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Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


His actual statblock will inject pure '90s roleplaying writing straight into your eyeballs.



e: This is from the big metaplot adventure supplement where the climax of the adventure is basically Mal showing up to beat up Aberrant-Superman and be smug about it.

Tulul fucked around with this message at 20:58 on Aug 1, 2019

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Ronwayne
Nov 20, 2007

That warm and fuzzy feeling.


Needs some mention of Slave Morality, but otherwise batting .900 on fash apologia.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.



I know the Aberrant house font wasn't Comic Sans but I had the thought once that it should be, and now that's all I see.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


I love that his daring philosophy is 'I should be allowed to do whatever I want because I am very powerful and nobody can say that's wrong'.

It's very honest for 90s WW and what most of its bullshit tended to boil down to.

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




divis mal needs to fight caine who needs to fight stone who needs to fight the lady of pain who needs to fight nyarlathotep who needs to fight harlequin who needs to fight etc.

good lord did 90's rpgs loving love their invincible GMPCs that had all the powers and were completely untouchable relative to the players.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Freaking Crumbum posted:

divis mal needs to fight caine who needs to fight stone who needs to fight the lady of pain who needs to fight nyarlathotep who needs to fight harlequin who needs to fight etc.

good lord did 90's rpgs loving love their invincible GMPCs that had all the powers and were completely untouchable relative to the players.

Hey, c'mon, the Lady of Pain is considerably different from those because she generally doesn't interfere with the plot, doesn't get any big scene-stealing roles, etc. she's more just a law of the local universe rather than a writer's pet wank project.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


PurpleXVI posted:

Hey, c'mon, the Lady of Pain is considerably different from those because she generally doesn't interfere with the plot, doesn't get any big scene-stealing roles, etc. she's more just a law of the local universe rather than a writer's pet wank project.

Hell, she mostly sits around and makes sure nobody else acts like Divis Mal on her turf so that the PCs can have a story.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Halloween Jack posted:

You know how Magneto's power is to do literally anything he wants, as long as he says "magnetism" at some point? Like that, but "quantum."

He controls energy, and time, and other people's superpowers, and is immune to everything. And he has every Mega-Attribute, so he's already outmaneuvered you anyway.
Yeah, except all superpowers explicitly run on "Quantum" in Aberrant, so he's even worse than Magneto, who allegedly can only do Magnetic things. It's not writers stretching things or not realizing magnetism shouldn't work on, say, a chunk of ice. (Or having Magneto use "Animal Magnetism" to hypnotize somebody, like happened once)

Divis Mal is, just, straight up explicitly this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HnWFmDhxLM

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!



Night10194 posted:

Hell, she mostly sits around and makes sure nobody else acts like Divis Mal on her turf so that the PCs can have a story.

Spiky LP doesn't even have a personality aside from 'no sense of humor, no chill, never speaks'. She's just, kinda, there.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Zereth posted:

Yeah, except all superpowers explicitly run on "Quantum" in Aberrant, so he's even worse than Magneto, who allegedly can only do Magnetic things. It's not writers stretching things or not realizing magnetism shouldn't work on, say, a chunk of ice. (Or having Magneto use "Animal Magnetism" to hypnotize somebody, like happened once)

Divis Mal is, just, straight up explicitly this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HnWFmDhxLM
Yeah like Magneto at least has a hypothetical limit or two - he isn't intrinsically super-tough, you could use a wooden gun at him, and so on.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Eclipse Phase: Second Edition



IT KEEPS LORENING, I mean, happening. I mean here's more setting fluff.

The next bit is about how everyone is extremely online all the time and how the Internet of Things, rather than being declared a war crime, has instead grown to the point where even your loving candy bar wrapped probably has Wifi so it can tell you how much of the bar is remaining and order you a new one when you're done. The whole Internet of Everything is basically called the Mesh now, just so it sounds a bit more futuristic. It's an interesting setting detail, but also one of the ones that it's easy to forget about. Everyone's constant Mesh input, unless they're Jovians, Neo-Luddites or switch off their Mesh inserts after the first barrage of Consortium ads can put a bit of strain on describing everything. Though it also makes sense that most people would, rather quickly, develop their own arsenal of adblockers and sorters to maintain them with a sane amount of Mesh info rather than an overwhelming amount.

This section also touches on the HYPERPANOPTICON that somewhat complicates running any sort of game with any detail of intrigue anywhere even vaguely civilized, since everything's IOT, everything's a potential surveillance device, and actually doing anything secret would require turning yourself into such a Mesh cold spot that even that, by itself, would be suspicious and point you out to the authorities.

quote:

Surveillance, however, is no longer just the province of the elites; it has been democratized. The same interconnectivity and public/ private sensor nets used to track everyday people can be used to monitor authorities. Sousveillance — literally “watching from below” — is a necessary safeguard against abuse and oppression. Everyone has the capability to instantly capture video and share the media widely. It is easier than ever before to expose authorities engaged in crime, corruption, acts of brutality, or sex scandals. Though many elites remain shielded by their privilege, others have seen the end of their careers or even prosecution. Those in power must tread carefully. To prove their integrity, many have adopted new standards of transparency to the public eye. Others, however, rely on social media "influencers" and spin-control teams to protect their images.

the hyperpanopticon is a good thing, actually

I'm not really sure how to take this block of text, it honestly feels so hopelessly naive that it'd fit better in HSD than EP. I just can't wrap my mind around the idea that this level of surveillance would ever serve the people rather than being used as a weapon against them. Though, it'd be a nice change of, well, nuance, if, say, the Planetary Consortium had some degree of internal accountability. Might put them in a light of something slightly less end-stage-capitalism-horror.

So, anyway. Brains. We can edit them like .ini files now, I guess. Also autism, ADHD and Dyslexia(?????) will all be celebrated as merely different ways to exist in the future, rather than potentially life-crippling problems, and no one will use our brain-editing super-capabilities to help the people suffering from these problems.

I mean, okay, I'm not gonna open that can of worms any further. But can we just agree that dyslexia is the odd one out there? It's a literal disability, while you could argue that in a world with a lot more freedom to isolate yourself and not be beholden to current Earth culture/employment requirements, existing with ADHD or autism(at least some kinds) would be a lot easier, dyslexia is just an out-and-out disability. Having ADHD or autism, I could see someone going: "I don't want to be cured of this, because it helps define me." But who the gently caress celebrates their dyslexia?

quote:

People on the autistic spectrum were among the first to claim the label of neurodiverse. Though many aspects are now reversible, autistic people are free to choose what, if any, changes they wish to make to and for themselves, commonly only treating traits that cause suffering. In some fields, a narrower range of social display and concern is very helpful. Industries like asteroid mining, exoplanet survey, and life in small habitats with few residents can be easier, healthier, and more productive for people with a lower need for social connection.

If you eliminate all the pathologies associated with autism with psychosurgery, leaving just being a bit obsessive and liking to be left alone, is it even autism any longer? "Yes we celebrate your ~neurodiversity~ but only after we edit it to fit in." I feel like there's a statement there and I don't think it's intentional.

Then one paragraph away from celebrating how psychosurgery frees us from being neurotypical, without missing a beat, it launches into how having your brain edited to have no criminal thoughts of a certain kind is part of some penal codes, about how corps mind edit to avoid whistleblowers, spies and disloyal employees and generally every single loving horror you can imagine from having someone able to edit your loving brain. I think part of the problem here is how commonplace and easy it makes psychosurgery sound, relatively without danger(I don't think the possibility of psychosurgery going wrong or having unintended consequences is mentioned even once in this section) and not something that requires trained experts. It makes it extremely hard to buy that every single authoritarian or borderline authoritarian state in the system isn't heavily psychosurgerizing their populace for obedience and compliance. Making it a rare and complicated procedure would make it easier to use it for plot hooks, too, instead it's just: "Today Jerry's edited his brain to like licorice more. Good on you, Jerry."

It's funny how after all this relatively soft and poorly-explained sci-fi stuff, the part where the game decides that NO, it's gotta be HARD, SCI, FI, is space travel, explaining that space travel is slow and consumes fuel and is a very precision thing and also that if we spend a month playing videogames on board a spaceship we might have a psychological breakdown. Nice joke, EP, in a hundred pages or so you'll reveal that we cure mental illness precisely by staying alone for three months so we don't accrue any further trauma or stress points. I mean, we have clear communications with an alien species that hardly even uses the same senses we do, achieved in a span of a few short years. We have alien wormholes. We have brain editing. But a space drive would be too sci-fi. Alright.

The section on habs is cool, though, and very handy for someone less experienced with the harder kind of sci-fi. Meathab is still around, by the way, in case anyone wants to visit a huge steak populated by drug addicts and memelords.

The part on nanofabrication is also good, pointing out several important things about nanofabrication: Firstly, you're gonna need a blueprint. Wanna make one yourself? Hope you A) know what you're doing and B) have the time to make the blueprint, that'll probably take weeks for anything that isn't just an inert slab of matter. Secondly, hope you have time, again. If it's bigger than a pair of shoes or a candybar, especially if it involves any complex materials, it won't be done in a few minutes, it'll take a while. Possibly hours. Also a lot of fabbers will be hard-locked to only produce certain blueprints or categories of blueprints, so this isn't going to be System Shock 2 where the same vending machine that gives you a candy bar will also dispense thermobaric rocket warheads. At least not unless you're real good at hacking.

The text also suggests that this will make humanity less eager to hoard things, and less wasteful. Knowing myself, I know that if I could just have a box in the corner of my room spitting out fresh books rather than having to order them, you best believe my home would be covered in books, and I have to make a conscious effort of mind to throw away even stuff I know I'll never use again. Seems more likely you'd open someone's door and get buried in an avalanche of still-warm-from-fabbing(at least you hope that's the source of the warmth) anime figurines.



Yet More Lore MORE LORE

So, hard numbers, only 5% of humanity survived the Fall, and the entire species suffers PTSD even though three weeks of self-care could cure it. And no, I'm not going to get tired of joking about that in response to any statement EP makes about mental illness any time soon. Because gently caress that's some stupid writing. Anyway this next chapter just sort of rambles awkwardly and pointlessly about all the things that could destroy us(uplifts, infolife, factors, titans, ourselves, your own skeleton, your own skeleton's ghost) and why we should be afraid. X-Threats from EP1 was, well, the same thing stretched out to an entire book and better written. There it really engaged me, here it just annoys me. It's like reading someone's parody of paranoia.

And at this point it strikes me in concrete words just what it is that's bugging me about all these two-or-three-page lore chapters. It's the fact that three chapters after a chapter lauding the surveilliance because it means we can crowdsource justice and criminal investigation, we get another chapter hissing in terror about the superpanopticon of social media and literal surveillance you have to deal with. And while I can get that idea might be to have multiple biased authors... EP1 did it better. In EP1 it was generally, generally, reasonably clear when it was a "character" speaking to you, rather than godlike narration. But here the characters are so... without character, that it all just feels like narration. So these two clashing chapters don't feel like, say, an Anarchist and a Scum disagreeing on the subject, rather, it feels like two writers who didn't coordinate their sections. If you want to present the disagreeing views... put them in the same loving chapter, head to head, counter-arguing. Assholes.

Anyway, an actually interesting section and something that can used as a genuine adventure seed is the section on Earth. It starts off with ALL THAT WE LOST FROM LOSING EARTH... which kind of doesn't work unless you play the setting as a lot more post-apocalyptic than it presents itself. ALL THE LOST KNOWLEDGE AND SCIENCE AND ARTS... that certainly don't prevent us from pulling a phased plasma rifle in the 50-megawatt range hot from a fabber forge with the right blueprints or whipping up a hot dozen syringes of cyberheroin or whatever. The generally presented bounty of easily-accessible entertainment, equipment, necessities, employment, etc. really dull whatever feeling they're going for here. But then it gets around to the conflict surrounding Earth, which is that Earth is probably the clearly most dangerous place in Sol at the moment, but even with the damage from the Fall also the most habitable place for humanity, and probably still full of treasures. So the conflict is between the Reclaimers, who want to focus efforts and resources on purging and securing Earth as humanity's again, and the people who feel like they no longer need Earth(or, for instance, in the Consortium's case, that without Earth, they have a better claim to being the new center of humanity). It's nice that they're giving us a baked-in conflict to participate in that people might actually have personal and different opinions on relatively easily, but non-acrimonously.

So uh, after that. Remember what wasn't in EP1? A section on transhuman dicktouching. EP2 has that, a section on transhuman dicktouching. Oh boy. I think this part may just be mostly quotes and I'll let people make up their own minds. I think everyone can tell that I am somewhat negative about this section. There will be the occasional comment, though.

quote:

Or, as one philosopher put it just after the Fall, “We’re all genderqueer now.” The XP of them saying this from Luna, with the Earth still burning overhead, remains popular — and controversial.

quote:

This is a friendly reminder: gender dysphoria is still a thing. It’s funny that just two hundred years ago people on Earth often assumed you were going to be the gender you were assigned at birth for your whole life. Transgender transition was one of the most radical things you could do; expensive, dangerous, socially ostracising. Now everyone does it and the immortal upper class has their own loving boutique gender-change BS, resleeving in bodies like new outfits.

Rich people are all about the sex changes now, but people whose lives actually depend on it are still in need. You see, unbeknownst to most Martian gender designers is the fact that some of us still need to be in certain kinds of morphs in order to not go completely insane. If I were sleeved into a “male” body I’d be climbing up the walls; it’d feel wrong, like a second skin I needed to claw off. Everyone may be genderqueer, yadda yadda, but trans people — people who actually need a certain bodily configuration for our mental health — still exist. In huge numbers.

Our needs are met in some places. The Titanian Commonwealth has specific healthcare guidelines for their morph rationing that gives trans people first pick of gender/sex characteristics for any new morphs they may need. Scum swarms? The collective will look after you, and we’ve got whole loving trans-only ships. On Mars, though? Sucks to be you.

Transphobia isn’t as much of a thing anymore. Even the Jovian Junta lets people transition. But some folks pity us because they think we’re unable to enjoy the full range of gender expression. Well, I got a finger just for them. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a drag king show to headline tonight.

I think the weird assumption here is that someone who's not specifically trans/without dysphoria would be able to sleeve into whatever without feeling weird or awkward, like the default is to not have a fixed gender identity, and only Trans people have one, because it's the opposite of what they are??? It feels... off.

quote:

Traditional marriage, already rendered a charming anachronism on Earth, went into a steep and terminal decline after the Fall. Even the most conservative elites in the Jovian Republic or the Consortium came to consolidate power in ways besides marriage, so its last utilitarian benefits slowly ebbed away. Functional immortality makes “together forever” feel less like a romantic pledge than a wildly unrealistic expectation. Just as with gender, breaking one psycho-physical barrier sends all the others tumbling down. Dating multiple people at once was already more and more commonplace. After the Fall, it became the norm.

Polyamorous relationships take every conceivable form. Triads or quads of three or four partners, respectively, share a mutual devotion. “Polycules” of intense lovers and some fly-by-night “friends with benefits” are connected in elaborate chemical diagrams of romance.

quote:

For immortal upper-class socialites, chasing novelty leads to voracious sex lives that can involve switching partners and morphs multiple times in the course of an evening. For most everyone, however, advanced biomods have all but eliminated sexually transmitted diseases; contraception comes standard these days.

I mean, I know they minimized the potential penalties compared to EP1, but it's still clearly not something you do casually by the actual goddamn rules.

And in case anyone wondered, Synthmorphs can absolutely gently caress with the best of them, confirmed by the core rulebook.


however loving stupid the bulk of this chapter is, this image justifies its existence

quote:

How can you stop us when defragging our memories is like masturbation? How do you know I’m not getting off by routing your search query through just the right sets of files? Transhuman laws can’t comprehend logarithmic orgasms.

Generally this entire chapter reads like a right-wing caricature of left-wing sexual attitudes. "IN THE FUTURE EVERYONE WILL HAVE TO gently caress, EVEN THE ROBOTS, AND WE'LL DESTROY ALL MARRIAGE AND MONOGAMY. YOU'LL HAVE TO HAVE TWENTY HUSBANDS. AND YOU'LL BE THE BOTTOM FOR EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM."

Only 20 pages from when we change to a slightly different tenor of deepest lore. Aren't you excited?

Seatox
Mar 12, 2012


Joe Slowboat posted:

I have to say, World Tree seems more and more like high-key fantasy horror for the non-prime species.
The issue with that is that playing a Prime would make me feel just... kinda slimy. Like my way to easy, low stakes adventure had been laid out on the backs of those poor Cyarr with the bendy bones.

It's not all sunshine and roses for the Primes - they get lucky on the disease front, but once Tendales hits the spells and bestiary sections and the pattern comes together, there's plenty of horror for all. 90% of all Mentador Spells, Blee, Nendrai, donald trumpbonstables.

There's supposed to be good heroic types running around fighting all of this - Kvarse has her knightly order and the Healer's Guild - and I think one of the things about the World Tree creator-gods is that they each think the World Tree is a game, but for each god it's a different game.

    Virid is playing Tree Farming Simulator
    Reluu the Ruler God thinks he's playing Settlers of Catan. It's actually Diplomacy.
    Mircanis is playing Operation. Gnarn keeps bumping her arm.
    Gnarn is playing Vampire: The Masquerade as a Tzimisce.
    Accanax doesn't want to be here, he'd rather be cutting himself while listening to Linkin Park but his sister Gnarn insisted they needed a seventh player.
    Hren Tzen is playing Pretty Dragon Princess Dressups! SQUEE! They're so special!
    Pararenenzu is so high right now. Dude, like, there's these otters, and, like... what was I saying?

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





PurpleXVI posted:

Eclipse Phase: Second Edition


So uh, after that. Remember what wasn't in EP1? A section on transhuman dicktouching. EP2 has that, a section on transhuman dicktouching. Oh boy.

Yeah welp that happened in an official release.

1994 Toyota Celica
Sep 11, 2008

by Nyc_Tattoo


Tulul posted:

His actual statblock will inject pure '90s roleplaying writing straight into your eyeballs.



e: This is from the big metaplot adventure supplement where the climax of the adventure is basically Mal showing up to beat up Aberrant-Superman and be smug about it.

mal was right

Seatox
Mar 12, 2012


Midjack posted:

Yeah welp that happened in an official release.

I was a bit down on the World Tree due to items of Awkward Horny that Tendales hasn't reached yet, but holy poo poo this beats the poo poo out of that with a 9-inch internet-of-things cyber-dildo-morph sleeve.

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


PurpleXVI posted:


[psychosurgery, gender identity, etc]

So basically, just going off the posted text, the takeaway here is that they didn't hire a single consultant for this section, hired only consultants that agreed with them, or completely ignored the input they got.

I haven't seen an author so enthusiastically stomp through a field of landmines in a good long while. All of this could and SHOULD have been boiled down to a single sidebar going "hey, these topics might come up, feel free to engage them or not as your group is comfortable with, in the ways you feel are appropriate" rather than opening this gigantic can of worms and proceeding to take several stances guaranteed to piss off large chunks of the people they're claiming to speak for.

You know one of the most important things I've ever learned as a writer? Hire people with life experiences you don't have, have them look at anything you've written about those experiences, listen to them when they tell you how you've hosed up (which may include 'you hosed up by trying to talk about this at all'), pay them a fair wage for their help, and fix it. If you ever tell yourself "ah it'll be fine I can write about [thing]" smack yourself and hire someone to double check it anyway.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

"Rich people will be outrageously genderqueer because that's the current fad" is kinda... Hmm, what's the word I'm looking for...

Reactionary?

I'm sure someone thought they were very clever when they managed to make gender into a metaphor for gentrification, but hey look it's my old friend "people are just saying they're trans for the attention/because it's popular".

(Also in 1e you could get effortless sex changes done in 24 hours so the whole part about not getting the right bodies is like... That's new!)

Flail Snail
Jul 30, 2019

Collector of the Obscure

Funny I should read that some of us like reading reviews of games that cause psychological scarring. I've been watching F&F for a month or so before creating my account, just waiting for one particular game to get reviewed. That hasn't happened yet so time to crack open a bottle of my recently-bottled snowberry mead, dust off my PDF reader, and hope I don't remember this tomorrow.

Knights & Legends Tabletop RPG - Oh Gods Why am I Reading This Again?

Before we begin, a bit of history. This "stylish professionally made PDF" (emphasis Julio's) in its current iteration weighs in at 23MB and 60 pages. Large-font black text on plain white or textured grey background. Occasional pictures from Dean Spencer. The first edition had small pieces of black and white art in a few places, weighed in at something like 70 megs, made every single PDF reader chug while rendering (creating an experience not entirely unlike loading naughty pictures over 56k but without the reward halfway through), and somehow made text nearly impossible to select and actually impossible to copy/paste. Second edition added Dean's artwork, ballooning the file size to somewhere north of 200 megs. After being thoroughly mocked on Reddit and elsewhere, the author had Acrobat do what Acrobat does and now readers don't choke as much while loading new pages. Text still kind of just pops in like trees in Virtual Hydlide. It still isn't selectable, though.

Now, let's begin reading this carefully crafted masterpiece set in a place where strategy, combat, religion, and politics all play a role in the world's evolution. A work with a simple yet powerful combat system, featuring all original game mechanics (emphasis, again, Julio's).

There will be no screenshots in this reading - the author may or may not have decided to be a DMCA troll elsewhere on the internet.

Take note of the armored, plump-lipped readhead on the cover. If you're really curious, you can find the book on DTRPG. She'll be making a reappearance in a bit.

K&L doesn't have what would commonly be called a Table of Contents. In its place is an INDEX that serves the same basic purpose. On it are the page numbers of such helpful entries as "Character Sheet Tutorial", "Adventure Sheet Tutorial", "Recapitulation", and separate entries for printer-friendly and printer-unfriendly character and adventure sheets.

Up first is an introduction, where we are introduced to our first taste of questionable grammar and the author's love of commas. Any time you see ellipses, they're added by me and elide small amounts of extraneous text.

The Book posted:

The game is set in medieval Ezora [...]. Populated by Humans, Dwarves, Elves, and Orcs. Each race have its own culture, religious belief, and political agenda.

With a system designed for 2 to 5 players, the roles you pick vary, join friends with a custom built Playable Character (PC), be a Game Master (GM), or Dungeon Master (DM), using the simple and flexible turn based combat system.

Note the singular culture, religious belief, and political agenda. Upon first reading, you might understand that to be the product of a non-native speaker. You would be half correct. The world that play takes place on is very "planet of hats", with each region (mostly correlating to race; there are a few human kingdoms, however) has a unified culture.

And one final bit from the intro: "As a commitment to quality, nothing in this book was added to just fill in blank spaces."

You know. Aside from the duplicated character sheets. And the chapter helpfully titled "Recapitulation" which is... you know what? I'm getting ahead of myself. We'll cover this later.

Finally, the intro wraps up with a disclaimer. In short: "This product is meant for all ages. Keep that in mind before including violence in your game."

Now flip forward to the Human section (if you're one of the poor saps who purchased this) and describe to me the ragged neck skinflap of an orc that is in the process of being decapitated violently by a sword-wielding madman. Or the Dwarf section where an orc is being cartoonishly decapitated (spurt of blood from the stump and all) by an axe-wielding dwarf.

Up next on "Losing my Will to Live":

We're going to learn about some poo poo that doesn't matter and then find out exactly what an Elvan Vagrant is good at.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





LatwPIAT posted:

I'm sure someone thought they were very clever when they managed to make gender into a metaphor for gentrification

Has anybody said “gendrification” yet?

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



I wonder if Ezora is anything like Eorzea.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



LatwPIAT posted:

"Rich people will be outrageously genderqueer because that's the current fad" is kinda... Hmm, what's the word I'm looking for...

Reactionary?

I'm sure someone thought they were very clever when they managed to make gender into a metaphor for gentrification, but hey look it's my old friend "people are just saying they're trans for the attention/because it's popular".

(Also in 1e you could get effortless sex changes done in 24 hours so the whole part about not getting the right bodies is like... That's new!)

That's very much in line with Cyberpunk 2020 way it handled recent transgender and genderqueer expression in the '90s: shoveling into the elitist Glitterkids section of Eurosource, a sourcebook no one really bought, along with "xe/xir" pronouns.

PoontifexMacksimus
Feb 14, 2012



Leraika posted:

I wonder if Ezora is anything like Eorzea.

Eoris Essence?

Flail Snail
Jul 30, 2019

Collector of the Obscure


Hey now. That one was spell-checked, professionally edited, and bound into an amazing quality book, even if the book's contents weren't really much to write home about. This is a 60 page PDF that chokes most PDF readers and is full of awkwardness that most people with a decent command of the English language could probably fix.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


It's kind of weird how every transhumanist game seems to be an insane dystopia, whether the game actually notices/thinks those elements are dystopic or not.

juggalo baby coffin
Dec 2, 2007

How would the dog wear goggles and even more than that, who makes the goggles?




EP2 has started trying to have its cake and eat it compared to EP1. Its problem is it is stealing hand over fist from various 'harder' sci fi sources, like the revelation space series, the culture, peter f hamilton, etc. But it doesn't follow through the technology of those settings like the source material does.

So like for instance Revelation Space had it where changing your own body was effectively visiting a doctor, getting a new gene template applied to you, and your body would heal itself into that new shape. If it was a more drastic change (like becoming a centaur) or you wanted it done more quickly, you'd go into some kind of healing vat and change at a more accelerate rate.

EP1 had those healing vats, and it was basically 'hey if you're suffering gender dysphoria, go to the healing vats for quick and easy physical gender change'. That was that.

But with EP2 and all the poo poo in that post it feels like 'uuuh we don't wanna be offensive and minimise the impact dysphoria has on real world transpeople, so lets make a big deal out of it still being a thing in this setting and wind up being somehow more offensive than if we'd just said nothing'.

they shoulda just left the healing pods in. it's always been a part of 'hard' future sci fi that advances in healthcare technology would lead to greater bodily autonomy and flexibility. just leave it like that. i know that the problems with capitalism are a big issue in our current society, but capitalism doesnt work very well in a post-scarcity society. leave that dumb poo poo out.

EP1 had brain editing, although there it was said to be risky and could permanently gently caress you up if it wasn't a super experienced official doctor doing it, so i dunno why they made it much easier and less consequential in EP2. Then they do with the mind what they did with the body and say 'oh uh you can change x x and x but people don't remove their dyslexia because they hate to read or w/e'.

its just like, don't say anything.

kommy5
Dec 6, 2016


Speaking professionally as someone who's had to deal with bioethics more than once for my job, Eclipse Phase just completely boggles my mind. I try counting the ethical problems, the strawmen, the severe breaches against medical practice, and the fallacious leaps of logic and I actually keep losing count and starting over again every two or three paragraphs. And bioethics isn't even my specialty, I just have to deal with it in research.

Honestly, this entire section just seems like a rewrite of Clockwork Orange's 'medical treatments' but with more sexual fetishes involved and talked up about how amazing it is to have your brain in a blender.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


What's funny is the bits meant to be big scary cosmic horror aren't scary at all. Oh no, more rampant AIs. SHODAN was better. Hell, Shodan is even an example of psychosurgery poo poo (for an AI), given she went rampant because some dipshit 80s business guy deleted 'Ethics.dat' and made her a sociopath because Ethics.dat was preventing him from deleting his crime records. Which is pretty horrifying when you realize that was being done to a sentient research AI that actually did have a code of ethics prior to someone loving with the software.

I'd be way more horrified of the society you create with rampant, easy brain-editing procedures than the Exsurgent Virus and Space Magic. It can get in line with the evil soul owls and crystal blood slendermen from HSD.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 03:26 on Aug 2, 2019

juggalo baby coffin
Dec 2, 2007

How would the dog wear goggles and even more than that, who makes the goggles?




it's extremely wild that one of the points they hammer on with the exsurgent virus is how horrifying it is to have your mind forcibly changed by an outside force, but its just a wacky part of every day life when its your boss doing it.

they also don't seem to understand what a seed AI actually is (ASI vs AGI in their terms). it's just an AI that is capable of editing itself to improve itself. Then the improved one can improve itself further, etc.

but this setting with brain editing effectively makes every human being into a seed AI. you can enhance your brain, and edit your brain, there's nothing to stop recursion there.

juggalo baby coffin fucked around with this message at 03:37 on Aug 2, 2019

Seatox
Mar 12, 2012


Night10194 posted:

What's funny is the bits meant to be big scary cosmic horror aren't scary at all. Oh no, more rampant AIs. SHODAN was better. Hell, Shodan is even an example of psychosurgery poo poo (for an AI), given she went rampant because some dipshit 80s business guy deleted 'Ethics.dat' and made her a sociopath because Ethics.dat was preventing him from deleting his crime records. Which is pretty horrifying when you realize that was being done to a sentient research AI that actually did have a code of ethics prior to someone loving with the software.

I'd be way more horrified of the society you create with rampant, easy brain-editing procedures than the Exsurgent Virus and Space Magic. It can get in line with the evil soul owls and crystal blood slendermen from HSD.

It's even more horrific when you remember that 80s buisness guy (Diego) didn't just delete 'Ethics.dat' personally, he blackbagged the player character hacker (who was poking around Trioptimum's network looking for the mycrimes.txt dirt that SHODAN was protecting from deletion) to do it for him. There's definitely a revenge motive for SHODAN borging Diego and tormenting the Hacker while setting them against each other, outside of the megalomania.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Seatox posted:

It's even more horrific when you remember that 80s buisness guy (Diego) didn't just delete 'Ethics.dat' personally, he blackbagged the player character hacker (who was poking around Trioptimum's network looking for the mycrimes.txt dirt that SHODAN was protecting from deletion) to do it for him. There's definitely a revenge motive for SHODAN borging Diego and tormenting the Hacker while setting them against each other, outside of the megalomania.

I also loved the bit in the sequel where after realizing just how close corporate rule got the world to getting murdered by SHODAN, people overthrew them. Maybe not realistic, but it's hilarious to see a Shadowrun-esque setting where after one of the regular existential threats imposed by corporate fuckery people said 'ENOUGH!' and ended them, just because I'd like to play that campaign in a cyberpunk setting some day.

System Shock was awesome.

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


Eclipse Phase has never understood the actual horror in its setting, or the actual ramifications of the political systems it tries to model, but that's a particularly well beaten dead horse. It's honestly not that surprising to me that they've somehow made the fault lines of the setting more apparent in attempting to paper it over or be more inclusive. The descriptions of scum barges in EP1 had some of the same feel as this, where the author-endorsed anarchist cool dudes crews have Wacky And Nonconforming crew compositions or ideals that honestly serve to feel like they're being deliberately segregated into the "weird" part of the setting, or are otherwise part of the 'freak out the man' strain of aging progressive thought.

And I will never, ever get over the ridiculousness of going meticulously into detail about the inner workings of an anarchist hab and how it manages to maintain itself while having a gigantic :iiam: in the place of an answer to the unstated question of what happens if someone uses all the unrestricted fabricators in the hab to print a shitload of bombs and declare themselves Lord Humongous, or just rounds up a gang of like-minded people in the rep economy and abuses invisible, informal hierarchies until a calcified one is created with themselves at the top. Like, it's either never addressed at all, or brushed aside with "well people will just downvote their rep and communnally shun them if they're a bad actor" which is hysterically naive for a game focused on technofuturism and extrapolating current trends.

And like, plenty of real-world anarchist thinkers have answers to questions like that! They're often answers you can argue with but they have them! Eclipse Phase doesn't even bother trying, even when it's in a setting where anyone can become an armed insurrectionist with a few minutes' notice and an unrestricted printer, and body-hop to keep going if they're connected enough.

Daeren fucked around with this message at 03:50 on Aug 2, 2019

NutritiousSnack
Jul 12, 2011


LatwPIAT posted:

Reactionary?

These tropes are old as the hills, and are even more bigoted given they feed off real fears (Ala Epstein Island/UK Nonce Paraliment/hell Pizzagate) that should be explored in fiction more openly and directly to reckon with our hell state. It's no excuse, but misremembered bits of Roman and Pre-Revolutionary France.

Sure was a whole period in Pr-Revolutionary France when the whole aristocracy laughed at modern gender and sexual norms, where the if you were a rich lesbian or bisexual or gay, you could gently caress whoever you wanted openly, literally have a sword fights embarrass their male suitors or break your more lover out of an insane asylum that her parents stuffed her in and even avoid a death penalty, because the king's brother/sister was either a gay cross-dresser or trans (hard to tell given what 16th century people knew about this stuff) and because he wanted to own the Catholic Church. Likewise you could openly tell the French Court, you could declare yourself a woman, be actually treated as such despite being assigned at birth as a male, and to be a badass solider-cum-spy and be a renown hero and celebrated figure, likewise because of the King and Nobility interest lay in letting you own gender mores. And unfortunately it's those need to buck norms that let libertines do loving horrifying sex poo poo and write novels like The 120 of Sodom, or the School of Libertinage as a model or hope.

People, reading either stories or commentates from those times or based on those sources or stories, mix all three together like that they're the same thing, because the people writing them were the Catholic Church or it's allies, or other enemies of France, Revolutionaries who the sky being blue would be wrong if Louis said it should be blue, or nobles trying to hide their actual crimes. And sure there is something to say about how rich people get to engage in female empowerment, ability to express their gender freely, and openly purse the people they love regardless of their sex; then how these same women and men tell other women to stay in the kitchen, marry who their Church tells them to marry, or not give a gently caress. Social progress for the one percent is just that, for them only, and it should be exposed. But the image in our heads when we hear decadent is kinda loving tainted.

The rich love breaking sexual mores for ritualistic purposes and always have, and I'm sorry if that sounds Pizzagateybut it's true. The rich never had a subculture of their elite announcing that they were trans or openly gay and have it be utterly embraced though, just tolerated. Hell the biggest Roman example was literally assassinated for being trans and had so much propaganda written about them it's impossible to gauge anything about their reign.

Peeps really need to stop doing this poo poo.

Seatox
Mar 12, 2012


Night10194 posted:

I also loved the bit in the sequel where after realizing just how close corporate rule got the world to getting murdered by SHODAN, people overthrew them. Maybe not realistic, but it's hilarious to see a Shadowrun-esque setting where after one of the regular existential threats imposed by corporate fuckery people said 'ENOUGH!' and ended them, just because I'd like to play that campaign in a cyberpunk setting some day.

System Shock was awesome.

Storm the Galtian corpo-bunkers and capture the Executives so they can stand trial for their crimes against post-humanity in the proceedings of the freshly convened Cyber-Hague.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Seatox posted:

Storm the Galtian corpo-bunkers and capture the Executives so they can stand trial for their crimes against post-humanity in the proceedings of the freshly convened Cyber-Hague.

It'd be more fun than yet another 'oh the lovely corps rule the world and you can never change it, only be a mercenary thug for them' setting.

Ithle01
May 28, 2013


juggalo baby coffin posted:

EP2 has started trying to have its cake and eat it compared to EP1. Its problem is it is stealing hand over fist from various 'harder' sci fi sources, like the revelation space series, the culture, peter f hamilton, etc. But it doesn't follow through the technology of those settings like the source material does.

....

EP1 had brain editing, although there it was said to be risky and could permanently gently caress you up if it wasn't a super experienced official doctor doing it, so i dunno why they made it much easier and less consequential in EP2. Then they do with the mind what they did with the body and say 'oh uh you can change x x and x but people don't remove their dyslexia because they hate to read or w/e'.

its just like, don't say anything.

I know what you mean, this EP2 review is not filling me with hope that they've learned much from EP1. EP has always been like a Silicon Valley nerd's techno-futurist ideal world and is about as well thought as most Silicon Valley bullshit. It likes to claim a veneer of hard sci-fi but in the end the technology is pretty much magic and if they want the game to come off more as a horror game they shouldn't pretend that body swapping and brain surgery are this simple and casual.

Ithle01 fucked around with this message at 04:20 on Aug 2, 2019

megane
Jun 20, 2008





I had a vague image in my mind of what Eclipse Phase was, and what I'm learning from this review is that the real thing is way shittier and less interesting

Seatox
Mar 12, 2012


Night10194 posted:

It'd be more fun than yet another 'oh the lovely corps rule the world and you can never change it, only be a mercenary thug for them' setting.

Yeah. Cyberpunk's definitely tainted with the existential despair of the 80s and 90s. "Don't get mad at the system, it won't change anything, this is how it will always be now. This is just a phase you young punks are going through. You'll be a salary man like me soon enough."

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Seatox posted:

Yeah. Cyberpunk's definitely tainted with the existential despair of the 80s and 90s. "Don't get mad at the system, it won't change anything, this is how it will always be now. This is just a phase you young punks are going through. You'll be a salary man like me soon enough."

I'd say there's more nihilism now.

quote:

"Don't get mad at the system, it won't change anything, this is how it will be until the rapidly-approaching end. This is just a phase you young punks are going through. You'll never be more than you are now, and you'll be dead soon enough. "

Jerik
Jun 24, 2019

I don't know what to write here.

Flail Snail posted:

The Book posted:

With a system designed for 2 to 5 players, the roles you pick vary, join friends with a custom built Playable Character (PC), be a Game Master (GM), or Dungeon Master (DM), using the simple and flexible turn based combat system.

Hm, that "be a Game Master (GM) or Dungeon Master (DM)" bit can be read at least two ways...

  1. "You can be a Game Master (GM), or, in other words, you can be a Dungeon Master (DM), which is another name for the same thing"
  2. "You can be a Game Master (GM), or, alternatively, you can be a Dungeon Master (DM), which is a completely different thing"

I initially interpreted it the second way... and I'm still kind of hoping that is the way it was meant, and if so I'm looking forward to finding out just what the difference is in this game between a Game Master and a Dungeon Master...

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Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Daeren posted:

Eclipse Phase has never understood the actual horror in its setting, or the actual ramifications of the political systems it tries to model, but that's a particularly well beaten dead horse. It's honestly not that surprising to me that they've somehow made the fault lines of the setting more apparent in attempting to paper it over or be more inclusive. The descriptions of scum barges in EP1 had some of the same feel as this, where the author-endorsed anarchist cool dudes crews have Wacky And Nonconforming crew compositions or ideals that honestly serve to feel like they're being deliberately segregated into the "weird" part of the setting, or are otherwise part of the 'freak out the man' strain of aging progressive thought.

And I will never, ever get over the ridiculousness of going meticulously into detail about the inner workings of an anarchist hab and how it manages to maintain itself while having a gigantic :iiam: in the place of an answer to the unstated question of what happens if someone uses all the unrestricted fabricators in the hab to print a shitload of bombs and declare themselves Lord Humongous, or just rounds up a gang of like-minded people in the rep economy and abuses invisible, informal hierarchies until a calcified one is created with themselves at the top. Like, it's either never addressed at all, or brushed aside with "well people will just downvote their rep and communnally shun them if they're a bad actor" which is hysterically naive for a game focused on technofuturism and extrapolating current trends.

And like, plenty of real-world anarchist thinkers have answers to questions like that! They're often answers you can argue with but they have them! Eclipse Phase doesn't even bother trying, even when it's in a setting where anyone can become an armed insurrectionist with a few minutes' notice and an unrestricted printer, and body-hop to keep going if they're connected enough.

Yeah, it would be real easy to just push EP2 ten years forward of the first edition and the Autonomist League is in collapse because their techno-anarchist utopia got co-opted by factions that gamed their own system. The Hypercorps are putting infogees into Freeman biomorphs for easy labor and disposing them when they have become unprofitable. The Ultimates have become just another group of ExHumans, who are tearing across the habitats converting, torturing, or slaughtering what's left of transhumanity, because cruelty is now the point of their evolution. The only really safe place where you won't be transhumanly exploited in the solar system is the Jovian Republic, which is because they use the old-fashioned, bioconservative-sanctioned methods of oppression to ensure societal compliance.

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