Archive for the Space Fantasy Category

Stars Without Number For Fading Suns?

Posted in Space Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2011 by Kullervo

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.

Fading Suns: The Sinful Stars

Posted in Fading Suns, Space Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 9, 2011 by Kullervo

My best friend Ben bought me a copy of the Fading Suns fiction anthology, the Sinful Stars, and it came in the mail this weekend. It’s game fiction, but I don’t care. It’s Fading Suns and I fucking love Fading Suns.

I’m only two stories in so far, but I’m having a blast with it. Usually I am totally disinterested in published game settings, unless they’re a licensed property or something. Sometimes I sit around wishing I could have pretend Star Trek adventures or pretend Conan adventures, or whatever media I am excited about at the moment, but I basically never sit around wishing I could have pretend adventures in some world invented primarily for a roleplaying game.

That’s not to say I have a hate-on for published settings; I just don’t usually get all that excited about them. Most of the time I am of the opinion that I can come up with something just as good on my own.

But there are some exceptions, and Fading Suns is the big one. I love Fading Suns with a true and perfect love, but I have only been able to run it a bare handful of times, and I have only been able to play it never. I suppose I could push harder for it, but I kind of think I would be diasppointed unless the other players in the group were also at least modestly excited about the setting. Also, despite my rumblings about wanting to convert it to some other system, RedBrick is coming out with a third edition soon that looks good, so I’m honestly just going to wait for that.

In the meantime, I have this here fiction anthology. And you know what? When all you really want is to have imaginary adventures in an imaginary world, it turns out that reading about adventures in an imaginary world is almost as good, or sometimes even better. So for now, this book scratches the itch. Thanks, Ben.

The Fading Suns Game I Would Like To Run

Posted in Fading Suns, Space Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2011 by Kullervo

If I had a good gaming group, and they were, oh, even only half as excited about Fading Suns as I am, my ideal campaign would look something like this:

The main adventures would involve the basic PC group, i.e., a questing knight and his or her retinue. I think this option as the default for adventuring in Fading Suns is a stroke of genius: it allows for different kinds of characters to be put together in arational way with clear goals and integrated into the setting’s society just by default.

So the questing knight and retinue, the main group, would have a series of connected but discrete adventures with a clear beginning, middle, and end, maybe 3-8 sessions long each (that’s my ideal), but all working within a larger story arc. They would be doing the generic things that questing knights and their retinues do: explore lost worlds, engage in house politics, look for ancient artifacts, etc. Lots of awesome Mystery in Space.

In between those main adventured, I would run shorter one-off games, 1-3 sessions long each, set all over the setting, all kinds of games. But each more focused and more specific than the questing knight and retinue, and without the need to reflect the basic, default, “iconic” Fading Suns game. A squad of the Stigmata Garrison on patrol. Priests on Holy Terra investigating the murder of a bishop. Spies in Kurgan space. Kailinthi demon hunters rooting out an Antinomist cult. Yeoman free traders. A diplomatic mission. Sathraists on the run. Favayana versus the Invisible Path. Stuff like that. More creative and offbeat. And these short mini-adventures would also ultimately connect to the main ongoing story of the questing knight and his retinue.

It seems like the perfect way to have your cake and eat it too. On the one hand, there’s really a core paradigm for what a Fading Suns adventure looks like, i.e. what really feels like Fading Suns. On the other hand, it’s a large and diverse setting with a lot of great elements and points of view to explore, but which you might not want to run as your central ongoing campaign or which might be hard to sell other players on as the main ongoing campaign.

I also think this approach would work for any large and diverse setting with a core, iconic conceit. You could do it in Star Trek–the main advenure would involve the command crew of a starship, while the side adventures could involve Klingons, traders, almost anything. It might be hard to sell players on that ongoing campaign as Ferengi merchant princes long-term, but easy to sell them on it as a short diversion from–but connected to–the main game that’s iconic enough for everyone to get on board with.

Father Jacob: A Temple Avesti PC for Fading Suns

Posted in Fading Suns, Space Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2011 by Kullervo

I have been tossing around an idea for a Temple Avesti PC for awhile now, although I have yet to actually stat him up. At this point I will probably just wait for 3rd edition to come out.

But the idea is, I want to make a Temple Avesti PC who goes against type but not too much against type. Just enough to be a decent PC with a decent chance at getting along with the rest of the party and being a valuable, contributing member on an ongoing basis, but not so different that he is not still clearly recognizable as an Avestite.

(For the uninitiated, the Avestites are usually villains in Fading Suns: ignorant, sadistic zealots ready to burn and kill in the name of rooting out heresy).

But my idea for Father Jacob is an older, mature, wiser priest. He had his days of youthful zealotry and intolerance motivated by sadism and narrow-minded xenophobia, but miracle of miracles, over time he eventually became truly concerned with the state of mens’ souls. And he gradually grew to understand that while all sin is sin, some sinners respond better to a firm but gentle hand. He would rather save sinners than kill them. So he comes off as a wise and kind but firmly authoritative old priest. He even specifically eschews the use of the flame-gun, preferring instead to use his simple blade.

..but he still knows better than most that some evil cannot be corrected, and under the grandfatherly exterior is a bone-tough and ruthless hater of sin who is more than capable of tackling the horrors of the void single-handedly. I want to play an Avestite that makes the other players cheer and shit their pants with excitement when he finally locks and loads his flamegun.

Savage Fading Suns: Wyrd Bennies And Occult Paths

Posted in Space Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2010 by Kullervo

I have been thinking a bit about the way I think Fading Suns’s occult powers should work in Savage Worlds, and I think I have come to two conclusions:

1. I am going to have Bennies fuel powers instead of power points, probably on a one-for-one basis. I realize that this sort of radically changes the way Bennies will be used in a game, and I think I am okay with it. I think it better captures how Wyrd works in Fading Suns. It will involve the creation of some ancillary Edges I think to promote a faster flow of Bennies for occult characters, and maybe some guidelines or a sub-system for new ways to get Bennies. Maybe just like a list of mandatory ways to get them–explicitly the player’s responsibility to claim them in those circumstances?–to supplement the usual GM-discretionary Bennie awards. I also realize that this probably means occult characters will not be using their powers all that often. I’m okay with that. I don’t think that Fading Suns is a setting where it makes sense for occult characters to throw around their powers like a 9th-level D&D wizard anyway.

2. I like the idea of grouping powers into paths, and I am going to stick with that. The “New Path” edge will come with the first power form the path for free, but it will only be able to be taken once per rank. Further powers in a path you already have can be taken as often as you have an edge to spend on them. Although some powers and/or entire paths may have minimum rank requirements.