Ann Arbor Game Day
Elevator Pitch: Existential horror black-ops in the mostly-hard sci-fi transhuman future.
Core Mechanic: Roll under skill rating on percentile dice, with degree of success determined by how high the roll is.
Dice Used: d100, d10
A century or so in the future, transhumanity has spread throughout the solar system, beaten death by developing the ability to upload minds digitally and then redownload them into bodies, developed a means to uplift animals to equal levels of intelligence, and created data networks and intelligent agents that allow for access to all the collected information fit to spread.
And it’s on the brink of extinction.
Ten years ago, a group of seed AIs called the TITANs achieved Singularity-level intelligence, took control of military weaponry and nano-fabricators, and began a reign of terror that drove transhumanity to the brink. Their terrifyingly advanced technology was so far beyond what humanity could understand that not only were they nearly defenseless, but many were driven mad just observing it. But after conquering the earth and despoiling it with nano viruses of uncertain purpose or operation, and spreading their influence randomly throughout the galaxy, they suddenly ceased their attacks. Investigations of sites of known activity lost many, but also revealed gates; apparently the TITANs had moved on, sparing humanity from extinction.
Since then, transhumanity has sought to rebuild, with different parts of the system taking different approaches. Some cultures cling to the structures of the past, while others embrace the changes wrought by post scarcity; others believe that the TITANs are evidence of overreach and seek to roll back even further. Every planet and, indeed, every habitat has become a world unto itself, but all of them live with the reality that even the relics the TITANs have left behind can prove terribly dangerous.
In the shadows of all of this, the secret organization Firewall was founded to protect transhumanity from existential threats. Essentially a black-ops conspiracy, Firewall agents have some advantages, but mostly operate in autonomous cells, serving as a first line of defense against the larger dangers that could threaten transhumance existence as a whole, whether they’re TITAN relics, illegal research into seed AIs, viruses brought back from expeditions through the gates, or even a memetic idea that’s so dangerous it spreads like a virus.
Eclipse Phase uses an extremely high crunch d100 roll-under system, with target numbers determined by everything from ego attributes (inherent to the person), morph traits (gained from the body your mind is sleeved in), learned skills, skill software designed to help, equipment of all sorts, and more. A character’s skill is also her maximum level of success, as the degree of success is equal to the number rolled, with doubles (11, 22, etc) being critical successes.
Thanks to the ability to resleeve from a backup or recovered cortical stack, physical death is less permanent and more of an inconvenience, but the human mind has difficulty with those sorts of discontinuities, and good morphs do come at a price. Still, in many ways, the greatest threats, besides Ex-Threats that can burn out the ego and all backups, are the ones that erode the mind into madness.
Characters are generally Firewall agents, but because Firewall is a system-wide conspiracy whose core tenant is widely agreed upon, they can come form any background, from bioconservative Jovians to experience-hungry Scum traveling the system in anarcho-communist ship swarms. Besides humans, uplifts of various primates, cetaceans, octopi, birds, and others are also counted among Firewall’s ranks, as well as AGIs, a type of sentient AI that lack the capacity for self improvement that led to the singularity intelligences that nearly doomed mankind.
Think Before Asking (Web download)
A Firewall contact flags a dangerous weapon traveling through the rings of Saturn, capable of destroying at least a moon. The agents are asked to track it down, and figure out who wants to use it and why.
Getting the Game
Eclipse Phase is licensed CC-BY-SA-NC! You can download it, or buy a PDF for your DTRPG library to help support the company, or buy the physical books from the official website.