What would be a cool Fading Suns epic?

Discussion on the Fading Suns game line, errata, and feedback not related to playing or GMing.

What kinds of Fading Suns epic would you like to see

Action-Adventure (“Indiana Jones”)
6
17%
Horror (things that go bump)
4
11%
Drama (family stuff)
2
6%
Crime/Mystery (investigations)
4
11%
Action-Thriller (high-stakes and fast phased)
1
3%
Political-Thriller (court intrigue and ambassadors)
7
19%
Frontier (Space Western)
5
14%
Warfare (military and war)
3
8%
Spacy (hardships in space)
4
11%
Other (please specify)
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 36

Madmage
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Re: What would be a cool Fading Suns epic?

Postby Madmage » Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:29 pm

Thanks.

I think the major takeaway is a "good" metaplot opens more potential plot threads than it actually closes. Again, going back to the example of the Emperor's consort. The love triangle between Alexius, the Decados and the al-Malik/Brother Battle is not particularly inclusive for players. The story hooks presented in the B2 book suggest a resolution where the final result is simply determined by the Emperor and not the PCs. This ultimately removes the outcome from the players hands and makes them feel less agency in the story. The situation is slightly worse then if they read the book and it flat out states regardless of the actions of those involved, the following happens. Of course the purpose of the story was to introduce the players and their characters to the Byzantine politics of the Empire but remember the perception of the players will be they are marginal to the plot.

A good example of a well written metaplot adventure is Giovanni Chronicles IV for the classic World of Darkness. Giovanni Chronicles I is actually a bad example and its from the same series of adventures! Both books assume relatively young characters for the settings (i.e. recently turned vampires). The main difference is in the first book, the players are largely spectators to events with very powerful vampires dominating the story. While it certainly fits into the theme of the Vampire: the Masquerade setting of the vertical struggle of young versus old vampires and of the eternal Jyhad between the elder vampires, the players involvement is limited to nudging things along. Things improve until book 3 when the player characters are elders in their own right and can somewhat hold their own. Book 4 puts the players back into the roles of brand new characters in the 20th (and ends in early 21st) who become embroiled yet have a significant impact on events. Each successive story in the book gives the storyteller options for potential outcomes and how it will influence recurring NPCs opinions. Some of NPCs themselves also change over time in response to events. This is accomplished with the backdrop of seemingly local events to the Boston area until the penultimate climax.

So the outline of how I would write the "Empress" plotline would require increasing the number of potential suitors. Salandra and sister al-Malik could still remain the "front runners" though. The addition of the additional suitors makes it more likely for players to find someone they can feel sympathetic or root for. No offense, but the Decados are easily perceived, and rightfully so, as Harkonnens turned up to 11. Using some of the existing plot threads could serve to create continuity as well:

The Hawkwood detractors become increasingly bold in their actions and disapproval of Alexius' attempts at trying to distance himself from his familial ties. They push for one of their own as a candidate (or an easily tractable member of the family). A precursor to this plot might be an adventure or plot device introduced to indicate their conspiracy is gaining some ground and becoming emboldened.

The main Hawkwood family continues to push for a strong member of the family to further cement the Hawkwood claim on the Phoenix throne. Ideally, this would be a young woman with an elder stateswoman as her mentor (think Margaery Tyrell in A Song of Ice and Fire aka Game of Thrones). This again ties into the Dowager Mother's write up in the B2 book.

Brother Battle and the al-Malik continue to push for Sister Theafana and she still maintains an inside track. However, the other factions have worked hard to undermine her position. Perhaps the more Republican elements of the House are also concerned about her ties to the Church and fear she isn't liberal enough to their liking. A Third Republic conspiracy could be thrown into the mix to add another candidate from the family. The Orthodoxy might be concerned Brother Battle might become too influential if one of their own would become Empress. The Hazat worries her marriage would create a crusade but one against the Symbiots rather than the one they have been pushing for.

The Orthodoxy themselves are also wary of the sister's ties to her former House al-Malik and might encourage a marriage with a Li Halan in the hopes of eventually establishing a theocracy down the road. Secretly though, they seemingly put their backing behind a blatant Church puppet to deflect or conceal their support of the Li Halan suitor. Or the Li Halan is essentially their backup choice. Later, the Patriarch metaplot story suggestion might tie back into this with the Orthodoxy's would be puppet playing a role in that plot. It would throw in some interesting plot ramifications and give players who were involved in both dramas a sense of continuity.

The Hazat have their own agenda and hope to marry one of their own in order to gain the support for a Crusade against the Caliphate. She might be a long shot but if given certain ammunition she might become more compelling candidate. Perhaps the story thread is an investigation into who caused the failure of life support on Jericho which ended the Emperor Wars?

The Decados continue their plots and are the most aggressive at undermining everyone else's candidate through guile and intrigue. Some Decados might not be on board with Salandra and fear she has "gone rogue" or wishes for her own personal advancement and is using the House's resources towards that goal. Perhaps a major important figure in the family has suffered setbacks because of this politicking and he or she wants Salandra's attempts to fail.

The League itself seemingly backs no candidate through the Leaguemeister but secretly deals behind the scenes with all factions. The "enhanced fertility drugs" Salandra Decados has been using in her tryst with Alexius could be revealed to come through certain League services. The Reeves on the other hand might push for candidate whose family is severely indebted to them so they can gain additional leverage on the Empire for their own designs. The Muster backs whomever they think will cause the most strife in the Known Worlds to potentially create another major war and thus line their pocket books further. The Charioteers and Scravers don't have a horse in the race but will support whatever maintains the status quo or gives greater benefit of their respective guild(s) and the League.

Although this certainly feels a bit God-Emperor of Dune inspired, elements of the Engineers have used the intervening years to genetically engineer the "perfect candidate" for Empress. A Changed woman designed to win over Alexius with whom they can secretly control later. Perhaps she was designed based on recovered genetic code from Vladimir Alecto! A similar thread could even originate through the Symbiots in hopes of infecting the Imperial Household. A previous adventure where the characters are hired or encouraged to find a personal item that once belonged to the first Emperor would be a good tie in for how the Engineers obtained the genetic material in the first place.

The minor Houses would have their own candidates as well in the hope of gaining a leg up. They too are longshots but the Houses could throw in a few wrinkles by potentially forming an Imperial House. A House Cameton marriage might even go and cement Alexius' hold over the capital planet. The Van Gelder's might hope to recover their former major House status and thus slowly dilute the other noble houses' power, etc. Perhaps a once lost but now recovered voting scepter might be the focus?

A certain group of Republicans are pushing for a Chauki bride in order to preserve Iver's Republican institutions and counter the nobility, particularly the Hazat. Elements of the Imperial Eye through the Sons of Iver might be keen on this as well.

The Imperial Eye might favour one or more candidates. The amount of dirt they might have dug up could make them significant players in the unfolding story. Perhaps they push for one of the Questing Knights or a minor noble who has pledged direct fealty to the Emperor? Perhaps the Imperial Eye hopes to subvert one of the candidates through the Soulsucker to create an ideal pawn in an Empress thus gaining greater autonomy over itself but also influence in other domains.

Throw in foreign powers like other Lost Worlds, the Caliphate, the Vuldrok, some alien races, the Risen Emperor heresy, the Invisible Path and you could create some truly great machinations to make Imperial matchmaking a campaign in itself!

As for the adventures themselves, I would create a series with each story being a struggle between 2 or more of the potential candidates which the GM can decide to pick and choose which dramas he or she wishes to use (all, some, a single, or none at all). Each story's potential likely outcomes will raise or lower a candidates' chances with additional consequences and follow up plot hooks for cadres. I'd almost recommend to make it extremely difficult for a specific campaign to be able to run all of the adventures unless players are particularly discreet or skillful in avoiding foiling some factions who might sponsor them in another.

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Angelman
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Re: What would be a cool Fading Suns epic?

Postby Angelman » Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:28 am

This is fascinating reading, Madmage :) Feel free to write this epic :p
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Holz
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Re: What would be a cool Fading Suns epic?

Postby Holz » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:58 pm

Hum... I am interested in the outcome!
To hell with information, ammunition is ammunition.

If brute for ain't working you ain't using enough.

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Madmage
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Re: What would be a cool Fading Suns epic?

Postby Madmage » Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:48 am

Angelman wrote:This is fascinating reading, Madmage :) Feel free to write this epic :p



Is there a process to submit a work to FASA?

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Angelman
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Re: What would be a cool Fading Suns epic?

Postby Angelman » Fri Apr 24, 2015 11:06 am

Madmage wrote:
Angelman wrote:This is fascinating reading, Madmage :) Feel free to write this epic :p


Is there a process to submit a work to FASA?
Not a very strict one, but basically you contact Bogie :) My personal suggestion would be to write a short intro letter, give a short outline of your project, and supply some writing samples. Of course, if you wrote up something like what you're suggesting above, into a proper manuscript in passable language, and sent it in, I think it would be very unlikely that your manuscript would not see publication :p (But this is just me speaking out of turn :) )
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Bogie
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Re: What would be a cool Fading Suns epic?

Postby Bogie » Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:03 pm

The process though may be slower than it initially appears. :) I'm open to lots of help but am to busy to organize it. Working on it though.
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Madmage
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Re: What would be a cool Fading Suns epic?

Postby Madmage » Sat May 09, 2015 1:23 am

Well, I've put in some work over the week on it and a more comprehensive document is taking shape.

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Angelman
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Re: What would be a cool Fading Suns epic?

Postby Angelman » Sat May 09, 2015 3:31 am

That's great, Madmage! FS could do with a story like this :D
Writer, editor, & developer for:
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Bertjammin
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Re: What would be a cool Fading Suns epic?

Postby Bertjammin » Thu May 21, 2015 6:50 am

I woke up today with a knew idea for a FS Epic...the key being that the players shouldn't know that they are actually playing FS....

The idea is that the game is set on (unbeknownst to the players) a Lost World at a medieval TL. There may be a few rare "magic" objects (high tech relics) but the perception of the players is that they are playing in a Fantasy RPG using the VP system....then things start getting odd.

The player should witness (or be called to investigate) a star that has fallen from the heavens.....what they discover is that their home has been invaded by "demons" from beyond....(I'm thinking Symbiots but it could easily be barbarian invaders who keep themselves suited in armour). All the time this should be portrayed as a fantasy game, the descriptions and terminology...the threats the heroes face and the forces they rally to oppose them...nothing should give away the wider setting.

Then the war takes a turn for the worse...the Demons are winning, they capture the king/Queen or capital....start using devastating super weapons....things look bleak....and then the angels (The Known World Forces) appear.

It's important that the PCs don't get steam rolled into being spectators, they should be a part of turning the tide against the demons....perhaps they met a mysterious stranger earlier in the campaign who seems to have hidden knowledge about the demons (a Knight who had located the Lost World initially) and now the angels arrive he reveals himself as their "prophet" or emissary and brings the heroes in as trusted emissaries to help prove that the angels are on their side and to rally the population to help. Perhaps the heroes are nominated by their rulers to try to investigate the true intentions of these new invaders....no one will readily trust them Whatever happens eventually the war will end or at least enter a state of stalemate.

That would be the end of "season one"

Then jump the clock forward twenty-forty years. The Lost World is now being assimilated into the Known Worlds - the players may now be elder statesmen (and women) who have positions of power and influence in the new regime (as heroes of eth "great War) or perhaps they resent the interference of the off worlders....potentially players could retire their initial characters and play the children or grandchildren of their original PCs - what does the new generation think of this universe of potential? Or do they seek to return to simpler, more insular times?

I think there's great potential for a high adventure campaign with a natural political and social element. Plus I do love the ide of a "generational" epic.
"The crazy ol' Vorox"

Something witty, pithy and observant ought to go here.

Oh well.

Follow my current campaign and my general musings about GMing Fading Suns at: http://trialsofarcadia.blogspot.co.uk/

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Angelman
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Re: What would be a cool Fading Suns epic?

Postby Angelman » Thu May 21, 2015 10:35 am

It could be a little difficult to pull off without the players suspecting something, but it would be a very cool game, I think :D


I have contemplated doing something similar with Call of Cthulhu - just running it as a historic horror or even period drama thing, until the Cthulhu Mythos suddenly starts interfering. Might be fun :)
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