Most RPGs use dice to add randomness into the game. We have decided to use playing cards instead.
We wanted players to be able to manage their luck. In FAITH, the players play cards from their hands, always choosing which card they play. This allows players to calculate their chances of success when it is their turn and to create a strategy accordingly. We believe this is an interesting alternative to rolling dice to resolve actions.
Additionally, the beautifully illustrated cards of FAITH put the art of the game on the table and in front of the players at all times. They create an immersive experience and allow players to familiarise themselves with the universe of the game, which can be especially hard in a sci-fi setting.
Lastly, we have decided to put important pieces of gear and many NPCs on cards as well. With it, we aim to keep players from constantly checking the rulebook to see what they can and can’t do, and remind them of the gear they are carrying. By including illustrations in all these cards, we aim to keep players immersed in the stories they are playing, easing the difficult experience of mentally recreating an interesting science fiction story.
Players can only play or discard cards from their hands, unless specifically stated otherwise. Therefore, whenever a rule asks for a player to play or discard a card, he will have to choose one from his hand of cards and play it or discard it. It is always be up to the player which card from his hand he plays or discards.
Players cannot draw or discard cards at will, and they cannot shuffle or mix previously used cards into the deck. Whenever a card is played it is placed in the discard pile of its owner, usually set up next to the deck face up. When the last card of the deck has been drawn, the discard pile must be shuffled to set up a new deck.
Players must always follow the rules to play and draw cards during confrontations. A player may discard a card only when stated by a rule, and discarding a card will never trigger effects related to playing cards, such as Proficiency or Playing with Ambience.
If at any time a player does not have any cards in his hand, he must draw a card. If that card is drawn during a confrontation, it cannot be played until that confrontation has been resolved.
There are four suits in the deck: Urban, Wilderness, Space and Operating System (OS), which relate to the types of environments where the characters might be. The use of the suits is described in Playing with Ambience. Regular poker cards can be used following this correlation between the suits:
- Urban is Hearts
- Wilderness is Clubs
- Space is Spades
- OS is Diamonds
The value of the Aces is one.
Urban includes the environments where the landscape has been heavily modified by a rational species.
Wilderness includes the environments where the landscape is of natural origin.
Space includes the environments in free fall or 0-G.
OS includes virtual spaces inside computers, regardless of their actual physical location.
If it is hard to determine the type of environment where the character is (like an abandoned ruined city overgrown by a jungle) it will be the GM who makes the choice. In the previous example, it would make sense that if the character wishes to climb a ruined building, then he is considered in an Urban environment, but if he wishes to hide in the bushes, he is in Wilderness.
Each deck has 12 court cards. They are the three cards of each suit with a value of 11 or higher. Court cards are important for achieving critical successes.