Eclipse Phase 2 Rules Discussion

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chaos_forge chaos_forge's picture
Re: Designing custom morphs and ALI's

I can't speak for DivineWrath, but as for myself:

For designing custom morphs, I'm more concerned with the GM side of things than the player side of things. I agree that the players should generally leave it to body banks to design & construct morphs. But if I as a GM want to make a custom exotic morph for my players (or convert a 1e morph to 2e), or help a player order a custom morph, how do I figure out what MP cost to assign it? I'm sure there exists a set of rules (or at least guidelines) that Posthuman used when designing morphs, and it'd be nice to have them published. Even if they're not in the core rulebook, they could be in another book. Maybe in the 2e version of the Morph Recognition Guide?

With ALI's it's the other way around though. Assigning a CP cost to ALI's seems rather straightforward: it's either Mod/2 if it's designed for everyday use, or Maj/R/3 if it's designed for combat, hacking, or other potentially illegal activities. But if I'm a programmer and I want to modify an ALI, how long does that take? And how hard is it? How easy is it to get ALI's that are different from the sample ones provided in the core rulebook? I imagine people could have plenty of reasons to want to have a modified muse: if I already have Hardware: Electronics, I might want my muse to have a different skill instead (since muses can't interact with the physical world, the only use of that skill is guiding users through repairs), or if I'm a secret agent, soldier, or otherwise paranoid about getting hacked, I might prefer my muse to have infosec at 60 instead of interface. And so on.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
I want to design a new morph

I want to design a new morph so it has the right number of MP for its design. I'm looking for rules like the morph creation rules on p. 221 in Transhuman (now outdated).

Its good to know that there are rules for making morphs instead of relying on availability. I haven't got that far into the book yet.

Its unfortunate that they don't mention how to create or upgrade your own ALIs. I would like to upgrade my muses's active skills from 30 to 40, and know skills all the way to 80. Maybe add another skill or two. A muse currently have 7 active and 3 know skills.

chaos_forge chaos_forge's picture
DivineWrath wrote:I want to

DivineWrath wrote:
I want to design a new morph so it has the right number of MP for its design. I'm looking for rules like the morph creation rules on p. 221 in Transhuman (now outdated).

This isn't official, but I just discovered that the folks over in this thread seem to have successfully reverse-engineered the rules Posthuman used for morph creation.

Still holding out for an official version of the morph creation rules, though.

eaton eaton's picture
Quote:The rules for sniffing

Quote:
The rules for sniffing (page 245) say that eavesdropping on a connection is a hacking test, but what is the firewall of a connection? Do you just use the firewall of the device who's connections you're sniffing?

From the context (and the way network traffic hijacking works IRL) sniffing is a matter of intercepting open-air traffic on the mesh, so there's no actual defender whose firewall value would apply. Thus, simple test instead of opposed test.

chaos_forge chaos_forge's picture
eaton wrote:From the context

eaton wrote:
From the context (and the way network traffic hijacking works IRL) sniffing is a matter of intercepting open-air traffic on the mesh, so there's no actual defender whose firewall value would apply. Thus, simple test instead of opposed test.

That's what I would assume, except hacking tests are explicitly defined as a type of opposed test. From page 258:

"HACKING TESTS
Almost all intrusion and subversion efforts rely on Hacking Tests.
This opposed test pits the hacker’s Infosec skill against the target’s
Firewall Rating ▶ 260 — or the defender’s Infosec skill if the system
is actively defended ▶ 260. If the hacker wins, they pull off their
intended action, otherwise their action fails."

If it was a simple test it would be an Infosec test, not a hacking test, no? Plus, the Firewall value represents passive security, so you could justify it as more secure systems sending more heavily encrypted messages.

eaton eaton's picture
Quote:If it was a simple test

Quote:
If it was a simple test it would be an Infosec test, not a hacking test, no? Plus, the Firewall value represents passive security, so you could justify it as more secure systems sending more heavily encrypted messages.

So, after re-reading the section on Sniffing more carefully, you're right — and it hinges on the use of "Hacking Test" in the description of Sniffing rather than "Infosec Test". Which, I think, leads to a fundamental question: why does "sniffing" exists as an explicit action, rather than something the happens thematically in the context of a stealthy hacking attempt?

The first paragraph (on page 245) describes Sniffing as it works today — you get on the same network as the devices whose traffic you want to monitor, and you passively listen to the packets they fire back and forth to each other. From the perspective of network topology, you're a perfectly good citizen because you're either relaying packets without modifying them — or just listening in as they shout data at each other without participating in the conversation at all.

VPNs make that difficult with more complex encryption mechanisms applied to all traffic between two devices, and (often) the use of intermediate routers to mask the final destination of each packet. That's modeled by the –30 modifier to sniffing a VPN. And QE comms, which don't use the mesh and instead rely on direct transfer of information via entangled particles at a distance, can't be sniffed at all.

…Which all, to me, spells out "traffic sniffing is passive, and should not require an opposed test because the firewall isn't in play." …but then there's a "Detecting Sniffing Attacks" section that blows it all to hell and (to me, at least) makes the whole thing make a lot less sense. It's particularly odd because the implication that network latency can be used to detect sniffing isn't true in the real world — it can only be used to detect Spoofing (p 247).

So… if my players get into any deep hacking scenarios, I'm prooooobably going to end up house-ruling Sniffing so that it's a 10m Task Action with an Infosec Test, no chance of detection. Other than that, EP2's VPN Sniffing rules would still act as harsh modifiers on the test and make it tough to stay connected for long enough to get useful data. That would make sniffing a way to carefully, deliberately gather information, easily disrupted by a VPN (whose primary utility isn't just in the raw mechanical penalty but the ability to force re-rolls to maintain the sniffing activity, and make "taking time" to overcome the VPN penalty a non-starter).

I might be overthinking it, but I'm used to sweating bullets over these rules, because my last campaign's resident infomorph hacker was played by an actual network engineer, and… boy, the stuff they tried…

eaton eaton's picture
Okay, wait, no

So, after writing all that out, I think I've come to a simple compromise:

Today, most sniffing attacks just require being on the same network and passively listening while two computers shout at each other in code. If you're smart enough or know their code, you can read everything they say without them knowing, because you're not acting as a relay, you're just overhearing them. Quoth EP2: "Wireless radio traffic is broadcast through the air (or space), meaning that it can be intercepted by other wireless devices. Since all mesh traffic is relayed through numerous devices, each connection is encrypted for privacy."

However, if we ignore that paragraph of fluff and focus on the next paragraph: "The sniffer app automatically convinces the target to relay their mesh traffic through you (just like any other mesh node)…" Well, now we have a Man In The Middle attack, which allows you to listen to traffic and even modify it, if you're careful and have all the correct encryption keys. For current-day infosec purposes, "packet sniffing" and "mitm attacks" aren't really the same thing, but from an Eclipse Phase system perspective, they're close enough that it works.

Thematically, I'm going to offer this explanation to my Very Creative Network Engineer player:

  • On an EP-style mesh network, the only data that can truly be passively gathered without detection is the act of a device seeking and finding relays to pass along their packets to a destination device.
  • "Sniffing" as described on page 245 is technically a man-in-the-middle attack, in which you convince the device to let you serve as one of its relays but listen in on the traffic. The Hacking Test includes convincing the target to use you as a relay, and the act of decrypting the data as you relay it.
  • Reasonably secure devices find multiple relays simultaneously, sending duplicate data on each one to make modification via man-in-the-middle attacks more difficult. You can still listen, but modifying traffic before it reaches the destination would require hacking and compromising all of the intermediary relay nodes. Easier to use other means.
  • Detecting Sniffing Attacks, as implied by the fluff text, is only possible on VPNs and operates by sending occasional "honeypot" packets that take longer to decrypt than normal ones. If any relay nodes are slower to pass along those packets, the VPN flags them as suspect and takes countermeasures.

This leaves open one possibility for said player: "What if I don't decrypt the data in realtime, and simply log it all for later decryption? Can't I avoid detection, then?" I would say yes — with the caveat that an Infosec Test and a Task Action with the same duration as the time you spent logging the connection, is required before you can even begin sorting through the data. Essentially, that turns "Sniffing" into "MITM monitoring" and relegates modern-day "sniffing" to a special edge case. But… it lets me sleep easier.

Carry on.

Grim G Grim G's picture
A few strange/unusual rules.

So I've been coming across a few rules that I found to be imbalanced or counter intuitive. I think these are worth bringing up for the next printing (has there been a rulebook update yet?).

1) I've already mentioned that poly rifles make sniper rifles obsolete. And that they are most likely supposed to be battle rifles instead. I'm just bringing it up again because it didn't look as though anyone acknowledged it.

2) Particle beam bolters appear to be useless. Comparing them to their closest relative, the laser pulser, we can see it has half the range, 5 less shots, no automatic mode, no subtlety in atmosphere, no alt mode like the Stun mode on the laser, and a complex action is needed just to switch it between vacuum and atmosphere mode. It's only benefit is that it deals 4 extra average damage and it ignores environmental conditions like smoke or rain that don't always happen, especially in a habitat. Some may argue this is a fair trade off, and that could be supported, but it's complexity is major. The same as a battle laser. There is no contest there. I'd say drop the price range and/or add armor-piercing. It does say it has better penetrating power after all.

3)T-Ray Emitters as an augment are stated to see 20m in atmosphere, however when talking about T-Rays in general on the next page it states "Passive terahertz scans within atmosphere have an effective range of 25 meters". So in other words, if we compare the emitter to a flashlight, you actually see 5m less when you have it turned on rather than when you have it turned off. Not only does this make no sense, but it also begs the question, why bother even using the emitter in atmosphere? Why mention that in the rules if it's never going to be used?

branford branford's picture
The particle beam bolter and

The particle beam bolter and t-ray emitter seem like possible errata

chaos_forge chaos_forge's picture
Grim G wrote:1) I've already

Grim G wrote:
1) I've already mentioned that poly rifles make sniper rifles obsolete. And that they are most likely supposed to be battle rifles instead. I'm just bringing it up again because it didn't look as though anyone acknowledged it.

Now that I look at it, yeah, that does seem weird to me.

Androminous Androminous's picture
Poly guns

Besides the issue with making the sniper redundant, there is a lot of ambiguity with the poly guns. Do you need to take an action each of the three turns to reconfigure them or is it automatic (initiated with a quick action?) Do you need to carry extra parts (a sniper rifle has a significantly longer barrel than an SMG, and probably wider too?) What happens to the magazine, is it transformed with the gun (ejecting the loaded bullets) or ejected?

But all of the above can easily be solved by the GM, but I’m usually not motivated to use my time on such mechanical details (and arguments since ambiguous text will be interpreted differently.) My main concern is the usefulness of the concept since each configuration needs its own ammo. What is the point of a polygun pistol being concealable in hold-out configuration if you need to carry a couple of banana-clips for the machine pistol configuration, some bulky heavy pistol clips for stopping power and perhaps a medium pistol clip or two for the extra capacity? Even though the game advises not to track ammo, a minimum of realism is requires and anyone carrying a handful or two of magazines will have them detected at even a superficial examination even though the gun remains undetected. The same goes for the poly rifle, carrying enough ammo for all configurations is a considerable load. I can’t see any realistic use for the poly weapons as written in any force or scenario - maybe except for some rich and clueless hypercorper who wants to flaunt that he can afford expensive but useless toys.

branford branford's picture
Speaking of nanotech

Speaking of nanotech shapechanging guns, has anyone ever tried to convert the MP35 from Old Man's War to EP stats?

https://oldmanswar.fandom.com/wiki/MP-35

Quantronic Drea... Quantronic DreamViolence's picture
Androminous wrote:Besides the

Androminous wrote:
Besides the issue with making the sniper redundant, there is a lot of ambiguity with the poly guns. Do you need to take an action each of the three turns to reconfigure them or is it automatic (initiated with a quick action?) Do you need to carry extra parts (a sniper rifle has a significantly longer barrel than an SMG, and probably wider too?) What happens to the magazine, is it transformed with the gun (ejecting the loaded bullets) or ejected?

But all of the above can easily be solved by the GM, but I’m usually not motivated to use my time on such mechanical details (and arguments since ambiguous text will be interpreted differently.) My main concern is the usefulness of the concept since each configuration needs its own ammo. What is the point of a polygun pistol being concealable in hold-out configuration if you need to carry a couple of banana-clips for the machine pistol configuration, some bulky heavy pistol clips for stopping power and perhaps a medium pistol clip or two for the extra capacity? Even though the game advises not to track ammo, a minimum of realism is requires and anyone carrying a handful or two of magazines will have them detected at even a superficial examination even though the gun remains undetected. The same goes for the poly rifle, carrying enough ammo for all configurations is a considerable load. I can’t see any realistic use for the poly weapons as written in any force or scenario - maybe except for some rich and clueless hypercorper who wants to flaunt that he can afford expensive but useless toys.

In general Polygun's main advantage doesn't seem to be about super cool, spy movie switching on the job stuff.

It's that you can use the same weapon for multiple assignments, or loot fresh ammo because your gun is variable enough to take it. For example with your polygun pistol you can infiltrate a party in holdout mode and if things get out of hand you can drop one dude with it before stealing his presumably better pistol ammo.

Honestly the polygun just seems like a techy way to have a discount on multiple guns such that players don't develop "I only ever carry one weapon" syndrome due to the GP system's trait point style of play.

As for sniper's it's weird but honestly still doesn't seem a super big deal? A Polygun is probably harder to make and has rarer blueprints but not enough to knock it up to Rare so whatever, PC's can have cooler guns and NPC's probably still use snipers.

For playability stuff it's described as modular, shape changing weapons. So you don't need to carry any extra stuff except the ammo. Set up honestly reads like an automated process that just takes a given amount of time.

And yeah, for most conventional forces a polygun is a pretty pointless luxury because you'll have uniform weapon and ammo hand outs for your force and not be put in a sniper nest if you were issued an SMG. These facts aren't true for Firewall Sentinels, Criminals or Gatecrashers who have to be more improvisational.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
This is an attempt to make

This is an attempt to make rules for programing ALIs.

Note - I will talk about skill points and skill totals as different things. Skill points is what you add to aptitudes. Skill totals are skill points and aptitudes combined. So if you had 30 skill points in a skill and that skill had an aptitude of 10, then the skill total is 40.

Observations:

Min/1 – Technically no ALIs like this exists in the books. However, device ALIs have 80 active skill points when other Mod/2 ALIs have 170 active skill points, so I decided to separate it from the rest the group.

Mod/2 – These ALIs have at most 170 active skill points. These are skill points, not skill totals, so these are numbers without aptitudes applied. Some have specializations on top of this.

Maj/R/3 – These ALIs have at least 210 skill points.

Any ho. Time to make some rules.

My current thoughts are to allow you to do 2 cp worth of programming with a week of work. So 10 skill points, 2 specializations, traits, aptitudes, and so on. No rep or pools though. I don't think ALIs can become asyncs though. Interesting thought though. It might make ALIs the scary AIs that transhumanity fears.

Mental health. The book does mention that ALIs can suffer stress, but it hasn't made clear what will stress ALIs. At least I haven't seen any rules. Hopefully its not the same things as for egos, otherwise they may suffer mental problems before the player.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
I have some questions about

I have some questions about programing blueprints. Programing a blueprint requires 2 tests, a test to get sufficient knowledge to write a blueprint and a test to do actual programming. Maybe I read it wrong and got confused on that part. I thought about a scenario where a person might be a programing wiz, but terrible in the field they are trying to program for. Like Medicine: Biotech. Does taking extra time on the knowledge test affect the time to program the blueprint?

Quote:
Both of these tests together constitute a single task action.

So I'm under the impression that the 2 tests are linked so taking extra time to gather knowledge causes you to take extra time on programing.

I want to house rule that the knowledge test takes a quick or complex action, and that taking extra time on this test will only take a minute per +10 bonus. Or someone else does that test. Then you can do what programing wizards do.

chaos_forge chaos_forge's picture
DivineWrath wrote:This is an

DivineWrath wrote:
This is an attempt to make rules for programing ALIs.

[snip]

I like these rules. I'll definitely use them in my games unless/until we get an official version of the rules.

DivineWrath wrote:
Mental health. The book does mention that ALIs can suffer stress, but it hasn't made clear what will stress ALIs. At least I haven't seen any rules. Hopefully its not the same things as for egos, otherwise they may suffer mental problems before the player.

This thread on muses has some discussion on what makes ALIs take stress. The short version is that generally the only things that make ALIs take stress is them failing in their function. As the book says, a vehicle ALI witnessing torture won't make it take stress, but its occupants getting injured in a crash will.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
chaos_forge wrote:DivineWrath

chaos_forge wrote:
DivineWrath wrote:
This is an attempt to make rules for programing ALIs.

[snip]

I like these rules. I'll definitely use them in my games unless/until we get an official version of the rules.

I'm glad you like them.

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