Stars Without Number For Fading Suns?

Like most Fading Suns fans, I am eagerly awaiting the release of the game’s 3rd edition. I love the Fading Suns setting more than any game setting ever made, ever, forever, but the shockingly few times I have actually managed to play the 2nd edition, the system left me sorta cold and feeling like, if I was going to make a game of Fading Suns be worthy of the setting, I would have to do it with some other system.

Initially I thought of Savage Worlds, since Savage Worlds was (is?) my go-to system for high-action games for years, but I ran into a couple of bumps in trying to put together a full-game Savage Fading Suns. There are some mechanics in FS that are informed by the setting that I could never quite manage to make work exactly right in Savage Worlds. My lultimate conclusion was that, while Savage Worlds would probably work great for Fading Suns, it would probably be great in practice rather in theory. By that I mean, if I was going to actually run Fading Suns using Savage Worlds, I would do as little converting as possible. If someone wanted ot play a particular kind of character or have a particular kind of power or skill that was not already approximate-able with Savage Worlds’s existing options, then and only then would I create the necessary new content. Otherwise, I would just see if I could use Savage Worlds out of the box as much as possible.

I have also considered using Risus for Fading Suns. In Risus you define your characters by cliches, and Fading Suns is full of cliches. I’m not sure how Risus works in practice because I have never actually played it, but I have a notion it would work. It’s presented as a humor game, but clearly it does not have to be played as a humor game.

I have also recently had the odd idea that Fading Suns would run just fine with Classic Traveller, a game I already know and love, again with minimal need for the hard work of “conversion,” since as a ridiculawesomely old-school game, Taveller is much easier to tinker with on a mechanical level than, say, Savage Worlds.

This morning, though, I was flipping through Stars Without Number and it just struck me as perfect. I haven’t read the rules all the way through yet so I can’t add a lot more than that, but Stars Without Number looks like the love child of Traveller and Basic D&D, and as such it is quite possibly the One True Soul Mate of the Fading Suns setting.

Unless Fading Suns 3rd edition is awesome, in which case, it won’t need a soul mate.

5 Responses to “Stars Without Number For Fading Suns?”

  1. Feng Shui. But actually Feng Shui is a bad idea for Fading Suns, insofar as I understand it. Fading Suns needs to be a bit grim and gritty, with a real sense that life is cheap, and Feng Shui does a lot of things well, but combat isn’t that lethal ever.

    None of the other settings I would use work really well though; I do like 3rd edition, I just would rather play it than run it. So it might be fine.

  2. Dr. Rotwang!: Huh. d6 would probably work just fine. Fading Suns tastes enough like Star Wars anyway, and Force to Wyrd would be probably the easiest port out there (in fact, in considering good systems for FS, I have thought about hos close the two are). d6 just isn’t one of my go-to systems, whereas the ones I mentioned in the post are either my go-to systems (Savage Worlds, Classic Traveller), variants of my go-to systems (Stars Without Number), or so simple they may as well be go-to systems (Risus). World of Darkness would probably also run Fading Suns like a dream; I’m just unfamiliar enough with it to make it be a lot of work.

    El Bryanto: I honestly think Feng Shui would work just fine, and if I was still in Tallahassee, I would probably do that. It would certainly result in a high-action spin on Fading suns, but I don’t actually think that’s inappropriate. The only downside to Feng Shui is that it front-loads the work, because you would wind up needing to come up with a bunch of new archetypes. Not the end of the world, just a bit more labor than I am usually inclined these days (thus the basic abandonment of my Savage Fading Suns project).

    The reason I wouldn’t use Feng Shui for Fading Suns (FS/FS!) is really just that Feng Shui isn’t my go-to system anymore (although an unlike d6 or nWoD, it used to be). It’s a great game, but the shot clock initiative is really kind of a central mechanic, and I just find it awkward when I’m running a game. Nothing objectively wrong with it, mind you, and I like it just fine when I’m on the other side of the screen.

  3. The feasibility of using d6 depends on which d6 rulebook you’re using. If you have access to the old d6 Star Wars rulebooks then you’re all set. If you’re planning on using d6 Space then you’ll have to do a lot of work right out of the blocks because the rules are all general. There’s no psychic/force powers in the book, for example, just rules for how you might design your own psycic/force powers.

  4. Ah, well there you go. I’ve never even seen a d6 book that wasn’t Star Wars so that’s the first place my mind went. And also, because the Force worked so comparably to the way Wyrd. Trying to figure out the right way to make Bennies work as Wyrd in Savage Worlds was a bit of a headache.

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