Eclipse Phase: Breakdown – Session 1 (Flashback)

This past Friday, I got to run my first Eclipse Phase session for my group. I’ve got some thoughts about how it went, which I’ll go into here, but first, here’s the link to the audio of the session:

Eclipse Phase: Breakdown – Session One Audio

The quick and dirty version of how things went is as follows: it went really, really well. One of the best sessions of any game that I’ve ever run, in fact. The whole story is, obviously, more complex than that.

Halfway to Glory

I wanted to use a pre-written scenario to kick things off, but I wanted to alter it to fit my group. I chose the adventure Glory, which comes with the Eclipse Phase GM screen. It’s a great session that does a lot to introduce players to the way the world works in Eclipse Phase. Since this is the first time that we’ve ever played Eclipse Phase, and since I have a tendency to front-load new players with way too much information, I decided that I was going to start them right at the action.

In Glory, one of the targets is a ship called the Song Cai Flower. As you read the session, the encounter with the Flower is more than halfway through. There’s also a lot of information dealing with the people, places, and events that lead up to the finding of the Flower. To make sure that the players had that information, and so they would have a chance to fill in some of the story of their characters’ various backgrounds, I instituted a series of flashbacks as they were working their way into the Flower.

The flashbacks worked fairly well as a means to deliver important information to the characters. Pairing it with the tests (dice rolls and skills checks) to get into the ship allowed me to deliver the information in way that linked the info with the test being undertaken. Also, as the players were all making different types of tests at different times, I could give each of them different information. That played into the varied nature of the group. Each player would have acted in various ways in the given situations that would have led them to the Flower, so I could deliver the information to the character who would have been most likely to obtain it.

The mechanics of the game flowed fairly well, also. I was worried that we would bog down at various points in time, due to our unfamiliarity with the system, but it didn’t happen. The only misstep that I feel I might have made was equipping three of the enemies with plasma pistols in what ended up being the last fight. I ended up killing two of the characters, which is not necessarily a big deal in Eclipse Phase, but the player was a bit shocked when he went down in one hit. I also mis-handled the same character working with a readied action to engage the enemies in melee. I had the enemies get the shot first, which drop the character. If he’d have had the chance to take his readied action as he should have, he likely would have taken one of them down, and lived.

Moving From Here

I’m planning each of these sessions to be very episodic, so I’ll be sort of letting them know what happened between sessions. And, what’s interesting is that with the two characters dying, they’ll have no memory of the session that just happened. This also has an interesting side-effect in that, during the session, one of the characters got infected with the Breakdown variant of the Exsurgent Virus… but died. Her backup won’t be infected, so they will really have found out nothing about that threat.

The thing that will guide my planning the most between this session and the next will be the filling out the of the rest of the 5×5 grid that I posted a few days ago. I want to make sure that I tie the locations and information of these plots to the background that characters have given me, and now that I have a better idea of how each character works in-game, I’ll feel much more comfortable doing that.

Since I’ll be at DDXP this weekend, it’ll be two weeks until my next post about this campaign. Let me know what questions you have, or give me feedback based on the session audio.

I’m Tracy Barnett, and This is My Game

Part idiot. Part old man. All geek. Unrelenting font of ideas, both good and bad. Co-owner of Exploding Rogue Studios, and on Twitter as TheOtherTracy.

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About TheOtherTracy

Unrelenting font of ideas, both good and bad. Co-owner of Exploding Rogue Studios, and on Twitter as TheOtherTracy.
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