Eclipse Phase

Eclipse Phase is a science fiction horror[1] role-playing game with transhumanist themes.[2] Futurist Anders Sandberg noted its differences from GURPS Transhuman Space included its emphasis on posthuman (rather than transhuman) characters and cosmic horror.[3] Originally published by Catalyst Game Labs,[4] Eclipse Phase is now published by the game's creators, Posthuman Studios, and is released under a Creative Commons license.[5][6][7][8] In 2010, it won the 36th Annual Origins award for Best Roleplaying Game.[9] It also won three 2010 ENnie awards: Gold for Best Writing, Silver for Best Cover Art, and Silver for Product of the Year.[10]

Eclipse Phase
Eclipse Phase logo
Publisher(s)Posthuman Studios
Publication date2009-08-23
Genre(s)Science fiction
System(s)d100/percentile
Random chanceDice rolling
Websitehttp://www.eclipsephase.com/

Setting

Eclipse Phase is a post-apocalyptic game of conspiracy and horror.[11] It takes place after a World War III project to create artificial intelligence has gone rogue under the influence of an extraterrestrial entity known as the "Exsurgent" (best described as an organic computer virus with the capacity to infect both machines and animals with sapient qualities), resulting in the deaths of over 90% of the inhabitants of Earth.

Earth is subsequently abandoned, and existing colonies throughout the Solar System are expanded to accommodate the refugees. The setting explores a spectrum of socioeconomic systems in each of these colonies:

  • A capitalist / republican system exists in the Inner System (Mars, the Moon, and Mercury), under the Planetary Consortium, a corporate body which allows the election of representatives but whose shareholders are nominally most powerful.
  • An Extropian/Propertarian system is established in the Asteroid Belt. The Extropians are split into two subfactions, an anarcho-capitalist group, more closely related to the Hypercapitalists and a mutualist group, related closely to the Anarchists.
  • A military oligarchy rules the moons around Jupiter.
  • An alliance of Scandinavia-style social democracy and Collectivist anarchism are dominant in the Outer System.

From there, the setting explores various scientific advances, extrapolated far into the future. Nanotechnology, terraforming, Zero-G living, upgrading animal sapience, and reputation systems are all used as plot points and background.

With all of this, the game encourages players to confront existential threats like aliens, weapons of mass destruction, Exsurgent Virus outbreaks, and political unrest.

Mechanics

Eclipse Phase uses a simple roll-under percentile die system for task resolution.[12] Players roll the percentile dice (by rolling two ten-sided dice with one of the dice representing a 10 value), and compare that roll to a target number with the goal being to match or go under that number with the roll. Unlike most similar systems, a roll of 00 does not count as a 100. In addition, any roll of a double (11, 22, 33 etc.) is a critical. If the double is under the target number it is a critical success, while being over the target number constitutes a critical failure.

For damage resolution (whether physical damage caused by injury or mental stress caused by traumatic events), players roll a designated number of ten-sided dice and add the values together, along with any modifiers.[13]

Books

  • Eclipse Phase (Core Rulebook) (2009)
  • Sunward (2010)
  • Gatecrashing (2010)
  • Panopticon (2011)
  • Rimward (2012)
  • Transhuman (2013)
  • Firewall (2015)
  • X-Risks (2016)

Creative Commons License

The Eclipse Phase roleplaying game was released under a Creative Commons license; the text found on the Eclipse Phase website is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.[6] As stated on their website, the publishers encourage players and gamemasters to recreate, alter, and "remix" the material for non-commercial purposes. Further, copying and sharing the game's electronic versions is legal.

References

  1. ^ Randol Hooper, Jaime Pittenger and William Stull (2009-08-09). "Gencon 2008 - Defining the Future: Eclipse Phase Part I". BlueAlien.org. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
  2. ^ Huling, Ray (26 August 2009). "Eclipse Phase - Posthuman Studios Has a Game for You". h+ magazine. Retrieved 2009-08-31.
  3. ^ Sandberg, Anders (2009-08-30). "Eclipse Phase Review". Retrieved 2009-09-01.
  4. ^ "Posthuman Studios Officially Takes Full Control of Eclipse Phase Production". Catalyst Game Labs. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  5. ^ Ken, White (2009-09-01). "Hoosier Daddy? GenCon 2009 Indianapolis Con Report". Indie Press Revolution. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
  6. ^ a b Posthuman Studios. "Creative Commons License | Eclipse Phase". Retrieved 2009-09-01.
  7. ^ Stidham, Neal (2009-08-25). "PDF, Hard Copy Preorder for Eclipse Phase – and Creative Commons License". Game Journal. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
  8. ^ Doctorow, Cory (2009-08-12). "Eclipse Phase: CC-licensed tabletop singularity RPG". BoingBoing. Retrieved 2009-09-03.
  9. ^ "2010 Origins Awards Winners". Origins. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  10. ^ "2010 ENnie Winners". ENnie Awards. 2010-08-12. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
  11. ^ Posthuman Studios. "The Game | Eclipse Phase". Retrieved 2009-09-09.
  12. ^ Eclipse Phase Core Rulebook, Posthuman Studios, p. 114, ISBN 978-0-9845835-0-8
  13. ^ Eclipse Phase Core Rulebook, Posthuman Studios, p. 192, ISBN 978-0-9845835-0-8

External links

2009 Origins Award winners

The following are the winners of the 36th annual (2009) Origins Award, presented at Origins 2010.

Adam Jury

Adam Jury is a Canadian game designer and graphic designer working in the hobby games industry. He is the co-founder of Posthuman Studios.

Bracewell probe

A Bracewell probe is a hypothetical concept for an autonomous interstellar space probe dispatched for the express purpose of communication with one or more alien civilizations. It was proposed by Ronald N. Bracewell in a 1960 paper, as an alternative to interstellar radio communication between widely separated civilizations.

Bush robot

A bush robot is a hypothetical machine whose body branches in a fractal way into trillions of nanoscale fingers, to achieve very high dexterity and reconfigurability. The concept was described by Hans Moravec in a final report for NASA in 1999, who projected that development of the necessary technology will take half a century.Bush robots are also referenced as very recent technology in the Transhuman Space and Eclipse Phase roleplaying games. They are also featured in some novels, such as Rocheworld by physicist Robert L. Forward, Iron Sunrise and Singularity Sky by Charles Stross, Matter by Iain M. Banks, The Turing Option by Harry Harrison and artificial intelligence expert Marvin Minsky, The Return of Bruce Wayne #6 by Grant Morrison and Lee Garbett, The Big Chill by Alan Moore and Carlos D'Anda (as the last form of life in the universe) and The Adventures of Lando Calrissian by L. Neil Smith. Bush robots also play an important role in Ken Macleod's The Cassini Division, part of his science-fiction series The Fall Revolution.

The utility robots in the movie Interstellar (film) were fractal designs similar to a Moravec bush, but with only five levels of bifurcation.

Chlamydia (genus)

Chlamydia is a genus of pathogenic bacteria that are obligate intracellular parasites. Chlamydia infections are the most common bacterial sexually transmitted diseases in humans and are the leading cause of infectious blindness worldwide.Species include Chlamydia trachomatis (a human pathogen), Ch. suis (affects only swine), and Ch. muridarum (affects only mice and hamsters). Humans mainly contract Ch. trachomatis, Ch. pneumoniae, Ch. abortus, and Ch. psittaci.

David Langford

David Rowland Langford (born 10 April 1953) is a British author, editor and critic, largely active within the science fiction field. He publishes the science fiction fanzine and newsletter Ansible.

Eidolon

In ancient Greek literature, an eidolon (plural: eidola or eidolons) (Greek εἴδωλον: "image, idol, double, apparition, phantom, ghost") is a spirit-image of a living or dead person; a shade or phantom look-alike of the human form. The concept of Helen of Troy's eidolon was explored both by Homer and Euripides. However, where Homer uses the concept as a free-standing idea that gives Helen life after death, Euripides entangles it with the idea of kleos, one being the product of the other. Both Euripides and Stesichorus, in their respective works concerning the Trojan Horse, claim that Helen was never physically present in the city at all.The concept of the eidola of the dead was explored in various literature regarding Penelope, who in later works was constantly laboring against the eidola of Clytamnestra and later Helen herself.Homer's use of eidola also extends to the Odyssey where, after the death of the suitors, Theoclymenos notes that he sees the doorway of the court filled with them.Walt Whitman's poem by the same name in 1876 used a much broader understanding of the term, expanded and detailed in the poem. In Whitman's use of the term we can see the use broaden to include the concept of an oversoul composed of the individual souls of all life and expanding to include the Earth itself and the hierarchy of the planets, Sun, stars and galaxy.

In Theosophy, the astral double or perispirit or kamarupa after death, before its disintegration is identified with the eidolon.

Extropianism

Extropianism, also referred to as the philosophy of Extropy, is an "evolving framework of values and standards for continuously improving the human condition".

Extropians believe that advances in science and technology will some day let people live indefinitely. An extropian may wish to contribute to this goal, e.g. by doing research and development or by volunteering to test new technology.

Originated by a set of principles developed by the philosopher Max More, The Principles of Extropy, extropian thinking places strong emphasis on rational thinking and on practical optimism. According to More, these principles "do not specify particular beliefs, technologies, or policies". Extropians share an optimistic view of the future, expecting considerable advances in computational power, life extension, nanotechnology and the like. Many extropians foresee the eventual realization of indefinite lifespans, and the recovery, thanks to future advances in biomedical technology or mind uploading, of those whose bodies/brains have been preserved by means of cryonics.

F. Wesley Schneider

F. Wesley Schneider is an American game designer and author known for his work on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

Open gaming

Open gaming is a movement within the tabletop role-playing game (RPG) industry with similarities to the open source software movement. The key aspect is that copyright holders license their works under public copyright licenses that permit others to make copies or create derivative works of the game.

A number of role-playing game publishers have joined the open gaming movement, largely as a result of the release of the original System Reference Document (SRD) by Wizards of the Coast, which consisted of the core rules of Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition. Open gaming has also been popular among small press role-playing game and supplement authors.

Posthuman Studios

Posthuman Studios is an American game company that produces role-playing games and game supplements.

Rob Boyle

Robert Boyle is a game designer who has worked primarily on role-playing games.

South East Hampshire Bus Rapid Transit

South East Hampshire Bus Rapid Transit is a 2.8 miles (4.5 km) unguided busway between Gosport and Fareham, Hampshire, sponsored by Hampshire County Council using the route of the former Fareham to Gosport Line to reduce congestion on the parallel A32 between the towns. The scheme was proposed following the collapse of the light rail scheme using the same route and funding was approved in July 2009 for the £20m scheme. The route opened on 22 April 2012 with services provided by First Hampshire & Dorset using specially branded "Eclipse" buses on all routes utilising the busway.

Sunward

Sunward may refer to:

Sunward Aurora, Chinese light-sport aircraft

Sunward Cohousing, an intentional community located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

Sunward Aerospace Group Limited, a manufacturer of model rockets and hobby store retailer

MS Sunward (1966), a cruise ship operated by Norwegian Cruise Line 1966–1976

MS Sunward II, a cruise ship operated by Norwegian Cruise Line 1977–1991

MS Sunward (1991), a cruise ship operated by Norwegian Cruise Line 1991–1992 and 1992–1993

Sunward UAV SUF-30 Flying Goose unmanned aerial vehicle

A book describing the inner solar system for the Eclipse Phase role playing game

Transhumanism in fiction

Many of the tropes of science fiction can be viewed as similar to the goals of transhumanism. Science fiction literature contains many positive depictions of technologically enhanced human life, occasionally set in utopian (especially techno-utopian) societies. However, science fiction's depictions of technologically enhanced humans or other posthuman beings frequently come with a cautionary twist. The more pessimistic scenarios include many dystopian tales of human bioengineering gone wrong.

Examples of "transhumanist fiction" include novels by Linda Nagata, Greg Egan, Zoltan Istvan, and Hannu Rajaniemi. Transhuman novels are often philosophical in nature, exploring the impact such technologies might have on human life. Nagata's novels, for example, explore the relationship between the natural and artificial, and suggest that while transhuman modifications of nature may be beneficial, they may also be hazardous, so should not be lightly undertaken. Egan's Diaspora explores the nature of ideas such as reproduction and questions if they make sense in a post-human context. Istvan's novel The Transhumanist Wager explores how far one person would go to achieve an indefinite lifespan via science and technology. Rajaniemi's novel, while more action oriented, still explores themes such as death and finitude in post-human life.

Fictional depictions of transhumanist scenarios are also seen in other media, such as movies (Transcendence), television series (the Ancients of Stargate SG-1), manga and anime (Ghost in the Shell), role-playing games (Rifts and Eclipse Phase) and video games (Deus Ex or BioShock).

Uplift (science fiction)

In science fiction, uplift is a developmental process to transform a certain species of animals into more intelligent beings by other, already-intelligent beings. This is usually accomplished by cultural, technological, or evolutional interventions like genetic engineering but any fictional or real process can be used. The earliest appearance of the concept is in H. G. Wells' 1896 novel The Island of Doctor Moreau, and more recently appears in David Brin's Uplift series and other science fiction works.

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