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

Born from the ashes of the UN-governed Terran Intelligence Cooperative (TIC), surviving personnel and assets were collectively uploaded during the Fall and quickly regrouped under the name Stellar Intelligence. Emerging as a virtual collective, most of Stellar’s employees remain loyal to the corporation and its director, the reclusive infomorph known as Syme. Stellar offers an impressive array of intelligence services, including data mining, analyst think tanks, retro-quanti cation (bringing old secrets/data to light), memetic mapping, and more.

Location Type

This deep canyon system on Mars holds one of the Planetary Consortium’s most treasured possessions: the Martian Gate. This Pandora gate was originally discovered by nomadic Barsoomians, then violently wrested from their hands by hypercorp troops—an event that still rankles the rednecks. As different hypercorps themselves nearly came to blows, the Hypercorp Council was forced to step in and offer a resolution that all could agree to.

Very similar to the haunting virus, the mindstealer strain is much quicker acting. Instead of slowly subverting the target’s mind over the course of months, the mindstealer virus rapidly recodes the victim’s brain in a matter of minutes. This infection is much more invasive and brute-force, often causing significant side effects to the target’s mental state as a result. This strain is only spread as a digital virus, nanoplague, or basilisk hack (not as a biological nanovirus).