Today brings us the Eclipse Phase Second Edition Kickstarter, which any of you who like solidly built sci-fi, futuristic horror, post-apocalyptic intrigue, or psychological/cosmic horror should go and back. Right now. No, I’m not joking. Want to know why? Read on, then.
Eclipse Phase bills itself as a post-apocalyptic sci-fi game of horror and conspiracy; it delivers on this in spades, starting with the apocalyptic events of the Fall, when a bunch of self-improving AI known as the TITANs went rogue and thoroughly off the cliff. They wiped out 99% of humanity – or transhumanity, as it is at the game’s timeframe – left nightmare fuel zones across the solar system, completely trashed the Earth, and then just disappeared. From there, the remnants of transhumanity discovered such exciting things as wormhole gates relying on technology so far in advance of anything known that they look a lot like the protohumans in 2001: A Space Odyssey scratching their heads.
Add to this the incredible paranoia of the factions of transhumanity that are left, the limited living space, the chance that anyone rescued from cold storage (because you can back up your mind, the various terrorist and exhuman groups, and people fled the assault of the TITANs by broadcasting their minds away) might be infected with nasty mindviruses that are still waiting to go off and continue destroying everyone, and the regular grade of how horrible people can be to others, and you have all the horror you could ever need.
You, as a default, are a member of Firewall, the system-wide conspiracy that operates to keep the rest of transhumanity isolated from the outbreaks of leftover TITAN hazards and other terrifying threats that range from extremely local and only dangerous like a terrorist group on the surface of Mars looking to nuke the holdings of a particular hypercorp to system-wide extinction-level dangers, like the potential outbreak of a new wave of the exsurgent virus to finish off what the TITANs started. Add in the risks that the wormhole gates may hide that can’t even be quantified, and you begin to understand why the groups behind Firewall generally take any help they can find and operate as far below the radar as they can manage.
The downside of the first edition was that character generation could be a bit of a hassle, the skill lists were huge, and swapping bodies (which, yes, you can do) meant having to recalculate all of your skills if anything significant changed. The descriptions for the Kickstarter, and a little explained elsewhere, make it look like all of these will be addressed with the new edition. We may be looking at a version of Eclipse Phase that can be readily taught and run at conventions and game stores, which in turn may perk up the game’s sales and enable to creators to make even more cool stuff.
So do please head on over and pledge, if sci-fi horror that isn’t space opera or grimdark space marines appeals to you! I’m quite sure you won’t regret it, because Eclipse Phase is one of the most unique settings I’ve ever had the pleasure to play, and the new system should make it even more enjoyable.
(For those who like The Expanse TV show – the novels were an inspiration for the setting, and those of you familiar with the protomolecule may find something familiar in the exsurgent virus and the Pandora Gates.)