Wednesday, October 14, 2009

More on Eclipse Phase

When I'm not at my weekly D&D game, playing EVE Online on the PC, or playing Left 4 Dead on the XBox, I'm goofing around with Eclipse Phase. I'm thinking about starting a minicampaign--either with the supplied rules or after a wholesale conversion to something more like 4e. That's not a knock on the existing Eclipse Phase rules. It's just that my supply of available players tilts heavily toward expert-level 4e players (wonder why?), and they're mostly older guys who have an innate resistance to the timesink of learning a new rules set.

As I said last month, I'm intrigued by Eclipse Phase for two reasons. First, the game itself is simultaneously cyberpunk, postapocalyptic, and hard SF. But those elements don't seem stapled together. The backstory makes them cohere rather nicely. Second, the reusable body as an answer to the death question...that's fantastic.

There a few quibbles I struggle with, of course. Reasonable game designers differ on whether it's better to start a core rulebook with character generation and only a veneer of world detail, or really spread the world out in front of the reader, then get on with character generation after the game has established its context. I'm militantly in the former column, and the fact that I don't get even a whiff of the actual game until page 114 and no character creation until page 130...well, insert exasperated fist-shaking here.

Second, I have a problem taking uplifted animals seriously--and that says more about me than it does about the concept. I loved Startide Rising, to be sure, but I can't help but consider chimps and dolphins as comedy delivery devices, not menaces. Like I said, it's a problem that exists within the nest of vipers that is my head.

Out of Context: The life of this clean desk is perpetuated in righteousness.
Music: Pearl Jam, Backspacer

1 comment:

  1. For what it's worth, I am part of a small fifth column that likes to see a quick sketch of the setting, then a sample character for context, then teh resolution system, then character creation, then the setting.

    In fact, the big thing for me is samplecharacter->system->character creation

    This way, character creation has context for me. Otherwise, I find it all floaty and meaningless, unless it is extremely (like Inspectres, say) simple.