Roleplaying game by Holistic Design, published 1999 written by Bill Bridges & Andrew Greenberg.
Once the suns shone brightly, beacons in the vast night of space, calling humanity onward. The stars symbolized humanity’s vast potential, a purpose and destiny revealed in progress, inciting an exodus of unlimited growth to the distant stars. Once people looked to the heavens with hope and longing in their eyes.
Then the suns — and hope — began to fade.
It is the beginning of the sixth millennium and history has come to an end. Humanity’s greatest civilization has fallen, leaving ignorance and fear scattered among the ruins of many worlds. A new Dark Age is upon humanity and few believe in renewal and progress anymore. Now there is only waiting. Waiting for a slow death as the age-old stars fade to cinders and the souls of the sinful are called to Final Judgment.
But not all believe in this destiny. A leader has arisen, an emperor sworn to unite the worlds of Human Space together again under one banner. To ignite hope once more in their hearts.
It is a monumental task, for most people have already given up and fallen into the ways of the past, playing serfs to feudal lords. What is hope to them now but a falsehood which leads to pain? Better to leave the hard decisions to their masters and let the Church console their souls.
There are enemies everywhere, those who seek to selfishly profit from humanity’s demise: vain nobles ruling farflung worlds, power-hungry priests who seek dominion over the lives of men, the greedy merchant guilds growing rich from bartering humanity’s needs and wants. They are not alone. Others are out there among the darkening stars, alien races angry with humankind for age-old slavery, and enigmatic alien empires with agendas too paradoxical to fathom.
It is in such a universe that individual men and women must live. Only a few of them will question. Fewer still will act on their questions and seek answers, ways to break the grip of custom and law. To free themselves and once more seize the stars — and their destiny.
Fading Suns is a roleplaying game that combines medieval dark fantasy with science-fiction with just a smattering of gothic horror and a number of other tasty ingredients. The mighty second republic has fallen into a Dark age that has lasted centuries, with hope only beginning to arise now under the unifying Emperor Alexius. The known galaxy is ruled by an uneasy alliance of powers : the Emperor and his forces, the five great noble houses (and many more minor houses), a number of powerful merchants guilds and the politically powerful Universal Church Of The Celestial Sun. Against them are a multitude of threats and, of course, the great question ... just why are the suns fading?