Fading Suns is primarily a game about heroes and the dramatic conflicts they encounter, from palace intrigues to cliffhanging combats. It provides a framework for players to create games from any perspective they desire. If they want to play soldiers who fight evil with guns and fists, the rules are here. If they want to play merchants who prefer diplomacy to violence, or priests wrestling with a metaphysical crisis, rules are also provided. Fading Suns is whatever the players want it to be.
Fading Suns is primarily a science fiction game, which means that there are starships, blasters, powered armor, alien races, and weird science. But there are also many elements of traditional fantasy gaming: heroic characters and struggles, a feudal sociopolitical structure (noble lords, high priests and headstrong merchants), powerful artifacts and great mysteries. And there is horror: monsters and maddening discoveries revealing terrifying metaphysical truths.
In short, Fading Suns is a game which has everything a roleplaying universe needs in order tell stories of such varied and exotic themes as can be found anywhere — in our very own world here and now.
Like all games, Fading Suns should be entertaining and fun to play. But roleplaying games can be more than mere pastimes. The players can strive for the same artistic goals as the author of a novel, a film, or a play. Fading Suns is a passion play of sorts, taking place in an imagined future. Many possible stories can be told here, from galaxy-spanning epics to the most personal of tales.
Like medieval passion plays, Fading Suns deals with grand themes universal to human experience. Its main theme is the Seeking. This is the mythological role all heroes play: the knight on quest, seeking power to vanquish their enemies or the secrets of self-discovery. Success or failure on this quest is not as important as the insights learned while on it.
The atmosphere of the dramas played out in Fading Suns is one of tragic ignorance. Civilization is in decline, and superstition and fear are everywhere. New ideas and frontiers are spurned by a nervous populace, fearful of change for the harm it brings. But it is just this sort of willful ignorance that keeps civilization from rising again. It is such fear that keeps hope buried and great challenges from being met. The player-character troupe represents the heroes who can break the bonds of this ignorance and bring something new and great to their culture, to reawaken and invigorate life.