Sunday, June 29, 2014

Plucking the Stars from Distant Systems - Stealing Rules for Fading Suns Pt. 2 - Combat Position, Combining Individual Choices and House Rules

Here's part 1 of "Plucking the Stars from Distant Systems - Stealing Rules for Fading Suns" where I discuss Icons and Bonds.

Combat Position  

While several other systems have similar rules, I find that the 13th Age Combat Position rules are succinct and easy to understand and they're certainly easier to implement in a game than trying to use range by meters (the Fading Suns default).  It doesn't hurt that the 13th Age SRD is online and makes it easy to share the rules.  13th Age excels for this because it has easy to grok terms that also have short and simple definitions behind them.  So using the specific terms during a combat will allow most everyone to easily picture an enemy that is Nearby or Behind them, how Intercepting might work, the difference between an enemy you're Engaged or Next To and an enemy that is Free because they're Far Away from your PC, but when needed we can pull up the SRD and use the definitions.

Combining Individual Choices Into an Exciting Whole

This concept is stolen from Durance, where it is used to generate the Prison Planet settings by forcing each player to make a choice of which ideal circumstances for an interstellar colony are missing from the planet, like "Climate is Mild" or "Biology is Benign".  Because there are six items and the players can only choose to keep three, not only does it force some hard choices but it lets the players decide some of the challenges they'll face.  This mechanic is also used in Durance to describe the Colonial Record of the Governing force of the prison colony, so the players have to choose if it it's more important that "Planning is meticulous" for the colony or "Order is well-established."  For Fading Suns I plan on using this concept to help generate setting, scenarios or NPCs where I want the players to choose some of the things they'll have to overcome.  I'm using it first to have the PC's work together to generate the Engineer on their space-ship, each of the five players choosing one of the following eight negative traits they don't want the Engineer to have, which will leave three negative traits that I'll work into the engineer's personality.

Addict        Braggart         Cowardly          Criminal
Deceitful     Greedy           Lazy                  Superstitious
So if the players decide they don't want a Cowardly, Deceitful, Greedy, Lazy, Superstitious engineer that will leave me the Addict, Braggart and Criminal traits to work into the engineer NPC who travels with them taking care of their spaceship.

Addict        Braggart         Cowardly          Criminal
Deceitful     Greedy           Lazy                  Superstitious

House Rule: 2d20

This is a house rule I've used before, stolen from at the suggestion of Thomas and discussed in greater detail here at System Sans Setting. Basically, the Fading Suns Victory Point system as written still has a 50% fail rate for checks when a PC has a "good" trait and skill chance and using 2d20 and taking the higher roll gives the players a better chance to succeed on the things they've built their PCs to be good at.


  1. Fantastic stuff, seriously. I'm digging this a LOT. Can't wait to talk about it during the next Podcast.

  2. I think you'll find those 13th Age combat positions dangerously close to what DragonLance 5th Age stuff did (a consequence of ages and ordinal numbers?)


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