Friday, 4 May 2012

Fading Suns 3, Technology

In Fading Suns Third Edition (FS3) we look very closely at technology. First up we re-calibrated the Tech Level descriptions a bit and expanded them to include non-adventuring gear and give a general sense of what life might be like living under TL2, rather than TL4 (for example). We also had to make some choices about available tech, manufacturing capability, and generally remind ourselves what the Fading Suns should feel like.

In general terms, the Phoenix Empire is a TL5 (Diaspora Era) level of tech, although it has the limited ability to produce a few higher tech items, like shields and energy weapons. The vast majority of the population are serfs, and for the most part they live under appallingly low tech conditions, often with no access to electricity and only basic sanitation. Although nobles and some freemen have greater access to technology, they seldom live at technology levels beyond what would be comparable to the early 20th century.

While much of the tech available on the equipment lists will be familiar to those with FS1/2 there are a few changes here and there. Some high-tech weapons have been differentiated from each other. For example, laser weapons are now called lance weapons and come with special shooting modes that allow a beam to be held on target to burn through or slice a victim in two, thus making them unique from blaster weapons.

Because of changes to the VP system, the overall damage capability of weapons has been reduced and armor calibrated to match. Shields are still effective, but can now be adjusted by an experienced technician to change the protective range of the energy field. This helps prevent dueling from becoming too predictable, as you will first have to test an opponent's defenses to discover how well-protected he actually is.