Playing Uplifts - Draft 1 - Playtest Q. Responses Only

9 posts / 0 new
Last post
RobBoyle RobBoyle's picture
Playing Uplifts - Draft 1 - Playtest Q. Responses Only

Rob Boyle :: Posthuman Studios

SummerHeart SummerHeart's picture
RobBoyle wrote:http:/


OH YES!

Q. 1 – How did you review the material in this draft?
Reading and a Critical Eye.

Q. 2 –What’s the most critical problem you’ve identified in these rules?
Nothing at first glance.

Q. 3 – What’s the best part of these rules?
COMBAT CAT MORPH! YES!
(I was talking about this the other day. :3 It even has the weapons mount! This thing eats Furies for lunch! O.O)
And Sociopathic Cats? I giggled. :3

I can't wait to see the New Uplift Species stuff.

Q. 4 – Do the traits provide enough options for playing different types of uplifts?
Everything looks great. Plenty of rules for various Uplift types and Morphs. Plenty of juicy bits and rules. It all amazing and I can't wait to see more. :D

Q. 5 -- Is there anything else you’d like to see in regards to uplifts in this book?
Wolves and Dogs really....Well Canines in General. >.<
Wolves are incredibly intelligent and very social animals capable of amazing amounts of empathy and already capable of teaching their young in a creative manner. Excellent hunters and very intelligent. We already know there are Smart Wolves thanks to Gatecrashers. It'd be a shame to not see them. >.>
<.<)

Dogs are just mans best friend and deserve a mention. They'd make excellent Uplifts given how loyal they are to humans. After 50,000 years of breeding it's their strongest trait. Their fascinating.

Other canines like Coyotes would be an interesting mention....Them things are...Clever in the extreme, highly adaptable, incredibly intelligent and so on....

atamajakki atamajakki's picture
Q. 1 – How did you review the

Q. 1 – How did you review the material in this draft?
Gave it a thorough read-through.

Q. 2 –What’s the most critical problem you’ve identified in these rules?
Does the +10 SOM for the Stalker include the Hardened Skeleton and Muscle Augmentation, or are those bonuses on top of that +10? I'd also suggest raising Predator to 15 or 20 CP. Killer Instinct would be fine for non-uplifts, in my eyes.

Q. 3 – What’s the best part of these rules?
I really like the concept of the Stalker morph!

Q. 4 – Do the traits provide enough options for playing different types of uplifts?
Agree strongly. These are a lot of fun, though I feel that some would be fine for everyone (Killer Instinct) or for AGIs.

Q. 5 -- Is there anything else you’d like to see in regards to uplifts in this book?
Uplifted Elephants! We know they exist, but were wiped out in the Fall; ten years is enough time to re-fund the project! I also think that bringing in uplifted felines is dangerous, as it opens to door to other animals that might not make sense (Canines).

LatwPIAT LatwPIAT's picture
Q. 1 – How did you review the

Q. 1 – How did you review the material in this draft?
Critical eye

Q. 2 –What’s the most critical problem you’ve identified in these rules?
In RPG jagon, there is a type of character known as the "murderhobo". The murderhobo is named thus because they're a character that solves all their problems with excessive and immediate violence, and they seem to exist as if newly thrust into the world; no family, friends, connections, care for the world they live in, or even a well-defined place of recidence (the homeless probably do care about the world they live in). And, in the grand scale of things, because these characters don't make for good group play (they tend to make any kind of social cohesion difficult, and lack roleplaying potential), they're not a thing a game should encourage. You can't make a bad roleplayer play better through rules, but you can at least not encourage them to play badly.

And some of these rules encourage characters to be murderhobos. This is non-ideal. Project Bast says that cat uplifts exist in the setting... but they're all sociopaths. This is an accurate representation of cats, I admit, but I'd warn heavily against even suggesting that a group of categorical sociopaths exist in the setting, because it encourages murderhobo tendencies.

Likewise, Killer Instinct encourages players to respond to any threat or attack with lethal violence, and even penalizes them if they don't. Even Predator gives players benefits for killing people, which if anything should be the other way around - players tend to kill at the drop of a hat; further encouragement is hardly necessary.

(Also, the Stalker is badly designed. A morph that needs to have all of its bioware custom-designed to work on a great cat body should not somehow end up build to be better than a Fury in every way. Seriously, this morph has more DUR than the Fury, better armour, comes with Adrenal Booster and Chameleon-skin, making it intrude on the Ghost and the Fury at the same time and lowering the barrier between the combat-focused Fury and the stealth-focused Ghost. Now you can just pick the Stalker and get both!)

Q. 3 – What’s the best part of these rules?
There's not really enough room for praise here; I found a lot of the material to be really good; the small briefs on how uplifts act, their position in society and culture, their relations with society and corporations, there are all good and really evocative.

If I had to chose one bit that I really loved, though, it would be the "Feral Uplifts" sidebar, because it's such a beautiful mix of plot-hook, setting, and something wonderous and science-fictional. It provides a backdrop on which a game can be run. It provides drama. It provides a dilemma. As a GM, I can present to my players a civilization that is so nascent they have to chose whether to let it develop naturally, or commit cultural genocide against it to stop its injustices. As a player, I can experience that dilemma, I can immerse myself in my character being faced with that dilemma, and I can let my character form an opinion and/or angst over that dilemma. It's an excellent piece of writing, and I love how it interacts with the setting.

Q. 4 – Do the traits provide enough options for playing different types of uplifts?
Largely, yes. They provide a good guideline for how uplifts act with regards to society.

Q. 5 -- Is there anything else you’d like to see in regards to uplifts in this book?
I would like to see a small brief on the standard social structure and life of several types of average uplift types. For example, what would life have been like for an unplifted octopus from a conservative octopode family on Atlantica? How does interacting with Pax Familia influence the life of the average Cerean octopus? Life in neo-homonid clades, neanderthal families, etc. Small sections on this would be interesting and provide a good baseline for playing uplift characters.

@-rep +2
C-rep +1

OneTrikPony OneTrikPony's picture
Is it april fools again? I'd rather have vampires.

I guess I just don't share the author's vision of what uplifts should be.
The reason for that is; after this proposal, the core book, and Panopticon I still can't figure out what the author's believe uplifts should be or what 'sapience' means. Most of my issues are not with the rules because there really aren't very many rules dedicated specifically to uplift play. Very few people that I've encountered see them as anything other than "furries" (in the most derogatory sense), that is the fault of the fluff text. The fluff text concerning the animal/transhuman nature of uplifts is both contradictory and bland.

Q. 1 – How did you review the material in this draft?
Critical reading.
Q. 2 –What’s the most critical problem you’ve identified in these rules?
A major premise of EP is the divisibility of ego and morph. While the rules set provides adequate support for playing, (for example), a character sleeved in an Octomorph, there is very scanty support for playing an Octopus Ego. This hand full of generic traits, (and one furry morph), do little to help and the supporting fluff and plethora of sidebars with no corroboration in the rules just makes things worse. (I'll get to specifics after I've answered the required questions.)

Is there an endemic problem you think is underlying this rules set?
Yes! All of the traits that might help alleviate the problem of "Dude in a animal costume" uplift characters are optional when they ought to be directly assigned to each specific species of uplift. If you're going to make traits that support role play as an uplift you shouldn't make the player buy them for the character.

Is this material too complicated for your liking?
No. It's overly simplistic and should either be fully developed or cut completely. As is, this is a lot of wasted column inches. (This reads like the development team isn't very interested or devoted to the concept of uplift. If that's the case then dump it. No one will miss this.)

Is there a specific rules item you think is egregiously broken and needs to be fixed?
the 4 hour time threshold on uplift psychosurgury options is too short. Should be at least days, probably weeks. I refer to the core book pages; 231-232. (Unless you're changing the timeframes for all psycho surgury in Transhuman, Which I advise against.)

Is there anything that you simply think *must* be changed?
Dump all of the Bast, Bastet, and the Stalker morph from Transhuman. Please. Really, PLEASE DON'T DO THIS. Uplifts are watered down enough as it is.

Further; if you insist on inflicting a cat furry on the fandom then you can't write; "Thumb articulation on the forepaws allows for a slightly clumsy grip" in the fluff and then fail to make it a disadvantage in the stats.

Also concerning the Stalker; "addition of transgenic vocal structures allow for grumbling speech, but those are the only nods towards any type of socialization." Where is the matching disadvantage in the stats? Impaired Linguistics is on page 147 of Panopticon.

Finally; The Stalker is a *POD MORPH* why is it even in the uplift section? Put it with the rest of the kooky new morphs. I'd "enjoy" having to rule Zero this just as much the Bastet or Samsa or the Grey or vampires.

Q. 3 – What’s the best part of these rules?
Is there anything that you absolutely loved?
"Uplifts, by their very being, pull out sharp contrasts between other transhumans’ viewpoints and ideologies, and can reflect and comment on them from truly different perspectives to give insight and criticism. Those uplifts that choose to build their own social models and create culture immediately position themselves among the most daring thinkers and philosophers that transhumanity has ever boasted."

^_^ THIS!
The ONLY reason to pursue uplift other than the edification of neuroscientists. The text goes on in "Through Wild Eyes" to briefly explain that "some areas of their mental architecture were left alone during the uplift process" (I suppose this could cover the fact that MOST of an octopus' brain is in its LEGS.) The fluff goes on to briefly expound on some of the more puerile effects of these "truly different perspectives". Please develop this further for each species and support it with rules (I'll propose a method after I've answered the required Questions.)

Something that you sincerely think *must* make it into the final version?
The trait's and "building better Beasts" sidebar are a fair start to supporting uplift play. However I don't think any of this should be included in the final version without further development.

Feral Uplifts: I'm torn about the sentiment expressed in this sidebar but it does state some facts that are generally true re; gender discrimination, sexual violence, individual rights. The discussion completely ignores a HUGE part of Darwinian social organization which is the dominance game that is so important and prevalent in all social species. This should be included to keep players in mind of the bestial nature of uplift character's in general, even if the author's standpoint is that these traits are incompatible with sapience.
Basically, I feel that these feral tendencies, in part or in whole, should be part of the pathos of any uplift character.

Q. 4 – Do the traits provide enough options for playing different types of uplifts?
No.
Were there any traits you thought were superfluous?
Not superfluous but completely wrong and fairly offensive in the case of the Predator and Killer instinct traits.
Predation is not about killing its about Hunting and Eating. There's nothing in nature or science indicating that animals receive any satisfaction from killing but it's pretty obvious that they can enjoy hunting and playing with their prey and, especially, eating. Killing, as a goal, is a very human thing to do. These two traits just water down the concept of uplift as animal even more. They are ill conceived, urbanized, ideas of animal behavior.

Any uplift aspects you thought weren’t represented?
TONS. Here are some outlines of examples.

Non mamalian Chemistry: (Negative Morph Trait) Medicine [field] tests made on a morph with non mammalian chemistry suffer a negative modifier (octopi, crabs, can't take a blood transfusions or aspirin, for example.) Some compounds common in human habitats are poisonous (chocolate and dogs for example).

Micro gravity impairment: (negative trait) Quadrupeds and any morph that lacks at least two highly flexible grasping limbs has a major impairment when trying to maneuver in microgravity including; launching, alighting, mid flight reorientation, rebounding, and maintaining a perch.

Impaired Proprioception: (Negative Trait) Many multi-limbed morphs, including cephalopods, do not have the neural structure and somatic processing capacity sufficient for the brain to determine the position of the body and all arms simultaneously. The only way an octopus or squid knows how it's arms are moving is by watching them. Thus these characters are limited to 1 level of the ambidexterity trait.

Pack/Herd Socialization: (negative Trait) Many animals; Primates Cetations, benefit from a well established social structure and knowing their place in that structure. Uplifts of these species have a difficult time socializing or participating cooperatively with groups that have highly flexible or lack centralized leadership or those groups where leadership is based on alien (to the uplift's species) concepts of merit or dominance.

Dominance Urge: (negative trait) Achieving recognized social status is a primary urge of the character. Unfortunately they are neurologically wired to achieve status by means of dominance and aggression. While intimidation and coercion can be effective at getting the character to the top of the heap there is often social blowback that damages the character's rep in the broader transhuman networks. The character must spend triple Rez to increase his rep on the @, E, F, & R networks and gains the Enemy trait at no bonus.

Empathy Disconnect: (Negative trait) Some uplifts cannot identify with the condition of other transhumans. The uplift does not understand strong emotions in other people and suffers a negative modifier to Kinesics, Persuasion, and Protocol tests. However the character is hardened to viewing extreme violence and torture and does not take stress from those situations.

Isolationist: (negative trait) The uplift character comes from a solitary species. They need both physical and emotional solitude and can tolerate only a few hours of personal interaction each day. After this time they cannot participate or benefit from teamwork tests and make all social tests including networking at a negative penalty. At a higher cost the uplift may be required to make composure checks to avoid becoming violent when forced to interact for extended periods, however, they do not suffer stress from periods of extended isolation.

Mating Urge: Negative trait, morph or ego) the uplifts chemistry and basic neurology drive the character to procreate at regular intervals. The uplift will experience the effects of a minor addiction while they seek and court an appropriate mate. At the lower cost the penalties will be removed once copulation with the selected mate has been completed. At a higher cost the penalty may not be removed until insemination has been achieved.

Barks at Vacuums: (negative trait) Aside from the general sociopathic tendencies of any feline based uplift and the microgravity shedding of all attempted canine lines, the most intractable problem with these base species is the incurable intolerance for suction based cleaning devices and drones. Upon encountering any vacuum type cleaning apparatus all canine based anthromorphs will repeatedly shout a loud warning and posture threateningly near the device until it ceases operation, (after which time they will ignore it and look sheepish.) All feline based anthromorphs will startle and race immediately to hide under or inside of the nearest sleeping compartment. There is no test that may enable the character to resist this behavior.

Natural Mimic: (positive Trait) The uplift comes from a species that has the natural neurology to mimic physical objects or sounds. They receive a bonus on tests to impersonate a voice or reproduce a sound. Or they may get a bonus to disguise or stealth checks when trying to blend into an environment.

Q. 5 -- Is there anything else you’d like to see in regards to uplifts in this book?
We still have some room. Tell us what you’d like us to add.

Instead of optional traits and motivations that may be taken to define the Ego of each uplift species I'd like to see species specific uplift backgrounds. These Backgrounds would help to define those 'stereotypes' that have been hinted at but never fully stated and allow the player to play for or against them at their whim. It shouldn't be too hard to think of a balanced positive and negative trait, and a set of skill modifications to give each species background that would set them apart from general transhumans and other uplifts.

A final word.
I believe the designers have stated that uplifts are not and should not be equivalent to furries or "Dude in a animal suit". If that is accurate then a lot of work needs to be done to define uplifts as uplifts and not furies. Too much of this document, Especially the use of american idioms in quotations of a cetacean and the inclusion of a cat *pod morph* with a weapon mounted on it's back is just cartoonish. (Seriously WTF!?)

I like cartoons; Brave Star, Thunder Cats, Heman, anything hanabarbara did with lasers or swords and anthropomorphic animals is entertainment gold for me. I don't have a problem with furries. But I can get cartoonish bullshit pseudo science in Lots of other games that do it better and make it more fun than Eclipse Phase will. So please tighten this up thematically and make uplifts be sapient animals.

I'm sorry if my words seem overly harsh. I love you guys for the work that you do, I just don't think this is up to the Standards of EP.

Mea Culpa: My mode of speech can make others feel uninvited to argue or participate. This is the EXACT opposite of what I intend when I post.

CodeBreaker CodeBreaker's picture
Q. 1 – How did you review the

Q. 1 – How did you review the material in this draft?
Critical read. Most of it is fluffy stuff, not much room for number crunching.

Q. 2 –What’s the most critical problem you’ve identified in these rules?
The Stalker morph. Don't get me wrong, I like the morph itself. But I don't think that it fits in with a section about playing as an uplift. It has no real use as your everyday uplift. It isn't even really an uplift morph. I would prefer that the word count was put towards more useful material for standard uplifts. New traits, new gear, more fluff. Not more specialised morphs in a chapter about the a broad subject.

Q. 3 – What’s the best part of these rules?
The fluff is fantastic. Really good. It isn't great for people who have spent three years sitting on these forums talking about these things, but it is for people who haven't. It has plenty of good hooks for uplift players, and it gives me ideas for adventures to run.

I also quite like the Uplift Psychosurgery trait, but I think it needs to be renamed. The name as it is suggests that it is about performing psychosurgery on uplifts, when it really isn't. The mechanics seem solid. I haven't run the numbers, but given the low WIL values of animals combined with the inability to perform stress relief on them, I could see how they might work. Seems that you are more likely to drive your critter crazy before you get it close to uplift status, which is good.

Q. 4 – Do the traits provide enough options for playing different types of uplifts?
Honestly, not really. I am of the mind that traits are what make characters different. Uplifts are already extremely different as is. I would love to have more specific traits that I can latch onto for specific uplift species that make them seem less like just a morph difference. The ones we have are a good start. I would like more of them.

Q. 5 -- Is there anything else you’d like to see in regards to uplifts in this book?
Specific backgrounds would be nice. Suggested skills, suggested occupations. What species go well with what traits. More advise for actually playing an uplift, rather than just kind-of-in-character what uplifts are like.

-

The Doctor The Doctor's picture
I have nothing to add here,

I have nothing to add here, save pay attention to this. Dead. On.



DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
I've been meaning to resume

I've been meaning to resume my participation in these play tests, but... I've been distracted. I hope to catch up quickly.

Q. 1 – How did you review the material in this draft?

Critical Eye.

Q. 2 –What’s the most critical problem you’ve identified in these rules?

Hmm...

Uplift Psychosurgery - I think this should be possible, but I see a few problems. First, where does the line between normal animals and smart animals lie? Where does that line lie with smart animals and full sapients? I consider this relevant because you can raise aptitudes through this psychosurgery on animals, but not uplifts and transhumans. Second, it seems that this psychosurgery has no costs to the creature. It would appear as though that someone could seek to raise aptitudes like COG until the maximum possible value. Third, no mention is given as to how the animal might handle the changes, like SV or Rez.

Botched Uplift (ego) - I don't like the idea that an uplifting process resulted in a permanently damaged ego. I think that all ego problems should be fixable with psychosurgery (in theory, in practice the tech probably isn't there yet). It might require time, and quite a bit of know how, and advanced technology (perhaps more advanced than what exists right now). Mind you, if it were easy to fix this problem, it would have been fixed already.

I'm thinking that maybe this trait could be fixed but at a -60 mod and would likely require plenty of time and resources to do so. The character edited would need to pay the Rez costs to fix such problems.

Enforced Loyalty - I don't think it is appropriate for a negative trait to give additional motivations. I think that is a positive trait thing since motivations are a means a character can use to gain moxie and rez.

Killer Instinct - Perhaps this trait could allow the character to override the compulsion to kill (just the act, not the foul mood for failing to kill) if it spends a point of moxie. Once spent, it can simply walk away without killing something. Moxie after all, is supposed to represent that instinct to keep going, survive, and succeed. It think it might be appropriate if it is also able to momentarily override one's baser instincts.

Q. 3 – What’s the best part of these rules?

I think it should be possible to uplift animal egos through psychosurgery instead of relying on genehacking a creature together that just so happens to grow up to become a sapient creature. In fact, I think that psychosurgery should be capable of doing more than that. Some of the new rules support this opinion of mine, but I think that the rules could still use some more work. I would favor rules that could improve all aptitudes, bestow new traits (good or bad), etc. Not just for uplifting, but for all egos. Have the rules be placed somewhere else, expanded upon so its just not uplift stuff, have an option to uplift animals (and mention relevant factors), and then have the uplift psychosurgery trait be modified so it references those rules (instead of the expanded rules be solely a part of the trait).

I also suggest the name be changed. Perhaps to something like "animal uplifting psychosurgery professional" or "animal uplifting psychosurgery training"...

Q. 4 – Do the traits provide enough options for playing different types of uplifts?

I'll think about it.

I don't usually care about playing uplifts though, so it doesn't really matter to me much.

Q. 5 -- Is there anything else you’d like to see in regards to uplifts in this book?

I'll think about it.

I've already mentioned that I want expanded rules for psychosurgery to improve aptitudes and add or remove traits. The rules for uplifting animals should be a subset of the larger set of rules I'm looking for...

Starkiller Starkiller's picture
response

Q. 1 – How did you review the material in this draft?
Critical eye, some playtesting.

Q. 2 –What’s the most critical problem you’ve identified in these rules?
Maybe CP value of Killer Instinct seems too low, Stalker shouldn't be a biomorph or have a biomorph variant?.

Q. 3 – What’s the best part of these rules?
Ferals, cat uplifts (i really like the idea of sociopathic cats), Stalker morph.

Q. 4 – Do the traits provide enough options for playing different types of uplifts?
Yes everything is fantastic.

Q. 5 -- Is there anything else you’d like to see in regards to uplifts in this book?
More on cat uplifts and the impact they will have on the setting(Firewall will recruit them?).