Characters have Attributes (usually ranging from 1 to 3) that represent their general capacities and establish the amount of cards the players can use during confrontations; and Skills (ranging from 0 to 9) that represent their specific skillsets and are added to their actions’ values. Additionally characters may have Upgrades that represent remarkable features like a cortex connector or a Divine Upgrade granted by one of the Gods.
However, characters are much more than a bunch of numbers that tell how good they are at something. A key part of character creation is coming up with the character concept. A character concept tells us about who you want your character to be. It can be a concept that you have been toying around with for a long time, a good idea that just came to you, or a character inspired by a story you enjoy - basically anything you want.
It is important for characters to have a desire or a goal that they want to achieve, which is often used as the reason why they go on different adventures and get involved in all kinds of trouble. These goals should not be easily achieved and they should be established with the consent of the GM, allowing her to introduce it as part of the story. It is also important that the goals of all the characters in a group motivate them to adventure together, otherwise the group will feel divided.
It is usual for a group of players to spend an evening coming up with the stories of their characters and setting up their character boards, while the GM plots her storyline.
Think about what kind of character you would want to be if you had the chance to star in a 300 million dollar sci-fi film. There are no limits to the scope of an RPG.
Creating a Character
You should talk to the other players and the GM about the kind of character you would like to play and what kind of story you are going to be part of. This will help you decide the type of character you want to create. Reading the description of each species and the story of the universe of FAITH can be really useful when making these decisions. If you want to learn about the game just by playing it, just pick the species you visually like the most and go with it. Once you have made up your mind, follow these steps:
- Choose the species of your character and the gender. Pick up the relevant character image and place it on your character board, or enter it into the character sheet.
- Choose one of the four suits to be the Affinity of your character. Pick up the corresponding token and place it on your character board (or enter it on the character sheet). Affinity represents the places where your character grew up, was training, or the kind of place in which you feel at home.
- Choose a God to follow. The God of each character relates to what kind of person they are. The GM has the final word on which God corresponds to a character after a player has described how he wants his character to be. Enter it on the character sheet, or pick up the corresponding token and place it on your character board. Remember that during gameplay you might change your God’s allegiance to another one if your character changes his path in life. Change the relevant token accordingly. You can choose to not follow any God.
- Establish your Skills. Set one Skill at 5, another at 4, two at 3, two at 2, three at 1 and the last three at 0. Once you have chosen how to distribute your points, enter the values on the character sheet or use the numbered tokens and place them on your character board.
- Establish your Attribute’s values at 1. Then, distribute 10 points of experience between your Attributes and/or buy and install Upgrades. See Gaining Experience to learn the cost of each improvement.
- Choose your character’s equipment. Use the credits granted by your Profession to acquire pieces of equipment or appeal to the GM using the background of your character to help her decide whether you should have any additional equipment to what your credits can buy. It is recommended that characters start with only a few pieces of gear and have them gain new equipment along the way.
If you want to play with an advanced character you can use these rules that will let you create a character with the experience of around 12-15 sessions of play. It is recommended that for your first experience of FAITH: The Sci-Fi RPG you do not start with an Advanced Character.
- Skills: Set one Skill at 7, another at 6, two at 5, two at 3, three at 1 and the last three at 0.
- Attributes and Upgrades: distribute 24 points of experience according to the costs found in Gaining Experience.
During gameplay, characters will learn and change. The story will shape their personalities and their actions will teach them new Skills or improve those they already had.
Each time a major milestone of the story is reached or the characters have had a significant opportunity to learn and improve their abilities, the GM may decide to grant them experience. It is recommended to do so not more than once per session and at least once every two or three sessions, but it is ultimately up to the GM’s discretion.
Have all players say out loud what they think each character’s best moment was since they last gained any experience, and have them recommend the Skill they think should be rewarded. It is good to remember all the adventures the characters have gone through. The GM will select one of the recommendations of the players or her own, and the character will be able to add one point to that Skill.
Additionally, characters get one experience point to acquire Upgrades or to improve Attributes. The GM can decide to award an additional experience point to players that do something extraordinary or achieve important objectives.
Attributes have a cost on experience points equal to twice the level they currently have. Upgrades have different costs and each type has different requirements to be used or acquired.
Health and Damage
There are two types of damage: physical and neural. Each type of damage has its own token. To keep track of the damage a character has suffered, place the corresponding tokens on top of his character board. Alternatively use the character sheet to track damage.
Each counter of damage, of either physical or neural, gives the character a -1 to every Skill to a minimum of 0.
Physical damage is inflicted by physical means: weapons, tools, fists, etc. Each counter of physical damage counts as -1 to the physical health of the character. While in normal health state, one physical damage counter can be discarded per week of in-game time after it has been suffered.
Neural damage can be inflicted by means such as concussions, Divine Upgrades, viruses, link attacks, neural weapons, etc. Each counter of neural damage counts as -1 to the neural health of a character. While in normal health state, one neural damage counter can be discarded during each maintenance phase (or 3 to 5 seconds of in-game time) unless the character has received neural damage that round.
ACS damage is inflicted by electronic means, be it through Hacking actions or electrical waves from a neural weapon. It can only affect gear and robots with an energy value and when a device suffers as much ACS damage as its energy it is shut down.
Adaptive Circuit Severance (ACS) is the term used for the electrical overload of microprocessors after they are affected by corrupting Hacking routines, and also by certain types of electromagnetic waves typically associated with neural weapons.
Characters may have means of reducing the damage they suffer. Some pieces of equipment provide their users (or the equipment itself) with a value of armour. Whenever the character or piece of equipment is about to receive physical or neural damage from an external source, he or it can ignore a number of counters equal to its armour.
Depending on the amount of damage a character has suffered, he can be in three different health states or even dead:
The health state of a character is normal for as long as he is not affected by any of the following states.
A character is bleeding out when his physical health is below 0. Characters can perform actions and engage in confrontations while bleeding out. After performing the action they will immediately receive one physical damage counter.
NPCs will generally ignore characters that are bleeding out until they have taken care of all other threats.
A character is traumatised when his neural health is below 0. The character is unconscious and will not regain consciousness until he receives enough medical attention to discard enough neural damage counters to have neural health 0 or above.
If a character is bleeding out and traumatised at the same time, he dies automatically. If at the end of a scene a character is bleeding out and he has not received medical attention from a First Aid action, he dies. Additionally, if he takes any further physical damage from an external source while bleeding out, he dies.
A character can also die of starvation, exposure to the vacuum of space, drowning, excessive mutilation, etc. The effects of these possibilities are left to the GM to determine.