Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Shape of Things to Come

Greetings everyone. It's been a busy couple of weeks since my last post; we're still packing, I've picked up some extra shifts at work, and have been playing Android: Netrunner on Wednesdays.

As for our usual get together's on the weekends, my Sunday group wrapped up our arc in Deathwatch a week or so ago. It was fun, but I think we agreed that although the system lends itself to the setting quite well, it's not really supportive of an RPG playing style that isn't heavily combat-focused, which is understandable given that it's Warhammer 40K. But still the PC mortality-rate is quite high compared to many other games, which I can see making encounter design difficult, particularly if you're hoping to have the PC's survive long through a story arc or campaign. I haven't read the entire corebook, but it doesn't appear to offer any suggestions to remedy this problem.

So, we've been considering what we're going to play on the weekends, and since I haven't run anything for a while (I put Ravenloft on hiatus so I could participate in Netrunner at my FLGS), my itch to GM has been in need to scratch. Playing Netrunner and reading/watching/listening to cyberpunk works has got me focused on that genre, and I suggested the story in Eclipse Phase that I had been forming in my head.

Eclipse Phase, though labelled a Transhuman Conspiracy and Horror Roleplaying game, I saw had obvious parallels to cyberpunk/postcyberpunk fiction and although the story I am developing has evolved given the setting and technology, it still contains some of the tropes indicative to that genre.

Eclipse Phase is as heavy on the rules as it is on the setting, and at one point I was considering running it using a much more free-form system (such as the Eclipse FATE variants I've come across), but I thought against it because some of the rules connect best with the plot points I have in mind. I've also decided to ignore some of rules and spin my own variants; and I want to tell a story a certain way and am not letting the rules bog me down.

This brings me to my next point: I think the setting and concepts in EP gives it great potential, like a huge sandbox to play in; and like a sandbox, you have the most fun building and playing how you want to. Sure the book has suggestions how you could play in it, but I've got my own ideas.

That said this game I'm planning is a bit of a experiment, because I have yet to actually run this system, I'm changing up some of the rules, and I'm trying something new with character creation and immersion. I feel that unless the GM has some control and/or puts down guidelines down on how the players create their characters, the vast differences in PC's can make group cohesion quite difficult, let alone story structure. This applies to most systems that allow that much PC design freedom, not just Eclipse Phase.

I don't want to reveal too much right now, but the concept I'm going for is kind of like 'customizable pregens' or more specifically 'organic character growth'. At first PC customization might seem quite limited, but the intention is that this is supported by the story. Rather than have all the options available like standard character creation in EP, I think limitation gives player's/character's more drive. Instead of starting off as the individual they'd like to be, they are inspired to become it.

This concept should also support introducing certain rules & setting pieces gradually. I'm hoping it'll work.

Anyway, I should get back to packing/writing this story.

Cheers! ;{١