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Fading Suns Setting Introduction

(See also: An explanation of the >X,Y< notation for restriction and obscurity.)


The dominant race populating the 130+ worlds of known space at the close of the fifth millennium (AD 4995), organized into a system of four estates, including Commoners, Nobility, Clergy, and the Merchant League. The powerless (“commoners”) are the most numerous, the others constitute privileged elites.

Five Major and numerous Minor houses under the Emperor hold hereditary titles to “fiefdoms,” maintained by military power, wealth, diplomacy, force of law, and established priviledge/entrenchment. In the case of Major Houses, these fiefdoms will effectively extend across several planets.

Clergy >1,0< Those who commit their lives to the works of the Universal Church of the Celestial Sun, whether as preachers, functionaries, inquisitors, healers, scholars, warrior-monks, or mystics. Sect matters.

Merchant League
Five Major and numerous minor guilds which manage monopolies on various sectors of commerce and technology. Often accept non-humans.

… and Aliens>1,1<
Generally outsiders, nonhuman sentients in the setting are numerous, running the gamut from primitive (Voroxians) to ultra-advanced (Vau), to the chillingly familiar (Obun and Ukari). Some but not all are available as players’ characters, each with a unique perspective on this human-overrun universe. Many are deployed as cannonfodder. The Merchant League also accepts most for training.

See also: List of Notable Persons

Key Technologies

A few technologies are essential to understanding the Fading Suns setting, including the Jumpgtes, Personal Shields, and Terraforming technology.

Enormous artifacts found on the edge of countless habitable star systems, that constitute a shortcut across the vast distances between stars, making interstellar travel feasible in terms of time and cost. Poorly understood, require “codes” to unlock for particular destination, not all of which are known.

See also Partial List of Worlds.

Personal Shield
A Second Republic technology that deflects objects of high relative velocity, making it an effective counter to most missile weapons and firearms. Very expensive and poorly understood technology, available mainly to Nobles and ranking Guild members. This technology, along with various codes against commoners carrying weapons, and the relative expense of ammunition, makes melee combat of vital strategic importance in all sorts of small conflicts and smaller tactical operations in large conflicts, especially when Nobles and wealthy Guildsmen are involved. This makes training in “archaic” weapons a vital talent.

The science of terraforming was used extensively during the 2nd Republic to alter the atmospheres and climates of human-colonized worlds. Terraforming engines across known space grind away to this day.

History And Prehistory

Star-faring is not a new thing. Humans were doing it before the last time humanity lived in raw barbarity. And the Anunnaki were doing it before humans were standing upright.

Anunnaki >3,3<
Mysterious precursor civilization (race?) who left behind Jumpgates, ruins, the Gargolyes (statuary) and other incomprehensibly powerful artifacts.

Second Republic
The second republican (monarchy-free) era of humanity’s occupation of the known worlds, noted for advanced technology and subdued Church influence.

Timeline of Fading Suns setting.

Other Weirdness

Barbarians >2,2<
Humans out of contact with the Known Worlds since the collapse of the Second Republic (and in some cases, going all the way back to the original diaspora). Two major “barbarian” civilizations threaten the Known Worlds to this day: The Worlds of the Kurgan Caliphate, who follow a variation of Zebulon’s teachings adn are obedient to the prophetic will of the theocratic Caliph himself. And, the Vuldrok star-nation, a league of worlds founded by libertarians, communalists, cultural isolates, and ancient culture recreationists, with clans based on ancient Urth cultures including Nordic, Native American, and North African cultures.

The Occult >1,2<
Supernatural forces lurk in the many long shadows of the Fading Suns setting. The Theurgical Rites of the Universal Church of the Celestial Sun, the strange powers of the Priests of the World-Goddess Gjarti, Etyri diviners, Obun holy men, Barbarian shamans (collectively ‘theurgy’) and the psychic powers native to the Ukari, certain Obun and Ascorbites, studied by secret societies like the Invisible Path and Phavians, and weaponized psychic operatives like the Dervishes and Zodiacs, are collectively known as the “occult,” or sometimes just “witchery!” or “BURN THE CURSED UNNATURAL THING!”

Transhumans >1,2<
Perhaps just as weird as, and often indistinguishable from, occultists, are those who have been modified by superscience, either from birth in the case of mutants, or by grafting machine to livin being— cyborgs.

A nightmarish plague, an usurpation of fallen nature, or perhaps techology or the occult gone awry— twisted living forms acting in blood-chilling concert, and infecting everything they come into contact with. YIKES!

Philosopher’s Stones
Strange artifacts with incomprehensible powers.

Traversing a Jumpgate introduced the first human pilots to a transcendent, blissful state known as “sathra.” After forming Sathraist cults that were instrumental in the collapse of the First Republic, Sathraism has been nigh-universally reviled by civilization. (Methods— ‘sathra dampers’ were found for nullifying this experience.)

Martial Arts
A number of specialized martial arts are found throughout the Known Worlds.


War in the Heavens: Dark Energy Enantiodromos Enantiodromos