How do you keep track of everything?

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Fishmonger Fishmonger's picture
How do you keep track of everything?

I'm running a fairly new EP game and the players and I are finding it hard to keep track of modifiers and gear. The number of modifiers and their often-ephemeral natures is a lot. There are ego traits, which are always present, but morph and equipment bonuses keep changing. It's a lot to write down as players get new equipment and morphs pretty regularly.

So how do you keep track of it all? How do you keep track of what gear characters have on hand right now vs. what they have back at home vs. what they have blueprints for (blueprints as a separate sheet of paper is pretty easy)? How do you arrange the character sheet so that no one's forgetting the bonus due to some piece of gear or keeping that bonus on the sheet by accident after the item's been lost? Or the fact that the +10/+30 Infiltrate bonus is due to chameleon skin (permanent for that morph) and not due to smart clothing (temporary)? My players find it to be a lot of looking around (ego traits, gear abilities, morph abilities, etc) and I'm having difficulty finding a way to arrange equipment and bonuses so that it doesn't take a lot of time to write things down and make sure that nothing's been forgotten.

For the jammer's bot army I have an index card for each bot and a symbol (asterisk, dagger, etc) next to every skill and the gear that alters it (so Infiltrate has the same symbol next to it that the bot's chameleon skin has, indicating what might modify the Infiltrate skill roll). That makes sense for bots who pretty much have character sheets of their own. I've been debating trying something similar for other gear but that's a lot of bits of paper floating around.

What tricks do you use? It's easy to just give the players full responsibility and have them keep track of all of it however they see fit but they don't want to spend that much time rewriting things and working out what's changed.

CordialUltimate2 CordialUltimate2's picture
I have a note next to my

I have a note next to my skill on the character sheet.
On paper version it gets pretty full pretty fast with extremely cryptic messages like: Deception 35 Note: +30EmDmpr-10 RWN+10 SmOthrTrait.

In Excel I simply write in comment to a field can then hover over to see.

But it is a lot of manual work.

There is eclipse phase helper by arokha and that offer a character sheet online. I haven't used them extensively though.

There is kindalase's excel char sheet which IiRC is up to date for transhuman 1e.

I agree with you that managing morphs is pretty tedious. That's why I find myself falling back on few pregenerated sets of implants that I just have on index card and I negotiate (IC) with GM on the sets of there is scarcity.

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BlckKnght BlckKnght's picture
Maybe use a separate sheet listing all the modifiers?

I've only played EP2 online (and only a few sessions of that), so I don't have direct experience figuring out how to do the bookkeeping on paper. But what I think I'd do if I did play on a physical table is to keep a separate sheet of notes, along with the character sheet. The notes sheet would lists all the bonuses from my traits, morph and gear (and more exotic stuff like Async slights). I'd prominently label each modifier in the list with a letter, so e.g. A is +10/+30 to Infiltrate tests from Smart Clothes, B is +2 moxie from an Endocrine Control implant, etc. The order doesn't really matter, this is just a reference sheet, and should include all the gameplay relevant details of the rules for the modifiers (and maybe a page reference back into the book for more).

I'd add the corresponding letter to each place that modifier is relevant on the main sheet. To continue the examples above, I'd put an A next to Infiltrate in the skill list and next to the Smart Clothes entry in my gear, and I'd put a B next to my Moxie score, and also next to the Endocrine Control ware I have in my morph.

If the modifier is always on, I might just write down the modified value, as that way I'll only need to refer back to the modifier sheet if it goes away after resleeving or major psychosurgery (so I'd probably only write my Moxie score with the +2 already in it, along with the A marker, but writing e.g. "3 ↑ 5" might be better if you prefer to keep the unmodified value always visible). If the modifier is conditional (or a different level of bonus applies in different situations) I might write multiple values, or just the base unmodified level and count on noticing the letter mark to remind me that there's a possible modifier some of the time. So if my smart clothes are always in camouflage mode when I'm sneaking, I might write my infiltrate score with both the +10 and the +30 modifiers alongside the B marker. For more complicated things, I might not list the modified values at all, just put the marker to remind me to check the notes. I would not try to put a full explanation of conditions for the modifiers on the main character sheet, that's just asking for confusion and frustration due to limited space. That's what the list on the notes sheet is for! Any engaged player will quickly learn which of their modifiers tend to come up a lot and won't need to refer to the notes sheet very often after a few sessions.

When your characters resleeve or otherwise get rid of gear, ware or traits, they'd start from the marks in the gear part of the character sheet as they remove things, and find the corresponding marks on the other parts of the sheet to remove the modifiers that no longer apply. They can refer to the separate notes sheet if necessary to remind themselves of what exactly the modifiers are (which may help them remember where to look for the letter marks). So if my character from above was farcasting into a neoprimative station and gets sleeved into a flat morph with dumb clothes, I might start the update in the morph section, noting the B mark next to the Endocrine Control as I erase it. Then maybe I'd check the list (if I don't recall what exactly it that modifiers was). It would tell me about the +2 moxie, so I'd update the Moxie score on my main sheet, and erase the B mark. And when I update my gear, I'd see the A mark next to their Smart Clothes and would know to remove the Infiltrate modifier and the A mark from the skills section.

CordialUltimate2 CordialUltimate2's picture
Yeah. That is a fairly good

Yeah. That is a fairly good system.
Unfortunately EP is one of those games that would benefit immensely from a companion app.

All my character sheets were custom made to make resleeving as painless and quick as possible. I mostly succeeded, but on paper I couldn't overcome the slowness of writing down gear and implant lists with their bonuses.

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