Eclipse Phase 2ed Backer Preview Posted Sat, 11/24/2018 - 14:17

So, I've digging deep into the Second Edition backer preview, as well as the earlier preview materials that have come out, and I’m increasingly impressed with the work that’s gone into it and the strength of the results.The rules changes and simplifications are the most obvious tweaks — multiple overlapping skills have been consolidated, hacking rules have a “streamlined” mode that works for 90% of the situations, while leaving complicated bits for the dedicated infosec scenarios; etc.

Character generation (and updating charsheets when resleeving) is radically simplified, and players I’ve taken through it actually enjoyed it — a huge deal for anyone who’s introduced a newbie to EP1’s flexible but insanely math-and-blind-choice-heavy chargen process. In particular, the “blind choice” quality is gone from chargen, replaced by a more Transhuman style Package-driven approach lets people pick backgrounds, interests, and careers, then tweak the results rather than flailing to divvy up 1000 points before knowing what’s useful.

The new pool points (a replacement for hard morph stat bonuses) make it feel a little more Fate-like, but no moreso than that variant rules for using Moxie found in Transhuman. In gameplay, it flows really well, fixing the untenably unbalanced Speed mechanic from EP1.

All of those mechanical details, though, pale in comparison to the subtle production work that’s going into EP2 — stuff that is easy to overlook but has an incredible impact on how easy it is to kick off a game and get new players into the “fun stuff” fast. All the pregens that come with EP2 are grouped into complimentary four-character teams of criminals, gatecrashers, Firewall proxies, and so on. Each charsheet also notes on their disposition towards the other members of the team. I was iffy on that when I first saw it, but the impact for new players was really impressive. It gave then enough to have fun with during their first session, at a key time when they were trying to find their footing in a complex world.

Second detail: It’s easy to miss when reading through the book, but *literally* every topic is laid out to fit nicely on a 2-page spread, or a single sheet front/back. Basic hacking actions you can take? 2 page spread, with notes and tables. Kinetic weapons? Same. Psi rules? Yep. The end result is that it is SUPER easy for a GM to print off a handful of double-sided sheets and keep them around as reference for FAQs at the game table, or hand to a player whose character has a fairly unique skill others don’t need to worry about. Previously I’d whipped up those handouts myself, and I was perfectly ready to do it again in EP2… but as I flipped through the book, I realized it was *already done*. Things just magically fell on even page boundaries. As someone who’s done long document publishing and layout, I can say that @adamjury’s work is a staggering love letter to every player and GM who will pick up EP2. It warms my heart.

There’s lots of other bits to love — more evocative Psi fluff and effects that make it less “space magic” and more “lovecraft parasite”; a pack of two-page quick adventures that are great for intros and one-shots; etc etc etc.

But after the wait, I’m relieved — and excited.

Name Category
Ablative Patches Armor Mods
Accushot Ammo Ammunition
Acoustic Spotter Espionage
Active Hyperspectral Imager Sensors
Active ID Protection Services
Adaptive Interface Xenoarcheology Gear
Alpha Drugs
Analog Sensors/Tools Sensors
Animal Keeper AI AIs
Animal Training Services
Name Category
AGI Pod Worker NPC
Ahmir Sektioui NPC
Alice Chu NPC
Amaru Timoti NPC
Amrita Shah NPC
Anarchist Militia Volunteer NPC
Anarchist Saboteur NPC
Anarchist Techie NPC
Aquarium Pet Smart Animal
Argonaut Psychosurgeon NPC
Faction Type

The outer system presented an opportunity for people who wanted to set up a way of doing things that was drastically different from the authoritarian politics and sham democracies of Earth and the inner system. Far from the reach of governments and hypercorps, this frontier was populated by political radicals, social dropouts, and people who just wanted to experiment or do their own thing.

Location Type
Population
2,000,000

Qing Long, with a population of 2 million, is the largest O’Neill habitat in the system. It is situated among the Trojans at the Martian L5 point. Qing Long has its roots in the Chinese effort to colonize Mars. Despite its exceptional size, it is one of the oldest habitats of its type, having been built almost entirely from metal-rich asteroids mined near its present location.

The skrik strain is a variant of the mindstealer virus (p. 367, EP) that over time enforces an internal physical change.