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Sample file - DriveThruRPG.comThe Shards Collection Volume One contains four dramas written for the...

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CREDITS Writing: Thomas Baroli, Angus McNicholl Line Developer: James Sutton Product Director: Carsten Damm Art Director: Carsten Damm Editors: Carsten Damm, Andrew Greenberg, Ross Shingledecker, James Sutton, Alex Wichert, Chris Wiese, Hank Woon Cover Art: Simon Powell Interior Art: John Bridges, Tim Callender, Carsten Damm, Sam Inabinet, Mark Jackson, Andrew Kudelka, Brian LeBlanc, Larry MacDougall, John Poreda, Simon Powell, Kathy Schad, Alex Sheikman, Jason Waltrip Layout: Carsten Damm, Kathy Schad, James Sutton Fading Suns is a trademark and copyright of Holistic Design Inc. Published under license by RedBrick LLC — United States of America. All Rights Reserved. Mention of or reference to any companies or products in these pages is not a challenge to the trademarks or copyrights concerned. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publishers. Internet: http://www.fading-suns.com Contact: [email protected] Edition Date : August 2011 Sample file
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  • CreditsWriting: Thomas Baroli, Angus McNichollLine Developer: James SuttonProduct Director: Carsten DammArt Director: Carsten DammEditors: Carsten Damm, Andrew Greenberg, Ross Shingledecker, James Sutton, Alex Wichert, Chris Wiese, Hank WoonCover Art: Simon PowellInterior Art: John Bridges, Tim Callender, Carsten Damm, Sam Inabinet, Mark Jackson, Andrew Kudelka, Brian LeBlanc, Larry MacDougall, John Poreda, Simon Powell, Kathy Schad, Alex Sheikman, Jason WaltripLayout: Carsten Damm, Kathy Schad, James Sutton

    Fading Suns is a trademark and copyright of Holistic Design Inc. Published under license by RedBrick LLC — United States of America. All Rights Reserved. Mention of or reference to any companies or products in these pages is not a challenge to the trademarks or copyrights concerned. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publishers.

    Internet: http://www.fading-suns.comContact: [email protected] Date: August 2011

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  • 3

    Contents

    IntroDuCtIon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4How to Use this Book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4Gamemastering Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

    A roAD So DArk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6Act 1: Meeting the Baron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8Act 2: Picking Up the Trail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11Act 3: The Long Way Round . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12Act 4: Searching Leagueheim . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15Act 5: Into the Wastepit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19Act 6: On the Road so Dark . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21Aftermath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23Appendix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

    krAkEn’S Loom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29Act 1: A Call for Help . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30Act 2: Those Who Bore Witness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34Act 3: Strange Paths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37Act 4: In Search of the Signet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43Act 5: Smash and Grab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46Aftermath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49Appendix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

    ruInouS FoLLy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55Act 1: The Auction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56Act 2: Pandora’s Box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63Act 3: Storm Front . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65Act 4: Tebulus Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67Aftermath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74Appendix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75

    DEAD EnD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80Act 1: Arrival at Escoral . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81Act 2: Investigations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86Act 3: At the Mansion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88Act 4: Pilgrimage to St Charissa’s Shrine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90Act 5: Confrontation with Damaron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92Act 6: We Need a Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94Act 7: Finishing the Job . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95Aftermath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96Appendix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96

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    introduCtion

    To quest in the name of one’s lord is the greatest of all honors. To be granted the responsibility of walking the star lanes in the company of one’s fellows, for the greater glorif ication of the Phoenix, is an aspiration to which all should strive. Our benevolent lord has seen f it to grant this privilege to everyone, be they noble, guilder, or priest. To serve as part of a cohort is an honor that surpasses such transitory concerns as lands or title.

    — Sir Alfredo Castenda de Sutek, Knight of the Phoenix, 5007

    Honestly, it was the most miserable time I’ve ever had. Eating bread one-handed while running away from any peckish lord who took a dislike to us, constantly broke, chased by Greyfaces wherever we went

    — and the Inquisition certainly didn’t like my new arm… — Evinta Daran, freewoman, recently returned to her homeworld of Rampart, 5007

    Hope is a rare commodity for those living under the dimming stars. In the Fading Suns setting, humanity has forfeited the miracles of a bygone era and fallen into a new Dark Age. Most people have lost their liberty and are little more than serfs to feudal masters and watchful priests, toiling the ground in ignorance. Few raise their eyes to the sky, wondering what is out there amongst the stars and whether life has always been so limited or harsh. Fewer still break the shackles of superstition and their masters’ selfish desires, to set out and explore the remnants of the once-vast star empire their forebears built — the Known Worlds.

    At every turn in their quest for knowledge, enemies and dangers await: there are those who wish to preserve the status quo; the mighty, the greedy, and the power-hungry; there are mysterious alien cultures and heirlooms of a higher civilization, whose artifacts have amazing powers or may tempt and tarnish the soul; and there is the darkness itself, waiting, longing to return to the universe of humankind.

    Inevitably, daring to hope and to quest is to challenge custom and law… and human limitations. But only among the fading stars will destiny reveal itself.

    How to use tHis BookThe Shards Collection Volume One contains four dramas written for the Fading Suns universe, previously released as individual electronic books, and updated for this publication.

    Each of the dramas in this compilation — A road So Dark, ruinous Folly, kraken’s Loom, and Dead End — stands alone from the others and can be used in any order the gamemaster wishes. However, A road So Dark and ruinous Folly can be played together as a mini-campaign, as both dramas extend from the hand of Baron Halman Keddah of Grail, a collector of rare and exotic items, who would make a good patron for any group of player characters.

    The contents of the Shards Collection Volume One are for the gamemaster’s eyes only.

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  • 5

    IntroductIon

    GamemasterinG notesThis book contains everything needed to start a Fading Suns epic, but is also flexible enough to be incorporated into an ongoing epic. Of course, gamemasters should feel free to change, amend, and take inspiration from the adventures pre-sented in this book as they see fit. The gamemaster is encour-aged to adjust individual encounters to suit his or her gaming group and their relative strength.

    A copy of the Fading SunS Second Edition rulebook is required to use this book. Each drama is suitable for three to five player characters. Sample characters are included in the Appendix of each drama and can be used either to start play-ing right away or as ready-made gamemaster characters for encounters and other adventures.

    A roAd So dArkThe characters travel from Grail to Leagueheim to investi-

    gate a discrepancy in a starship’s navigational logs. They must make contacts and avoid the watchful agents of the Charioteers Guild, facing and prevailing against some of Leagueheim’s deadly threats. Even as the characters close in on the location of a lost jumpkey, a deadly game is being played out. Only by discovering the existence of a previously unknown night road can they escape with the jumpkey before the guild takes it from them.

    krAken’S loomThere are things in the deep void that are better left

    unknown. When a rare family heirloom is discovered it raises hope that a long-lost nobleman might yet have survived, stranded far away on a barbarian world. Called upon by one of the lost noble’s relatives the characters become embroiled in a family feud. Only by accepting the challenge and entering barbarian space can they hope to prevail. Facing the strange House of Ramakrishna and the barbarians of the Vuldrok Star Nation, can the characters rescue the nobleman from a fate worse than death?

    ruinouS FollyAt the behest of a patron, the characters attend a less-than-

    legal auction, to recover an ancient think machine. They must make choices and build alliances, for the machine is the key to deciphering the map to a fabulous treasure. To whom will the characters turn? Who can they trust with their secret?

    The Second Republic created many scientific monstrosities in the name of progress. The characters are about to stumble across one of them. Deep within the crushing atmosphere of a gas giant they come face to face with a manifest divinity!

    deAd endWhile attending a religious ceremony on Kish, the characters

    are drawn into an obscure plot of murder and intrigue. After an assassination attempt on Baron Sun Cho Li Halan’s young wife, they follow the trail of the unknown assailant. Delving deeper into a hidden world of political struggles and blackmail, the characters discover a secret far greater, and more disturbing, than the identity of a mere criminal.

    Facing a grave dilemma, they must choose between three deadlocked factions — whatever choice they make, the charac-ters will surely destroy lives and make enemies, but also acquire valuable allies. They had better choose wisely.

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    a road so dark

    A road So Dark is a drama for a group of three to five player characters. It can be used as part of an existing Fading Suns campaign or as the start of a new epic.

    As written, the drama assumes that the player characters are part of a noble’s entourage in the service of House Keddah. If the group is not associated with House Keddah, the gamemaster should feel free to make any necessary adjustments to center the story around whichever noble house the characters owe fealty to. A selection of pregener-ated characters suitable for use with this adventure are detailed in the Appendix.

    runninG tHe adventureA road So Dark is laid out in acts, within which encounters can occur in almost any order. Of course, if the char-acters go off on a tangent, it might require some improvisation on the gamemaster’s part to get them back on track.

    There is only one choke point in the structure: the trip to Leagueheim. Everything before and after this part of the adventure can be freely mixed around to suit how the gamemaster wants to tell the story. This requires the gamemaster to have a good grip on the whole plot and the gamemaster character’s motivations. Having a few colorful gamemaster characters ready to help steer the players can be handy.

    A road So Dark largely centers on information gathering and investigative work. The gamemaster should encour-age the players to roleplay their way through the drama, rather than resorting to simple Inquiry rolls. Following the main text are suggestions on how to modify the drama to make it fit into an existing campaign and how to use A road So Dark to start a Fading Suns epic.

    adventure BaCkGroundWithout the jumpweb, human civilization would never have left Holy Terra. Mankind would have been locked in the confines of their sub-light sleeper ships, and the technological and social heights of the Second Republic would never have become a reality. In short, an interstellar civilization would have been unthinkable.

    Even though every inhabited system in the Known Worlds has a jumpgate, little is actually known about these gargantuan feats of ancient engineering. Indeed, very little is understood about the science employed by the Anun-naki. A jumpgate endures almost any kind of punishment and even seems to repair itself over time.

    Many rumors exist about the jumpweb. Some sound credible, but most lack substantial proof of their truth. The Charioteers Guild has the most interaction with the arcane jumpgates, but if they know more than anyone else, they keep silent about it. The jumpweb, as currently mapped by the Guilds, is not as extensive as was known during the Second Republic. There are many lost roads (called night roads) and some people believe that the jumpweb reaches only a fraction of its potential. Some even believe that the right codes can connect any jumpgate to any other jumpgate.

    Spacers often brag about artifacts recovered that seem to control the jumpgates. Some artifacts are capable of sealing a jumpgate for years or millennia, others can open new routes to previously unknown worlds, or worlds lost during the Fall. Rumors claim that jumpgates can be used to move people through time, or into other dimensions, or even into the dark places humanity was never meant to explore.

    Jumpkeys became popular during the time of the Second Republic as an easy and convenient way of storing jump coordinate information. Prior to that time, jump coordinates needed to be calculated using a think machine and navigational array, a complex task that could take a day or more to complete. In desperate circumstances this can still be done today, but the Charioteers Guild frowns on the practice of ‘unkeyed’ jumps.

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  • 7

    A RoAd So dARk

    A typical jumpkey resembles a narrow cylinder about 10 centimeters in length. Styles vary and some are longer, some are very plain, while others are ornately crafted. Charioteers usually carry their keys openly on a sturdy belt ring to display their status and standing within the Guild. Many carry fake keys, keeping the real ones safe aboard their starships.

    Jumpkeys activate jumpgates with a coordinate sequence. Each set of coordinates is unique to the jumpgate and the jumproad. Much of the technology contained in the key actu-ally prevents it from being counterfeited or duplicated. All jumpkeys are considered the property of the Charioteers Guild and unauthorized possession of a key is a serious offence that the Guild does not look kindly upon.

    Only the Charioteers understand how to make these valu-able artifacts. There are thousands of jumpkeys in use across the Known Worlds and beyond, in the wilds of barbarian space. Most keys open a single jump route between two systems, allowing a starship to travel from one to the other and back again. A few rare keys hold multiple codes that open routes across two, three, or even four systems. But even more valu-able are jumpkeys that open a night road to a lost world or to a previously unknown system. These keys cannot be paid for with firebirds, for they provide access to untapped resources and countless opportunities for expansion.

    The player characters gain hints about a previously unknown night road between Leagueheim and Grail, and must follow the trail of evidence until they have the invaluable artifact in their possession. (A discussion on jumpkeys and jumpgates can be found in the Fading SunS rulebook.)

    The Charioteers Guild guards the secrets of the jumpkeys and the jumpgates as this lore is the corner stone of its monop-oly. However, from time to time someone rises to challenge the Guild’s monopoly. House Keddah faired poorly when they discovered a machine for manufacturing jumpkeys in 4591 and refused to turn it over to the Guild. Charioteer agents destroyed the device and the House’s fortunes took a tumble that stripped it of its royal status.

    Since the end of the Emperor Wars and the rise of the Phoe-nix Throne, Questing Knights have ranged far and wide and many previously lost keys have come to light. Though many of the old records from the time prior to the Fall were destroyed in the data purges that brought the Second Republic to its knees, many of the now lost worlds are remembered in myth and folklore. Curiously, there are no myths that recall the pres-ence of a jumproad between Leagueheim (once called Liberty) and Grail, yet the characters are setting out to find just that.

    The Emperor Wars were a time of chaos. While even the most ignorant have some concept of recent history, it is the little deeds that made up the war that have mostly gone unno-ticed. On all sides, covert agents plied their trades. Secret meet-ings between factions paved the way for the grand alliance that finally placed Alexius I on the Imperial throne, but most were later forgotten.

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    CREDITSCONTENTSINTRODUCTIONA ROAD SO DARKAct 1: Meeting the BaronAct 2: Picking Up The TrailAct 3: Aboard the Silent FlightAct 4: Searching LeagueheimAct 5: Into the WastepitAct 6: On the Road So DarkAftermathAppendixKRAKEN'S LOOMAct 1: A Call For HelpAct 2: Those Who Bore WitnessAct 3: Strange PathsAct 4: In Search of the SignetAct 5: Smash and GrabAftermathAppendixRUINOUS FOLLYAct 1: The AuctionAct 2: Pandora's BoxAct 3: Storm FrontAct 4: Tebulous StationAftermathAppendixDEAD ENDAct 1: Arrival at EscoralAct 2: InvestigationsAct 3: At the MansionAct 4: Pilgrimage to St Charissa's ShrineAct 5: Confrontation With DamaronAct 6: We Need a PlanAct 7: Finishing the JobAftermathAppendix


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