May 1, 2015 by crew
FAITH: the Sci-Fi RPG is a game that was successfully funded on Kickstarter last March. It is created by Burning Games and is expected to reach backers’ homes next October.
The game is set in a science fiction setting, in a universe where two powerful species, the Iz’Kal and the Corvo, have been in a state of cold war for centuries; these species are conquering many planets and systems thanks to the finding of a natural wormhole with thousands of exits that bring them to remote and unknown parts of the Universe. Meanwhile, humanity is at the brink of extinction on Earth, while the toughest and bravest of them are highly rewarded mercenaries and bounty hunters.
The gameplay revolves around the use of cards to resolve confrontations. Each player has a hand of cards from which they will choose which card to play. Emphasis is set on reducing randomness and a fast paced and cinematic gameplay.
To encourage immersion, each element and component of the game is illustrated and contains the relevant information needed to use it. The 54 cards of the payer deck showcase just as many places and situations in the FAITH universe; there are 54 NPC and Gear cards from which to choose opponents and equipment; and character sheets are replaced by character boards and tokens.
We decided to create FAITH when we realized it had been a long time since we had started playing a brand new RPG. What was holding us back? Why didn’t we jump from game to game with ease, but instead remained locked into our made up variations of D&D? Simply put, many RPGs were too complex for our group: it was difficult to pick up something with a tough learning curve. That’s when we told ourselves that it would be easier to create our own game than to start learning another one! (This proved to be utterly wrong, but you get the point).
The Mechanics and Rules
We started reflecting on the kind of gameplay that would lend itself to an easy to learn, quick paced, RPG. We toyed with a far-from-new but far-from-perfected idea: to mix boardgame elements into the RPG, ones that would rationalize and physicalize the rules.
That is how we started weaving a card based RPG mechanic that would actually add something to the mix while staying away from the many proprietary cards found in other games, resorting to a 54 card deck with illustrations of the game that can be replaced with a standard poker deck.
On the other hand, we used to spend too much time flicking through rulebooks to find tables, skills, NPCs… We decided to turn every piece of equipment and NPC into a card, so that GMs and players could easily keep track of each one, and make those cards available in our site for people to print out if they need additional copies or just want to try out the system.
A good side effect of all these things is that immersion proved to be easier, especially among those that were not regular RPG players.
Finally, we introduced the Gods in the setting to spice up the Universe and to allow for a mechanic to reward good roleplaying. Each of the five Gods represents a strict moral code, and will grant special powers that break the laws of physics to those that stick to it.
We wanted to explore some themes and concepts that we found appealing, chiefly those that sprung from relegating humanity to a secondary position, where they would not be the center of attention anymore. Thus we created the two alien species that dominate the known Universe of FAITH: the Iz’Kal and the Corvo.
The success of the Kickstarter campaign allowed us to add two new species to the mix: the Raag and the Ravager. We are in the process of playtesting their unique gameplay and fleshing out their backstories, but we can say that they will bring fresh experiences to the game.
Below is a never before seen image of a mighty Raag Ice Fortress, constructs this new species uses to travel the universe.
Finally, we introduced the Labyrinth, a natural wormhole that connects thousands of star systems. It was at the core of the story from the very beginning and it will be key to many stories: where will the Labyrinth lead your group next time? Will it be a friendly planet where bounty abounds, or will it bring desolation and hunger to the rogue adventurers? The possibilities that a structure such as this brings to an RPG are endless, and we hope that gamers will share their adventures with us!
The Illustrations and Graphic Design
The next step was to bring this world to reality. As we said before, many things are represented in cards or tokens, and as such, immersion is only granted if the visuals are up for the task. That is why we devoted literally hundreds of hours diving through the reefs of Pinterest, Google Images, Deviantart; opening job offers in Elance, LinkedIn… all in search of the necessary talent to create them.
We found Milan Nikolic, a Serbian illustrator who works for Whale Shark Studio. He has worked for Games Workshop among other high profile companies, and from the very beginning he has been a key to the success of FAITH. As you can see from the illustrations, he excels in both concept art and environments. In a way, we owe to him the creation of the look and feel of the Universe of FAITH.
Milan was soon joined by Aleksa Bracic, another Serbian illustrator with great talent for environment illustrations, and the team has later been expanded with Ivan Jovanovic and Vukasin Bajic, both from Whale Shark Studio. After all the stretch goals we reached, we have hired several more illustrators to stick to our deadlines, and we have counted with the help of the one and only Anthony Jones, who recommended some of his students as well as doing a couple of illustrations for us. They are Tyler Ryan, James Combridge and Lukasz Poduch. To complete the team, we have also hired Yong Yi Lee, a freelance artist from Singapore.
The graphic design (including the logo, the graphics for the cards, the icons…) has been created by the great Aleksandra Bilic, a freelance artist who has previously worked for successful games such as Machina Arcana and Rise of Cthulhu. Her style coalesced with Milan’s work and created a wonderful match.
The Kickstarter Launch
We started preparing FAITH’s Kickstarter campaign in early 2014, and we launched it on February 11th, 2015. There’s never enough time to account for every last detail, but having plenty of time helps to figure out most of the puzzle in advance.
Once we had a decent looking prototype, we sent it out to reviewers and bloggers and received a few amazing reviews. And finally, we decided to go to Spiel. It was a lot of work and a lot of stress, but also the foundation of a fan base that has really amazed us. We look forward to attending again later this year.
All in all, the main source of information was Jamey Stegmaier’s blog, which offers hundreds of tips and resources for a successful Kickstarter. We think that the more you stick to Jamey’s suggestions, the better the plan will fare. Kudos to him.
On March 12th, FAITH’s Kickstarter campaign finished on a happy note. We were able to go beyond our goal and shortly afterwards we received the funding, which is now being thoughtfully used to create the remaining art, produce the game and distribute it. We hope it will reach your door before the year ends.
Right now the primary goal is to finish on time while maintaining the same level of quality we’ve had so far, so we have hired additional illustrators to relieve the pressure from Milan and Aleksa, and the story and rules are also undergoing revisions before they are sent to the copy editor. Finally, we will translate all the content of the game to Spanish.
When all of that is ready, we will move to production and then fulfilment, and we hope to get the game in traditional distribution channels by the end of the year.
We are honored that so many people decided to back FAITH. It has been a pleasure to meet so many great people, and we look forward to the successful completion of this project and the beginning of new ones.
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"We wanted to explore some themes and concepts that we found appealing, chiefly those that sprung from relegating humanity to a secondary position."
"Once we had a decent looking prototype, we sent it out to reviewers and bloggers and received a few amazing reviews. And finally, we decided to go to Spiel"