Rules Primer for Fading Suns



Turn- Smallest unit of measurement. Equivalent to roughly 3 seconds. During this period players may perform one (1) action with no penalty or up to three (3) actions with a penalty.
Span- Next largest unit of time. Equivalent to the time it takes to complete one scene. e.g. a combat, a banquet, an interrogation, etc.
Act- An adventure.
Drama- A campaign.
Epic- We'll never see it.

Trait Ratings

All traits use the 1-10 scale.


A character may perform one (1) action per turn without penalty. A character may perform up to three (3) actions per turn with the following penalties:

2 actions= -4 to goal roll
3 actions= -6 to goal roll

The same action may not be performed multiple times within a turn. i.e. A character may not swing their sword three times in one turn. They could swing their sword, dodge the return blow, and kick their opponent.

Exception: Firearms may be fired a number of times equal to their firing rate. (See Guns on pp. 169-172 of the rule book.)


Compare skill ratings. The person with the highest skill rating goes first, followed by the person with the second highest, and so on.

If the skill ratings are tied or if there is no applicable skill, then compare the characters' Wits ratings. Highest goes first and so on.

If both the skill rating and the Wits rating are equal, then the actions happen simultaneously.

Goal Roll

Target number = skill rating + relevant characteristic rating (+/- modifiers for difficulty)

The target number is the goal and rolling against a target number is a goal roll.

In order to be successful, the number rolled must be equal to or less than the target number.

e.g. Character fires a pistol at a target. The character has a Shoot skill rating of 6 and a Dexterity of 7 which results in a target number of 13. If the number rolled on a 20-sided die is equal to or lower than 13, then the character is successful.

Automatic success/failure and critical success/failure

A roll of 1 always succeeds.
A roll of 19 always fails.
A roll that is equal to the target number is a critical success. (Double victory points/effect dice.)
A roll of 20 is a critical failure. (GM invents a nasty thing to happen.)

Successes- If a goal roll is successful, then the number rolled on the 20-sided die directly translates into the number of successes achieved. i.e. If you roll a 12, then you have 12 successes, if you roll an 8, then you have 8 successes, and so on.

Advanced Rules

Contested Actions

In a contested action (e.g. dodging an attack) the two characters make a goal roll and compare successes. The character with the lowest number of successes subtracts them from the character with the highest number of successes. The resulting number is the number of successes that the character achieved.

e.g. John swings a knife at Bob and Bob tries to avoid being hit. John rolls an 8 which is equal to 8 successes. (His target number was a 9.) Bob rolls a 6 which is equal to 6 successes. (He had a target number of 13.) Bob's 6 successes are subtracted from John's 8 successes and John actually has only 2 successes. That is enough to hit Bob, but not nearly as well as he would have done had Bob failed his Dodge roll.

Accenting a roll

A character may accent a roll in order to either increase the chances of succeeding or in order to increase the amount of successes achieved. A character may announce an accent to a die roll and declare a numerical modifier equal to or less than their skill rating prior to rolling the die. The modifier adds/subtracts from the roll and not from the actual target number.

e.g. John attempts to break into an office by picking the lock. His Dexterity is a 7 and his Lockpicking skill is a 5. (Because John's skill is a 5, he can accent the roll up to a +/- 5) His target number is a 12. John really wants to get in there so he decides to take some extra time working on the lock and is able to accent the roll by -3. John rolls the die and rolls a natural 14. However, the roll is accented by -3 so John actually rolls an 11. If John wouldn't have spent the extra time working on the lock, then he would have failed to break into the office.

Nota Bene One Natural die rolls which indicate automatic successes, failures, and critical failures are unaffected by accenting. i.e. If you roll a natural 1, 19, or 20 then the roll results in a an automatic success, failure, or critical failure regardless of the fact that it was accented.

Nota Bene Two Rolls which are equal to a 1, 19, or a 20 after an accent has been applied also result in an automatic success, failure, or critical failure as if the final number was a natural roll.

Nota Bene Three When determining a critical success, the accented number is used and not the natural roll. (However, if the roll isn't accented, then obviously the natural roll is used for determining a critical success.)

Complementary Actions

Complementary actions are skills that may help out other skills in certain situations. For example, if a character was playing poker, then they might use the Sleight of Hand skill to help them win a game of "chance". Using a complementary skill works as follows:

  1. Make a goal roll against the complementary skill.
  2. Determine the number of victory points.
  3. Add the victory points to the target number on the primary goal roll.
  4. Make a goal roll against the primary skill.

e.g. John is playing a hand of cards to determine whether or not he will be granted access to a starship which will take him off planet. He decides to influence chance by using his Sleight of Hand skill (Dex+Skill). With a Dex of 4 and a Sleight of Hand skill of 4 his goal roll target number is 8. He rolls a 6 and scores 2 victory points. John now rolls against his Gambling skill (Wits+Skill). He has a 6 Wits and a Gambling skill of 4 giving him a base target number of 10. He then adds the 2 victory points from the complimentary skill for a target number of 12. As long as he rolls a 12 or less he will succeed. (In order to see if he actually won the card game one would have to make a contested roll for his opponent.) As a general rule of thumb, complementary skills and primary skills cannot be used the same turn. Using the complementary skill requires time, usually an extra turn. If the character wants to use both the complementary and the primary skill the same turn, then the rolls will suffer a -4 penalty.

Sustained Actions

Sustained actions occur when someone is involved in an action that cannot be resolved with one roll. For example, a tug-of-war may consist of a series of rolls where the two parties go back and forth until eventually one wins. To determine the results of a sustained action, the character must achieve a predetermined amount of victory points. (The amount is determined by the GM.) Sustained actions may be assisted and resisted. For example, if the characters were trying to lift a sarcophagus cover, then the characters would add their victory points together to achieve the number needed. If resisted, then the numbers are subtracted from each other. For example, if a tug-of-war was going on, then the one side might roll 4 victory points and the other side rolled 2 victory points. The first side would now have 2 victory points and the second side would have -2 victory points.

Second Tries

A character may try an action a second time if they don't succeed on the first try. The second attempt is made with a -2 penalty modifier. A third attempt may be made at a -4 penalty attempt. If the character fails a third time, then the task is just beyond their capability. (This does not apply to missing in combat.)

Make your own free website on