Eclipse Phase: Duality episode 18

EP_Rimward_Xiphos_MarkMolnarThe Ultimates chapter begins! The Firewall agents have tracked Loren Kristol to Xiphos, the home of the Ultimates.Fortunately, they have a way to infiltrate the secure facility by posing a new Ultimate recruits during the annual Olympic festival. Thousands of Ultimates travel to Xiphos to compete and celebrate. During the festivities, the team has a chance to learn what Kristol got from the Ultimates and where he is. Of course, they must remain undercover and that means they must compete in the Olympics. The festival has many games and contests, including highly unorthodox ones, including a deadly tea party.

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  1. I don’t think I’ve ever left a comment for Ross and the crew BUT:

    I’m really loving this campaign, and this game in particular was real entertaining. However, I kind of feel like Ross’s depiction of the Ultimate’s was a little two dimensional.

  2. I always felt like the Ultimates are just exhumans with a human-body fetish, and that just because they take Inner System credits doesn’t make them any less of a threat. I strongly dislike their acceptance while exhumans remain “always CE humanoids fit to be killed” trope.

    The “Fetch” concept, a metaphorical Delta fork of an ASI is awesome! I was planning to use this concept too, along with a sort of Neuromancer+Wintermute idea. So having a name like “Fetch” or “Fetchling” like the weird fey-shadow things is a cool term that I will have to use (just as I eagerly await the chance to Microtort the hell out of my players). Thanks Ross/RPPR!

    This has been a great campaign! Though with every chapter I struggle to figure out who is playing who other than Caleb playing Aspen or not. What is the current team roster?

  3. Incidentally, I did have a rather cunning plan for Round II, The Tea-sassoning. I was going to put the poison on my sleeves and feint repeatedly until my opponent grabbed my sleeves and poisoned himself.

    Then I just brush my other sleeve on the target, drop the mic, and walk out LIKE A BOSS

  4. MURDER TEA PARTY MONKEYSTROKIN SEX MOVES. definitely my favorite episode of the campaign.

  5. Author

    To be fair to the Ultimates, at this point in the campaign, I did not have the time or energy to do a lengthy mission involving actually going undercover as Ultimates and earning their trust by playing it more closely to the source material. That’s really an entire other campaign. Also, I knew this scenario was going to be a set up, so might as have some fun before all the PCs get grabbed.

  6. On one of the commentary tracks for Fight Club, someone (either David Fincher or Chuck Palaniuk) remarks that the members of Project Mayhem are like a bunch of frat boys who read a bit of Nietzche and start taking themselves too seriously. Y’know, they lack the self-awareness and critical reading skills to understand exactly what type of ideology they are trying to promote and just end up trying to tear things down because they feel disenfranchised.

    It’s an unfair comparison, given that the Ultimates are more quasi-bushido, social darwinist types, but I can’t help but see the same strain of fascism and emotional immaturity with the Ultimate philosophy. Are we supposed to see them as a bunch of jack-booted, posthuman dudebros or am I just being super critical?

  7. First, the soundtrack to this episode is just a mix of Unchained Melody and Careless Whisper over and over.

    Second, I do kinda agree that the Ultimates have been portrayed fairly flat in most of the games they’ve shown up in, though I can totally understand why, just like how the Jovians are often played stereotypically. You can only do so much when you’re trying to do a whirlwind tour of the Outer System.

    The Ultimates are a weird bunch, a group of individualist, social darwinist, ascetics, that at best pity and wish to lead the rest of transhumanity in their image, and at worst want to wipe out anything they consider genetrash or worse. Thinking of them as dudebro mercenaries feels like an image that unaware hypercorp oligarchs or the average transhuman might concoct since the Ultimates make the biggest splash as a combat force, but they’re also so reclusive otherwise that the average transhuman might never see an Ultimate gatecrasher, scientist, or philosopher. That all said, this episode does take place during their Olympics, so everything kind of goes out the airlock when you have 3 days to party and compete.


  8. I can see a lot of the newbloods acting this way, cause they don’t yet understand the philosophy.

    but like the 2 factions I myself would like to join are: 1st up the Scum, and 2nd the Ultimates.
    Yes the Ultimates are individualistic and self reliant but they understand that survival is not just about yourself. the recognise the value of team work. I mean if they didn’t they wouldn’t be a faction, and they wouldn’t have a station. Their whole philosopher king vibe deserves to be focused on just as much as their Übermensch.

    but i agree with Noah, it’s the olympics. It’s party time.

  9. what drug in eclipse phase needs you to make a som x1 check or be knocked out i don’t recall ever seeing that in any book

  10. personally I’m totally okay with Eclipse Phase as hard scifi satire of what would happen if you let extreme political philosophies run rampant in post-scarcity conditions. it’s the anti-Star Trek. we’d probably see the anarchists and scum as more dystopian if we as an audience tended more to see people being allowed to do what they want as being a core social problem. …you may readily discern where I fall on this issue. tl;dr: 2015 conservatives would view EP anarchists as bad the same way 2015 liberals view EP space Nazis and Libertarians as bad. tabletop RPGs especially lend themselves to black comedy.

    wayyy back on Think Before Asking I remember I commented that I loved how everyone in the post-spacepocalyptic future was a cosplayer, a mad scientist or both, and I think RPPR, if not EP as a published whole, has preserved that tradition

  11. I assume Ross made it up.

  12. @Crawlkill – do you game with a more liberal or a more conservative group? My EP players come from VERY liberal backgrounds (and we’re in a blue state). They’re horrified of the Scum while moderately sympathetic towards the Jovians. I think it might be because they’re familiar enough with extreme liberal thinkers, and know enough real-life anarchists, to understand just how terrible a society they could build. On the other hand, they see extreme conservatives as bogeymen; they understand that there’s a threat there, but it just doesn’t hit as close to home.

  13. I don’t do tabletop gaming, pure audience member. personally, I’ve seen extreme conservatives do a lot of harm in my time, while I’m not sure extreme liberals have ever accomplished anything, so they don’t have that track record of horrific failure and it’s easier to suspend disbelief and accept that the society can work in a technological environment utterly unlike our own and friendlier to utopian anarchy.

  14. I have more sympathy for the Jovians than the Ultimates because, frankly, the Jovians admit they’re up against more than they’re comfortable fighting, in a social context. The Ultimates, on the other hand, strike me as the type to commit fascism as a premeditated crime rather than a panic reaction. It would be interesting to see a third party have to decide which one is worse for transhumanity by having to intervene on one side or the other.

    However, this episode was classic, from Caleb’s anti-punching outburst to David’s ‘in for a penny’ to Sweet, sweet Ultimate war.

  15. Loved the Honey Pot setup. Nice foreshadowing by Ross at the beginning when Hondo (?) was explaining that Lorne was not rational and getting more irrational and crazy.

  16. Laughed myself stupid while listening to this podcast! Comedy tour of Xiphos, deadly tea time, treating reality/love/customer support as a battle exercise– stellar from beginning to end.

    My only criticism: Aaron offers to loan a guy his space DVD and Caleb trips the alarm on a safe he knew was trapped. And the gang rags on Aaron?

  17. Re: Ultimates are ascetics

    No, they’re really not. The Nietzschean Overman is in fact a rejection of asceticism. Where ascetics reject this world in search of the next, the Overman is motivated by a love of this life and this world.

    Ultimates are the exact opposite of ascetics.

  18. The Ultimates are terrible at being Nietzchean than because their faction write-up mentions Asceticism a lot.

    They seem to be much more of “what people think of Nietzchean philosophy” and less “what Nietzche was actually writing about.”

  19. I stand corrected! The Ultimates are indeed excellent ascetics – except maybe for the Purifier at the back of Firewall’s sample characters who somehow made it to Exemplar while considering himself an Overman.

  20. The Ultimates seem to be mostly regular anarchists with a self-improvement obsession and the belief that individuals have discrete worth based on their accomplishments and skills. This is compared to the “all people deserve a living wage” philosophy of most other anarchists. But it’s not as if most other anarchist collectives don’t reward individuals for being better at things – not everyone can be Preston Crowley, Doctor Mindfuck, Orange Thermidor, the Mother Octopus, the head of security, or that parrot fashion guru. And anarchist groups also tend to get particular obsessions – just from the Scum swarm part of Know Evil, I remember that Food Not TITANs was able to be swayed on a court case solely by the defendants’ opinion on food, and there was also an all-synthmorph group of 24/7 stargazers.

  21. The Ultimates are “proto-fascist” which makes them literally the exact opposite of anarchists. They love hierarchy and ranking people. They are definitely not anarchists.

    Transhumans live in a world of functional inmortality so if you are not trapped in the Old or Transitional Economies like the Inner System, then you tend to pursue your passions to some degree of obsessiveness. Not being able to apply yourself to your motivations is sort of what Immortal Oligarchs suffer from, the “Immortality Blues.”

  22. This was a fantastic episode. Too packed with humor to highlight any one scene. I enjoyed this tremendously, thanks gents.

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