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Eclipse Phase: The Stars Our Destination
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/13/2011 12:38:51
Diving straight in, the work opens with a brief note about how it provides a ready-made, populated location for gamemasters to use, or useful background for players whose characters are scumborn or belong to a scum faction... and just in case you are not sure what that means, it then launches into an introduction to the whole concept. Briefly, a scum swarm is a space-faring community with a very democratic - even anarchic - approach to everything: collective decision-making, concensus... and little regard for rules or reverence to what more settled societies may find important.

From such generalities, the narrative turns to a specific group, the Stars swarm. Born out of industrial unrest in turbulent times, the swarm began with workers in lunar orbital facilities taking control of the resources around them... just when the situation back at headquarters took a turn for the worse, and so nobody was in a position to object as the collective upgraded propulsion systems and took off, gathering many other refugees as they departed. Rather more ordered than some swarms, they now follow a set route around the system, trading as they go but still adhering to their original libertarian collectivist lifestyle.

Looking at the swarm's relations with others also provides ideas for how they may feature in your game. Provided you are not in a hurry, for example, hitching a ride can be an interesting way of relocating to a different habitat or planet. Some habitats send those they don't want around any more to the swarm in a form of exile. The swarm does the same in reverse, dropping off those unable to conform to their particular way of doing things. There are plenty of examples of specific collectives and individual ship crews for you to select one whose interaction with your characters should prove interesting. As for characters wanting to have background or history with the swarm, there's plenty for them as well. Most of what is here is what would be regarded as 'common knowledge' - or at least what you could acquire with minimal research - so there should be no difficulty allowing players access to this work.

Next comes descriptions of some of the actual vessels that comprise the physical swarm, sufficient for any interaction or character visits you may have in mind. This is followed by a selection of NPCs to populate the vessels, or act as representatives of the swarm wherever your characters meet them.

Finally, if what has come before hasn't already given you plenty of ideas, a selection of plot hooks is presented to help you interweave the Stars swarm into what is going on in your campaign.

Overall, this adds an extra, fascinating element to the already rich tapestry of life in this setting. If you are happy with a lot of adaptation, you could retool the swarm to provide a really unusual encounter for any other spacefaring game that you play.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: The Stars Our Destination
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Eclipse Phase: Gatecrashing
by Jeremy B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/13/2011 11:45:48
Another excellent supplement for Eclipse Phase, though one of limited use if you're not running a gatecrashing game. That said, the exoplanets and story seeds included for them are interesting enough that you might just want to include it just so you can use them. There's also an assortment of new gear and morphs that are worthwhile no matter what type of story you're playing.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: Gatecrashing
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Eclipse Phase
by Jeremy B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/13/2011 11:38:09
The art is what initially caught my eye on this book. Both the cover and interior artwork are extremely evocative. The creative commons licensing is another big plus -- I really admire the trust that they're willing to place in their fans. A third perk is that Posthuman incorporates any errata into their PDFs very quickly, so there's no cross-referencing multiple documents when you play.

But those are just icing, really. The most important elements are the system and the setting. The game uses the short fiction, Lack, to draw the reader in, and then goes on to detail a very nuanced post-singularity future in which transhumanity is recovering from near-extinction at the hands of their own creations. While I found myself most drawn to the socioeconomic conflict at the heart of the Martian terraforming effort, there's a little something for everyone in the setting, from the corporatist Planetary Consortium to the autonomists and anarchists of the outer system.

Character creation can be complex if you're not using one of the sample characters, so be prepared for that to take a little time (and ideally, track down an Excel character sheet to help keep track of things), but the system runs very quickly in actual play. The game is flexible enough to handle virtually any type of character, with normal characters including humans, AIs, and animals raised to sapience who may have an assortment of biological or synthetic bodies (or exist as an infomorph, with no physical body at all.)

An interesting and evocative setting, a system that runs quickly in play, and a company that's extremely fan-friendly? I'm hooked.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase
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Eclipse Phase: Quick-Start Rules
by Jeremy B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/13/2011 11:19:52
A great way to introduce people to Eclipse Phase, which is an extremely well done science fiction/transhuman RPG. Even if you've already got the core, the Quickstart includes an adventure scenario (Mind the WMD) with four sample characters, any of which are also suitable for use in other games or as NPCs. As a minor note, the Quickstart rules were put together before the latest errata (already incorporated into the Eclipse Phase corebook PDF or the third printing of the hardcover), and if being used as a player handout, the GM will have to update players on the changes to initiative and margin of success.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: Quick-Start Rules
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Eclipse Phase: The Stars Our Destination
by Jeremy B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/12/2011 21:33:36
At 18 pages, The Stars Our Destination is slightly longer than either Bump in the Night or Continuity, though it comes in shorter than Ego Hunter or Glory, by way of comparison with other Posthuman products at the same price-point. It's a very enjoyable look at the history and personalities that make up a scum swarm, and as such is useful either to directly import into a game or to use as a template for other swarms. The included plot hooks work well for either visitors or residents of the fleet, so can be used by a variety of game groups, Firewall and otherwise. For my part, I'm looking forward to future releases of this nature as a means to flesh out other aspects of the setting that aren't getting full sourcebooks in the near future.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: The Stars Our Destination
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Eclipse Phase: The Stars Our Destination
by joshua e. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/08/2011 16:20:55
Very good overview of a scum fleet. The book was a bit short but is priced very well for it's length. I would have liked to see more artwork and/or a short story like those in the other E.P. books. That probably would have doubled the price but it would have been worth it. Overall, this book is a must have for fans of E.P.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: Gatecrashing Hack Pack
by Stephen M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/06/2011 18:16:50
Where do you go exploring in a solar system that is filled with people?

Gatecrashing, The second expansion book for the Eclipse Phase RPG, answers that question rather well.
With the introduction of detailed information on the Pandora Gates, which were mentioned in the core book, players can now explore planets in other solar systems by traveling through these gates.

While the weird and wonderful locations you can reach through the Pandora Gates are the focus of the book, just as interesting is the politics and intrigue surrounding the possession of and access to the Gates. The mysterious origins of the Pandora Gates and the potential profit to be had by those possessing them are ripe for a backstabbing and betrayal filled campaign.

The actual extrasolar missions themselves as describes are filled with hazards form these strange new planets, and this things that can be encountered there. and the potential for being stranded in these strange places breeds paranoia in bucket fulls.

If there is anything to not like about this book, it is perhaps that too much is borrowed from the Stargate franchise. At some points the descriptions of the Gates and their operating procedures could be a carbon copy of a Stargate description.
Perhaps a little more effort could have been put into distancing it from such a popular series with such a similar premise.
That said, when taken in context with the Eclipse Phase setting as a whole, it works very well.

Overall, an excellent product that any sci-fi RPG fan should pick up.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: Gatecrashing Hack Pack
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Eclipse Phase: Panopticon
by Mike B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/25/2011 15:15:15
In relation to past Eclipse Phase products, I'd place it somewhere below Sunward and above Gatecrashing. In relation to any other RPG product, I'd place it in my cart to buy immediately. :) If you're looking at this review, you've presumably already read the core book and fallen in love with the setting. This book is more of the same in the best way possible, brilliantly researched "fluff" to bring colour and life to new corners of the setting, and a wee bit of new "crunch" to go along with it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: Panopticon
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Eclipse Phase: Ego Hunter
by Andrew K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/27/2011 10:37:27
Ego Hunter thrusts players and GMs alike into the gritty ethical and philosophical dilemmas of Eclipse Phase, and this is where it really shines. From conflicting loyalties to crime in a post-national solar system to the legal status of digital (trans)humans. It's a great adventure for new players with some solid grasp on the world and atmosphere of Eclipse Phase.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: Ego Hunter
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Eclipse Phase: Panopticon
by Jason P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/26/2011 15:45:10
This is a great product; I love the 'fluff' is much more of a way people thing and how things operate rather than most other fluff, it is quite a bit of information that players can incorporate and utilize in playing the game rather than just background information. It's well written interesting and useful

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: Panopticon
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Eclipse Phase: Panopticon
by Gerald S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/26/2011 13:19:46
Excellent book, with well written articles and a lot of information to use in game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: Lack
by Ben K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/26/2011 12:13:56
This product is excellent. It's just a quick short story, but a great introduction to the Eclipse Phase universe. Eclipse Phase material (with the exception of some presentation/graphic design elements) is Creative Commons licensed, so you could just remix this if you own the full manual, but I didn't mind paying 0.99 to someone else to have the ePub formatting work done for me.

This and the other ePubs are great introductions to the flavor that the Eclipse Phase universe has, and a good way to sell the campaign to players (or even game masters). Lack is an excellent presentation of one detail a lot of players will be skeptical of - that you can allow for a resurrection / respawn mechanic in a table top RPG and maintain realistic internal universe mechanics and a strong degree of scientific verisimilitude.

Highly recommended.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: Lack
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Eclipse Phase: Panopticon
by Erathoniel W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/26/2011 10:19:57
Panopticon is a must-have Eclipse Phase supplement.

I feel that Posthuman Studios could have given it another once-over check for errors, though the errors present are simple typos rather than major errors. That said, if you won't be totally nit-picking with the typos and you'll actually read the whole book, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

The art and writing, as always, is top notch (sans typos). The book offers in-depth analysis of social issues through a science-fiction proxy, though that's to be expected from Posthuman Studios, they really hit home with Panopticon. Add in a ton of new rules for all sorts of awesome (surveillance and uplifts, as well as habitat stuff), and everyone will be happy.

The nice little intro story kicks off the rest of the book nicely by providing a quick glimpse at some of the deeper discussion of concepts later on, and also is plain awesome (to use an academic term). Then in true Eclipse Phase manner, the book launches in to well over a hundred pages of setting and background, combined with little fiction or explanatory blurbs. While I like setting more than the average guy, I feel that even fans of mechanics that normally disdain setting exposition would enjoy the more cerebral standard set by Posthuman Studios.

The book wraps up with mechanics for everything discussed throughout the book, including lots of new morphs and gear/services. As always, the mechanics are solid, and Panopticon delivers on providing a solid science-fiction experience without feeling cheesy.

I'd recommend Panopticon for any fan of Eclipse Phase. The high standard of quality set by Posthuman Studios really shows in this product, even if there are some lapses in grammar and spelling that are aggravating.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: Panopticon
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Publisher Reply:
Erathoniel, Thanks for the review. We have a thread on our message boards where fans can point out mistakes they've caught or otherwise suggest corrections. Please jump in and let us know any specific problems you saw, the thread is here: http://www.eclipsephase.com/eclipse-phase-panopticon-errata cheers, Posthuman Studios (Rob, Brian, and Adam)
Eclipse Phase: Panopticon
by Christoph S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/26/2011 02:22:49
I've now through the last sections of the book, only surveillance is missing but still... this book is awesome and would make a great bundle with the corebook.

The Habitat-part alone is worth reading for every player since you get a glimpse on how living in zero-g habitats is like, what dangers are posed and what to do if sh*t hits the fan hard and your section decompresses. Add to that some information about the things people do and voila. Its a good read from an in-game perspective that makes your neurons work about how you can create your own character.

Now, the cherry to me was the uplift part. Heck. They are featured on the cover in an awesome monkey-octopus cagefight (with Laserwhips!). And the narrator was a quite suave neo-dolphin and the chapter features many in-character sidebars about other uplifts too (for example, the first to actually be recognized as an uplift).

The book ends with game information, lots and lots of uplift-morphs, and a warm and fuzzy feeling, wanting more.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: Panopticon
by Jason B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/25/2011 00:39:32
This is THE book to get, if you want info on exactly how having advanced sensor and computer technology will have an affect on the cultures, persons, and PCs that will have access to them.

Also, it has a extremely well-done "Uplift" section. Uplifts being the "Sentients created from animal stock" seen in EP and many other sci-fi games. Although written specifically for EP's setting, the political and corporate groups could be used in other settings, with little change.

Finally, there is a Habitat section, detailing everything from construction, how to infiltrate, and even how to "sleeve" an entire Habitat as one's body ("Morph" in EP slang).

Even if you aren't playing/buying EP specifically, this is a good book for general sci-fi info on the 'how does (x) work'
for just about any 'sufficiently advanced' setting.

Buy this, now!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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