Special Shelf – Fading Suns

I chanced upon this image, the other day.
Unless I’m mistaken, it’s from the French edition of the Game Master Screen for Fading Suns.


Now I happened to find this gorgeous image while I was talking with some friends about old games and space opera. Frank Herbert’s Dune, Jodorowski’s The Metabarons, stuff like that.

And I thought back at Fading Suns.

Now, the second revised edition of Fading Suns, the hardback published through Lulu, is here on my “special” shelf – the one where I keep my “special” games – those that I cherish particularly1.

Fading_Suns_2nd_ed_cover_smallI first discovered Fading Suns way back in 1996, thanks to a magazine called Arcane. I read a review, and was intrigued by the hard SF/space operatic setting. And by the idea of deep time that was obviously part of the setting.

For the uninitiated: Fading Suns is set in a distant future. Humans have conquered space, created a golden age of technological marvels, met new races, discovered ancient artifacts. Then a dark age came, humanity fell, and now, after centuries of struggles, human civilization is re-emerging from the shadows.

Fading Suns is a space renaissance game, with a strong setting and lots of different angles – players can face court intrigues, alien invasion both brutal and subtle, lovecraftian horrors, mysteries, exploration, diplomacy.

A master so inclined can also play on the science/faith confrontation, and on themes of personal freedom, passion, horror.
Various supplements added further material – more strange aliens, more noble houses and priestly classes.
I admit I have a soft spot for the Gannok, a race of mechanically-inclined, monkey-like aliens that might not be truly intelligent (maybe they are just very good at imitating us).

ImperialHeroThe system is straightforward and fast, and the second revised edition is a sturdy hardback that can survive pelting from falling asteroids.
The look and feel of the game is absolutely great, and anyone lucky enough to game with a team of science fiction fans would probably find this game quite solid.
The game references a lot of great, classic SF (apart from Herbert and Dan Simmon‘s Hyperion, I think about the future history by Poul Anderson), while remaining quite original – and if the players are in tune with the setting, stories are likely to come alive with a minimum of effort.

A D20 OGL version was published (I have the Italian version) and currently there is two-volume edition (which is somewhat confusingly called Revised Edition), published by FASA Games2.

As I said, Fading Suns is on my Special Shelf.
Will I ever get back to it?
I don’t know – right now, should I feel the need for some high-grade, highly intriguing SF, I’d probably go for Numenéra.
For sure, the Fading Suns setting is highly inspirational, and right now I’d like to write some space opera more than play some.
But who knows, maybe in the future…

  1. what? A list? Ok, I’ll publish my complete list of the “special” shelf… say tomorrow.
    And then I’ll do a post on each game. 
  2. I have not seen it – and would indeed like to get some opinions: anyone tried it?
    Is it so different from the previous versions? 
Categories: Special Shelf Games | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Special Shelf – Fading Suns

  1. I’ve never played (nor owned, nor even read…sigh) Fading Suns, but the setting seems really interesting!
    Right now I’m really looking forward to read your “list”, and every post about your “special shelf”… 😀


    • The hit list is coming in a few hours – I was surprised myself by some of thei tems on the shelf, and yet… ah, you’ll see.
      As for Fading Suns, you might like it because it has a very “dramathic” style, and no end of theatrical references.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Damn me!
        I read your reply… dramathic style… theatrical references… I searched the web for it.
        I knew I shouldn’t…
        Now I found an italian copy on eBay…
        Damn! >_<
        I still haven't bought it… I'm trying to resist its evil calling… But I'm wondering: how long will I resist, before buying it and have a fight with my wife? 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        • If you are to shell out some cash, look for the live action rules, I think the book is called Fading Suns – Passion Play… they are probably exactly what you are looking for.


  2. I enjoied a lot plaing Fadig Suns, Thank you very much



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