Fading Suns: Hyperion Dusk
I plan on running an intro game session that is the first episode of a series. Basically there are a number of pre generated characters I have made (nobles, priests, guildsman, aliens) and if need be it would be easy to make more on the fly. It will be run a weekend sometime soon.
The action is set in a future medieval-analogue empire built on the remains of a previous, more sophisticated human galaxy-spanning civilization made possible by ancient "Jumpgates". The Jumpgates are relics left over from an ancient civilization or civilizations, the mysterious Anunnaki, who seems to have influenced the evolution of the lesser species (such as humans) for their own end, and waged a devastating war many millennia ago using the lesser species as tools of war. The atmosphere is strongly reminiscent of Frank Herbert's Duneand of the Hyperion stories by Dan Simmons, but borrows from many other Science Fiction books and movies as well. Power is administered by noble houses, guilds and by the monolithic Holy Church. Psionic powers exist but psionicists are often hunted down and killed by the Church (or led back to orthodoxy and enrolled in the Church's ranks). The Church is also capable of producing miracles through Theurgic rites, a kind of divine sorcery.
While most roleplaying situations arise from the strict codes regulating the everyday life of the empire's citizens, the imperial age is rife with opportunities for adventure: following the fall of the old regime and the following centuries of darkness and warfare, many worlds have slipped back to a pre-civilized state, and a number of alien threats lurk in the shadows.
Players take the roles of members of the aristocracy, of the various merchant guilds or of a number of religious sects, and alien characters are also available.
A large library of supplements provides description of locales (planets, space stations, whole sections of space), alien societies, minor houses, guilds and sects, monsters and secret conspiracies, thus expanding the thematic possibilities offered by the setting. The products have been increasingly hard to find in recent years. After several years with very few additions to the line, RedBrick Limited, a New Zealand company, has been granted a license to continue development of Fading Suns products.
The setting is mainly focused on running Arthurian like adventures in space, with grand epics, operas, and dramas in space. This is termed the Passion Play and means a story in the game can in fact be part of a morality play meaning the character actions can be used to emphasize this over just simply ‘following the plot’. The Sci-Fi is just the background, not the driving force (for example few of the characters understand ‘science’).
It is the dawn of the sixth millennium 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. A New Dark Age has descended upon humanity, for the greatest of civilizations has fallen and now even the stars are dying. Feudal lords rule the Known Worlds, vying for power with fanatic priests and scheming guilds.
A Hawkwood Noble - Veteran of the Emperor War - Now a Questing Knight of the Phoenix Throne
Prideful yet honourable, the Hawkwoods have seen one of their own take the Emperor's throne. The Emperor however is at this point choosing to distance himself from his own house to practice a more egalitarian rule. Some of them are thus disgruntled with the new Imperial regime and others support it completely.
A Hazat Noble - Courtier and Expert Fencer - Now a Questing Knight of the Phoenix Throne
The Hazat (not House Hazat-- the Hazat long ago adopted this once-pejorative styling, and now prefer it) are deeply passionate and compelled. They pursue dangerous sports and seek testing duels. Hot-blooded and intense, the martial Hazat know how to field an army but are also no strangers to intruige. When they can calm the vicious infighting from family to family, they can present a formidable front against rivals from other houses.
An al-Malik Noble - Courtier and Ambassador
The exotic and inscrutable al-Malik are often accused of being mere merchants, for their ties to the League
are well known. With close ties to the Merchant League and a deviate love of technology, House al-Malik is certainly the wealthiest of all the noble houses. Although they carry an egalitarian attitude towards their serfs, they are often far removed from the troubles of them. Surrounding themselves with opulence of wealth and technology.
A Eskatonic Order Priest and Astrologer/Archaeologist
Originally a heretical collection of occultist religions, the Eskatonic Order was admitted into the arms of the Celestial Church after proving their use against the Symbiot invasion with strange theurgies.
An Urth Orthodox Priest and Inquisitor
Urth Orthodox is the Mirror of Faith. They are the core of the Universal Church of the Celestial Sun, seeking to hold people to the sanctified truths of the Prophet Zebulon. As the largest sect, it is the Orthodoxy that most people associate with the Church. Its priests can be found on all worlds from the ostentatious bishops of the capital cities to the more humble parish priests in the most poverty-stricken fiefs.
A Charioteer Pilot and the troupe pilot of their ship
The Charioteers are probably the most respected guild (if not beloved) since they control space travel. Although other groups may have trained space pilots (limited, basic pilot training can be commissioned from the guild, carefully leaving out most of the tricks initiated pilots know) the Charioteers maintain a ruthless monopoly on the production of Jumpkeys, which are essential for interstellar travel.
A Reeve Guild Spy and Economist
It was once said that the Reeves were paying a penance for being stuck with two of the most hated jobs in history, Lawyers and Bankers. These guildsmen are the minds behind the commerce and economy of the Known Worlds. Their history reputedly tells them as pirates who but after crafting strong agreements with both Church and noble factions they ensured a monopoly of money-lending. The Reeves are both bankers and moneylenders and have on occasion been levelled an accusation of usury.
An Ur-Obun Ambassador
The Ur-Obun are one of the races know as the Children of the Ur. Having a close connection with the Anunnakithey called the "Venkalli" or Lightbringers whom they revered as gods. They have developed a pacifist and philosophical society. One of the only humanoid races ever discovered they suffer the least prejudice of all alien races.
An Ascorbite Alien Bodyguard and Assassin/Hunter brought up off it’s homeworld
These insectoid sentients are one of the most persecuted of all aliens. They are fearsome to look upon and unnerving to behold, they are blood-drinkers and will often look down upon humanity as dominating flesh-bags. They have mythologies that hold towards dark beings now dissapeared.
The troupe is journeying to the world of Pandemonium:
Once called Grange, this world was the breadbasket of the Second Republic. It was terraformed by Gilgar, the only apprentice to Doramos - it was once a desert world before being made into an agricultural paradise. During the Fall, terrorists damaged the jumpgate and many of its routes were lost in the ensuing chaos.
The troupe is to investigate the rumours of a Lost World that is beyond the Pandemonium Jump Gate, called Iver.