All posts by Peter R.

I have been blogging about Rolemaster for the past few years. When I am not blogging I run the Rolemaster Fanzine and create adventure seeds and generic game supplements under the heading of PPM Games. You can check them out on RPGnow. My pet project is my d6 game 3Deep, now in its second edition.

Eclipse Phase Second Edition Open Play Test

This game is currently in open play test and to me looks really good. I mean that both literally, the art and book layout of the quick start PDF is outstanding and as a ruleset it looks really solid.

The Open Play Test Bundle

Being a second edition, this is more evolution than revolution but there are plenty of tweaks from the looks of things. I have joined the development forum this week and it is nice to see a lot of positive feedback from the Eclipse Phase community.
I know plenty of GMs that fix dice rolls to make sure players survive fights but that is one of the cool thing about Eclipse Phase and being transhuman, death of the body is a mere inconvenience and if anything adds some interesting role play potential. If your body dies a back up of your personality or ego can be downloaded into a new body, resleeved, and away you go again but the back up only know what you knew at the time of the last backup. So if you meet someone it could be the first time for you but the second time or more for them.

There is an active discussion over at another forum I take part in about how GMs bring the party together so they will stick together. Eclipse Phase does not have that problem as the players are all cast as Sentinels, or agents of Firewall and so they are a team that has been brought together for a mission(s). This also means that it will be easy to introduce new players to an existing game, you just have the powers that be parachute in an additional team member. Likewise if someone drops out of your game then you have Firewall pull the character out for a different mission.

Game mechanics-wise this is a sort of ‘roll under’ system where you have to roll under your current skill but having said that when to skills are opposed such as you trying to hide and someone trying to spot you then if both succeed at their skill rolls the person who rolls highest wins. So you want to roll low but not too low. To me that sounds quirky but I like it. Skill rolls have plenty of opportunities for critical successes and critical failures that can give he GM plenty to play with.

As this game is currently in play test it is a great time to get involved. The playtest download from rpgnow. What you get is the quick start rules but also the beta test rules for the full second edition of the game. These take the form of a bundle of text based documents, one for each aspect of the game such as character creation or combat. Each document is typically 5 to ten pages in length. This makes them pretty easy to read and digest. Some play tests I have been involved with have been single 500 pages mammoths and it is nigh on impossible to remember if a reference to something on page 50 is consistent with an example of play of page 450!

Behind all of this is an community based around a forum where you can post questions, make suggestions and get more support.

I think if ever you want to try Eclipse Phase now is the time to do it and at the same time be able to give something back to the developers, even if it is just feedback on how your play sessions went.

Mission Aborted!

It was my intention today to write about the new open play-test of Eclipse Phase 2nd Edition. As it happens on Saturday morning the play test files were updated the latest edition so before I can post about it I need to check everything to make sure I am still right.

So today I am going to write a bit more about me.

I have set my self a challenge recently to try and write 2,000 to 3,000 words a day either blog posts, game notes or creating resources. The actual target is 20,000 words a month. I am lucky in that I have a variety of outlets so I do not have to sit and grind away as just one document if the ideas are not coming. This week I have written posts for three blogs, six posts in all. I have written the first drafts of seven articles for a fanzine I publish. I have written one adventure, also destined for the fanzine. In addition I have started writing chapter one of my latest gaming book.

The book is the most interesting project and it is my carrot. I am not allowed to work on it until I have finished my other tasks for the day. This book is a sort of roleplaying for dummies. I didn’t actually realise that there were Dummies books for role playing but they have a range for D&D, GURPS and Vampire Requiem. What I have in mind is a little broader than their offerings and to be honest the examples that refer to actual play examples all use my own game as the rules system. You can spot the ulterior motive there I guess.

As a daily target I only hit the 3,000 words on two days this week but the lower goal of 2,000 I managed on three more days. I am pretty pleased so far. It seems to be a case of the more I write the easier it is to sit down and write. I think it is a case of once I have an achievable goal it is easier to strive to hit it. If on the other hand if you just say I want to write a book, a manual or a game then the goal is a bit amorphous and way too big to tackle in a single hit.

So why am I telling you all this? Well Roberto mentioned the other day that he has ambitions to write his own game. Michael has written Warrior, Rogue & Mage and I have released 3Deep.

The 3Deep core rules is about 30,000 words. WR&M is 5,400 words. It is very easy to produce a first draft of a game in just two weeks. Mind you, unless you are an absolute genius then writing a game is not going to make you rich. What sites like rpgnow have done is democratise games publishing so that anyone can produce their own game. The market is extremely crowded with homebrew (or roll your own as we always called them in our gaming circle) games, adventures and settings. Sorting the diamonds from the lumps of coal is a task in itself and trying to get your own game to stand out is even harder.

My RPG Howto guide is going to cover fantasy, modern and Sci Fi settings so I don’t care about the context. I just want to make the booklet as good as it can be. If I base it just upon my own experiences then that is a pretty limited window of experience.

So this is hopefully where you all come in. If you could give yourself some advice as a starting out role player what would it be?

P.S. That is 621 words done, 2,379 more to go.

Eclipse Phase (quick-start rulebook)

I have been looking at the Eclipse Phase quick-start rules this week. This is a system after my own heart. It is d100 which is my spiritual home anyway, it is visually beautiful to look at and something that really appealed to me is that it breaks the rules of dice rolls.

Eclipse Phase is a d100 roll under system but unusually 00 is not 100 it is zero. 99 is then the worst possible result and an automatic critical failure.

These quickstart rules are an ideal primer. At just over 40 pages a quarter is about the setting and the premise of the game. One quarter is the game mechanics needed to play including how to resolve ‘tests’ such as skill rolls and the last half of the book is a starting adventure and pregen characters.

I don’t like games that are class and level based. I find classes restrictive and I don’t feel that the lumpy progression of levels reflects how people’s skills improve in real life. I appreciate that games are not real life but the only reason we have rules is to create a model of some fantastical setting and make it feel real.

Eclipse Phase is both leveless and classless, you see I told you it was after my own heart. In the game anyone can do anything, if you don’t have the actual skill you need then you can default down to the linked stat that governs the skill.

Another nice feature is that all characters are basically immortal. You can back up your characters personality and if the body dies then you download it to another body. You can even swap bodies to best fit the mission you are going on if you have the resources. This makes your physical stats largely arbitrary.  If you want to play a hulking terminator style character then you can put on a heavy weight morph (body) (or sleeve as the slang has it) and away you go. Next time you may want to play a different sort of character. The personality remains the same but the physical stats all change depending on the morph you are wearing.

As far as I can see there is little not to like about this game. In the eight years (2009) since the games initial release there have been 70 supporting products, some of them free and the paid for ones ranging from $0.99 to $19.99. These quick start rules are based upon version 1.4 of the core rules. I think the fact that the rules have remained largely unchanged for 8 years is a testament to how solid the original concept was.

If you want a Sci Fi one off this weekend then you could do a lot worse than this quick-start PDF.