Posted by: markfender | August 28, 2012

Fading Suns Bootleg – The Rest

Let’s hope this title isn’t just wishful thinking.

Fading Suns has always had a pretty neat cybernetic system, as it lets you build your own cybernetics. That trend continues here. This is pretty much just the same system with the inclusion of the Glitch Pool. The Glitch Pool is the negative Characteristic Pool for Cybernetics. The more cybernetics you install, the more Glitch points you accumulate, giving you various negative side effects. These are your standard cyberpsychosis sort of effects you’ve seen in games before. Things like Nervous Ticks (Yes, that’s right: bugs which are very nervous. Gotta love editing by spellcheck.) The highest level, Rebirth, is pretty cool as it overwrites your personality by…something else.

As for the cybernetics themselves, we have a catalog of prebuilt parts. Synapse Crucible gives a +3 Psyche, which isn’t a thing. Then, we have the breakdown of all the individual parts to build your own with. The descriptions of the parts list the Glitch cost, but not the Benefit cost, both of which are on the accompanying chart. This all seems fine.

Misfits covers the Changed rules – mutations and the like. These rules don’t cover Grimsons or Metonyms, which are actually covered by Benefits as given earlier. What this covers is all the weirder mutations that show up. These lists of powers are suitably weird and seem similar to those in previous editions.

We’ve also got the Stigma Pool, a negative Characteristic Pool. This accumulates the same way the Glitch Pool for Cybernetics does, with each part part having a Stigma cost. These negative effects revolve around random mutations and betrayals of the flesh.

Goods & Services
Next up, we have equipment. This chapter is long and detailed, but doesn’t change a whole lot from previous editions (mostly just more detail). Lifestyle rules were added, which operate just like Shadowrun’s Lifestyle rules. So that’s a thing.

The first equipment table we come to is the Melee Weapons chart, which raises a question in my mind – How much damage does an unarmed attack do? I have no idea. There’s no Strength stat anymore. A Cestus does 1 DMG, so I’m assuming it does 0 DMG, but I’m not really sure. Moving on, we’ve got lots and lots of ranged weapons, covering everything from bows to the highest quality blaster weapons. These are separated out into brand names, which I kind of like. It’s more flavorful than just “generic blaster rifle.” However, I’m not sure which weapons can fire fully automatic. Some of the weapons mention that they do, while others that I would think would don’t say anything at all.

These equipment lists go on and on. There’s clothes (complete with a Fashion Rating, that does nothing), surveillance equipment, beasts of burden, think machines, and everything in between. Since someone probably wants to know – adept robes are still awesome and energy shields work pretty much how you’d imagine they do. So that’s all good.

Finally, we have the starship creation system. This allows a group of PCs to build a ship and then split the cost with Benefits. This involves calculating your Structure Points as well as your Structure Rating. There’s a warning to not to confuse the two. Seems like a better way to do that would be to come up with different names that didn’t sound so similar. For whatever reason, the weapon list doesn’t list the Benefit cost. Luckily, the accompanying chart does. We end the book with a lot of preconstructed starships. Without counting, this looks like more than previous editions offered, so that’s good.

Final Thoughts
And that’s the book. This is the Player’s Guide with a Gamemaster Guide to follow. I’m not actually sure what was going to be included in the Gamemaster book. I assume a list of planets and their details, as we didn’t see that information anywhere in this book. Maybe some antagonists and systems for Antinomy? Regardless, that book wasn’t leaked to the internet so I have no idea.

So, overall, I’d say that I don’t care for the setting changes (they don’t seem to accomplish what they set out to do), the combat system could use probably another four pages of details to explain better how exactly it works, and the theurgy system needs to be taken out back and shot. It feels like the theurgy system was designed in a previous iteration of the rules, as it adds rules that aren’t used anywhere else in the system. And it looks like the designers didn’t think through the implications of using Faith as the governing attribute. As the 2011 Playtest edition, supposedly more changes have been made after this version but that book wasn’t leaked to the internet so I don’t know if the things I had problems with were fixed or not.

I think the Edge and Skill Synergy systems, in conjunction with the fewer Attributes, accomplish the task of making the system work better than it did before. I don’t think it’s perfect, but when you’re stuck with technology that doesn’t quite work anyway, this seems like one of the better attempts to fix it. There are some good changes. I like the new Psychism system and I like the fact that the multiple subsystems have been integrated with their own Characteristic Track.

Of course, as a bootleg book, we’ll never actually see this thing in print. So, I guess if you didn’t like the changes, you can pretend this book never existed and you would be right. We’ll see how the double Revised version that is supposedly at GenCon will look. Either way, the people responsible for this book should have been paid for their work. It’s a pretty shitty thing that RedBrick has done to the designers. Obviously, other people agree with me as someone released this on the internet in a fit of pique. While I might not agree with some of the changes made, there definitely should have been some money that changed hands for the work put into this. Hell, I would have bought it, even if it didn’t quite do what I wanted it to do.


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