Thursday, 3 March 2011

Fadings Suns - Intro Game

Fading Suns: Hyperion Dusk

Intro Game




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.

While Alexius Hawkwood (Hawkwood, Emperor Alexius) has since distanced himself from his family to appear more impartial, the Hawkwoods take such political setbacks with stoicism - the same fierce perseverance with which they beat back the barbarian raiders to their worlds. A Hawkwood does not give up. House Hawkwood is more beloved by its vassals than any other house. The Hawkwoods generally treat their subjects fairly and with justice.

House Hawkwood history has risen and fallen so often as to incite the phrase "The rise of House Hawkwood is like a prostitute in zero-G". It prides itself on its pedigree and its commitment to noblisse oblige. They are indoctrinated with protecting their serfs and have many difficult expectations to live up to. More than any other House, House Hawkwood dedicates itself to the care of its serfs and the preservation of their lands. House Hawkwood shares a border with the Vuldrok barbarians, who bear an enmity that is only outmatched by their hatred of House Decados.

From the moment they are born Hawkwoods are taught of their destiny to lead. They never learn to doubt their abilities or their right to rule, those who don't weren't really Hawkwoods anyway.

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.

The Hazat's largest concern is that of territory, caught between Byzantium Secundus, Holy Terra and Leagueheim, the Hazat find there is no room for expansion. A sore point considering they lost planets during the time ofVladimir. The Hazat are now in contention over the planet Hira with the Kurgan Caliphate. Left with less land after the wars than they began with, they now pursue a campaign against the barbarian Kurga Caliphate, seeking new lands outside of the Empire.

The Hazat lead the finest militias of the known universe. Trained from the age of five to hold a sword and lead an army. An army that grows excessive their conquests. Originally the Hazat were the military of House Chaukiwhom they overthrew in a military coup proclaiming their House's hidden noble heritage. Hazat vassals are loyal, for they know that sacrifices for their lords are often rewarded.

 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.

However, they have proven their noble legerdemain many times, through the acquisition of land and a unique understanding of human nature and politics. Highly academic and exceedingly well-educated, it is hard to pull one over an al-Malik, but it is likewise hard for them to resist the lure of a good adventure or challenge.

The al-Malik's modern attitudes make them suspect of harbouring Republican leanings. Such as evidenced by their almost democratic attitude towards their serfs. This combination of republican leanings and technological device has brought the attentions of the Inquisition more than a few times. Vassals of this family are well-treated and return the respect with solid service.

Their culture is one of the most sophisticated of all houses. Al-Malik nobles speak to each other in coded metaphor, known as the Graceful Tongue and nearly all al-Malik nobles dedicated themselves to arts, culture or scholastic interests

 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.

Married as they are to the ideal of Sacred Wisdom the Eskatonic order seeks out strange and new mysteries ofthe Pancreator and are often labelled as doomsayers for their vision of the Eskaton, the end of the Universe. Eskatonics are known for being wizards, soothsayers, mystics, madmen and doomsayers.

The Order's mission is to seek out occult information so that it may be used for the church. This sacred trust is given to the Eskatonics that men of lesser minds may be protected from the terrors that lie hidden in their arcane secrets. In seeking the Pancreator in the mystical writings of the heavens and the inner mind their journey into the occult is often fraught with supernatural dangers and temptations of forbidden lore. As such they receive regular scourings by both their internal security apparatus (the Sanhedrin) and the Inquisition.

The Eskatonic Order is only a hundred years old officially, as they were granted recognition after their theurgy proved useful against the Symbiot invasion. At times theological debates will flare up between the Order and the Orthodoxy and the Inquisition longs for the day when they are given a freehand to deal with them as they wish.

The Eskatonic Order becaame an official Universal Church sect in 4955 in the Pentateuch Concordat, decades after Eskatonic theurgy proved itself in fending off Symbiots on the planet Stigmata. Prior to that, the eskatonics were persecuted by the Church.

These mystics often congregate in their own monasteries. An eskatonic canon is called a provost, an eskatonic deacon an illuminatus, and a prie
st a philosophus. The Eskatonics have two subranks of bishop: magister and presbuteos. The magisters represent the lower rank, while the presbuteos represent the governing council of the Eskatonic Order. One Presbuteos, called the Magus, serves as head of the eskatonic Order and as Church archbishop of
 Pentateuch. Other eskatonic bishops-usually presbuteos-also serve as archbishops of certain planets.

The Eskatonics, like other Church sects, accept the Omega Gospels as the supreme truth of the Pancreator and the Prophet, but they also consider alleged teachings of St. Horace, disciple of the Prophet, gathered in the Digammon Aprogrypha as holy scriptures. They also consider the terraforming works of Doramos.

 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.

Established by Palamedes Alecto after the Prophet's Martyrdom the Church was able to rally Humanity against the Ukar in the Human-Ukar war. This established the powerbased that continued through the Second Republic, where at the verge of its collapse was declared the official religion of the Second Republic in an attempt to stave off collapse. This gave extreme political power to the Church as it now meant all other religions were illegal. Since then it has grudgingly shared its power with other groups, ceding them spiritual authority in areas they had little interest or resources.

While the Orthodoxy has gained a reputation for its cunning political manoeuvres, most priests know little of such things, being entirely too busy protecting the souls of the simple faithful. Of all churches the Orthodoxy is the most in touch with the populace as they share in their every day lives and their complaints. With their political prestige they are often one of the only groups who protect the interests of serfs from the nobility and league. While many may spurn the Orthodoxy for its martial role in the Emperor Wars, when tragedy strikes, it is the Orthodoxy to which they turn to.

The Urth Orthodox has always been the regular hierarchy of the Universal Church of the Celestial Sun, and Church Patriarchs, except for the rare Amalthean, have always been Orthodox.

The Orthodox clergy is divided into Red and White prieshoods, with the Red clerics under an oath of celibacy, while White clerics can marry. Most Orthodox clerics above the rank of priest are from the Red priesthood.

The Orthodoxy is also divided into Hinayana (conservative/right-wing) and Mahayana (middle-of-the-road to liberal/left-wing) philosophical wings.

Most Church bishops and archbishops are Urth Orthodox, as well as most of the Universal Church's rank-and-file clergy (novitiates, canons, deacons, and priests.

The Mahayana wing of the Urth Orthodoxy actually is partially descended from liberal, non-Orthodox sects of the Universal Church from the Diaspora and Second republic eras. After the fall of the Republic (4000), the more conservative and fundamentalist Church leaders among the Orthodoxy, Inquisition, and Temple Avesti persecuted the liberal Church sects for heresy and their clergy absorbed into the Orthodoxy or forced to join Hesychast Monasteries.

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.

Charioteers form the face of the Merchant League, they are congenial and extremely extrovert. The division between the face they put on as a performance to sell their goods and their own personalities are often blurred at best. They are the primary traders of goods (and sometimes information) of the Known Worlds and almost every merchant who trades is either a subsidiary or pays a commission to the Guild.

The Charioteers are also the masters of the transport industry, whether it is Beastcraft, Landcraft or Aircraft the Charioteers Guild can ride, drive or fly it. Most importantly the Charioteers own a monopoly on spacetravel. Not only are they the best starship pilots but they own the production of jumpengines (shared with the Supreme Order of Engineers) and jumpkeys and charge all factions for jumping between systems.

Charioteers run a dichotomistic life of merchant and star pilot. They trade, they jest, they are outrageous show-offs to a man, they are often seen as b
izarre travelling shows whenever they come to town. Of course this is merely their way of attracting potential customers.

The guild is dominated by merchant families called hongs, with the Galbraiths, Cartashes, and DeVatha the most powerful of the families.

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.

However these accusations are often for naught as the Reeves possess the finest lawyers and advocates that money can buy. Their legal representation is highly sought after and extremely expensive. Individuals in the guild are normally conservative and austere, for which reason they are called Grey Faces (usually out of earshot), lest the person be sued for defamation.

As experts in jurisprudence, scholarship, and economics, the majority of Leaguemeisters have come from the Reeves for their business and economic acumen. The Reeves also own a large fleet (which is allegedly a remnant from the days they were a band of rogue pirates). They mobilise this fleet to collect payments from any who default on their loans. It's disputed wether most of this fleet was sold off for start-up cash, or if there is still a large Reeve starfleet hidden somewhere.

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.

Ur-Obun are recognisable as being very similar to humanity but have dark pupiless eyes.

Their home planet Velsimil is controlled by House Hawkwood.

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 Mission:

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.

One hundred years ago, the Vau gave a jumpkey to the world to Count Vano Juandaastas. It was discovered that the world was still a green world with an agricultural surplus and a great deal of political stability, though technology had slowly regressed. A small family of House al-Malik had endured over the centuries, causing a war between Houses al-Malik and Juandaas
tas for ownership of the planet. By 4951, the al-Malik had driven the Juandaastas off-world, claiming the world for themselves.

Baron Afil al-Malik spent his entire fortune searching for "something important", but never found it. Eventually he sold the world to the Decados to pay his debts. Some rumor that the Decados gave up any rights to the world of Yathrib (when it is eventually found) in exchange for ownership of Pandemonium. In 4981, Count Enis Sharn took control of the world.

The Charioteers were the first to discover the second (incomplete and non-functional) jumpgate beyond the fringe of the solar system. The Decados claim the second gate since they own the system, but the League claims that because it is outside the system, it belongs to the finder (the Charioteers). As of 4999, Alexius has not ruled on the matter either way, despite repeated petitions.

Also around 4981, the terraforming engines began to fail, causing world wide cataclysms on a regular basis. Many people fled to the Hub, since the only surviving terraforming engine protects it from the world's storms. The Hub is basically lawless due to overcrowding and an inadequate police force. Slavery abounds, along with gambling, prostitution and every other type of vice.

In the so-called "Badlands", those areas outside the Hub, there are many rumors of lost Ur artifacts. A great Orthodox cathedral is under construction in the Badlands, which seems to avoid damage despite the chaos surrounding it.

The troupe is to investigate the rumours of a Lost World that is beyond the Pandemonium Jump Gate, called Iver.

The troupe has keys to allow for jump gate travel from Byzantium Secundus (Throne World of the Empire) - Critcorum - Grail - Rampart - Pandemonium.








No comments:

Post a Comment