Although the Fading Suns setting is often cast at the big players on the political stage -- the Royal Houses -- we wanted to make more of the Minor Houses and their place in Imperial politics. We don't have the space in the core book to fully detail each of the Minor Houses, but we have added a sixth House to the core options.
House Keddah, through a complex series of political events, has been elevated above the status of a Minor House, but it has a long way to go before it can claim to be a Royal House. Their place in the setting has become pivotal in Imperial politics and they are no longer tied to their former masters, House Decados, instead freed by the fall of House Masseri.
In FS1/2 Pandemonium was the default setting for the game. Little more than a hive of scum and villainy, it lacked the grandeur central to the Fading Suns setting. It was a backwater world filled with lies, plots and schemes. But we need a default setting that could be used to show off all aspects of the Fading Suns setting. Grail was the obvious choice, as in many ways it is the opposite of Pandemonium.
Many new players in the Fading Suns universe have trouble understanding the mindset of the background. It is a place of intolerance, inequality, and of rigid dogma. Grail is one of the few worlds within the setting with a world view more closely aligned with our own twenty-first century values. It is a place of relative tolerance and equality, where slavery is outlawed and the indigenous alien population is looked upon with respect by even low-born serfs. Grail makes an excellent starting point for new players who have yet to encounter the harsh realities of the Fading Suns universe.
Grail is a lush world, with an indigenous alien population, catapulted to the center of Imperial politics and attentions. The Royal Houses look to Grail with hungry eyes. Keddah diplomats tread the jumpweb, visiting every court, often bearing lavish gifts, and none more so than the one they presented to Emperor Alexius I. With the Lord of the Phoenix Throne looking on, any attempt to take Grail militarily would be foolish indeed, but politics, diplomacy, treachery and subterfuge might yield a result where force-of-arms cannot be brought to bear...