Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Gameline Overview: Eclipse Phase

For those of you who don't know, Eclipse Phase is a transhuman roleplaying game published by Posthuman Studios.

Eclipse Phase is set 10 years after the rise of the Titans, artificial intelligences created by man who warred on humanity. Within a year the Titans has appeared, engaged in war using every possible weapon at their disposal, and then force uploaded the minds of millions of humans before disappearing with the minds they stole. Earth is a ruin, devastated by nuclear attacks and still plagued by semi-sentient nano-plague swarms. Humanity is an endangered species, less than half a billion people survived the fall and all of those off of Earth.

Players take on the role of agents for Firewall, an organization created to protect against existential threats, that is threats that could destroy what is left of humanity. However humanity is no longer exactly what someone from our time would recognize. While some people are still proud to be human mark 1 (normal biological baseline human,) a large percentage of the population has reached beyond the regular boundaries of the flesh to become more.

Some spend their time with their consciousness uploaded into the bodies of giant whales that swim through the upper reaches of the sun's corona, while others simply exists as digital uploads of their original consciousness jumping from computer system to system. You can be a vacuum resistant octopoid technician or a human who has been extensively cybernetically or genetically altered. One thing is constant though, real death is generally a thing of the past with people having their consciousness backed up in case of accidents.

It is this later point that makes for an interest gaming setting for the players, death is not necessarily the end of the characters. Taken to the possible extent this can allow for sacrificial roleplaying or taking on greater odds than a PC would normally stand up to.

Your mind is software. Program it.
Your body is a shell. Change it.
Death is a disease. Cure it.
Extinction is approaching. Fight it.

It is a complex setting, but one that is well worth exploring. To date the main publications consist of the following.

  • Eclipse Phase Rulebook. The main rulebook for the game
  • Rimward. A sourcebook on the outer solar system
  • Panoptican. A sourcebook exploring surveillance  uplifted animals, space habitats and other smaller aspects of the setting
  • Gatecrashing. Exploring the mysterious Pandora Gates that were left behind, possibly, by the Titans that provide wormhole travel to other worlds
  • Sunward. Sourcebook on the inner solar system
These books are all available in hardcopy format from Amazon, FLGS etc. PDFs are for sale on DriveThruRPG.

One interesting thing about the books, and often talking about, is that almost everything for Eclipse Phase has been released under the Creative Commons license. What this means is that the PDFs and the game itself, is freely available to be downloaded and distributed by anyone as long as they are not charging for it. The PDFs are often uploaded onto torrent sites by Posthuman themselves, and they can be downloaded from the page of one of their writers Rob Boyle here

This seems to be working for them. I know I originally downloaded the PDFs to read, and have since purchased the books. So if you like the game, please think about purchasing it to support them and give us new material in the future.

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