Having been in a sci fi mood recently, and by recently I mean about 35 years, we were engaging in the usual pre Star Trek game banter this last weekend when one of the players commented on the Fading Suns system that she was playing in. Whilst I never got the fax back in the mid nineties when it was released I have remained blissfully ignorant on this one ever since. To be fair a lot of people have a lot of systems - too many to play in one lifetime which is certainly no deterrent where game master collectors are concerned.
Either way, being a big fan of the big epics I brought myself up principally on Frank Herbert's Dune, The Foundation series together with all the books in its extended universe, the dystopias of Silverberg, the satirical take on life in Douglas Adams Hitchhikers works and the emerging cyberworlds of William Gibson. The list goes on and that's not even to mention the TV productions of Star Trek, Stargate, Starwars, Babylon5 and Farscape. I was less drawn to Moorcock's mashing of SciFi and fantasy as I do think they are somewhat oil and water - if you have magic then why use technology ? Which brings me to the Fading Suns approach..
If you take all of the above, throw in a topping of Warhammer and blend them together you get a sort of SciFi smoothie that is the D20 based system of Fading Suns. It seems like a post imperial imperium albeit somewhat fallen from the grace of greater days where medieval like houses remain to vie one another in a galaxy spanned with jump gates long abandoned by an ancient civilizations. Opportunity and adventure abound across the Known Worlds for a capable party, human or otherwise, and with the blessings of the Universal Church of the Celestial Sun, what could go wrong ?
It does all sounds like a roleplaying bucket challenge to me but perhaps a pleasant throwback from the more existential approaches of Eclipse Phase, Tales from the Loop and Numenera. More importantly and speaking of loops as I have not been kept in the aforementioned exactly how many roleplaying systems are there ?