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Author Topic: Faith rules  (Read 4862 times)
Vaxalon
Member

Posts: 1619


« on: July 18, 2005, 07:41:19 AM »

Here are some rules I worked up for a game focused on faith and doubt.

FATE Faith rules

These rules replace the rules on fate points.

Character creation:

Each character starts with a Faith score of 1.  This may be raised by taking faith-related aspects, for example "Faithful", "Believer", "Priest's Son", "Raised in a Church Orphanage".  Each aspect which is faith-related raises the Faith score by one.  It is up to the player to declare aspects as faith-related.

Each character has a list of beliefs.  A belief consists of a tenet and a practice.  In brief, a tenet is an article of faith, a 'fact' that the character believes; a practice is the means by which that tenet expresses itself in the behavior of the character.

Tenets should not be something that is inherently provable.  Having as a tenet, "My dog's name is spot" will not earn you any doubt, and doubt is an essential element of gaining faith (see below).  Likewise, a tenet cannot be a negative declaration; "I believe that there is no God" is a declaration of lack of faith, not a declaration of faith.  Instead, if you want to make an atheist character, you could take "I believe that God is a myth some people tell themselves in order to be happy."

Each tenet is connected to a practice.  By conforming to that practice, a character cements his faith and so gains confidence.  Similar to an aspect, a practice can be activated by the gamemaster; if the player acts in accordance with the practice, he gains confidence; if he fails to do so, he gains doubt instead.

Confidence:

At the beginning of each adventure, each character's confidence points are reset to his Faith score.  He may not earn confidence points in excess of his faith score; if he does, those points are lost.  Confidence points are spent in the same way fate points are spent.

Doubt:

Doubt is the means by which Faith has a chance to grow.  A character can increase his faith score by only one means - building up doubt until it is higher than Faith, and then going through a crisis of faith.

Doubt is gained by two means.  Any time a character uses a confidence point to prevent the activation of a faith-related aspect, or fails to live up to a practice, that character gains a point of doubt.  In addition, certain events can cause an increase in doubt.  For example, a character with the tenet, "God is merely the sum of mankind's ideals and aspirations" were to recieve a prophetic vision which then came true, he would receive a point of doubt, even if the character were to dismiss the vision as a happenstance hallucination.  Whether or not the character can rationalize the experience is immaterial; what matters is whether the events challenge the tenet.  The player chooses when doubt increases.  Each point of doubt is assigned to a single tenet.

Crisis of Faith:

When total doubt exceeds the faith score, the character enters a state of "Crisis of Faith".  For as long as the crisis lasts, the character suffers a penalty die on all actions due to the turbulent emotions associated with questioning one's most deeply held beliefs.  The crisis lasts until the character has a chance to spend time in contemplation, and work it out.  The length of time this takes can be as brief as an hour, or as long as years; the exact length of time is up to the player.  Often, a player will choose to stay in the crisis until he has the confidence to grow his faith, or feels he has no choice but to erode.

Resolving a crisis of faith requires that the character assess and re-assemble his beliefs.  The player decides whether the character's faith has eroded or grown.

Eroding faith is easy.  The character removes whichever tenet has the most doubt associated with it (and its associated practice), removes any remaining doubt on other tenets, and reduces his faith score by one.  His confidence resets to his faith score.  A character with a faith score of one should not choose this option without considering the consequences; to do so would leave them completely without faith, and as a result, without confidence, or any means of gaining it.  Any human reduced to this state is probably insane.

Growing faith is not so easy.  The character throws out whichever tenet has the most doubt, and adds two more.  The character must have as much confidence as the doubt in this confidence; if he doesn't have enough, then he cannot resolve the crisis of faith by growing faith until he does so.   If there is a tie, the player chooses which tenet to discard.  The player gives each new tenet an associated practice.  The character's confidence drops to zero, as he is treading new, unfamiliar ground, philosophically speaking.  Any doubt associated with retained tenets is also retained.
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"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
Vaxalon
Member

Posts: 1619


« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2005, 11:46:12 AM »

Edit Change the last paragraph to:

Growing faith is not so easy.  The character throws out whichever tenet has the most doubt, and adds two more.  If no one tenet has more doubt than any other, then he must gain doubt in one or the other in order to resolve the crisis by growing faith.   The character must have at least as much confidence as the doubt in the tenet that has been thrown out; if he doesn't have enough, then he cannot resolve the crisis of faith by growing faith until he does so.   The player gives each new tenet an associated practice.  The character's confidence drops to zero, as he is treading new, unfamiliar ground, philosophically speaking.  Any doubt associated with retained tenets is also retained.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2005, 11:48:45 AM by Vaxalon » Logged

"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2005, 11:50:05 AM »

On Indie-Netgaming I pointed out to Fred that players would probably avoid the condition where they have more doubt than faith in any tenet because then they'd be forced to lose faith to continue. As opposed to having the choice of whether or not to lose or gain faith. Then I proposed making it a roll if the player wanted to increase faith instead. Making piling up doubt in any one area a gamble.

Thoughts, Fred?

Mike
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Vaxalon
Member

Posts: 1619


« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2005, 05:07:29 PM »

There's no way to have more faith than doubt in any one tenet unless one had been placing all one's doubt in one tenet, at which point it would trigger a crisis of faith.

A crisis of faith is triggered when TOTAL doubt exceeds faith.

I don't want to make it  a die roll, because a crisis of faith should be something the player (if not the character) seeks out.
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"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2005, 06:56:16 AM »

There's no way to have more faith than doubt in any one tenet unless one had been placing all one's doubt in one tenet, at which point it would trigger a crisis of faith.

A crisis of faith is triggered when TOTAL doubt exceeds faith.
That's my point. The rule that I'm looking at crosseyed is:

Quote
The character must have as much confidence as the doubt in this confidence; if he doesn't have enough, then he cannot resolve the crisis of faith by growing faith until he does so.

Let's say that a player did stack all of his doubt in one tenet, Tenet A, and his Faith is 4. The crisis of Faith does not happen, as written, until doubt totals 5 ("when total doubt exceeds faith"). If that's all in Tenet A, the most confidence the player can get, 4, will not be enough to allow him to grow his faith. Since faith cannot grow, he can't get more confidence, and the only way to proceed at this point is to erode faith.

Now, I'm guessing from what you're saying that this condition is not something you put in intentionally? If not, then I'd make it go away by simply changing the rule of when a crisis occurs to "when total doubt equals faith." That way the player can never get trapped by having allocated all dounbt to one tenet. It may still be hard to get out of this, as he'll have to build up lots of confidence to overcome it, but it'll at least be possible.

Quote
I don't want to make it  a die roll, because a crisis of faith should be something the player (if not the character) seeks out.
I'm not saying that the roll would happen automatically, if you wanted to use this solution. I'm saying that if the player attemted to grow faith that it would be a roll. The player still seeks it out, it's just that the result is uncertain. This would allow for the above condition to exist and not be problematic (and the roll might be interesting). But I'm thinking at this point that you'll probably want to go with something like the solution above.

Mike
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Vaxalon
Member

Posts: 1619


« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2005, 09:48:01 AM »

AH!  I see the problem.  Yes, banking all the doubt in one tenet would create an error state.  I'll have to change that.  Total doubt equals faith, that's the way to go.
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"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
Vaxalon
Member

Posts: 1619


« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2005, 09:50:14 AM »

New version

FATE Faith rules

These rules replace the rules on fate points.

Character creation:

Each character starts with a Faith score of 1.  This may be raised by taking faith-related aspects, for example "Faithful", "Believer", "Priest's Son", "Raised in a Church Orphanage".  Each aspect which is faith-related raises the Faith score by one.  It is up to the player to declare aspects as faith-related.

Each character has a list of beliefs.  A belief consists of a tenet and a practice.  In brief, a tenet is an article of faith, a 'fact' that the character believes; a practice is the means by which that tenet expresses itself in the behavior of the character.

Tenets should not be something that is inherently provable.  Having as a tenet, "My dog's name is spot" will not earn you any doubt, and doubt is an essential element of gaining faith (see below).  Likewise, a tenet cannot be a negative declaration; "I believe that there is no God" is a declaration of lack of faith, not a declaration of faith.  Instead, if you want to make an atheist character, you could take "I believe that God is a myth some people tell themselves in order to be happy."

Each tenet is connected to a practice.  By conforming to that practice, a character cements his faith and so gains confidence.  Similar to an aspect, a practice can be activated by the gamemaster; if the player acts in accordance with the practice, he gains confidence; if he fails to do so, he gains doubt instead.

Generally speaking, practices should be broad; "I revere the relics of Catholic saints" would be better than "I always keep my Saint Barbara relic with me, and pray with it in my hands" because the first would be easier to focus on in a scene.

Confidence:

At the beginning of each adventure, each character's confidence points are reset to his Faith score.  He may not earn confidence points in excess of his faith score; if he does, those points are lost.  Confidence points are spent in the same way fate points are spent.

Characters gain confidence when they act in accordance with their aspects and practices.  When a practice is invoked by the GM, if the PC acts in accordance with the practice, he gains a point of confidence.   A character can only gain confidence from a particular practice once per game session.

With respect to aspects, confidence works the same as fate points.

Doubt:

Doubt is the means by which Faith has a chance to grow.  A character can increase his faith score by only one means - building up doubt until it is equal to Faith, and then going through a crisis of faith.

Doubt is gained by two means.  Any time a character uses a confidence point to prevent the activation of a faith-related aspect, or fails to live up to a practice, that character gains a point of doubt.  In addition, certain events can cause an increase in doubt.  For example, a character with the tenet, "God is merely the sum of mankind's ideals and aspirations" were to recieve a prophetic vision which then came true, he would receive a point of doubt, even if the character were to dismiss the vision as a happenstance hallucination.  Whether or not the character can rationalize the experience is immaterial; what matters is whether the events challenge the tenet.  The player chooses when doubt increases.  Each point of doubt is assigned to a single tenet.

Crisis of Faith:

When total doubt equals the faith score, the character enters a state of "Crisis of Faith".  For as long as the crisis lasts, the character suffers a penalty die on all actions due to the turbulent emotions associated with questioning one's most deeply held beliefs.  The crisis lasts until the character has a chance to spend time in contemplation, and work it out.  The length of time this takes can be as brief as an hour, or as long as years; the exact length of time is up to the player.  Often, a player will choose to stay in the crisis until he has the confidence to grow his faith, or feels he has no choice but to erode.

Resolving a crisis of faith requires that the character assess and re-assemble his beliefs.  The player decides whether the character's faith has eroded or grown.

Eroding faith is easy.  The character removes whichever tenet has the most doubt associated with it (and its associated practice), removes any remaining doubt on other tenets, and reduces his faith score by one.  His confidence resets to his faith score.  A character with a faith score of one should not choose this option without considering the consequences; to do so would leave them completely without faith, and as a result, without confidence, or any means of gaining it.  Any human reduced to this state is probably insane.

Growing faith is not so easy.  The character throws out whichever tenet has the most doubt, and adds two more.  If no one tenet has more doubt than any other, then he must gain doubt in one or the other in order to resolve the crisis by growing faith.   The character must have at least as much confidence as the doubt in the tenet that has been thrown out; if he doesn't have enough, then he cannot resolve the crisis of faith by growing faith until he does so.   The player gives each new tenet an associated practice.  The character's confidence drops to zero, as he is treading new, unfamiliar ground, philosophically speaking.  Any doubt associated with retained tenets is also retained.

A new belief (that is, tenet and practice) is not considered "confirmed" until the player has gained confidence with it once per point of faith - it can't be said that this is something meaningful to your character until you've done it a few times.  If an unconfirmed belief triggers a crisis of faith, the character MUST erode faith.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2005, 10:01:04 AM by Vaxalon » Logged

"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2005, 11:44:53 AM »

Ooh, I like the addition about the confirmation, and having to erode if you've not confirmed. To be clear, by "triggered" you mean that the player selected to accept doubt aimed at that tenet, right? This is cool, because it means that a player can sorta change their mind. They can appear to be gaining, but then suddenly lose faith.

This could be an interesting tactic. Gain doubt to crisis. Do a gain, get one net additional tenet, and flush confidence. Then immediately accept doubt on one of the new tenets causing it to go away, but gaining all your confidence back. Basically it's a torturous way to gain a few points of confidence and trade one tenet for another in the process.

Interesting.

Mike
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Vaxalon
Member

Posts: 1619


« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2005, 03:31:42 PM »

And all that doubt and changing of beliefs should be fodder for all kinds of interesting RP.
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"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
Vaxalon
Member

Posts: 1619


« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2005, 02:50:47 AM »

Okay, we've got a playtest!

We're going to use the world of Max Headroom, the short-lived SF series starring Matt Frewer, as a nice simple setting.  The PC's are all associates of Reverend John Lightly, the star of Network 23's sunday morning religion show.  Adrienne has chosen to play his on-camera assistant, JP will play his producer (the job that Murray has on the series) and LX will play a troubleshooter, with the emphasis on "shooter"... someone who cleans up loose ends that the Good Reverend leaves behind... after all, we can't have any nasty little scandals soiling the Good Reverend's reputation, now, can we?  That would be bad for Ratings.

This coming thursday we'll create characters, and at the end of August we'll have our first play session.
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"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
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