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[A Strangely Eclipsed Aeon] Eclipse Phase Hack for Cthulhutech

EarthScorpion

Nascent Cosmic Horror
Validated User
Well, I mentioned that in the Ancient Enemies thread I was thinking of starting this. And now I have.

Let's just put things out straight. A Strangely Eclipsed Aeon is a systems modification for Eclipse Phase, to use it to run Cthulhutech games. Or at least Cthulhutech-like games; the point is, Mythos+prototranshumanism+anime inspiration + hardish sci-fi = awesome, and thus this is something which should be promoted.

Broadly speaking, the "default" assumptions behind A Strangely Eclipsed Aeon is that it will be weighted more towards the science fiction, post-cyberpunk, horror side of Cthulhutech. It'll be more Ghost in the Shell, Alastair Reynolds and Dreams in the Witch House than it will be Macross.

There are broadly speaking, a few separate bits which will need to be done for ASEA, to cover the separate parts of the game. As follows;

  1. The character creation rules. These will be the easiest bits, because it's more removing things which are not appropriate for the setting (for example, there won't be the same Morph/Ego divide for most characters), than adding things.
  2. Tagers and Dhohanoids. This will be fairly easy; we can model them as characters who can as a Complex Action swap their Morphs, from a human one to a monstrous one. This isn't too bad.
  3. Vehicle rules. These will be more complicated, because Eclipse Phase as it stands is much more a foot orientated game. Broadly speaking, this should feel like those bits from the first GITS film, in that taking on even a power armour without the proper equipment should leave you fucked (like in normal Ctech), although I'm not quite sure how we'll handle larger scale vehicle combat.
  4. Sorcery. This will require entire new subsystems to be done. I believe I'll be taking a leaf from Jon Chung's book, and making Sorcerous Training a skill, with the difficulty of the spell modifiying the difficulty. I also plan to use the Cassandran/Horakian/Salaamian school divide for the different methods.
  5. Parapsychics. In a sense,, they're easier than sorcerers, because psi exists. On the other hand, Ctech sorcery is much more powerful than EP psi, and so will be harder to balance, as well as requiring whole new systems.

The first part of the character creation rules will follow.
 

EarthScorpion

Nascent Cosmic Horror
Validated User
A Strangely Eclipsed Aeon

An Eclipse Phase Hack


Character Creation

The basic process of character creation in ASEA is the same as in Eclipse Phase. The major difference is that, for most characters, there is not the same Ego/Morph distinction. With the exception of certain arcane entities (Tagers and Dhohanoids being the most prominent among them), the body in which you are born is broadly one in which you will die. Barring limb regrowth, enhancement, and the other medical phenomena of the Strange Aeon, of course. For this reason, your Morph is referred to your Body from here on in.

Both Ego Traits and Body Traits are calculated from your Aptitudes and your Body, as per the Eclipse Phase rulebook. They remain the same.

Rep, and ASEA

In Eclipse Phase terms, the New Earth Government is a steady Transitional Economy. There is limited scarcity, due to the fact that basics can be manufactured in a home nanofactory, which, combined with the existence of NEG-authorised freeware nanofactory templates for common goods like food (although, it should be noted, although you can live on such things, you may not choose to), means that no citizen should go hungry. On the other hand, the limited resolution of the standard home nanofactory, the restricted build-list, and long production period for more complex goods, means that capitalism is still the dominant economic paradigm, albeit one which has had its teeth pulled. As a result, the Rep networks from Eclipse Phase see use, although they are softer, and less well defined than in that game. It is almost certain that you will need to pay money in some form for a good acquired through Rep; a good suggestion, until more solid rules are defined, is that every Margin of Success on the Networking roll reduces the price by 10%. They remain useful for favours, and for gathering information, following the same rules as in Eclipse Phase.

The following Rep networks see use in ASEA. GMs are, as usual, free to add any they see as appropriate.

- The Butterfly’s Wings: the internal and external favours network for the Chrysalis Corporation. Low levels of this can be got by normal employees or outsiders; higher levels are reserved for those who they know to be loyal. Marked as C-Rep.

- AEN: The Ashcroft Esteem Network, used by the Ashcroft Foundation. Marked as A-Rep.

- Fame: As Eclipse Phase. Marked as f-Rep

- Whispers: The entire structure of the Death’s Shadows is built around this complex network of favours and deals. The Whispers are broader than other types of Rep; you may use Whispers at -30 to substitute for any other type of Rep, although this may compromise other assets, and cause a fall in your own Whispers rating if assets are lost. Marked as W-Rep.

- Guanxi: As Eclipse Phase. Marked as g-Rep.

- RNA: As Eclipse Phase. Marked as r-Rep.

- Corporate Reciprocity: Used by both megacorps, IPcorps, and smaller businesses alike. Technically speaking, A-Rep and C-Rep are subsets of this, although both those organisations have massive internal networks, and so maintain separate Rep networks; however, with that said, A-Rep and C-Rep may substitute for Corporate Reciprocity at no penalty. Marked as $-Rep.

- The Scales of Righteousness: The favour network of the Eldritch Society. Marked as ES-Rep.

- Soldiers’ Chat: Tied to the NEG Army and Navy. Marked as M-Rep

- Nazzadamigeni: The Nazzadi social network, largely dominated by Culturist types. Marked as N-Rep

Backgrounds

Obviously, due to the different settings, the backgrounds are notable different from Eclipse Phase. In general, there are no Morph Restrictions, due to the differing body rules.

Arcology Dweller

Like the majority of the population, you were born in the vast arcologies which sprung up in the need to repair after the damage inflicted by the First Arcanotech War. You may not have ever necessarily been outside in your life, but you are utterly at home around masses of people and technology.

Advantages: + 10 to two Networking: [Field] of your choice, +10 Interfacing, +10 to one Technical, Academic: [Field], or Profession: [Field] skill of your choice
Disadvantages: None
Restrictions: None

Ashcroft Family

A member of the “new aristocracy”, your parents were part of the technocratic, meritocratic Ashcroft Foundation. You likely made your way through the academic hothouses of the Ashcroft Academies, and emerged on the other side ready for anything, because if the Academies teach you anything, they teach you how to learn.

Advantages: Fast Learner trait, +10 Networking [Ashcroft], +20 to any Knowledge skill of your choice, +10,000 Credits
Disadvantages: Social Stigma (Ashcroft Child)
Restrictions: None


Child of War

Born in the horrors of the First Arcanotech War, the Nazzadi Civil War, the Post-Integration Conflicts, or in a conflicted area of the Second Arcanotech War, you are no stranger to going hungry, of the scream of bombers and of the need to go around in protective gear, lest the creeping horror of chemical, micrological or nanological weapons snuff you out.

Advantages: Danger Sense Trait, + 10 Networking: [Field] of your choice, +10 to one Technical, Academic: [Field], or Profession: [Field] skill of your choice, +10 Fray
Disadvantages: None
Restrictions: As per setting.


Culturist

Your early family life was defined by the (some might say ‘desperate’) search for a Nazzadi culture. You are likely used to many different cultures and styles, as well as some... interesting... cooking choices.

Advantages: +10 Networking [Nazzadi], +10 to two Art: [Field] of your choice, +10 to one Technical, Academic: [Field], or Profession: [Field] skill of your choice
Disadvantages: None
Restrictions: Must be Nazzadi, amlati or sidoci

Evacuee

You were saved from one of the many conflicts of the last century. Unlike the Child of War background, you were removed from the immediate conflict, but that might just have been to a vast evacuee camp, or to an unfamiliar arcology, often having lost family members

As Fall Evacuee

Ghetto-Child

Raised in one of the ghettoes that sprung up around the newly built arcologies, the promises of social democracy of the NEG likely ring a little hollow. You have seen the inequities that the majority of the population can ignore, and yet the utter dependencies such places have on both the NEG and the penacious whims of the IPcorps and the megacorps.

As Scum-Born, but replacing Networking [Autonomists] with either Networking [Nazzadi], Networking [Criminals] or Networking [IPcorps].

Hyperelite

As Eclipse Phase, but with the Morph Restriction disadvantage removed.

Integrationist

Your early family life was defined by your parents desire to blend into human society. You were likely born in an arcology, and are cosmopolitan, used to life where your subspecies is heavily outnumbered

Advantages: + 10 to two Technical, Academic: [Field], or Profession: [Field] skills of your choice, +20 Networking: [Field] of your choice.
Disadvantages: Must have at least 50 in a non-Nazzadi language
Restrictions: Must be Nazzadi, amlati or sidoci.

Orphan

Both your parents died, and you were raised in one of the many NEG-run orphanages. Alternatively, your parents may have been deemed unsuitable to bring you up (whether due to suspected cult influence, or the lack of a suitable environment for child-raising), or simply given you up (a common background among sidoci). Raised collectively, they tried to mould you into a productive member of society.

Advantages: +20 to one Technical, Academic: [Field], or Profession: [Field] skill of your choice,+10 Networking [New Earth Government], +1 Moxie
Disadvantages: Only 2,500 starting Credit (can still buy with CP)
Restrictions: None


Ship Born

A strange anomaly, you were born on one of the Nazzadi colony ships, in between their dispatch from Yuggoth, and the destruction of the NEG orbital assets at the start of Second Arcanotech War. You have a head for zero-g, and are used to the strictly regimented life onboard ships. You are likely, but not necessarily a Nazzadi; humans (and, later, amlati and sidoci) were born on the ships, too, once the races onboard diversified.

Advantages: + 10 Freefall skill, + 10 Networking: [Field] of your choice, +20 to one Technical, Academic: [Field], or Profession: [Field] skill of your choice
Disadvantages: None
Restrictions: Must be in right age category.


Vat Grown

You were grown in the Migou tanks, out in the Oort Cloud. The first part of your life is a lie, memories implanted by Yuggothian fungoids so that you could be used as a weapon against your DNA sources. You chose to rebel against that purpose, but their design has left its marks in you.

Advantages: +10 to two combat related skills of your choice, +20 Networking: [Nazzadi], +10 to one Technical, Academic: [Field], or Profession: [Field] skill of your choice
Disadvantages: Edited Memories trait, Primary Language must be Nazzadi
Restrictions: Must be Nazzadi, must have been physically born before 2059
 
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Durandal

Rampant Construct
Validated User
This looks great so far, it should really help add in a lot of the transhuman elements that CTech glosses over (the rep system especially). The two-axis damage track is also a boon here. Tracking damage on a physical and mental scale is a big part of EP and it fits right in with CTech's setting (and it comes with a very in-depth psychosurgery system as well so no need to crib a whole new insanity system when EP's is actually one of the better ones ever published).

For vehicle combat the damage and armour scale is flexible enough that it wouldn't require a scale multiplier. Since the max armour a synth-morph can get in EP is absolutely insane (high 40's to low 50's according to my not so good memory) and they still manage to not be overwhelmingly un-killable you should just be able to use sufficiently high armour values and go from there. Larger objects are simply represented by very high durabilities instead and armour ranging from 20-30.

If you want infantry weapons to have a hard time dealing with mechs and vehicles then the simple solution is to cut down on upgrades. A conventional machine gun with biter rounds on full-auto can shred even well-armoured targets so it may be a good idea to remove most kinds of smart ammo (except possibly for power armour and larger scale weapons perhaps). But basically the way the system is set up vehicles are handled fine under the normal system because the game pretty much treats any kind of body like a vehicle anyways.

So for example a Mk-10 Centurion may look like this in EP terms:

Passenger Capacity: 1
Handling: -
Movement Rate: 8/32 walker, Hopper 4/20
Max Velocity: 48kph (converted from max velocity)
Armor: 18/18 (baseline for battlesuit)
Durability: 60
Wound Threshold: 12
Extras: Self Healing, Radar, and other enhancements as per the battlesuit rules in the EP book

Then just use that as the baseline for determining the rest of the mechs. Machines take wounds like other things so the vehicle damage spiral from CTech is still present (and EP allows for called shots to represent system damage).

And without synth-morphs around something like the above will be quite the danger to most fleshy targets present while still allowing them to take it down.

So I think the vehicle rules work fine right now and are just the right level of abstract to be able to run fast GitS-style vehicle combats.

In any case good luck with the conversion, can't wait to see what else you come up with.
 

jsnead

Social Justice Dragon
Validated User
I really like this idea. Adapting psi and sorcery will be a bit of work, but everything else otherwise looks straightforward. Since resleeving and cortical stacks don't exist, I would make one change to chargen. I'd prohibit all Expensive bioware, cyberware, and nanoware, since almost all of those are highly invasive and (to me at least) don't fit with the lack of resleeving. OTOH, the lack of resleeving doesn't mean that everyone needs to start as a Flat. I can see allowing players to buy their characters as Splicers or Exalts, Mentons, or other human-based biomorphs - a character simply climbs in a healing vast, pays a bunch of money, and gets their body upgraded.

The major question you need to ask at that point is whether or not true AI exists. If so, then AI characters in synthmorphs are a possible character type, but I'd be inclined to say that in Cthulhutech, software that looking intelligent and which responds to normal language is possible, but full AI is not.
 

QuicksilverFox85

Neighborhood Latin Nerd
Validated User
Very shiny stuff so far. Looking forward to an eventual PDF version once you get everything figured out.
 

EarthScorpion

Nascent Cosmic Horror
Validated User
Well... yes, I'm pleased at the responses. I've thought, ever since I got my lovely, lovely hardcopy of Eclipse Phase, that it's... well, it's everything I wanted Cthulhutech to be from the core. And, yes, the fact that I love the Lucidity system was a major factor for this hack, because it really works, and reduces how much work I have to do a lot.

@Durandal; thanks a lot for the advice. I haven't really looked at the combat scaling stuff yet, but I'll really keep that in mind. At a glance, it seems about right. And, yes, GitSy combat is something I think that EP does (deliberately) very well, so it makes sense that a lot of the things to make it work are already there.

I really like this idea. Adapting psi and sorcery will be a bit of work, but everything else otherwise looks straightforward. Since resleeving and cortical stacks don't exist, I would make one change to chargen. I'd prohibit all Expensive bioware, cyberware, and nanoware, since almost all of those are highly invasive and (to me at least) don't fit with the lack of resleeving. OTOH, the lack of resleeving doesn't mean that everyone needs to start as a Flat. I can see allowing players to buy their characters as Splicers or Exalts, Mentons, or other human-based biomorphs - a character simply climbs in a healing vast, pays a bunch of money, and gets their body upgraded.

The major question you need to ask at that point is whether or not true AI exists. If so, then AI characters in synthmorphs are a possible character type, but I'd be inclined to say that in Cthulhutech, software that looking intelligent and which responds to normal language is possible, but full AI is not.
Actually... on that subject... well, see below. To expand, there's a general paucity of civilian grade cyberwear and bioware, as Eclipse Phase would deem it; Mesh Implants are starting to hit commonish use, but everything's back a bit. I've chosen to go for Subspecies as the dominant part of the Body bit, although I have inserted a Belle Epoche of genetic engineering which was bought to an end by AW1, which means that there are basically Splicers running around. Nothing more advanced (I did rejig the scale a bit, because without Remade running around with a trait cap of 40, there's less need to be crampled). If you're with the military, you can get better upgrades (for example, mecha and fighter pilots get large-scale rewiring to allow them to tolerate higher Gs), but this is just the basic stuff.

And, yes, no Synthmorph PCs. The LAI systems can fool a human, but that's through heuristics and predictable libraries, rather than actual intellect like an AGI. On the other hand, I stole muses (and TITANs; they're LAI command and coordination networks for the NEGA and NEGN. And are incidentally a product of the Achtzig Group, and a certain Dr. C. Sylveste.) for Cthulhutech, so that kind of thing exists.

Also, I think I enjoyed tweaking Lovecraft's nose by making Genefixed Amlati the best Body in the game a little too much. THE FUTURE IS MISCEGENATION! :D


Bodies

As has been previously established, for the vast majority of characters, the body which you are born in is the one in which you shall die. As a result, the choice of Morph (Body) is effectively picking your subspecies, as well as a few oddities. Broadly speaking, there are two common branches of humanity; Homo sapiens sapiens (humans as we know now), and Homo sapiens nazzadi, the black-skinned (as in, actually black-black, rather than the very dark brown of humanity), red-eyed Migou-built cousins of mankind. In addition, there are the products of breeding between the two, the amlati, and the sidoci; the former are much as one would expect if you blended the two subspecies, while the sidoci exhibit odd mental and physical properties. In addition, some humans and amlati, or their parents, were prenatally modified in that brief belle epoché of genetic engineering, in the 2040s and 2050s, before the First Arcanotech War, and carry the advantages encoded in their genetics back then.

A general note. Unlike Eclipse Phase, there has not been the same proliferation of implanted technology into the general populace. As a result, it is not assumed that any character comes with any implants at all. This is especially true of the mainstay of Eclipse Phase, the Cortical Stack, which simply does not exist. As a result... well, it is probable that someone will need to make up a new character during an ASEA game, unlike normal Eclipse Phase, where you can revert to a back-up. As a result, bodies are not listed with a Credit cost, and should you require a body for some purpose, quite possibly nefarious, then this is not the place to look (and, really, it should be up to the GM if they wish to feature themes like slave trading).

Moreover, the individuals with supernatural entities grafted onto their souls who are variously known as Tagers and Dhohanoids have alternate forms bestowed (some might say “imposed”) on them by their transformation. They still choose from the list below (subject to the restrictions, detailed later), as their primary (or, at least, human) form. It will be necessary for these characters, unlike normal characters, to track a separate Ego and Morph, as the properties of the form they are in will affect their attributes.

NOTE: Bodies which provide a attribute boost will be notably more expensive than the equivalent in Eclipse Phase. The reason for this is simple; as one is stuck in one’s body for the entirety of one’s life, this is effectively a life-long stat-boost, unlike in Eclipse Phase, where the body is equipment, which can be discarded. Consider the Exalt morph, for example; it gives + 5 COG, and +5 to three other attributes. This alone would cost 200CP, at the given cost of 10 CP for +1 to an attribute, yet the body costs only 30CP. On the plus side, the Attribute caps have been raised, due to the lower base

Baseline Human

You are human. Your ancestors staggered off from the African savannah, beating the fuck out of all larger animals along the way and generally being a superlative social pursuit predator, and evolved their way into a position where they could believe that they were the dominant species on the planet. In the Strange Aeon, the problems with that belief have become evident. Nevertheless, with all the lovely issues that come from having evolved naturally (although in the last century, the practice of pre-implantation genetic screening and selection have reduced the occurrence of some of the worst problems), you plan to show all the things who’s boss.

Or you could go crazy and become a cultist, I guess. Your choice.

Aptitude Maximum: 30 for one aptitude of the player’s choice, 25 for all others
Durability: 30
Wound Threshold: 6
Advantages: None
Disadvantages: None (Genetic Defects and Allergies common)
CP Cost: 0

Nazzadi

You are a Nazzadi (well, technically, depending on sex, you are a nazzada or nazzady, but who’s counting?); a member of the subspecies of Homo sapiens engineered by the Migou for earthly conquest. Your skin uses voumelanin, rather than eumelanin, giving you skin that varies from a sort of slate-grey to tar-black, depending on how much of it you have, and your teeth are chisel-like. More importantly, your eyes have been engineered for low light vision, at a cost of inferior colour vision to a baseline human (the Migou had to make space for all the extra rod cells, and chose to get rid of cones). Oddly, the Migou left in some of the defects, as a way of creating a more realistic population, as well as the simple fact that a lack of diversity is death if someone can exploit it. You may have been born in the vats on Yuggoth or in the rest of the Oort Cloud, or in a more conventional way, but either way, you have thrown in your lot with the New Earth Government.

Unless you’re a Loyalist. Or a Cultist.

Aptitude Maximum: 30 for COO and REF, 25 for all others.
Durability: 30
Wound Threshold: 6
Advantages: Perfect Night Vision, +5 to REF or COO
Disadvantages: Poor Colour Vision (Genetic Defects and Allergies common)
CP Cost: 55


Baseline Amlati

Once the peace treaty between the Nazzadi and humanity had been signed, it was a remarkably short while before the... hand of friendship was extended in an altogether more intimate manner. And nine months later, the first wave of xenomixes, the amlati, were born. Except, of course, this isn’t the whole story; the fact that there are older ones, from both the Nazzadi-run camps, and the facilities of the nascent NEG, is something which is brushed over by the histories. The background of an amlati is highly variable; they can have been raised as human, as Nazzadi, or as any of the mixes which emerge when a child is raised by parents of different cultures. Normally, it has been found that the amlati are an example of hybrid vigour; they tend to be healthy, and attractive to humans and Nazzadi alike. In their appearance, they are very much what one would expect as human-Nazzadi crosses; their skin is a sort of greyish-brown (highly dependent on the levels of pigmentation in their parents, of course), and their eyes blend Nazzadi-red with human variety to create a bruise-like spectrum of oranges, yellows and purples.

Aptitude Maximum: 30 for one aptitude of the player’s choice, 25 for all others
Durability: 30
Wound Threshold: 6
Advantages: Striking Looks (Level 1), Improved Immune System (Level 1)
Disadvantages: None (Genetic Defects and Allergies common)
CP Cost: 20

Sidoci

The mechanics will be done when the parapsychic rules are done.

Aptitude Maximum:
Durability:
Wound Threshold:
Advantages:
Disadvantages:
CP Cost:

Genefixed Human

In the 2040s and 2050s, the science of pre-implantation selection and engineering began to enter semi-widespread use. People had learned from the tragic, faltering steps taken in the 2030s; this new generation was safe and stable. The practice was made illegal in the aftermath of the First Arcanotech War (which was not without its controversy, for many protested at the superiority of the Nazzadi in certain fields), but the genefixed were breeding by now, and their enhancements were carried down. The Genefixed are only subtly different from baseline (and, in fact, can breed normally), although it has been noted that they are disproportionately represented in the higher echelons of the NEG and the Ashcroft Foundation. This has led to pressure to relax the laws against genetic modification, although opposition holds strong. It is believed, though, that it will be inevitable that they will be relaxed, as the first generation of Nazzadi diminish in influence.

Aptitude Maximum: 30
Durability: 30
Wound Threshold: 7
Advantages: + 5 to one aptitude of choice, Improved Immune System (Level 1)
Disadvantages: None
CP Cost: 65

Genefixed Amlati

Much as some humans inherited the effects of genefixing, so have amlati. In this case, your human parent was genefixed, and you have inherited the changes. Oddly, it was found that the effects on sidoci were minimal; this is not the case for the more normal xenomixes. The Genefixed among the amlati are indeed blessed by birth; attractive, rarely ill, and tougher than baseline humans or Nazzadi. Ironically, their presence is serving to relax some of the opposition to the modification laws among the Nazzadi, as it becomes evident that not all men are born equal; some cynics would simply say that this is because their hybridised children are better than they are, and that racial purity is nothing more than a delusion.

Aptitude Maximum: 30
Durability: 30
Wound Threshold: 7
Advantages: + 5 to one aptitude of choice, Improved Immune System (Level 2), Striking Looks (Level 1)
Disadvantages: None
CP Cost: 85
 

Kylleran

Retired User
Very cool. If you haven't already you may want to drop a line at our forums and let us know when you get this a little more solidified or have a static link and we'll try to link to it from our site.
 
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