Fading Suns

  • I am aware of an aborted attempt by Paulus, Lextius, and Augustus@Vargo in setting up a Leminkainen game. Less freakin Kurgans and more Vuldrok and more combat/raiding than politics. Not sure of the specifics on what they had in mind, but I always thought it would be an interesting world conceptually to play in.

    The setting will put certain factions CoughDecadosCough at something of a disadvantage (although they would have Masseri partisans) but I always thought it would be an interesting low-energy game situated on a frontier town where a fragile peace between the local gentry and Vuldrok is maintained.

  • Coder

    Someone that's better at this system than me. This book is confusing. Questing Knights. Lore (people and places seen). That could easily be Lore(Regional) or Lore(Folk). So which the fuck is it. Good Lord.

    Context: CG

    Edit: For that matter, Lore (Court Rivals), Lore (Rival House). For someone who has GM'd this before, Do you make someone pick a specific house or rival group or do you leave those as they are?

  • Pitcrew

    The way I have done it was made them pick something specific that was something they learned about while Questing.
    One the court question I left court Rivals general, but on Rival house made them pick a particular house.
    No real Clue if either of these are the official ways to do it, but they worked fine for my groups.

  • Pitcrew

    Lores work much in the same way oWoD Lores worked. They're specific sub-focii like The Hazat, or a Planet, or an Order. It illustrates just how much knowledge of that particular people you got access to at any point.

  • That said the actual Fading Suns system is utterly terrible, worse than first edition White Wolf stuff.

  • Pitcrew

    I disagree with that, it is one of my favorite systems to work with. quick to use in play, easy to explain,because it is the Price is Right System you want to roll as close to the goal without going over. That is super easy to explain to new people since everyone has seen Price is Right at least a few times.
    For introducing non-gamers that is wonderful compared to say D20 which you start to get the eye glaze over effect pretty quickly on. The results fit the setting and themes of the game. True if you try to be a jack of all trades will will suck at them all, but that is why you have gaming groups each person fills a role.
    It is far from a perfect system but I have never seen a perfect one and it works for the stories it is trying to tell is quick and easy to explain.
    The biggest knock against it would be it is one not a lot of people know, but I don't think any of the well known systems would be lose the feel of the game.

  • Coder

    @ThatGuyThere The other knock against it is the book is utterly terrible. All things in CG are additive, but they stop using +X half way through and then start using X. This doesn't actually mean anything, there is no significance to this because everything is still cumulative, they apparently just got lazy half way through and stopped typing a + sign. Also how bad it is at explaining options and other branching choices in CG. It's pretty much like 'Well you could do lifepath, which is what we recommend,' then you get to custom cg and it goes, 'Oh you found custom CG, well here's how you do this, it's actually easier than what we recommend.'

  • Pitcrew

    Oh the book is written poorly. I thought first edition was really written more clearly, the lifepath stuff was added in second.
    As far as easier that depends on the person for experienced people the custom is easier for new people the life path is a bit easier and builds competent characters unless you try to make choices that don't go with each other, and well then you are likely doing it on purpose for story reasons.

  • There are tons of serious issues with the default Fading Suns system, for a start character generation is absolutely full of traps, massively rewarding min maxing of attributes to the point where a hyper specialised idiot savant type character is literally dozens of game sessions/weeks of xp ahead of a generalist.

    Start with four skills at 2 in character generation because it fits your concept to have them? Equivalent to 16 xp. Start with one skill at eight instead? That is 'worth' 68 xp. Spiritual attributes are also just messed up with there being no mechanical reason not to max one side of the scale outside of a handful of psi paths, not to mention Introvert being a complete waste of points whilst Extrovert is used for almost all social rolls. There is the semi standard issue of Dexterity being a god stat also.

    Cybernetics are broken as hell, you can for a fairly significant investment get cybernetics that are invisible and maintenance free which make you a living god. Certain combat maneuvers are ridiculously effective compared to others, for example did you realize that even with a readied parry action and a sword in your hand you have no defence against being grappled? Disarming is also much easier than actually hurting somebody in armour leading to serious combatants carrying an array of swords. Throw group is especially odd, being able to fight more than one person is super hard in the system unless you have this one maneuver which lets you toss entire rooms full of guys around in a single action.

    One which note the main thing that influences who wins in a fight is armour, an averagely competent person wearing medieval plate armour and with a longbow is approximately as dangerous as some kind of commando in a bulletproof vest with a rifle. Absent powered ceramsteel or assault/battle fields everyone wants to wear plastic full plate or energy shield/synthsilk if they do not wish to be utterly doomed in a fight. Also shocker weapons are cheap and essential for hurting anyone in armour so if you do not want an electro sword? Sucks to be you. As another weirdness a light tank is as durable as a burly individual (Stamina 7) wearing plastic scale armour.

    Combine with the entire system being horribly swingy of course, I am not saying that fun games cannot be had using it but that is probably despite not because of the system, which really does not encourage it.

    Psi-Theurgy paths are... Odd, some are sort of neat but nothing special whilst others are amazingly strong and allow you to utterly dominate a campaign. The fact you gain a point or Urge/Hubris on average every 20 rolls regardless of anything else and that losing those is very difficult does ensure that you inevitably turn into a disaster though no matter how careful you are or how effectively you hide your powers. The dramatic effects of high levels of Hubris also imply that one really messed up priest in a hut somewhere on a planet (or just one who uses their theurgy every day for two years) can and will kill it unless you somehow find and stop them.

  • TV & Movies

    @Packrat To be fair, the 'allocate some dots in chargen' vs 'scaling XP costs later' is a trap that just about every skill based game system has fallen into at some point. WoD was a pretty serious offender too (and only seemed to realize it in GMC, which is only how many editions in?) So singling out FS for it is kind of silly. A lot of the other stuff you list is hardly somehow FS specific or even weird. Yes, there's 'best' equipment, strong items, magic-users are generally more powerful than non, etc. Name a game where that isn't true.

    On the other hand, I love lifepath based CGs (Burning Wheel's, or the one from the old Darklands CRPG are some of my favorite cgens ever), and I think that aspect of it makes it very player accessible (especially as @ThatGuyThere there said, for newbies). You don't have to sit there and read a huge skill list and then figure out every little skill you need and worry you'll forget something. You just say 'oh, my dude was a noble of house X, he was raised on a farm and then joined the navy, he saw action a few times and got a promotion.' That part is BRILLIANT in its absolute accessibility and direct translation of narrative into numbers.

    Edit: You also mentioned grappling. Pardon me while I laugh, and refer you back to the 'show me a game where it isn't broken' thing :)

  • Including common mistakes is not the sign of a good game system. Good enough, perhaps.

  • Pitcrew

    Are there better systems out there yes, without a doubt. Are there better ones for a Fading Suns game? The only one I would agree with that has had any kind market penetration is Fate because you can do planetary adventure well with it. Though fate has a ton of vocal detractors in these parts.
    I am not a big fan of universal systems for the most part because I think mechanics should fit the genre, a superhero game should feel mechanically different from a cyberpunk from a High fantasy. I know not everyone agree with this, a lot of folks don't want to learn mechanics but instead want one system to rule them all.
    Does Fading Suns by the books fell like planetary adventure, yes. Is it quick to run, yes at least I have found it so. I know I can run combat quicker in it then in WoD or 3.5. Those are pretty much my two biggest desires in systems, to fit the genre, and to be easy to run/use.
    For example I like D+D 5th ed better then Fading Suns but it would suck as running a Fading Suns game without major modifications because it would not feel right. I could name a few more that statement holds true for. And I would be willing to hear ideas on systems to use that would work better. Star Crusade tried their own and it repeated most of the mistakes the the book one did. It took forever to raise a skill to competent level unless you started with it from c-gen, for example.
    Almost every game favors specialists over generalists, I don't see this as a bug but a feature, after all these are things designed to be played in group, so specialization make sense because you have the rest of the party to have your back when it comes to the areas you are bad at.

  • It feels like you are shifting your terms as each issue comes.

    I've read FS, and it is not a stand out system to me. I do not even see anything in particular about it that supports the "feeL" of Fading Suns. It does have the skills and ratings for the rolls and gear/technology for the setting, so it is convenient.

    Most "old school games" would not do a better job with the theme. There might be one that handles grappling, or combat moves, or whatever better, but in a generic way instead of a thematic of strong appropriate feel way. Most games have stats named in a good way, classes or archetypes that carry flavor, and maybe even focus of rules (say on duels, or political actions) that fir the thrust of play desired.

    I can say that I personally feel that it would be a mistake to try a very complex or simulationist system to the setting, so no GURPS, or Phoenix Command. I do think that various board games that have economics and warfare elements could be adapted to give better playability and depth to those topics.

    TLDR; There is a difference between a good game as an absolute threshold, and good enough. For instance, market penetration is about good enough.

    I do think that if a given game was focussed on something specific, some of the more modern games could serve better, such as the offered example of FATE.

  • Pitcrew

    By fitting the genre I mean a couple of different things, first how combat flows, it is quick and decisive which to me fits the sources material I associate it with. Especially John Carter where the combats are written fast pace.
    Second as it has been pointed out specialist are far more mechanically rewarded over generalists, this also fits the genre, besides the titled protagonist in planetary romance books, every character tends to have a specific niche that is what they are known for,. Since a RPG campaign has no single protagonist the characters played fit in by having a particular niche that is theirs.
    It might be an age things but I don't really consider Fading Suns old school, it is not a new game but when I think old school I think traveler, FASA Star Trek, and Space Master for sci fi, but i don't think age of a game really matters much if it is easily found. Not sure if FS is or not on pdf since I have most of the books on dead tree.
    For the record I do not think Fate would be better then Fading Suns to run a game with, there are some things I like about fate and it does high adventure well so I think it would be an acceptable substitute.
    Do I consider Fading Suns a good game, yes I do. Not on any sort of absolute scale but compared to the others games I own or have read which is a considerable list though not exhaustive. If there is one out there folks think would be better for the planetary adventures that is what attracts me to Fading Suns I would be happy to hear about it.
    For the people that would be against using the fading suns system what would the alternative be? the only FS MUSH I have been on(Star Crusade) used a home brew alternative that in my opinion failed to fix the faults of the base system while losing familiarity, the ability to reference published materials, and making advancement a pipe dream for the most part.
    For me personally I could care less about market penetration, but there is a commonly voiced opinion that folks dislike learning systems that is where picking one people know comes in, which is why I brought it up, but I honestly do not think any well known system would run FS better.

  • Old school is more an approach to what the system does, and what is the responsibility of the players and GM. FS is certainly not an early RPG design. Many modern game (indie in particular) focus on getting to "the meat" of the story/situation/drama, whatever that given game thinks the meat is.

    (For instance a magical girls game based on the Apocalypse Engine has one or two rolls total per participant in a battle. Choose a tactic, roll, accept the consequences, and get on with the story itself. It finds no interest in whether you should have used your piercing three shot area effect 2 meters attack before or after the takes three actions, costs health, once a day attack or the other way around. it expects you to define that detail and drama as flavor only.)

    I've only read the John Carter series and perhaps Triplanetary counts, so I can't say i am an expert on planetary romance, but FS does not remind me of either. I think the goal of Adventure! fits, less sure about the execution.

    Is there a game where it is easier and more effective to be a generalist? Even games with increasing cost curves only de-incentivize being a generalist, but you still benefit if you can do everything a little bit. I suppose you could drop below the threshold of usefulness for adventuring purposes (high difficulties).

    I think that for the most part you can use FS, or many other similar systems without issue in the setting. It is convenient that there is a game (FS) already used to describe the setting in some detail, and your players won't care as long as you allow all the gear, or n one of the especially weird/difficult to defeat without a specialist item stuff.

    If you want a more mechanically satisfactory experience, you have a huge task no matter the system chosen.

    I'm glad it works for you. I only say anything because I don't think the game as written does anything in particular, and if you think so, you may be one of the few , and want to double check. If you are sure, then get on with making/supporting/calling for what you want, and pay me no mind!

  • Pitcrew

    Like i said not wedded to the system nor crazy enough to ever make a mush it is more an intellectual exercise but to those that are against it I would ask what do you suggest in it's place?
    I might well be in the minority when it comes to my preference of mechanics and theme working together, but mechanics can tell part of the story. I give equal weight to the RP and to the G parts of RPG.The two should work together not be at odds with each other.

  • TV & Movies

    @Misadventure said:

    Including common mistakes is not the sign of a good game system. Good enough, perhaps.

    Sure, but the initial comment on the topic called it 'utterly terrible' (and worse than 1E White Wolf, which I don't really see).

    I'm not saying the design is amazing but singling it out as especially bad is... odd, and maybe ill-informed on the larger hobby. The lifepath stuff still puts it above most similar skill based games that give you zilch guidance on what skills your character should even have. And that's important in terms of 'getting' an original setting and making appropriate characters.

  • I may have missed that initial comment. Good enough isn't a negative.

    There are lots of games with some sort of lifepath or templates to them: cyberpunk, traveller(!), shadowrun, runequest (and related systems such as Ringworld).

    I think f some one has a love of something they will put the work in to make it work. EG I added the traveller life path stuff to Space Master to give some details to folks careers.

    As to a better core engine for a FS setting? I personally would look at Shadowrun or Cyberpunk or Mekton Zeta depending on wat you want the system to do, and how much you want to rip off. Magic from Shadowrun could help with powers for FS, cybernetcs from Cyberpunk, vehicle design from Mektok Zeta.

    I would focus on large scale systems, the military, citizen loyalty and faith, trade, either by stealing a board game or large scale rules set from RPGs, or from a board game. Reign's company system might do it quickly yet with flavor.

    And I do think many FS books are in pdf form.

  • TV & Movies

    Stealing board games is an interesting idea. I feel that a lot of the RPGs that try to come up with large scale systems ultimately kind of fail at it for being either too abstract or just giant piles of tables, but I'd never really considered that a lot of board games probably get the level of detail/crunch vs abstraction a lot closer to what you'd want.

    This definitely gives me some thinking to do in regards to future games.

  • Always worth looking into. Just double check. I wanted to run a small mecha/powered armor game, and the war game rules for Cyberpunk seemed pretty close. However the conversion to the RPG scale and mechanics they had was crippled. They didn't just do something like replace set damages with a die that averaged what the set damage was, they used dice that couldn't ever reach what the set damage could So a small mecha killer weapon couldn't hurt a small mecha in RPG scale.