Rarely do people enjoy playing a character whose abilities are all mediocre. The following advice is meant to give an idea of how to avoid the worst pitfalls of character creation in the Fading Suns mechanics.


Pick only a small number of skills (maybe a half dozen) and put a lot of points into them (5+ each, with *at*least* one or two getting the full 8 points). Don't neglect natural skills!

Put points in observe.

Put points in a combat skill (fight/melee/shoot). Shoot is probably the most useful unless you are making a combat oriented character.

If you aren't gonna put at least 3 points into a given (learned) skill, don't even bother with it at all (with the obvious exceptions of language skills and spacesuit!)

Check which trait the skill gets paired with and put points into that as well. It's no good having a 5 in tech redemption if your tech rating is 3. Try to make sure all your goals are at least 10 or 11, with at least one or two that are 15 or 16.

Skills commonly used in the campaigns I've played in: Academia, Beast Lore, Drive (beast, land, space), Focus, Inquiry, Knavery, Lore: Peoples and Places Seen, Physick, Remedy, Science: Terraforming, Science: Think Machine, Stoic Body, Stoic Mind, Streetwise, Survival, Tech Redemption (Mech, Volt, High-Tech), Think Machine.

Another author considers the list of "most crucial" skills to be: all the 'natural' or adventuring skills (the ones you start with three dots in), plus: Academia, Survival, Inquiry, Remedy, Physick, Ettiquette, Streetwise, Search, Knavery, Empathy, and Tech Redemption. (The difference between this list and the above is: less emphasis on Beast Lore, Drive, Lore, Focus, Terraforming, Science (Think Machine), Stoic Mind & Body, and Think Machine, and more emphasis on the 'nataural' skills, Ettiquette, Search, and Empathy.)


The majority of rolls to use skills will be based on Wits (~33%) or Dexterity (~27%). Having all eight points in one or both is a very good idea. Putting no points in either is sure to disappoint.


In particular, if your character has a lot of points in Survival, Inquiry, Ettiquette, Streetwise, Remedy, Physick, Bureaucracy, Lore, Tactics, or Academia, and if you want to be good at these, you should max out your Wits rating.


If your character has a lot of points in combat skills (which many will and should), Sleight of Hand, Sneak, Lockpicking, Vigor, or Drive, a maxed out Dex rating is indispensible.


Next most important is Perception (~13%). Especially if your character relies on Observe, Search, Empathy, Tracking, Xenoempathy, or Disguise, you'll want points in Perception.


If your character has significant points in Knavery, Acting, Leadership, Performance, or Impress, this characteristic is crucial. But it is less frequently applicable (~9% of rolls) than it might seem at first glance seem.


If your character works a lot with technology, naturally you'll want a high Tech stat. As a specialization, it's worthwhile, but recognize that it (at ~6% of rolls) is not as broadly applicable as things like Dex, Wits, Perception, and Extrovert. It also determines what level of technology you can "code" and invent. Which might be something that interests you.


If you want to be a creative artist/writer/etc, and/or a deeply meditative sort, consider a few points in Introvert (~4% of rolls). But bear in mind your Introvert + Extrovert cannot exceed 10... so that you have to choose anyway between being a great artist and a great performer. If you just have to be a deeply meditative, profound, creative artist type, you'll need a good Introvert score. Otherwise, skip it.

Faith/Ego & Calm/Passion?Edit

Passion, Calm, Faith, and Ego, are difficult traits in the Fading suns system. Few of them have any application in practical skills. One of them will determine how many "wyrd" points you have to spend, however, and that can matter, whether you're an Occultist or not. If you are-- psychics start with wyrd equal to their Ego. Theurges start with wyrd equal to their faith. Everyone else starts with Wyrd equal to whichever is primary: Passion or Calm.

A few minor uses of these stats do crop up, however: Passion + Charm is your roll to seduce, and Passion + Oratory is your normal roll to give a moving speech. Calm + Stoic Mind & Body is the roll for Stoic Mind/Body, so Calm can have application here. And finally, Faith + Alchemy is the alchemy roll, so if you intend to be a brilliant non-theurgical alchemist, you'll still need Faith.

Aside from the above, these four stats have very little use. You still have to make two of them primary, of course. If you're a non-occultist, consider a couple points in your primary Passion/Calm. If you ARE an occultist, put several points in your primary: Faith/Ego.

Strength & EnduranceEdit

These two stats are taken for reasons much different from the other 10. They have a lot of bearing on how hard you hit and can be hit, in a fight, as well as other things like how heavy are the things you can lift, how resistant you are to disease & conditions, etc. It's not easy to make a decision about balancing points into these two stats alongside the other 10, so they're often treated either as an afterthought, or in the case of fully battle-oriented characters, as mandatory.


If you are taking occult powers, select those skills that go along with the powers. That is, choose your occult powers first and then your skills second based on your choosen powers. Look at what sort of skills and traits you'll need for new powers later on as you increase your psi or theurge rating, and put points into those skills as well. Don't wait until after you gain that ultra-cool new mega power of doom to discover you only have a goal of 3 with it...

If you do go occult, it is better to go "all the way". Take 5 or 6 levels worth of occult powers to start rather than 2 or 3. You'll be much happier with the result. If you are willing to spend ALL of your extra points on occult, you can take your primary path up to level five and a secondary path up to level four. Alternately, take your primary up to level six!


You can use any or all of the 40 'extra' points for benefices; you aren't just limited to the 10 benefice points from the benefice step.

Don't forget to save at least 3 points for a rank!

Use benefice or extra points to get lots of money. I consider 2000 starting firebirds to be minimum (7 points cash or 11 assets). Energy shields alone start at 500FB! And you wouldn't even THINK of going out without an energy shield, would you? And even a lowly revolver can run you a few hundred. You can easily spend 1000+ firebirds on just armor and weapons alone, and you haven't even started on the gear.

And don't forget to retain some firebirds as cash! You'll probably want to save a minimum of 10 FB, and possibly much more depending on your affiliation, social status and starting location.

Pay attention to the armor/energy shield interaction. The standard energy shield doesn't work with most types of armor! (though it does with polymer knit (kevlar) and synthsilk...)

Energy Shield/Polymer Knit/Medium Autofeed Pistol+10 clips = 980FB! This should be considered minimum for most guilders. Engineers may subsitute a laser pistol instead (1000 + cost of fusion cels).

Muster characters will probably want an actual rifle instead of a pistol - 260FB for an imperial rifle w/10 magazines (weak - no autofire), 410FB for a SMG w/10 magazines (recommended - has autofire!), 1040FB for the mighty assault rifle w/10 magazines! (fantastic if you can afford it). That's 760/1110/1740FB if you include the shield and kevlar.

For the noble types, a dueling shield + rapier is over 700FB. A light revolver (also for dueling) is 100 + cost of ammo. You're looking at 820+ for a noble on just weapons and armor alone.

Priests can probably get by on less, but if you're playing a healer type priest, a good med kit is expensive too! A med pac with elixir plus a surgery kit will run you 270. An expedition medpac adds an additional 80 firebirds. And the nanotech medpac is a whopping 1000! (Ask your GM first before you buy one.) Add a shield (500FB) on top of that and you're still running up a sizeable bill!

Handy reference of prices for common adventuring gear:

Basic Gear Bundle Pack:
Knife                                 2 FB
Backpack                              4 talons
Blanket                               6 talons
Flint and Steel                       3 talons
20 Candles                           20 talons
Lantern                               5 talons
Sewing Kit                            3 talons
Electronic Wristwatch, waterproof     7 talons
Grappling Hook                        2
Hawksaw                               1
Hammer                                1
50' silk rope                         2
                                     14 FB
Bundle Pack for the low-income:
Fusion Torch (TL5)                   25 FB
MedPac                               20
Wrist Squawker (TL5)                 80
2 Fusion Cels                        20
                                    145 FB
Bundle Pack for the middle-income:
Grenade                              50 FB
Fusion Torch (TL6)                   30
MedPac w/5 doses Elixir              70
Whisper Pin (TL5)                   100
5 Fusion Cels                        50
                                    300 FB
Bundle Pack for the wealthy:
2 Wire Grenades                     160 FB
Fusion Torch (TL8)                   40
Expedition MedPac w/5 doses Elixir  150
Whisper Pin (TL5)                   100
Wrist Squawker (TL5)                 80
10 Fusion Cels                      100
Low Light Goggles                    50
                                    680 FB

Mech Tools                          5
Volt Tools                          7
Hi Tech Tools                       5-10 per piece
                      (as a GM, I'd say 8-10 pieces are required to avoid
                       penalties on hi tech redemption rolls, but ask your
                       GM for his ruling on this.  Be prepared to spend on
                       the order of 50-100FB total for a full tool kit!)

Forgery Kit - TL2/4/7               30/300/3000
Makeup Kit (TL4)                    5+

Plasma Grenade                      100
Rad Baffler Grenade                 200
Demolition Rig                      200

Nanotech MedPac                    1000
Radiation Serum                     300 per does
Vorox Poison                         20 per dose
Plox Blade Venom                     25 per dose
Grixi Poison                         50 per dose
Vorox Killer                        200 per dose

Starlight LRCD (TL5)                300
Scrambler Pad (TL6)                 100
Muster Chains                       300
Wet Jacket                          600
Thermasilk                          500


Light Revolver                      100   110.8
      w/60 slugs (10 loads)        10.8
Medium Revolver                     200   218
      w/60 slugs (10 loads)          18
Heavy Revolver                      250   304
      w/60 slugs (10 loads)          54
Light Autofeed Pistol               150   173.4
      w/130 slugs (10 magazines)   23.4
Medium Autofeed Pistol              250   280
      w/100 slugs (10 magazines)     30
Heavy Autofeed Pistol               300   372
      w/80 slugs (10 magazines)      72
Assault Rifle                       500  1040
      w/300 slugs (10 clips)        540
Imperial Rifle                      200   260
      w/200 slugs (10 clips)         60
Shotgun                             300   331.5
      w/70 rounds (10 loads)       31.5
Shotgun                             300   363
      w/70 slugs (10 loads)          63
SMG                                 350   410
      w/200 slugs (10 clips)         60
Sniper Rifle                        700   835
      w/50 slugs (10 clips)         135
Hand Crossbow                         7    29.5
      w/30 bolts                   22.5
Medium Crossbow                      10    25
      w/30 bolts                     15
Heavy Crossbow                       15    30
      w/30 bolts                     15
Hunting Bow                           5    10
      w/20 arrows                     5
Long Bow                             10    15
      w/20 arrows                     5
Light Machinegun                    750  1650
      w/500 slugs (10 clips)        900
Rocketeer                           400   625
      w/10 rockets                  225
Grenade Launcher                    500  1085
      w/10 grenades                 585
Missile Launcher                    800  1700
      w/10 missiles                 900