Fading Suns

Fading Suns Player’s Guide First Impressions

Fading Suns is often described as kitchen-sink space opera, and it is something that I have always found amusing about it. As a fan of Space Opera series like Dune and Warhammer 40k, I’m perpetually amused by how Fading Suns manages to come up with a compelling setting that has several dozen nods to popular sci-fi, without falling apart in the process.

Fading Suns is classic Space Opera at it’s finest. Space empires, squabbling noble houses, the presence of a powerful space church, warring merchant guilds and strange enigmatic aliens are all in there, and every piece has a place in this grand stage. The latest book in this franchise, the Revised Edition Player’s Guide from FASA, continues this tradition.

I’ll have to admit that I’ve been looking forward to a new edition of Fading Suns for so long now, having missed the chance to collect the physical books before. That said, it’s good to remember that this is technically a revision as opposed to an entirely different edition of the book.

All of the things that made the original game great is still all here, with the various factions (Nobles, Guilds and Church) and the infighting that goes with it. The crazy space archaeology and mystery tech is also still here, along with the myriad of enemies and threats to humanity.

Fading Suns is perhaps the best Space Opera game to highlight the awesome things about science fiction that doesn’t cleave too closely to technology and science. GMs get to add their spin on things, and a Fading Suns campaign can be anything from planetary exploration to high intrigue. It’s this kind of flexibility that leaves me constantly impressed with Fading Suns, and looking forward to the rest of the books.

Something tells me that I’ll have to get around to doing a Let’s Study of this book to get into the real meat of the matter though, but only the Pancreator knows how many entries that series will take.

Fading Suns Player’s Guide (Revised Edition) now available on DriveThruRPG!

With Blue Planet now out, Fading Suns couldn’t be far behind. Not to be confused with Redbrick’s Fading Suns Second Edition Revised, this new book is the latest core release of a new edition of the awesome Fading Suns setting.

Nobles… Priests… Aliens… Knights

It is the dawn of the sixth millenium and the skies are darkening, for the suns themselves are fading. Humans reached the stars long ago, building a Republic of high technology and universal emancipation — and then squandered it, fought over it, and finally lost it.

Fading Suns is a saga of humanity’s fate among the stars — a space fantasy game of deadly combat, vicious politics, weird occultism, alien secrets and artifacts, and unknown and unmapped worlds.

The Fading Suns Player’s Guide contains rules for character creation, skills, traits, psychism, theurgy, technology, cybernetics, starships, and much, much more!

Fading Suns Player’s Guide™
Revised Edition Core Rulebook
Published by FASA Games, Inc.
Format: 384 pages, ~6″ x 9″, B+W Interior

This core rulebook is for Players and Game Masters. For a complete Known Worlds game experience, the GM will require a copy of the Fading Suns Game Master’s Guide (due out in December 2012).

Fading Suns, Noble Armada, and Fading Suns Player’s Guide are trademarks of Holistic Design, Inc. Fading Suns Second Edition Edition material copyright © 1999–2012 Holistic Design, Inc. FASA and the FASA logo are trademarks of FASA Corporation, and are used under license. Published by FASA Games, Inc. under license from Holistic Design, Inc. — Made in the USA. Copyright © 2012 Holistic Design, Inc. All rights reserved.

If you’re a fan of Space Opera, or looking for a sci-fi game that can handle anything from politicking great houses to Alien-esque suspense / horror, you can’t go wrong with picking up Fading Suns.

Fading Suns Player’s Guide (Revised Edition) is now available on DriveThruRPG for $20.99 or roughly Php 945.00

New Information on Redbrick’s Fading Suns and Keeping up with Darthgus’ Infinity Core

I’m pretty sure that more than a few people might find this particular article interesting as it goes into what people can expect from the upcoming Fading Suns Revised Player’s Handbook coming out from Redbrick on GenCon 2012:

What’s in a book? As we approach Gen Con Indy 2012, this is the first preview of some of the game products that RedBrick will be releasing at the convention.

This article summarizes the major changes from Fading Suns Second Edition that you will find in the Fading Suns Player’s Guide (Revised Edition). A copy of the book’s comprehensive Table of Contents is attached to this post as a PDF to give you an idea of what’s in the Player’s Guide (and for comparison with earlier editions).

The Fading Suns Revised Edition was not written to obsolete years of Fading Suns material, but to streamline the game system, while maintaining compatibility with the sourcebooks players are already using. There is an active player base for Fading Suns Second Edition that have complete collections. The changes made in this edition may not be enough for you to consider migrating to using it. However, this edition will be available in print format to trade and distribution channels within the next few months, and therefore readily accessible to both new and existing Fading Suns players (whereas the First and Second Editions are out-of-print).

The universe is still the same as described in Fading Suns Second Edition, but the timeline has advanced to the year 5002. Emperor Alexius has steadily worked to increase the strength of the Phoenix Empire. Minor houses are beginning to play a more important role, both as puppets of the Royal houses and as strong supporters of the Emperor. By placing sons and daughters into the Order of the Phoenix as Questing Knights, the minor houses have been granted new access to land and titles.

The Victory Point System (VPS) has been modified to use Victory Points as both the number of successes and as a quality of success. VPS still uses a “roll as close to the target goal number as possible” mechanic. The system can be used to generate a simple pass or fail roll, with traits and skills being added together to determine a goal number. Victory Points are used to determine the level of success, and in situations like combat, to generate effect dice or wound points. Effect dice are still six-sided dice rolled in combat to generate damage levels (wound points) and determine how well armor protects a character (armor points). The rules of the game have been modified to reflect the revised Victory Point System.

Body and Mind traits remain the same as in Fading Suns Second Edition, but there are new Spirit traits: Presence, Will, and Faith. These traits are not the opposed Spirit traits of Fading Suns Second Edition, but mirror the Body and Mind traits. Spirit traits can be tapped to allow characters to perform acts above and beyond what they would normally be able to perform. Will can be used to focus on a task in the face of distraction, Faith allows a character to tap into their passion and ignite the fire within themselves, and a character can use Presence to inspire others in their group to perform at their full potential. Wyrd fuels theurgic rites and psychic powers, but can also be used by any character to reroll a failed goal roll or to reroll effect dice.

Character generation still uses the Lifepath System to quickly generate characters that are sufficiently well-equipped to jump right into the action of Fading Suns. The Lifepath System is designed to give players a quick method for creating well-rounded characters who are competent in a number of areas, but still customized enough to be uniquely their own. There is no longer a distinct separation between natural and learned skills, but every character still starts with some basic skills that they already know as part of their upbringing. Lore skills have been primarily removed in the character generation system to make room for other skills. The option to create a fully customized character exists (the Custom Creation System), with more options provided for starting characters younger, older, or at different stages of their career.

Blessings, Curses, Benefices, and Afflictions all remain in the game. A few points have been changed to fit in with the Lifepath System and to balance some of the options. Fighting styles have been added as a trait to allow characters to choose a fighting style for their character and to provide a guideline for Game Masters or players to create their own unique styles.

Skills have been streamlined and narrowed in focus. In some cases (such as combat) there are more skills, instead of relying only on a few skills to perform all combat actions. The Lore and Science skills have been combined to allow characters to quickly specialize in technology and science skills without sacrificing skills in other areas of the game.

Psychic powers are more flexible, as they can be modified by spending extra Wyrd before the power is used, or by spending Victory Points after the power is complete, to reduce the effect but make the duration longer. Theurgic powers are still static, but tend to have more powerful effects. Both Urge and Hubris remain as a counterbalance to using these abilities.

The combat system has been overhauled. Characters have a derived Initiative trait, and each combat turn add a d6 to it to determine their starting order. Combatants can choose different stances, based on whether they want to act aggressively, defensively, or balanced. Those characters that specialize in fighting styles have special stances available to them that can add to or improve the standard stances. Each turn in combat represents one action; multiple actions have been removed, though some actions may act like multiple actions, such as striking or shooting more than once, or drawing and shooting. Instead of dodging attacks, all characters have a Defense trait that represents their ability to avoid harm. The more attacks they face in a turn, the lower their Defense.

Armor and weapons remain the same as in Fading Suns Second Edition by having effect dice for armor or damage respectively. Once a character is hit or hits they roll effect dice to determine armor points and wound points. Weapons and armor also have optional properties that can be used to make weapons more dangerous by reducing the effectiveness of certain types of armor or to make armor more resistant to some types of weapons. Finally, energy shields remain the same as they were in FS2, but option rules have been provided to make them easier to overcome. When a shield is hit with excessive damage it burns out for a number of turns, leaving the character unprotected. Options to change the way shield thresholds work are presented in the book.

Starships have remained nearly identical to Fading Suns Second Edition in this edition. Charts and tables are presented for modifying ships or for piecing together your own, but no formal construction system is presented in the Player’s Guide. The forthcoming Noble Armada game (separate) is where you will find a unified starship construction and combat system, either for use as a standalone system for starship combat, or for use with Fading Suns to supplement roleplaying dramas. Rules for roleplaying starship chases and battles at an abstract level are presented in this chapter.

Overall, an effort has been made to make this edition of the game a new and exciting version of Fading Suns, one that remains true to the history and feel of the milieu. The Game Master’s Guide (due out in December 2012) will present more rules on dangers to the characters, creating interesting NPCs and challenges, and flesh out more of the game universe by presenting information on worlds, factions, and other organizations in Fading Suns.

If you have any specific questions related to this release, please feel free to post them in the Fading Suns forum and we’ll answer them as best as we can!

The Fading Suns Player’s Guide (Revised Edition) will be released at Gen Con Indy 2012 and is available only from the RedBrick/FASA booth #1935. Holistic Design Inc. will also have limited quantities of the Player’s Guide for sale at Dragon*Con 2012, in Atlanta, GA. The book is perfect-bound, 6.125×9.125″, b+w interior, MSRP$34.99. A PDF version will be available for purchase soon from OneBookShelf (details to come). Trade print and distribution to come after Gen Con (details to come).

It’s a lot of information to take in at this point, but it does seem promising. Since I can’t make it to GenCon (seeing as I live halfway around the world) I’ll have to wait until the PDF comes out on DriveThruRPG. That said I’m also eagerly awaiting any new preview news for Blue Planet, another sci-fi game that I’m extremely interested in.

For those watching Darthgus, he’s still been posting updates on his spinoff system Infinity Core, and is hopefully slated to do some play testing in GenCon as well. I’m very eager to see the rest of his work, and I believe that in the long run, his independent gig will actually pay off in spades. If you’d like  to check out his work, do visit his Gamers Dev blog, and the Vagrant Workshop forums if you’d like to be included in his playtest as well!

[Fading Suns 3e] Lux Splendor 2011

In the interest of keeping the candles burning in reverence to the Pancreator, I’m reposting the Lux Splendor address which details what to expect from Fading Suns this year!

Lux Splendor Address

To all the loyal subjects of the Phoenix Emperor, I offer up this address. During this time of feasting and celebration it is all too easy to forget the plight of brothers and sisters throughout the reaches of the jumpweb. There are still many worlds lost to the light of the Empire, and dominated by tyrants and dictators without the sovereign right of noble blood.

At this hallowed time of year I ask you all to offer a prayer that the light of the Phoenix Emperor and the one true Faith of the Universal Church should flow outwards through the jumpweb to bring hope of a better tomorrow to all worlds.


The Fading Suns 3rd edition project began back in 2007. Since then it has been a long road to get to where we are today. 2012 will be the year that Fading Suns will finally make a return to game stores everywhere. We have refrained from making promises about precise release dates, and I’m still not in a position to make predictions. However, I do intend to talk to you a little about what you can expect in 2012.

The intention is to release four publications for Fading Suns every year, starting in the first quarter of 2012. As you might guess the first two releases will be the Fading Suns Player’s Guide and the Fading Suns Game Master’s Guide, in Q1 and Q2 respectively. So what are we going to release in Q3 and Q4?

There will be a gap between being able to buy the FS3 Player’s Guide and the FS3 GM’s Guide, you may ask – will I be able to play the game with only one book?

The short answer is yes. The Player’s Guide contains the game system and all the basics. The GM’s Guide gives a massive amount of setting information, if you have been a long time fan of Fading Suns, then you already know much of what will be in the GM’s book. A newcomer to Fading Suns might have to rely on some of our forthcoming shard releases, until the GM’s Guide makes it into print.
We have commissioned several new books from the writing team. The intention is that the House of the Lion and the House of the Mantis will fill the Q3 and Q4 slot in 2012, but it is possible that things might get reshuffled depending on how much progress the writers make.

House of the Lion [to be written by Angus McNicholl]
House of the Mantis [to be written by Gabriel Zarate]
Universal Church [to be written by Vidar Edland]
Forbidden Lore: Heresies [to be written by Vidar Edland]
Pirates of the Jumpweb [to be written by Todd Bogenrief]

In addition to four books each year, we also aim to bring you a number of shards each year, again hopefully one each quarter. Shards will be released as PDFs, and later assembled into a collected volume that will be available in hard copy the following year.
I hope to make the Lux Splendor Address a yearly feature, wherein I am able to share with you our plans for the coming new year.


I bid you go forth and share the gift of light with those whom you hold community. Let them know that the Phoenix Empire has not forsaken them, but stands ready to defend the rights of all citizens. Stand resolute against the darkness of lost hope.

Lux Splendor

Emperor Alexius I,
Emperor of the Phoenix Throne, Sword of the Pancreator, Protector of the Known Worlds.


[Let’s Study: Fading Suns] The Future of the Known Worlds

Fading Suns is a game that has impressed me in many, many ways.  The Rules might be a little old nowadays, but they can still work.  But the setting?  The setting is every bit as amazing to me now as it was to the people who picked up the game when it first came out.

Thankfully, the story of the Fading Suns universe isn’t over.  The people over at Redbrick are working on the 3rd Edition of the game, one which will be implementing various changes to make the system better, while further developing the awesome setting of the Fading Suns universe.

In fact, you can take a look at the development so far via the blogs on their site, including Angus McNicholl’s The Reborn Sun and Vidar Edland’s Void Transmissions.

The 3rd Edition of the game has been a work in process for quite a while now, but the blogs do give me a measure of confidence that the Redbrick people feel very strongly about their product and are putting in every ounce of effort to make the 3rd Edition the best version of Fading Suns yet.

And so I conclude this series of Let’s Study articles for Fading Suns… at least until 3rd Edition comes around.

[Let’s Study] Fading Suns – Expanding Your Universe

The fun part of checking out games that have been out for a bit is the fact that you don’t really have to agonize about the next book in the game.  After all, the line is (in a way) already complete.  Fading Suns has been around a while, and given the number of supplements out (and available via DriveThruRPG) there’s the opposite question, “Which one of these supplements are good?”

I’ll be honest, I haven’t read any of the supplements yet, but there are a few that catch my eye:

Merchants of the Jumpweb and Lords & Priests are pretty much shoo-ins from what I can tell.  I like giving players more options and these supplements pretty much address that particular need.  Of course, the game also keeps a lot of secrets… resulting in supplements on all the other races and factions.  The Vau, Symbiots and the Vorox, as well as all the other denizens of the Universe.

Personally, I’m glad that these are in electronic format.  It might take me a while to actually get these, but I’m not in a hurry.  After all, there’s also the upcoming 3rd Edition that will come out… eventually.

[Let’s Study] Fading Suns – Character Creation

Fading Suns character creations is presented in two ways.  One is a more standard Point-Buy system where you have a pool of points to spend on buying up stats, skills and various other advantages.  It’s very similar to RPGs like Legend of the Five Rings, 7th Sea and the games from the World of Darkness, and anyone who has ever played one of these will feel right at home with the character generation.

That said, I think what does merit special mention here is the fact that they also present a second variant, wherein players can put together a character by making Lifepath choices, which are presented as pre-spent point packages.  I find that this is a novel alternative to the point buy for players who aren’t quite so inclined to going over all the little options to tweak a character to an exacting amount of detail.

Admittedly, as I’m getting older and my responsibilities pile on, I found this to be something of an adequate concession on my part.  I probably won’t have the same amount of time I used to spend in tweaking characters, so this solution is ideal for me.  In fact, just to give it a spin, I put a character together in about 15 minutes:

Ouyang Liang Ping
Charioteer (Wealthy, City Environment; Apprenticed to a Guildhall; Early Career as a Merchant)

BODY: Strength 3, Dexterity 6, Endurance 4
MIND: Wits 8, Perception 7, Tech 4
SPIRIT: Extrovert 8, Introvert 3, Passion 3, Calm 5, Faith 3, Ego 4

Charm 5, Dodge 3, Fight 3, Impress 4, Melee 3, Observe 5, Shoot 5, Sneak 5, Vigor 3

Skills, Learned:
Drive (Spacecraft) 8, Drive (Landcraft) 4, Empathy 1, Gambling 1, Knavery 1, Lore (people and places seen) 1, Lore (Agora) 1, Mech Redemption 5, Read Urthish (2pts), Remedy 1, Speak (2pts local dialect, 2pts dialect), Inquiry 3, Streetwise 3

Curious (+2 Extrovert when seeing something new)

Nosy (-2 Calm when seeing something new)

Rank (Associate)
Cash 100 firebirds,
Ally 2 pts
Gossip Network 2pts
Passage Contract 2pts

20 Extras pts. on cybernetic devices or associated characteristics (cost: 3pts per +1) and/or skills (cost: 1pt per +1)

Admittedly this character is probably not as polished as it would had I gone on the strict point-buy method, but as I said, I’m less strict about things like these right now.

Oh, one thing I DID notice about the history thing though, was the fact that the writing forgot to mention the starting values for characters though.  I was wondering why my stats were seemingly very low for a game that relied on a d20 round down system, until I read that characters apparently start with Stats and a few Skills at 3

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