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The Backbone of Night: Outline

A campaign for the Eclipse Phase RPG

Will Schar

on 15 October 2014

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Transcript of The Backbone of Night: Outline

The Backbone of Night Campaign
Bump in the Night
The Sentinel team ego-casts to Pavarti to meet with Firewall crow, Dwala Chatterjee. She has intel on the burgeoning X-Threat. Unfortunately she is one of many people who have disappeared due to a strange infection for which the station is now quarantined.

It is up to the Sentinels to discover what is happening and rectify the problem. They will have to work fast. Hot on their heels is a dangerous Ego Hunter ("Tin-Can") following the same trail of breadcrumbs.
Random Access Memories
The trail leads to Dr. Cromarti. After Cognite shut down his project he left for the unfettered labs of the Night Cartel habitat,
Cloud 9
. Here he has been free to pursue his Minor Seed AI research.

They must cloud dive to reach the aerostat. Surviving this dangerous stunt will be the easy part. Something lurks in the station FAR more dangerous than anything they have ever faced.

A Rogue Seed AI.
The Most Dangerous Prey
They have the IP Address, and must dark-cast beta forks of themselves to an unknown and possibly hostile habitat.

They re-sleeve uplift bodies, hunted for sport by depraved oligarchs. They must use every ounce of grit and quick thinking to find Chatterjee and survive this most dangerous game.

The sentinels arrive in the Martian city of Elysium, left to their own devices. That is until Proxy Q assigns them to extract and debrief a deep cover operative inside Les Goules.

Matters are complicated when the agent reveals his mission was not yet complete. They will have to play a dangerous game of subterfuge to get the rest of the intel from his handlers. But can their agent be trusted? He may have his own hidden agenda.

Question & Answer
The Sentinel team is gathered together by their mysterious proxy through a Q&A AR simulation. After passing the “Interview” they are sent on an important assignment.

Someone is attacking synthmorphs in Little Shanghai, stealing their cyberbrains. It looks like the work of vandals or ego-nappers. Locals are calling it attacks "the Shanghai Scalp-Hunter".

Normally this wouldn’t be on Firewall’s radar, but the last victim was a Vector, one with sensitive information about the org. His cyberbrain needs to be recovered or destroyed and the perpetrator must be dealt with.

Random Access Memories
Venus Tier: Act II
Chatterjee's ego has been sold into slavery. She was dark cast to the aerostat Octavia, heart of the Morningstar Constellation. A model of freedom, but powerful underworld factions thrive in the bowels of the Venusia Aerostats.

What's more, the ego hunter they first met on Pavarti is at their heels, and his tactics are becoming all the more savage.
RAM: Part One
RAM: Part Two
The Matryoshka Principle
The Sentinels travel to "Thought", a Cognite controlled station, in pursuit of the data on Project Cassandra. Infiltration must get passed sophisticated AGI security.

They won't be alone. The shadowy group that has followed their every move is here. They have secrets to keep. Secrets Chatterjee stashed away for Firewall to find. Secrets they intend to bury along with the Sentinels.
If Chatterjee's ego is unrecoverable then we proceed to Cognite station Thought. This is the only other way to get the intell.

If recovered she will reveal intell on Project Cassandra and its creator: Dr. Pavlov Cromarti. His whereabouts are the secret aerostat, Cloud 9.
The mission is a double blind. The mysterious group is none other than Project Ozma.They are trying to dig up the same intel on Cromarti's research. Cromarti was very efficient in covering his tracks and taking his work off station. They need the sentinels to follow the trail of breadcrumbs.

The intel was hidden extremely well in a private Simulspace. Once they get in however, an AGI psychosurgeon,
, will be on their heels. His goal is not to be discovered. Detection may lead to some interesting Simulspace combat. At the same time, the Ego Hunter will be on their heels. The party will need to split to take on the conflict at two fronts.

The data reveals what Chatterjee knew, and that Cromarti left the station for Cloud 9.
One Last Midnight
A Fistful of Credit
The sentinels head out to the settlement town of
to hunt down what remains of a TITAN weapon cache. They must contend not only with the dangerous
O.K. Korean
Gang, but with Martian robber barons. It’s High Noon in the Martian Outback. Next stop, the
Q&A Part Three
The Beginner Tier: Act I
Who are you?
See BUMP IN THE NIGHT scenario.
The Red Pyramid
Red Pyramid Part B
Intel recovered from the Seed AI Cassandra reveals Cromarti's project was funded by a black budget traced to the Red Pyramid Bank.

The Sentinels must infiltrate the most well guarded building in Valles Center, the Trident. They must get in undetected and hack through sophisticated firewalls to look for an account that was never there. They aren't alone this time. Someone is watching them the whole time. Someone very close to them.

They will have to fight their way out of the Trident, through hijacked air defense drones and local authorities to unmask the mastermind behind this Red Pyramid Scheme!

Red Pyramid Part A
Ides of Mars
Intel recovered from the Seed AI Cassandra reveals funds were rerouted to Mars. The funds appear to be financing illegal arms deals for the Moderates. Deals that went south after couriers were hit by old enemies. The O.K. Korean gang. Because of their ties to the Sons of John Carter, Firewall fears this may be a precursor to an uprising.

It is the Eve of the Trans-Martian Trade summit between the Olympus Infrastructure Authority, the Tharsis League and Planetary Consortium. Proxy Scarecrow doesn't believe in coincidence. This could be the pretense for a Barsoomian uprising. If successful it could de-stabilize the entire Inner Sphere. And if not, it could provide pretense for the hostile takeover of the planet by the Corsortium. The plot must be stopped at any cost.
The Red Pyramid
Echoes of the Fall
Red Pyramid Part B
Proxy Scarecrow informs the team that a TITAN plague wakes on Olympus. Synthmorphs are being attacked openly in the streets by violent gangs, their cyberbrains stolen.

This is surely the work of the same dark experiment inflicted on Charlie Kwan by Cognite Scientist, Dr. Cromarti and his mysterious allies.

To what purpose? what is the ultimate end game? Will the agents forgo their investigation into the Red Pyramid to stop a familiar X-Threat?
Notes: The players will not be able to get the intell from Cromarti. He's been driven mad by his "Medusa in a Box." He obsesses over matryoshka dolls and claims all truths has been revealed to him.

Much of the station has gone completely mad, as more and more egos have sought Cassandra to answer their burning questions. Cassandra seeks absolute truth behind every answer and so hacks the brain of the questioner with blunt psychosurgery to get at the "Random Access Memory" of the questioner in order to uncover the truth of the question. Each answer makes her more powerful and self aware. She is only dangerous if you ask her a question. Otherwise she is happy to nest in Cloud 9's servers, and will engage any who make their presence aware to her.

The intell they need was stripped out of Cromarti's brain by Cassandra. This means they will have to confront her and dare to ask her a question. Doing so risks insanity, exposing Firewall to a burgeoning Seed AI, and bringing her closer to self awareness. They must make a choice. Is the truth really worth the risk?
During their investigation they are messaged by an Infobroker known only as
. She offers to provide the intell Chaterjee was carrying. Before her ego was sold, she picked up all the juicy details. Rather than track her down, the info-broker offers them a lucrative alternative. A dangerous alternative.

They must steal trade secrets from the hypercorp, Nimbus, that could possibly give the Information Broker a backdoor into every system in the Morningstar Constellation. This could make her the most powerful criminal on Venus, and possibly give her a backdoor into Firewall itself.
Trade Secrets
The ID Crew run ego slave auctions on several hidden servers on Octavia, often trading them to the Triads, Pax Familae, or the Night Cartel. The next auction is approaching. The Sentinels need to enter high-stakes
in order to get in on the auction and perhaps identify who bought Chaterjee's ego. This game is played by ruthless criminals and experienced gamblers. Its all or nothing in this game.

At the same time illegal pitfights are taking place. The organizer is a known ego trafficker. These fights demonstrate the caliber of his stock in these no hold bars fights. Perhaps they'll get the right person's attention. Will the Sentinels be ready to go All-In to find their man?
There are two paths to take.
The man behind the curtain
The mastermind is unmasked. Their former router, now Proxy, Scarecrow, has been a double agent for Project Ozma. They must follow him into the TQZ to confront him at an abandoned military base. They must survive his automated defenses and deadly booby traps to stop him from hijacking a Martian Kill-Sat to destroy a shuttle full of dignitaries en route to Progress, heart of the Planetary Consortium.

The traitor plans to expose Firewall and frame them for the attack. The fate of Firewall is on the line. Why would he betray the org? Why would he work for Project Ozma?

To save transhumanity.
Questions are never indiscreet. Answers sometimes are. --Oscar Wilde
The Answers
The risk is massive, but we must find out who are the masterminds behind this sinister plot.

A sentinel risks all and asks Cassandra a question. This will expose them to Cassandra but the answers will all be uploaded to their brains.

They can either escape with their lives aboard a ship, blow the station out of the sky or leave it to rot. All difficult choices, all difficult outcomes.
The price of knowledge is too great. Some questions are better left unanswered.

The Sentinels must race through the station to find the Anti-Matter Bomb and detonate it. Cassandra is self preserving. She will defend herself using station personelle as puppets as well as unleash a slew of visual and audio Basilisk Hacks.

In the end they must detonate the bomb, and perish with Cassandra and the station. All Intell is Lost.
The Unthinkable
When she scanned their brains she learned of the existance of Proxy Q. She will view him as the true origin of their question. She must find him and rip his mind apart to satisfy her own curiosity.

She will conclude that Q is an AGI. The prototype she was was based on. She concludes that the only way to answer their questions is to merge with Proxy Q.

Cassandra bests the Sentinels and prevents the station from being destroyed. This won't come back to bite us at all.
Mars Tier: The Third Act
Get Your Ass off Mars!
The jig is up.

In the wake of the operation, the sentinels must make it off Mars. A nearby scum swarm is the perfect place to hide. But first they have to get there. Ego cast or shuttle, they must find a way off the planet on their own. Enemies from all sides are closing in. Live Free. Or Die Trying.
Where do we go from here?
No. Going. Back.
Dramatis Personae
Proxy Q
Dwala Chatterjee
Major NPC's
Minor NPC's
Paval Cromarti
I know what you are thinking.
Really? That's where we end the campaign? Like the theme suggests, answers are often indiscreet. Largely, my vision of the EP universe follows this same theme. There are no easy choices, and there are no definite answers. The universe is a vast and scary place. And knowing brings madness.

This scenario is largely meant as a guidebook for me to follow for an Eclipse Phase campaign. There are lots of details I've left out. But i wanted to put this out as a source of inspiration for other GM's. It took a long time to develop this saga. Will take even longer to run it. Largely it's meant to be structured like a TV series. Each description is a story arc and the season ends with a big reveal.

Perhaps if you craft your own campaign from this you can answer that burning question yourself.
This prezi isn't the shiningest example of game design, but constructing the plot of this game has become a big passion. I often toss around the idea of trying to publish in the Table Top world, but have never committed. I guess this helped working out those demons. Please... If you see this and are a fan of Eclipse Phase and rpg's, comment below.

Eclipse Phase is the Intellectual Property of Posthuman studios. This campaign outline is published under Creative Commons. Blah blah you know the drill.
Thanks to Brian Cross and Rob Boyle for the Bump in the Night scenario. Without that scenario, the seed of this concept could not have grown.
Thanks to Anders Sandburg and his free scenario, "Think Before Asking". I stole a lot of material and inspiration from that. Cassandra is kind of your baby TITAN isn't she? What have you wrought?
The RPPR Crew. Caleb Stokes is a Game Mastering Genius. I stole directly from your campaign. You need to know that this theft is the deepest form of compliment I can give you. I often feel like I have gotten to know you and the Know Evil Crew through your Actual Plays. I have wanted to run this game since hearing the first episode. (the Luna story arc however made it a NEED) Thanks for the inspiration guys. Your feedback would be welcome. Release the Kraken.
Also thanks to friend, Cortland Bechtell, who has been my sounding board for this conceptual monstrosity.
The sentinels first proxy. He is a master of Augmented Reality illusions, simulspace code and encryption. Forums on the Eye speculate about his origins. So far none can be proven. He is very particular about what agents he selects for missions. He insists on Interviewing each one personally.
A survivor of the Lost Project, Scarecrow is a router operating on Mars. He is dedicated to Firewall and loyal to every agent he works with. His psi-chi sleights, combined with his implants make him one of the fastest hackers and bot jammers on Mars. His most noteworthy contribution to the org is his "scarecrow network." Hacker bots able to stealthily tap into major spimes and surveillance.
A Firewall crow assigned to monitor Cognite Projects. She stumbled upon a black project inside the Hypercorps and has gone missing. The Sentinels are tasked to find her and access the intel she has.
A bloodthirsty ego hunter looking for Chatterjee. He always sleeves into cheap case morphs without cortical stacks. Profiles say he favors the diamond axe as a weapon. Rumors contend he only sends psychopathic beta-forks on missions. This is why he is nick-named the "Disposable Assassin."
A criminal info broker of West African descent with ties to ID Crew. She operates on Venus, trading in hypercorps secrets, stolen IP's and blackmail. Don't piss her off.
Your quintessential Mad Scientist. A very misguided argonaut. He was working for Cognite on a secret project called Oracle. His location is unknown.
The Case-Hunter
A murderer, an urban legend, a red herring, a TITAN-infected X-Threat. His name has become synonymous with violence against synths and the theft of their cyberbrains.
A psychologist AGI created at Cognite. He knows something about the Martian Case-Hunter. What is his true agenda?
Mission Statement
This prezi has been created purely for personal entertainment reasons. I have wanted to utilize Prezi as a tool for GMing Table Top games, ever since Caleb Stokes published one for his "Know Evil" campaign for Eclipse Phase. Pure fan-boy emulation of a gaming personality is pretty niche I know, but I guess it is my niche.

I created this. First of all, as a serious outine to run an Eclipse phase campaign. When I have run games in the past, I start with the slimmest of outlines and soon am overwhelmed by the sheer number of ideas I start to throw into a game. It quickly devolves into a "kitchen-sink-salad" of ideas. The game soon falls off the rails.

Second, this is a safe way of exploring table top publishing and creation without having to commit to anything. It's fun. I want to put it out there and see if friends, acquaintances and social networks will look at it and critique it. I want to see what the reaction is. See if it is any good. Thanks for all the fish. Hope you enjoy reading the Backbone of Night.

-Will Schar
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