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It involves taking a character through three stages representing his upbringing, apprenticeship, and early career. Afterwards, the characters is taken through their Tour of Duty which represents the extra stages of their life that help flesh out the character and even allow him to take some of the stranger abilities available in FADING SUNS, such as psychic powers, theurgic magic, or cybernetic enhancements.
Characteristics are the innate qualities of a character, the hereditary or otherwise deep-rooted aspects defining the character. There are three standard groupings of characteristics: Body physical , Mind mental , and Spirit psychological and emotional. A beginning character may not raise a characteristic above 8 such perfection requires not only innate ability, but also tempering in the fires of experience.
Exceptions to this rule are Vorox characters, whose Body characteristics may be raised to 10, and cybernetic characters who may augment their bodies in ways that allow abnormal characteristics ratings.
If a character grew up outside the Phoenix Empire they may change the Faction Lore to one more appropriate to their upbringing.
It is best to update the character sheet at each step as doing so will help to keep all of the numbers in line. Even before thinking of species, faction, or any of the other choices to be made, ask questions about the core concept of the character and what they will be doing throughout the game.
This is the ideal time to talk with the Game Master and other players about what types of characters they are making. Fading Suns is often played with a cadre of diverse characters working towards a common goal.
If all the other players are nobles seeking to restore an ancient family line, you may want to consider how your down on their luck tramp freighter pilot fits into the group and what your character will be doing while the rest of the cadre are in the high courts.
Helpful Tip: This is a good point to write down the default characteristic values and natural skill starting values on the character sheet. Not all the characters in a group need to be in the same faction, and it is encouraged that there is a wide range of specialties in each group as each faction will have access to different types of resources.
The faction a character belongs to will determine which of the first three paths they will choose in the next step. Within the human factions there are also roles to be selected. For nobles it is the house that the character belongs to, for members of the Merchant League it is their guild, and for the Universal Church it is their sect.
For example, Betty wants to make a scrappy thief born on the streets of Byzantium Secundus and has selected Merchant League as the faction. Her character will have the blessings and curses associated with the Scravers and choose paths from the Merchant League section. Suggested benefices are listed with each role as role-playing guides for stereotypical characters in that role. The character does not automatically get the suggested benefices but may purchase them during Step Five: Final Touches.
Helpful Tip: Any blessings, curses, benefices, and afflictions listed for the chosen role within the faction should be noted on the character sheet.
Additionally for characters in an alien faction there will be a number of changes to starting characteristics and skills.
Make one choice at each of these stages for the character. For example, if a character learns Etiquette 1 during his Apprenticeship, and his Early Career also provides him Etiquette 1, he then has the Etiquette skill at 2. If a successive stage provides a character with a language he already speaks or reads, he may spend those points usually 2 per language or keep them and add them to his Extra Points in the next step. Characters cannot begin play with any skill or characteristic above 8.
If this happens when selecting a path, the player should take the extra ranks and redistribute them elsewhere as this happens. If it is a characteristic that would go above 8, such as Strength, then just select a different Body, Mind, or Spirit characteristic.
If a skill would go above 8 just select any valid skill that is available to the character. Alternatively, the point could be converted to Extra Points using the Extra Points Cost chart below and then be spent during Step Four. Some skills will be listed as a skill family with the option to choose the skills.
Others will be specifically listed. If the skill is represented by a skill family with the option to CHOOSE, the player may choose which skill from that family he wants to spend the point on. This means that the player could choose one skill from the combat family at rank 3, three skills at rank 1 or split the three points over 2 skills. The skill chart provided in this handout lists all of the skill families and skills under them. It is also helpful to note what path was selected at each stage for later reference and roleplaying.
The Extra Point Costs Chart delineates the cost to purchase new or additional ranks in the various characteristic and trait ratings. Alternatively, Extra points here could be used to help purchase Blessings or Benefices in Step Five, below.
See the Extra Point Costs Chart for the cost breakdown. Of course, if there are no Extra points available, the character will need to take Curses or Afflictions to pay for these. They may also have Extra points left over from the character creation process. These could also be used to buy additional Blessings or Benefices. These are broader categories used in the Lifepath System to make character creation a richer experience. Curses and Afflictions provide additional Extra points to spend.
The reality is often far different but the goal is still worth striving for. All of the houses, whether royal or minor, share certain characteristics, but all are different. Suggested Benefices: Nobility, Riches. It is both their privilege and their duty, and they act accordingly.
The family that many observers believed would win the Emperor Wars, the Decados are praised for their sophistication, wit, and charm. They are feared for their malevolence, fury, and treachery. To befriend a Decados is to ally with a viper. Trained since birth to lead soldiers, she is as at home in an army sleeping bag as in a feather bed.
Once infamous for being the most decadent house, House Li Halan has since repented and is now the Royal House most closely allied with the church. Suggested Benefices: Church Ally 1—11 pts. Suggested Benefices: Passage Contract 8 pts.
In addition to the five Royal Houses, there are innumerable minor ones. Some of these used to be big, some are on their way up, and some never got anywhere and probably never will. Nobles from minor houses can choose which Royal House their family most closely associates with and use the characteristics and skills from that path.
She is watched carefully and must ever live up to high expectations. However, she gets to meet foreign visitors and witness famous doings. While it is far from the important doings at high-court, it is still quite a step above the lot of most freemen and peasants.
The young noble has tutors, but they must divide their time between teaching and other tasks, leaving the child to find her own way at times.
This often means that the youth lives in many homes during her childhood, and must defend against the insults of higher-born children who share the castles. Nonetheless, there are various pastimes and endeavors at which she can choose to excel. While most Hawkwood and Hazat gravitate towards military pastimes, and al-Malik and Li Halan toward leisure or study, nobles from any house—but especially the Decados—appreciate diplomatic endeavors.
She is officially knighted. Those nobles who do not pass through this stage, but who become priests or guildsmembers instead, do not receive noble rank. While they are still considered royal, they receive none of the benefits or responsibilities of noble station.
Suggested Benefices: Noble Ally 1—11 pts. Suggested Benefices: Secrets 2 pts , Refuge 6 pts. The heavy robes of these fanatics are instantly recognizable—as are the smoking flameguns they bear to enact a literal punishment on the sinful. It has continued since then to bring grace and mercy to all. Suggested Benefices: Ally 1—11 pts. Some clergypeople want nothing to do with interstellar politics and power games, and instead joins monasteries and community chapterhouses to live pious lives away from the centers of power.
Others retreat into the wilderness where they seek mystical vision or just quiet lives of contemplation. Benefice Restriction: Ordained 12 pts max. Unlike nobles, these freemen have not yet chosen their faction although their families may already be planning a career for them.
A priest selects both an environment and a class. Exception: Brother Battle monks are chosen at an early age and may only select the Brother Battle Warrior Monk upbringing, see below.
Select an appropriate apprenticeship milieu. The specific characteristics and skills learned are determined by the sect the priest chooses to join. If a player wants to play a noble who pursues a life in the priesthood they can select a noble upbringing and then begin their priesthood at this stage; the noble should have the Blessings and Curses from his house rather than his sect.
A parish priest tends to preach to the same flock every week, which gives the priest a familiarity with the region and its people. Study and contemplation is favored over preaching and good works.
While nobles may snub them and priests may call them sinners, the merchants know they provide a necessary service—one that neither the houses nor the sects could get along without. Master pilots and expert traders both, Charioteers fly from star to star with cargo, sometimes illegal, but always highly prized. More than just mechanics, the Engineers recreate old tech, discover their own innovations, and merge them all into their lives and sometimes bodies.
Now it has casino space stations, slot machines, pharmaceutical labs and more, all protected by some of the best enforcers in the business. The Muster is the kind of bogeyman parents use to scare children: a guild which specializes in the trade of people. It is not a reputation they fight.
Fading Suns 3rd ed had Social Combat and Mental Conflict rules
At the dawning of the sixth millennium A. Still, the peace is precarious and many forces threaten the Empire: ambitious nobles fight to increase their power; greedy merchants grab for wealth; power-hungry priests dream of theocracy; foul antinomists traffic in dark powers; barbarian cultures stand poised to invade; resentful aliens seek revenge from millennia of human oppression; and countless others. The very suns themselves continue to fade, and few dare hope that the rising Phoenix can stem the tide of darkness. What's New In This Edition?
Fading Suns is flawed only by a surprisingly poor organization. Fading Suns is a game full of surprises — not all of them good. When I first read through the game I was pleasantly surprised by a background which teemed with exciting possibilities and unexplored avenues, by a rule set which seemed simple and well conceived, and by evocative and primally powerful artwork. It was a package which was surprisingly well done and with quality material inside it. I sat down to prepare a properly enthusiastic two-thumbs-up, five-star review.
Fading Suns 3rd Edition Playtest PDF
Except that this was the 3rd edition that was no longer going to be published by Red Brick. I already know that 2nd edition has issues. So, I sought out this bootleg copy from the internet to experience what might have been. Seek out other sources for that. So, first the PDF itself.