Monday, 25 August 2014

#RPGADay - Day 25 – Favourite Game no one else wants to play – Fading Suns

There aren’t many games that I’ve never had the chance to play, there’s a good number that I’ve looked at and decided not to play, and a good number that I’ve played and wished that I hadn’t, but very rarely is there a game that I’ve really liked the look of but couldn’t find anyone to play it with.

Enter Fading Suns, Stage Right...

Fading suns was originally released back in 1995 by Holistic Design, the idea was that the universe was four millennia on from where we are now, and the characters could wander from one end of the universe to the other as Knights, Nobles, Wizards, and Aliens.  They could see everything from the pre-civilisation worlds to the warworlds where sentient machines stalked the remnants of the creatures that once lived there...

Warhammer 40k anyone?

The difference behind it is that this game was written in such a way very much unlike the new Warhammer 40k books, which are all centred very much around the concept that there is no roleplaying, only war.  Fading suns was made with the premise that the characters were explorers and adventurers first and foremost.  You could get out there and shoot things but you’re not the Imperial Guard and you’re certainly not the Space Marines, so there’s every possibility that when you opened fire, the natives would just kill you without recourse.

What made Fading suns so interesting was that they’d properly developed a universe, you could choose any one of a number of different professions, from soldiers to the clergy, and any number of races from humans to a variety of aliens.  There were wars going on, factions that had real and believable personalities to them, conflicts of interest in the mining of areas and while there was a lot to take in, it was needed to make a universe something that you didn’t see as just something that someone had just put together and hoped that it held together.

The rules weren’t the best in the world, but they were sold enough to work without needing modifying, and everything was balanced so that any one race or class didn’t get all the attention, so you didn’t get everyone crying that they didn’t get the combat wombat. 

And that brings me to the question of why no one wants to play the game?

Fading suns wasn’t a game that you could take lightly, it said you could, but you really couldn’t, you were either someone who’d read through the whole thing and loved the idea of the amount of background that you had in there, in which case you wanted to go out there and do epic things amongst the worlds that were given to you.  You could literally travel from Pandora (right hand side, third down), to Nowhere (Left hand side, third down.) and all the points in between...

Or you wanted to go shooting things, in which case you were either playing a wargame, or you’d picked something like Cyberpunk or Shadowrun, both of which were better supported and had a larger fanbase. 

Either way, while there was a reasonable sized, loyal fanbase for Fading Suns, it wasn’t where I was. I tried to get everyone to play it, but most of them just pointed out that it was Warhammer 40k without the powered armour and no amount of arguing to the contrary would make any difference to them.  The problem inherent with new ideas is that there aren’t any of them, just new ways to present the old ones, and while Warhammer has a very particular way that it presents itself, the problem is that it also colours the perception of other games with similar premises, and in the matter of fading suns versus the world at large, it just isn’t the case...

So while the game has the potential to be everything that Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, and Deathwatch should have been, as long as it has them hanging over it's head, I'm never going to get to go really exploring...

1 comment:

  1. Honestly, this looks like a game I could get into. Not being a game of "where's the next war zone" is definitely a plus. Besides, playing a Cyberpunk/Shadowrun style game where your next mission may be a smuggling run from Twilight to Sutek, then having a quick jaunt off to Dephi for a quick heist could prove interesting. Or even dipping into some historic dig on Pandora for some archaeological work that sends the group spiraling of to find a Progenitor race.

    Could prove interesting indeed.