP, it'll always be higher, unless I'll play the kind of Cultural Shock campaign I said earlier I want to avoid. So yes, the threshold will always be there in a setting like EP. This doesn't mean I'd like to raise the threshold, or have it higher than absolutely necessary.
Decivre wrote:
Though one thing I'd like to note is something from a previous example... Pandorum didn't really rely on much mystery in itself. The characters knew that the world was dying, they knew that Pandorum existed and how it could affect them, and they knew about the genetic augments that they received. The horror came in from the fact that they didn't realize that Pandorum had already taken hold of one of their crewmen, or the realization that the genetic augments turned the awakened crew into mutants, or when they realized that one of the crewmen weren't who they said they were. There was no exploratory horror in that movie at all.
I disagree. Much of the horror came from memory loss, simply not knowing. As soon as things were revealed, they became less horrific. As soon as the origins of the mutants was revealed, they instantly became un-scary to me as the audience. It was a cool revelation, but didn't serve the horror part of the movie well. Of course, by then the movie had long since descended into action, so the horror was mainly gone anyway. Like I said - mood, atmosphere, and before the mutants. Not plot or action.
Decivre wrote:
The Exsurgent virus, ETI and the TITANs are all essentially eldritch horrors that the human race are practically destined to fall to.
Yeah, well, I'd never run a CoC game with players who are familiar with the setting, either. I'd argue most of the lovecraft stories also has protagonists that [b]discover[/b] these things...
Decivre wrote:
In Lovecraftian horror, the world tends to be more scary when you know about the horrors than when you don't.
I don't agree. A lot of the time, when you know about a Lovecraftian creature, it's more like "oh, it's one of them slimy tentacly thingies". Also, I've never claimed that I'll restrict knopwledge on the TITAN's, or that I'll restrict knowldedge of the Exergent virus forever. I simply don't share your respect for the book itself. Like any roleplaying book, it's build on certain suppositions as to the tastes of its audience, and like any roleplaying game, the world is actually "created" when GM meets players. The book is, like I said, an inspiration. Not a set of absolute rulings.
Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
krank wrote:
There's no reason to assume that running EP "the way it's intended to be ran" is the best way for me and my players to experience the setting. The way EP is told is a product of the tastes of those who designed the game, and there is no guarantee whatsoever that their tastes coincide with mine.
I'm just trying to get a feel for your use of the word "wacky". Most people use it to imply slapstick and comedy. This doesn't seem to be the case with you (I hope). If you are using it to mean "exotic", then I think that was the point of the setting.
krank wrote:
I disagree strongly. Just because I disagree on what knowledge and what character options are available in the first few adventures or the first campaign, doesn't mean the world itself changes. It just means their initial window, which will grow over time, is smaller. I'll probably make other changes to the game as well - if the example adventure from the quick start rules is how the game is "supposed to be played", for instance - which doesn't seem like much of a stretch - then it's "supposed to be played" with a bit more combat than I like.
It depends on the context. If you are placing the characters in areas where such things are commonalities and converting them into rarities, then the setting really has changed. Perhaps not to such a drastic degree that it isn't still the same setting to a degree, but certainly to a degree that the setting is largely altered to the point that some might not recognize it from an external point of view. For instance, maybe it would be best if you placed your characters where such things would be rare, as opposed to changing the setting? The solar system is a big place, and there are plenty of places where someone might never experience the elements you speak of. The Jovian Republic is practically perfect for your scenario, as they essentially disallows things they believe are an affront to nature/god; commonly uplifts, AGIs and asyncs. They also have heavily censored media which prevent many people from knowing about the outside world. Isolate habitats are another option, where you players were cloistered from the outside world by a group who fears it. As for quick-start rules, I wouldn't use them as a gauge for the entire game. They are generally designed to throw players into as many different parts of the setting as quickly as possible, for the purpose of showing them as much of the game as possible in a single adventure. They are less of a standard adventure and more of a "forced tour of the setting". I've ran it, and it's structure is like this: [list=1][*]Introduce Scum society. Introduce social skills and rep system. [*]Introduce combat mechanics. Introduce TITAN level technology. [*]Introduce resleeving/ego backups. Introduce Martian society. Introduce Martian landscape. Introduce nanofabrication. [*]Introduce a few tertiary elements (visual implants). Final exam, players are expected to use what they've learned to handle this final section. It's nothing like most standard missions (which usually give players more options, and are built for multiple approaches), but is perfect for introducing interested people to a good amount of the setting and game in a short period of time. If you want a more appropriate adventure for the game's style, check out Glory. Anything that can be done with combat can also be done with other options in that one.
krank wrote:
I think you're exaggerating. I have stated a few things I'd like the players not to know at the beginning of the first campaign we run: - The Exergent Virus - The Asyncs - Firewall The world will be modified so that the first and second aren't common knowledge. perhaps rumors, but certainly not rumors everyone believes or takes seriously. Firewall is supposed to be a secret society. Therefore, it's very possible that there are people in the world (quite a lot of them) that don't know about it. Otherwise, it wouldn't be much of a secret. The only reason why the player characters in the [b]default[/b] campaign premise know about it, is because they are created as Sentinels rather than ordinary people. And I'd like to play through their recruitment, and add more than a touch of paranoia regarding Firewall's actual goals etc. firewall will be a secret for... about one, perhaps two, adventures. I have also said I'd like to restrict the players' choices in regards to morphs. This does not mean I will remove other morphs from the setting. I think the difference of opinion here stems from the fact that, to me, discovery is more important than player freedom. The opposite is a valid point of view, of course.
To be fair, little is known about the elements you speak already. Most people don't know about the Exsurgent virus, and the common public consensus is that the TITANs were solely behind the fall (and they weren't). Asyncs make up a very small amount of the population... there are less than 5000 in existence among a population of half a billion. Very little is known about how it works, if it's real or whether it is all just crazy space stories. Firewall is largely unknown to the public, and the only ones who know about them are those that have enough resources and power to match them. What was more troubling to me was the omission of AGI, uplifts and "bizarre morphs", some of which do permeate the setting to quite a degree. Cases are synthmorph models synonymous with the destitute and poor, so you will see them in virtually every location where such people exist. Mercurials (uplifts and AGI) are relatively small, but rising elements of transhuman society. Pods represent a large part of society, as pleasure pods have largely dominated the sex industry, while worker pods and novacrabs have started to fill roles in industry that other transhumans simply don't suffice for. If you wish to eliminate these elements, then a locale where they are shunned is probably more apropos. Any bioconservative locale (like the Junta) or isolate habitat would work for such a setup, but it generally doesn't suit any other location without dramatically changing the way the world works altogether, in ways that may not make sense (if there are no novacrabs and synthmorphs, then how do our zero-g and nuclear production facilities function? They are the core morphs used in harsh industrial environments).
krank wrote:
In most RPG's, getting the player characters together is a huge undertaking - trying to motivate why a dwarf, a half-orc, an elf and a human are going around "adventuring" together is hard. I generally prefer to restrict my players' choices in that kind of game as well - simply because it makes more sense from a plot/campaign standpoint to create the PC's as a [b]group[/b]. If you're into the whole "things need to be explained" thing, of course. In the default campaign premise, the group works together because it's a Sentinel cell. I get that, but because I don't want to [b]use[/b] the default campaign premise, I need to restrict their character choices in another way. You see, "create a PC that's a Firewall character" is [b]also[/b] a restriction. It's limiting their choices. It just doesn't seem that way because it's a restriction imposed by the book, rather than one imposed by the GM. To me, those are the same thing. When playing the game, the book becomes irrelevant. The world does not "belong" to the writers of the book. It belongs to me and my players. The world is the way I portray it. Like I said before, the book is just something used for inspiration. hard adherence to what it says seems... Unnecessary. Why would their choices in what to restrict make more sense than what I choose to restrict?
Most settings made by Catalyst Labs have a melting pot society that is quite justified. Shadowrun used metahuman expression, in that most of the "nonhuman" races (elves dwarves and the like) express themselves genetically from human stock. When the awakening occurred, humans would on occasion give birth to them, and sometimes those that were already alive would simply start expressing "nonhuman" features (basically going through a second puberty). The result is a culture that is forcibly shuffled by nature itself. As for Eclipse Phase, the mixed look of groups is more heavily justified by the fact that [i]bodies are treated as clothes[/i]. The octopus sitting in the corner may be an actual octopus uplift, or he may be some guy who rented out a morph specifically to him stand out from the crowd. The black man you've been negotiating with may actually be a chinese woman who egocasted here to whatever morph they had. To that end, people generally "equip" the body best suited for their job, rather than working with what they have like they do today. It's one of the many things in the setting that are dramatically different from the way we handle things today, and integral to the way the setting works.
krank wrote:
Is this important to you? That we all play the "same" game, the "same" world? I'd argue we never will. We all play in completely different EP-settings. You play in yours, I play in mine. If yours differs less from the common source of inspiration, that's OK. Just don't think you're playing a "more correct" version, because no such thing exists. As an in-setting example: Consider remix culture. Every movie now has countless variants, different endings, different plots etc, depending on the consumer's choice. This is excatly how roleplaying games, and to a lesser extent books, work today. In books, the story and visuals are created when text meets reader, and in roleplaying games, the world is [i]created[/i] when then the GM meets the player or players. There's no "true version", the author's "intention" is largely irrelevant. The author's interpretation is no more valid than the reader's.
That wasn't what I was talking about at all. For instance, I'm currently designing a campaign for the Eclipse Phase game system which largely looks like a pre-Fall Earth. There will be no psi, no Seed AI, nanofabrication is a rarity, and no Firewall. It'll essentially look like a post-cyberpunk setting in a world where warring nations are the root cause of problems. I'm using so very little from Eclipse Phase that I'm not going to claim it is Eclipse Phase by any stretch of the term (albeit the group that plays it has already talked about the potential that the setting is some complex simulspace set up somewhere in the fringes of the Eclipse Phase universe, since the other EP setting they are in is exactly that). I'm just saying that if there are a lot of modifications you wish to make, then a complete overhaul is occasionally a better fit.
krank wrote:
Agreed, which is why I specified the mood (not sthe story or the setting), and the first 15-20 minutes or so, before the muties appear. Up until then, it's very suspensful, and has a deep ambiance of angst and fear, which I thing EP could benefit from. Also, the tech all looks extremely nice, that's very much an aesthetic I'd like to use in EP.
Except the ambience was for different reasons. With Pandorum, the people watching the film are outside observers, so their lack of knowledge about the world is justified by the fact that they are the audience. Paytons amnesia was justified by his insanity, while Bower... I don't think they ever did explain why Bower had amnesia. In the case of RPGs, you [i]aren't[/i] an outside observer, so the lack of knowledge isn't as well-justified (unless I suppose you go with the amnesia/insanity angle, which again brings back a possibility for async characters). Horror in a third-person perspective works differently from horror in a first-person perspective. Besides, Lovecraftian horror works on different tropes. It relies on the fact that the character doesn't know [i]everything[/i] as the primary source of horror. For instance, the titular book Call of Cthulhu's central character was a man exploring a cult that worshipped an eldritch horror. The big hook was not that he knew nothing (he already knew about the cult's existence, and about their mythos), but rather the fact that he didn't know that [i]their god really existed[/i]. This is how horror works with Eclipse Phase. It's one thing to know about the existence of the Exsurgent virus, but Firewall agents are rarely ready to actually witness the horror of the actual things it does to people. The same is true for the TITANs and asyncs. It's one thing to know that they are "really intelligent AI", but that knowledge is rarely useful when you come into contact with an artificial being so smart in comparison to you, that it is akin to the separation between a man and an insect. And while players may have knowledge of asyncs, or even may have met or be one, that rarely prepares them for meeting an Exsurgent async, who's psi abilities literally allow him to bend reality to his whims, and against whom even the most powerful PC async is all but powerless. This is why so much of that information is stored in Chapter 12 of the book. Players (even Firewall agents) know little about these elements. Since you are going to be the GM, I would highly recommend reading Glory to get a grasp on how this setting portrays horror. It's a fairly well-written (albeit short) adventure for the game.
krank wrote:
This argument always pop up when discussing immersion. The counterargument is, of course, that immersion isn't the only goal. Discovery is another, experiencing new and cool things. Most of the time I GM contemporary horror, with the players as pretty much normal people. In such a setting, like in some urban fantasy, the threshold is very low. In EP, it'll always be higher, unless I'll play the kind of Cultural Shock campaign I said earlier I want to avoid. So yes, the threshold will always be there in a setting like EP. This doesn't mean I'd like to raise the threshold, or have it higher than absolutely necessary.
To an extent. There is a point where the players go from "players portraying people in another setting, who are exploring its extent and the unknown aspects of it" to "players exploring another setting despite playing characters in the setting who should have more knowledge than the player does". The former is good, and represents exactly what EP needs. The latter is a bit more contrive. To that end, we aren't talking about raising the threshold at all. People who make insane characters should know what they're getting into when they started making that character. A player who actually takes a game seriously doesn't decide on a character concept and play it at a 180 degree angle from how they conceived it. In that same vein, asyncs are crazy. People who make async characters should be fully aware they are making insane characters. It's a self-imposed challenge, not something the game is forcing down your throat.
krank wrote:
I disagree. Much of the horror came from memory loss, simply not knowing. As soon as things were revealed, they became less horrific. As soon as the origins of the mutants was revealed, they instantly became un-scary to me as the audience. It was a cool revelation, but didn't serve the horror part of the movie well. Of course, by then the movie had long since descended into action, so the horror was mainly gone anyway. Like I said - mood, atmosphere, and before the mutants. Not plot or action.
But you also have to remember that knowledge comes in degrees. Pandorum was known by the characters (and audience) very early on as a risk in space... but the horror of its effects were not as well known until later when you see what an inflicted person is actually capable of. The same is true in Eclipse Phase; you know that the Exsurgent virus exists and what it can do, but that knowledge doesn't prepare you for what you will see when you actually experience it firsthand.
krank wrote:
Yeah, well, I'd never run a CoC game with players who are familiar with the setting, either. I'd argue most of the lovecraft stories also has protagonists that [b]discover[/b] these things...
To a degree. Those characters in cosmic horror stories that don't know much aren't so much protagonists as they are [url=http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RedShirt]disposable good guys[/url]. Also, remember that Eclipse Phase was designed to be able to handle a much higher "difficulty" than most RPGs. Death is easily remedied, but it's assumed that most of the horrors out there can kill you, or worse.
krank wrote:
I don't agree. A lot of the time, when you know about a Lovecraftian creature, it's more like "oh, it's one of them slimy tentacly thingies". Also, I've never claimed that I'll restrict knopwledge on the TITAN's, or that I'll restrict knowldedge of the Exergent virus forever.
Actually, I find it to be more like "oh, perhaps that thing sitting in the water is Cthulhu? It doesn't seem so... OH DEAR GOD HE'S STANDING UP AND HE'S MASSIVE!!! HE'S GOING TO EAT US ALL!!! HOW THE HELL COULD WE HAVE PREPARED FOR THIS?!?!"
krank wrote:
I simply don't share your respect for the book itself. Like any roleplaying book, it's build on certain suppositions as to the tastes of its audience, and like any roleplaying game, the world is actually "created" when GM meets players. The book is, like I said, an inspiration. Not a set of absolute rulings.
I don't disagree with that last sentiment, nor am I claiming that this game is an end-all-be-all setting (remember, I am creating a campaign setting dramatically different from the original; and people don't tend to do that if the pre-made campaign setting is the only thing they want to play). Rather, I'm trying to get a grasp out of what you really want from the game. From what I understand, it seems like you are making a more linear story structure (limited character design or premade characters in a well-structured plot). If that's the case, then I'm trying to give you info on where to start from, so that your exploratory structure is better justified.
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krank krank's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
Decivre wrote:
As for quick-start rules, I wouldn't use them as a gauge for the entire game.
As far as I know, there are exactly two "released" adventures for EP, as in released by the authors of the game. The adventure in the quick-start rules is one of them. It seems reasonable to assume that, at least to some degree, this is how the game is "supposed to be played". If one actually cares about that kind of thing, of course. I don't. =)
Decivre wrote:
To be fair, little is known about the elements you speak already. Most people don't know about the Exsurgent virus, and the common public consensus is that the TITANs were solely behind the fall (and they weren't). Asyncs make up a very small amount of the population... there are less than 5000 in existence among a population of half a billion. Very little is known about how it works, if it's real or whether it is all just crazy space stories. Firewall is largely unknown to the public, and the only ones who know about them are those that have enough resources and power to match them.
In other words, my "changes to the world" are almost nonexistant. The only real difference seems to be that the public hasn't been informed of the existance of the Asyncs yet.
Decivre wrote:
What was more troubling to me was the omission of AGI, uplifts and "bizarre morphs"
I haven't said I'll omit them. Just that they will not be available as starting morphs for the characters. Can we agree that there is a difference between "that which exists in the world" and "that which is available to the players at the start of the game"? Like I've said before (again and again), the game itself makes certain choices, imposes certain limitations (you don't get to play as TITANs, for instance). I haven't suggested that these limitations are [b]bad[/b] in any way, but the fact is: There are limitations as to what the players are allowed to play, even in the default setting. I don't see why the limitations I want to impose in order to get the kind of campaign I want is any different from the limitations the authors impose in order to get the kind of campaign they want. Why is it more "OK" for them to create limitations?
Decivre wrote:
If you wish to eliminate these elements
Never said I did. Just that I want to restrict my players from creating those kinds of characters from the beginning. More or less all the humanoid morphs will be available, as will all origins except uplift and AGI. This is simply because those kind of characters strike me as more suitable for experienced players who have a better idea and understanding of how the world works. Don't run before you can walk, that kind of thing. And yes, since I'm the one with the knowledge about a) the world itself and b) the campaign we're about to play, I think I'm more suited than they are to make that kind of choice.
Decivre wrote:
Most settings made by Catalyst Labs have a melting pot society that is quite justified.
...which is irrelevant when it comes to the issue of restricting players in their choice of characters. The world can be a melting pot, but the PC group doesn't have to be. Just because a character is possible in the world, doesn't mean a player should be allowed to play it.
Decivre wrote:
Except the ambience was for different reasons. With Pandorum, the people watching the film are outside observers, so their lack of knowledge about the world is justified by the fact that they are the audience. Paytons amnesia was justified by his insanity, while Bower... I don't think they ever did explain why Bower had amnesia. In the case of RPGs, you [i]aren't[/i] an outside observer, so the lack of knowledge isn't as well-justified (unless I suppose you go with the amnesia/insanity angle, which again brings back a possibility for async characters). Horror in a third-person perspective works differently from horror in a first-person perspective.
Again, you speak of plot, while I speak of ambience and mood. I'm talking about the "feel" of the situation and the design of the technology, and you speak of the reasons behind that ambience/mood/etc. I have never claimed that those reasons are relevant to EP. Please, do try to argue against things I've actually said, rather than things you may believe I have said.
Decivre wrote:
But you also have to remember that knowledge comes in degrees.
Yes. Which is why I'm planning a multi-tiered campaign, information-wise. This is exacly what I've been saying from the beginning: Knowledge is best gained in play. Had all the characters of Pandorum known everything from the start, it wouldn't have been as good a movie. Some knowledge is available early on. Then, the characters expercience something which widens their horizons. They are made aware of some part of the bigger picture. Little by little, they discover the truths of the world. Truths are a precious commodity.
Decivre wrote:
Actually, I find it to be more like "oh, perhaps that thing sitting in the water is Cthulhu? It doesn't seem so... OH DEAR GOD HE'S STANDING UP AND HE'S MASSIVE!!! HE'S GOING TO EAT US ALL!!! HOW THE HELL COULD WE HAVE PREPARED FOR THIS?!?!"
You mean "oh, perhaps that thing sitting in the water is Cthulhu? It doesn't seem so... OK, I lose 6d6 SAN? My character goes insane and screems a lot, I guess"...
Decivre wrote:
Rather, I'm trying to get a grasp out of what you really want from the game. From what I understand, it seems like you are making a more linear story structure (limited character design or premade characters in a well-structured plot). If that's the case, then I'm trying to give you info on where to start from, so that your exploratory structure is better justified.
More linear than what? There are no official campaigns yet, so there's really no way to tell how "linear" a campaign in EP is supposed to be. The main rulebook seems to imply less campaigning and more disjointed "missions" for Firewall, so in comparison to that I guess I'll be more linear, since that kind of gaming doesn't interest me at all (Brings back a lot of bad memories from endless military-type missions in Mutant Chronicles...) For me, as a GM, the fun comes from taking the long perspective, careful planning, and gradual discovery. So yes, in order to make the group work well, long-term, and in order to maximize the potential for gradual discovery, I'll restrict the character design somewhat, when the players create their first characters and choose their first morphs. Their second characters and later morphs will be a lot less restricted. I'd never use premade characters for any reason, in any game.
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Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
krank wrote:
As far as I know, there are exactly two "released" adventures for EP, as in released by the authors of the game. The adventure in the quick-start rules is one of them. It seems reasonable to assume that, at least to some degree, this is how the game is "supposed to be played". If one actually cares about that kind of thing, of course. I don't. =)
Except it isn't. Quick-start rules have been produced for FASA games for a long time. Shadowrun had the classic Food Fight for players, but most people who had played the game for any longer than... well, that adventure, knew that Food Fight was just a way to showcase the mechanics of the game. If you went by Food Fight as a gauge for Shadowrun, then the entire game consisted of grocery runs where gunfights ensue. And trust me, that isn't Shadowrun.
krank wrote:
In other words, my "changes to the world" are almost nonexistant. The only real difference seems to be that the public hasn't been informed of the existance of the Asyncs yet.
Pretty much. Even in the case of asyncs, the larger majority might not know of their existence. They are, after all, the product of an Exsurgent strain, which is also a big unknown.
krank wrote:
I haven't said I'll omit them. Just that they will not be available as starting morphs for the characters. Can we agree that there is a difference between "that which exists in the world" and "that which is available to the players at the start of the game"? Like I've said before (again and again), the game itself makes certain choices, imposes certain limitations (you don't get to play as TITANs, for instance). I haven't suggested that these limitations are [b]bad[/b] in any way, but the fact is: There are limitations as to what the players are allowed to play, even in the default setting. I don't see why the limitations I want to impose in order to get the kind of campaign I want is any different from the limitations the authors impose in order to get the kind of campaign they want. Why is it more "OK" for them to create limitations?
Again, I never said that it wasn't okay for you to make limitations. I'm just trying to figure out why exactly you are limiting them. Perhaps it's because personally, "that's too weird" doesn't seem like a good reason to prevent people from trying things. If you were going for a more specific game structure (like the players are a group of Ultimate mercenaries, or they were something else to a degree specific), I could understand build limitations. Hell, after explaining that you really want them to see the setting, I could even understand eliminating asyncs. Uplifts and other such things seem to be an off-case, as you're eliminating them solely for the sake of not having them, but still having them in-setting... it seems to be more like "You guys are explorers. Also, no non-humans allowed, but they will exist. I just don't want you playing them."
krank wrote:
Never said I did. Just that I want to restrict my players from creating those kinds of characters from the beginning. More or less all the humanoid morphs will be available, as will all origins except uplift and AGI. This is simply because those kind of characters strike me as more suitable for experienced players who have a better idea and understanding of how the world works. Don't run before you can walk, that kind of thing. And yes, since I'm the one with the knowledge about a) the world itself and b) the campaign we're about to play, I think I'm more suited than they are to make that kind of choice.
You also have to eliminate the Lost background, as they are asyncs. I might even recommend restricting them to the Isolate or Bioconservative faction, which would justify why they would have no experience with most of the outside world, and its more "exotic" aspects.
krank wrote:
...which is irrelevant when it comes to the issue of restricting players in their choice of characters. The world can be a melting pot, but the PC group doesn't have to be. Just because a character is possible in the world, doesn't mean a player should be allowed to play it.
But again, why shouldn't they? That's really why I'm asking so much about this. I still don't understand why some concepts aren't allowed in your game. AGIs and Uplifts are just as likely to know little about the outside world as people are.
krank wrote:
Yes. Which is why I'm planning a multi-tiered campaign, information-wise. This is exacly what I've been saying from the beginning: Knowledge is best gained in play. Had all the characters of Pandorum known everything from the start, it wouldn't have been as good a movie. Some knowledge is available early on. Then, the characters expercience something which widens their horizons. They are made aware of some part of the bigger picture. Little by little, they discover the truths of the world. Truths are a precious commodity.
Only one character in Pandorum was actually in the dark (the main character). The other character turned out to be the antagonist, and a psychopath. It works for a singular character concept, but are you really going to create an entire group in which every character has contracted amnesia?
krank wrote:
You mean "oh, perhaps that thing sitting in the water is Cthulhu? It doesn't seem so... OK, I lose 6d6 SAN? My character goes insane and screems a lot, I guess"...
"I got shot? Well, I guess I act like I'm hurt. How many hit points did I lose?" "Aww, my anchor was killed by an Excrucian? I guess I act sad... and stuff." "Somebody's talking to me? Well, I guess I respond to them." You can have that reaction no matter the game you are playing. If that is you're reaction, then you really aren't roleplaying, are you?
krank wrote:
More linear than what? There are no official campaigns yet, so there's really no way to tell how "linear" a campaign in EP is supposed to be. The main rulebook seems to imply less campaigning and more disjointed "missions" for Firewall, so in comparison to that I guess I'll be more linear, since that kind of gaming doesn't interest me at all (Brings back a lot of bad memories from endless military-type missions in Mutant Chronicles...) For me, as a GM, the fun comes from taking the long perspective, careful planning, and gradual discovery. So yes, in order to make the group work well, long-term, and in order to maximize the potential for gradual discovery, I'll restrict the character design somewhat, when the players create their first characters and choose their first morphs. Their second characters and later morphs will be a lot less restricted. I'd never use premade characters for any reason, in any game.
Uh, linear as in "a specific pre-designed storyline"? Linear as in "this story has a beginning middle and end, and you guys get to roleplay your character's means of getting there"? Linear as in directly contrasting a sandbox-structured open world where the players choose what they do? The usual campaign setting, even for games like Shadowrun and such, can be fairly linear. It's not some insult, but rather me trying to understand how you run your games.
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krank krank's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
Decivre wrote:
Uplifts and other such things seem to be an off-case, as you're eliminating them solely for the sake of not having them, but still having them in-setting... it seems to be more like "You guys are explorers. Also, no non-humans allowed, but they will exist. I just don't want you playing them."
I've given several reasons why I don't want Uplifts and AGI's: 1) I want to avoid the Star Wars Cantina, or the Travelling Band of Circus Freaks. You yourself have stated that Uplifts and AGI's are a small minority, yes? So, statistically, most groups of people won't include them. So, there is an extremely low chance of, say a group with an uplift, and AGI, and say a crab and a swarm. Not an impossible combination, but a very, very special case. Limiting these options doesn't create an exception in the world; allowing it does. I don't like the idea of protagonists. I don't want my players to play "heroes", people who are extremely "special". At the beginning of the campaign, I want them to play more or less ordinary people... Someone here on the forum called it the "Special Snowflake" factor. I don't want that. I want my players to play something they recognize the first time they explore the world. It's not about limiting for the sake of limitation, it's about limiting choices in order to enhance experience, and to reach a certain mood and ambience.
Decivre wrote:
You also have to eliminate the Lost background, as they are asyncs.
All of them? I must admit that if that's the case, I did not know that. It was my understanding that only some of the Lost were asyncs.
Decivre wrote:
I might even recommend restricting them to the Isolate or Bioconservative faction, which would justify why they would have no experience with most of the outside world, and its more "exotic" aspects.
Again, you use hyperbole and straw man arguments. I have never said that they should have "no experience with most of the outside world". That's something you've made up. The characters will have had plenty of experience. At least as much as the majority of Transhumanity - like you said before, the AGI's and the Uplifts are a minority (there are probably lots of people who haven't met more than one or two). You're trying to argue against a position I have never taken, and I find that kind of annoying. I have never said that the characters will lack common knowledge or that I'll remove Uplifts or crab morphs from the game world. Have I really been [b]that[/b] unclear?
Decivre wrote:
But again, why shouldn't they? That's really why I'm asking so much about this. I still don't understand why some concepts aren't allowed in your game. AGIs and Uplifts are just as likely to know little about the outside world as people are.
Again, you suppose I'm going to run a game where the characters have basically lived in a cave their entire lives. Please find whatever passage of mine which might be interpreted that way, and I will do my best to explain what I actually meant. I have stated my goals multiple times, in pretty clear terms. The reason for not allowing AGI's and Uplift backgrounds is because a) I think my campaign will gain a lot of immersion by having the players play humans their first time around, and b) I'd like to give the players the experience of meeting such characters before they play them. And, of course, c) to avoid the "circus freaks" group. Even in EP "strange" morphs are uncommon, and I really don't see the point in allowing strangeness for strangeness' sake. As the world becomes more familiar, and the concepts of Uplifts and AGI's, of swarms and crabs, become more familiar to the players, and the sense of "Star Wars Cantina" wears off, the restrictions will be lifted. And no, I don't consider the SWC-factor to be very important to the world of EP. To me, the idea of resleeving itself, even between humanoid morphs, is fascinating enough. I don't need crabs, snakes, swarms. At least, not yet. I don't consider such things to be central to what EP is "all about".
Decivre wrote:
Only one character in Pandorum was actually in the dark (the main character). The other character turned out to be the antagonist, and a psychopath. It works for a singular character concept, but are you really going to create an entire group in which every character has contracted amnesia?
You know what? Forget it. Let's forget I ever mentioned Pandorum. Clearly, I have been unsuccessful in communicating what I want to use, and what I don't, from that movie.
Decivre wrote:
You can have that reaction no matter the game you are playing. If that is you're reaction, then you really aren't roleplaying, are you?
If the player isn't scared, then it's just acting. And I couldn't care less about acting. "Roleplaying" isn't just the player's ability to transform results of game mechanics into description.
Decivre wrote:
Uh, linear as in "a specific pre-designed storyline"? Linear as in "this story has a beginning middle and end, and you guys get to roleplay your character's means of getting there"? Linear as in directly contrasting a sandbox-structured open world where the players choose what they do? The usual campaign setting, even for games like Shadowrun and such, can be fairly linear. It's not some insult, but rather me trying to understand how you run your games.
Still, you said "more linear". Compared to what? To me, linear campaigns are the default. Sandboxing is something I've only experienced in a small handful of GM's. And yes, that's what I do. I do linear campaigns, big story-arc:ish stuff. I've been pretty clear on my position on sandboxing before, haven't i? If the players what to sandbox, they can go find another GM.
Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
krank wrote:
I've given several reasons why I don't want Uplifts and AGI's: 1) I want to avoid the Star Wars Cantina, or the Travelling Band of Circus Freaks. You yourself have stated that Uplifts and AGI's are a small minority, yes? So, statistically, most groups of people won't include them. So, there is an extremely low chance of, say a group with an uplift, and AGI, and say a crab and a swarm. Not an impossible combination, but a very, very special case. Limiting these options doesn't create an exception in the world; allowing it does. I don't like the idea of protagonists. I don't want my players to play "heroes", people who are extremely "special". At the beginning of the campaign, I want them to play more or less ordinary people... Someone here on the forum called it the "Special Snowflake" factor. I don't want that. I want my players to play something they recognize the first time they explore the world. It's not about limiting for the sake of limitation, it's about limiting choices in order to enhance experience, and to reach a certain mood and ambience.
Relatively small, but not a rarity. Mercurials permeate most societies that allow for them, and are a large enough minority to dominate a few habitats themselves. If I had to place a number (as there isn't one), I'd put them at around 10% of the system's population... about as common as left-handed people today. As for the idea of protagonists, that will change up how characters are made by a certain degree. The game assumes that your characters are fairly talented; enough so that they have attracted the attention of a clandestine organization that requires people capable of standing up to threats of extinction. Character creation as the game presents it does [i]not[/i] produce average people... who will likely be less-skilled (if not significantly so) than a standard PC.
krank wrote:
All of them? I must admit that if that's the case, I did not know that. It was my understanding that only some of the Lost were asyncs.
The Watts-Macleod strain infected the entire project. It's heavily implied that the Futura Project might have been successful (perhaps at least partially) if the Exsurgent virus had not contaminated every subject.
krank wrote:
Again, you use hyperbole and straw man arguments. I have never said that they should have "no experience with most of the outside world". That's something you've made up. The characters will have had plenty of experience. At least as much as the majority of Transhumanity - like you said before, the AGI's and the Uplifts are a minority (there are probably lots of people who haven't met more than one or two). You're trying to argue against a position I have never taken, and I find that kind of annoying. I have never said that the characters will lack common knowledge or that I'll remove Uplifts or crab morphs from the game world. Have I really been [b]that[/b] unclear?
I'm not making arguments here, I'm making recommendations. Bioconservatives and isolates aren't somehow inferior in their experiences, in comparison to other groups. They are simply two of the many factions that exist in Eclipse Phase, and the ones that are best suited for what you are trying to pull off. Bioconservatives, like those who grew up in the Jovian Republic, grow up in societies where news and media was censored, uplifts and AGI are not treated as citizens (and they are far less common because of it), and most transhuman and synthetic morphs (as well as many nano-technology devices) are illegal. They still can grow up in what is one of the largest nations in the EP universe, and have plenty of opportunity to be "experienced". The Junta consists of the largest majority of stations and habitats orbiting Jupiter, which gives your players a very wide berth to explore, while allowing you to introduce them to the setting in a location where uplifts and AGI aren't as common, and may even be something that the characters have simply heard news reports about (likely negative ones, at that). It's perfect for introducing characters into the game with a well-established part of the setting (relatively, since the setting isn't really well-established yet) without having to change much. Less work means more play. As for isolates, they consist of any people who grew up in an unlisted habitat in the far reaches of the system. They literally can run the gamut: some might be hedonist colonies full of drugs and orgy, while others are ascetic habitats with classic monks living a life of self-denial while worshipping what are lost religions elsewhere. You literally could design your own habitat when working with isolate colonies... the skies the limit. If you're looking to custom-build their first foray into the setting, then the isolate faction is perfect for you... which is why I recommended it. Believe it or not, I'm not here to argue with you. I was trying to figure out what you wanted out of the game, and these recommendations were based on how you described it to me. You don't have to be so hostile about it.
krank wrote:
Again, you suppose I'm going to run a game where the characters have basically lived in a cave their entire lives. Please find whatever passage of mine which might be interpreted that way, and I will do my best to explain what I actually meant. I have stated my goals multiple times, in pretty clear terms. The reason for not allowing AGI's and Uplift backgrounds is because a) I think my campaign will gain a lot of immersion by having the players play humans their first time around, and b) I'd like to give the players the experience of meeting such characters before they play them. And, of course, c) to avoid the "circus freaks" group. Even in EP "strange" morphs are uncommon, and I really don't see the point in allowing strangeness for strangeness' sake. As the world becomes more familiar, and the concepts of Uplifts and AGI's, of swarms and crabs, become more familiar to the players, and the sense of "Star Wars Cantina" wears off, the restrictions will be lifted. And no, I don't consider the SWC-factor to be very important to the world of EP. To me, the idea of resleeving itself, even between humanoid morphs, is fascinating enough. I don't need crabs, snakes, swarms. At least, not yet. I don't consider such things to be central to what EP is "all about".
I don't remember saying that crabs, snakes and swarms are central to Eclipse Phase, though I did say that the concept of switching bodies is. Introducing them to Eclipse Phase without informing them that people switch bodies (and often), would be like playing D&D, and never telling the players that they can sheathe their sword when they aren't in combat. In this case, however, it isn't implicit... most people aren't going to realize that people can switch bodies in this setting, and it [i]is[/i] integral to the setting, like mind backups and a dead planet earth. And no, not all "strange" morphs are uncommon. Cases and pods are some of the most common morphs in the setting (if not [i]the[/i] most common morphs of the setting). While most pods look human, expect every hazardous work environment to include the sight of novacrabs. In that same vein, cases are synonymous with the poor, the destitute, and the EP equivalent of sweatshops. Expect back-alleys full of cases, especially in locations where the re-instantiated are common. This is why I recommended starting the players off in a bioconservative setting. These sorts of sights aren't common there. Bioconservatives utilize normal humans for virtually everything, including hazardous work environments. Even resleeving is more of a rarity there (albeit it still does happen). It fits with how you want your game to start.
krank wrote:
If the player isn't scared, then it's just acting. And I couldn't care less about acting. "Roleplaying" isn't just the player's ability to transform results of game mechanics into description.
Roleplay [b]is[/b] acting. When some people act, they get more in character than others. Some people, on the other hand, just play their part. Neither is inherently wrong, and there is no way to tell which of the two any given roleplayer is doing if they are doing a good job. Your previous example simply conveyed someone with zero enthusiasm for what they were playing (which judging from the mechanics shown was Call of Cthulhu, no?), not someone who was incapable of roleplay, or a game that didn't foster it.
krank wrote:
Still, you said "more linear". Compared to what? To me, linear campaigns are the default. Sandboxing is something I've only experienced in a small handful of GM's. And yes, that's what I do. I do linear campaigns, big story-arc:ish stuff. I've been pretty clear on my position on sandboxing before, haven't i? If the players what to sandbox, they can go find another GM.
Then what was the problem? I was assuming that was the setting you were trying to run, and apparently I was right. Why are you so hostile about it?
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
King Shere King Shere's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
Decivre wrote:
krank wrote:
If the player isn't scared, then it's just acting. And I couldn't care less about acting. "Roleplaying" isn't just the player's ability to transform results of game mechanics into description.
Roleplay [b]is[/b] acting. When some people act, they get more in character than others. Some people, on the other hand, just play their part. Neither is inherently wrong, and there is no way to tell which of the two any given roleplayer is doing if they are doing a good job.
I both disagre & concour. The Roleplaying spectrum is different from acting. There are many many ways & styles of roleplay. ranging from LARP, Role-play, to Roll-play. Then there is the GM thats a book-lecturer with listeners (next to no player input), or the sandbox where All are participants & GM. All these styles are called roleplaying. Focus & purpose can range from hack & slash, puzzel solving challengers, exploration to provoking feelings (like fear). Most common reason uniting all of these are of enjoyment "fun" & escapism "immersion". Not that I dislike Good, plausible portrayal & acting. It makes the experience to me better. GM has his brand of style, players either partake in that -or find themselves another group. Unfortunately & often, People are not clear on what their style & genre really is. If the GM described the Call of Chtullu campaign as a detective horror & the resulting campaign was Hack & Slash Gore. If I came there for the Detective Horror game, I could be disappointed.
krank krank's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
Decivre wrote:
I'm not making arguments here, I'm making recommendations.
Still, it seems like I have been extraordinarily bad at communicating my preferences - most of the things you recommend have little or no relevance to what I'm actually after. I've already, for instance, said I don't want culture shock gaming. I've never said I want to eliminate uplifts or AGI's from the world, or even make them less common. Apparently, I haven't been clear enough, and for that I apologize.
Decivre wrote:
Less work means more play.
Provided, of course, that one sees modifying small parts of the world [i]work[/i]. I don't. To me, as a GM, that's play. It's fun.
Decivre wrote:
You don't have to be so hostile about it.
I guess I'm just frustrated that my communication skills apparently aren't up to the job of explaining what it is that I want...
Decivre wrote:
I don't remember saying that crabs, snakes and swarms are central to Eclipse Phase, though I did say that the concept of switching bodies is. Introducing them to Eclipse Phase without informing them that people switch bodies (and often), would be like playing D&D, and never telling the players that they can sheathe their sword when they aren't in combat. In this case, however, it isn't implicit... most people aren't going to realize that people can switch bodies in this setting, and it [i]is[/i] integral to the setting, like mind backups and a dead planet earth.
Where have I suggested I wouldn't tell them that people switch bodies? I agree that body switching is integral - however, letting the players begin the game as any kind of morph isn't.
Decivre wrote:
This is why I recommended starting the players off in a bioconservative setting. These sorts of sights aren't common there.
Never said I didn't want the sight to be uncommon. I said I don't want my players to play AGI's or Uplifts, or begin the game in a non-humanoid body. What exists in the setting and what kind of limitations I put on my players are two different things. They don't even need to be connected.
Decivre wrote:
Bioconservatives utilize normal humans for virtually everything, including hazardous work environments. Even resleeving is more of a rarity there (albeit it still does happen). It fits with how you want your game to start.
So, because I want my players to start out in humanoid morphs, I must automatically want them not to resleeve very often? I must also want to base them in a society in which sleeving isn't common? I'm not very interested in bioconservative societies at the moment. I do want to explore resleeving and its consequences etc; and I'm mainly interested in the inner system. However, from what I gather there are still a lot of transhumans who generally prefer humanoid morphs. Therefore, it's not much of a leap to say that a group consisting mainly, or only, of individuals prefering humanoid morphs is possible and feasible. The limitation I want is not mainly a question of what the setting demands, but of what the story, the campaign, I want to run demands. And the way I want to explore EP begins with a group of humanoid transhumans, who for some reason work together or at least know each other, in the context of the larger whole. I'll probably focus on existential issues, at least at first. The mind, the nature of the soul, forks etc. Kind of low-key. Turn down the weirdness meter, and up the angst. Not a lot of over-the-top weirdness, so to speak. Perhaps this will mean making some morphs less common, more common, or just less (or more) weird. Perhaps it will mean making Firewall less of a "good-guy" organization and the Jovians less of "bad guys". Like I said, the story in the beginning of the book captures a lot of what I want. Good amount of paranoia, sense of cold space and personal horror, questions about the nature of individuality and of humanity's ultimate goals.
Decivre wrote:
Roleplay [b]is[/b] acting. When some people act, they get more in character than others. Some people, on the other hand, just play their part. Neither is inherently wrong, and there is no way to tell which of the two any given roleplayer is doing if they are doing a good job.
Some roleplaying is acting. Not all. D&D-dungeonbashing is about as much "acting" as playing Monopoly, in some groups. It's still roleplaying. Any attempts to define "roleplaying" once and for all will fail, of course. Acting implies acting out, expressing oneself. I argue that this is not necessary. To me, immersion is the key. If I cannot get my players frightened, if they're just acting out what the mechanics or whatever tell them to, then I am not doing my job, and I'm likely to end the campaign as soon as I find out. I am simply not interested in acting in itself. Immersion without acting, is fine by me. Immersion with acting, is also fine. Acting without immersion, completely uninteresting. To me. And I argue that all three can be categorized as roleplaying. (Acting can be a part of roleplaying. They are not, however, the same thing. And roleplaying doesn't necessarily mean acting)
Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
King Shere wrote:
I both disagre & concour. The Roleplaying spectrum is different from acting. There are many many ways & styles of roleplay. ranging from LARP, Role-play, to Roll-play. Then there is the GM thats a book-lecturer with listeners (next to no player input), or the sandbox where All are participants & GM. All these styles are called roleplaying. Focus & purpose can range from hack & slash, puzzel solving challengers, exploration to provoking feelings (like fear). Most common reason uniting all of these are of enjoyment "fun" & escapism "immersion". Not that I dislike Good, plausible portrayal & acting. It makes the experience to me better. GM has his brand of style, players either partake in that -or find themselves another group. Unfortunately & often, People are not clear on what their style & genre really is. If the GM described the Call of Chtullu campaign as a detective horror & the resulting campaign was Hack & Slash Gore. If I came there for the Detective Horror game, I could be disappointed.
There are many ways and styles of acting, ranging from one-man performances, to interpretive storytelling, to classic theater, to improv. There's the director that forces all actors to do things exactly as he envisions them, and the more liberal directors which allow the actors to interpret their characters as they see fit. All of these are part and parcel to acting. To that end, there are many degrees and styles of acting. Some famous actors like William Shatner have forged a career off of what perhaps should have been considered bad acting. Some films and shows may call for someone to act badly (or portray a character that acts badly). Even players who narrate their character's actions and speech, as opposed to actually becoming their character, are doing a form of acting (narration). The only discernable difference between acting and roleplay is the presence of game mechanics. In games where no mechanics exist, the difference becomes even more arguable, and perhaps nonexistent.
krank wrote:
Still, it seems like I have been extraordinarily bad at communicating my preferences - most of the things you recommend have little or no relevance to what I'm actually after. I've already, for instance, said I don't want culture shock gaming. I've never said I want to eliminate uplifts or AGI's from the world, or even make them less common. Apparently, I haven't been clear enough, and for that I apologize.
I was under the impression that you were going to place them in a location where those would be unlikely sights, and then gradually introduce such creatures to them as the game progresses. By setting them in the Junta or an isolate habitat, it makes it an actual possibility. For instance, in the isolate habitat the players could be introduced to a location that is more "human comfortable". Might run a story in such a setting. The players are then introduced to AGI/uplifts or whatever by way of a trade barge, and that gradually injects it into their midst. From there, you can send them to a location where such sights are more common (perhaps the inner system, or Mars). When you finally feel that the "cantina effect" has worn off, you can start sending them to locales that are more exotic (generally someplace in the outer system, or maybe a circumsolar habitat). Gradual integration like you seemed to desire. With the bioconservative faction, you might introduce AGI/uplifts by way of some arrest, or some other moderately jarring event that shows how the Junta view them. Further travels throughout the system could, again, gradually introduce them to other nonhuman entities, again slowly integrating them into the setting. I figured that these two types of locations would be the best start-off points, from which you could bring them to other locales.
krank wrote:
Provided, of course, that one sees modifying small parts of the world [i]work[/i]. I don't. To me, as a GM, that's play. It's fun.
To a degree. As more material is produced for the game, more differences between the setting you've altered and the original setting will crop up, and the setting they are distributing... and it can mean more material you have to produce on your own. For instance, I set an Scion campaign in the eastern US, only to later realize that the entirety of my setting design was dramatically different from that region of the US, both in geography and culture (that's what I get for trying to run a game in a place I've never visited, and not looking at a map beforehand). The end result is that I had to do a dramatic overhaul, and it's become more and more work (with greater degrees of inconsistency with real life) as my players move further out from where they originally were. It's been a lot of work to basically re-design a quarter of the United States in both region, culture and style. I think that's the reason that they created isolate habitats. They are a perfect opportunity for players to add to the setting without contradicting any material whatsoever. Any isolate habitat can exist, and they are literally all over the place and can have virtually any social structure to them. Things which are common elsewhere can be made rare, and vice versa. I'm already running an "I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream" setting in an isolate habitat. Me personally, I prefer creating events, scenarios and NPCs over actually producing regions and societies. I find the latter to be far more difficult and time-consuming work, and less enjoyable.
krank wrote:
Where have I suggested I wouldn't tell them that people switch bodies? I agree that body switching is integral - however, letting the players begin the game as any kind of morph isn't.
It's not about letting them play any kind of morph, but warning them that resleeving is par for the course in the setting. As I mentioned before, you could be talking to a black man, only to realize (likely through kinesics) that he is actually a Chinese woman. I'd expect you to limit them to human-looking morphs, but they may very well wish to purchase more than one, or may early on need to switch to another. That's need-to-know material, to a degree.
krank wrote:
Never said I didn't want the sight to be uncommon. I said I don't want my players to play AGI's or Uplifts, or begin the game in a non-humanoid body. What exists in the setting and what kind of limitations I put on my players are two different things. They don't even need to be connected.
Okay, now I am a bit confused. I was under the impression that you wanted your players to be greeted by more familiar sights, and then gradually integrate more exotic beings like uplifts and AGI. Now you're okay with putting them someplace where uplifts and AGI are a common sight, and aren't afraid of causing the so-called "cantina effect"?
krank wrote:
So, because I want my players to start out in humanoid morphs, I must automatically want them not to resleeve very often? I must also want to base them in a society in which sleeving isn't common? I'm not very interested in bioconservative societies at the moment. I do want to explore resleeving and its consequences etc; and I'm mainly interested in the inner system. However, from what I gather there are still a lot of transhumans who generally prefer humanoid morphs. Therefore, it's not much of a leap to say that a group consisting mainly, or only, of individuals prefering humanoid morphs is possible and feasible. The limitation I want is not mainly a question of what the setting demands, but of what the story, the campaign, I want to run demands. And the way I want to explore EP begins with a group of humanoid transhumans, who for some reason work together or at least know each other, in the context of the larger whole. I'll probably focus on existential issues, at least at first. The mind, the nature of the soul, forks etc. Kind of low-key. Turn down the weirdness meter, and up the angst. Not a lot of over-the-top weirdness, so to speak. Perhaps this will mean making some morphs less common, more common, or just less (or more) weird. Perhaps it will mean making Firewall less of a "good-guy" organization and the Jovians less of "bad guys". Like I said, the story in the beginning of the book captures a lot of what I want. Good amount of paranoia, sense of cold space and personal horror, questions about the nature of individuality and of humanity's ultimate goals.
Again, not what I was talking about. A location like the Junta or an isolate habitat provides a good region where exotic things are uncommon, while giving you the means to easily and gradually introduce more exotic beings and aspects to the game world. This is even moreso true with isolate habitats, which literally run the gamut in terms of how they may be designed. Isolate habitats are the setting's "create your own" section, which the game has intentionally left undocumented for the sake of allowing GMs to craft locales themselves. There are also exoplanets and simulspace, but I don't think those fit with what you're trying to pull off. To that end, Firewall aren't good guys. Jovians aren't bad. Jovians are a conservative culture which has turned its back on what they perceive to be causing the fall of mankind. Some might be violent, but most probably aren't. They are no more evil than the Amish today, and are essentially the futuristic outgrowth of the modern US Republican party. As for Firewall, their goals in the world may be good-intended, but Firewall is more than willing to kill a few hundred innocent bystanders if it means staving off extinction. They are willing to do whatever it takes to stick to their mantra: "There cannot be another Fall". This often means doing horrible things (which is exactly what the Erasure squads are for).
krank wrote:
Some roleplaying is acting. Not all. D&D-dungeonbashing is about as much "acting" as playing Monopoly, in some groups. It's still roleplaying. Any attempts to define "roleplaying" once and for all will fail, of course. Acting implies acting out, expressing oneself. I argue that this is not necessary. To me, immersion is the key. If I cannot get my players frightened, if they're just acting out what the mechanics or whatever tell them to, then I am not doing my job, and I'm likely to end the campaign as soon as I find out. I am simply not interested in acting in itself. Immersion without acting, is fine by me. Immersion with acting, is also fine. Acting without immersion, completely uninteresting. To me. And I argue that all three can be categorized as roleplaying. (Acting can be a part of roleplaying. They are not, however, the same thing. And roleplaying doesn't necessarily mean acting)
Acting does not necessarily have to be expressive. Monologue plays, movie narrators and voice actors aren't necessarily being physically expressive, but they are acting. Some characters require no expression whatsoever (the Terminator, for example). Some stories even call for someone to [url=http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BadBadActing]portray bad acting[/url]... or they may be bad actors, both of which are the closest things that acting can get to "playing D&D like its Monopoly" (unless perhaps you count children's plays). Acting is just as varied as roleplay, and the only real discernable difference is that the latter usually has game mechanics. When roleplay doesn't have game mechanics (such as sexual roleplay, or certain forms of LARP), the difference between it and acting is negligible, possibly nonexistent. Besides, one can't guarantee immersion to any assured degree. Some people's taste will ensure lack of immersion, while others simply can't pull it off. I never feel any sense of immersion when it comes to horror movies (I'm more likely to be horrified by a surgery show on TV than any given horror movie), and I know people who don't really understand the concept of immersion at all; they don't even try to put themselves into other people's shoes. It doesn't mean they can't roleplay, nor does it mean they can't enjoy roleplaying games. First and foremost should be entertainment, whether immersion is achieved or not. I'd rather everyone at the table told me the game was fun but didn't get a sense of immersion, rather than saying that they got a sense of immersion, but didn't like it.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
krank krank's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
Decivre wrote:
Okay, now I am a bit confused. I was under the impression that you wanted your players to be greeted by more familiar sights, and then gradually integrate more exotic beings like uplifts and AGI. Now you're okay with putting them someplace where uplifts and AGI are a common sight, and aren't afraid of causing the so-called "cantina effect"?
Define "common". I haven't seen much in the way of concrete numbers yet, so as far as I'm concerned, places where uplifts are about as common as, say, modern-day hippies (you meet them sometimes, just not every day and not everywhere) are perfectly reasonable. So, not quite "almost never/not at all", and not quite "as many as are left-handed". If the book contains actual statistics on the amount of AGI's or Uplifts compared to human-origin people, please show me page numbers. When it comes to AGI's, there's really no way of truly know if someone is one, is there? That's one of the things I want to play with - paranoida re: AI's, the fact that some of them actually walk among us, and they caused the Fall, and I think they should be contained to ensure they don't turn into TITAN's, and they're all the same anyways... This means that yeah, they'll exist. Probably not very open about their origins. And that sense of paranoia would be hard to maintain with a PC AGI - possible, but hard. Someone using a crab in high-risk environment: Common. Someone using a crab in ordinary life: Very uncommon. Not to mention swarms etc. This really isn't a binary choice. I just don't want to force the world's extreme diversity down the players' throats. Uncommon things should be uncommon, and some things work better when treated as even more uncommon and unfamiliar than they, perhaps, are in the current setting. The Cantina Effect is a risk only if like 70-90% of everyone you meet looks too weird to be considered human by reasonably modern standards. Most humanoid morphs do not contribute, at least not a lot, to the cantina effect. Having most poor people be "robots" is all right. Having everyone you meet be a new kind of strangeness is not. To me.
Decivre wrote:
To that end, Firewall aren't good guys. Jovians aren't bad. Jovians are a conservative culture which has turned its back on what they perceive to be causing the fall of mankind. Some might be violent, but most probably aren't. They are no more evil than the Amish today, and are essentially the futuristic outgrowth of the modern US Republican party. As for Firewall, their goals in the world may be good-intended, but Firewall is more than willing to kill a few hundred innocent bystanders if it means staving off extinction. They are willing to do whatever it takes to stick to their mantra: "There cannot be another Fall". This often means doing horrible things (which is exactly what the Erasure squads are for).
Those are good, but I'll probably add some more: First, even less information flow through Firewall. More cell-type structure, less decentralization. More like an Illuminati-type society than a world-saving organization. Also, less volunteering, more picking up desperate people and effectively *owning* them. A lot less heroic, darkly or otherwise. As it is written, Firewall is kind of idealized; sure, they do a lot of bad things, but it's all for the common good, etc. And they have a really neat "free" collaborative structure of decentralized decisionmaking... I'd just like to keep it more under wraps. (Of course, it's possible I just read too much into what I've read so far...) And essentially, while the Jovians may be fighting the inevitable, I'll try to float the idea that they are actually right. That humanity will, inevitably, kill itself as long as there is unrestricted use of certain technology. (And comparing them with republicans and saying that should make them seem more nice... Doesn't really work. I'm from Sweden, see (which also explains any linguistic wirdness, English not being my first language and all), and our rightmost political parties would be considered to be on the left side of the Democrats... There are no republicans here. Luckily. I have a really hard time thinking of them as anything but stereotypical bad guys... That level of nationalism/conservatism/etc is just really hard for me to even comprahend, much less sympathize with)
Decivre wrote:
Acting does not necessarily have to be expressive. Monologue plays, movie narrators and voice actors aren't necessarily being physically expressive, but they are acting. Some characters require no expression whatsoever (the Terminator, for example).
The terminator expresses plenty. Body language, word choice, intonation...
Decivre wrote:
Acting is just as varied as roleplay, and the only real discernable difference is that the latter usually has game mechanics.
In roleplaying, you can be completely quiet, not move or act like your character, and still roleplay. Acting requires, to a certain degree, doing stuff that at least [i]could[/i] be seen or heard or read etc by other people. Roleplaying doesn't. Roleplaying doesn't require acting, because roleplaying doesn't require me to do anything outside my own head, not even speak.
Decivre wrote:
Besides, one can't guarantee immersion to any assured degree. Some people's taste will ensure lack of immersion, while others simply can't pull it off.
Agreed. Which is why I don't try to immerse when playing with my D&D group.
Decivre wrote:
I never feel any sense of immersion when it comes to horror movies (I'm more likely to be horrified by a surgery show on TV than any given horror movie), and I know people who don't really understand the concept of immersion at all; they don't even try to put themselves into other people's shoes. It doesn't mean they can't roleplay, nor does it mean they can't enjoy roleplaying games. First and foremost should be entertainment, whether immersion is achieved or not. I'd rather everyone at the table told me the game was fun but didn't get a sense of immersion, rather than saying that they got a sense of immersion, but didn't like it.
I never said immersion was necessary for roleplaying. I said acting was not necessary, and that I prefer immersion. Roleplaying games, to me, is more than entertainment - unless the definition of entertainment is extended to include everything that isn't work-related. Just like I don't see happiness as the ultimate goal of human existance, I don't see "fun" as the ultimate goal of roleplaying. Unless you extend "fun" to include being depressed, having extreme angst, being really, really sad, extremely angry, etc. And then "fun" becomes such a large concept the word itself ceases to have any meaning. "Entertainment" suggests, to me, a lightness in tone. Things not to take too seriously. TV shows and soap operas, cheap action thrills. Roleplaying, to me, is not "entertainment" or "fun". It's a tool for personal development, a way to express oneself. Is creating art "entertainment"?
Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
krank wrote:
Define "common". I haven't seen much in the way of concrete numbers yet, so as far as I'm concerned, places where uplifts are about as common as, say, modern-day hippies (you meet them sometimes, just not every day and not everywhere) are perfectly reasonable. So, not quite "almost never/not at all", and not quite "as many as are left-handed". If the book contains actual statistics on the amount of AGI's or Uplifts compared to human-origin people, please show me page numbers. When it comes to AGI's, there's really no way of truly know if someone is one, is there? That's one of the things I want to play with - paranoida re: AI's, the fact that some of them actually walk among us, and they caused the Fall, and I think they should be contained to ensure they don't turn into TITAN's, and they're all the same anyways... This means that yeah, they'll exist. Probably not very open about their origins. And that sense of paranoia would be hard to maintain with a PC AGI - possible, but hard. Someone using a crab in high-risk environment: Common. Someone using a crab in ordinary life: Very uncommon. Not to mention swarms etc. This really isn't a binary choice. I just don't want to force the world's extreme diversity down the players' throats. Uncommon things should be uncommon, and some things work better when treated as even more uncommon and unfamiliar than they, perhaps, are in the current setting. The Cantina Effect is a risk only if like 70-90% of everyone you meet looks too weird to be considered human by reasonably modern standards. Most humanoid morphs do not contribute, at least not a lot, to the cantina effect. Having most poor people be "robots" is all right. Having everyone you meet be a new kind of strangeness is not. To me.
If I had to define common, I'd say "common enough to have their own habitats (at least 3 of them)", "common enough to make up the majority of Somatek's workforce" and "common enough to be the primary inhabitants of the sun" as my major answers. While there are no hard concrete numbers, it is made quite obvious in the setting that mercurials are not an ignorable minority. That said, if you simply want less than 70% of people to look like humans, then no real modification is probably necessary. The largest majority of middle and upper-class beings in the setting are in human bodies, with the most obvious differences perhaps being garish style (nanotattoos, skindyes, piercings) and functional alterations (prehensile feet in a microgravity location). Uplifts are most commonly found in their own habitats or in places that are generally more receptive to their existence (outer system, circumsolar habitats, and places they are being produced being the most common places to find them), and as I said, you'd likely find them in the 10% range for commonality in any region where you might find them casually. And if you have no problem with destitute synthmorphs and industrial pods, then the setting needs little to no retooling. As for AGIs, they tend to be most comfortable in synthmorphs. Much like uplifts getting into humanoid bodies, or humans getting into uplift or synthmorph bodies, they usually feel uncomfortable due to having to adjust to things that are alien to them (hormones, instinctive reactions native to the body, etc). Do remember that synthetic masks exist though... many who get synthmorph bodies will get them modified to look very human, in order to better blend in with a society that generally disfavors synthmorph bodies as "for the poor". Swarm morphs are likely not too common at all, as they have limited utility for casual use (they are really best for infiltration and hacking, not for walking around the street and chatting with others).
krank wrote:
Those are good, but I'll probably add some more: First, even less information flow through Firewall. More cell-type structure, less decentralization. More like an Illuminati-type society than a world-saving organization. Also, less volunteering, more picking up desperate people and effectively *owning* them. A lot less heroic, darkly or otherwise. As it is written, Firewall is kind of idealized; sure, they do a lot of bad things, but it's all for the common good, etc. And they have a really neat "free" collaborative structure of decentralized decisionmaking... I'd just like to keep it more under wraps. (Of course, it's possible I just read too much into what I've read so far...) And essentially, while the Jovians may be fighting the inevitable, I'll try to float the idea that they are actually right. That humanity will, inevitably, kill itself as long as there is unrestricted use of certain technology. (And comparing them with republicans and saying that should make them seem more nice... Doesn't really work. I'm from Sweden, see (which also explains any linguistic wirdness, English not being my first language and all), and our rightmost political parties would be considered to be on the left side of the Democrats... There are no republicans here. Luckily. I have a really hard time thinking of them as anything but stereotypical bad guys... That level of nationalism/conservatism/etc is just really hard for me to even comprahend, much less sympathize with)
Firewall tends to work in cell-like structures. Proxies work in groups called "servers", and are shuffled around every year or so to different servers with different tasks, in order to get fresh ideas on any problem while simultaneously preventing the formation of power blocs. While they are decentralized, it is because of how their heirarchy is designed: proxies make up the command system for the sentinels... rendering their government a two-tiered structure with all proxies being equals, and all sentinels being equals. Proxies vote on all major decisions, as one massive group when it affects the whole organization, and only amongst their peers on lesser issues (for instance, Crows might be the only proxies voting on a research-based dilemma, and a given server might vote when dealing with whatever task the server is assigned to). You can find all the information you need on Firewall's structure on pages 356-361 (don't let your players read it, as it is in chapter 12). As for Jovians, in many ways they might be right. Bioconservatives were fully against the creation of the TITANs, and for this reason they have swelled in numbers since the Fall. To that end, dialogs between us and the Factors have also somewhat given the biocons a bit more justification, as they too warn us against using Pandora gates and creating AI... both things that the bioconservatives are very much against. As for their moral standings, not all republicans are bad. I grew up in a Republican family, and I tend to be a middle-grounder in my political stance as well. The biggest factor you have to realize is that the largest majority are quite religious. Not necessarily violent religious, as is the case in some countries (though we have our fair share of nutcases), but very vocal about their stances. Much of their political leanings are heavily based on what they consider to be traditionalism and spiritual denial. If there was any specific phrase that might sum up conservativism (and bioconservativism, for that matter), it would be "the old ways are best".
krank wrote:
The terminator expresses plenty. Body language, word choice, intonation...
The first terminators (as portrayed by Arnold) had zero body language. Vocal intonation is unavoidable, however, and even players that are not in their role will be doing that.
krank wrote:
In roleplaying, you can be completely quiet, not move or act like your character, and still roleplay. Acting requires, to a certain degree, doing stuff that at least [i]could[/i] be seen or heard or read etc by other people. Roleplaying doesn't. Roleplaying doesn't require acting, because roleplaying doesn't require me to do anything outside my own head, not even speak.
I'd be willing to bet my life savings that if someone doesn't do anything at the game table... not telling the GM what his character is doing, not rolling the dice, not paying attention... he isn't roleplaying. Hell, he might even be asleep. That doesn't really change with acting either. As for acting, you don't necessarily need a non-interactive audience. Improv generally gets the audience involved, making them a part of the performance. Most notably, playback theatre lets the audience act as the director for the story, while the actors act out whatever stories they may tell. In some cases, improv groups will act for themselves, doing performances for their own amusement. In these cases, how is that any different than roleplayers roleplaying, who likely do so for their own amusement? How would you define it if a group of people roleplayed in front of an audience (which commonly happens at conventions)?
krank wrote:
Agreed. Which is why I don't try to immerse when playing with my D&D group.
That's a shame. I find some D&D settings to be quite enjoyable when you try a degree of immersion... especially Eberron and Dark Sun.
krank wrote:
I never said immersion was necessary for roleplaying. I said acting was not necessary, and that I prefer immersion. Roleplaying games, to me, is more than entertainment - unless the definition of entertainment is extended to include everything that isn't work-related. Just like I don't see happiness as the ultimate goal of human existance, I don't see "fun" as the ultimate goal of roleplaying. Unless you extend "fun" to include being depressed, having extreme angst, being really, really sad, extremely angry, etc. And then "fun" becomes such a large concept the word itself ceases to have any meaning. "Entertainment" suggests, to me, a lightness in tone. Things not to take too seriously. TV shows and soap operas, cheap action thrills. Roleplaying, to me, is not "entertainment" or "fun". It's a tool for personal development, a way to express oneself. Is creating art "entertainment"?
Entertainment, as we define it in English, is often used as a general term for anything that a person does for their own amusement. This could be TV and media, or it could be reading a science book because you enjoy science. It could be getting your ass kicked, if you find that to be enjoyable (masochists, perhaps). Generally, if you would be willing to do it for your own personal enjoyment, without the need for payment... we would define it as entertainment.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
krank krank's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
Decivre wrote:
As for their moral standings, not all republicans are bad. I grew up in a Republican family, and I tend to be a middle-grounder in my political stance as well. The biggest factor you have to realize is that the largest majority are quite religious. Not necessarily violent religious, as is the case in some countries (though we have our fair share of nutcases), but very vocal about their stances. Much of their political leanings are heavily based on what they consider to be traditionalism and spiritual denial. If there was any specific phrase that might sum up conservativism (and bioconservativism, for that matter), it would be "the old ways are best".
...which, to me, is pretty much one of the worst such phrases I can think of. Conservatism is pretty much my personal boogieman - imagine how a die-hard extreme republican feels about Stalinism (or "communism", as he or she might be calling it)... That's pretty much my stance on conservatism. When coupled with nationalism/patriotism... Well, I'd like to continue this train of thought, but I won't since a) it'd lead us too much off topic, b) I'd be bound to validate Goodwin sooner or later.
Decivre wrote:
The first terminators (as portrayed by Arnold) had zero body language.
You're not an actor, then, I take it? This "lack" of body language speaks volumes, in itself. It's actually very specific, and seems very much conciously designed to feel "machine-ish". The only way to have zero body language is to not move at all.
Decivre wrote:
I'd be willing to bet my life savings that if someone doesn't do anything at the game table... not telling the GM what his character is doing, not rolling the dice, not paying attention... he isn't roleplaying.
So "pay attention" counts as acting? Anyways, several of my strongest and most vivid roleplaying moments have been spent being silent, still, and filled with angst over something while the other players get on with whatever it is they're doing. Sorry, you don't get to tell me I wasn't roleplaying, just because I wasn't actively ding anything outside my mind.
Decivre wrote:
In these cases, how is that any different than roleplayers roleplaying, who likely do so for their own amusement? How would you define it if a group of people roleplayed in front of an audience (which commonly happens at conventions)?
When in front of an audience, it would have elements of both. The difference is slim to none, if we only consider the physical, external acts. The difference lies in that I consider roleplaying to be primarily an internal process, which manifests externally, while acting is primarily an external process, which sometimes also manifests internally (see method acting).
Decivre wrote:
That's a shame. I find some D&D settings to be quite enjoyable when you try a degree of immersion... especially Eberron and Dark Sun.
1) The group I'm with treats D&D more or less like a board game. And that's fine, since it's the only way for me not to get annoyed at the rules system, and 2) Immersion in D&D would only be possible for me if said system was completely hidden, with the GM being the only one to roll dice, look at numbers, etc. d20 and D&D4e, which are the two D&D systems I've got some experience with, are bot really, really terrible from any kind of realism/immersion standpoint. Great for dungeonbashing, but levels-classes-alignments just really destroys any kind of believalibity, to me.
Decivre wrote:
Entertainment, as we define it in English, is often used as a general term for anything that a person does for their own amusement.
And amusement is... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amusement I'd be happy to change my mind if you find a better-sourced definition without the happiness/laughter/pleasure-associations. Until then, I'll claim amusement, and therefore entertainment, isn't what I'm after...
Decivre wrote:
This could be TV and media, or it could be reading a science book because you enjoy science. It could be getting your ass kicked, if you find that to be enjoyable (masochists, perhaps). Generally, if you would be willing to do it for your own personal enjoyment, without the need for payment... we would define it as entertainment.
Get me a definition of "enjoyment" that doesn't equate to "happiness", if such a thing is possible. It all still requires that I do it because it makes me happy, that it gives me amusement, etc. To me, those entirely positive emotional concepts don't really work as motivation to why I play roleplaying games. Because that's not why I do it. Like, I don't "enjoy" feeling angst in role-playing games. I mean, it's angst! It's not very enjoyable. However, I find if rewarding, a cathartic experience, positive to my personal development as a person. But not enjoyable, it doesn't give me happiness, and it doesn't "entertain" me. I generally try to be as exact as I can, being completely aware that since English isn't my first language, I'll probably never get all the subcontext, associations, etc. When I am uncertain, I tend to rely on encyclopedias to get me exact definitions, including associations and connotations. There is still room for making mistakes, of course. But, as I understand the words "entertainment", "enjoyment" and "happiness" they have very little to do with why I play roleplaying games.
Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
krank wrote:
...which, to me, is pretty much one of the worst such phrases I can think of. Conservatism is pretty much my personal boogieman - imagine how a die-hard extreme republican feels about Stalinism (or "communism", as he or she might be calling it)... That's pretty much my stance on conservatism. When coupled with nationalism/patriotism... Well, I'd like to continue this train of thought, but I won't since a) it'd lead us too much off topic, b) I'd be bound to validate Goodwin sooner or later.
Yeah, you could probably draw fascistic parallels to the Republican party, I won't deny that. But I will note that not every fascistic culture is necessarily evil, nor the same. Republicans do not believe in a totalitarian government; on the contrary, they prefer much smaller government and more individual autonomy. And remember, Nazi's weren't the only fascists to ever exist. While the label is new, the concepts that underlie it are not.
krank wrote:
You're not an actor, then, I take it? This "lack" of body language speaks volumes, in itself. It's actually very specific, and seems very much conciously designed to feel "machine-ish". The only way to have zero body language is to not move at all.
If a lack of body language is acting, then roleplayers sitting around doing nothing are committing to body language, no? Did you just invalidate your argument?
krank wrote:
So "pay attention" counts as acting? Anyways, several of my strongest and most vivid roleplaying moments have been spent being silent, still, and filled with angst over something while the other players get on with whatever it is they're doing. Sorry, you don't get to tell me I wasn't roleplaying, just because I wasn't actively ding anything outside my mind.
So those times that I was absent at the game table because something came up, I was still roleplaying? Amazing.... I guess I never stop roleplaying. Hell, I don't think anyone does. They don't seem to need to do anything in order for it to qualify. They don't need to participate, listen... hell, even dead people can roleplay if it really doesn't matter whether you do something. I'm sorry for the hyperbole, but unless you are honestly telling me that you spend entire game sessions sitting around the table doing absolutely nothing, I can't honestly believe that you think sitting still at the table is a form of roleplay. I'm pretty sure we call that "daydreaming". You may even be daydreaming about what's going on in the game... I'm sure everyone's done that. But daydreaming, while it may be part of the roleplay experience, isn't roleplay in itself.
krank wrote:
When in front of an audience, it would have elements of both. The difference is slim to none, if we only consider the physical, external acts. The difference lies in that I consider roleplaying to be primarily an internal process, which manifests externally, while acting is primarily an external process, which sometimes also manifests internally (see method acting).
Method acting is only one of many "internal" forms of acting. In fact, most actors nowadays invoke what you call "internal" acting. Even comedians.
krank wrote:
1) The group I'm with treats D&D more or less like a board game. And that's fine, since it's the only way for me not to get annoyed at the rules system, and 2) Immersion in D&D would only be possible for me if said system was completely hidden, with the GM being the only one to roll dice, look at numbers, etc. d20 and D&D4e, which are the two D&D systems I've got some experience with, are bot really, really terrible from any kind of realism/immersion standpoint. Great for dungeonbashing, but levels-classes-alignments just really destroys any kind of believalibity, to me.
Realism and immersion are two different things, and not even two aspects of the same coin. Many settings (Exalted, Scion, Paranoia, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, Rogue Trader, and ESPECIALLY Nobilis being the few examples that come to mind) generally require you to throw any sense of realism out the window, but do not necessarily force you to not be immersive. I agree though, D&D tends to be enjoyable for brainless fun. Same with Paranoia. You can still play a very serious, and very immersive game in either, however (and yeah, I'm even including 4th Edition D&D).
krank wrote:
And amusement is... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amusement I'd be happy to change my mind if you find a better-sourced definition without the happiness/laughter/pleasure-associations. Until then, I'll claim amusement, and therefore entertainment, isn't what I'm after...
Pleasure would generally be the motif you'd be going for, which is [url=http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pleasure]"a state of being pleased" if you go by Wiktionary[/url]. Unless you're honestly telling me that you sometimes walk away from the game table having done something you found absolute insufferable and torturous, and that's exactly how you wanted to feel after roleplay... I'm pretty sure that roleplaying pleases you, no matter what sensations it might invoke while you play.
krank wrote:
Get me a definition of "enjoyment" that doesn't equate to "happiness", if such a thing is possible. It all still requires that I do it because it makes me happy, that it gives me amusement, etc. To me, those entirely positive emotional concepts don't really work as motivation to why I play roleplaying games. Because that's not why I do it. Like, I don't "enjoy" feeling angst in role-playing games. I mean, it's angst! It's not very enjoyable. However, I find if rewarding, a cathartic experience, positive to my personal development as a person. But not enjoyable, it doesn't give me happiness, and it doesn't "entertain" me.
Yeah, and I bet a masochist who got his ass kicked probably hurts: he can still enjoy that. If you got what you wanted out of the experience, and it was for your own pleasure, then I'm pretty sure that's exactly what "entertainment" is. And yeah, angst is enjoyable. The Twilight Saga's popularity here in America is a perfect testament to that.
krank wrote:
I generally try to be as exact as I can, being completely aware that since English isn't my first language, I'll probably never get all the subcontext, associations, etc. When I am uncertain, I tend to rely on encyclopedias to get me exact definitions, including associations and connotations. There is still room for making mistakes, of course. But, as I understand the words "entertainment", "enjoyment" and "happiness" they have very little to do with why I play roleplaying games.
Happiness is not necessarily a definitive part of entertainment. When people watch tragic movies, they were entertained, even if they came out sobbing. Entertainment (as we use it) is about personal satisfaction. The English language is an annoying bitch, because words can have many meanings based on the context. Even with words like amusement and entertainment, these words are used in many contexts in which other languages might utilize many words.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
krank krank's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
Decivre wrote:
If a lack of body language is acting, then roleplayers sitting around doing nothing are committing to body language, no? Did you just invalidate your argument?
No, because the terminator does not lack body language. Its body language is very methodical and clear. There's a difference between being stiff (like the terminator) and not moving (like a roleplayer). The terminator is very much active - and, like I said, has a very clear body language, tailored to the character. It does not lack body language.
Decivre wrote:
So those times that I was absent at the game table because something came up, I was still roleplaying? Amazing....
If you were physically present, still "in character", but not moving or talking at all, then yes.
Decivre wrote:
They don't seem to need to do anything in order for it to qualify.
Not externally, no. They don't need to move, talk, roll dice etc to roleplay. On the other hand, the player around the table who does roll dice and move his character around, but tends to stray from the game, reading comic books or playing with his iPhone or whatever, he [i]isn't[/i] roleplaying. Like I said, I see roleplaying as primarily a mental activity. The physical side is useful if you want to do it with other people, and may enhance the experience in a multitude of ways, but I still think the mental (internal) part is the important one.
Decivre wrote:
I'm sorry for the hyperbole, but unless you are honestly telling me that you spend entire game sessions sitting around the table doing absolutely nothing
Not entire game sessions.
Decivre wrote:
I can't honestly believe that you think sitting still at the table is a form of roleplay. I'm pretty sure we call that "daydreaming". You may even be daydreaming about what's going on in the game... I'm sure everyone's done that. But daydreaming, while it may be part of the roleplay experience, isn't roleplay in itself.
I disagree. In essence, daydraming is what roleplaying [i]is[/i]. Doing stuff physically, like talking or rolling dice or acting, are just side-effects.
Decivre wrote:
Pleasure would generally be the motif you'd be going for, which is [url=http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pleasure]"a state of being pleased" if you go by Wiktionary[/url]. Unless you're honestly telling me that you sometimes walk away from the game table having done something you found absolute insufferable and torturous, and that's exactly how you wanted to feel after roleplay... I'm pretty sure that roleplaying pleases you, no matter what sensations it might invoke while you play.
Pleasure might be a good enough word, and general enough. Entertainment, happiness, enjoyment all seem to carry connotations and associations that are too positive for my tastes.
Decivre wrote:
Yeah, and I bet a masochist who got his ass kicked probably hurts: he can still enjoy that. If you got what you wanted out of the experience, and it was for your own pleasure, then I'm pretty sure that's exactly what "entertainment" is.
I disagree, but on the other hand I'm not a native speaker of English, so my opinion might not matter.
Decivre wrote:
And yeah, angst is enjoyable. The Twilight Saga's popularity here in America is a perfect testament to that.
There's a difference between feeling angst and watching someone feel angst. Even if you sympathize with the angsty people in a movie, that's quite different from actually feeling it yourself. Hm. There doesn't seem to be anything left of the original topic. Unless I would have something to say regarding republicans and conservatism and patriotism as compared to bioconservatives and jovians, but I feel that subject has been mined of everything ov value. Continuing that particular path would almost certainly lead to a heated philosophical/relisious/political discussion of a kind I'm not really looking for. All that is left, really, are some loose threads about the nature of roleplaying and the definition of the word "entertainment", and neither of these topics really interest me. I could, perhaps, describe the manner in which I generally approach roleplaying settings; where I start etc. Perhaps it might be interesting, perhaps not. The first thing I do is try to get a feel for the main topics and themes, and which ones I like and dislike, what I'd like to focus on, etc. In the case of Eclipse Phase, I really liked the first story and many of the themes (resleeving, the nature of body vs mind, the inherent horrors of the technological singularity, postmodernism, relatively hard-science technology, postapocalyptic angst, conspiracies). As I dove into the first chapters, I discovered some things I liked a bit less. Some things just seem a little bit too positive for my tastes, my impression was that a lot of it was adapted to fit a general "problem solving/violent" kind of roleplay, with relatively clear morality (Firewall are good guys, but have to do bad things, the Anarchists are freedomfighters, the Argonauts are hippies, Jovians are uniformly Bad). Of course, this is just my impression, which may or may not be correct. When I got a clear grip on what kind of mood and themes I want to use and explore, I move on to Truths. Truths are just that - truths about the world, mostly stuff that is different from today's world. This is what I'm doing right now. Examples of truths/concepts of EP are "Earth is lost", "There are rogue AI's called TITANs", "it is believed the TITANs caused the Fall", "Resleeving is possible", "There are 'psi'-users called Asyncs", "There's an extremely dangerous nanovirus called the Exergent virus". There are more, of course, many more. Any decent world has a lot of these. When I got a bunch of Truths/Concepts, i group them into "phases" according to the order I feel they should be discovered. For instance, resleeving and that there are TITANs and that Earth was lost is in the very first phase. The next phase may include the existence of Firewall and the Exergent virus. And so on. The last phase contains the information which should only be discovered and become known by the players at the end of a very long campaign. Normally, ordering these is a trivial task, since - for instance - the first phase includes all things that are known by a majority, and some things naturally flow in a certain direction. Discovering the Exergent virus, for instance, needs to happen before discovering the root cause of said virus. When I have my phase map, I then try to ask myself what kind of group and campaign concept that best fits this map. What type of characters are best suited to explore these phases? Preferably the group is created as a complete concept, rather than as disparate characters that need to be pushed together as part of the campaign. I prefer groups that are group-ish from the beginning. Saves me a lot of trouble as a GM... And then I try to imagine the first adventure, what it should look like and what its themes etc should be. So, it's very much a "top-down" method; I begin with overarching themes and concepts, and end with specific adventures. I know a lot of GM's do the opposite, or begin by defining their campaign, and that's fine by me - this is my methodology, and it works pretty well for me =)
Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist
King Shere King Shere's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
Decivre wrote:
But daydreaming, while it may be part of the roleplay experience, isn't roleplay in itself.
Neither is portraying or acting a role. The components can be in the roleplay experience, but they are not its mandatory components. If I had to define it (and fail). Roleplaying would be a form of storytelling. Its Participants using games for a augmented "daydreaming" & storytelling. Most often the story told are interactive and collaborative. "roll-players" though they treat the game similar to monopoly; I think, even they, visualize while they play. I consider the "roll-player school of philosophy" as the oldest roleplaying game style, Emphasizing on game mechanics over role immersion. Its members frequent among the pen & paper RPG's - Especially games heavy with tables, statistics & dice roll mechanics. EP does fall into "their" territory. The actors "role-players" & the monopoly players "roll-players", Like oil & water these schools don't get along & quite often try to monopolize (or define) the brand. [i]By the way, I note Godwin's law have been fulfilled.[/i]
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
krank]Of course it does not have body language, that was the point. The terminator was a machine with no emotion or need for physical conveyance. It's purpose was to kill, and it had minimal communication skills. Vocally it spoke very little, and physically it did not give any tells. Trying to read it kinesically would be as fruitless as trying to read a corpse. On the other hand, people naturally have body language. There is no way to stop it, short of dying. You express yourself physically at all times, even if only through minor gestures. [quote=krank wrote:
If you were physically present, still "in character", but not moving or talking at all, then yes.
Arguable. If you're simply listening to the story, then you are just the audience for a narrator. If your character is standing around, then you roleplayed when you conveyed your character's lack of action, but are not roleplaying while you yourself are inactive.
krank wrote:
Not externally, no. They don't need to move, talk, roll dice etc to roleplay. On the other hand, the player around the table who does roll dice and move his character around, but tends to stray from the game, reading comic books or playing with his iPhone or whatever, he [i]isn't[/i] roleplaying. Like I said, I see roleplaying as primarily a mental activity. The physical side is useful if you want to do it with other people, and may enhance the experience in a multitude of ways, but I still think the mental (internal) part is the important one.
This might be another issue due to language barrier. Roleplay is considered a different act from imagination in our language. A person daydreaming is not roleplaying, even if he is using his imagination. The key in roleplay is the word [b]play[/b]. It indicates a degree of physical activity, even if only vocal in nature.
krank wrote:
I disagree. In essence, daydraming is what roleplaying [i]is[/i]. Doing stuff physically, like talking or rolling dice or acting, are just side-effects.
We don't see it as being the same here. Mentally visualizing is key to roleplay, but is not roleplay in itself. It's the difference between using your computer and looking at the monitor. Roleplay is a physical community activity, a joint narrative. When we just imagine things to our lonesome we don't consider that a form of roleplay.
krank wrote:
Pleasure might be a good enough word, and general enough. Entertainment, happiness, enjoyment all seem to carry connotations and associations that are too positive for my tastes.
Well, it depends on the context. Enjoyment and entertainment can be both positive and negative in our language. Violent sports are seen as a form of entertainment. Invoking a negative emotion because it pleases you is considered enjoyable.
krank wrote:
There's a difference between feeling angst and watching someone feel angst. Even if you sympathize with the angsty people in a movie, that's quite different from actually feeling it yourself.
But even feeling it yourself isn't necessarily an unenjoyable thing. Some members of the goth and emo subcultures are often focused around finding enjoyment through depression, as bizarre as that may seem to others.
krank wrote:
Hm. There doesn't seem to be anything left of the original topic. Unless I would have something to say regarding republicans and conservatism and patriotism as compared to bioconservatives and jovians, but I feel that subject has been mined of everything ov value. Continuing that particular path would almost certainly lead to a heated philosophical/relisious/political discussion of a kind I'm not really looking for. All that is left, really, are some loose threads about the nature of roleplaying and the definition of the word "entertainment", and neither of these topics really interest me.
Fair enough, let's move on.
krank wrote:
I could, perhaps, describe the manner in which I generally approach roleplaying settings; where I start etc. Perhaps it might be interesting, perhaps not. The first thing I do is try to get a feel for the main topics and themes, and which ones I like and dislike, what I'd like to focus on, etc. In the case of Eclipse Phase, I really liked the first story and many of the themes (resleeving, the nature of body vs mind, the inherent horrors of the technological singularity, postmodernism, relatively hard-science technology, postapocalyptic angst, conspiracies). As I dove into the first chapters, I discovered some things I liked a bit less. Some things just seem a little bit too positive for my tastes, my impression was that a lot of it was adapted to fit a general "problem solving/violent" kind of roleplay, with relatively clear morality (Firewall are good guys, but have to do bad things, the Anarchists are freedomfighters, the Argonauts are hippies, Jovians are uniformly Bad). Of course, this is just my impression, which may or may not be correct.
One thing you have to remember is that people with opinions wrote this game. In that sense, their opinions on various subject matter are going to color the detail we get about any given topic. If Firewall seems too good, it may be because the writers who described them see their political stance and morals as being good. If bioconservatives seem bad, it may be because the writers who describe their political stance disagree with it. As someone I once knew once said "the hardest part about journalism isn't finding a good story, it's trying to deliver the story without delivering the journalist"; in other words, the hardest thing in writing is trying to maintain a neutral stance. The writers for Eclipse Phase obviously didn't.
krank wrote:
When I got a clear grip on what kind of mood and themes I want to use and explore, I move on to Truths. Truths are just that - truths about the world, mostly stuff that is different from today's world. This is what I'm doing right now. Examples of truths/concepts of EP are "Earth is lost", "There are rogue AI's called TITANs", "it is believed the TITANs caused the Fall", "Resleeving is possible", "There are 'psi'-users called Asyncs", "There's an extremely dangerous nanovirus called the Exergent virus". There are more, of course, many more. Any decent world has a lot of these. When I got a bunch of Truths/Concepts, i group them into "phases" according to the order I feel they should be discovered. For instance, resleeving and that there are TITANs and that Earth was lost is in the very first phase. The next phase may include the existence of Firewall and the Exergent virus. And so on. The last phase contains the information which should only be discovered and become known by the players at the end of a very long campaign. Normally, ordering these is a trivial task, since - for instance - the first phase includes all things that are known by a majority, and some things naturally flow in a certain direction. Discovering the Exergent virus, for instance, needs to happen before discovering the root cause of said virus.
This would probably be where our styles of play converge. I generally group things into two sets, as opposed to a series of phases. I group things into "character knowledge" and "character discoveries". The first pile is for the players to know as they go into the game, while the second pile is for me to know and distribute to the players as the game commences. I don't need much more organization than that, because I may change my opinion on the order in which I should distribute discoveries. If my players seem uninterested in the Exsurgent virus, but are intrigued about stories of the Pandora gates, then I'd likely start revealing the latter first.
krank wrote:
When I have my phase map, I then try to ask myself what kind of group and campaign concept that best fits this map. What type of characters are best suited to explore these phases? Preferably the group is created as a complete concept, rather than as disparate characters that need to be pushed together as part of the campaign. I prefer groups that are group-ish from the beginning. Saves me a lot of trouble as a GM... And then I try to imagine the first adventure, what it should look like and what its themes etc should be.
I tend to give my players a bit more control over the setting than you do. Usually I will let them have a go with the books (after either telling them what they can't read, or omitting that material from the information I distribute to them), and give them an opportunity to create their characters. I'll usually meet up with the players and check out their characters a day or two before we game, so I can look at their characters and see what kind of game they actually want to play; if everyone comes to the table with a gun-toting soldier, I can probably guess that they want an action-packed game, right? From there I usually design an introductory adventure that lets the players get their feet wet with the setting, while also using it as a gauge for how future adventures will pan out. My way of running games may not be as organized as most, and it does require a fair amount of improv, but that's actually the way I prefer to game... no matter which side of the GM screen I'm on.
krank wrote:
So, it's very much a "top-down" method; I begin with overarching themes and concepts, and end with specific adventures. I know a lot of GM's do the opposite, or begin by defining their campaign, and that's fine by me - this is my methodology, and it works pretty well for me =)
I somewhat do the opposite (definitely more "bottom-up"), but I do not define my campaign. I give my players a base idea of where I expect to take the campaign, and I use their reactions and the way they play to further define it according to their tastes. Oftentimes, however, I will write up little plot hooks and sub-adventures, with the hopes that my players will head into a situation that's perfect for introducing it. It often leads to me writing up material I never use, but it's very satisfying when I finally do get a chance to use it. One thing I would highly recommend if you haven't done it yet is to read chapter 12. Besides talking about the major secrets of the setting, it also gives you, the GM, the opportunity to know the parts of the game which are left up to you to decide wholly. For instance, the developers don't seem to intend at any point to tell us why the ETI attacked us with the Exsurgent virus... instead, they tell you to choose for your group personally. The same is true for a number of other elements in the game. The setting was built for you to make your own in many large ways.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
krank krank's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
Decivre wrote:
One thing you have to remember is that people with opinions wrote this game. In that sense, their opinions on various subject matter are going to color the detail we get about any given topic. If Firewall seems too good, it may be because the writers who described them see their political stance and morals as being good. If bioconservatives seem bad, it may be because the writers who describe their political stance disagree with it. As someone I once knew once said "the hardest part about journalism isn't finding a good story, it's trying to deliver the story without delivering the journalist"; in other words, the hardest thing in writing is trying to maintain a neutral stance. The writers for Eclipse Phase obviously didn't.
Of course. I myself have strong anarchist leanings and symphathize a lot with some of the opinions voiced. I also like subjective journalism (the Gonzo style appeals a lot to me)... What I will probably do is try to find ways to portray the same things in different light. After all, it's been proven conclusively that the world we currently inhabit can be viewed in a multitude of ways... =) The text is subjective, and should be trated as such... So, my version might differ in tone and portrayal of key people and concepts from the "official" book.
Decivre wrote:
This would probably be where our styles of play converge. I generally group things into two sets, as opposed to a series of phases. I group things into "character knowledge" and "character discoveries". The first pile is for the players to know as they go into the game, while the second pile is for me to know and distribute to the players as the game commences. I don't need much more organization than that, because I may change my opinion on the order in which I should distribute discoveries. If my players seem uninterested in the Exsurgent virus, but are intrigued about stories of the Pandora gates, then I'd likely start revealing the latter first.
Of course, the phases are somewhat fluid, and since each phase is usually very broad there's a lot of leeway. Generally, though, I think I'm more hevay-handed than you are as a GM. I prefer strong narratives (not implying a narrative structure, though) and predefined adventures and structures. Creating that kind of thing is why I like GM:ing =)
Decivre wrote:
I tend to give my players a bit more control over the setting than you do. Usually I will let them have a go with the books (after either telling them what they can't read, or omitting that material from the information I distribute to them), and give them an opportunity to create their characters.
My players will never read a roleplaying book even if I ask them. Their lives are too busy, and they also all have their own campaigns to run. Their only experience of the EP book is likely to be when they are looking at skills and morphs etc to choose from during our joint character creation session.
Decivre wrote:
I'll usually meet up with the players and check out their characters a day or two before we game, so I can look at their characters and see what kind of game they actually want to play; if everyone comes to the table with a gun-toting soldier, I can probably guess that they want an action-packed game, right? From there I usually design an introductory adventure that lets the players get their feet wet with the setting, while also using it as a gauge for how future adventures will pan out.
And I guess you use the default "excuse for adventuring", i.e "they are firewall agents and get missions" in order to get the different characters to work together? Or do your group metagame, "we're adventuring together because our players are friends"? Neither is bad, of course. Just curious.
Decivre wrote:
My way of running games may not be as organized as most, and it does require a fair amount of improv, but that's actually the way I prefer to game... no matter which side of the GM screen I'm on.
I suck at improv. There are hardly any words for how hard I suck. Every time I've even tried improvising as a GM, the game has crashed and burned horribly. The consensus in the group is that I shouldn't improvise, ever =) As a player, I tend to prefer railroaded adventures, but a good improv-GM can be just as good. I have a lot of respect for GM's who manage it.
Decivre wrote:
One thing I would highly recommend if you haven't done it yet is to read chapter 12.
I'm at about page 200 right now, smack in the middle of the mechanics chapter. I'll get to chapter 12 in time - remember, I'm only on step 1-2 =)
Decivre wrote:
For instance, the developers don't seem to intend at any point to tell us why the ETI attacked us with the Exsurgent virus... instead, they tell you to choose for your group personally. The same is true for a number of other elements in the game. The setting was built for you to make your own in many large ways.
I actually dislike that sort of thing. To me, creating the setting itself is the easy part. I can create a setting from a few base concepts in no time. I can pull fully functional game machanics out of my... nether region at moment's notice. What I can't do, is figure out this kind of interesting metaplot stuff. Metaplot is what I live for, that's what I like. My thought-food as a GM. I'd prefer the opposite: A loosely defined setting but with a strong and clear metaplot thingy... Though I guess I'll have to manage... =)
Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
krank wrote:
Of course. I myself have strong anarchist leanings and symphathize a lot with some of the opinions voiced. I also like subjective journalism (the Gonzo style appeals a lot to me)... What I will probably do is try to find ways to portray the same things in different light. After all, it's been proven conclusively that the world we currently inhabit can be viewed in a multitude of ways... =) The text is subjective, and should be trated as such... So, my version might differ in tone and portrayal of key people and concepts from the "official" book.
That's probably the best way to handle it. In real life, there are rarely any real "good guys" or "bad guys". There are positive and negative things in every person.
krank wrote:
Of course, the phases are somewhat fluid, and since each phase is usually very broad there's a lot of leeway. Generally, though, I think I'm more hevay-handed than you are as a GM. I prefer strong narratives (not implying a narrative structure, though) and predefined adventures and structures. Creating that kind of thing is why I like GM:ing =)
I still use adventures and story structures, but mine are created as the game goes. I find that if my player's wishes start to deviate from a story as it is written, it's easier to go with the flow than to force them to continue along a pre-built plot. If you make a 5-part pre-built adventure in a city, it'll be annoying if they find a personal reason to blow up or leave that city in part 2.
krank wrote:
My players will never read a roleplaying book even if I ask them. Their lives are too busy, and they also all have their own campaigns to run. Their only experience of the EP book is likely to be when they are looking at skills and morphs etc to choose from during our joint character creation session.
My players usually will read material to a degree. I expect them to have at least enough enthusiasm to at least skim through the material and create characters of their own volition. I don't see why I should dedicate time to narrate a setting if they can't at least put forth that much effort. Granted, I'll still generally tutor them through the game's mechanics and explain creation to them.
krank wrote:
And I guess you use the default "excuse for adventuring", i.e "they are firewall agents and get missions" in order to get the different characters to work together? Or do your group metagame, "we're adventuring together because our players are friends"? Neither is bad, of course. Just curious.
Nope. I let them decide how they wish to start as a group. It's their characters, and I like to give them the opportunity to decide why they are there in the first place. Sometimes it's cliché, while other times there is a moderately valid reason. It depends on how they decide to play with it. For that matter, if they don't want to delve into that, I don't demand them to. Plenty of stories have elements that are never spoken about. If the characters never even mention how they met to others, why do my players have to come up with a story on how they met?
krank wrote:
I suck at improv. There are hardly any words for how hard I suck. Every time I've even tried improvising as a GM, the game has crashed and burned horribly. The consensus in the group is that I shouldn't improvise, ever =) As a player, I tend to prefer railroaded adventures, but a good improv-GM can be just as good. I have a lot of respect for GM's who manage it.
Improv is an acquired skill. I had the good fortune of starting out GMing on my own two feet, without a mentor to teach me how it was done, or even having observed a GM and how he operates. I winged it originally, and the result was that I began to be a skilled improvisational storyteller.
krank wrote:
I'm at about page 200 right now, smack in the middle of the mechanics chapter. I'll get to chapter 12 in time - remember, I'm only on step 1-2 =)
Oh wow, I could never read a book linearly. I jump from location to location, generally whenever something catches my eye. When I saw the word TITANs, I literally jumped to the section where I could read about them. The index is my best friend.
krank wrote:
I actually dislike that sort of thing. To me, creating the setting itself is the easy part. I can create a setting from a few base concepts in no time. I can pull fully functional game machanics out of my... nether region at moment's notice. What I can't do, is figure out this kind of interesting metaplot stuff. Metaplot is what I live for, that's what I like. My thought-food as a GM. I'd prefer the opposite: A loosely defined setting but with a strong and clear metaplot thingy... Though I guess I'll have to manage... =)
Remember that many of these aspects are not necessary. If the players are never going to meet the ETI, then you don't really need to decide why the ETI are doing the things they do. The motivations in the metaplot are only necessary to figure out on your own if you decide it will be relevant in your campaign. As for me, I'll probably never tell them why the ETI seem to be attacking humanity, so I'll never likely need to decide that for myself. That way, I can make their actions seem to be downright bizarre, without necessarily contradicting the setting.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
krank krank's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
Decivre wrote:
That's probably the best way to handle it. In real life, there are rarely any real "good guys" or "bad guys". There are positive and negative things in every person.
Indeed - and just to make things interesting, what one person considers a positive trait is not necessarily a positive trait according to everyone - to some, traditionalism/patriotism is a good thing... This is why the world is so wonderfully complex =)
Decivre wrote:
If you make a 5-part pre-built adventure in a city, it'll be annoying if they find a personal reason to blow up or leave that city in part 2.
That kind of thing seldom happens to me. I'm not sure if it's because I've become better at fooling the players into believing they're making the choices (while I'm actually the master manipulator...) or if it's because they're just playing nice, indulging me =) Personally, like I said, my player-self enjoy linear, railroaded adventures. I've no real desire to be the driving force...
Decivre wrote:
My players usually will read material to a degree. I expect them to have at least enough enthusiasm to at least skim through the material and create characters of their own volition. I don't see why I should dedicate time to narrate a setting if they can't at least put forth that much effort. Granted, I'll still generally tutor them through the game's mechanics and explain creation to them.
Well, I can usuallt get my players to read stuff... In swedish. None of them are native speakers of English, and several have some difficulty getting through english texts. I have considered making a Swedish version of the text in the Quick-start rules... You have an advantage, since I'm guessing your players all have English as their native language...
Decivre wrote:
Plenty of stories have elements that are never spoken about. If the characters never even mention how they met to others, why do my players have to come up with a story on how they met?
That depends, of course, on wether or not one sees roleplaying as "stories" or "alternate realities". I tend to avoid the idea of seeing roleplaying campaigns or adventures as stories, or make too many comparisons with movies, books etc. The players aren't playing characters in the story, they ARE the characters - and most people remember how they met =) That doesn't mean, of course, that other perspectives are "wrong". That's just how I roll...
Decivre wrote:
Oh wow, I could never read a book linearly. I jump from location to location, generally whenever something catches my eye. When I saw the word TITANs, I literally jumped to the section where I could read about them. The index is my best friend.
I always read roleplaying books cover to cover, linearly, the first time. There are several reasons for this... - At least some authors intend for their books to be read this way, and thus structures the content and information so it makes most sense that way. - The same reason I like grinding in Final Fantasy: Like many others, I have an altogether healthy obsession with progress bars. Books are natural progress bars - you know how much of it you've read, and how much is left... - I have, right now, a reading list of 60 books. About 30-40 of them are roleplaying books. Each book therefore needs to be read as efficiently as possible, if I'm ever to catch up. The reading list is, of course, another progress bar =)
Decivre wrote:
Remember that many of these aspects are not necessary. If the players are never going to meet the ETI, then you don't really need to decide why the ETI are doing the things they do. The motivations in the metaplot are only necessary to figure out on your own if you decide it will be relevant in your campaign.
Actually, the way I work, It's the opposite: The metaplot is the single most important piece of the puzzle. Regardless of wether or not the players meet the ETI; its actions are affecting the whole world, and this I need to know its reasons and motivations in order to understand the world. And if I don't understand the world, I can't GM it. I understand a lot of people are more like you in that respect; "all that is known can be known by player characters, and things which will never be known by player characters is irrelevant". I could never GM like that, I think. It's too limited a perspective. Example: An adventure in a city. Let's say the adventure is about three different criminal gangs. The adventure will only deal with the city and its occupants. Do I need to know what the world map looks like? Damn right I do. Doesn't matter if the players or their characters will never even see a world map, I need it. Some things can be safely defaulted (unless the book states otherwise, the world was created like Earth and not by aliens or god-like beings or whatever), but I need to know What The World Is.
Decivre wrote:
As for me, I'll probably never tell them why the ETI seem to be attacking humanity, so I'll never likely need to decide that for myself. That way, I can make their actions seem to be downright bizarre, without necessarily contradicting the setting.
Personally, I'll need to decide such things for myself, regardless. I can't treat such things as irrelevant, even if the players never even come near the truths...
Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist
Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
krank wrote:
Indeed - and just to make things interesting, what one person considers a positive trait is not necessarily a positive trait according to everyone - to some, traditionalism/patriotism is a good thing... This is why the world is so wonderfully complex =)
Agreed.
krank wrote:
That kind of thing seldom happens to me. I'm not sure if it's because I've become better at fooling the players into believing they're making the choices (while I'm actually the master manipulator...) or if it's because they're just playing nice, indulging me =) Personally, like I said, my player-self enjoy linear, railroaded adventures. I've no real desire to be the driving force...
It works for some and not for others. Everybody has their tastes when it comes to games. It's probably due to the style of games that I play and was introduced to that I have a preference for player decision.
krank wrote:
Well, I can usuallt get my players to read stuff... In swedish. None of them are native speakers of English, and several have some difficulty getting through english texts. I have considered making a Swedish version of the text in the Quick-start rules... You have an advantage, since I'm guessing your players all have English as their native language...
I can imagine that the game has a language barrier for your players. One thing I might recommend, as I have worked with someone who could not read English (he had a mental disorder called alexia), is to give them a basic primer to the setting. I generally do this during a session prior to us actually playing, that way they can ask questions without holding up a game. It gives me an opportunity to give them the facts that they might actually want to know, and you can even perhaps get the opportunity to explain what type of game it will be. I might also recommend creating a brief character creation guide in your native tongue. Basic descriptions, nothing too dramatic... essentially a Swedish language version of page 390. It's enough info to get through creation, while being just little enough to fit on a small page. You might still have to explain a bit of it, however.
krank wrote:
That depends, of course, on wether or not one sees roleplaying as "stories" or "alternate realities". I tend to avoid the idea of seeing roleplaying campaigns or adventures as stories, or make too many comparisons with movies, books etc. The players aren't playing characters in the story, they ARE the characters - and most people remember how they met =) That doesn't mean, of course, that other perspectives are "wrong". That's just how I roll...
The difference is somewhat scholarly. For instance, you admit that your games are fairly linear, but one can generally argue that a story, not reality, is generally linear. Which of the two it feels like really depends on the way the game plays, and how the player feels about the game.
krank wrote:
I always read roleplaying books cover to cover, linearly, the first time. There are several reasons for this... - At least some authors intend for their books to be read this way, and thus structures the content and information so it makes most sense that way. - The same reason I like grinding in Final Fantasy: Like many others, I have an altogether healthy obsession with progress bars. Books are natural progress bars - you know how much of it you've read, and how much is left... - I have, right now, a reading list of 60 books. About 30-40 of them are roleplaying books. Each book therefore needs to be read as efficiently as possible, if I'm ever to catch up. The reading list is, of course, another progress bar =)
[list][*]I find that RPG books are easier for me to comprehend out of sequence. Obviously not so much for story books, but then again I have been known to skip ahead if I decide that I want to know about the way something concludes more than I want to know how it gets there. :D [*]I hate Final Fantasy. I'm probably the only person amongst my friends that does. [*]I tend to multitask books. I read one for a bit, then jump to another, and I'm constantly shuffling about as I do it. I tend to be a fast reader, so it doesn't phase me too much. Even while jumping throughout my hardcover copy, I ended up actually finishing Eclipse Phase cover to cover in about 6 hours... and I even got halfway through a few other books during that time.
krank wrote:
Actually, the way I work, It's the opposite: The metaplot is the single most important piece of the puzzle. Regardless of wether or not the players meet the ETI; its actions are affecting the whole world, and this I need to know its reasons and motivations in order to understand the world. And if I don't understand the world, I can't GM it. I understand a lot of people are more like you in that respect; "all that is known can be known by player characters, and things which will never be known by player characters is irrelevant". I could never GM like that, I think. It's too limited a perspective. Example: An adventure in a city. Let's say the adventure is about three different criminal gangs. The adventure will only deal with the city and its occupants. Do I need to know what the world map looks like? Damn right I do. Doesn't matter if the players or their characters will never even see a world map, I need it. Some things can be safely defaulted (unless the book states otherwise, the world was created like Earth and not by aliens or god-like beings or whatever), but I need to know What The World Is. Personally, I'll need to decide such things for myself, regardless. I can't treat such things as irrelevant, even if the players never even come near the truths...
Remember that the ETI are intended to be portrayed as "unknown and unknowable". Their may be far too complex and alien to be comprehended by mortals. To that end, you (as the GM) are mortal. Sometimes the best way to pull off that "unknown and unknowable" style is to simply not try to make it something you can understand yourself. After all, if you can understand it, then it's likely that the characters could understand it... and then that information ceases to be "unknowable". It's one thing to figure out for yourself the secret human agendas for your setting (how and why Project OZMA works the way it does, any secrets that hypercorps may have), but figuring out the secret alien agendas might not be as useful. It ruins the "alien mindset" that they are supposed to represent, and starts to make their intent more human.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
krank krank's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
Decivre wrote:
I can imagine that the game has a language barrier for your players. One thing I might recommend, as I have worked with someone who could not read English (he had a mental disorder called alexia), is to give them a basic primer to the setting. I generally do this during a session prior to us actually playing, that way they can ask questions without holding up a game. It gives me an opportunity to give them the facts that they might actually want to know, and you can even perhaps get the opportunity to explain what type of game it will be. I might also recommend creating a brief character creation guide in your native tongue. Basic descriptions, nothing too dramatic... essentially a Swedish language version of page 390. It's enough info to get through creation, while being just little enough to fit on a small page. You might still have to explain a bit of it, however.
This is the way we normally do things; Someone comes up with a campaign they want to run, and we peopmtly gather and discuss the setting. It the setting is new, the GM and any other player who's familiar with it will do most of the talking. For instance, in the case of EP, I'll probably begin by laying down the basic concepts. The rest of the group ask questions on things that seem unclear or that interest them. The GM may restrict certain information and deliberately mislead them ("The Titans went all Skynet and basically waged war on Humanity"), depending on which information he or she feels should be available to the players. Character Creation is usually a 90% verbal process. The only time anyone looks in any book is when reading the short descriptions of skills or such. This is also combined with general discussion about different skills, how they are used, etc. We use an entire session just talking about the setting and make characters. Then we use the time between that session and the first actual "play" session to ask/answer any questions that might pop up in the mean time. We generally find this to be a much more enjoyable way to learn about a new setting than to read the book or books =)
Decivre wrote:
Remember that the ETI are intended to be portrayed as "unknown and unknowable". Their may be far too complex and alien to be comprehended by mortals. To that end, you (as the GM) are mortal. Sometimes the best way to pull off that "unknown and unknowable" style is to simply not try to make it something you can understand yourself. After all, if you can understand it, then it's likely that the characters could understand it... and then that information ceases to be "unknowable". It's one thing to figure out for yourself the secret human agendas for your setting (how and why Project OZMA works the way it does, any secrets that hypercorps may have), but figuring out the secret alien agendas might not be as useful. It ruins the "alien mindset" that they are supposed to represent, and starts to make their intent more human.
In regard to the ETI, you may be right. I was just using it as an example =) However, I have at least some experience in coming up with ways to portray unearthly/unknowable entities, so I guess I'll be OK. Remember, horror is what I generally GM, even if it's usually of the contemporary kind rather than the Sci-fi variety. =)
Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist
The Doctor The Doctor's picture
Re: Enigmas, mysteries and horror - TMI?
krank wrote:
And to me, wackiness is anathema to horror. You can't have both, not at the same time. Wackiness is definitely something I want to banish from my games, if at all possible. I want hard contrast, horror, transhuman angst, Alien-inspired grittiness, and a mood of hard SF, cold steel and the empriness of space. Not the Star Wars cantina and circus freaks. I liked the feel of the introductory story in the main rulebook. Dark and gritty, angst and coldness. Transhuman ideals and postapocalyptic visions. That's the EP I want. If that means restricting a few choices to avoid GM:ing a bunch of wacky freaks, then I consider that a cheap price.
Fair enough. I rather like the idea of the goofy catgirl who is orchestrating the whole caper from behind the scenes through the multiple personality processing hardware inside her skull and turns a biodisassembler swarm loose on the party while crushing the cortical stack from the synth in an hydraulic anvil. Or the lolitamorph who enjoys watching people asphyxiate in an airlock while quietly sucking on a lollipop. Or the octomorph pro-domme who takes breathplay a little too far. Or the players starting the game waking up in the thrust nozzles of an intra-orbital craft while the engines are being restarted. Or the neo-avian interrogator who specialises in traumatic amputations. However, you have a perfectly valid point. There is most certainly room for a post-apocalyptic vision of the game world; that is what it was based off of, after all. What I am trying to say is that there is a lot of room for different campaign styles in EP.

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