Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Five or So Questions with Burning Games on FAITH

Hi All! Today I have an interview with Burning Games on FAITH: The Sci-Fi RPG and Miniatures, which is currently on Kickstarter. FAITH is an Ennie-award winning RPG and this is the FAITH 2.0 version. Check out the interview below!

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Tell me a little about FAITH. What excites you about it?

What excites us about FAITH the most is its very essence. We made it as a statement on how we think RPGs should be, however risky that was. It's an RPG with a card based mechanic that lets players be in control of their actions; it makes the humans a minor species, at the sidelines of the main plot-events; it introduces gods in a sci-fi setting as moral scales to test the very fabric of which characters are made; and it dives right into an ideological conflict between two powerful alien species, without leaving aside morality, politics, or economics.

The fact that people have trusted us and placed their faith in our game, pun intended, is something that we take very seriously and it's the most potent source of excitement we can imagine. We look forward to continue to expand the game into something greater than we could have imagined when we first started, and we are grateful to everybody who supports us in this journey.


How do you integrate gods with a world of sci-fi and humanity? 

The five Gods of Faith are not the usual "omnipotent being" interpretation of deities. They are moral in nature, , and they can only interact with the world through their believers, by providing them with supernatural powers, thus shaping what actually happens in the universe by giving more power to those who follow one of the moral paths laid out by one of the Gods.

Living beings within the universe of Faith can't really choose in which God they believe or which God they follow. It is each God itself who chooses certain people to grant powers, depending on their actual actions. Who you are and what you do determines whether one God or another will take notice of you and maybe grant you powers.

There's little room in the way of "believing" in the Gods; when you see you have been granted a special power, you know that something's definitely up. On the other end, Clark's adage "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" may be applied, too. Within the lore of the game, there are people who question their nature and go on "Godseek" expeditions within the confines of the Labyrinth wormhole to try to uncover their mysteries. Similarly to how our A Garden in Hell campaign explores the origins of the Ravager, we plan to devote an entire campaign to this topic and we hope it will become an exciting perspective on Gods in a science fiction setting.



Tell me a little about this ideological conflict! What about it encouraged you to make it a major point of the game?

Similarly to forces of nature, the moral bearings rewarded by the Gods have ended up merging with certain civilisations, and shaping their progress and destiny. This means that there are species leaning towards the moral path set by some Gods, while others lean towards others, making them fundamentally different in their approach to cultural interaction both within their own civilisation and with other civilisations. This is the case of the Corvo and the Iz'kal, each leaning respectively to individualism or collectivism, and this is what sparks their constant conflict.

When two such species find each other, there are three options: they fight, they flee or they cooperate. Right now, the Corvo and the Iz'kal must cooperate if they want to avoid total anihilation: the Ravager, a powerful mutant species, is on a destruction sprue through the known universe. Of course, this doesn't mean they don't still have their conflicts, and they still fight clandestine, proxy wars to arrest each other's development in anticipation to the defeat of the Ravager threat.

We made this conflict such an integral part of the setting because we believe it raises very interesting issues that are worth considering and discussing. Both these species have very different approaches to society, each with their rights and their wrongs, and thinking about alien societies can put things in perspectives that are not as apparent if one was to analyse the same issues in the real world.


How do the base mechanics of the cards work, and what do you think is expanded by including the miniatures?

The card mechanics are the aspect we are the most proud of. Many people are extremely skeptic about it at first, but after playing a couple of rounds most people gets it. We need to stress that we didn't create this mechanic just to be different, or as a gimmick.

It is an honest to God attempt to make a game where the players are in charge of their efforts, as represented by the values of the cards they play. The hand of cards represents the stamina of each character, and, just like in real life, each character can choose when to make a big effort (playing a high card), and when to conserve energies (playing a low card, which often triggers a rule to draw a new card). As you run out of cards, your character gets exhausted and has more and more limited options.

A very common misconception is that people can just attempt banal actions to get rid of low cards. Because you only have the chance to play cards when you are contested, or, as we call it in Faith, confronted, there's really no possibility for this. When you play your low cards, you will be putting yourself in danger.

Lastly, it's important to mention that the cards are not proprietary: you can use any regular poker deck to play FAITH.

The miniatures do not change the core mechanics of the game. It's just that it can be much more immersive for some people to play with a cool set of minis!


What are some of your favorite elements about the available species for play?

What we like the most are the different roleplaying possibilities that each of their civilisations bring to the table. If you are in the Corvosphere, you can basically do whatever you want, but nobody will look out for you. It's like a cyberpunk jungle: each for their own, and only if you know how to get others to value your specific skillset you will manage to make a life for yourself. On the other hand of the spectrum, we have the Iz'kal state. There, all your basic needs are taken care of, but you can't own anything, and you must comply with the state's orders, which will use your skills for the benefit of the state. If you are in a Raag world, you'll need to be very careful with your approach to technology and how you maintain it, and you may become a renowned scavenger. Lastly, if you are a human, you won't be the center of the universe for a change. Humans in the universe of Faith have their work cut out for them: they must either bend their knee and serve the corvo; survive in the wasteland; or become part of the Human Front and seek the foundation of a free Earth.


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Thanks so much to Burning Games for the interview! I hope you all enjoyed reading and that you'll check out FAITH: The Sci-Fi RPG and Miniatures on Kickstarter. Make sure to share the post if you think your friends might be interested in FAITH, too!


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