Saturday, October 23, 2010

Whatever Happened to Fading Suns 3E? (Updated)

Well, based on my understanding of the posts on one of the developer's blogs -- it's still being worked on!

The 1st post (dated 12 Aug 2009) tells us that the FS3 developer team is hard at work on FS3. There's a slight apology -- perhaps due to the perceived 'lateness' of a product that has never really had a hard release date -- in the form of a behind the scenes look at the development team: all rabid fans, none of whom were involved in the creation of the original game.

The 2nd post (dated 23 Aug 2009) tells us that
"FS3 will be an updated version of FS2, the rules building on what we are accustomed to, but with all the benefit of 20/20 hindsight and a fresh start on things. Our design goals are to make the rules faster, sleeker, more comprehensible and also more coherent. For instance, your actions in combat will be resolved with a single die roll, which should greatly speed things up."
Which is good news. Much of the post discusses whether or not there will be re-releases of the multitudes of source material for 1st and 2nd edition under 3rd edition. My understanding is that at the time of the post, the strategy is to have much of that old material (fluff-wise) still valid. FS3 will contain information on the Known Worlds as of 5010 -- advancing the timeline quite a bit -- AND have new rules and mechanics that will improve on the gameplay in the prior version.

The 3rd post (dated 24 Dec 2009) states that there was a push by the developers to finish the the game -- which is good! More details on the actual development work are here too. Of note are the hinted at expansions of the coverage on religion in the Universal Church:
"I wanted to give the Universal Church some worth beyond being a “wizard’s guild”, something I hope I have achieved by creating sacraments. I see that as what the Church is really about, and I have thereby downplaying the role (but not worth) of Theurgy in the Universal Faith. The primary function of the Church is to save souls through dispensing and performing sacraments, and I see Theurgy more as a special kind of tool at the Church’s disposal."
This gives me hope, because I was always a bit at a loss as to what kind of spin to put on the Universal Church when roleplaying priests. I always wondered what people thought of the regular priests -- the ones who didn't spend points on theurgy -- when they bless people, what are they doing? Just pretending? And wouldn't the priests who did have theurgical abilities take issue with these fakers?

The next post (January 8, 2010) mentions that the Psi chapter is being worked on, as is the starship chapter, and that there are interesting things like Theurgical Operations are mentioned.

The next post (Feb 15, 2010) talks about a major milestone: the 1st draft of Fading Suns 3rd edition has been completed. They also summarize the basic approaches to Fading Suns 3rd edition: the upgraded rules from prior editions, the additional rules from various supplements, the updated timeline including the gap of the years since last edition, and so on. Interesting bits: the plan for a Player's book and a Gamemaster's book, the Antinomy chapter, and other things.

The next post (April 11, 2010) mentions that the beta version of the 1st draft is now with Holistic Design people, and they're waiting for the feedback so that they can do their revisions!

Sadly, the next post (May 21, 2010) notes that development on FS3 is slow because they are "still waiting for Holistic to get back to us with their review, comments and suggestions/demands for the Player’s Guide". In the next post (July 30, 2010), they once again mention the research and writing being put into Antinomy, and as a fan of the way they work in esoteric bits of religious history into this far future game, I'm optimistic about the way Antinomy will be handled and defined in the future iteration of Fading Suns.

Having put the first draft of the Antinomy chapter to rest, the next post (September 21, 2010) reports some time being spent on space travel, starship crises, and putting a little more meat on this aspect of the game. As an aside, I did always feel a bit miffed that boarding actions, details on space battles, and the logistics of travel, transport of food, etc. Hopefully, we'll see a better effort in this version!

I'm happy to hear that one of my favorite RPGs is still alive, and a new version may see the light of day next year!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New Life in a Franchise?

My fascination with the Babylon 5 TV series and the subsequent RPGs has led me to rue the disappearance of the game from Mongoose's stable. That and the fact that there is no new material in TV or in print to sustain the interest.

But a recent article from may hold some faint hope. A report on a one-man panel by J. Michael Straczynski we hear:

"“I said to Warner Bros. a while back, 'When you’re ready to do something real with 'Babylon 5,' either a big-budget film or a TV show, if you want to do one of those two things, call me, otherwise don’t bother me.' About a month ago the phone rang. I don’t know where this is gonna go yet, but when they call you, there’s something going on. I can’t tell you what it is yet and it may not go anywhere, but there is movement in the tall grass.” When asked later, Straczynski said no new “Babylon 5” comics were in the works."