The Class Struggle is Real

The Known Worlds of the Fading Suns are rife with class struggle. Not between the lower and ruling classes; unless you’re a heretical Third Republican, you know that the lower classes deserve their place. The struggle is between the three classes that vie for power and privilege: the houses of the nobility, the sects of the Universal Church of the Celestial Sun, and the guilds of the Merchant League.

A Fading Suns character is a member of one of these classes: noble, priest, merchant. (There’s also the yeomanry, the freemen, but they have little power in society; still, you can choose yeoman as your class.) Your class determines which factions you can join. A noble can be a member of House Li Halan, but not a practicing priest of the Eskatonic Order. A merchant can be a guildmember of the Scravers, but not a noble of the Hazat. (Okay, okay: there are exceptions; see below.)

Your class also gives you access to a number of different callings. A noble can be a Lord or a Duelist or a Sybarite, but not a Banker or a Bounty Hunter (those latter two are merchant-class callings). But you don’t have to be just one thing! You can change your calling over time, as many times as you wish. You can even change your class and faction, allowing you access to that classes’ callings.

For all the restrictions this system of social class privilege brings, there are always loopholes. Fading Suns characters can break the mold through a system of favors: debts owed to another faction in return for access to their privileged practices and secrets-of-the-trade. Are you a priest Mendicant who wants to learn how to pilot a starship? That’s normally a guild-restricted skill, but you can learn it — in return for owing your guild trainer’s faction a favor. “Someday, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me.”

Or maybe you were born into House al-Malik but then sent to the abbey to become a priest (thus ensuring your entire house’s spiritual salvation). You can do this by mixing and matching the pre-figured lifepath upbringing and apprenticeship stages of character creation — or you can just use the custom character creation method and be a motley mix of many backgrounds.

Leveling with You

Previous editions of Fading Suns used a “point-buy” method of character progression. The new edition throws out the calculator think machine and provides a simpler but still-quite robust method: yes, it’s levels. But before you join an antinomist cult to curse our names, know that these levels don’t restrict your access to anything. There is no trait that says: “you must be 5th level or higher to use this”. Levels simply dole out new skill ranks, characteristic ranks, new perks (think amped-up Benefices), and more. As you gain a new level, you get to choose how you allocate those new trait ranks, and which perks you’ll choose (from your calling’s list, plus an “open” list anyone can pull from).

You can also change your calling from level to level. At 1st level you might be a priest Confessor, but at 3rd level you might become an Inquisitor, and at 4th you might switch to Occultist or Templar. Your choice. Your calling gives you access to certain perks. For instance, an Occultist can get the Wyrd Knowledge perk, while a Templar can get Marksmanship or Martial Arts. (While you can’t follow a different class’s calling, you might learn a perk from one of them, in return for — you guessed it — a favor.)

One last thing. Look for the Fading Suns: Pax Alexius Kickstarter, starting March 24th!

To get notified of its launch signup for our mailing list below:

19 thoughts on “The Class Struggle is Real”

  1. Rob Ingham says:

    Looking forward to this

  2. Phil says:

    While I think the use of the term ‘level’ is unfortunate (something like ‘milestone’ might have been better as ‘levels” has negative connotations and images of escalating hit points etc. which will put some people off), what you’ve described sounds okay. Hopefully they’ll be a rule preview as part of the Kickstarter to help these on the fence decide.

    1. Patrick Maguire says:

      or maybe advance or advancement

  3. Bearman says:

    Looks delish!

    Can’t wait to grab it by it’s cover!

  4. Matt says:

    So, keeping with levels? Hard pass from me, and thus the groups I’m in. I will remain with 2nd Edition then. Because… Levels? Ugh. Hard, solid, no.

    1. Patrick Maguire says:

      I don’t think they’re levels in the sense of D&D or similar games.

    2. It doesn’t sound like traditional “levels.” It sounds like what the Decipher version of Star Trek used, where they were called “Advancements” I would say wait to pass judgement until you see how they actually work. It could easily just be a bad choice of words for a concept.

  5. carpenter117 says:

    > “But before you join an antinomist cult to curse our names”

    By Saint Mantius’ Holy Hand Grenade! Antinomy? No. No! NOOO!

    For I already informed the Inquisition. For this “Level System” you talk about is the greatest offence to the One and True Faith since the time the foul stench of Incarnism tried to sway the faithful.

  6. Chris Hodge says:

    Always one of my favorite games. I’ll be a backer.
    Like others, I’m nervous about any game that uses the word “level”. And I hope they aren’t making it a Starfinder reskin.

  7. Angelos Angelides says:

    To be honest normally I would outright reject a leveling system, but this feels more of a streamlining of allocating the previously called xp more consistently than the previous completely freeform way. I still think it will be damaging to the fiction as the previous version allowed for xp to be spend along side with in game changes, so maybe someone would be sitting on a ton of xp until he found a master to teach him some advanced martial technique whereas someone else could be spending his points on any skill he uses on a regular basis. Now it feels like players will be forced to distribute all gains of a level at the same time in a non organic fashion. I think it will depending on future updates and samples of play if I will support the edition or not.

  8. Nik Gervae says:

    This sounds more complicated, and restrictive, than a single pool of XP, frankly. Now (based on this and prior posts) I have to deal with a Chinese menu system each time my character advances? I get to pick n skill ranks, and a perk, and more vitality at level X. Well what if I don’t want a perk? What if I just want skill ranks when I advance? What if I want more vitality and don’t care about skills? At least, as you say, the choices aren’t limited to particular sets at particular levels, as in D&D 5e, but the categories of choices are, and that kinda stinks.

    I just found out about this revival of the game and have been catching up on the news archive, but so far I’m not keen on what I’m reading.

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