EP2 - What Would You Like To See

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eaton eaton's picture
Quote:I'd like to see the

Quote:
I'd like to see the ability to spend a couple of points in skill points Pilot and have it be worthwhile.

I'm of two minds. Generally speaking, most of the Field skills could be replaced by base skill + specialization, and I wouldn't complain. The idea behind Field skills was always that you could have a bunch of them (Hardware: Habitat Life Support Systems, Hardware: Robots, etc) but I wouldn't mind losing 'em entirely.

However, that brings us to the controversial knowledge skills issue. More than half of the players in our current campaign were hooked by oddball bits that appeared on their charsheets' Art or Interest sections, and they've worked hard to make it work as a real part of RP. Our octopus scavenger/gearhead is a *legit serious* natural ink artist. The neo-neoanderthal uplift rights activist moonlights as the bassist for a barsoomian metal band. Our underworld head-smasher literally pulled everyones' asses out of the fire with a check against her *Profession: Busking* skill, augmented by *Interest: 20th Century Pop Music* at a critical time.

So, while my simplification instincts lean towards trimming a lot of that fat, I also recognize that SOME way of capturing the weird and wacky breadth of Transhuman experience feels important, especially to players who haven't yet internalized the universe/themes yet. Those little hooks can be critical.

That said eff piloting. ;-) In a world where fly-by-wire and AR interfaces are ubiquitous, the distinction between piloting a spacecraft and an aircraft and a boat and a car (should) be fairly straightforward. Flying as a skill — i.e., literally using wings or integrated propulsion systems that are part of your body — feels like a legit distinction obviously.

Quote:
1) As much as I appreciate the difference between skill at manoeuvering within a given social circle (Networking skill) and their current opinions on someone at a given time (Rep rating), unifying the rep thingees really does simplify things.

Yeah, same here. I love the flavor of the distinction but in reality it meant that every time my group made simple checks there was a huge bookeeping discussion about who had the best balance of skill/rep/etc at a given time. Even then no one was sure and often I fudged things just to keep play moving. Replacing it with this (as well as some decay and an "if your rep is over 60, you WILL be asked to do someone a favor at least once every couple of sessions guideline) made everyone feel like they were in control of things and could understand the correlation. It also means that loss of rep has a much clearer impact — "You're basically burning your networking ability if you don't help this guy right now".

For folks really concerned about the "secret agent in the know" dynamic — someone who knows all the right people to talk to, but stays in the shadows (high networking, low rep in EP1) — I think the Insight or Flex pools (to find clues or magic up old contacts) could definitely be a reasonable replacement mechanic?

ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
Must resist urge to discuss.....

A quick bit regarding Morph (thematic crosspost with the mechanics thread):

I don't want to see the Pools become the dominant mechanic of the game: they're perfect for powerful and/or recharging abilities, but because they're expendable they don't feel like an 'innate' improvement over the Standard.

Giving morphs small, flavourful abilities independent of traits or gear would be a very simple way to solve this problem – abilities that require rolls become new ways to spend pool points, passive abilities or skill bonuses to certain tasks reduce the need to spend points, and abilities which alter the action economy make new roll combinations possible.

Decivre wrote:
The new pools might provide some options. For example, perhaps synthmorphs will have the largest pool capacities around, but less access to Flex (this is what I originally thought Flex was gonna be for, myself).

I'd go the other way around myself: all other things being equal, Synths have smaller pools than Biomorphs in exchange for their innate bonuses and gear list.
Pods could then have the reduced pools of Synths combinted with Biomorph drawbacks, but have the largest gear selection due to cross-compatibility.

On a different note, could we maybe get an appendix listing standard uses for skills with their action cost, as well as common environmental modifiers to those skills?

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

CordialUltimate2 CordialUltimate2's picture
I would probably homebrew

I would probably homebrew splitting Skill Points into 3 pools Active, Field and Exotic and Knowledge skills.

EDIT:
Playtest material I have seen so far has 2 pools. Knowledge and Active. Unfortunately reduction in Skill Points for both of them resulted in trouble with recreating some of my more universal characters from EP1.

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Dilf_Pickle Dilf_Pickle's picture
Tiling a bathroom at the range

Decivre wrote:
Dilf_Pickle wrote:
2) Do indeed thank Jesus, but he'll remind you that they're Firearms, not Guns. Unless you walk around with a 105mm slung over your shoulder everywhere you go.

Do note that a gun is defined as any tubular device designed to discharge projectiles and material. It technically encapsulates everything from taser weapons to rifles to pistols to gauss weapons... and technically even lasers since it is discharging photon projectiles.

So I can decorate elaborate wedding cakes and ink wicked tats with my "Gun" skill?

In a para-military context, it's misleading at the very least, and one of the first signs of a n00b. Unless "Guns" and "Gunnery" are to become unified for some bizarre reason.

Maudova Maudova's picture
Tacnet

hperantunes wrote:
As a variant: group pool sharing (refresh by achieving goals, motivations, milestones) and reduced individual pools.

Sounds like the job or Tacnet software.

~Alpha Fork Initialized.
P.S. I often post from my phone as I travel extensively for work. Please forgive typos and grammar issues.

Ian Argent Ian Argent's picture
Followup on piloting

Quote:

That said eff piloting. ;-) In a world where fly-by-wire and AR interfaces are ubiquitous, the distinction between piloting a spacecraft and an aircraft and a boat and a car (should) be fairly straightforward. Flying as a skill — i.e., literally using wings or integrated propulsion systems that are part of your body — feels like a legit distinction obviously.

I went into my post with a secondary thought that I forgot to put down on screen: that you could justify a unitary "piloting" skill pretty easily with the tech level of EP; in that the piloting interfaces and control assistances are going to make piloting a powered vehicle (from motorcycle to jumbo jet) not a lot harder "IRL" than doing so in a game like, say Just Cause 3 (an open sandbox game with a variety of vehicle types). Now, this is a blatant post-hoc justification for a game mechanic, but it's not implausible.

Ian Argent Ian Argent's picture
Terminology

Dilf_Pickle wrote:
Decivre wrote:
Dilf_Pickle wrote:
2) Do indeed thank Jesus, but he'll remind you that they're Firearms, not Guns. Unless you walk around with a 105mm slung over your shoulder everywhere you go.

Do note that a gun is defined as any tubular device designed to discharge projectiles and material. It technically encapsulates everything from taser weapons to rifles to pistols to gauss weapons... and technically even lasers since it is discharging photon projectiles.

So I can decorate elaborate wedding cakes and ink wicked tats with my "Gun" skill?

In a para-military context, it's misleading at the very least, and one of the first signs of a n00b. Unless "Guns" and "Gunnery" are to become unified for some bizarre reason.

I'm just happy they used "magazine" instead of "clip," but I wouldn't really throw a fit if they didn't.

Firearm vs Gun vs Howitzer (:P) is a grey area of language. I'd personally prefer it to be Firearms rather than Guns myself, as the skill, name, but EP doesn't appear to have a need for PCs to operate crew-served large-bore direct-and-indirect-fire weapons; thus, no need to have separate firearms and gunnery skills.

HariSeldon HariSeldon's picture
Combat

Dilf_Pickle wrote:

I, for one, hope to see the tradition of ruthless, uncompromising, tense combat maintained through its intrinsic inequality.

I agree. I think in a setting like this, it's good to have people who are so jacked up that they are moving faster than normal people, or who are so tough bullets bounce off them. It's a classic way to generate horror and suspense to create an adversary who is seemingly unbeatable. Look at "The Terminator" or "Predator" for classic examples of this.

I also think that combat with things like speed and drones helps create a more futuristic feel. High-tech elements make combat feel fast and dangerous, and I think it's OK if they are a bit disruptive. This is one of the things I like about Eclipse Phase, and something that helps differentiate it in tone from SF games such as Traveller.

HariSeldon HariSeldon's picture
Opiyel wrote:I would really

Opiyel wrote:
I would really like to see some more stuff for spaceships, making them more than just plot devices that take you from point A to point B.

Yes, I'd love to see some spaceship rules as well. It's the only thing I thought was really missing from 1st Edition.

I've been watching "The Expanse" too, and the whole show just screams Eclipse Phase to me. I think the kind of spaceship combat they have in the show would be a good fit for EP. Ships use missiles and rail guns, and battles are short and lethal.

Dilf_Pickle Dilf_Pickle's picture
From the desk of an avowed complexity addict

Ian Argent wrote:
Firearm vs Gun vs Howitzer (:P) is a grey area of language. I'd personally prefer it to be Firearms rather than Guns myself, as the skill, name, but EP doesn't appear to have a need for PCs to operate crew-served large-bore direct-and-indirect-fire weapons; thus, no need to have separate firearms and gunnery skills.

I guess it's moot until we see whether this:

EP 1ed.4pr. p.179 wrote:
GUNNERY
Type: Active, Combat
Linked Aptitude: INT
What it is: Gunnery skill covers the use and maintenance of large, vehicular, or non-portable weapons systems. Firing these weapons is more like playing a video game than firing a gun[sic].
When you use it: Use Gunnery when attacking with a vehicle-mounted weapon or weapon emplacement in ranged combat (p. 191).
Specializations: Artillery, Missiles

gets folded into 'Guns' in the new simplified skill list.

Ian Argent Ian Argent's picture
Dilf_Pickle wrote:Ian Argent

Dilf_Pickle wrote:
Ian Argent wrote:
Firearm vs Gun vs Howitzer (:P) is a grey area of language. I'd personally prefer it to be Firearms rather than Guns myself, as the skill, name, but EP doesn't appear to have a need for PCs to operate crew-served large-bore direct-and-indirect-fire weapons; thus, no need to have separate firearms and gunnery skills.

I guess it's moot until we see whether this:

EP 1ed.4pr. p.179 wrote:
GUNNERY
Type: Active, Combat
Linked Aptitude: INT
What it is: Gunnery skill covers the use and maintenance of large, vehicular, or non-portable weapons systems. Firing these weapons is more like playing a video game than firing a gun[sic].
When you use it: Use Gunnery when attacking with a vehicle-mounted weapon or weapon emplacement in ranged combat (p. 191).
Specializations: Artillery, Missiles

gets folded into 'Guns' in the new simplified skill list.

Serves me right for not checking EP1 first :)

If there is a separate "gunnery" skill, then by all means call the small arms skill Firearms. But, I'm going to suggest that if there isn't a call for it to be used regularly in a "baseline campaign" (Firewall Sentinels, in the case of EP, and by regularly I mean every couple of sessions at the least frequent), it probably doesn't need to be a separate skill.

Opiyel Opiyel's picture
Yeah, I know EP is leaning

HariSeldon wrote:
Opiyel wrote:
I would really like to see some more stuff for spaceships, making them more than just plot devices that take you from point A to point B.

Yes, I'd love to see some spaceship rules as well. It's the only thing I thought was really missing from 1st Edition.

I've been watching "The Expanse" too, and the whole show just screams Eclipse Phase to me. I think the kind of spaceship combat they have in the show would be a good fit for EP. Ships use missiles and rail guns, and battles are short and lethal.

Yeah, I know EP is leaning more towards a harder view of space ship battles, and I'm cool with that (more submarine-esque, probably no fighters). I just want to do some fun space war campaigns with the players I have. Admittedly, I don't do the EP official setting, so mine is more about exploring a new system with aliens. But even keeping to the Solar System, I'd like more rules for space ship combat. That's actually been the one deal breaker when I present EP to many of my players.

HariSeldon HariSeldon's picture
Re: Terminology

Ian Argent wrote:

Firearm vs Gun vs Howitzer (:P) is a grey area of language. I'd personally prefer it to be Firearms rather than Guns myself, as the skill, name, but EP doesn't appear to have a need for PCs to operate crew-served large-bore direct-and-indirect-fire weapons; thus, no need to have separate firearms and gunnery skills.

I understand where you're coming from, but I think that to the average person without much military knowledge, "Guns" intuitively means personal firearms. I would be inclined to use a term like Artillery or Heavy Weapons to cover large crew-served weapons. That way it can cover guns, howitzers, mortars and MRLs, as well as knowledge of how to act as a forward observer, pre-plan fire, etc. To have a single skill cover everything from pistols to howitzers is a simplification too far for me. Even Fate games sometimes require an additional stunt to use Guns/Shooting with artillery pieces.

Not to be contrary, but if it were up to me, I'd have three skills - Guns/Firearms to cover personal weapons, Heavy Weapons to cover support weapons like ATGWs, heavy machine guns and the like, and then Artillery as described above.

eaton eaton's picture
General Thoughts on Gear

So, a lot of discussion so far has focused on mechanics but a lot of my recent forays into EP's rules have been related specifically to gear (eldrich.host started as an extensive gear catalog, and boy howdy I learned a lot of tables inside-out). The particular thing that's on my mind right now is something I think of as "Fluff and McGuffin Gear."

Implants and morph augmentations in particular seem to fall into three basic categories: constant and conditional stat and skill boosts (Enhanced Senses, Hardened Skeleton, Bioweave, Neurachem, etc); "plot enabling" implants that don't explicitly affect any defined mechanics (Circadian Regulation, Brain Box Life Support, Fat Storage); and a few that are pure fluff (cosmetic mods, I'm looking at you).

The middle category is the one that has me scratching my head the most — almost all of the "plot enabling" enhancements are basically ways of shedding light on EP Universe norms, or hard counters to scenario or GM imposed hurdles. If you're supposed to work on the surface of Venus, you need high pressure adaptation. If you want to monitor lots of data feeds simultaneously, you need the Panopticon implant. Moving beyond Implants even, if you want to operate a gate you need a Blue Box.

While they can be cool and add flavor, in the games I've run I've found that players very, very rarely make use of that gear. When they express interest in it, it's more curiosity about the setting ("Huh! Transhumans only sleep 4 hours, that's right…") than useful. And because it's by nature fairly binary, either enabling a rare behavior or allowing campaigns to proceed whether they otherwise couldn't, they doesn't feel like they expand a player's range of *real options* when engaging with the world.

That isn't to say that there's no room for stuff like that, but IMO it should be rarer than it currently is. Instead, I want to propose a general principle for gear: Whenever possible gear should explicitly use, affect, or alter a specific well-defined mechanic in the game. Some potential examples:

  • Circadian Regulation affects how much rest someone needs? It should let users take three short rests in a day rather than two, or recover d6+1 pool points instead of d6.
  • Arm Slide lets users pop a firearm right into their hand from a sleeve? Let it — once per combat session, when the firearm is first used — reduce the Complex Action needed to fire its attached weapon into a Quick Action.
  • Digestive Symbiotes gives people super amped up culinary flexibility? Once per day, the character can regenerate 1d6 DUR for their biomorph by consuming at least one pound of protein-rich organic matter.

There's a lot in EP2ED to play with in terms of DUR, Stress, Points, point refresh economy, action economy, rests and rest intervals, etc.

Ian Argent Ian Argent's picture
I yield the point about

I yield the point about personal firearms vs crew-served pieces. And there's a place for skills that will only be chipped in a baseline campaign as well, I suppose. But for "everyday" skills (basic combat skills, vehicle piloting for non "exotic" vehicles, athletics/movement skills" I still want to see "broad" skills so that PCs end up being able to be low-level Jacks of All Trades; if nothing else so that accidentally killing the Guy With The Skill doesn't completely derail the session/adventure/campaign.

Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
Dilf_Pickle wrote:Urthdigger

Dilf_Pickle wrote:

Urthdigger wrote:
I'd like to see some changes to combat to make things a bit more balanced. As it stands, loading up on things like speed, ambidexterity, and drones to increase your attacks per round is by far the most effective tactic to taking down anything.

I, for one, hope to see the tradition of ruthless, uncompromising, tense combat maintained through its intrinsic inequality.

Oh, I don't mind combat being ruthless and uncompromising, especially in what is ostensibly a horror game (even if hardly any of the games I've played in were run that way). An inequality between the players and the foes does that, but my issue is an inequality between the different combat systems themselves, especially since the post-scarcity economy means that both sides do have access to literally all the tools.

My issue is largely that when it comes to combat really all you do is load up on all the speed you can, how many guns you can fire at once and how often those guns can fire per round. In a way, it's kind of boring. It's the obvious choice for players, and if the DM wants things to have a decent chance they're going to do the same thing back. If this were, say, a tabletop version of Call of Duty that would be fine, but this is our weird transhuman space world with all sorts of weird gadgets that debilitate and cause area damage and all sorts of neat things... and it's all literally there for fluff, completely unused save for maybe a mook that's there to look awesome and die in 2 seconds.

Ian Argent Ian Argent's picture
Death is the ultimate debuff

Urthdigger wrote:
... this is our weird transhuman space world with all sorts of weird gadgets that debilitate and cause area damage and all sorts of neat things... and it's all literally there for fluff, completely unused save for maybe a mook that's there to look awesome and die in 2 seconds.

The fluff takes pains to point out that killing someone is not usually long-term optimal because they come back annoyed. The problem with that theory is that normally the PCs are shooting at mooks, and they don't care about whether/when the mooks resleeve, they just want them out of the way. And "dead" is the ultimate combat debuff.

This is going to be a problem as long as you have realistic combat rules, of course.

bblonski bblonski's picture
No Combat Hacking

I particularly hope to NOT see combat hacking in EP2. I liked in EP1 that hacking was something you had to do ahead of time. If you had previously created a backdoor, you could exploit it during combat, but the intent seemed that you were not supposed to be able to break into you enemy's mesh in a single turn. However apparently if you got the right combinations of gear and took a big enough skill penalty, you could reduce the time it took to exploit a system to a single turn. I'd prefer if this wasn't an option.

Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
Minimum is 3 turns, but your

Minimum is 2 turns, but your point stands. Required a ton of setup though, like Intuitive Cracker and Speed 4 and some other stuff.

I want to echo what other people are saying about simplifying hacking as well. I never actually needed to use a lot of the active defense rules like tracing a hacker.

CordialUltimate2 CordialUltimate2's picture
bblonski wrote:I particularly

bblonski wrote:
I particularly hope to NOT see combat hacking in EP2. I liked in EP1 that hacking was something you had to do ahead of time. If you had previously created a backdoor, you could exploit it during combat, but the intent seemed that you were not supposed to be able to break into you enemy's mesh in a single turn. However apparently if you got the right combinations of gear and took a big enough skill penalty, you could reduce the time it took to exploit a system to a single turn. I'd prefer if this wasn't an option.

Not really. Max task time reduction was 90%. For brute force combat hacking it would be 2 turns at minimum , but you would have to take an expensive trait, have all the right implants and roll an excellent success to do that. Most fights end in 1 to 3 turns. So it kind of balanced itself out.

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Maudova Maudova's picture
Advanced Games

Id' like to see the following:

  • Expanded Vehicle Rules: Including the use of space vehicles (as transport and/or morphs), travel times between destinations, navigating space, and how to build campaigns around those concepts.
  • Colony Building and Large Scale Project Rules: Essentially large scale project rules for building habitats, colonies, and governance of such for games that involved players that are entrenched power players in an area.
  • Psi-Focused Groups and Tech: Development of psi focused groups that aren't hidden behind unreachable corporations or government projects. A group that explores theories on Psi, Psi-Tech, Psi-development. Along with the additional cues on the horror of having an alien presence share your brain. Maybe some Psi-cults where the participants all have the same eerie experience or flavor of art they like. Something more chthonic-horror less hyper-space alien horror.
  • Advanced Technology Rules: Referencing sci-fi settings like Hannu Rajaniemi's "The Quantum Thief" trilogy.

~Alpha Fork Initialized.
P.S. I often post from my phone as I travel extensively for work. Please forgive typos and grammar issues.

MrWigggles MrWigggles's picture
Psi ability in Eclipse Phase,

Psi ability in Eclipse Phase, is suppose to be fairly unknown. If I recall, that bit was cover up during the Lost Generation diaster as well.

Decivre Decivre's picture
I think that the skill cap

I think that the skill cap should be a variable number adjusted from Aptitude total. So for example, Aptitude + 80. I say this for two (formerly three) reasons:

  1. Skill points are largely wasted past a certain point, anyways. If one plans to raise aptitudes and has already maxed out skills, the player loses out on Rez.
  2. Player stats were always odd in that they ended at 99. The highest NPCs have skills of 100, a meager single-point difference that's effectively unreachable in play. Plus, post-100 skills would be a great representation of posthuman potential... something that albeit rare, should be to some degree at least a potentially-attainable goal.
  3. It created odd skill-losing issues with morph transfer that, admittedly, won't be an issue thanks to the new pool system.

Dilf_Pickle wrote:
So I can decorate elaborate wedding cakes and ink wicked tats with my "Gun" skill?

Only if dropping items requires the "Free Fall" skill.

Dilf_Pickle wrote:
In a para-military context, it's misleading at the very least, and one of the first signs of a n00b. Unless "Guns" and "Gunnery" are to become unified for some bizarre reason.

I see it as mostly arbitrary. Firearm is technically inaccurate if the skill includes gauss weaponry. But the only real issue is making sure that players know what they're suppose to roll when... Guns works fine for that.

Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age.

Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.

ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
'Face-splosion' is too specific.

Other possible replacements for the skill name 'Guns':
- Targeting (personal favourite)
- Precision
- Discipline
- Offence

Regarding BattleHacking, I feel that hacking in combat and 'normal' hacking are two very different concepts, and could best be handled with distinct rulesets.

Out of combat hacking could be similar to the current rules, maybe 'assembling' a task action out of possible options instead of treating each possibility separately, whilst combat hacking focuses on ECM/ECCM, Jamming and battlefield awareness/support – in the fight, the Tech could attempt to create false signals to throw off the opponent’s Threat Identification/Targeting software or manage the squad's Tacnet inputs to create a more comprehensive picture of the battlefield.

Rules wise, they're throwing around buffs and debuffs and/or manipulating environmental objects, or simply using actions to provide Aid bonuses.

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

Maudova Maudova's picture
More is more.

MrWigggles wrote:
Psi ability in Eclipse Phase, is suppose to be fairly unknown. If I recall, that bit was cover up during the Lost Generation diaster as well.

There is a lot of storytelling space is opened by making it less of a mystery. Even if that dialog is broached through pseudo mystery cults filled with obsessed neurologist, conspiracy theorists, mad scientists, or psionic prophets.

~Alpha Fork Initialized.
P.S. I often post from my phone as I travel extensively for work. Please forgive typos and grammar issues.

RobBoyle RobBoyle's picture
Dilf_Pickle wrote:GUNNERY ...

Dilf_Pickle wrote:
GUNNERY ... gets folded into 'Guns' in the new simplified skill list.

Depends. Emplaced weapon systems with computerized UIs are now handled under Interface, not Guns.

Rob Boyle :: Posthuman Studios

CordialUltimate2 CordialUltimate2's picture
Artillery pieces, ship guns

Artillery pieces, ship guns and such, has been merged into Interfacing. Which seems pretty intuitive when your average mortar has the computing power of today's gaming PC or more, and you are just giving it directions. Big plus there.

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saithorthepyro saithorthepyro's picture
Timeline

Pretty much everything else I thought of has already been said, and this is likely to be very much YMMV, but please change the timeline. As is, everything is so short in length to make me question the setting, especilly how quickly nationality seems to have been forgotten. If it's only ten years after Earth's Fall, there should still be groups that think of themselves as their old nationalities on earth. Cultures like Barsoomian and so on wouldn't reasonably exist because at the time of the fall, the number of Vietnamese survivors of earth should outnumber them.

Also, it disallows the idea of playing anyone from a post-fall generation.

Grim G Grim G's picture
Expanded GMing tips.

I know I already said this in another thread, but I feel this is a more fitting place to expand upon what I said before. There is no content in the GM section.

As someone who began GMing (let alone role playing) after a long hiatus. My first attempt at GMing was a Trainwreck (literally, my PCs decided to blow up a train to get the package inside). It wasn't until months later that I discovered the blog of the Angry GM, who gave me some practical, universal advice for how to GM, the things you need to think about, pitfalls to avoid, and the fundamentals of encounters.

This is something I think second edition definitely needs. Also, perhaps separate the GM section from any spoilers.

eaton eaton's picture
Seconding that, Grim. EP was

Seconding that, Grim. EP was my first experience GMing, and I actually found the D&D5E DMG ridiculously helpful for its descriptions of balancing encounter types, keeping the ebb and flow of a campaign going with combat as punctuation for investigation and social missions, etc.

It's a shame because the 1ed EP core book has some really fantastic advice for GMs when it comes to stuff like effectively leveraging horror settings without pissing off or triggering players out of character, etc.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
More ideas.

More ideas.

Adding cyberbrains to robots and vehicles. I think it would be useful to be able to modify aptitudes for such shells. Or maybe you want to transplant brains between morphs.

Modifying or even creating your own ALIs. For instance, maybe you want to add some more skills to your Muse, or push existing skills further. Many active skills could be pushed to 40, and many knowledge skills could be pushed to 80.

More pictures to show what stuff looks like. For instance, what exactly does a Trike look like? Is it like a cycle but with 3 wheels? Why should it be an exosuit when it sounds more like a motor vehicle?

Clear set of rules for dosage on chemicals, drugs, and poisons. Different equipment seem to have different rules on how to handle dosage. I would like there to be some central location that says that dosage works this way or that way, except maybe when this or that happens.

ApSciLiara ApSciLiara's picture
Okay, here's a completely

Okay, here's a completely stupid idea.

If I could have any one thing about EP2E, I'd like factional data to be presented as coming from some in-character Space Wikipedia thing... SolArchive, probably. I say this for one reason - neutrality policy. The things we get to read have to be presented fairly. I feel like that'd perfectly solve the current feel of flawless perfect space elf anarchists fighting against dirty evil capitalists, and instead just have them as... well, people, fighting for what they believe. Not perfect, but not the most horrible thing ever. As we can see, letting the factions write their own pieces hasn't worked out very well, so the Space Wikipedia approach might make things a lot more interesting.

Decivre Decivre's picture
ApSciLiara wrote:If I could

ApSciLiara wrote:
If I could have any one thing about EP2E, I'd like factional data to be presented as coming from some in-character Space Wikipedia thing... SolArchive, probably. I say this for one reason - neutrality policy. The things we get to read have to be presented fairly. I feel like that'd perfectly solve the current feel of flawless perfect space elf anarchists fighting against dirty evil capitalists, and instead just have them as... well, people, fighting for what they believe. Not perfect, but not the most horrible thing ever. As we can see, letting the factions write their own pieces hasn't worked out very well, so the Space Wikipedia approach might make things a lot more interesting.

I don't want the books to handhold players. This is a horror setting: if they can't handle bad opinions about the faction of their choice, how are they going to handle ASI-built monstrosities?

I don't see why people get butthurt about how Jovians are portrayed, as we're seeing the setting through the lens of people within. No one ever got mad that Shadowrun books trashed Megacorporations, or that D&D books takes a decidedly anti-Drow stance. Every writer has biases, and we shouldn't expect Eclipse Phase to do any less. What we can do is enjoy the opportunity to create characters that defy those biases, because it's fun.

My favorite faction is the Ultimates. They haven't been treated favorably by the devs since day 1. But I don't want them portrayed as good guys in the book. I want that book to still have all the stereotypes about Ultimates that it can. Because defying those stereotypes often makes for a decent twist within your own campaign. I actually surprised one of my first playgroups with the reveal that the faction wasn't as evil as people thought. Hell, I even made a plot where the overhumanist subfaction was created by an exsurgent AGI posing as a dead Ultimate.

Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age.

Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.

o11o1 o11o1's picture
Decivre wrote:

Decivre wrote:

I don't want the books to handhold players. This is a horror setting: if they can't handle bad opinions about the faction of their choice, how are they going to handle ASI-built monstrosities?

I don't see why people get butthurt about how Jovians are portrayed, as we're seeing the setting through the lens of people within. No one ever got mad that Shadowrun books trashed Megacorporations, or that D&D books takes a decidedly anti-Drow stance. Every writer has biases, and we shouldn't expect Eclipse Phase to do any less. What we can do is enjoy the opportunity to create characters that defy those biases, because it's fun.

My favorite faction is the Ultimates. They haven't been treated favorably by the devs since day 1. But I don't want them portrayed as good guys in the book. I want that book to still have all the stereotypes about Ultimates that it can. Because defying those stereotypes often makes for a decent twist within your own campaign. I actually surprised one of my first playgroups with the reveal that the faction wasn't as evil as people thought. Hell, I even made a plot where the overhumanist subfaction was created by an exsurgent AGI posing as a dead Ultimate.

To say that "no one" ever got mad about those things is hyperbole, I've read through and listened to in person plenty of discussions on both points, which I refrain from repeating here for it's a long detour from my real concerns.

Well, in that case, rather than trying to portray things from a neutral perspective, perhaps we just need multiple perspectives on everybody. I'll be more OK with all the bashing of Jovians as long as they get time to give their side of the story, and that time giving to an actual decently reasonable argument. (IE, not just a straw man of the Jovian side). Having 5 parts of the book bashing on one faction, and then one counter argument from that factions POV, I feel would give playgroups (and particular the GMs who need to portray these villians) enough to work with to have a clear villain who is at least able to give a viable counter argument of why it's still a war crime to simply nuke the Jovian civilian habs in order to hurt the military junta they're paying taxes too. I don't want a book that hates on a group -so- much that killion civilians starts to sound justifiable because of who they work for. (Setting aside things like exurgent infections, but those still get portrayed as a regrettable, unavoidable event rather than something that comes off as a laudable endgoal on it's own.)

They don't need to become good guys perhaps, but they deserve to have a leg to stand on.

A slight smell of ions....

Maudova Maudova's picture
Social Combat

Make Sav, Persuasion, Deception, and Provoke tie in with memes that are important to the characters, on top of their motivations and motivational goals. First edition touched on the importants of memes. I think if this trail is followed and expanded upon narratively and mechanically it could create an additional avenue for players to connect with their characters and the story. In first edition social combat was a very minimal system. The most powerful social interactions were simple one roll or two and that was the end of it. Psi stole the show and I think it was overplayed as a trump card (mind the phrasing). I think it would be interesting to tie motivation, memes, aptitudes and skills tied together. Not just a single roll vs roll but a series of rolls, pitting moxie or flex against the influence attempt.

~Alpha Fork Initialized.
P.S. I often post from my phone as I travel extensively for work. Please forgive typos and grammar issues.

o11o1 o11o1's picture
Maudova wrote:Make Sav,

Maudova wrote:
Make Sav, Persuasion, Deception, and Provoke tie in with memes that are important to the characters, on top of their motivations and motivational goals. First edition touched on the inportants of memes. I think if this trail is followed and expanded upon narratively and mechanically it could create an additional avenue for players to connect with their characters and the story. In first edition social combat was a very minimal system. The most powerful social interactions were simple one roll or two and that was the end of it. Psi stole the show and I think it was overplayed as a trump card (mind the phrasing). I think it would be interesting to tie motivation, memes, aptitudes and skills tied together. Not just a single roll vs roll but a series of rolls, pitting moxie or flex against the influence attempt.

So what, some sort of Social Change system revolving around advancing the goals of your preferred ideology and convincing more people that it's a worthy ideal?

I could in general see reason to have a slightly more... codified form of social interaction, at least for NPCs. In theory, PCs all have +[Motivations] , I presume NPCs could do so as well. When we lean on those personal memes, that might have more or less effectiveness perhaps? I know that Exalted Second Edition has a decently elegant setup revolving around leaning on (and creating) what they call Intimacies, which aren't too far off from Eclipse Phase's understanding of a Motivation, other than allowing you to have more than three and that they're often much more personal scale than for a typical EP character.

A slight smell of ions....

eaton eaton's picture
Quote:Make Sav, Persuasion,

Quote:
Make Sav, Persuasion, Deception, and Provoke tie in with memes that are important to the characters, on top of their motivations and motivational goals. First edition touched on the inportants of memes. I think if this trail is followed and expanded upon narratively and mechanically it could create an additional avenue for players to connect with their characters and the story. In first edition social combat was a very minimal system. The most powerful social interactions were simple one roll or two and that was the end of it. Psi stole the show and I think it was overplayed as a trump card (mind the phrasing). I think it would be interesting to tie motivation, memes, aptitudes and skills tied together. Not just a single roll vs roll but a series of rolls, pitting moxie or flex against the influence attempt.

I'm not sure this is a good thing to explicitly model in the rules of the game. I'd much rather see the new core book and NPC book ensure that every NPC comes with a set of motivations, and instructions for GMs on how to handle "opposed social" scenarios like the ones you describe.

I.e., whether players know it or not, their interactions with an NPC will receive difficulty mods baesd on the NPC's 3 motivations. If the line of persuasion or manipulation they pursue goes against their motivations, anywhere from 10-30 penalty. If it plays well to the motivations, the player gets a bonus.

That's how I already run opposed social tests in our group, and it encourages players to do some initial research before important conversations. Finding out the hot button topics for an NPC, if you know there will be explicit bonuses or penalties, makes a big difference. It also means that players with decent in-game skills who want to play face characters but don't necessarily have the OOC "silver tongue" to ad-lib a charismatic character get clear nudges towards the best ways to exploit NPC information.

But — and this is a biggie! — that's more like combat penalties for cover or terrain than an explicit set of mechanical rules. In a perfect world, the new core book would include a GM advice section with guidance for running combat, hacking, research, and social scenes. Those are the four biggies in EP, at least in my experience, and giving some advice to GMs on how to leverage the unique and interesting aspects of each kind of conflict would be really, really welcome.

Maudova Maudova's picture
Posted From Phone - Please Excuse

o11o1 wrote:
Maudova wrote:
Make Sav, Persuasion, Deception, and Provoke tie in with memes...Not just a single roll vs roll but a series of rolls, pitting moxie or flex against the influence attempt.

So what, some sort of Social Change system revolving around advancing the goals of your preferred ideology and convincing more people that it's a worthy ideal?

Something like that, yes. I'd like to see a system that grasps onto dominant memes as a method of social change/manipulation. For instance memetic warfare where memes are inserted into society to change their minds, also using skills like research become more relevant as you disover your targets dominate memes and using that avenue to attack them socially. Aspects of the social system could outright attack a dominant or latent meme developed/developing in someone's world view and either eliminate it or change it. This could lead to a change in motivations or motivational goals.

o11o1 wrote:
I could in general see reason to have a slightly more... codified form of social interaction, at least for NPCs. In theory, PCs all have +[Motivations] , I presume NPCs could do so as well. When we lean on those personal memes, that might have more or less effectiveness perhaps? I know that Exalted Second Edition has a decently elegant setup revolving around leaning on (and creating) what they call Intimacies, which aren't too far off from Eclipse Phase's understanding of a Motivation, other than allowing you to have more than three and that they're often much more personal scale than for a typical EP character.

I was thinking closer to Ex3's social combat engine.

I would say you have motivations and motivational goals, then you have your supporting memes. Some of those memes are dominant memes, something your character directly identifies with in a very conscious active way. Then there would be latent memes, something the character is either developing into a dominant meme or something that's purely a subconscious influencer in their lives and they are broken up as such. Discovering subconscious memes are the hardest but if you can hit on them they grant the largest bonus and represent the most effective method of social subversion.

This system would leave room for Psi to open up the option for effective discovery of subconscious memes. Psychosurgery as well. Basilisk hacks work off essentially zero daying the mind on a subconscious level through hyper advanced memetic warfare.

I'd help write the system if the devs were interested.

~Alpha Fork Initialized.
P.S. I often post from my phone as I travel extensively for work. Please forgive typos and grammar issues.

Quincey Forder Quincey Forder's picture
Memes and motivations as 'Aspect'

The way I see it, memes and motivation could be created and used like Fate's aspect.
In EP2 term, I could see the use of the FLEX Pool to do that.

Spend a FLEX and add +10 to your SAV roll, or to create a positive or negative motivation in other PC or NPCs.
Mechanically, memes could be used to create and/or force use of existing motivations. like "+Make Jovian Republic Great Again". it'd be an opposed SAV versus INT

Q U I N C E Y ^_*_^ F O R D E R

Remember The Cant!

o11o1 o11o1's picture
Quincey Forder wrote:The way

Quincey Forder wrote:
The way I see it, memes and motivation could be created and used like Fate's aspect.
In EP2 term, I could see the use of the FLEX Pool to do that.

Spend a FLEX and add +10 to your SAV roll, or to create a positive or negative motivation in other PC or NPCs.
Mechanically, memes could be used to create and/or force use of existing motivations. like "+Make Jovian Republic Great Again". it'd be an opposed SAV versus INT

I'd say use Moxie for that instead of Flex. Also, your circle of friends and your Muse are probably behind the scenes helping you clear out any "hostile" memes that you might aquire, things like +[VenusCorp Consumer Products] generated by highly effective advertising campaigns.

So, aside from just having been given the adventure seed of a megacorp trying to dismantle a basilisk hack and turn it to "good" as an advertisment force, it does occur to me that we could easily find ourselves.... overlegislating the social influence rules. Of course, they only need to work from a "player-facing" perspective, but it could be neat to imagine NPCs using the same rules on each other.

A slight smell of ions....

Decivre Decivre's picture
I agree with above people

I agree with above people that this game's social mechanics are lacking. Not only are standard social mechanics the traditional "roll to convince/deceive they roll to see through it" fare, rules for memetics are completely nonexistent... a field coming into awareness only recently, it'll likely be a crucial element of society in 10 AF.

The shame is that it opens up so much. Memes can be plot hooks in how they can evolve, adapt or even be absorbed into new memes with new agendas and messages. Imagine if a player (perhaps even as a game joke) has their character make a meme mocking some politician contact they have, and that riles up an impeachment movement that was quietly stirring into action? Or they make some cute cartoon character and it oddly gains a fanbase among the Exhumans? There's a lot of potential if memetics were better covered in this edition.

Also, asyncs need meme powers. They can encrypt ideas and messages in memes already, it makes sense that they would be able to make strange, powerful and alien memes. That said, I'll discuss asyncs more once I know what an infection rating is, and see the sleights.

Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age.

Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.

Maudova Maudova's picture
Hammer meet Nail

You all are hitting the nail in the head here. A concrete social rules structure would allow for a more understandable rules base for psychosurgery, basilisk hacks, add breadth to the mechanical backing to a very prevalent theme of memetic warfare, as well as open up space for Asyncs to get into mental mayhem.

I can also see a space for memetic warfare based on mesh inserts. A sort of mesh to brain attack, not as complete or effective as a basilisk hack but still another way to influence the body/mind. I can imagine augmentations built in that could help as well, or possibly skill softs. Say a augmentation that releases pheromones combined with an augment that reads bio patterns to see which chemical queues influence someone, adding to Savy, Kinesics, Provoke, etc. lots of space for this ruleset.

~Alpha Fork Initialized.
P.S. I often post from my phone as I travel extensively for work. Please forgive typos and grammar issues.

Decivre Decivre's picture
When you think about it,

When you think about it, basilisk hacks are super-memes. They tap directly into the flaws in our brain to do the same thing that movie posters and porn ads are trying to do: reprogram us to their agendas. So the secondary bonus to creating this system is that we simultaneously create a deeper mechanic for basilisk hacks (and Apple of Knowledge hacks) to utilize.

Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age.

Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.

eaton eaton's picture
Quote:When you think about it

Quote:
When you think about it, basilisk hacks are super-memes. They tap directly into the flaws in our brain to do the same thing that movie posters and porn ads are trying to do: reprogram us to their agendas. So the secondary bonus to creating this system is that we simultaneously create a deeper mechanic for basilisk hacks (and Apple of Knowledge hacks) to utilize.

Mmmmmm. Basilisk hacks in generally really don't fit under the classic umbrella of memetics; memes are ideas/beliefs that propogate, while basilisk hacks as described in the book are more like neurological hacks that *can potentially have memes as a payload*. Many basilisk hacks just incapacitate.

If an explicit "social combat" system is built, I think great care would need to be taken to ensure it doesn't become the new complexity-sink of EP2. It should use existing mechanisms wherever possible, and avoid adding additional *required* steps to basic social interactions.

The easiest mechanisms I can already think of are Motivations and Interest: [Field] skills. Imagine this mechanism: Research, Rep-based social investigation, or persuade/provoke tests can be used to discover an existing interest or motivation for an NPC. Each interest field a player knows about an NPC can be used to give a +10 to one social test. Each motivation can be used to give a +20 to one social test,. Perhaps all of these bonuses would come with an "if you can figure out how to work it into the conversation with them" caveat?

Critical or significant failure on the initial attempts to discover interests or motivations tips off the NPC that you're trying to scout them out — subsequent social tests *by the player who failed the rolls* receive a –10 modifier. An Async slight along the lines of "suppress/impose motivation for 24 hours" could be used to temporarily tilt an NPC even if there's no time for research into their likes, dislikes, and hot buttons.

I think I like this approach because it's optional, and it's based on existing PC/NPC information. It would reward up-front investment in scoping out an NPC by granting up to +100 or so worth of bonuses to social rolls, distributed as the players see fit. It would make motivations and interests for NPCs more important, which tends to result in better-fleshed-out games. And finally, it would give the whole team a reason to get involved in the prep work for social encounters, asking around for information about NPCs, calling in favors to get dirt on them, etc — even if they aren't the high-SAV face character who'll do the actual talking.

Decivre Decivre's picture
eaton wrote:Mmmmmm. Basilisk

eaton wrote:
Mmmmmm. Basilisk hacks in generally really don't fit under the classic umbrella of memetics; memes are ideas/beliefs that propogate, while basilisk hacks as described in the book are more like neurological hacks that *can potentially have memes as a payload*. Many basilisk hacks just incapacitate.

Memes can propagate, but a meme is a meme regardless of whether it does, just as a gene is a gene regardless of reproduction. I agree that basilisk hacks are neurological hacks. But most memes utilize neurological hacks and psychological tricks... basilisk hacks are just more overt about it.

Besides, I think that propagating basilisk hacks should be a real threat. If some TITAN could create a video which reprograms anyone who looks at it, couldn't you theoretically send it over the mesh? What if it programmed you to?

eaton wrote:
If an explicit "social combat" system is built, I think great care would need to be taken to ensure it doesn't become the new complexity-sink of EP2. It should use existing mechanisms wherever possible, and avoid adding additional *required* steps to basic social interactions.

I'm torn about that. While I agree that additional complexity isn't necessarily good, I think it a shame that the largest submechanic is combat. Social interaction should be just as valuable, if not more so in a world where everyone is on edge.

If space warfare is so lethal, than diplomacy should be the primary form of ship-to-ship combat. That alone warrants it being covered more than it is.

Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age.

Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.

eaton eaton's picture
Quote:Memes can propagate,

Quote:
Memes can propagate, but a meme is a meme regardless of whether it does, just as a gene is a gene regardless of reproduction. I agree that basilisk hacks are neurological hacks. But most memes utilize neurological hacks and psychological tricks... basilisk hacks are just more overt about it.

I'm totally going to be that guy and fall back on the dictionary defintion of a meme: "an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation." AOK or YGBM hacks could be a serious propagation mechanism for dangerous memes, but carefully engineered memes are effective even without the hardcore neurological skeleton key of a basilisk hack.

So… I still think that memes and basilisk hacks have crossover but can't be considered the same thing. Basilisk hacks are a delivery mechanism, Memes are a particular kind of behavioral/cultural payload. But… it's also not the hill I'd die on, arguing-about-mechanics-wise.

Quote:
I'm torn about [avoiding new forms of complexity in social conflict]. While I agree that additional complexity isn't necessarily good, I think it a shame that the largest submechanic is combat. Social interaction should be just as valuable, if not more so in a world where everyone is on edge.

Well, we already have multiple types of drugs, gear, and morph implants that directly affect opposed social interactions with other characters.

The reason social stuff seems to fall down a bit (at least in games I've run) is that it's always basically a one-step or two-step process. You do your networking to find who you need to talk to (or just get introduced to them as part of a mission hook). Then your high-SAV, high-social-skill character talks to them and tries to get the right information or favor.

Adding "discovery of interests and motivations" as an optional additional step, with all players able to participate before the actual social encounter, builds teamwork and rewards crafty exploitation of resource networks. Figuring out when and how to use the earned bonuses (Boost a provoke action to seduce the hypercorp manager? Pile on bonuses for a single Persuade? Spread them out carefully over the course of multiple interactions?) adds a strategic layer to the social stuff that interacts well with Flex points, and their ability to tweak NPC interests.

Finally, it codifies the ebb and flow of what a lot of GMs I've talked to tend to do by gut feel already. "Paving the cowpaths" feels like a worthwhile approach.

Decivre Decivre's picture
eaton wrote:So… I still think

eaton wrote:
So… I still think that memes and basilisk hacks have crossover but can't be considered the same thing. Basilisk hacks are a delivery mechanism, Memes are a particular kind of behavioral/cultural payload. But… it's also not the hill I'd die on, arguing-about-mechanics-wise.

Of course they aren't the same thing, just as TITAN weaponry isn't the same as human weaponry. But TITAN weapons can be handled like human weapons in that they both do damage the same way and likely have similar game properties. Basilisk hacks work on mental properties that memes don't touch... but they could very easily be handled using extremely similar rules.

eaton wrote:
Well, we already have multiple types of drugs, gear, and morph implants that directly affect opposed social interactions with other characters.

There's little nuance beyond bonuses and penalties so far as social gear goes. Combat gear however provides the gamut from armor bonuses, skill modifiers, and even new options in combat (indirect fire).

I'd like to see endocrine control make you actually more resistant to social influence (maybe even providing an armor factor for stress). I'd like to see pheromone control open up options that might not be present otherwise (seducing someone who isn't attracted to you physically, for example). Hell, I might even like to see something strange (maybe a mental implant that can temporarily disable and hide motivations)

eaton wrote:
Finally, it codifies the ebb and flow of what a lot of GMs I've talked to tend to do by gut feel already. "Paving the cowpaths" feels like a worthwhile approach.

That's really what I want. For them to facilitate the sort of stuff that people are already trying with the setting already. Meme-makers and celebrities are a major part of the setting... they even have their own reputation network. There simply needs to be more in there for playing them.

Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age.

Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.

eaton eaton's picture
Quote:That's really what I

Quote:
That's really what I want. For them to facilitate the sort of stuff that people are already trying with the setting already. Meme-makers and celebrities are a major part of the setting... they even have their own reputation network. There simply needs to be more in there for playing them.

That's a good point — to a certain extent, though, that level of memetics and pop culture operates at a level similar to nation-state politics. Even when individual players or NPCs are involved in those broad efforts, aren't they more likely to be the backdrop for a campaign or mission than a mechanism used in a specific, individual social encounter?

Maybe I'm missing something — it feels like this memetics stuff might be a better fit for an add-on ruleset, like the "faction politics" rules that were posted last month in the homebrew section? Do you have some examples in mind that might help clarify?

Decivre Decivre's picture
eaton wrote:That's a good

eaton wrote:
That's a good point — to a certain extent, though, that level of memetics and pop culture operates at a level similar to nation-state politics. Even when individual players or NPCs are involved in those broad efforts, aren't they more likely to be the backdrop for a campaign or mission than a mechanism used in a specific, individual social encounter?

I disagree. Memetics should be useful in a lot of situations. For example, herding public crowds and shifting attention on a larger scale would be a great way to make blind spots. Furthermore, an exsurgent infection might be controlled better if the PCs could use memetics to socially-manipulate the uninfected and aid containment. Or coaxing a target out of hiding by organizing an event they can't miss.

eaton wrote:
Maybe I'm missing something — it feels like this memetics stuff might be a better fit for an add-on ruleset, like the "faction politics" rules that were posted last month in the homebrew section? Do you have some examples in mind that might help clarify?

The obvious example is the political game, but a great example from modern fiction for what I'm going for is the Mentalist. In the show, the main character regularly did unusual stunts that served largely as mental manipulations on the people that witnessed them. Anything from inviting the suspects to dinner so that he could imply that they were all poisoned the same way the victim was, or even clearing his name in a murder trial by convincing the jury that the guy he killed was the main villain and not one of his mooks.

Beyond that, you can watch the show The Americans for more of what I'm looking for. They mostly seduce, converse and manipulate their way to information and subterfuge on that show. But of course I want it to be more transhuman, involving implants and mental enhancements as much as social skills.

1st Edition's social mechanics were mostly a holdover from Shadowrun. They need to be more developed.

Now that we're talking about this, what about Neuro-Linguistic Programming?

Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age.

Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.

UnitOmega UnitOmega's picture
Honestly, I think a lot of

Honestly, I think a lot of discussion about 2E in general could be tacked onto "Optional Rules" for people trying to evoke very specific aspects of the setting or mechanics that do not necessarily need to be baked into the default game design.

In general, some more concrete examples of using social skills (which I believe is already to be discussed) and talk about how to use them should be fine to enable people to do more or keep doing what they're doing with Social skills. Like, having several years of experience with the system I'm kind of two minds about it. Going hard and fast on motivations and researching them as like a "rule" seems kind of unnecessary because to me that's just a natural part of NPC design - they all have motivations because otherwise why would they do anything and naturally if you roll skills to research people you should learn what they're like. It's a roleplaying exercise for PCs, but not necessarily required for an NPC to be put in hard mechanical terms. But further from that I don't necessarily like the idea of setting the expectation that there's a hard-coded motivation to be uncovered by a specific roll for every person. Motivations aren't quite aspects (though they can be similar) because in FATE if you point at a guy on the street and ask "what's his aspect", I can say he's a faceless extra and that totally works - but if point at that guy on the street and ask "what's his motivation" then I have to think of something besides "Uh, his motivation is currently that he wants you to stop pointing a finger at him?".

While at least in brief, the section on "modifiers" is much more abstract, I think EP might take some cues from some ORE systems with "weapon" bonuses here - in 1E there was definitely a "tool" or gear bonus, so I think that it should easily be explicitly phrased that researching a target, understanding their psychology or memetics or whatever and using that in a social situation is totally a "tool" bonus, a positive impact on the situation to a roll. I'm not sure if that bonus should be hardcoded to be like "Researching the target is like taking an aim action" because social scenes/encounters do not necessarily need rigid tactical planning and timing, but on the other hand the section on modifiers barely says anything about positive modifiers for social or mental type skills.

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