[Blocked Image: https://www.ulisses-us.com/wp-…0/03/TDE-Logo-300x124.png]We know a lot of folks are at home right now and we want to give you something to do, something where you can be creative, or just distract you for a moment. The Dark Eye core book and two Solo adventure are FREE to download right now (technically Pay What You Want). In addition we highlight more free or inexpensive offerings for fans and new players to play online.
[Blocked Image: https://www.ulisses-us.com/wp-…ire-of-Havena-233x300.jpg]Our original English solo game, Vampire of Havena is Pay What You Want. This solo adventure has all the rules needed for play. You just need a pencil, paper, a D20 and a D6.
You hear the muffled sound of footfalls on wet cobblestones, then the sound of heavy boots stepping through puddles. You can’t see farther than ten yards in the thick fog that billows through the dockyards of Havena. You’ve lost track of your pursuers, but you’re sure they haven’t lost track of you. How can you get away? You never respected law and order quite as much as the priests of Praios said you should, and now this is the worst trouble you have ever been in. You cannot trust your eyes, and your ears even less so. Too many sounds echo in the streets—the hiss of an alley cat, the flapping wings of an old raven, and footsteps that seem to approach from every direction…
Conspiracy of Mages
[Blocked Image: https://www.ulisses-us.com/wp-…racy-of-Mages-232x300.jpg]We’re offering the Conspiracy of Mages PDF as Pay What You Want (even $0.00), which is a solo adventure that includes all the rules you need for play (you don’t even need dice!). The adventure walks you through the rules as you go and includes two files, one that has linked sections and time tracking tools. It also has “dice” randomization images in the bottom corners in case you don’t have dice! Perfect for several hours of solo fun.
After years of homework, tests, and a life dedicated to becoming the best mage who ever graduated from the prestigious Lowangen Academy of Transformation, you now face one last hurdle: the final exam. Today you demonstrate your mastery of the arcane arts—at least, that’s what you expected when you awoke this morning. Now you are not so sure.
Your professors wield unimaginable power and command great respect in society, yet all is not well. Some cast envious eyes upon each other’s achievements and status, and a foul plan is afoot. Without even trying, you stumble into a web of intrigue and treachery that threatens to ruin the school’s reputation and end your career before it even starts.
Something sinister haunts these learned halls. As a young student of magic facing an unexpected challenge, can you solve this mystery and still manage to graduate?
Play in a Group
[Blocked Image: https://www.ulisses-us.com/wp-…/03/Core-Book-212x300.jpg]If you have a group looking to start with The Dark Eye, the core book is Pay What You want. This core rulebook contains everything you need to play in the world of Aventuria.
Add the free Quickstart and you have pregenerated characters and a quick adventure!
There are many avenues for folks to play games online. Some people use simple voice/video chat on Discord, while others enjoy a more details virtual tabletop such as Fantasy Grounds, Roll20, Arkenforge, or Astral for RPGs and Tabletop Simulator for Aventuria. There’s even a mobile game from a few years ago with a free demo called Moon of Blood.
[Blocked Image: https://www.ulisses-us.com/wp-…rk-Eye-Theme-1024x555.jpg]The great community of Virtual Tabletop fans on Fantasy Grounds has created modifications to their MoreCore ruleset to allow a The Dark Eye extension to be played. In addition there is a great Theme for use with The Dark Eye, all free.
[Blocked Image: https://www.ulisses-us.com/wp-…op-Siumulator-300x169.png]If you already have Tabletop Simulator the Aventuria Adventure Card Game add-on is free.
Play by yourself, duel with friends!
~Full Core-box experience
~Scripted Setup and Hero Sheets
Moon of Blood Mobile Video Game
Experience an epic adventure against blood-thirsty orcs in a turn-based strategy game in Europe’s largest fantasy role-playing universe – The Dark Eye.
Fight with warriors, bowmen, and even siege weapons against frightening creatures and challenge yourself in various attack and defense missions. Build your own fortresses and destroy those of your enemies.
Develop multiple attributes, skills, combat maneuvers and individual advantages of your hero by yourself or let him be generated automatically.
Experience a sensational depth of gameplay, you have never seen before on your smartphone or tablet.
This demo version is free and without advertisements and provides you the first two missions of Moon of Blood. In the full version an additional heroine will join your adventurer with magic abilities.
Fans have created a plethora of Free, Pay What You Want, and inexpensive products for The Dark Eye on the Scriptorium Aventuris on DriveThruRPG.
[Blocked Image: https://www.ulisses-us.com/wp-…B-Cover-Redux-300x114.jpg]Let’s talk about gamemastering. The gamemaster plays the NPCs the player troupe encounters in their endeavors. To lessen their load, not all NPCs are created equal. Fading Suns presents three types: Headliners, Agents, and Extras.
Headliners are the main movers and shakers, acting as adversaries, rivals, villains, or even helpers. They get all the same traits that player characters do, and they can bank victory points (VP), giving them more resources to draw upon when they’re rolls prove unlucky.
Agents are captains, bosses, alien creatures, and friendly faces who interact with troupes enough to make dice rolls important, but they’re not as resourceful as Headliners; hence, they don’t have VP banks (they use whatever cache of VP they gain from rolls on a turn-by-turn basis).
Extras are simple adversaries and one-note characters: the town guard, the wandering penitents, the market hucksters. They’ve got very streamlined traits and only a standard amount of Vitality. Also, they can’t shake off influence states, such as Daunted or Entreated.
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Character Concept art by Benjamin Giletti
The player troupe might encounter a band of pirates, a group of cutthroats (Extras) led by a second mate (an Agent) who, if things go bad, will call in the captain (a Headliner). Or they might encounter their old rival, Deacon Eusebius Snarg (a Headliner), and his squad of honed inquisitors (all Agents), but one of the troupe calls upon the oppressed villagers (Extras) to rise and stand with them against the religious tyrants.
The player troupe has a special resource: the troupe coffer. This holds wyrd points (WP) earned by individual members which are pooled together for use by the whole troupe. The gamemaster gets an adversary coffer. Whenever a player rolls a critical failure, the GM gets a WP to put in this coffer, and they can spend it whenever they want to improve the fortunes of any NPC, whether Extra, Agent, or Headliner. (You can find out more about the specific uses of wyrd points in the new edition’s rules chapter; they’re not just for psychics anymore.)
It’s an NPC’s job in Fading Suns to weave intrigues that create escapades for the player troupes. In fact, that’s the title of one of the books for the coming Kickstarter: Intrigues & Escapades. Think of it as a primer on cutthroat society. It provides essays on how nobles are trained from cradle to grave to navigate their rivals’ schemes and to create their own, how priests can both praise the Pancreator’s grace and also work to ensure that grace falls more upon them than others, and how merchants dream big while foisting all the risks onto fall guys. More, Intrigues & Escapades includes detailed dramas for thrusting troupes into trouble, complete with NPCs, plots, scene-by-scene incidents, and maps.
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And, of course, we’ll provide that old standby for tabletop gamers: the Gamemasters Screen. This sturdy four-panel screen hosts useful rules and charts: sequence of play, VP costs, Resistance ratings, environmental conditions, weapon traits, and more. It also comes with punch sheets with a plethora of victory-point and wyrd-point tokens, making it easy to gain and spend these action resources during play.
That’s still not everything that comes with this Kickstarter! There’s a lot more, but we’ll have to tell you about that another time.
Alea iacta est.
Catch up on recent designer diaries:
[Blocked Image: https://www.ulisses-us.com/wp-…B-Cover-Redux-300x114.jpg]The upcoming Fading Suns Kickstarter (coming March 24th!) includes the big, full-color, brand-new edition core books, chock full of background and game rules. As a gift from the Pancreator, it also includes some additional sourcebooks that give us the skinny on the factions of the Known Worlds: the Imperial Dossiers.
[Blocked Image: https://www.ulisses-us.com/wp-…cter6_alexius-240x300.png]The Emperor has a large administration, and it’s growing bigger year-by-year. From diplomats and bureaucrats, soldiers and star-sailors, and Questing Knights and their Cohorts, a lot of people need to know a lot of things about a lot of other people. Hence, the Emperor has commissioned the production of a series of dossiers to keep his people in the know.
These dossiers — presented to us 21st-Century gamers in the form of game sourcebooks — examine in-depth the main factions of the Fading Suns universe. Each is presented as a primer written by a member of the faction in question. Scholars of the Imperial Eye, the Emperor’s information agency (i.e. spies), serve as editors and have added commentary to correct the primary author’s biased perspective — and to drop telling clues about deeper conspiracies and mysteries. Some of these are classified “eyes only” — secret, “behind-the-throne” information. Since you, as a Fading Suns fan, are special, you’ll get full security clearance to read them.
Just as important as the info on the factions, each book also includes a “factbook” about a topic closely related to the dossier’s faction. These are compiled from multiple sources and edited by the Eye, to prepare Imperial functionaries for dealing with all manner of matters under the rule of the Phoenix Throne. As with the faction primer, these often include classified commentary.
[Blocked Image: https://www.ulisses-us.com/wp-…ok_1200x630a-1024x538.jpg]Finally, there’s a rules section for players and gamemasters. These might include new callings, perks, equipment, NPCs, and even alien creatures.
While some of this info was doled out piecemeal in older-edition sourcebooks, we now get to update the timeline and reveal what’s being going on over the last decades of the Pax Alexius, through the lens of a faction member and their Imperial Eye “fact” checkers.
For our inaugural entries in this series, we examine House Hawkwood, the Urth Orthodoxy, and the Reeves Guild. Each of these factions are well-placed to act as patrons for player troupes, as well as to provide interesting player characters themselves. They might not be as sexy as a sword-wielding Decados cyborg, but that Mantis-house noble knows better than to miss a payment on their Reeves loan or attempt to outmaneuver an Orthodox bishop when attempting to annul an ill-considered marriage to a Hawkwood. After reading these dossiers, you’ll want to play a Gray Face Reeve advocate who holds the fate of houses in his hands, or an Orthodox confessor who knows too much about all the right people, or a regal Hawkwood enduring the emperor’s capitulation to the Vuldrok hordes. If nothing else, you’ll know enough to be nervous when such figures encounter your troupes.
[Blocked Image: https://www.ulisses-us.com/wp-…g-Suns-ships3-300x121.jpg]In addition to all the juicy background info on these factions, each of these dossiers reveals much about the Known Worlds and how things work: The Hawkwood dossier discusses the customs of the nobility itself, the various ranks, fiefs, and means of advancement, all pertinent to every noble house, whether Royal or minor. The Urth Orthodox dossier reveals the core theology of the Church, applied as an undercurrent to all the sects and orders, even when they disagree about the details. The Reeves Guild dossier tackles the topic of money and the law, both coinage in all its varieties and the laws and punishments that can afflict any Known Worlder, especially those without a Reeve to defend them in court.
Future dossiers will include other factions, from Brother Battle to the Charioteers Guild to, well, all of them eventually.
Catch up on recent designer diaries:
[Blocked Image: https://www.ulisses-us.com/wp-…B-Cover-Redux-300x114.jpg]Since we’ve already talked about class and faction, let’s talk about the third major decision you’ll make when creating a character: calling. It’s your character’s profession. (Although that word might be well and good for a guilder, it’s certainly not fit for a noble — it implies “work”, for Pancreator’s sake! And a priest has a calling, not a job. So, to placate the ruling classes, let’s just call it “calling”.)
The core books present a number of callings associated with each class (noble, priest, merchant), as well as ones that are open to anyone (including yeomen). Callings are not specific job titles with specific job descriptions; they’re broad categories that can describe a number of different but similar practices. For instance, a Merchant Banker could be an actual Reeve banker and loan officer, or it could be a Muster quartermaster, managing the logistics of their mercenary unit; a Charioteer venture trader, investing in others’ businesses to draw a profit from all of them; a Scraver mob boss spreading the wealth through a network of favors; or an Engineer mathematician running the odds and reaping big payouts from ventures nobody else saw coming.
[Blocked Image: https://www.ulisses-us.com/wp-…rophet-square-300x300.jpg]Some callings are broad enough that members of any class can practice them. Some examples of these “open” callings are: Artist (a sculptor, painter, actor, musician), Cyborg (you’ve spent time acquiring and adjusting to cybernetic implants), Mercurian (you’re an intergalactic prankster), Psychic (you’ve got psychic powers! Congratulations?), and Theurgist (you can channel the power of the Empyrean! Look kindly upon us.).
But what does a calling actually give you on your character sheet? It allows you to choose from a list of perks available to that calling. Many callings share perks with other callings, but you can’t gain a given perk unless you follow one of its prerequisite calling(s). For example, you can’t gain the Mantok martial-art perk unless you’re a priest who follows the Brother Battle calling. You can’t gain the Vicious Insult perk unless you follow one of the noble callings of Conspiracist, Courtier, Spy, or Sybarite (“If words can hurt, yours are mastercrafted rapiers.”)
[Blocked Image: https://www.ulisses-us.com/wp-…/ships-square-300x300.jpg]How do you follow a calling? At 1st level, and then each time you gain a new level thereafter, you choose a calling from the ones available to you (from your class list, or from the open list). You can keep with the same calling, deepening your understanding of its abilities (perks), or you can swap to a different one, gaining access to its list of perks. Now, you’ll want to have a good roleplaying reason for switching. If you’re too much of a professional butterfly, no one will want to invest in training you with their hard-won secrets. Even when you’re just moving from one of your house/sect/guild’s functions to another, there’s often inter-departmental rivalries that prevent people from easily shifting careers. Of course, player characters are exceptions and should be allowed more leeway.
To sum up, you might begin at 1st level as a priest Occultist, which gives you access to perks like Counter the Dark and Scent of the Witch. At 3rd level, maybe your initial curiosity about esoteric matters has turned to fear and you become an Inquisitor, with perks like Armor of Purity and Witch Hunt. By 6th level, you’ve softened and realized your zealotry has done more harm than good, so you become a Mendicant, preaching the simple word of the Pancreator’s grace with such perks as Fortitude in Faith and Vow of Poverty.
It’s your choice.
Catch up on recent designer diaries:
[Blocked Image: https://www.ulisses-us.com/wp-…2/Myth-banner-300x129.jpg]My name is Eric Simon, and I am the line developer for the Myth board game under Ulisses Spiele. If you have been following Ulisses and are wondering what this is all about, Myth is a cooperative miniatures adventure game with a deep lore and richly varied gameplay. If you are a fan of Myth from its previous releases, then no doubt you are wondering what we’re going to do with it. That’s what I’d like to talk about today.
First, let me say that I’m not quite ready to get into the nitty-gritty of mechanics and materials updates quite yet. I won’t write about that here, and I also won’t answer questions about it. We’re still doing a lot of playtesting, and many of those details are likely to shift over the coming months. Instead, I would like to present my view of how I’m approaching our new version of Myth in more general terms. That will help frame our discussions of the specifics in later posts.
Freeform and Story
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One of the unique qualities of Myth has always been its open-ended play. In many ways, it is more of a storytelling tool than a strictly constrained boardgame experience. Even as more guided modules were released, that feeling remained. However, those modules have been quite popular with fans, because they offer new insights into the exciting world of Myth. Also, adventures offer a perfect way to get new players into the game.
With that in mind, our design focus moving forward is very much on how we tell great stories with this game. Coordinating a team to take down a bunch of Shamblers is great, but when you’re trying to fight through those Shamblers to get to the Avatar of Shadow, that fight takes on much greater significance. That’s the feeling we’re going for, and this provided my key point of guidance:
- Adventures drive everything. All our design work, all our writing, and all our product planning is centered around adventures. We want to explore this world in many ways, and the board game will always be at the center of that.
Old and New
When we examine what has already been released for Myth, it looks like a pretty complete game. Even if we just consider the base set and the two main expansions, there’s quite a bit of adventure there already. And that’s far from all that was released. The dedicated fans have gotten many hours of enjoyment out of the game as it is, and they are rightly proud of their collections.
At the same time, we do have to treat it like a new game. This is the first time that Ulisses will be releasing a Myth game, and we intend to bring in a lot of new fans. From a retail standpoint, this means that we need to have a new base set, and we then need to release supplements gradually so that stores don’t feel overwhelmed with product. This also means we’re likely to be reprinting miniatures that many of those dedicated fans already have.
There’s no perfect way to resolve this, but by taking direction from that first point, I have come up with an approach that should serve the needs of as many people as possible.
Dawn of Heroes
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Our new base set is called Myth: Dawn of Heroes. It is not a 3rd edition of Myth, it is a new game. Most of the gameplay will be completely familiar to long-time fans of Myth, even to the extent that many materials will be usable across both versions of the game. However, we are handling this not by updating the existing game but by employing backward compatibility.
This means that we will release new materials that you can purchase separately from the base set and main expansions, and they will work just fine with the 2.0 version of Myth. Specifically:
- Adventures will be available digitally, separate from the game boxes. There may be a couple of terminology clarifications that you will need to run them in 2.0, but that’s all. You will not need any additional materials.
- Monsters remain very similar. You’ll be able to pick up just those new miniatures and cards and incorporate them in your 2.0 games very easily.
- Items also remain quite similar, which allows us to release promotional materials (like the heirloom items) that work across both versions.
Because of this cross-compatibility, it will also be relatively easy to incorporate your existing monsters and adventures into the new rules when you are ready to switch over.
The alert reader will notice that the big things missing in this backward compatibility list are the Hero and Darkness cards. While we are keeping the feel and game effects of those cards very close to what they have been, the reworking that we have done to clarify and balance the game makes the Hero and Darkness decks different enough from previous versions that Dawn of Heroes can be considered its own game. It would be difficult to mix those decks in with older materials.
Dawn of Heroes is the future of Myth, but there will always be a place for those who enjoy Classic Myth. Most of all, I’m excited about all the new stories we will tell together.
Myth Line Developer, Ulisses International
A host of new PDF’s and images are now available on DriveThruRPG! If you backed the crowdfunding campaigns for digital versions you should have them already, check your email. If you do not please email us at
Torg Eternity Aysle
The Dark Eye
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The Known Worlds is rife with factions. Some have risen and others have crumbled over the centuries since the Fall, but many have proved quite durable.
Society cannot share a common communication system so long as it is split into warring factions.
— Bertolt Brecht, “A Short Organum for the Theatre”
These factions, the major Royal Houses, Church sects, and Merchant League guilds, pretty much rule the Known Worlds. Of course, the Emperor is the nominal ruler, but he cannot dramatically change the status quo without riling the existing estates. Emperor Alexius has spent years slowly cementing his power, knowing that upon his death, his family’s hold could crumble if he doesn’t appease those who will choose his successor. When Alexius must anger one, he must first placate two others to back him.
The core books of the new edition of Fading Suns continue the legacy of the 15 major factions. Let’s summarize them briefly, for newcomers:
Major Royal Houses
[Blocked Image: https://www.ulisses-us.com/wp-…/02/character_knights.jpg]There are many noble houses, but only five Royal Houses, so-called because their Princes (the heads of their houses) hold vote scepters. These rods allow them a say in determining who shall be emperor upon the death of the current emperor. The houses (and the stereotypical lenses through which others view them) are: House a-Malik (the exotic house), House Decados (the scheming house), House Hawkwood (the regal house), the Hazat (the militant house), and House Li Halan (the pious house).
Major Church Sects
The Universal Church of the Celestial Sun is riven with sectarianism. The Orthodoxy maintains the most power, but it has reluctantly recognized other orders and sects as having a vital place within Church hierarchy. They are: Brother Battle (warrior monks), the Eskatonic Order (esoterics), Sanctuary Aeon (compassionates), Temple Avesti (zealots), and the Urth Orthodoxy (ecclesiasticals).
Major Merchant Guilds
The Merchant League includes a plethora of guilds, but five among them hold the greatest power: the Charioteers (travelers), the Engineers (techies), the Muster (soldiers/skilled labor), the Reeves (the law/banking), and the Scravers (thieves).
Freepersons don’t hold any institutional power. Those who don’t join the priesthood or a guild must find a society that will have them and succor them in times of need. Some of the more well-known societies of yeomen include: the Dispossessed (mercenaries), the Frontier for Alien Rights (pro-alien activists), the Society of St. Paulus (explorers), the Vagabonds (space hobos), and the Vuldrok (barbarians), those individuals who roam the Known Worlds far from their own star-nations.
Those are the major factions. There are many minor factions, from noble houses who are barely hanging on to their titles and lands, Church sects who are disfavored by the Orthodoxy (as well as pagans who don’t fit into the Church hierarchy at all), and minor guilds, from Brewers to Slayers.
The three core books (Universe Book, Characters Book, and Gamemasters Book) present the major factions, just as in previous editions. A special Factions Book provides the minor factions (as well as many alien species and the Changed mutants).
[Blocked Image: https://www.ulisses-us.com/wp-…r2-web-e1582738481938.png]Faction is a vital part of a character’s identity. When you play a noble, you’re not just a generic aristocrat. You come from a bloodline that has a history and a culture of its own. Whether you’re a Hawkwood or a Juandaastas, you are raised to hold specific family values and exhibit behaviors that win honor and recognition among your relations. The same is true of Church sects and guilds, although without the family factor (usually).
From a rules perspective, your faction gives your character a blessing and a curse: a character quirk that can help or harm them in certain situations. It also gives you a material award, an item or tech device that every member of the faction gains upon graduating their apprenticeship.
Each faction also has a favored calling, a profession that gains the most attention from its leaders. Certainly, members pursue many professions, but those that follow their faction’s favored calling have a faster track to riches and rank. The Reeves, for instance, lavish the most attention on their lawyers. A Reeve bounty hunter (debt collector) can still gain promotion and wealth, but they don’t tend to be the rising stars that lawyers are. The Decados love their sybarites; they also honor courtiers and commanders, but those who hold the most outrageous social events get the lion’s share of glory.
In rules terms, those who follow their faction’s favored calling get to choose class perks for their calling perks. (We’ll talk more about these in future diaries.)
Read the most recent designer diaries:
[Blocked Image: https://www.ulisses-us.com/wp-…B-Cover-Redux-300x114.jpg]Let’s answer some questions frequently asked by those who are new to Fading Suns: Who do you play? What do they do? Where is it set?
Who in the Known Worlds
[Blocked Image: https://www.ulisses-us.com/wp-…0/02/character5_freya.png]Nobles, priests, merchants, and freelancers: these are the social and professional roles people enact in our “Dark Ages in space” Known Worlds society. Those who rule, those who pray, those who trade, and those who try to fill the niches in between.
Nobles are lords who rule fiefs; duelists who win honor and fame through swordfights; courtiers who politick at high courts and elegant balls; sybarites who throw legendary parties; Questing Knights who serve the emperor on the frontiers; and enthusiasts who obsess over art, butterfly collecting, or the latest fashion trends.
Priests might be traveling mendicants who spread the word of the Pancreator; mystic monks who seek the truth behind the veil of materiality; templars who defend the faithful with sword and blaster; healers who martyr themselves for others; and inquisitors who search out heretics and dark sorcery.
Merchants are traders in exotic marketplaces; pilots to the far stars; mercenaries putting down revolts; lawyers defending the innocent and guilty alike; reclaimers digging through ancient ruins; and techno-wizards wielding the strange technologies of the long-lost Second Republic.
As for the freelancers, they eke out a living on the margins, as guns-for-hire, alien rights activists, space hobos, or barbarians from distant star systems.
None of these people go it alone. They form into troupes, in echo of the Prophet and his band of Disciples who traveled the Known Worlds in the Age of Miracles. The most common troupe is the noble entourage: an itinerant noble and their advisors, bodyguards, and hangers-on. While Fading Suns books are written with this default in mind, there are other troupe types, from the wandering priest or saint and their faithful followers to the traveling merchant caravan earning coin with their skills.
What in the Known Worlds
Troupes can get into all sorts of trouble. They can:
- Adventure: From kidnappings to murder mysteries to defending villages from marauders, there are many people who need the help of skilled heroes. What noble can resist such a call? What priest can turn away from pleas for help? What merchant can fail to make coin from other’s needs?
- Explore: The Known Worlds and the neighboring barbarian worlds host all manner of strange creatures and phenomena, just waiting to be encountered and sung about in epics. They who find it get to name it.
- Conspire: The true coin of the realm is power, and everybody is always jockeying to ascend to it and conspiring to throw down their rivals. Nobles are born to such intrigue, but priests must also play the great game to maintain the Church’s hold over hearts and minds. Merchants exploit any loophole they can find.
- Crusade: A new border has opened up and the barbarian worlds await the civilizing force of the Known Worlds. They must be shown the example of noble rule, Church scripture, and the new markets their resources can open.
- Defend: The powerful ever exploit the weak. Someone must stand in their way. Whether they be serfs suffering under a tyrant’s heel, barbarians wronged by colonizers, aliens robbed of their heritage, people cry out for heroes. Will the troupe answer that call?
Where in the Known Worlds
[Blocked Image: https://www.ulisses-us.com/wp-…02/scenery_image_ship.jpg]Fading Suns is centered in the Known Worlds, a collection of star systems linked by jumpgate routes, reaching back to Holy Terra, the cradle of humanity. The jumpgates were built by a long-dead, mysterious alien species, and their routes create the interstellar geography that defines the power blocs of the empire.
The Known Worlds are surrounded by other civilizations. The Vuldrok Star-Nations present the most active border at the moment, since the emperor married a Vuldrok and claimed her homeworld as dowry. Nearby the ever-present threat of the symbiot worlds looms in many people’s nightmares: these shapeshifting aliens can transform other sentient beings into their own kind. On the far side of the empire is the Vau Hegemony. This enigmatic, high-tech species has closed its borders to humanity, and waits and watches.
The Known Worlds is currently at peace, thanks to the rise of Emperor Alexius and his claiming of the throne, ending the decades-long Emperor Wars. The changes that have occurred since then were discussed in a previous update, The Times They are a Changin’. The newest troupes have opportunities open to them that were unknown to their war-ravaged forebears. It’s up to them to make the best of the new hope.
Read the most recent designer diaries:
[Blocked Image: https://www.ulisses-us.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/300-KS-World-of-Myth-Funded-FB-1.jpg]The World of Myth lorebook is now on Kickstarter and we’re over 300% funded on day 1! The fans are smashing through stretch goals!
The World of Myth is based on the highly sought-after Myth Limited Edition book. It shares the same high-quality leather binding and gilded pages, as well as much of the exceptional art and lore from the original. However, it also includes dozens of pages of brand-new content!
[Blocked Image: https://www.ulisses-us.com/wp-…B-Cover-Redux-300x114.jpg]It’s been a while since we talked about the core game system. We’ve streamlined it since that time, so let’s review it again.
Those familiar with previous editions of Fading Suns will recognize the core mechanic:
Skill + Characteristic = Goal Number
When you do something that requires a roll, you figure out what skill is needed and what characteristic bolsters it; add your ranks together and then roll that number or less on a d20. If you roll higher, you miss. If you roll exactly that number, you get a critical hit!
[Blocked Image: https://www.ulisses-us.com/wp-…020/02/victory_points.png]The die-roll result, assuming you succeeded and didn’t roll over the goal number, awards you victory points equal to the number on the die. If your goal number is 12 and you roll an 8, you succeeded and gain 8 victory points (VP).
You spend VP for all sorts of things: overcoming the defenses of a foe or compensating for environmental conditions (squeaky stairs when sneaking); increasing the damage your weapon delivers; improving your next shot; and avoiding attacks.
You don’t have to spend all the VP you get on a roll. You could bank some of them, by putting them into your VP Bank. This gives you VP resources to use even when you’ve failed a roll and don’t get VP for that turn.
This is a major difference from previous editions. VP aren’t just extra damage dice; they’re points you choose how to spend — or save for later.
As in previous editions, characters have skills and characteristics, rated from 0 to 10.
New to this edition are capabilities: areas of study and practice that modify your skill use. If an action requires a capability and you don’t have it, you can still make a roll, but it’s at a deficit.
Examples of capabilities are the various knowledge lores (History, Occult, House al-Malik), which were represented by separate skills in previous editions. They’re now streamlined into capabilities, so you don’t need to learn a gazillion different skill ranks just to know what sort of cuisine they prefer on Cadavus.
There are also equipment capabilities, because while you might have a great Melee skill, swinging a wireblade is not the same thing as wielding a rapier.
Also new are perks, the special abilities and privileges available to the classes and callings. Many of these are recognizable as what were previously called Benefices, although they’re amped up in the new edition. Rank, for instance, not only gives you a title and the social standing associated with it, it also provides the basis for your mental defense against influence attacks (see below). It’s harder to daunt a duke than a knight.
Some perks allow you to do special things with victory points, such as creating coffers (a sub-bank) or giving your VP to your troupe mates (the priests’ Inspire perk).
You can also choose a character flaw, just like the Afflictions from before, although this time around we advise only one per character, to make the flaw a roleplaying and story
focus rather than a means for raising your Shoot skill. In return for taking an Affliction, you can choose an extra perk.
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Fading Suns’ rules have traditionally highlighted the combat and adventuring side of affairs, leaving the courtly intrigue up to pure roleplaying. The new edition introduces a system so that characters can affect their rivals with words as well as swords and blasters. We call it influence.
If you’re trying to convince someone to buy your wares, use Charm skill. If you’re trying to make someone tremble before your advance, use Impress. Or maybe you want to make someone believe your lies with your Knavery skill.
The gist of it all is: instead of inflicting damage, you inflict a mental or social state. The descriptions of the various states (such as Convinced, Daunted, or Deceived) list some possible rules effects but they also act as roleplaying prompts, giving you guidelines on how the state affects behavior.
Influence can rout enemies or make friends of enemies. It is the refined weapon of the courtier, the clergy, and the trader, effective in ways no crude blaster could ever be.
One week until the World of Myth Kickstarter!
Launching at 10am EST, February 18th
Click the green button on the Kickstarter page to “Notify me on Launch”.
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[Blocked Image: https://www.ulisses-us.com/wp-…B-Cover-Redux-300x114.jpg]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!
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To get notified of its launch signup for our mailing list below:
We are in the last week for you to contact us at email@example.com and get your name on the list for the printed materials fulfillment we’ll be starting soon. I know many of you have questions, but don’t worry! As long as you contact us at least once by February 9th, you’ll be on the list. You don’t have to have everything finalized by then.
We’ll have more details on how the fulfillment looks by the middle of next week.
We know some of you have had questions outside of the scope of this wave, particularly about the “Over the Top” add-on. It’s true that the main things we are printing right now are the new miniatures. However, as we move into the next phase of Myth, many of the old miniatures are being reprinted, which gives us an opportunity to fill the rest of those orders. That is likely to be on a different timeline than the other pieces, and so we are looking into as many options as possible. We will work with the backers to develop the best solutions we can with the resources at our disposal.
Dawn of Heroes
Depending on where you get your news, you may have spotted some teaser information about a playtest that we ran at our corporate meeting in Las Vegas last week. We played a short game of Myth: Dawn of Heroes, the new base set we’re developing.
We’re just getting into playtesting, so we can’t tell you too much about it right now, but keep an eye out for more details in the coming weeks and months. What we can say is that you should plan on coming to Gen Con if you want to try out the new version yourself before it heads to Kickstarter. [Blocked Image: https://www.ulisses-us.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/20200127_122322-1024x576.jpg]
We’re very excited about the future of Myth, and much of that is because of you. Thank you all so much for your enthusiasm!
Eric Simon – Myth Line Developer, Ulisses International
Cyberpapacy Preview #10 – Nodder Slang
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Just a quick preview today. Every cyberpunk setting worth its salt comes with a bunch of slang, and here’s a sample of the slang encountered in the Cyberpapacy:
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If you have any questions, head on over to our forums!
Art: Sam Denmark
Cyberpapacy Preview #9 – The GodNet (Part 2)
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Today we’re going to take another look at what makes the GodNet tick.
Although the GodNet is a virtual reality network, for those who are jacked in, it essentially feels similar to the Flesh, or the “real world”. It’s just that the environment is more artificial. There is still an underlying topography in place: sectors connected by datapaths, with constructs (the “buildings” of the GodNet) containing nodes. However, these all appear in the GodNet as structures or objects (i.e. a node could be a door, an archway, or even a wayside shrine).
When jacked into the GodNet, a person’s soul is literally uploaded into the system, and so by default their appearance is based on who a person truly is. For most people this is essentially the same as how they appear in the Flesh, but for others (especially for transgender, non-binary, and genderfluid people) their appearance (and specifically their gender) is based on who they truly are.
Deckers with the NewSkin program can appear as a completely different (though not specific) person.
Those who log into the GodNet via sanctioned neural jacks or TempTrodes appear with clothing but no other equipment. “Nodders” (those who access the GodNet through hacked devices) appear with the equipment they associate themselves with. For game purposes this is generally what they have at the beginning of a mission (i.e. what is permanently on their character sheet). The GM makes the final ruling on what applies. Deckers however, can provide “more equipment” with particular programs.
The “Hacker Problem”
A common issue with virtual realities in roleplaying games is that it often ends up becoming a side mission with specialized rules for one player that can move focus to them for an inordinate amount of time, leaving the rest of the players with a lot of dead-time. Additionally, the hacker’s character can be amazing while jacked in, but outside the VR environment, they’re not very useful.
In Torg Eternity, this issue is magnified by the fact that the GodNet is a special feature of just one cosm, so it’s important that the decker be able to do their cool things in the GodNet but still be able to be useful in other realms.
There are a couple of ways we attempt to address this in Torg Eternity:
- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: Often “jacking into the GodNet” is handled just through a skill test (usually computers). If you’re needing your decker to hack a door, it’s not necessary to have a full GodNet mission to do so. Going into the GodNet in-game is reserved for those times it’s important to dive into the details.
- It’s Dangerous to Go Alone! Take…Friends.: While the GodNet is new compared to the cybernetic advancements of the Cyberpapacy, it’s old enough that the age of the solo decker is over. The security and surveillance of the really important locations and information is just too good. It’s not a question of whether a decker will be detected, but when. So even though the decker might be the best at what she does, she still needs help keeping the forces of the Church off her while she breaks into a Reliquary or other secure node.
Cyberdecks and Programs
The Cyberpapacy Sourcebook includes several cyberdecks and programs for them to run. The basic cyberdeck is the First Seal, which replaces the one listed in the Core Book. Anyone with a neural jack can use the First Seal, but it is not customizable, and does not have as many programs as other cyberdecks.
Deckers customize their own rigs (by selecting the Custom Cyberdeck Perk), and each cyberdeck is attuned to a particular decker. Other Hacker Perks include upgrading programs or increasing storage space. Here’s an example cyberdeck and program:
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If you have any questions, head on over to our forums!
Art: Bien Flores and Unique Spoarie
Cyberpapacy Crowdfunding Has Launched!
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The GodNet seems to have gotten overclocked, and so we’re live!
Cyberpapacy Crowdfunding Pledge Levels
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The Cyberpapacy crowdfunding launches Monday, November 11, at 11 am Eastern Standard Time.
Changes from Previous Campaigns
The currency is back to US dollars.
No GenCon Game Pledge Level
There will not be a GenCon game associated with this campaign.
No GM Level: You’ll notice that there is no GM level this time around. For those, just pick the Player level and add the print products you want as add-ons, or pledge the amount you plan to spend in the manager later on.
No Catchup Level: We will have previous Cargo Boxes available as add-ons so there will be no specific level for this.
Shipping in the Pledge Manager: In earlier crowdfunding campaigns we had shipping as part of the pledge, but this time we will be collecting it in the Pledge Manager at the end. The amounts are about the same, it’s just the process we’ll be doing is a bit different, and we wanted to give everyone a heads up about that.
So what pledge levels can you expect? The base tiers are as follows:
Priest (Digital) ($40): Similar to previous crowdfunding campaigns this pledge level will get you all of the following in digital format:
- Cyberpapacy Sourcebook (PDF only)
- Cyberpapacy GM Screen and Archetypes (PDF only)
- Unhallowed Data adventure (PDF only)
- All Unlocked Digital Stretch Goals (PDF or other digital formats)
- Inquisitor ($50): At this level you will get print and PDF copies of the Cyberpapacy Sourcebook, plus the rest of the items of the Digital level. It is also eligible for Add-ons.
- Inquisitor Deluxe ($75): At this level you will get print copy of the Cyberpapacy Deluxe Sourcebook, plus the rest of the items of the Digital level. It is also eligible for Add-ons.
- Inquisitor Limited ($125): At this level you will get print copy of the Cyberpapacy Limited Edition Sourcebook, plus the rest of the items of the Digital level. It is also eligible for Add-ons.
- Bishop (Cyberreliquary) ($200): The Cyberpapacy version of the “Cargo Box” will be filled of all sorts of goodies including print copies of the first three products listed under the Digital level, all unlocked digital stretch goals, the Cyberreliquary box, and the usual goodies including Threat Cards, Threat Blips, Cyberpapacy Possibilities, and the Unhallowed Ground soundtrack. Additionally, all unlocked Cyberreliquary stretch goals will be included.
- Bishop Deluxe (Cyberreliquary) ($225): The Cyberpapacy version of the “Cargo Box” will be fulled of all sorts of goodies including print copies of the first three products listed under the Digital level, all unlocked digital stretch goals, the Cyberreliquary box, and the usual goodies including Threat Cards, Threat Blips, Cyberpapacy Possibilities, and the Unhallowed Ground soundtrack. Additionally, all unlocked Cyberreliquary stretch goals will be included.
- Bishop Deluxe (Cyberreliquary) ($285): The Cyberpapacy version of the “Cargo Box” will be fulled of all sorts of goodies including print copies of the first three products listed under the Digital level, all unlocked digital stretch goals, the Cyberreliquary box, and the usual goodies including Threat Cards, Threat Blips, Cyberpapacy Possibilities, and the Unhallowed Ground soundtrack. Additionally, all unlocked Cyberreliquary stretch goals will be included.
Limited Pledge Levels
These tiers often go VERY FAST! So if you want one of these, make sure you’re there at the launch time of xxx.
- Cardinal (Limit 16 at ~$500): This tier gets you the Cybereliquary plus we’ll work with you to create an official Core Earth or Cyberpapacy Archetype! This includes custom Perks, spells, miracles, or cyberware, art for your character, and your character becomes the “iconic” version of that archetype. Archetypes from this level become a digital extra for all backers.
If you have any questions, head on over to our forums!
Art: Maurizio Giorgio
- Priest (Digital) ($40): Similar to previous crowdfunding campaigns this pledge level will get you all of the following in digital format:
Cyberpapacy Crowdfunding Launches November 11
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We are happy to announce that the Cyberpapacy crowdfunding campaign will launch on Monday, November 11 on Game On Tabletop!
Why Game On?
The reason we are using Game On Tabletop for crowdfunding the next wave of Torg Eternity supplements is that we need to use a different platform than Kickstarter for fulfillment and due to past issues with porting data from Kickstarter to Game On we figured that we’d save time and solve that issue by going straight to that platform instead.
More Details to Come Soon
We’ll be giving you some more details on exactly what time we will launch and what special tiers we’ll have (but you can pretty much count on them being similar to past campaigns).
If you have any questions, head on over to our forums!