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Baroque Space Opera $10.00 $6.70
Publisher: Mark Kowaliszyn
by Pierre S [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/10/2018 17:30:30

Baroque Space Opera (BSO) is a worthy setting for the Fate Core rules-system, for those who wish to portray far-future but hidebound cultures weighed down by traditions, and a high technology used to oppress the people, such as in movies like Dune, Lexx or the Chronicles of Riddick. At over 400 pages, it can do much more than a typical Fate World book of specific focus.

The galaxy has been ruled over by The Tyrant for the last 149,000 years. He died or was killed four times, but each time the establishment reconstituted him to preserve the status quo. There is an extensive history which generated a bewildering variety of factions, military forces and power-groups. Some groups are outcast but still exist on the periphery of the Dominion. The oppressive, crushing weight of history will strain your memory, but that's just perfect for this setting and characters even have to consult historian-NPCs just to keep it all straight.

The Tyrant has set up the 13 ruling Houses of the Pharistos, who are considered divine beings, enactors of the Tyrant's will, and controlling one aspect of commerce or industry through their Syndicates. Many use the symbology or trappings of ancient Egyptian, Sumerian or Mesoamerican cultures (is there a link?) The Pharistos in turn promote Elevated humans, humans indoctrinated by ritual to serve as intermediaries between the Pharistos and human workers. Technology (called Technosophy) is so advanced it becomes indistinguishable from magic, and in fact ordinary humans are taught that it is all run by the divine power of the Tyrant, if the right rituals are followed (pray before flipping the switch). However, the GM will not have to be technically minded to invoke the descriptions of genetic manipulation, nanotechnology (the Dust), resurrections to make Revenants, prana (psionic powers), faster-than-light travel with Voidships, and the cyberspatial domain called the Pattern.

The Fate Core rules are significantly modified. Notice becomes an Action that can be made with a Skill, rather than a separate single Skill. The Stress boxes often stack more points so that instead of the typical human Stress boxes of 1-2 or 1-2-3, you might have 2-3-4 or 3-4-5 or 3-3-3. Many superhuman Stunts abound and are listed as you pick a character Archetype. There is talk of revolt and overthrowing the Tyrant, and even many Pharistos are open to it, but a revolution from below with ordinary humans is not likely to succeed given the extensive physical and mental improvements of the ruling factions. A fight between regular humans and some Chimeras or Dominars or a Kundalini mentalist will toss the humans around like popcorn. Most fighting between groups will use the proxies of the Pharistos, as the Tyrant forbids direct conflict...

An extensive description of planets and other locations is included, and a map, and possibly you can fit the descriptions for these high-tech worlds into another science fiction campaign. The author thoughtfully adds a list of fiction for inspiration at the end, and a full index.



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Baroque Space Opera
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