Saturday, July 16, 2011

What I'm Playing - Eclipse Phase

Ever have an role playing game make your head hurt? Well, Eclipse Phase makes mine hurt.

It's actually a very, very cool RPG. The concept is that it is far in the future - man has colonize the entire solar system and technology is way beyond even Star Wars - Mankind has "uplifted" itself to genetic perfection enhanced through bioware. You can download yourself into different skins, backup your brain, and control your environment with your thoughts.

The problem is - how do you make this work as an RPG? It's so different from what you and I know that I have a hard time wrapping my head around it. When your players can do anything, I think it's hard for the DM to "herd" them. It's also hard for players to know what's within the realm of possibility when literally anything goes. Also, how do you act in a world where everyone is a superhuman?

Not to mention the character sheets! Because you can jump bodies (and change bioware) regularly, everything about your character can chance - innate abilities, skills, stats, secondary attributes, upgrades, etc. In many ways, this RPG is beyond a character sheet as we know it. I wish the game designers had innovated a cool way to make this system work. As it is, it just seems a little clunky. It's so complex that it makes it hard for the character sheet to have the necessary flexibility.

The book is beautiful with lots of flavor text.

The basic combat and skill check rules are efficient and are easily managed. There are lots of numbers to keep track of, however - tons of attributes and secondary stats derived from those attributes.

It's worth a look - if super high-tech is your thing, then definitely check out this RPG. The game designers obviously poured their hearts into this thing.

CRITICAL REVIEW: 14 out of 20 - It's a hit!

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