Eclipse Phase: Know Evil episode 3

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The Firewall agents have learned where the Nine Lives Syndicate operative is and how to get to her but she won’t be there long. The team rushes forward to defeat her guards and capture her before she escapes.  Once captured, she reveals her destination, a hidden aerostat on Venus called Cloud Nine. The team decides to venture to the aerostat in hopes of learning more about the conspiracy. What secrets are hidden on the station?

  26 comments for “Eclipse Phase: Know Evil episode 3

  1. crawlkill
    November 15, 2011 at 6:49 am

    goddamn Caleb uses Eclipse Phase just right. Ransom’s resleeve, eauuaghhh. and the bafflement-expansion of little miss multimorph’s origin story. man just seems to have the power to get in tune with a setting.

    I’m still excited for one of the PCs to murder themselves in a horrible accident while doing something real goddamn stupid, though! iceteroid jumps and hull breaches and sulphuric acid cloud diving? Spacejackass isn’t gonna keep its scum demographic if it stays this survivable. where’s the cream smearing?

  2. Scribbleykins
    November 15, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Awesome game. Can’t wait to see more.

    Though I’m really wondering when you guys will realize that 00 is always a critical success in this system.

    No, really. Look it up.

  3. Omega
    November 15, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    @Scribbleykins

    To be fair, we get these releases on like, an enormous delay. So even if we’ve told them, like, each episode of EP it comes up “00 is always a crit and 99 is always a crit fail” it would be a while before a session AP was released that was after us telling them.

    Also, new EP AP yay!

  4. Scribbleykins
    November 15, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    @Omega

    Point. Still, I -do- wonder how long it took them to catch on to that.

  5. crawlkill
    November 15, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    I’ve personally always felt having a higher chance to fail hilariously is more fun anyway. especially when haloing in from low orbit.

  6. Omega
    November 15, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Oh man, as much fun as I have listening to these, some times it can be hard, especially when you guys are in combat. I understand that I have played a lot of Eclipse Phase, and read the book real thoroughly (Also I skype game and have the pdf open, so I’ve gotten used to check rules as opposed to just taking it on faith that I know it for sure), but sometimes… Between the tiny rules errors (Synthmorphs suffer knockout at 3 wounds, for the same reason that they take wounds, or you have as many simple actions as you want in a round, GM discretion), or the times when I feel the PCs are being woefully incompetent in the fight (RPPR TEAM, WHY U NO BUY REFLEX BOOSTERS!? And also, why do you use the only grenades that do pretty much nothing!?) it can be hard to keep going.

    I’m not really sure what I’m getting at, I mean, I do really enjoy all the Eclipse Phase APs, and I think EP Needs More Love, but I kinda felt like saying this. I know it doesn’t matter THAT much since these are released at such a delay, like I said earlier, so even if you’ve learned the rules better or learned how to handle fighting smoother, it’ll be a while before we see it.

  7. November 15, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Those are fair points, but not every player owns or reads the EP rules in detail. This was the first real battle of the campaign. Also, reflex boosters? Do you mean speed boosters?

    Also, Aaron used the concussion grenades because he wanted a nonlethal character. That’s a role playing decision.

    We’ve gotten better at fighting. Our group has a sizeable body count now. B-)

  8. Omega
    November 15, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Reflex Booster, its a piece of Cyberware. REF+10 and Speed +1, permanent, no need to turn it on like Neurachem. Little pricy, but most EP characters can pretty easily make shitloads of cash at creation. And I’ve already said that I’m both obsessive about double checking rules, and also I GM, so my familiarity is high. Plus, I made myself and my players quick reference aids for stuff like gear and CC. But for not owning the rules? I’m not sure how to put it without it sounding insulting, so I’m going to preface it with the fact that I don’t mean it to be, and just say that’s a tiny bit sad. It’s a CC licensed game, you can get the pdf legally anywhere you want, take you like five minutes. I’m pretty sure the devs even provide a torrent/DL for the core book pdf themselves. Heck, if one of the group owns the pdf, they can distribute it legally among the rest.

    And I can understand Aaron’s bizzare desire to play a non-lethal game (I’m with you Ross. It’s EP, kill ’em all now, sort out their stacks later), its just he picked THE most useless way to do it. Overload grenades, for example, are actually incapacitating, or you could use Splash or Gas grenades with one of the non-lethal chemicals and toxins available. Or use a gun and buy zap or plastic rounds (Or flex, because those can be lethal when you need it). And it’s not just Aaron. In that big fight, you get to like the last round before Thad’s like “Oh hey, I brought real grenades, let me use them.” I can’t remember for sure, but I also think people other than Aaron might have thrown some Concussion in the previous sessions.

    Again, I want to make it real clear I fucking love the Eclipse Phase APs. Your first ones actually got me into the game. And when you’re not in combat, these are fucking awesome. The Cloud Diving sequence? GOLD. Like I said, I’m not even sure why I brought it up, because even if you were all “This guy on the internet is right, we’ve been doing this wrong the entire time herpaderp!” it’d be forever before you changed, and like you said you’re already improved. I guess I just decided to have an opinion an tell it to people.

  9. Omega
    November 15, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Ooh, I also forgot to say, props to Caleb for bringing in the Pax Familae. Those guys are so fucked up, it wraps around to awesome. And he didn’t even get to the part where Claudia has sex with herself to make more members of the Claudia family.

  10. November 15, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Reflex boosters are 20k credits. 20 character points at chargen. That’s a HUGE investment of CP especially when we know we’ll be switching bodies eventually. But I digress. Our later battles follow the rules better I think.

  11. Jason
    November 16, 2011 at 1:35 am

    Omega, I don’t mean to offend you but your expectations of players seems a little unrealistic or perhaps a bit too high. Sure we can excuse players for not owning the books. They are expensive and building up a collection of a variety of RPGs takes time and money that most of us can’t afford. Yes, PDFs are cheaper but it doesn’t compare to having the actual physical copy when you’re trying to build a character and needing to constantly flip back and forth between sections. As far as torrents, many people have qualms about obtaining things in this manner…I can’t imagine why 😉

    However, all of that aside, only the most dedicated of players will read the material carefully enough to scrutinize all of the details. Even hardened GMs will miss some minor rule or overlook a certain crucial bit of information. Hence, the 00 critical success fiasco that took us a month or so to bring into the game. As much crap as I give to Daniel and Bill for being rules lawyers, I also have to cede them a great deal of respect. They devour the entire book thoroughly, reading it from cover to cover and constantly re-read sections to become even better acquainted with all of the rules. Caleb has done a fantastic job and has an incredible grasp of EP. It shows with each new session. Ross also does this as a GM and a player.

    I, on the other hand, am your average player. I don’t read the book from front to back. I read enough to build a character I want and learn as I go. I don’t particularly enjoy reading all the rules of a new system, nor do I want to spend what leisure time I have reading rules to a game. I don’t find it fun and I want to play a game to have fun (RPPR is my time to get away from the stress of my job/life). I think many gamers are like that. To expect much more is as I said just completely unrealistic.

  12. crawlkill
    November 16, 2011 at 6:39 am

    it’s not like the rules of any complicated tabletop system are ever genuinely well-balanced anyway. you can just about squeeze balance out of a game where all characters are fundamentally yahtzee’d versions of one another, like Dirty World. but when you lay out a panorama of choice, it’s always broken somehow, which just leads to a powercreep cycle of brokenness (or “everybody maxes out Celerity first”).

    D&D4E sort of came close to balance through statistical homogeneity, but even it’s rife with bonus material and questionable Official Decisions that make the conceit that the rules are actually meaningful and carefully thought-out pretty silly. in computer games generally and MMOs in particu-special, optimization’s important, cause you’re playing against an inflexible system that’s actively trying to beat you; in tabletop, it really isn’t, because you’re playing against someone with a rough grasp of how good you are at what you do who doesn’t really want you to get murdered by some arbitrary encounter so his devious plot will go unappreciated. the only important balance feature in tabletop is that you don’t let people who don’t want to feel useless feel useless (“I add one to my Dark Spiral aura”).

    better I feel that the players and the NPCs should both be relatively hapless. Caleb’s sold me on the it’s-fun-to-play-helpless-characters jive. it’s a lot more hilarious that way. has Thad dealt a point of damage yet? I love him and his character so much.

  13. Caleb
    November 16, 2011 at 8:08 am

    I’ll be the first to admit that, as a newcomer to the tabletop RPG, I put all my real-person points in lame quips and setting understanding. I’ve got like a 1 in rules, though.

    I won’t way I’m running EP wrong or anything, but yeah, I didn’t realize some stuff until later in the campaign. Hell, I don’t realize some stuff now. I write 15 to 20 pages of fully stated-out material for every two or three game sessions while working two jobs. I haven’t the time nor inclination to look up the fall damage rules for every decimal of G on an exoplanet when I can say “I think it would work this way? Everybody cool? Cool. Moving on.”

    And this session is baby combat. Most of the Venus tier is at a tutorial difficulty level, though I start upping the horror and gunfight aspects near the end.

    Trust me, if you guys want body count, wait until you hear Luna. I’ve been full-blown out to get them for the last ten games or so.

    A quick preview: At this point, I’m pretty sure I’ve killed Aaron on three separate occasions and driven him to suicide at least once. I sent Drew bounding across the Lunar surface in a screaming fit of madness in his first game. I’ve convinced players to kill each other when I got tired of doing myself. One character has been so scarred by events that he has a disorder in the form of moon-phobia; he is literally terrfied by the entire moon: seeing it, being on it, being inside it, everything.

    When they don’t outright die, most sessions require downtime in the middle for healing vats and psychotheraputic drugs just so we can finish. My record for resleeves in a single session is now four. The “death fund” accrued in the Mahjong game has been depleted and refilled at least once by now, and the last game of Luna isn’t even until next Thursday.

    In short, I learn how to min/max the rules in order to torture the players better as the campaign goes on, so please tolerate my hand-waviness for the time being. We love having you guys listen, and I’d hate to have anybody stop listening before we get to the part where I murder Aaron in space over and over again 🙂

  14. Caleb
    November 16, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Oh…and deathtraps. SOOOOOO MANY DEATHTRAPS!!!

  15. Omega
    November 16, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    @Jason

    Nah, I’m no offended. In fact, I’m trying to avoid offending myself (But I don’t know how well I’m doing). I understand that I’m a statistical outlier. I skype game, and live in front of a computer anyway, and also I feel bad, as a person, when I get information wrong, so I obsessively double-check things until I feel confident about the rule rightness. And I don’t expect every player to memorize the rules, especially, what, four sessions in? This is what the GM, and that one guy who reads the entire book is for. I was just responding to something specific Ross said about not all the players having a copy of Eclipse Phase. I reiterate, its a game licensed under Creative Commons. You don’t have to pay for it to own the pdf copies. As for hardcopy/pdf, we’re going to have to agree to disagree. I can ctrl+f a pdf. Can’t do that with the physical copy. I can also instantly jump to the index and then to the page I want.

    @Caleb

    I don’t want anybody to think I’m saying “UR DOING IT WRONG” (Except when I am saying that), because really, its just me and my inner demons of correctness over here. That, and a personal desire to engineer efficient (In my mind) characters. I mean, I have no fucking clue how to adjust falling damage for different G, nor with shit like realistic bullet drop for different G. I’m going to go ahead and say I ignore that entirely. Hell, my group had the same early MoS/MoF struggles you guys did. I just know better now, and much like points in Cthulhu Mythos, I cannot unknow and ignore it when I hear it.

    Also, I’m going to go ahead and say that you’re way more awesome than I am. I’ve run, maybe 12 sessions of Eclipse Phase, total, and I’ve never killed anybody, dead. Once I dropped a PC to 0 DUR, but hey, that taught them all lessons about noticing ambushes, and that machine guns > battlesuit (And this was before Full Auto was +3d10 damage. That might have been an ender there). There is also little resleeving in my games because they are all generally connected scenarios, as opposed to a single contiguous story (Its all linked in the metaplot!). So, you’re like some kind of EP hazard god. I mean, the worst things I’ve done to my players was either running the Cordon and High Diving to Earth (Which is like Cloud Diving, only from outside the atmosphere to ground level), free-climbing a himilayan mountain during a blizzard, fighting a TITAN warbot, or maybe that one time the exo-fungus shot exploding thorns at them.

  16. Sam
    November 16, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Fantastic episode, guys. I’ve already listened to this one twice, it’s that good. The damn tea party, that was amazing.

    @Caleb you are one hell of an inspiration to the rest of us, dude. Can’t wait to hear the rest of this.

  17. Beej
    November 16, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Skydiving octomorphs and the Pax Familia….epic. I’m stealing the girls for my Kerburos Club. Too much comedy not to take advantage of.

    Love the story Caleb.

  18. Caleb
    November 17, 2011 at 7:54 am

    @Sam and @Beej: Awww…(blush)…Thanks guys!

    @Omega: I don’t think I’m so much as skilled GM as I am just mean. And you aren’t wrong about the character builds being less than optimal; three of the characters have willpower so low that seeing a sad puppy will bring on the madness. But that’s not a bad thing at all especially in contrast to Ross and Drew’s murder machines. In the long run, it helps the party dynamic if you pair brave-but-average Joes with the 1% of society that can get into a gunfight and go “meh.” There are more opportunities for suspense and humor.

    @crawkill: Now that you mention it, I’m not sure if Thad HAS dealt a point of damage all game. When trouble strikes, Faiyun typically just screams in panic and fires her space shotgun in random directions. She almost blew Tom’s head off once, but that was by accident. Thankfully, she is very good and hiding and running away from things.

  19. Omega
    November 17, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    @ Caleb

    Y’know, saying that has made me realize I’ve had very few PCs who weren’t at least prepared to fight. Even the Professional Honey Trap had a decent blades and dual-wielded pistols. Same with WIL, when its mattered, the PCs have had decent scores, or at least, I can only remember them failing maybe twice, ever, despite close (As in, leaping out of the fungal canopy and landing on top of you close) encounters with multiple exsurgents and TITAN machines. It’s even high in my current Noir/Cyberpunk-style Mars game, despite no obvious need and none of them being asyncs. Ah, well, that game does have a Neotenic Arms Merchant with SOM and REF 5 and I left it on a cliff-hanger of combat.

    Also, if you don’t have it planned already, and can work it in, you should totally send the RPPR crew to Earth for something. Its a fun place.

  20. Thad
    November 18, 2011 at 1:01 am

    In regard to anything about me:
    Being useful is nowhere near as important as having fun.

  21. November 18, 2011 at 4:43 am

    Thad! Yay!
    This was a great episode. Yeah the combat was a bit strange but the side conversations and room ambiance were some of the best. I especially like when someone chooses the path of most resistance. I almost spit out my toothpick. Also I think Jason needs an MVP for being totally awesome.

  22. Journ-O-LST-3
    November 18, 2011 at 7:43 am

    Meh, combat is something I listen to in APs because people are saying funny things on the side and sometimes a good roll does something cool. Rock on.

    Also I am sad. I also had the fork hive-mind idea for a character and it was already someone else’s. (He was just going to have the spare slots in his morph to dump forks so everyone could talk and work together on research and claim any body they could find to expand the hive.)

  23. crawlkill
    November 18, 2011 at 10:13 am

    I can’t wait for Dangers of Fraternization to hit and an incomparable wave of Thad fanhood to sweep the listenerbase.

  24. Seejo.Crux
    November 18, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Never disappointed with Caleb’s work.

  25. Jack Vigil
    November 20, 2011 at 12:42 am

    What’s left to say…..more,more,more,more, etc…

  26. darren t.
    April 7, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Never put too much thought into the rights of the uplifts until now & looking forward to hearing the future episodes where in the middle of a mission they have to try something crazy for the ratings to keep Preston in the game.

    As a big fan of Alice Madness Returns, Ross going with the VR world of wonderland for asking npcs things is such a lovely idea. Great show guys & wondering if Bradley (or other school members from the Lost showing up) returns in the future.

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