What's a good elevator pitch for Eclipse Phase?

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Noble Pigeon Noble Pigeon's picture
What's a good elevator pitch for Eclipse Phase?
To those who don't know the phrase, elevator pitch refers to the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary of something in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes. Two problems with Eclipse Phase: one, it's hard science fiction, and two, many of its ideas (transhumanism, reputation economies, etc.) are not common sci-fi tropes, at least not to most of the people I want to promote EP to, ie fellow college students. I'd like to avoid using a lot of technical terms, but I don't want to dumb down the description too much either. So how would I go about describing Eclipse Phase to people that doesn't involve an entire lecture on the entire setting? What highlights of the setting should I bring up? It does help for me to simply show them this: http://www.tragic-sans.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/EP-poster.png, but it's not enough.
"Don't believe everything you read on the Internet.” -Abraham Lincoln, State of the Union address
Alkahest Alkahest's picture
In The Future, Earth has been
In The Future, Earth has been ravaged and most of humanity killed by rogue super-AIs in a catastrophic event known as "the Fall". The human diaspora has settled the Solar System and fractionated into several competing ideological factions. Humanity? Many would question the propriety of that word. Death has been cured, bodies can be changed as easily as clothes and the mind is programmable software that can be copy-pasted as easily as a .doc file. The few "pure" humans that remain are living relics, destined to go way of the Dodo. This is the age of transhumanity; humanity's genetically engineered, reprogrammed descendants and their fellow-travelers - sentient AIs and uplifted animals. You play as members of an elite organization dedicated to one goal: prevent the extinction of transhumanity, at any cost. Bioweapons, rogue AIs, computer viruses, nanoswarms and possibly even stranger threats from beyond the void all threaten civilization, and it's your job to make sure Earth's children are not snuffed out for all eternity. Don't be afraid of breaking a few eggs. Or spacing a few infected innocents. Characters can come from a wide variety of different backgrounds, and have a wide variety of different motivations. The hypercapitalists of the Inner System, the anarchists of the Outer System, the techno-socialistic Titanians, the libertarian Extropians, the hedonistic Scum, the bioconservative Jovians, the social Darwinist Ultimates and many other factions continue the ideological battles of yesterday in a world where nanotech machines can create pretty much anything and where reputation can take the place of money. Play as an octopus with a PhD in genetics, a space-adapted smuggler, a hacker existing a pure information or whatever kind of character concept your twisted imagination and technology can create. And remember: Death might be just an inconvenience, but there are far worse things than death. Have fun! --------- Hmm. Nah. A bit long, I think. But to be fair, it is a complicated setting.
President of PETE: People for the Ethical Treatment of Exhumans.
Noble Pigeon Noble Pigeon's picture
It's long, but it actually
It's long, but it actually works quite well! I'm curious now on which part of the solar system I should start them in. I was thinking something like Dead Space, where the backstory and setting are gradually introduced while they're undertaking a fairly simple mission, ie being part of a repair crew to see what happened to a massive asteroid mining ship...
"Don't believe everything you read on the Internet.” -Abraham Lincoln, State of the Union address
DamionW DamionW's picture
To go from too long, to the
To go from too long, to the potential of being too dumbed down, I used a lot of familiar pop-culture references to introduce the setting to my group: People have digitized their consciousness ~ the Matrix, but they can jump from body to body, not just into simulspace Rep economy ~ Your facebook likes equals your currency to trade Personal muse ~ Everyone has their own Jarvis a la Iron Man in their head Entoptic AR ~ Terminator-vision with data popping up on everything around you TITANs = Skynet from Terminator, or the machines from Matrix Those comparisons at least gave me a jump-start on the headier concepts. Really depends on your group. Mine have varying levels of interest in the sci-fi genre and are generally casual hack&slash role-players, not much into character development, so those comparisons worked for me.
towo towo's picture
For new players unfamiliar
For new players unfamiliar with the setting, it gets progressively more difficult when moving away from Earth (new economy and absolute post-privacy and lack of policing kind of confuse new players. Old economy, not always fully accessible security cameras and something resembling authorities enables easier transition.)
Alkahest Alkahest's picture
Noble Pigeon wrote:It's long,
Noble Pigeon wrote:
It's long, but it actually works quite well! I'm curious now on which part of the solar system I should start them in.
What about the Junta? If your players are Jovians, they have a good reason for being ignorant about the rest of the System, and the setting can be gradually introduced to them in character, so to speak. As for introducing the Jovian Republic itself, it's easy. "Okay, imagine that you're on a moon which is run by Dick Cheney as written by Bill Maher. The moon is circling a giant planet that gives you cancer. Also, you have a Space-Pope. Ever read Starship Troopers? No? Seen the movie? Okay, yeah, throw that in, too. But replace the bugs with immortal space gypsies, smart octopi and Skynet."
President of PETE: People for the Ethical Treatment of Exhumans.
voidstate voidstate's picture
Two takes...
It's a game where technology has moved on massively, meaning there's all this cool stuff to play with. Even your mind has been digitized, allowing you to swap bodies and even be restored from a backup if you die. So you spend an evening making up a character with all these cool futuristic gadgets, implants and character traits... then you have to move into a new body and you lose not only all your cool gear but loads of your chargen points, too, leaving you forever suckier than the player who ignored all the stuff that makes the game cool in the first place. Basically, the game is one big noob trap. :P OK, maybe not that. But I have heard the game described this way more than once. How about: It's a game where you explore where humanity will end up once technology and humanity become inseparable. Everyone has a PDA built into their brain. The web is everywhere. Minds can be backed up and restored if you die. You can swap bodies by moving you brain over - or even copy your brain and have two of you. Nano-factories can make anything you desire in minutes. Earth is lost and we all live in man-made habitats. All this craziness wrapped up in a believable, hard sci-fi setting.
Noble Pigeon Noble Pigeon's picture
So thanks to you Alkahest I
So thanks to you Alkahest I actually got a very good description of both the setting and Firewall. Now I'm trying to work on a good description of a Gatecrashing campaign. Here's what I have: Transhumanity has discovered the Pandora gates, wormholes to distant star systems across the galaxy. Whether for colonization, profit, research, or just plain adventuring, transhumans of all stripes have gone through the gates. You play as a member of a Gatecrashing team. Whether you’re a curious scientist, a thrill-seeking pioneer, or a hardened mercenary, your team is amongst many who use the gates to explore the wonders of the galaxy. However, not a few Gatecrashing teams are never heard from again, and a few come back a babbling mess. Strange, mind-bending things lurk out there in the big bad galaxy, and you could very well encounter them. Good luck! Looks decent enough I guess, but I really want to emphasize the feeling of unseen, cosmic horror. Nothing Lovecraftian or too much "incomprehensible to human minds". That last sentence just doesn't cut it. just fear of the unknown and alien. Anyone have any ideas?
"Don't believe everything you read on the Internet.” -Abraham Lincoln, State of the Union address
jackgraham jackgraham's picture
"Talking octopi & bad-ass
"Talking octopi & bad-ass anarchists save the future from killer robots," is my usual go-to. It's a simplification, but that's the point of an elevator pitch.
J A C K   G R A H A M :: Hooray for Earth!   http://eclipsephase.com :: twitter @jackgraham @faketsr :: Google+Jack Graham