Summer is almost here, the weather is nice, the sun is shining, and a GM’s mind might turn to highly successful games run in the past, and start thinking about replicating that success. I’ve been musing for years on a Fate conversion of Fading Suns, and finally got struck by inspiration recently.

First up is the skills list and groupings. As a few explanations:

  • This is designed around my, probably idiosyncratic, view of the Fading Suns setting. So there are some skills that I might find more useful than others in general play.
  • It’s also largely intended for an internet-based game where rolling and using turns too often tends to slow things down (as you’re waiting for however long it takes someone else to put in input before you can respond). Thus, I’ve erred on the side of skills that are more useful to eyeball for general level of competence and against ones that are more useful to rolling.
  • Most particularly, this involves dropping an Alertness-type stat: it’s easier for me to just tell people what they see, and rely on competence in related skills for deeper investigation (e.g., use Shoot to investigate stuff to do with guns, use Chemistry for forensics, etc.). I kept Stealth, but I figure that would just be directly targeted against environmental penalties instead of opponent Alertness.
  • I changed some skills to be closer to the original VP system skill list. That means that Fight got broken into Fight and Block (rather than blocking with your attack skill), but then I rolled in weapon-based close combat to compensate. Similarly, Vigor (the Athletics equivalent) lost Dodge, but inherited Might to compensate. Theoretically having more combat stats should be appropriate to a setting where dueling and martial arts are major components.
  • Meanwhile, I replaced the social skills with more effects-driven ones borrowed from Song of Ice and Fire RPG as an attempt at supporting my previous essay.


The categories below have minimal rules impact. Instead, they’re broad conceptualizations of the major types of actions that happen in the game. Each type of action, thus, has a similar number of supporting skills.


  • Bargain: Exchange items or services with the question being how much is each worth (from haggling to diplomacy)
  • Convince: Make someone believe something is true (or at least that you believe it); may include intimidation
  • Empathy: Figure out the motive of the target (vs. Acting) or read the dynamics of a social situation
  • Entertain: Help the target have fun, keeping him or her in place for further manipulation or raising his or her friendliness
  • Poise: Defend against social attacks by being unflappable and cool
  • Provoke: Get someone to take an action (taunt, incite, or even intimidate) or just make the target emotional enough for other social attacks; targets Poise


  • Artillery: Attack with siege weapons, vehicle weapons, or heavy carried weapons
  • Block: Defend against a fight attack with a weapon, body, or physical shield
  • Demolitions: Set and/or throw explosives
  • Dodge: Defend against a shoot attack or other environmental effects by getting out of the way
  • Fight: Attack with melee weapon or martial arts
  • Shoot: Attack with a firearm (slug or energy) from pistol to rifle (not heavy weapons)


  • EVA: Maneuver in deadly environments and/or without gravity (usually while wearing a protective suit)
  • Stealth: Reduce environmental difficulties (bright light, no cover, no sound) when trying to hide
  • Streetwise: Move through and find things in an urban area
  • Survival: Move through and find things in a wilderness area
  • Thievery: Pick locks and pockets
  • Vigor: Climb, jump, swim, and other exertions


  • Acting: Disguise personal motivations (generally by putting on a character) to defend against Empathy
  • Intrigue: Maneuver in political situations (know who to bribe, proper etiquette, etc.)
  • Leadership: Manage subservient characters successfully
  • Linguistics: Speak additional languages and decipher unknown ones
  • Performance: Dance, sing, and/or play an instrument
  • Warfare: Determine optimal strategy and tactics for a battle or war


  • Astrophysics: Understand astronomy and physics (especially to navigate in space)
  • Biology: Understand biology, perform autopsies, and manipulate living cells
  • Chemistry: Understand chemistry and create new chemical mixtures (drugs, poisons, etc.)
  • History: Know history without having to look it up
  • Physick: Perform first aid and long-term care
  • Research: Find information within books, think machines, or people


  • Artisan: Make objects with limited moving parts and no electricity (art or practical)
  • Cybernetics: Repair, install, and build cybernetics
  • Electrician: Repair and build electrical apparatuses
  • Mechanic: Repair and build mechanical apparatus
  • Pilot: Control spaceships and airships
  • Think Machines: Find and enter data on a think machine


  • Psi: Use psychic powers
  • Theurgy: Use miraculous powers

Skill Groupings

These will probably make more sense next week, but they are effectively suggested groupings as to which skills are best for which type of character (ultimately making it faster to make a character in the style of the old Fading Suns lifepaths).

Classes and Careers

  • Noble:Bargain, Fight, Intrigue, Poise, Warfare
    • Courtier: Acting, Convince, Empathy, Perform, Provoke
    • Duelist: Dodge, Block, History, Provoke, Vigor
    • General: Dodge, Leadership, History, Shoot, Survival
    • Scholar: Artisan, History, Linguistics, Research, Think Machine
    • Soldier: Artillery, Block, Dodge, Shoot, Vigor
    • Spy: Acting, Entertain, Stealth, Thievery, Think Machine
  • Church:Convince, Empathy, History, Leadership, Physick
    • Academic: Astrophysics, Chemistry, Linguistics, Research, Think Machine
    • Healer: Biology, Chemistry, Cybernetics, Dodge, Research
    • Investigator: Biology, Chemistry, Provoke, Research, Shoot
    • Preacher: Acting, Perform, Poise, Provoke, Streetwise
    • Retainer: Bargain, Dodge, Intrigue, Linguistics, Research
    • Warrior: Block, Dodge, Fight, Shoot, Vigor
  • Guild:Mechanic, Pilot, Provoke, Research, Shoot
    • Agent: Acting, Entertain, Intrigue, Poise, Stealth
    • Doctor: Biology, Chemistry, Cybernetics, Empathy, Physick
    • Facilitator: Bargain, Empathy, Intrigue, Thievery, Streetwise
    • Mercenary: Artillery, Block, Fight, Dodge, Vigor
    • Spacer: Astrophysics, Dodge, EVA, Think Machine, Vigor
    • Technician: Artisan, Cybernetics, Electrician, Mechanic, Think Machine
  • Freeman:Artisan, Dodge, Streetwise, Survival, Vigor
    • Criminal: Block, Fight, Provoke, Thievery, Stealth
    • Infantry: Artillery, Block, Demolitions, Fight, Shoot
    • Mechanic: Chemistry, Electrician, Empathy, Mechanic, Research
    • Merchant: Bargain, Convince, Empathy, Poise, Provoke
    • Performer: Acting, Convince, Entertain, Perform, Poise
    • Student: Biology, Chemistry, History, Research, Think Machine


Players are encouraged to make their own groupings. The only restriction is that both GM and player have to agree that it consists of three skills that could conceptually be learned as part of the same activity.

  • Burglar: Electrician, Thievery, Vigor
  • Cohort: Empathy, Intrigue, Poise
  • Courtesan: Acting, Entertain, Perform
  • Demolitionist: Demolitions, Stealth, Vigor
  • Detective: Chemistry, Empathy, Research
  • Diplomat: Acting, Convince, Empathy
  • Fighter: Fight, Block, Vigor
  • Freighter: Astrophysics, EVA, Pilot
  • Gunner: Artillery, Dodge, Shoot
  • Informer: Acting, Empathy, Stealth
  • Lawyer: Intrigue, Poise, Research
  • Medic: Biology, Chemistry, Physick
  • Racketeer: Bargain, Convince, Streetwise
  • Sergeant: Artillery, Leadership, Warfare
  • Sniper: Shoot, Stealth, Survival
  • Sophomore: History, Research, Think Machine
  • Thief: Thievery, Stealth, Streetwise
  • Traveler: Bargain, EVA, Linguistics
  • Favyana: Empathy, Physick, Psi
  • Invisible Path: Intrigue, Psi, Provoke
  • Secret Psi: Acting, Psi, Stealth
  • Battle Theurge: Dodge, Theurgy, Vigor
  • Compassionate Theurge: Empathy, Physick, Theurgy
  • Research Theurge: Convince, Research, Theurgy