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Eclipse Phase: Scott Fox - Infinite & Indivisible
by Jonas H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/15/2017 11:38:30

These are some great ambient music perfect for Eclipse Phase.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: Scott Fox - Infinite & Indivisible
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Eclipse Phase: Scott Fox - Infinite & Indivisible
by Phillip A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/11/2017 19:01:18

If you like dark ambient, electronic atmospherics, and video game/cinematic musical scores along the lines of John Carpenter's work ("Escape From New York", "Halloween"), "Deus Ex: Human Revolution", "Blade Runner 2049", or "Tron: Legacy", you should find a lot to like with this soundtrack. I would love to see more of this style from Scott Fox. The music could easily fit into a cyberpunk, future horror, or even far future game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: Scott Fox - Infinite & Indivisible
by Yakob K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/05/2017 23:39:33

Very good at portraying a mood of emptiness and suspense, while also being good background music. Very pleased.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: Scott Fox - Infinite & Indivisible
by Jonathan W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/05/2017 12:15:58

Scott Fox did a fantastic job on his previous work for Eclipse Phase but with this new album he took things to an even higher level of excellence. The music is atmospheric, evocative and inspiring. I am a fan of using music in my games and my recommendation for this album is not limited to just using it for Eclipse Phase. I feel that the album is so very good that it would make the perfect addition to any game that requires an atmosphere of unearthly tension, intrigue, mystery and unease. This will defintely be my go-to soundtrack for anything I run that needs a soundtrack of that nature.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: All Music [BUNDLE]
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/05/2017 04:42:17

It's all really good and sets a cool tone! My favorite is The Blind Imam, I dig the vibe and it compliments any session into the TQZ



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: All Music [BUNDLE]
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Eclipse Phase: X-Risks
by Colin W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/02/2017 09:59:56

This review originally appeared at: https://mephitjamesblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/07/eclipse-phase-x-risks/

I’m psyched to report that there is a new sourcebook out for Eclipse Phase and that I’ve been pouring through it with great excitement. Titled X-Risks, the book covers… well existential risks but also Firewall’s response to them. How do you decide whether something is an x-risk? What if you have to choose between saving a habitat or chasing down a nanoplague sample? What the hell is an Iktomi kumobot? The answers to these questions and more can be found in X-Risks.

There are five main parts to this book: Facing the Reaper, a description of X-Risks; Active Threat Reports, that covers the Big Four (exhumans, exsurgents, Factors, and TITANs); Threat Recognition Guide, which lists descriptions and stats of old and new exsurgents; Critter Catalog, which describes simpler animals (like the Europan bolatee, police baboons, and tasty squidlings); and Game Information, which provides the numbers that GMs need for the glorious tpk they’ve been waiting for.

Facing the Reaper This chapter is all about existential risks (x-risks) that Firewall is keeping an eye on. “Hurt Alvez, Apocalypse Engineer” describes four different categories of x-risk.

  • Extinction: The threat that all of transhumanity could be wiped out.
  • Corruption: The threat that transhumanity could be enslaved or controlled.
  • Regression: The threat that transhumanity could be reduced to such a primitive state that there’s no coming back.
  • Stagnation: The threat that transhumanity peaks and simply fizzles out. A contentious fifth category, Attenuation, is the threat that transhumanity is changed into something “inhuman.” Some clades don’t see a problem with this. eclipse-phase-fight

Likewise, Alvez lists seven impact levels from the smallest to the largest.

  • IL-0: Small Habitat
  • IL-1: Large Habitat
  • IL-2: Planet
  • IL-3: Region
  • IL-4: Solar System
  • IL-5: Tranhuman Space
  • IL-6: Milky Way Particular x-risks are described with the categories and levels for each. For instance, Alien Conflict is rated as an Extinction-5/Corruption-5 event since it could potentially destroy or enslave all of transhumanity. On the other hand, Mega-Engineering which involves destroying a moon or planet and creating something massive out of it is an Extinction-2/Regression-4 event.

In this chapter there is also a discussion for handling x-risks and surviving x-risks (my favorite is “Running and Hiding”), as well as an awesome two-page spread on the Fall of Earth. It’s also worth noting that the x-risks above mention the Case or Operation that concerned sentinels should check with for more info and it seems like they’re all tied to the descriptions in Firewall.

Active Threat Reports The next chapter describes some specific threat groups that Firewall might face off against. Exhumans are given a lot more detail and context, including some writing from their perspective and a listing of eleven exhumans out there and a description of major exhuman clades. I think this is a lot like the treatment of uplifts in Panopticon or of infolifes in Tranhuman: it takes an awesome idea and makes it into a complex, breathing, compelling part of the setting.

The Exsurgent Virus is the big boogeyman of Eclipse Phase and a source of whatever evil you like. The briefing and the vectors of the virus found in this book provide some excellent detail (and it’s all in character as usual so you can hand it right to players) but my favorite part is the “known strains” section which describes nine different strains (yes, including Watts-MacLeod). This section rounds out with case studies of several Firewall operations against outbreaks and a review of Contamination and Containment Protocols.

Next up are the Factors and this is probably the part of the book that I was most excited about before getting a copy. The Factors’ culture, language, relationship with transhuman groups, capabilities, and assets are all outlined in this section, as are some speculations by Firewall sentinels about the true nature of the Factors. All of it makes me think of dozens of new adventure scenes just reading through for the first time.

Lastly of the four with have the TITANs themselves. The big bad guys of the setting may seem like they’ve been covered before but this description is unlike previous treatments of the seed AIs. The history of the TITANs is covered from American military project to galactical-scale villains, and their enigmatic agenda receives some speculation. A lot of this section, though, is what I’m thinking of as “how to actually include TITANs in your game.” Let’s be honest, if you send your PCs up against a TITAN they will probably run or they’ll end up as corrupted exsurgents. So how can you have a TITAN be the actual bad guy of a campaign? Well the answers are right here: TITAN infighting, lesser TITAN forks, and rival ASIs. There are also profiles on some known TITANs to frighten your PCs with. My favorite is Akonus, the TITAN that manipulates transhumanity through social entineering.

At the end of this chapter is a section on Other Threats, something that could take a backseat to the rest of the chapter but that holds some awesome surprises. The Church of Luminous Saints, for example, is a church following the divine word of a being that may or may not be a TITAN. The Red Five Advanced Heuristics Lab, on the other hand, is trying to reverse-engineer TITAN memetic warfare… you know, for the good guys or something. Even the Ultimates are discussed here as a potential x-risk, although that just makes me want to play them all the more. Lots of great ideas here.

Threat Recognition Guide The threats described in this chapter of the book are given one-page write-ups in the same easy reference manner as the morph write-ups in the Morph Recognition Guide. Each threat has a description of the locations to find it, the numbers they usually come in, stats, Firewall comments, game stats, and “What Do Sentinels Know?”

Threats also come with levels, but these are different than the impact levels of x-risks.

  • Yellow threats are only a threat in groups.
  • Orange threats are equal to a standard Firewall sentinel.
  • Red threats are as strong as several sentinels together.
  • Ultraviolet threats are off the charts and are best met with a GTFO response. There are so many in here and all of them are awesome. Some are familiar from other Eclipse Phase products like the fractal trolls from Rimward, the ny’knikiin from Zone Stalkers, or the skrik from Million Year Echo. Others are new like the horrific gut eater, the insidious hollow nanoplasmas, or the pile of screaming mouths known as the immolator mother. Every one of these will eat up your PCs and spit them out, and isn’t that what we all want?

Creature Catalog This is the shortest of the section but still extremely helpful for the GM. Animals and creatures have been a part of Eclipse Phase since the core rulebook but they end up scattered here and there through books. This section gathers them all together in one spot for easy reference.

These creatures aren’t really x-threats but many are serious threats to individual Firewall cells. The carnivorous avian-primates called clown sprites which are found on Echo IV, for instance, are hardly comparable to wrappers or fractals. If sentinels don’t prepare, however, they can be just as deadly.

Game Information Like the other sections of this book, the Game Information section is more than just it’s title would imply. Sure there are rules on running swarms, expanded rules on the exsurgent virus, and more psi-gamma sleights but the real star section of this chapter for me are the expositions.

It starts off with “Making X-Threat Scnenarios” and there’s a lot of non-intuitive advice from people who know what they are talking about. I consider myself a veteran GM of Eclipse Phase but I will freely admit that I was stopped short when I saw subsections titled “Transhumanity is Scary Enough” and “Why Now, in AF 10?”

In many ways, this sets the tone for the chapter. existential threats are huge, that’s why they rate the “existential” part, and they can easily overwhelm. Recently someone commented, after running me and a friend through a scenario where we were like transhuman Jason Bournes only to be overwhelmed by a TITAN virus in seconds, that 50% of Eclipse Phase scenarios end in TPKs. Maybe that’s as it should be but if you’re involving TITANs then the number can easily reach close to 100%. The real skill in GMing with things on this scale is not killing everyone in sight.

Take, for example, the exsurgent virus strain called babel. When someone gets infected with this, they lose the ability to comprehend any language whether text or spoken. This covers both understanding and speaking, and they start to see anyone not speaking Babel gibberish as aliens. Stage 2 involves them speaking in Babel entirely (which they start to understand as a language) and this gibberish works as an aural basilisk hack. The final stage involves the Babel-speakers developing a paranoia that anyone else is out to get them. They arm up, barricade in, and try to kill all the other “hostile aliens.”

So there you go: deadly, creepy, brilliant, crazy-powerful, and totally doable for a team with their head in the game. Great tools for a GM looking for action and terror without sacrificing fun.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: X-Risks
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Eclipse Phase: Argonauts
by Colin W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/02/2017 09:49:45

This review originally appeared at: https://mephitjamesblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/09/argonauts-review/

The latest Eclipse Phase release is one that I’ve been looking forward to for a while. Argonauts is a small-scale sourcebook funded through the Transhuman Kickstarter way back when. This book is intended to fill in some of the details on the Argonauts faction the way that Zone Stalkers filled in information on the TQZ and the beginning of The Devotees filled in information on Nine Lives. How did they do? Well, no surprises, amazingly.

Argonauts has four major areas that it covers: History, Organization, Plot Hooks (my own assessment of several different sections), and Game Information. Let’s go through each of them in turn.

History Some of the Argonauts’ history was covered in the Firewall sourcebook since the two organizations share some of the same origins. In a nutshell, the Argonauts are the successors of the real-life JASON advisory group that advises the U.S. government. They weren’t the such group in the years leading up to the Fall but they were well-funded and fairly international. The result is a group of concerned scientists who have a front-row seat as the world was ending. They had a few conferences (Argo 1 and Argo 2) close to four decades before the Fall and from these hashed out the start of the Argonaut movement.

Numerous details are provided in this section for setting up the Argonauts in your game, including their founding doctrines, the debate over the precautionary stance (No to dangerous tech!… Until we can vet it, at least…”), and the Magna Cortica (their official policy on transhuman intelligences and basic rights). There is a ton here to lay the groundwork of scenarios dealing with the time before the Fall and it has the distinct advantage of centering on a group that has advanced tech, private labs, and a reason to protect their findings from falling into the wrong hands. Just reading through gave me dozens of ideas for Firewall missions.

Oh, and in case you think these things are talked about in vague, hand-waving ways (maybe you haven’t ever actually read an Eclipse Phase book, I don’t know) then you should know that there are multiple, in-character sidebars detailing how your characters (PC or NPC) might interact with the Argonauts’ principles as well as the full text of the “Charter on Scientific Responsibility” and the Magna Cortica. Seriously, so much in here.

Organization Eclipse Phase originally presented its factions (from the Planetary Consortium and Titanian Commonwealth to the criminal syndicates and anarchist collectives) as general intersections of physical territory, social memes, and foreign relations. There was plenty for GMs to build from there and I certainly have done so in my games. However, the creators have also done a great job of fleshing out these organizations with each new sourcebook and providing us with new ideas as well as meaty details.

This section is the latter. The Argonauts are lead by an elected Senate and a triumvirate of positions: the Chancellor, who sets the vision of the faction and represents them externally; the President, who handles operations, resources, and security; and the Provost, who oversees consultants and the dissemination of research findings. Not only are these positions and their offices described, but the current occupants are given a paragraph or two to outline their details and how they might interest a group of PCs. As usual with Eclipse Phase NPCs, they are colorful and complicated.

The Senate of the Argonauts gets its section next, detailing its responsibilities and providing some hilarious digs at higher education (for example: “Unlike in academia, though, the Senate has some real power, and thus some inducement to act.” … Can you tell that some of these folks are academics?). Although the Argonauts aren’t a government, the Senate acts a little like their legislative branch and approves plans from the Chancellor as well as electing the triumvirate positions described above.

Research is overseen by the Directors, a group of people given wide discretion in the running of particular lines of research. If this sounds like Firewall proxies, I think that’s entirely intentional. They might wear two hats or provide the role of “boss” in an all-Argonaut campaign. There are also project heads which are sort of like baby Directors hoping for their project to be formally backed by the Argonauts.

Some description is given of the faction’s rank-and-file (i.e. the PCs and their friends) then Factions and Groups within the Argonauts. There are five of those given: AutoSub (the futurist’s futurists), Backups (similar to the same group of safeguarders in Firewall), the Great Dismals (socioeconomists who quietly calculate when revolution and war are coming), the Institute for the Study of Emergent Trends (ISET, the publicly innocent think-tank that doubles as a Firewall operation), and the Medeans. Personally, I’d like to see more on this last group, the Argonauts’ group of badass problem-solvers: if you have the Firewall book, you can combine the information there with this short paragraph but there’s still so much more that could be said about them. Ah, well…

Plot Hooks The next five sections of the sourcebook are all focused on providing plot hooks for the GM. First is a section on Important People and this runs the gamut from a former Chancellor and Director of the Argonauts’ extrasolar research teams to an influential journalist who regularly writes about x-threats and a “rockstar polymath” who lives an ascetic lifestyle. My favorite, though, is Ravinder Khan (unfortunately one of the shorter sections) who leads the proactionist wing of the Argonaut Senate. He has some past accomplishments, including being one of Extropia’s founders, and is constantly pushing the envelope. His potential as both a patron and an opponent for a team of PCs has me giddy.

Next up are Locations that are important to the Argonauts. These four locales (Hooverman-Geischecker, Ilmarinen, Mitre, and Markov) have all been described before but I still really like this section. First of all, it identifies four prominent Argonaut strongholds through the solar system (around the Sun, in Lunar orbit, near Neptune, and in the Kuiper Belt) for GMs to use as bases where they need. Secondly, and relatedly, it’s good to have all of these places together so that you can do things like identify the extent of the Argonauts’ reach. Lastly, there is information here that updates and clarifies things based on information in books written since those locations first appeared, including Argonauts.

The section on Life As an Argonaut is for players and GMs alike. There’s suggestions here for players to make their Argonaut characters more than just the party’s resident egghead. There’s also lots of suggestions for how to create compelling stories focused on the Argonauts and how the education community looks in Eclipse Phase. It’s less than a full page all told, however, so again I could stand to have some more.

Last of all, the Argonauts’ Relations with Others are explained to give the GM some tools for creating conflict outside of the faction’s research labs. This is done in general terms but also with reference to specific NPCs and projects listed here and in other sourcebooks. I particularly like the discussion of how the Argonauts relate to the RNA rep-network. In a game where the Argonauts are playing a big role, it’s good to know what effect if any your r-rep can have with hypercorps executives and autonomist clades.

Game Information I think it’s a testament to Eclipse Phase‘s writing that the game mechanics section of their sourcebooks are not the part I go to first. In fact, I often get there last and not just because it’s at the end of the book. In the case of Argonauts, I definitely combed through all the setting detail repeatedly before I even looked at the red pages of stats and equipment.

It’s definitely worth it, though. There are short profiles of various PC roles that might be used when the Argonauts come up in your campaign: the async, the consultant, the field scientist, the hacker, the journalist, the Medean, the psychosurgeon, the reverse engineer, the xenoscientist, and the x-risk generalist. In an all-Argonaut party this is a must-have list to differentiate player characters. After that come some NPC archetypes: the consultant in distress, the info liberator, the lab scientist, the mathematician, and the ordinal (experienced and resourceful Argonauts). There are no stat blocks for these NPCs (a weakness of Eclipse Phase in general) but they are ready-made descriptions of people within the Argonauts that can definitely help with your campaign planning.

After this come some Prometheans (!) in the organization, some mechanical benefits of registering with the movement, and some Argonaut plots to get your campaigns going. In the interest of protecting your campaign secrecy, I’ll leave the latter for you to peruse on your own time. You should also print out and keep close the “Argonaut Index” which refers you to Argonaut matters throughout the line of Eclipse Phase products.

Conclusion This is a great book and a must-have for any GMs who are even considering having the Argonauts in their campaign. It’s full of excellent ideas for both sides of the screen and adds both depth and breadth to the faction. I think it could have been twice as long and still seemed to short but I understand that this came out as a stretch goal on a Kickstarter and so I understand why it is only 25 pages. I just hope we get more products like this and will hand over all my credits for them.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: Argonauts
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Eclipse Phase: Panopticon
by Christopher J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/18/2017 10:19:49

I have a love/hate relationship with these books. On the one hand, they are insanely comprehesive and well written, and the setting is fantastic and unique (even where it borrows from other novels, games, etc, it does so in such a way that it's with love and not a blatant ripoff). On the other hand, science aside (which is always plausible and well thought out) the authors exhibit careless, lazy thinking when it comes to extrapolation of future culture, economics, politics, and social structure. Basically anything the hard sciences don't address.

At first, I had attributed this to the in-character voices of the narrators, but after purchasing a ton of their PDFs and hardbacks I've come to realize that this is not the case. It's the writers' own wishful thinking and biases seeping through. This is not good sci-fi. This has nothing do with whether I agree or disagree with said biases, that's irrelevant. If you want to use sci fi to comment on the human condition or as a fanciful reflection of the real world, fine. There's a long tradition of that. The problem is that it's so poorly executed and ham fisted.

I've left out specific examples because this isn't a review of any one's politics or beliefs (I may very well agree with a lot of them). I'm merely looking at the craft behind this book (which as yet is the most egregious example of this).

Regarding the expansion of the EP universe: I love it, despite my above reservations. These guys are passionate world builders and it shows. The mechanics, as always, are relegated to later in the book. A person who doesn't run EP could buy these books for the setting alone and they would work fantistically.

I've spent entirely too much money on this game and don't regret it.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: Panopticon
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Eclipse Phase: X-Risks
by John S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/05/2016 11:32:13

Overall X-risks is a pretty good expansion to the Eclipse Phase universe, with lots of details on major threats, minor threats and monsters for your games. Unfortunately Posthuman Studios managed to miss producing any threats for (and from) one of the major political factions. Since this is the faction your players are most likely to be spending time around, this is a pretty major oversight.

After reading the full book, I knocked another star off. We needed a monster manual, but these range from a few interesting ones to many downright awful ones. Not the good kind of 'makes me uncomfortable' awful, but B-horror movie awful. More senseless zombie-making xenofauna than you can shake a stick at, and some exsurgent and TITAN monstrosities that are more puzzling than terrifying.



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[2 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: X-Risks
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Eclipse Phase: NPC File 1: Prime
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/29/2016 15:06:09

A great resource for Eclipse Phase GMs, although what would be incredible is if the book was formatted in a way that each NPC took up half a page -- that would make printing out the book to use as a reference a worthwhile effort. As it stands now, it's a good reference to use to copy NPCs to index cards for use during game.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: NPC File 1: Prime
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Eclipse Phase: X-Risks
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/15/2016 14:33:36

I expected a much-needed beastiary containing creative machines and monsters straight from one's sci-fi nightmares. I was not disappointed. X-risks provides details on about 60 new creatures from all over the setting with various threat levels (and a bunch more weaker "critters") as well as insight into the factors, exhumans, Titans, exsurgent virus, and a few other more minor enemy groups or organizations. There's even a few traps a GM can use to design their own. I look forward to introducing these new toys to my players.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: X-Risks
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Eclipse Phase: X-Risks
by Andrea-Massimo V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/11/2016 08:24:40

As always, an excellent product from Posthuman guys. Not an indispensable tool but surely a very usefule one. It will clear up storytellers and players mind on different threat levels, dangerous viruses and possible horrible menaces that always lurk in the shadows of Eclipse Phase stories. I'd have rather preferred some more story ark and scenarios but for sure adventures will spring out easily from this nice manual.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: X-Risks
by Cláudio d. A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/10/2016 23:11:35

Well written and illustrated! And really SCARY! Kudos for Posthuman Studios!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: X-Risks
by Frank M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/08/2016 22:04:51

Another triumph from Posthuman. Amazingly well thought-out; enough to scare even the regular human about all the ways it can all go wrong even IF we live through all the threats today.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: All POD Books [BUNDLE]
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/18/2016 17:49:57

First, the content of these books is beyond question. I wanted to indicate I am very happy with the P.O.D. physical copies of these books. If anyone is concerned about differences between regular print run Eclipse Phase books, here is what to expect. The end papers (leaves of paper fixed to the inside of the cover) in these books are plain white. Not as pretty as the regular print versions, but by no means a deal-breaker. The Premium Heavyweight paper used in these books is as heavy as the regular print books, but has a more matte finish. This means the colors are slightly subdued compared to the regular print runs (mostly visible in images with a lot of black). This also means the pages are completely flat - my regular print books all have a very subtle rippling of the pages (likely because of changes in heat and humidity during printing). There is absolutely no indication of any print artifacts whatsoever, and the quality is very high (I actually prefer the look and feel of the less-shiny, P.O.D. pages). Panopticon does not have a bookmark ribbon (whether you will miss that is largely subjective, I don't). My copy of Panopticon is slightly (about 4mm) taller than my other EP books. The Panopticon book boards and spine are not as thick as the regular print books, but not so that regular human beings would notice. The folding of the cover over the book boards in the copy of Panopticon I received, is a bit misaligned along the top edge. This means it sticks up a bit from under the endpapers. Again, no-one but book-nerds would ever notice (if you are buying dead-tree copies, these things are probably important to you). The softcover books are as high quality as the hardcover, and are firmly stapled through the 'spine' created by folding the Premium Heavyweight paper. All these books are up to the very high standard I expect from Posthuman Studios - if you like your information embedded in tangible objects, you need not be concerned about P.O.D. quality.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: All POD Books [BUNDLE]
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