Fading Suns and Flaming Heresies
Primary Attributes are split into 6 Stand-Alone and 6 Opposing traits.
Under normal circumstances, Characters will not be able to take Primary Attributes above 10. In addition, starting Characters can not begin with a Primary Attribute above 8. Through the use of Technology or Occult, it is Rare (but possible) that a Character have a Primary Attribute of up to 12.
The physical side of a character, representing how strong, nimble or healthy she is. Any physical task a character undertakes will involve a Body characteristic plus an appropriate skill. For instance, when a character lifts a fallen tree to free a comrade trapped beneath it, the roll is Strength + Vigor.
The Traits of the Body are:
Strength : Muscle power. Strength determines how much weight a character can lift, and helps in athletic tasks like jumping and climbing (see the Vigor skill) or wrestling. Generally, the higher a character’s Strength, the bulkier and more muscular she is, but there are exceptions.
A character can lift a certain amount in kilograms over his head per Strength level without needing to make a roll. To lift more than that, he must make a Str + Vigor roll, with -1 penalty per Str level required above his own, up to a maximum of that allowed for his Str +3 (a Str 4 person can lift 120 kg max). Others can join together to lift items; simply add their allowances together: three Str 3 people can lift 120 kg without needing to roll.
In addition, stronger characters deliver more damage in melee combat: add one die for every three levels of Strength above three:
Dexterity : Agility and motor control. Dexterity determines how nimble a character is, and helps in combat actions or athletic tasks like running (see the Vigor skill). Generally, the higher a character’s Dexterity, the slimmer she is, but there are exceptions.
Endurance : Stamina and robust health. Endurance determines a character’s staying power and ability to stave off disease. Generally, the higher a character’s Endurance, the larger she is, although this is not always true. Besides physical health, Endurance also represents a strong will to live or endure beyond the breaking point. Endurance helps determine a character’s base Vitality (See Below).
The mental side of a character, representing intelligence, awareness and technical (or scientific) capability in the Dark Age of the Fading Suns. Any task involving thought or reason that a character undertakes will involve a Mind characteristic plus an appropriate skill. For instance, when a character unjams an autofeed slug gun, the roll is Tech + Mech Redemption.
The Traits of the Mind are:
Wits : Intelligence and quick-thinking. Wits determines how well a character remembers and understands things, and helps in any task involving learning. The higher a character’s Wits, the quicker she is at figuring things out and reacting to events.
Perception : Awareness and alertness. Perception determines how aware a character is of the world around her and how well she notices hidden things. The higher a character’s Perception, the more observant she is of things other people only notice unconsciously.
Tech : On the Known Worlds, the scientific method is by no means common, even among the learned. Those who have the knack or training to comprehend and utilize — let alone invent — technology are rare and often find their way into positions of power in a guild. The Tech characteristic represents a character’s knack at understanding technology; its levels match those given on the Tech Level Chart (see Below). Tech aids in repairing broken equipment and in comprehending high-tech devices and sciences.
|0||Stone age||Flint dagger|
|4||Mid-20th century/Fading Suns Era||Aircraft, early computers|
|6||Early 2nd Republic||Advanced starships, advanced computers|
|7||Second Republic||Shields, robots (early A.I.)|
|8||Vautech/Late 2nd Republic||Terraforming, advanced A.I.|
|9||Lesser Urtech||Soul Shard|
The psychological side of a character, representing social inclinations, personal emotions, and degree of individuation. Any task involving emotions or inner quandaries that a character undertakes or suffers will involve a Spirit characteristic plus an appropriate skill (although some characteristics can be rolled without adding a skill). In addition, many occult powers use Spirit characteristics. For instance, when a theurgic character attempts to cast the Prophet’s Holy Blessing rite, the roll is Faith + Focus. Each Spirit characteristic is “opposed” by another characteristic, representing the psychological duality of the human (or alien) condition (at least as it exists in Fading Suns).
These pairs each share the same scale of levels (1 to 10 for most races), and a rating in one characteristic lessens the maximum rating in its opposing characteristic. In most cases, however, these characteristics will not compete; most people have average scores in each (1 to 3).
The Opposing Traits of the Spirit are:
Extrovert and Introvert : Extrovert and its opposing characteristic, Introvert, represent two extremes of interpersonal relationships. Each person tends towards one or the other, although it is possible for these two characteristics to be in balance. Extroverts reach out for others, preferring social situations to sitting alone in a room. Introverts are more comfortable by themselves than with others, and tend to avoid social situations they cannot control. Neither characteristic implies social ability: An Extrovert may be a nebbish nobody likes but who keeps on butting into conversations, while an Introvert may be the quiet author everybody tries to flock around but who avoids parties. Interpersonal activities (partying, acting) are resolved using Extrovert; “inner” activities (writing poetry, trying to remember a long-forgotten fact or repressed memory) are resolved using Introvert.
Passion and Calm : Passion and its opposing characteristic, Calm, represent two emotional extremes. As with most emotions, they have a tendency to govern a character as much as she governs them. Some people are hotheads (Passion) and find it hard to control their outbursts. Others are laid back (Calm) and may actually find it hard to get very excited about something.
Faith and Ego : Faith and its opposing characteristic, Ego, represent two extremes of the soul determining identity. Faith is collective, centered outside the self, looking out or upwards to a spiritual deity for inspiration and meaning. Ego is individualistic, centered in the character’s own sense of self (the core of the personal pronoun “I”), gaining inspiration and meaning mainly from itself (although this does not prevent the character from believing in a deity). Both faithful and egotistic characters can be stubborn and divisive but strong and enduring at the same time. Faith and Ego are rarely rolled. They are mainly applied when using occult powers or weird Ur artifacts. Most people go through life without ever having their Faith or Ego tested, but entry into the occult dimension often puts one’s identity to task.
There are also Secondary Traits. Vitality and Wyrd are possessed by everyone, Psi and Urge are only possessed by Psychics, and Theurgy and Hubris are only possessed by Theurgic Casters.
Vitality : Vitality is the measure of a character’s lifeline. It represents how much damage he can take before he is unconscious or dead. The healthier a character is, the more Vitality he has. However, physical size also has a lot to do with it. Vitality is determined by adding a character’s Endurance (healthiness) to five (his “vital” levels, generally representing size). Larger or smaller people will have more or less Vitality (see Blessing and Curses).
Vitality is never rolled. Instead, one level is checked off on the character sheet for each point of damage the character suffers. When a character loses all his Endurance levels and only has vital levels left, he begins to suffer penalties to all his activities. When he has lost all but one of his Vitality levels, he must struggle to remain conscious. When he has lost all his Vitality levels, he is dead.
Vital wounds: Each character receives five free Vitality levels; these are considered his vital levels, since impairing them impairs any actions the character undertakes. Once a character has lost his non-vital levels (those provided by Endurance), he suffers a penalty to all tasks he undertakes. This penalty increases with each vital level lost. In other words, losing the first vital level means that all tasks become Hard. Losing a second makes all tasks are Demanding, and so on down to Herculean.
Once a character has only one vital level left, he must roll Endurance + Stoic Mind to remain conscious. If he fails, he collapses into unconsciousness and remains so for at least one hour. Once each hour thereafter, the player may roll the character’s Endurance + Vigor. If successful, the character awakens. However, unless he has received healing in the interim, he is weak. If he attempts any stressful tasks (any physical task requiring a roll), he must once again struggle to remain conscious.
Wyrd : Wyrd represents a character’s spiritual energy, their chi, psychic will, vital force or will to power. Wyrd points are spent for a variety of activities, from activating occult powers (see: Occult), inciting passion or steadying one’s hand, and accenting actions (see: Accenting).
A character’s beginning Wyrd depends on whether or not she has occult powers, and if so, what kind:
Non-occultists: Beginning Wyrd is equal to Passion or Calm, whichever is primary.
Psi: Beginning Wyrd is equal to Extrovert or Introvert, whichever is primary.
Theurgy: Beginning Wyrd is equal to Faith.
More Wyrd points may be bought with Extras and Experience Points.
Like Vitality, Wyrd is not rolled. Levels are checked off on the character sheet as they are used. Wyrd is regained during game play through meditation, sleep or during certain astrological or religious events.
Meditation: Roll Calm + Focus. One Wyrd point is regained per victory point. One hour must be spent meditating before this roll can be attempted. Once successful, another Wyrd meditation may not be attempted for eight hours.
If the roll fails, a second or third roll may be attempted after one more hour of meditation for each roll. If a third attempt fails, the character is simply unable to reach a meditative state and another roll may not be attempted for twenty four hours.
Sleeping: The character regains one Wyrd point per full hour spent sleeping.
Astrological Events: Stellar happenings have a strange connection to psychic characters. For a psychic, one Wyrd point is regained each night when the moon rises on whatever planet he is on, and he gains an additional point on the first night of a planetary conjunction.
Religious Events: Moments of ceremonial or sacramental importance to a theurge will replenish some lost Wyrd.
One Wyrd point is regained at matins (the time of morning prayer) and on religious holidays.
Further details on using Wyrd for occult characters can be found in the “Occult”.
Psi : The existence of psychic powers was a mystery in the twentieth century. During the Second Republic, the mystery was explained: humanity’s potential to awaken phenomenal powers with the mind were well-known and documented. Psychic powers became the premier science of the Second Republic, the prestigious profession to which all geniuses turned their faculties. The central forum for this profession was the Phavian Institute, where the “mental sciences” of telepathy, psychokinesis, ESP and other phenomena were widely studied by many experts.
But the Fall changed all that.
Psychic powers, as with technology, were considered by the Church to be one of the causes of humanity’s troubles. Unlike theurgy, psychic powers are intensely personal and internal; one can develop one’s own powers without the aid of a teacher or — more dangerous — a doctrine. In addition, the common folk who did not possess psychic powers resented those who did. A psychic “next step in evolution” movement made this worse, painting non-psychics as evolutionary footdraggers. Hence, the Phavian Institute was disbanded and psychics became the targets of Inquisitorial witchhunts. These hunts did not stop psychic powers from developing, but it drove some psychics underground. Others, those who were faithful, bought the Church line that their powers were sinful. Many anguished people, in the grip of their Urges, committed suicide rather than face sin.
Others fell on the Church’s mercy, begging aid and forgiveness. The Church accepted many of these repentant psychics and indoctrinated them with a code of behavior when using their powers. These became the Penitents.
Other psychics ran to the League for protection, hoping the republican sentiment would get them some mileage. It did. The League began a psychic guild and for years resisted the Church’s protests. But the Church won out and the guild was disbanded, leaving psychics with no formal protection. While the Church can hassle League or house psychics, they cannot formally reprimand them. But psychics without the protection of guild membership or royal title must hide from the Inquisition.
Urge : This is the dark side of psionics. Urge has one main path, that of the Doppelganger, or Dark Twin. There are other paths, but they are rare and conditional. Whenever a psychic fumbles a psychic power roll (or a Psi roll), her Urge stirs. For the next span, this dark twin may (or may not, gamemaster’s discretion) actively take part in the psychic’s life, in a manner dependent on the Urge level (see: Occult). It may act in any way its level allows (using all lower level powers also) as many times as it wishes throughout the span.
We say “it” here, but it is really the character herself who is acting. Once she gains one or more Urge levels, the stress of her psychic powers has split her ego into two distinct personalities, one of which remains hidden in her unconscious.
But with more power (Urge levels), this dark personality begins to grow, eventually becoming an entirely separate person.
Theurgy : Unlike psychic powers, theurgy rituals do not have paths; characters simply learn the individual rituals at their required levels and do not need to buy a lower level first.
Since theurgy is more restrictive in its use (requiring liturgy, gestures, prayer, etc..) and less flexible, it tends to have a bit more bang for its buck per level than psychic powers. It lasts longer also (average one span, but some are instant); see the power description for each ritual. Unlike psychics, theurgists may not extend the range and duration, or add more targets, by spending Wyrd points.
Hubris : The dark side of Theurgy. Hubris has many levels of sin; those given below are the most common.
Whenever a theurge fumbles a theurgy rite roll (or a Theurgy roll), her Hubris — overweening pride before the Pancreator — grows. Unlike Urge, Hubris is with a character always — the effects lasts until the character has lost the level of Hubris which empowers them (unless stated otherwise in the description). Hubris comes in many forms, but the levels listed below are the most common.
Hubris is not a split personality or a dark entity growing in the character; it is the character’s own human fallibility before the divine. Lack of humility leads to overweening pride at one’s ability to call forth miraculous powers, powers which are supposed to be the Pancreator’s gift, not the character’s own will exerting itself. Extreme Hubris can lead to a loss of faith.