Making Characters - Open Discussion (Round Two)

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Lurkingdaemon Lurkingdaemon's picture
There's probably plenty of

There's probably plenty of real-world anecdotes about people getting jobs they are manifestly not trained for/able to do. I doubt such anecdotes would have gone extinct with the fall of earth.

Remember though: the compliment bonus for Knowledge skills isn't tied to a specific active.

An Ego Hunter could leverage their profession on mesh searches (Research) just the same as they could leverage it when cutting out a targets stack (Medicine).

This is getting away from the main discussion though.

swordchucks swordchucks's picture
Art and Knowledge

I feel like you're really putting art up on a pedestal as a skill and kind of missing the point. The Active and Knowledge divide is an artificial one meant to draw a line between "things characters use a lot" and "things that make characters fleshed out people". I can't see how Art stacks up against almost any of the other active skills as a central action characters are going to do.

Really, the one thing this conversation makes me want to do is fold Hardware and Medicine into "Know" and rename "Know" as "Background". Or create a single set of active skills ("Repair" and "Care" or something) to eat the field skills and then put the fields into Backgrounds (because, fundamentally, delivering medical assistance to a dog and a human are the same, except for the specific knowledge involved, as is fixing a circuit board that runs the same systems on a spaceship or a habitat).

Lurkingdaemon Lurkingdaemon's picture
Art and Knowledge

I may be biased towards art, I myself draw as a hobby, and have been for a long time. Anyone I ask the community around me professes some inability to draw, or having very poor skill at it because they haven't practiced at for as long as I have. I have personally found it easier to learn about a new subject, or read up on some topic of interest, than it has been to evolve my drawing style over the years.

Even trying to get away from that bias, Art as a skill is, at it's simplest, the act of taking raw products and creating something new. This folds neatly into the crafting/creation skill fields - like Hardware. Even the act of altering something folds cleanly both into Hardware (for objects/synths) or Medicine (for biological creatures/morphs).

Taken in that context, I find it extremely questionable as to why it's necessary to revert art back to a knowledge skill. This flies both in the face of it's apparent mechanical usage, and the in-universe lore about art being this rare and treasured cultural thing - that EVERY character in 1st Edition apparently had - thus completely negating it's rarity and any cultural implications behind it.

swordchucks swordchucks's picture
Investment

I still feel like you're vastly underestimating the amount of effort that goes into Academics. It's not just data, but rather the knowledge and tools to interpret that data and to know what tools to use at the right times in the right ways to get the right answers.

For instance, take Engineering. I spent a vast amount of time getting an engineering education in school, and it was really all Academics: Engineering. Hardware is a different skillset that most engineers learn on-the-job later on or through specialized Engineering Technology trade programs. Chemistry is similar. A rote knowledge of compounds and interactions is part of the education, but what being a world-class chemist requires is far beyond that. It requires intuitive understanding of the mechanics behind things and using that understanding to draw conclusions and insights.

Art... is remarkably similar to higher order academics, at a fundamental level.

o11o1 o11o1's picture
Of course, thought has to be

Of course, thought has to be given not only to difficulty in learning the various subtypes, but in how useful they actually are at the game table in play.

They do have a real cost in character build points, and there's a whole Career of the Academic. His extrem focus on Know skills means that it'll really suck if he turns into a trap option that can't get some useful stuff from knowing as many subjects as they will.

A slight smell of ions....

ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
This discussion is wierding me out.

This discussion is really wierding me out.

I'd tend towards making Art a Know style skill, simply because some elements of it cross multiple active skill types; I could see it applying to Hardware rolls, social skills for non verbal communication, interpreting the affect of Habitat architecture on the inhabitants' psyches, that sort of thing.
That said, I can definitely see many knowledge skills applying to Art - I just think it's more likely to see play if it's something that can be drawn on in multiple circumstances.

If it does stay Active, I'd turn it into a Hardware field, because in my head that's the Skill that covers item creation.

-----

Regarding the PDF, can we get a note in the Synthmorph summary paragraph that they possess Shell traits, with a 'See page XX' targeting the appropriate section?

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?

swordchucks swordchucks's picture
ThatWhichNeverWas wrote:That

ThatWhichNeverWas wrote:
That said, I can definitely see many knowledge skills applying to Art - I just think it's more likely to see play if it's something that can be drawn on in multiple circumstances.

I'm really starting to like the idea of replacing Hardware and Medicine with Build/Repair and Design as active skills (without fields or with Organic/Inorganic as the fields) and then pushing everything else, from types of hardware or medicine, to Know skills. The main difference between a SpaceVet and a SpaceDoc is just the education aspect. The tools are largely the same.

This would definitely make Art an exercise in Build/Repair and Design with the Art skill being the complementary skill.

o11o1 o11o1's picture
swordchucks wrote

swordchucks wrote:
ThatWhichNeverWas wrote:
That said, I can definitely see many knowledge skills applying to Art - I just think it's more likely to see play if it's something that can be drawn on in multiple circumstances.

I'm really starting to like the idea of replacing Hardware and Medicine with Build/Repair and Design as active skills (without fields or with Organic/Inorganic as the fields) and then pushing everything else, from types of hardware or medicine, to Know skills. The main difference between a SpaceVet and a SpaceDoc is just the education aspect. The tools are largely the same.

This would definitely make Art an exercise in Build/Repair and Design with the Art skill being the complementary skill.

While interesting if one were making a game from first principles, this feels.... distant from the game as it currently is. Not saying that it's a bad thing, but it feels like a big change in how skills would be wired.

A slight smell of ions....

Lurkingdaemon Lurkingdaemon's picture
Traits and other stuff

One question that struck me: do the +Aptitude check traits stack?

EDIT: Had a thought that struck me with the MP/Availability revisions - people being what they are, and the in-universe risk of being swindled, or having to settle for second/third picks due to availability issues, could there be some kind of bonus to Morph Availability if a player picks a morph with some negative traits? I.e. A player wants a certain morph with a local Availability of 50, but they only need it for a very short time. So they look for a version with a bunch of negative traits, and instead of reducing the MP cost of the morph (or in addition to reducing it) they get a version of their chosen morph loaded down with some 'unwanted extras' that works for the task at hand - with a boosted availability due to the negative traits taken.

Something like: Reduce MP cost of the morph by the negative trait score And/Or improve morph Availability by +5 per negative trait MP

Chernoborg Chernoborg's picture
A few tidbits

Quick editorial note : page 19 under the Ruster morph "dioxide" is misspelled.

Other thoughts:
I'm kind of surprised the neo-avians are 0 MP !

Awww,no neo-cetaceans? C'mon, just one dolphin!

Resources strikes me as kind of an environmental or habitat trait. Like you can use your various Rep scores to access up to the Resource level available. No getting nukes from a Brinker shack!

Current Status: Highly Distracted building Gatecrashing systems in Universe Sandbox!

Eciraf Eciraf's picture
Artist characters

To dig out old topics, I noted a few things that were said while debating about the Art skill's importance.

To me, Art skills were a good solution to make my players spend all these Knowledge points in 1Ed, because coming up with good suggestions was fairly hard, and players didn't need a ton of Language skills either.
Surely 2Ed will see far less artist characters since there are only two packages that provide an Art skill, regardless of being a Know skill or not. For all chargen where there's no time to make fine adjustments or simply no will to do so (streamlined chargen, remember?), I think the question will only be "will I do a bard character by taking one of these background-associated packages? »

Now, I was wondering about the artistic percentage in the population. I always told my players that there were high-end specialized AI and just too much indentures to get the job done cheaper and faster and that freelancers or normal employees would have a hard time finding work.
As a result, this would make Art the only field to which free transhumans could really bring a betterment, particularly for purists. I mean, obviously artist indentures are a thing, but it can't be done on an industrial scale like the mining job, so there's room for freelancer artists.

Now, about the difficulty-to-become-an-artist point.

Lurkingdaemon wrote:
Urthdigger wrote:
A few counterpoints. First, this is a world with time-accelerated simulspace and the ability to immediately look up anything you want. It's logical to assume that people in general learn far more things than the average person today.

Certainly those technologies exist, and probably are used for the purpose suggested, but to use a (admittedly extreme) example from in-universe: the failures of Project Futura and the 'Lost' generation show that time-accelerated simulspace is perhaps not the magic resolution for long term learning.

Unless I am mistaken, the Futura Project’s failure is due to the use of TITAN’s technology. A mere time-acceleration can’t make an async on its own. In my opinion, this failure is only plot tool to discourage the generalization of this practice, on both player and in-universe scales.

Lurkingdaemon wrote:
I may be biased towards art, I myself draw as a hobby, and have been for a long time. Anyone I ask the community around me professes some inability to draw, or having very poor skill at it because they haven't practiced at for as long as I have. I have personally found it easier to learn about a new subject, or read up on some topic of interest, than it has been to evolve my drawing style over the years.

Now, imagine a world where an AI is able to indicate that you have to turn left with a tingling on your left hand. Why couldn’t it use AR to let you feel and show you through your very eyes how you are supposed to move your hand to draw? The vast majority of the population is now part of the clanking masses – meaning they have a puppet sock. Then how about an AI that would take control over your body to correct your movements and have you avoid making any mistakes while playing the guitar for example? More than that, XP are a thing, aren’t they? Maybe major artist XP cost a morph, but buying an able artist an XP where he performs to actually feel how to play should be largely available. Therefore muscle memory is no longer a problem.

Add the fact that paper has been replaced by a virtual interface or that nanoswarms can easily undo your mistakes so you can correct them turning the risk-taking aspect of adding a stroke to your painting to past - and no, in my opinion, Art is no longer a problem in matter of technique itself.

So, what’s left to Art? Expression, feelings. Since the majority of the artists would learn from the same few Skills sources, the challenge would be to be able to uniquely tweak what everybody else is able to do, and use their own feelings as an addition to the process as well. And unless your empathy is very weak, you should be able to do so, given that feelings can come with XP too, so you even already know how it feels to be inspired.
On the other hand, an academic knowledge of the diverse artistic movements would also provide with useful practices and starting points in order to acheive one's own Art, making this knowledge as important as practice (or more?) when it comes down to innovation.

However all this is nothing but my personal opinion and I would love to hear about yours and the creators' points of view.

I'm new to this forum! Please excuse my english, not a native speaker here.

Proxy Bastion Proxy Bastion's picture
Skill Suggestions

Eclipse Phase was originally designed as a classless character system. Archetypes arise from the combination of the aptitudes, skills, traits, and backgrounds of the characters. Many of the players at my tables love EP for its diversity and deep ability to customize their character. I know that it will be important to the game's future to retain those aspects. A consolidation of skills will be helpful, but as they are a central mechanic to the game they need to be diverse.

1) Consider splitting Guns into three skills: Short-arms, long-arms, exotic. The reason being that the type of training for short-arms and long-arms are distinct enough to warrant a separation. This also differentiates two different kinds of characters, one that favors a concealable short range weapon, and one that favors heavy firepower. Exotic can hold the rest.

2) For aesthetic reasons please consider the following Deceive > Duplicity. There are already posts with concerns about using verb forms. There is little reason to change old skill names. We know what they are and what they do.

3) The Exotic skill isn't needed. In an actual game I would likely resort to calling for aptitude x3 tests instead of having a catch all for so many skills.

4) Awareness can be split into two skills of Perception and Inspection. They are related but create two very different characters. A perceptive character is aware of broader picture but an inspective character looks at details. Inspection can combine the investigation and scrounging skills from 1st edition.

Reshy Reshy's picture
I want the Ultimates back

RobBoyle wrote:
Ultimates have indeed been dropped as a PC faction. As you noted, we pushed them more in the fascist/x-threat direction, and we don't want to be encouraging people to play fascists.

I really don't like this direction at all. Turning an entire faction into a "fascism" caricature seems far too political for me, and honestly is rather off putting. Not to mention that there's three factions of Ultimate, and at the very least Iconics seem rather decent and certainly playable. Lumping them all in together is a massive simplifying of the complex setting that Eclipse Phase is supposed to be, and I hope this will be reconsidered.

I mean, if you want to boil it down, the Jovian Republic is just as facist if not more so. So why do they get to slide despite being quite possibly worse than the ultimates? Comes across to me as being too political and hypocritical.

The only reason I can see for this is that the ultimates like to engage in radical self-improvement, which in a game about transhumanity and extensive body modification with advanced technology it seems out of place for this to be portrayed as bad. This is especially jarring when an equally 'bad' faction like the Jovians get a free pass because they're Luddites... presumably. I just don't get it. It feels really out of place and very double-standardry.

I'd really like a better explanation for this decision other than "FASCISTS ARE BAD."

Voormas Voormas's picture
Just because they don't

Just because they don't encourage people to play a faction that is predominantly fascist doesn't mean you can't play one. I think it's a good move to push the setting of eclipse phase along a bit, the Ultimates beginning to consolidate / their aspirations becoming clearer to the rest of Transhumanity.

I note that with character creation your Trauma Threshold no longer explicitly says to round up; I'm guessing that the overall rule of round normally (from the Game Mechanics preview) would instead apply - it's a change I can live with (I will miss the "cheap" bumps ;) but was wondering if there was a playtesting reason for the change, or just a editorial desire for simplicity?

Gear packages all look really good; I really like that Firewall teams now explicitly get a TacNet as part of their standard gear, and I love that starting gear explicitly includes the blueprints.

Reshy Reshy's picture
Injecting politics into EP is a bad idea

Voormas wrote:
Just because they don't encourage people to play a faction that is predominantly fascist doesn't mean you can't play one. I think it's a good move to push the setting of eclipse phase along a bit, the Ultimates beginning to consolidate / their aspirations becoming clearer to the rest of Transhumanity.

As is, they've cut out their background from character creation. I'd say that's pretty much "you can't play one". I don't think that turning the Ultimates into just "Space Facists" is an organic growth of their society. I'd expect a faction that is really three factions to, at the very least, fracture over ideological conflicts. The ultimates aren't a hive mind, they don't all think exactly the same. Just turning them into Bad Guys™ I don't think benefits the setting at all. Jovians are still in as a playable faction, but the Ultimates are out, despite both being fairly 'facist'. The only real difference is that Jovians are bioconservatives and Ultimates eagerly embrace augmentations. Saying that one is considered to be a 'good guy' faction and the other isn't kind of ruins the premise of the setting a bit when it's supposed to be exploring transhumanism.

All in all I don't think that forcing politics into Eclipse Phase is really a good idea. But hey, while we're at it, let's also take out Anarchists, Criminals, Hypercorps, Jovians, and Scum, as those are all offensive to someone somehow. I mean why would you want to encourage players to be Anarchists and Criminals? It's the same logic with them as it is with the Ultimates, if the developers allow you to play them then they're encouraging people to be criminals and/or anarchists. Let people come to their own conclusions about the setting and the factions within it, don't cut out factions or boil them down into paper-thin caricatures for facism. (Not to mention the implicit value statement that it's worse to be an Ultimate than it is to be a Criminal or an Anarchist)

Honestly, if anything I'd have dropped Eugenics from Ultimates as it has basically no relevance and is based on bad science. Instead replace with "Directed Evolution" which is more along the lines of what the Ultimates want to achieve. Rather than using the form of Eugenics most people think of when they hear the word, Nazis.

o11o1 o11o1's picture
Are any of the existing backgrounds good for an Ultimate?

Are any of the existing backgrounds good for an Ultimate? It seems to me that with the "faction pick" it doesn't have a whole lot of rules that would need to be changed to rig up a proper Ultimate faction member.

A slight smell of ions....

Proxy Bastion Proxy Bastion's picture
Profession vs. Exotic

As I've read so far the Exotic skill is supposed to be a grab bag of skills too esoteric to have a skill of their own. Based on what I've read here so far it might make more sense to merge the Profession and Exotic skills together and call it Profession. Profession then becomes the active grab bag skill but with roots in the character's past.

clubspecialbee clubspecialbee's picture
Arachnoid typo/error?

Not trying to nitpick but read I this and it's been bugging me (pun not intended) for days:

"Arachnoid shells mimic the shapes of spiders, termites, and similar arachnids."

Termites aren't arachnids! So this sentence doesn't technically make sense. Or, mites are arachnids so maybe this is actually a typo?

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