FAITH – The Science Fiction RPG
FAITH is an RPG set in a futuristic universe based on the worship of five gods. The game consists of four main player character races which include Human, each with a deep law to read through. It was first published in the EU in 2017 by Burning Games and written by J. C. Alvarez and Carlos Gómez Quintana. Burning Games gave us a PDF copy after we spoke to them at UK Games Expo.
FAITH is the first RPG that I have come across that uses a deck of playing cards to resolve it’s actions. There may be a ton more out there like it, but I’ve never come across them. Although you can play with a regular deck of cards (52 cards + 2 jokers), you can get optionally buy a deck of cards with custom artwork from the website for 11.95€. On a regular deck of cards, the suits are related to the various environments that can appear in the game; Urban (Hearts), Wilderness (Clubs), Space (Spades) and Operating System (Diamonds). Value-wise, Ace is counted as 1 and Jack, Queen, King are 11, 12 and 13 respectively. The Jokers get shuffled into the players deck and drawn like any other card. You play them to change any level of success to any other level of success, which includes a critical success or fail.
Gaming sessions are broken down into scenes; at the start of each scene the players draw a hand of seven cards, except Humans who draw 8. The players hand represents a players stamina, so at the beginning of each scene a character is raring to go, whereas at the end they will be tired and wanting to rest. Players cannot look into the deck or the discard pile, nor shuffle or mix previously used cards into the deck until it is exhausted. Players also cannot look at other players’ hand, or tell each other the values. They can however tell other characters how lucky they are feeling, based on the value of the cards that are in their hand.
About a third of the book is taken up by the backstory and guides for the races. The content on each race is really detailed and I must admit, I was amused by the description of each race’s reproductive nature. I’ve included the amount of pages each race takes up.
Corvo – 108 pages
Taking on a bipedal insectoid look, the Corvo are an industrious species. They have established a very prosperous civilisation, living and dying by the rules of money, technological improvement and free enterprise. They are a highly technical race and are the leaders in the fields of data storage, communication, economy and space travel. Think of them as the entrepreneurs of the universe, but this does not mean that all Corvo are privileged.
Iz’kal – 65 pages
The Iz’kal are amphibious humanoids with a hive-like mind. They are a progressive, nonviolent race, favoring the group over the individual with telepathic capabilities. They have built their power and stability on social and genetic engineering.
Human – 32 pages
The Human race lost their civilisation to war and pollution a few centuries back. They are now considered a fallen species, their world as wild and dangerous as the farthest frontiers of space. Most Humans are now mostly employed by the Corvo, taking the roles of mercenaries and soldiers.
Raag – 34 pages
They originate from a barren world and are the strongest sentient species. As a race they do have a bit of a love of violence, which led them to be slaves or gladiators for other races. Raag see technology as something to be feared, think of them as barbarians, if you will.
The book advised that as a GM, it is up to you to define if your players actions are as seen as favourable by their relevant gods. The gods of FAITH are fickle, so as a GM you should be strict at implementing their commandments. Gods also don’t really care about manners; a character can be downright rude and still gain favour from the gods by performing actions that they would approve of. These favours manifest themselves as God points and can be spent to gain divine powers.
The gods of FAITH are as follows
- Ergon – God of co-operation, teamwork, empathy
- Hexia – God of intuition, vision, learning
- Kalvia – God of competence, competition, action
- Vexal – God of chance, freedom, passion
- Ledger – An anti-god, or god of chaos. Everything that the other gods stand for, ledger is against. One might call him/her a hipster god.
FAITH is a nice RPG book; it has some wonderful artwork scattered throughout the pages which helps you visualize things a bit. As a book, in my personal opinion, it is laid out in a manner that I struggled with. I prefer a basic introduction to the world and system followed by an in-depth look into the actual system itself, which may or may not include how to create a character before taking a deeper look into the law. FAITH prefers to give you a full run down of all the races right after the basic introduction, then onto how the game is played, so I found myself flipping past all the races and then beginning to read into them as much as I can, after learning the mechanics. But this is just a personal preference.
I’ve never played a system that uses playing cards before, so I’m really interested to see how that particular mechanic feels during play. I was very impressed by the detailed example they layout in the book, which was of a suggested encounter, so to aid anyone trying to learn the system. NPC’s do not use a hand of cards to play against a player, the GM turns over the top card of the deck to resolve an NPC action. I’d be interested to try the mechanic either way as a storyteller or a player.
We would like to thank Burning Games for giving us a copy of the book; if you want to find out more, or buy a copy for yourself, go check out their website. Have you played an RPG system that uses playing cards as a main mechanics? Is FAITH the kind of RPG that you would like to have a go at? Drop us some feedback via the comments section or hit us up via Twitter and Facebook.