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Eclipse Phase: Sunward: The Inner System $49.99 $14.99
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Eclipse Phase: Sunward: The Inner System
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Eclipse Phase: Sunward: The Inner System
Publisher: Posthuman Studios LLC
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/14/2018 12:03:51

With the recent adaptation of Altered Carbon on Netflix, I thought it was time to take a look back at one of the most well-established transhuman-cyberpunk roleplaying games, Eclipse Phase. Sunward is a supplement that focuses on what I would consider the most common settings for Eclipse Phase: the Solar System from Mars (terraformed and under the control of a shady consortium) in to the surface of the Sun itself (colonized by people who have put their minds into highly alien and well protected bodies capable of withstanding the environment there).

Most of the book is taken up by a systemless description of this setting, though the organization of the book is top tier, and inclines it back towards the core action of the game. The typical Eclipse Phase game is based around a secretive troubleshooting/human defense organization called the Firewall, about midway between a secret vigilante group and a hacktivist syndicate. In Sunward, each chapter head acts as a mini-table of contents for that chapter and is pitched as "things a Firewall agent might want to consider when operating in this environment". Sometimes it's about typical threats or environmental dangers, sometimes it's about "unofficial" rumors, sometimes it's about the "secret history" of the world which Firewall navigates and discovers.

The remainder of the book includes new bodies for characters to use in different environments, some new threats and equipment stats, and, as is usual for Eclipse Phase, several sample characters who operate in the setting being described.

The typical criticism of Eclipse Phase was "wow, but the system doesn't do much, and what am I supposed to do with this?!" It's clear the creators of the game took this criticism to heart when working on supplements, because Sunward is very carefully aimed directly at the bullseye of what Firewall and the actions of the PCs are expected to be. They're expected to be scientific and espionage operatives infiltrating or exploring hositile environments to puzzle out the truthg of the chaos that a ultra-high-tech war left on humanity, and interacting with the human and near-human entities that form the blurred line of the transhuman sf experience. (The system is still kind of a wet noodle, so if I said we should improve this supplement it would be in that area. Also, I think for the bodies which the PCs might inhabit when (say) travelling to the Sun or Mercury, it would make more sense to have them on single-page pullouts, or cards, so as to easily distribute and keep them separate from the "minds" of the player characters on the core character sheet.)

Sunward is a great example of what a supplement should be. It enhances the understanding of the corebook, is easy to tell how it should be used, and has form factors and is structured in a way as to make it easily accessible. It gets my highest marks because of these traits.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: Sunward: The Inner System
Publisher: Posthuman Studios LLC
by Claus B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/26/2014 10:11:25

The book is well written with great layout and graphics that set the tone and immerse the reader in the portrayed future, while remaining easy and entertaining to read.

The book systematically covers the inner system, starting with the solar corona and out to Mars, as well as an assortment of inner system asteroids and martian trojans. The book expands and adds to the information in the Eclipse Phase book, but most of the material in this book is probably understandable without having read the core book. The descriptions of people, environments, habitats, orbital stations, politics, transportation, and so on are evocative and plausible. They are also done from the viewpoints of various local Firewall agents with different backgrounds and political views. This not only makes the reading more interesting, but gives more insight into life in the future of the solar system and reminds the reader that what they are reading is an opinion and not necessarily the whole story or even entirely accurate. There is lots here to get players thinking about, frm how to play a conservative and prejudiced “Loonie” to a Barsoomian redneck from Mars. For the GM there are lots of political agendas, habitats and dangling plot hooks and descriptions that conjure up ideas for cool scenes everywhere. Perhaps something involving piracy of airships travelling between the floating Aerostats in the upper atmosphere of Venus, or something to do with the remote controlled Quartz morphs working the high temperature and pressure mines of the Venusian surface going missing?

The Planetary Consortium (one of the most powerful power blocs in the setting) is described in detail with information and ideas that go a long way to help illustrate the various parts and agendas that make up the consortium and in the process creates a lot of useful plot hooks.

Game information is all covered in the last part of the book. This is great both because it means that the rest of the book is completely rules agnostic, which is very handy for a setting book you can use with your own favourite system, and because it means that all the stats and rules for hazards, morphs, gear and so on are collected at the end. Even if you don't plan on using the Eclipse Phase rules this section of the book is still useful, not least for the secrets and plot hooks.

I bought the PDF thinking that a Sci-Fi transhumanist themed setting like this would be best read on my tablet, but although the core Eclipse Phase book has been adapted for e-readers Sunward has not and it takes a long time to turn pages on my Nexus 7 and the page format is a too big and would probably fit something like the Nexus 10 better. On a computer, and potentially a more powerful tablet, the PDF is first class and is a joy to read. I'm not rating it down because there was no claim about this product being tablet friendly. In the end like the other Eclipse Phase books, Sunwards is just so beautiful that I had to also buy the hardback to hold it in my hands and read it on the sofa (and other unspeakable places). Very happy with that decision.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: Sunward: The Inner System
Publisher: Posthuman Studios LLC
by Curt M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/29/2010 09:11:25

After reading Michael Wolf's blog post "An Experiment in Philanthropy" and following the embedded links provided, I have purchased "Sunward" and "NPC Files 1" in support of the "Eclipse Phase" authors' business and distribution models. Way to go guys! Thanks for charting a new paradigm for the RPG industry, in favor of fans and of "viral," word of mouth, "click of mouse," unhampered distributing.

As for the pdf itself... not much bad to say. Top notch, industry standard, even virtual-ground breaking, all the way.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: Sunward: The Inner System
Publisher: Posthuman Studios LLC
by Terence C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/04/2010 17:47:40

WOW, I love this sourcebook, well done and thought out with Excellent graphics to boot, top notch production values, all around, great writing etc.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: Sunward: The Inner System
Publisher: Posthuman Studios LLC
by Kjetil K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/28/2010 13:13:27

Beautiful art and layout - good detailing on each location, but not to much it overwhelms you, and loads of plothooks. The mechanical bits in the last part of the books is a good addition to any EP game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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