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Author Topic: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?  (Read 3785 times)

matt swain

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #255 on: May 04, 2021, 03:40:31 PM »
I'm kind of tickled as to how the creators of Eclipse Phase managed to recreate the fundamental tension of Warhammer 40K, while decrying it as a concept.  When your choices are to stand with the Nazi Ultimates and fascist Jovian junta, or to fall alone as humanity is swallowed by Exsurgent, or just Mr. Forkswarm deciding that the universe had Fucked Around enough and was now going to Find Out, what is your ideological purity worth to you?

It is, I find, a good little insight into how (or, sadly, if) people think about what they hate. The designers of Eclipse Phase believe that some ideas are so evil and repugnant that giving them a fair consideration, that doing anything but treating them like corruptive little mini-Exsurgents which can rip out people's ability to think and reason and ride them like a cordyceps polyp, presents actual, literal danger to life and limb.  In-universe, the same justification applies, in far more detail and with far, far, far more justification, to every non-bioconservative faction.  It was playing around with simulated (and thus enhancable) human intellects that made the Prometheans and caused the Fall.

Again, it's remarkable how the presence of the Jovians and the posthumans in conjunction with each other so cleanly make the point that there is no actual philosophical point here, just "We find X advancement neat and rad and only oppressive tyrants would keep it from the people, but obviously X+1 advancement is horrifying and dehumanizing and we should anarchistically purge any who make use of it."

Ok, you are slightly off on a couple points here, they are in the details so let me explain.

The prometheans did not cause the fall. They were self evolving artificial super intelligence done right. They were never hostile to humanity

The titans were also not directly responsible for the fall, they were accidentally created ASIs and we don't known what they would have done on their own.

The cause of the fall was the bracewell probe in the solar system that got here a few billion years ago and waited for any sign of an ASI, which it was then meant to infect with the exsurgent virus to destroy the race that created it, that was sent by some super advanced intelligence in the galaxy as a way of keeping down advancing races, it targeted self evolving ASIs only.

Most people don't know the exsurgent virus was sent b an advanced race long ago and loaded into the titans when they discovered the bracewell probe and make contact with it.

The prometheans played no role in the fall, except for trying to fight and impede the titans and probably being responsible for 5% of transhumanity surviving, and founding firewall, and still working to keep transhumanity alive plus almost no one knows of the prometheans at all.
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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #256 on: May 04, 2021, 03:57:50 PM »
To a certain degree, there must be a buy-in on EP's conceit or else the game can't work.  If for example someone's character is hardcore against sleeving because they believe it just copies the mind and the original dies, well, guess that's it when the rest of the party beam themselves to another planet to get a job done.  If your character isn't willing to play along with some of the core concepts of the setting, they are effectively unplayable.  So I don't hold it against the game that the characters need to fall into a certain mindset.  But I do consider it ham-fisted that the game writes people who don't fall into that mindset as ignorant and/or evil rather than showing that there is merit in those concerns.  There is no way whatsoever to tell if "you" survive uploading your mind to a new body.  My opinion is that you don't and the other one is just a copy, but I've been in debates with people who make fair arguments that continuity of consciousness suffices as far as the universe is concerned, so I don't totally dismiss it out of hand.  The game, however, does.

Altered Carbon (which I yet again reference here) seems to imply that people are actually inside their cortical stacks, i.e. that the organ of the brain in their bodies is not where their knowledge and personality are stored, but rather the alien hardware in their neck.  With that, I'd be more inclined to believe that uploading and downloading yourself between cortical stacks actually preserves the person.  In EP the cortical stack is primarily just backup storage that's constantly maintaining a backup of your brain's state, so anything that involves discarding the brain is going to lead me to conclude that that person is completely dead.

robertliguori

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #257 on: May 04, 2021, 04:15:32 PM »
To a certain degree, there must be a buy-in on EP's conceit or else the game can't work.  If for example someone's character is hardcore against sleeving because they believe it just copies the mind and the original dies, well, guess that's it when the rest of the party beam themselves to another planet to get a job done.  If your character isn't willing to play along with some of the core concepts of the setting, they are effectively unplayable.  So I don't hold it against the game that the characters need to fall into a certain mindset.  But I do consider it ham-fisted that the game writes people who don't fall into that mindset as ignorant and/or evil rather than showing that there is merit in those concerns.  There is no way whatsoever to tell if "you" survive uploading your mind to a new body.  My opinion is that you don't and the other one is just a copy, but I've been in debates with people who make fair arguments that continuity of consciousness suffices as far as the universe is concerned, so I don't totally dismiss it out of hand.  The game, however, does.

Altered Carbon (which I yet again reference here) seems to imply that people are actually inside their cortical stacks, i.e. that the organ of the brain in their bodies is not where their knowledge and personality are stored, but rather the alien hardware in their neck.  With that, I'd be more inclined to believe that uploading and downloading yourself between cortical stacks actually preserves the person.  In EP the cortical stack is primarily just backup storage that's constantly maintaining a backup of your brain's state, so anything that involves discarding the brain is going to lead me to conclude that that person is completely dead.

I mean, a follow-up problem is that if you do engage with the game's conceits, then you at best crack certain mechanics wide open, and at worst enable degenerate, world-shattering behavior.

It's not a failure to engage with the mechanics that lead to the massively-parallel-psychosurgery tricks; quite the opposite.  It's the recognition that if you embrace the conceits of the game, if you treat your mind as software and attempt to program it, then you hollow out the concept of 'you' so far that you're playing a gimmick game, and most people won't be able to empathize with your character.  Thus, the game won't be fun for most people, especially with multiple players.

As for myself, my own feelings are that death is a prolonged cessation of life, and since you can theoretically be restored from cold backup and be, in your subjective experience, exactly as though you had just timeskipped the period between your last read and the current write, then the question of death is pointless as asking if people are dead in cryosleep.  Death doesn't matter; what matters is loss (or worse, subversion) of your data.

As mentioned previously, this is predicated on good-as-magic neural reading and simulation tech.  But if the rules are bent enough to allow thermodynamic miracles to happen millisecond by millisecond, then expecting Biblical miracles as well is a side-grade of expectation at most.

Ghostmaker

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #258 on: May 04, 2021, 08:06:48 PM »
Ever notice how certain people are always deeply interested in their 'right' to something you might have?

Zelen

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #259 on: May 04, 2021, 08:37:26 PM »
Going to be honest, I had never heard about Eclipse Phase until reading some of this thread. It sounds like a pretty interesting setting in a thought-experiment kind of way, but I agree I'd have no idea how to play a character that exists as basically a program.

What motivates a character that doesn't have any bodily needs (because, presumably, they might or might not have a body) and can run programs to alter their own psychology? What type of person comes out of the other end of that? I doubt I could really do justice to the full gamut of wild things in the setting, but a small game of 1-3 players, whose characters are all mostly-baseline-humans that introduced one or two of the gonzo elements with could work. I don't know if you'd be playing "Eclipse Phase" at that point though.

thedungeondelver

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #260 on: May 04, 2021, 08:44:46 PM »
To a certain degree, there must be a buy-in on EP's conceit or else the game can't work.  If for example someone's character is hardcore against sleeving because they believe it just copies the mind and the original dies, well, guess that's it when the rest of the party beam themselves to another planet to get a job done.  If your character isn't willing to play along with some of the core concepts of the setting, they are effectively unplayable.  So I don't hold it against the game that the characters need to fall into a certain mindset.  But I do consider it ham-fisted that the game writes people who don't fall into that mindset as ignorant and/or evil rather than showing that there is merit in those concerns.  There is no way whatsoever to tell if "you" survive uploading your mind to a new body.  My opinion is that you don't and the other one is just a copy, but I've been in debates with people who make fair arguments that continuity of consciousness suffices as far as the universe is concerned, so I don't totally dismiss it out of hand.  The game, however, does.

Altered Carbon (which I yet again reference here) seems to imply that people are actually inside their cortical stacks, i.e. that the organ of the brain in their bodies is not where their knowledge and personality are stored, but rather the alien hardware in their neck.  With that, I'd be more inclined to believe that uploading and downloading yourself between cortical stacks actually preserves the person.  In EP the cortical stack is primarily just backup storage that's constantly maintaining a backup of your brain's state, so anything that involves discarding the brain is going to lead me to conclude that that person is completely dead.

Interesting take on Altered Carbon; if that's where "you" really are in AC (that is, inside the Stack vs. in your own brain), then what's the rest of the greasy pile of astrocytes and glial tissue doing, I wonder?

The good folk who created Eclipse Phase seem to push their agenda so hard it makes the game not fun, on its own, and that's before I get into the issues I have with stuff inside the game, so imma not bother playing it.  Which, if their social media presence is to be believed, is exactly what they want.
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BoxCrayonTales

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #261 on: May 04, 2021, 08:48:56 PM »
Yeah. The setting is too crazy for me. And I love the surreal 90s/00s scifi shows

RPGPundit

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #262 on: May 04, 2021, 10:36:42 PM »
A crappy spambot talking about a Turing test is irony at the highest level.

I'm kind of shocked that he's still here.  Pundit ordered him out of the thread way back on page 1, and we all know how forgiving he is of folks who ignore his rules.  To be fair, I think he has some interesting ideas, and if he could just learn some social skills he might be fun to have around.

Damned if i'm leaving MY OWN DAMN THREAD! That's rpg.net level mod arrogance. If he wants to ban me, fine. I wonder if he knows what a lot of the gaming community says about him.

I told you not to post here again. You ignored it. I don't give a shit what idiots 'say about me', that's part of why I'm so successful. I'm guessing your personality is part of why you keep getting banned from places.

Bye.
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Ghostmaker

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #263 on: May 05, 2021, 09:27:37 AM »
I am shocked, shocked to see Pundit swing the banhammer on someone like that.

No, really. Stop laughing.

Anyways, back on topic:

EP is a neat game to read about, but the mechanics have some issues and the insanely far-left politics of the authors caused so much irritation I recall they actually went back and sanded off the rougher edges of the Jovians because people were pointing out how much of a strawman they were.

If you've ever read Peter F. Hamilton's Night's Dawn series, an aspect of that universe is how Edenists (biotech-wielding humans who have a kind of telepathic link to each other) can 'upload' themselves into their habitats' neural structures in the face of imminent death. It turns out this isn't really an escape from death as it only uploads memories, not the actual soul, but most Edenists don't care anyways as they face death knowing something of themselves will live on to advise their relatives and descendants.

Brad

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #264 on: May 05, 2021, 09:36:39 AM »
EP is a neat game to read about, but the mechanics have some issues and the insanely far-left politics of the authors caused so much irritation I recall they actually went back and sanded off the rougher edges of the Jovians because people were pointing out how much of a strawman they were.

Well there you go...I think you might be right. It IS interesting to read the book, that's the reason I ended up buying it after seeing the free PDF. But as a game, it's not very good, crappy mechanics and all.

But as we all are aware of, a lot of these "games" are thought porn and not really meant to be played. Which is FINE, but at some point I'd like to see more games that have a purpose for existing other than fulfilling someone's dystopian fantasies.

Ghostmaker

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #265 on: May 05, 2021, 10:10:53 AM »
EP is a neat game to read about, but the mechanics have some issues and the insanely far-left politics of the authors caused so much irritation I recall they actually went back and sanded off the rougher edges of the Jovians because people were pointing out how much of a strawman they were.

Well there you go...I think you might be right. It IS interesting to read the book, that's the reason I ended up buying it after seeing the free PDF. But as a game, it's not very good, crappy mechanics and all.

But as we all are aware of, a lot of these "games" are thought porn and not really meant to be played. Which is FINE, but at some point I'd like to see more games that have a purpose for existing other than fulfilling someone's dystopian fantasies.
There's another problem with the setting: scale. Specifically, the damned setting is too big. It's actually the same problem that plagued Exalted -- they lay out the entire world (or in EP's case, the Solar System), but short of farcasting, it takes a long time to get from point A to B.

If I was gonna run an EP game I'd set it on Mars, straight up, with minimal offworld movement, just to keep things sane.

Valatar

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #266 on: May 05, 2021, 10:56:39 AM »
I told you not to post here again. You ignored it. I don't give a shit what idiots 'say about me', that's part of why I'm so successful. I'm guessing your personality is part of why you keep getting banned from places.

Bye.

I guess the candle that burns twice as crazy burns half as long.  Shine on wherever you are, Matt.  Shine on.

But for all the needless belligerence, he did at least start an interesting discussion, so there's that.  Eclipse Phase's setting, I feel, is salvageable with some work.  It's work that the owners of the IP won't ever do, sadly, but if someone with less baggage got hands on it, I think it could have potential.  Eclipse Phase's mechanics, on the other hand, are just... meh?  Technically functional, but fairly boring.  I think just chucking them and switching to something like Savage Worlds or Genesys would be the best fix.

Shrieking Banshee

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #267 on: May 05, 2021, 11:04:50 AM »
I think it can be a doable setting with some self-awareness.

While I don't remember the name, there was an anime where the protagonist's goals were to gain bodies, after the antagonist had rendered most of the population virtual uploads inside of simulated worlds. It implicitly did not have copying being an easy thing, and actually caused degradation (because data was lost during the transfer process).
The antagonist's goal in that setting was effectively to force everybody into transhumanism.

This is much more 'traditional' fare in a sense, but at least to me personally, I find that a more relatable goal to fight for.

Ghostmaker

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #268 on: May 05, 2021, 12:03:28 PM »
I think it can be a doable setting with some self-awareness.

While I don't remember the name, there was an anime where the protagonist's goals were to gain bodies, after the antagonist had rendered most of the population virtual uploads inside of simulated worlds. It implicitly did not have copying being an easy thing, and actually caused degradation (because data was lost during the transfer process).
The antagonist's goal in that setting was effectively to force everybody into transhumanism.

This is much more 'traditional' fare in a sense, but at least to me personally, I find that a more relatable goal to fight for.
Hmm. Actually, a way to 'fix' EP might be to integrate better system travel so you're not having to magically broadcast your mind all over the place (seriously, does no one worry about sigint in EP?). Add a drive system that allows for reasonable physical-transit times between worlds.

Also, while I grok that having some ambiguity about the setting allows GMs to tailor it, I think they could've stood to set some things further in stone than they did. As someone noted, sane people should be loading up the ships and leaving the fucking solar system before the TITANS come back. In fact, you could redesign the Jovians along those lines; they're only insular because they're hellbent on building generational ships and getting the fuck out of dodge.

Of course, I'd also have the TDZ on Mars gradually coming under the control of a ridiculously powerful robotic lich who's actually Hideo Kojima. So your mileage may vary :)

HappyDaze

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #269 on: May 05, 2021, 02:53:08 PM »
EP is a neat game to read about, but the mechanics have some issues and the insanely far-left politics of the authors caused so much irritation I recall they actually went back and sanded off the rougher edges of the Jovians because people were pointing out how much of a strawman they were.

Well there you go...I think you might be right. It IS interesting to read the book, that's the reason I ended up buying it after seeing the free PDF. But as a game, it's not very good, crappy mechanics and all.

But as we all are aware of, a lot of these "games" are thought porn and not really meant to be played. Which is FINE, but at some point I'd like to see more games that have a purpose for existing other than fulfilling someone's dystopian fantasies.
There's another problem with the setting: scale. Specifically, the damned setting is too big. It's actually the same problem that plagued Exalted -- they lay out the entire world (or in EP's case, the Solar System), but short of farcasting, it takes a long time to get from point A to B.

If I was gonna run an EP game I'd set it on Mars, straight up, with minimal offworld movement, just to keep things sane.
You say "short of farcasting" but that's like saying "short of hyperspace " in Star Wars. Both are staples of their settings.