20 Dec Fading Suns Designer Diary – December 2017
Merry Lux Splendor!
The Known Worlds have many festivals and ritual events. The most cherished is Lux Splendor, the Radiance of Light, commemorating the Prophet’s sanctification of the jumproutes following his death in a jumpgate accident.
As I write this, I’ve just finished up the sprawling outline for the core book, which will be assigned out to authors very soon. Some parts of the book have already been written in rough draft form, mainly as rules modifications for the Victory Point System.
As a Lux Splendor present, I’m going to begin rolling out some info about the game mechanics, starting with a big change to how victory points are handled.
Victory Point Tokens
The system is called VPS —the Victory Point System — because its core function is to award victory points for successful actions. Victory points are the foundation and key concept of the rules.
Unlike in previous editions, FS4 introduces a more fluid and dynamic system of counting victory points (VP for short): tokens.
Victory points are represented by tokens. You can use the ones that will be provided by Ulisses (perhaps in the form of firebirds, the coin of the realm), or substitute any small item you want — chits, coins, glass beads, paperclips, jelly beans, etc.
Somewhere within easy reach of the players, there should be a bowl that holds a good number of VP tokens. This is the well. Each time a player gains VP, they take tokens from the well and place them in their bank.
Each player has a VP bank. This is either just a spot somewhere on the table next to them where they keep their pile of VP tokens, or preferably a small bowl or bag to ensure the tokens don’t get scattered.
When a player gains VP, they are placed into their bank. As they are spent, the tokens go back into the well.
VP are gained by making successful dice rolls in the course of gameplay.
The number you roll on the die (assuming it’s equal to or less than your goal number) is the amount of victory points you gain. If your goal number is a 12 and you roll a 9, you’ve got 9 victory points. No dividing by 2 or 3, and no chart to consult. (Critical hits work the same as in previous editions: roll your goal number exactly, double the VP reward.)
When you gain VP from a victorious roll, take that many VP from the well and place them in your bank.
When you spend VP (for such things as damage), take that many VP from your bank and put them in the well.
Note that dice rolls should only be called for in meaningful circumstances, where the outcome is uncertain and character talent and skill makes a difference. The vast majority of activities — walking, eating, talking — don’t require rolls. Repetitive and routine tasks — sweeping floors, reading sermons, hunting hull rats on starships — should not require rolls.
More to Come…
That’s just the barest glimpse of the system. There are lots of details — a character’s vault where some VP can be stored between encounters, wyrd VP that fuel psychic and theurgic powers, and the various things you can spend VP on, from damage to dice nudges to even more.
Don’t worry, we’ll roll out more info each month so you’ll get a better idea of what the new edition will contain. But we’ve got to test it all first!
— Bill Bridges, Product Line Manager
Also, be sure to catch this month’s Town Crier’s Guild Report!