Fading Suns

  • So a while ago I posted up a very Fading Suns looking 'system map', namely this:


    It did gather some enthusiastic attention via messages but the main person I was using as a sound board to bounce ideas off then kind of went silent, combined with my work flaring into extreme business and stalling progress.

    Basically I have been working on hashing out a 'Lost World' setting for a new Fading Suns game but it has been hard to maintain motivation and inspiration by myself and I welcome collaborators, here is a summary of the current setting though:

    The setting is Nestoria, a Lost World system that was cut off from the jumpweb approximately three hundred years before the 3995 starting date, post Vladimir but well before the start of the Emperor Wars. There are two habitable worlds, Nestoria is a large, cold, metal poor planet that required minimal terraforming. Well industrialised and heavily populated it has historically been dominated by two Hawkwood dukes in bitter competition and is potentially a decisive factor in the balance between the Royal Houses given its wealth and power are likely on par with Sutek or even Delphi. This is the primary focus of the game.

    Khangai is smaller, colder, its atmosphere shedding as its terraforming fails. Civilisation clings to deep rifts and valleys while abandoned and ransacked Second Republic cities litter the barely habitable highlands. Ruled by a Li Halan duke, this world is dying yet rich with technological treasures and several Annukai Gargoyles, a place for adventures and quests, the Scravers guild also a major power.

    Further out are gas giants with myriad moons and two sets of major asteroid belts, much of Nestoria's industry is fuelled by metals mined in the Inner Belt, leading to bustling trade and also powerful space borne factions and in system pirates.

    The thing is that while the jumpgate to the Known Worlds has just been opened (a few months before the game starts) it has opened deep in Decados space and this was not the first link that was re-established, fifteen years ago Nestoria, until then an isolated world, made contact with the so called Third Republic.

    The Third Republic was founded around a newly established colony that lost contact with the rest of the Known Worlds during the collapse of the Second Republic and the sack of Byzantine Secundus, losing their technology and regressing only to claw themselves back up over the course of centuries. While they make profligate use of technology they lack the Second Republic infrastructure that the Known Worlds still replies heavily upon, perhaps at Diasporan level at best. The Third Republic can manufacture energy shields – but they are inferior to those worn by every minor noble or paranoid guild member of the Known Worlds. They can mass produce starships, but their hulls are alloys far weaker than ceramsteel.

    Eleven years ago they invaded Nestoria without warning, swarming the system with their starships and launching an unexpected attack upon Panticapaeum, the second city of Nestoria itself.

    Never having gone through the Emperor Wars, the Nestorian system did not maintain significant standing armies and the Third Republic struck while the Duchess of Panticapaeum was visiting her offworld holdings with the bulk of her fleet in a grand procession. Advance infiltration caused surprisingly extensive local uprisings while cybernetically enhanced Republican Guard overwhelmed the token garrisons.

    Over the next few months the bulk of the northern continent of Nestoria was seized by the Republic as the Duke of Diospolis, the titular overlord of the planet, stood by and watched, reportedly relishing in the fate overtaking his bitter rival. The Duchess of Panticapaeum did not stand idle though, always the greater power in space, she called upon allies, traded favours, formed up her armada and then struck at her cousin's void ships without warning of mercy, seizing them and adding them to her fleet before he engaged the Republican force.

    For weeks the heavens were filled with fire but in the end, the duchess won a stunning victory, capturing dozens of their transports, driving the Republic from the system and seizing complete control of the void around Nestoria. She had still lost almost all of her holdings however and lacked any way to take them back, the PTS guns and shield of her capital making mockery of her dreadnoughts.

    Since then the victorious armada has mouldered in orbit, no doubt damaged to some degree but also blockading the planet and trying to interdict all trade, 'taxing' all traffic. Occasional skirmishes with elements of the Republic's fleet have also been a factor but the Duchess appears unwilling to press home full scale fleet engagements even after the proven inferiority of Republican vessels – they never seem to lack for new ones and have continued to be able to run resupply to their new holdings on Nestoria.

    Nobody knows how long the 'Pirate Duchess' can maintain this state of affairs, while considered a champion for her victory that was a decade in the past and what kind of duchess rules only a few holdings on airless worlds along with a perhaps rapidly decaying fleet?

    The Duke of Diospolis took advantage of the war to cross the equetorial straights and seize the County of Tanais, leading to a decade of skirmishing warfare with the local levies of the Republic along with increasingly intensive naval confrontations. The duke is now dying though, kept alive only through the ingenuity of his Engineers and coherent for no more than a few hours a day, decisions increasingly irrational.

    The Li Halan Duke of Khangai has tried to remain neutral, though the 'Pirate Duchess' seizing many of his remaining void ships is a bitter point of contention. The Republican Fleet is entering the Nestorian system in increasing force though, teams landing upon Khangai in attempts to retrieve Second Republic technology or foment uprisings.

    The outer system outposts and colonies have been a battleground for over a decade, the Republic has no experience of ground warfare it seems but while their starships are inferior to those of Known Worlders their fleet is highly efficient and crewed by large numbers of Changed void born. The Brother Battle cling to a bastion upon the outer world of Nisibis, rather more fervent in pressing the offence against the Republic than the Duchess of Panticapaeum but increasingly lacking in resources.

    Of course a few months ago Nestoria did regain contact with the Known Worlds and that potentially changes everything. Will there be a crusade against the Third Republic? Will the Nestorian Dukes acknowledge the Emperor, will they join with their extended families or suffer annexation to the Decados who are able to offer more immediate aid? Unlike in previous Fading Suns games though the world the game is set in is a major power in its own right, even if a Royal House or the Emperor did decide to throw its entire weight onto Nestoria it might be matched by the local lords and guilds, who given their monopoly looking ways are in general not in favour of the Third Republic and its free market hyper capitalism.

    So game wise my current thoughts – The setting is big, the population of the Nestoria system over a billion. The ducal level characters would be NPCs but very much existing to drive plot rather than belonging to particular characters (with the most powerful, the Duke of Diopolis, liable to die or require a regency council). Counts, Earls, Barons, etc would be opened as PC positions at a measured rate that concentrates on the nobles doing interesting things with a good proportion remaining NPC so that things like IC reputation or ability to orate and argue can gets its mileage.

    The church would rule approximately a quarter of the land and have immense power, especially with the 'antagonists' being a resurgent Republic that imperils everyone's souls, a good portion of the County level positions would be landed Bishoprics.

    All cities run by the Guilds, mostly under charter to a noble, but while nobles might have manpower and be titularly in charge, the bulk of the wealth would belong to the Guilds. They have a major choice to make as well – the Republic is potentially what many of them want, but just how much power would they retain under such a regime if they shared their secrets?

    So that is my probably over extensive summary. Are you interested in helping or discussing? Then say so, I am based in the UK for fun timezone based shenanigans but if you are seriously interested then I am happy to Skype.

  • Pitcrew

    I am a huge fan of the Fading Suns world. And thus would be happy to discuss or potentially help (my time is somewhat limited though).

  • As a note, since this might well be contentious with the history of Fading Suns games past, I was Emanuel on Star Crusade and Vargo along with I think Packrat on The Dark Between The Stars.

    Past player characters include Rosario (On Star Crusade), Arie (On Vargo) and Buford (On Dark Between The Stars).

  • Emmanuel! And Rosario! You were cool.

  • Pitcrew

    If I had more time, I would one hundred percent be on this. As it is, I barely have time for any of my hobbies, and Eternal Crusade has sucked up my time. I will be watching though.

    As a side note, I played Decumius on DBTS and FS MUSH, and Edward on Star Crusade.

  • Packrat, color me interested but considering the past record of Fading Suns games, I am pretty much convinced that all Fading Suns games are doomed to fail because of the personalities that inhabit the MU* space as well as the logistics of converting what is essentially a TT adventure into permanent, entrenched game with clear winners and losers in terms of game resources and plots. Competing interpretations of what Fading Suns thematically means, competing personalities with baggage, and zero-sum games are hostile for success. I don't think I ever had any direct conflicts with you, at least in terms of Star Crusade, but you have long been associated with the clique that involved Principe, Thol, Yara, and off and on Custodius and while I ain't a saint, I would wager the appetite for a third chance is wanting on all sides.

    That said, if you want an unsolicited and probably unwanted suggestion based on who I am, I would create a clear capital city to play off of with high level NPCs keeping things calm while PCs tend to be low level adventurers in the line of shadowrun-style fetch quests or a total backwater that gets sucked into the political plays of the planet but the players are largely autonomous in their ability to murder each other with sharp pointy sticks in their third world toilet.

    Good luck.


  • @Apollonius Sooo....'Hey dawg, I hear you want to play Fading Suns, but why don't we take the politics out of your Political ARPG and leave you with ARPG, but add in some extra ARPG, so you can ARPG while you ARPG.'

  • @Alzie Honestly, I haven't logged onto a MU* in months. It's amazing how much time gets freed up to do more meaningful stuff like sitting in front of your computer playing video games... er... catching up with friends and going on dates.

    Because I totally have friends.

    I haven't logged in or posted anything here in about that same time and I will say that I saw 'Fading Suns' and was drawn to it like a moth to a flame like a recovering cocaine addict on a free trip to Colombia.

  • @Apollonius I cannot say much, I haven't actually played a Mu since RFK shut down. None of them really interest me. I've just been working, coding and playing FF14.

  • Pitcrew

    Honestly I would love a Fading Suns game that ignored the political stuff. What i love about the setting its the ability to do planetary romance adventures. I want to ride a horse and swing a sword while ray gun beams glance off my plasti-steel armor. Save the day, rescue princesses.
    Maybe it is just my table top roots but I have ran three and played in two Fading Suns campaigns and they were never political heavy even with noble heavy pc groups. Sure the state of politics provided a back drop and motivation but the focus was on the action. I would love any Fading Suns game but would really love one that focuses on adventuring rather then having my adventure knight character be the odd exception.

  • Pitcrew

    @ThatGuyThere said:

    Honestly I would love a Fading Suns game that ignored the political stuff. What i love about the setting its the ability to do planetary romance adventures. I want to ride a horse and swing a sword while ray gun beams glance off my plasti-steel armor. Save the day, rescue princesses.
    Maybe it is just my table top roots but I have ran three and played in two Fading Suns campaigns and they were never political heavy even with noble heavy pc groups. Sure the state of politics provided a back drop and motivation but the focus was on the action. I would love any Fading Suns game but would really love one that focuses on adventuring rather then having my adventure knight character be the odd exception.

    So much this.

  • Like a story of a Hawkwood Knight, a Decados Intelligence Officer, a Muster mercenary, and an al-Malik pirate captain that are led around by an Eskatonic crazy who has been seeing visions about a mysterious MacGuffin. Each of them have their different agendas and there may be break out sessions where the GM can explore their personal motivations in the face of communications from home to secure the artifact. They have to work together because each one has bits and pieces of the puzzle... but want to secure the artifact for their own faction. Romances and historical animosities optional but highly recommended.

    On their heels is a Li Halan fundamentalist who is trying to destroy said artifact but motivated/manipulated by a demon-possessed 'old' Li Halan lord, a rogue Hazat Dervish who blames one of the protagonists for the death of his sister, and a splinter group of Engineers orchestrating a coup against the local Muster warlord who controls the region where this search is going on. The Orthodox has gotten wind of this search and has their own interests in the region, armed with Avesti who threaten to burn down everything and anything that moves.

    Depending on how the search ends, it radically changes the background for the next sprint. If the Decados acquires it, the Decados start out with certain bonuses that remain until something else changes. Or if the Li Halan demon lord takes possession, add malevolent spirits/zombies. Or if the Engineers win their coup, add tech components to the next sprint. If the Muster win, lots of guns... a whole lot of guns. If the Orthodox and Avesti 'win' well, Game Over, restart the table top to a place before the pivot point and tell your players not to fuck up again.

    If there are multiple TT campaigns going on, a 'successful' end of a campaign in one side of the planet may suddenly affect conditions on the other side of the planet.

    Yep. Moth to a flame. Drink more wine!

  • Pitcrew

    Laughs that first sentence came pretty close to the last table top group I ran for. Though with a completely different plot but still made me smile.

  • Eh, we all know how Star Crusade ended. It was 100% an issue of the staff, including the guy here. It even started the same way, with a 'full disclosure, we were these guys before and did some shady stuff before, but it will be different...' Shockingly it wasn't different.

    But yeah, also basically what several people said. Run it at lower level, with more of a focus on adventuring etc. People can still be lords and whatever (book rules wise, it just gives you more allowance money, right?) but don't make the actual gameplay Crusader Kings like Star Crusade was.

  • I thought that the actual theme of Star Crusade was good mix of Lords of Adventurers. For people that wanted to play lords, you could have a settlement and play into the councils and provincial strategy meetings. Then for people that just wanted to be in the wars, there was still plenty of warring going on on the many fronts the planet had. I think you can mix them. But yes, that game failed 100% because staff was intentionally giving everyone different information to start in fighting and then sitting back and enjoying it.

  • I'm not against having the high-level stuff because having it in the mix isn't interesting (and you're right that they had both). I'm against making it the focus of the game because I don't know that there's going to be a staffer around you can trust to run it that way. Star Crusade may have had both, but the focus was definitely on the high level stuff, in a way that pretty negatively affected the low level.

    Basically: If a Count is just a dude who has a lot of money and can occasionally work his rank for some access/political favors/etc (ie, how it's presented in the books, where you also have to pay heavily in cgen for it) then it's not a big deal to let people play them. If they're what they are on Star Crusade (IE, guys who get literally 1000x what anyone else had, for free, and were pretty much necessary to suck up to to do anything meaningful on the game) then it isn't going to work. Especially because even the best-intentioned staffers are always going to hand the cherry shit to their friends. That's just a rule of MUing. You minimize it by not setting up your game to focus so heavily on the have/have-nots.

  • Well actually working on this basically stalled in the absence of anyone else involved and my deciding to buy a house, I can however confirm that the plan was very much 'If you want to play a Count, you pay in chargen for it', I mean a Count gets the spotlight because they are a Count, they do not also need to be just as much of a badass as the person who's thing is that they are a Badass Knight. For that matter the person playing a Badass Knight should probably be spending a modest amount in character generation to be a knight rather than a freeman mercenary or specialist of some sort, that social ooomph matters.

    It is probably not happening though given I lack the time and energy to launch a game, I would certainly not be able to run one.

    Regarding the stuff from Star Crusade though I am not going to disagree, to this day I have no idea why Principe thinks that having staff stat characters what is effectively randomly is a good thing to do or likely to lead to a better game. That kind of shit is a lot of why I quit and stopped playing there though I should note that the Count positions were very much not handed out to friends:

    All four literally went to the first people who asked for them and submitted character applications. The real ridiculousness happened when it came to allocating people's +sheets where it essentially came down to who set it along with... I do not know, the phase of the moon? It was some kind of weird lottery and when I attempted to go through and rationalise it I was told to stop. Bizarrely some of the most hated players ended up getting the best stats while there was one staffer who, especially if in a bad mood, would happily approve people with no goals over 10 in anything.

    I do not know, there was this weird dissonance where the core staff wanted player characters to engage in bad ass pulp heroism then gave some of them stats equivalent to some random dude, before taking delight in punishing them for 'Being Stupid' or simply failing rolls.

  • That's not my recollection of things. I'm pretty sure at least two counts knew Paulus from prior games (@Apollonius can maybe confirm?). He mentioned some history of bad behavior on a prior FS game and that he was giving them a second chance (... at being in charge of everything, and everyone being dependent on them, good plan! :thumbsup:). Custodius' character was deeply integrated into every part of the game theme (the grand poobah was his dad, his... brother or something was the main hero of the setting, he had the only direct line of communication to one of the main villains, etc), so I really doubt that he was just 'the first guy that came along.' If Paulus told you that, maybe he was lying to you too? Welcome to the player experience of Star Crusade!

    You're right on the random statting being a big problem (I was a victim of the dude who gave people shit stats, I suspect), and there were many other problems besides that. So maybe a fair, by the books chargen fixes a lot. I still don't think such a top-down structure is ever realistically going to be good for a MU when the hobby is just as fundamentally corrupt as it is.

  • When dealing with Paulus, there is the official propaganda and reality.

    1. The official line was first-come-first-serve for Count positions;
    2. The reality was that it was handed to known activity generators (whether or not that was good or bad) such as Custodius and myself. As much as I hated Amber's player, she did generate her own clique RP and I'm pretty sure someone in the staff roster knew who she was. Antonio, I think, was the only truly 'random' Count but he definitely helped keep activity up and was probably the most active of the four Counts after a certain point. Then Paulus, through staff fiat/plots, assigned Yara to be important court members for both Custodius and myself in some sort of strange way of trying to keep our personalities in check. This failed as Yara just tried to TS my Decados count with her underaged female PC who had her first period in my PC's presence.

    Stats were also incredibly arbitrary unless you put your foot down and argued with staff. They would find pretty bizarre and labyrinthine ways to say no because THEY had a vision for your PC that you were supposed to just follow. Part of it was staff lottery. Certain staffers were extremely generous with statting and others were incredibly difficult to get decent rolls, even when staff was faced with disparate treatment between the same class of PCs being generated/similar backgrounds.

    The bar for a successful FS game is pretty low:

    No high level politics in PC hands;
    Focus on questing and adventure vs Politics;
    No overt/visible favoritism;
    No Paulus and Thol in either staff or playing capacity; and
    No arbitrary and random shit.

    Hell, the bar is so low that if someone throws up a game a la chatroom and it has one room and relies on just dice code and we keep stats/chargen pen-and-paper... I'll play.

  • I actually handled the applications for and approved Amber and Antonio myself if I remember correctly, neither were known to anyone on staff prior to their applying and they were the first two people to actually ask to be a Count from the point I joined staff.

    Yara though... I am not sure why Yara was staff, did she do anything other than play her creepy characters? Wait, she did, she backed up Paulus on anything provided he pressured her.

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