Eclipse Phase: Duality episode 1

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A group of scientists and gatecrashers find themselves on a distant exoplanet named Minerva 4, part of a secret hypercorp research project. The group quickly realizes their memories have been edited, leaving a long stretch of time missing. Furthermore, they are in a remote facility far from a colony city run by Pathfinder. What secrets does this facility hold? Who edited their memories? The more the team investigates, the deeper the mystery runs. Learn the secrets of the mirrored pillar!

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  1. Eclipse Phase is, by far, my favorite RPG setting. It’s great to listen to you guys getting back into it.

  2. Psymon the naked argonaut lives on! hey Ross, where’s the link to the No Soul Left Behind Kickstarter?!

  3. One thing that has always bothered me though is that Case Morphs have the Lemon trait. So all poor people in the world just have crappy morphs?

  4. Actually, most poor people in the EP setting died in the fall, the lucky ones are in cold storage. Those in case morphs are, at worst, the working class.

  5. one of the themes of EP is deliberate economic hardship/slavery. the guys at Transhuman pull no punches in their criticism of full-bore capitalism.

  6. Ah, I’m starting to see how this ties into the ExHuman game now. This is turning into quite a grand sweeping story. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

  7. Still I can’t really see why they would give morphs that critical a flaw.

  8. The case morphs are definitely meant to be crappy, as they should be. I think they should have options for even crappier morphs, beat-up old used cases with more and more unfixable problems and jerryrigged parts, especially as more time passes from the Fall. “Oh, this old case works great. Its nuclear battery had a leak a couple years back, so it might cause nearby biomorphs mild radiation sickness for the next few thousand years, but apart from that, it works just fine. I’ll throw in a blueprint for bananas furiosas on the house.

    The different tiers of wealth that work differently across the different types of societies with their very different economies is what I love most about EP. In EP, indeed, if you survived the Fall, you’re pretty lucky to have any body at all, but once you’ve managed to somehow cross that border, you enter into the real-world economic system as low as you can get, without even a normal human body to call your own. It makes sense that people would take what they can get, the “clanking masses”. There are even repressed transhumans in biomorphs, which the clanking masses would see as a luxury. Planned obsolescence for your biological body keeping you enslaved and draining your paycheck to keep from inevitably getting cancer or forcibly installed life recorders are WAY more fucked up than a few unreliable mechanical parts on your robot body.

    tl;dr: it’s not fair. That’s the point.

  9. Really liked the sliders/old Battlestar Galactica angle for this(where the Galactica crew find Earth and its 1980’s Earth?), and the fact that Ross was not saying yay or nay to any of the theories for it. Was it advanced Simulspace? Was it a parallel dimension? Is this a call back to “Tribes of Tokyo”? (By the way as soon as I heard Mirrored Pillar, I was all like: “Awe Yeah!!! Mythos Time!” Ross cant leave it out of any game and I love it. Cant wait to see what happens next!

    Also was Aaron really tired or something by the end? Seemed kind of down or low energy there at some point and couldn’t tell if it was him or roleplaying having that morph?

  10. I got a Hotline Miami/Carcosa vibe. That was probably semi-intentional?

  11. So what part of “It’s always Cthulhu in Carcosa” don’t you understand? ; p

  12. No Items. Cthulhus Only. Carcosa.

  13. it’s less “deliberately giving the morphs a flaw” than it is “being completely unwilling to invest any resources in creating reasonable bodies, with the justification that there are still a shitton of infugees from the Fall, so even in this semi-post-scarcity wonderland there are these shitty mass-produced clanker bodies because of excuses.” the Planetary Consortium exists -because- they manufacture scarcity where none needs to exist.

    think of it like the United States’ tacit insistence that it’s impossible to provide health care to poor people without bankrupting them into permanent debt slavery. the rest of the wealthy world/solar system is baffled by the idea that such a resource-rich society could fail to invest in something that seems to them so basic, but because the people in power at best don’t care and at worst profit by the prevailing situation, a whole narrative of “just not practical”s and “can’t be done”s and “has to be this way”s accretes.

    often things that don’t make sense in EP at first glance are criticisms of real-world economic elitism and exploitation. I remember commenting on a Know Evil episode why I didn’t understand why anyone would ever fail to archive all their own backups when you could store them on thumb drives literally inside your thumbs, and Caleb suggested that backup insurance wasn’t as cheap as its actual storage price might suggest, comparing it to–oh, hey, it’s easy to google:

    “However, unlimited storage doesn’t mean insurance companies wouldn’t charge for giving it away. Consider the hidden charges on a cellphone bill; your average phone call contains enough bandwidth to contain every text message you’ll send in a day, but you still have to pay for a separate data pack to get unlimited texting for a service that cost the provider absolutely nothing.”

    it’s a key difference between hard scifi and space fantasy, that in hard scifi people continue to behave like total fuckwads even when they start to get sufficiently advanced.

  14. Looks like the start of another great campaign. I really loved dropping EP toons into Earth’s past. It was a very creative and entertaining move.

    I am also excited about all the potential in gatecrashing, soooo many possibilities.

    My only concern is that I hope the game doesn’t end up having too much Carcosa.

  15. I can already see there is a going to be a group of listeners disappointed if Carcosa and the Mythos are prominent in this game and those that will love it.

    While Ross’s track record has made him a little predictable for this sort of subject in his games, I think it falls under that the GM wants to see this sort of thing in his games or it’s on his mind a lot when concepting a game. I could be entirely wrong, and I don’t mean to start any kind of debate. I don’t see anything wrong with this type of trend as long as everyone in the game has fun.

    Personally, Ross can keep tossing the Mythos into all his games.

    Ia, Ia, Cthulhu Carcosa!

  16. Author

    For the record, this campaign will NOT incorporate the Cthulhu mythos or Carcosa. The universe of the Mirrored Pillar has thematic similarities to Carcosa I admit, but Duality is firmly set within the Eclipse Phase universe and will not crossover into Lovecraft territory. There is an in-game back story for the Pillar, which will be revealed during the course of the campaign.

    The goal of Duality is to create a chapter based travelogue set in the outer rim and various exoplanets. Instead of a single narrative focused on a single group of PCs, I intend to spread the story across multiple locales with multiple PC teams. Each chapter will be between 1 and 6 sessions long and we have gone months between chapters.

  17. Oh, silly Ross. Even if it isn’t Carcosa, existential dread will still win. The only exception for Eclipse Phase is that it’s known as X-Dread and Firewall agents who wear all black and smoke old earth clove cigarettes seem to be the only ones concerned with it.

    PS: Awesome game.

  18. Hey, Ross, nothing says you can’t incorporate the mythos on a metatextual level. Thematic similarity and resonance, mythopoeia and reinterpretation are all valid tool for building that transhuman conspiracy and horror. Other than Caleb tearing out your heart with his bare hands, shouting “Kali Ma!” and consuming it to gain your horrible powers.

    I myself am currently planning a campaign which draw on the Hastur cycle thematically, by way of the primary X-risk introduced being that some lunatic got a little too obsessed with the King In Yellow, and has attempted to engineer his own Yellow Sign by reverse engineering TITAN Basilisk Hacks, and it kind of spirals from there.

  19. So, I can never remember the exact dates, but based on the position of the planets etc in EP, the time-frame for the universe has been narrowed to between 2150 and 2200 or something, IIRC.

  20. I thought about using PETALs (the video game / LSD) nanodrugs to provide a way to incorporate Carcosa/Hastur Mythos insanity, but crazy xeno-artifact has traction too.

    Basilisk Hack w/ Yellow Sign is awesome!

  21. Ah, so this was before Transhuman came out. Man, that was a while ago. I was wondering because Drew and Tom’s characters are described as “Mercurial” (A faction which is like 99% Infolife and Uplifts who want to diverge from Transhuman norms to be more akin to their own “natural” state) when they’d probably be more apt as like, Singularity Seekers or maybe very friendly Exhumans, based on their actions and attitudes. But those weren’t “playable” factions until Transhuman actually came out. Was this something you guys noticed and maybe changed, or do you stay in this weird nebulous area between the factions clearly defined by the setting throughout?

  22. Author

    I kept notes on when we played, so this session was right before Transhuman came out – I think Caleb and I had access to the PDFs but I don’t remember exactly. To me, the line between mercurial and exhuman is fairly blurry at the edges of either movement – a hardcore mercurial and a moderate exhuman are very similar – think of the chimerical morphs built by some mercurials, for example. Those could be seen to be pretty exhuman-ish in form and function.

    I also think every movement/faction is not a single guideline of principles, but a continuum of ideology – ranging from radical to reactionary versions of the ‘core’ beliefs of the movement. So, I can see some mercurials (or exhumans) basically believing in a set of ideology that mainline members of that faction would not agree with. Drew and Tom’s characters could be seen as mercurial fetishists – obsessed with the exotic morphs and push to make themselves non-human while ignoring/neglecting the core politics of the movement.

  23. Well, the line between “Mercurial” and “Exhuman” would seem to be drawn (based on a “dictionary definition”) about where one differentiates between a someone who starts as a human ego or a non-human one (p. 132 Panopticon gives the definition for Mercurial best, I think). So, in terms of both a literal definition, and possibly the Mercurial movement itself, actually claiming to be Mercurial would be inaccurate, but I agree with the point about mercurial fetishism, a reverence and appreciation for the self-determinate exotic morphologies promoted by the various Mercurial types. Technically making them Exhuman, but since “Exhuman” seems to basically be a pejorative, they probably wouldn’t use it to define themselves (And for mechanical purposes, probably don’t have the nasty mental disorders or modified behaviors). And, of course, Transhuman presents lots of different “core” memes to most factions and locales as motivations, which fits your idea of a continuum (which I agree with). I’m guessing between the two of them they probably have some +Personal Development, +Morphological Freedom, -Bioconservatism/Biochauvanism, maybe even a little +Neurodiversity or +Exhumanism?

  24. The EP forums these last few months have had some strong arguments about exhumans. It’s been controversial, loads of folks use the term very perjoratively. I forgot about how the Mercurials can be ideological neighbors to the exhumans. Venn Diagrams could be made. Including Ultimates and Singularity Seekers too.

  25. Yeah, personally, I try not to wade into the heated discussions on the EP forums, because (imo) the relatively low poster base leads to a lot of combative, circular arguments where a couple of parties can easily butt heads and repeat their points a few dozen times over a week, and the forum doesn’t move fast enough for people to easily get over it (compared to something like say, 4chan, where your heated arguments can die down in 24 hours once you’ve burned up the post count and it falls off the board).

    Personally, what I got out of the whole deal was that the term “exhuman” (applied mostly by authoritative bodies like governments and Firewall to hostile posthumans) is a negative term which is separate from the philosophy/ideology/meme of “Exhumanism”, and that those who proscribe to it are not always combative. (But some are, which is how you get dickheads like Predators who like to hunt The Most Dangerous Game.). The fact that some “Exhumans” are not flesh-eating manhunters who enter the TQZ for kicks doesn’t magically lead to the conclusion that all of them shouldn’t be, but vice versa. Thus you can draw Venn Diagrams which exist along an axis gradient of “Exhumanism” at the extreme end of which are mostly Exhumans, with some overlap with radical Mercurials and the more unrestricted Singularity Seekers off to the sides.

    Honestly, you can probably describe the entire political/ideological “map” of EP with a series of overlapping circles on a field of multiple philosophical axes, but I don’t think anybody has time for that.

  26. Eclipse Phase: The game where you can save people by killing them and mutilating their corpse.

  27. My Mage the Ascension wars pricked up at Arete or “R eh tay” as was pronounced πŸ™‚

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