Fading Suns with the Storytelling System

Submitted by Mapache on Thu, 2005-09-29 00:00

When I ran Fading Suns, I decided that I was displeased with the rules. Not only were they another set of combat rules for my players to learn, they have some serious issues for my tastes. They rely on a single die roll for action resolution, yielding a much higher variance than die pool systems, and an ostensibly competent character actually has an unreasonably high chance of failing at tasks that should be simple going by the rules as written. Rather than try to patch them up to suit my tastes, I decided to rebuild the game from the ground up around the Storytelling System in the World of Darkness Rulebook, which my players, coming off an Exalted game, were already reasonably familiar with.

Character creation is as given in the World of Darkness Rulebook for standard human characters. (Short version of the process: Start with a blank character sheet. Attributes start at one dot and you to distribute get 5, 4, and 3 extra dots into the categories of your choice. Skills start at zero dots and get 11, 7, and 4 dots. Pick 3 Specialties for your Skills, then take 7 points worth of Merits. Buying the fifth dot in any area costs two points instead of one.) Any relevant skills for my game not on the standard list were be handled through classification under a specialty. For instance, piloting a spaceship is a specialty under the Drive skill.

In addition, I imported the Madness Meters from Unknown Armies, using those in place of the Morality system in the Storytelling rules (dropping Virtues, Vices, and Morality). This helped to focus the psychological development of characters on dealing with the authoritarian government, church, and guilds and to play up the horror of the supernatural elements, putting more of a Lovecraftian spin on the setting.

Psychic and Theurgic powers I re-introduced as Merits. I used the paths and rituals in the original Fading Suns rules, with attributes and skills translated as per the table below, and Willpower in place of Wyrd. (References to damage are unchanged and victory points map directly to successes.) Each Psychic path is a separate Merit, costing half its power rating in Merit points (e.g. Buying all Sixth Sense powers through level 6 costs three of a character's seven initial Merits). Theurgic rituals cost one-quarter of a Merit point per power rating (e.g. spending two Merits nets one any number of Theurgic rituals with a total power rating of 8). There are no other prerequisites—specifically, Psi and Theurgy don't exist.

In addition, as a means of guiding the game and making sure the players were involved in the game, I asked everyone to keep three goals for their character—one short-term, one long-term, and one ongoing. Examples might include "Track down whoever stole our shipment of widgets", "Rise to the rank of Consul in my Guild", and "Help the poor develop useful skills", respectively. Acting in concert with one's goals is a means for characters to regain Willpower (taking the place of fulfilling Vices and Virtues), and making progress towards or completing them can result in experience awards.

Strength Strength
Dexterity Dexterity
Endurance Stamina
Wits Wits
Perception Wits
Tech Intelligence
Extrovert Presence
Introvert Manipulation
Passion Presence
Calm Composure
Faith Resolve
Ego Resolve
Psi Not Generally Used in Rolls
Urge Not Generally Used in Rolls
Theurgy Not Generally Used in Rolls
Hubris Not Generally Used in Rolls
Natural Skills
Charm Persuasion
Dodge Athletics
Fight Brawl
Impress Expression or Intimidation
Melee Weaponry
Observe Investigation
Shoot Firearms
Sneak Stealth
Vigor Athletics