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
Argonaut Reverse Engineer NPC
Bug Collector NPC
Elleggua NPC
Flexbot Traceur NPC
Insurgent Reclaimer NPC
Maker Nomad Bot Jammer NPC
Oversight Auditor NPC
Security Trooper NPC
Trained Military NPC
Argonaut Xenoarcheologist NPC
Faction Type

Uploading and resleeving effectively grant immortality to those who can afford it. This has created a shift among the exclusive rich and economic elites of the inner system, whether they be the heads of hypercorps, old Earth dynasties, or other displanted oligarchs. The top ranks of the wealthy and influential need never fear death, allowing them to plan for the long-term. Some of these were among the first to acquire longevity treatments when they became available on Earth and are now approaching two centuries in age.

Location Type

Lying just past the orbit of Neptune is a disc of ice and dust known as the Kuiper Belt. It is home to over a hundred planetoids, including Pluto, Haumea, and Eris, and thousands of asteroids large enough to conceal a habitat. Most Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) are a mix of ice and rock which pre-date the genesis of the sun. Though sparsely populated, most transhuman activity takes place in the “classical” Kuiper Belt, between 42 and 48 AU, where frozen volatiles, complex organic molecules, and rare minerals are more easily harvested.

Rimward, p. 139

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