In the simplest form, a Faith class can follow one of four Faith Paths; Holy, Demonic, Psionic, or Primal. Each path grants the Faith class with unique Faith powers that allow for a number of varying and unique play styles. Once a path is chosen, deviation from that path (i.e. learning powers outside of your chosen path) typically results in becoming an outlaw (see Titles).
There are four core Faith Paths, each rooted in a particular Transcendent or Transverse Domain of Creation, with its own disciplines and powers:
- Holy Faith – faith in the divine power of Creation and/or the Creator; the Spirit of Creation, rooted in the Divine Domain
- Demonic Faith – faith in demonic forces or beings; the Abomination of Creation, rooted in the Hell Domain
- Primal Faith – faith in the natural world and primal demigods; the Substance of creation, rooted in the Material Domain
- Psionic Faith – faith in the power of the mind and will; the Soul of Creation, rooted in the Soul Domain
Regardless of which Faith path a Faith class may choose to follow, all the Faith class mechanics function more or less the same way. Each Faith Path also has five unique disciplines. Faith classes can choose powers from any of the disciplines within their chosen Faith Path, unless otherwise restricted by the particular faith or religion they belong to.
Hybrid Faith Paths
While not recommended for new players, some GMs may be asked if they can create hybrid faith paths that mix disciplines from more than one Faith path. In some cases this might simply mean that the character will play with an outlaw title, but it also could represent an established and/or recognized faith within your campaign setting. Realm of Strife’s primary setting has some options for these found in Systems of Faith (Gant) and (Norlanin).
If a GM is experienced enough with the Faith mechanic and is willing to allow additional player agency in developing hydrid faith paths there are some basic guidelines that should still be followed based number of paths chosen the the relationship to available discplines:
- 1 Path (pure/basic) – access to all five disciplines for that Path
- 2 Paths – access to only 4 total disciplines split between the paths
- 3 Paths – access to only 3 total disciplines (one from each path)
- 4 paths – not possible (Demonic and Holy can never mix)
Keep in mind that is using hybrid faith paths, each class is still limited in the number of Tier 0 powers they have available, and those tier 0 powers function specific to their associated give path. See Tier 0 powers for more details.
The Faith mechanic, at its core, adds one additional Stat to any Faith Class. The Faith stat does not remain static the way other Character Stats do, but instead may fluctuate greatly throughout combat or even just regular adventuring. These fluctuations are a function of using Faith powers, increasing with every success but decreasing with ever failure. While even a small amount of Faith can used effectively both in and out of combat, by the measure of their Faith a character gains access to increasingly potent powers. Conversely, if Faith is ever reduced to zero most powers become inaccessible (except Tier 0 powers).
At character creation, Faith is typically set to zero, though based on your characters back story a GM may decide to award you additional Faith to start with. Regardless, Faith is not particularly difficult to gain, as every Faith class has a Tier 0 power designed to generate a small amount of faith. Faith is NOT reset after combat and typically is NOT consumed by using powers (some exceptions may apply).
Like any stat, under normal circumstances, Faith can not exceed 20. In rare cases, a GM may also use a Faith classes Faith stat as a Stat Test or Stat Roll-off.
Using Faith Powers
When in combat there is no limit to the number of times a Faith power can be used. This represents the heightened adrenaline and/or excitement of battle, causing Faith classes to act more instinctively and draw more heavily upon their beliefs in a crisis.
Every Faith power has a difficulty level, ranging from 1 to 20, which describes the relative amount of Faith required in order to use that power. You must have Faith equal to or greater than the Difficulty of the power in order to attempt to use it. Note that, unlike Vigor, Fury, or Spirit classes, using a Faith power does not ‘consume’ any Faith, however it does require an additional D20 roll is made prior to rolling the D100 hit roll. This is referred to as the “Difficulty Roll”.
- If the score on a D20 (with any ‘Difficulty Roll’ modifiers added) is greater than the Difficulty of the power it is cast successfully, but if it is less than or equal, it fails
- Rolling a natural 1 is automatically a failure, regardless of any “+ to Difficulty Roll” modifiers
- Rolling a natural 20 causes the next Faith power used to not require a Difficulty test
Based on the outcome of the Difficulty roll, and modified by ‘Wisdom’, the character’s Faith points are adjusted according to the following table:
|Outcome||Wisdom Range:||20 – 19||18 – 16||15 – 11||10 – 6||5 – 0|
|Pass||add, lesser of Difficulty or:||4||3||2||1||0|
|Fail||subtract:||diff||diff +1||diff+2||diff +3||diff +4|
Beneficial powers, such as those that heal or buff allies, do not need to beat the targets resistance, as it is assumed the friendly would not resist (though there can be exceptions to this rule). However, a d100 casting roll is still taken, as it is possible d100 is required and is possible for the power to critically fail or critically cast.
A Faith power that causes direct healing effects can be used against any undead enemy as a damaging attack. If a power would cause direct healing to a target it causes that much damage to an undead target instead. Targeting is done in the same manner, and if a healing power is used offensively a standard d100 casting roll is required, with the target using the appropriate resistance.
Faith Powers Outside of Combat
Without the intense pressure of combat as a catalyst for their Faith, under normal circumstances Faith classes can not cast powers without limit. Instead, when outside of combat/crisis situations, a Faith class may use their current level as a daily pool of points that can be allocated to casting Faith Powers, at a cost of 1 point per Tier of the Power. The daily pool of points fully replenishes provided the character gets at least a proper half rest.
Example: A level 9 Holy Cleric with access to Tier 4 Powers, wishes to use his powers to heal his allies before they rest for the night. At this level his daily out of combat casting pool is equal to 9. He therefore could use 1 Vital Heal (T4), 1 Mass Healing (T3) and then 1 Minor Heal (T2) before depleting his casting pool for the day.
Regardless of the level of the character, using Faith powers outside of combat is still subject to the required amount of Faith and uses a Difficulty roll with the same success or failure outcomes.
Tier 0 powers can typically be used freely outside of combat. However they cannot cause Faith class to gain Faith more than once per day (unless otherwise stated) and count as a half rest if used while resting.
Tier 0 Faith Powers
When a Faith class converts to (or chooses to follow) a particular Faith path, they gain immediate access to a selection of Tier 0 Faith powers which can be always be used regardless of the number of Faith points they currently possess. Once chosen, they cannot be changed but will remain in memory at all times and don’t count towards the total number of powers known. Tier 0 powers follow one of four archetypes based on their associated faith path:
- Prayers (for Holy)
- Rituals (for Demonic)
- Mantras (for Psionic)
- Systems (for Primal)
These powers typically include options to allow the caster to generate Faith (particularly useful when recovering from a series of failures) and also provide a variety of useful utilities.
If using Faith powers from more than one Path, keep in mind that Tier 0 powers are strictly associated with a path and as such you will need to choose wisely as they may not all apply in every case.
Learning New Powers and Tier Restrictions
Faith powers are usually acquired by learning them from reading Sacred Texts, books of Scripture, or the teachings of Revered masters. Faith powers are organized and restricted firstly by Faith path, secondly by Discipline and thirdly by Tier. As you gain levels/titles you gain access to increasingly powerful Tiers. To start a Faith, the user receives two free powers and gain one per level. This means that a starting level 1 character starts with three Faith powers.
To learn new Faith powers, a character must be in possession of a sacred text or other such source of knowledge regarding their chosen Faith. They must also have enough Faith to cast the power and must pass a Difficulty roll to be able to learn it. Unless the Faith user is taught by an appropriate Faith teacher, the Faith class only has one chance to roll against the Difficulty to learn a new power each day. If a Faith teacher is present, the Difficulty roll may be re-rolled once before determining success or failure.
Passing the Difficulty test when attempting to learn a new power allows the Faith class to now use that power at will, provided that they have enough Faith to do so.
Failing the Difficulty test when attempting to learn a new power means the power has NOT been learned and results in losing that much Faith, potentially preventing another attempt until Faith can be restored.
Retaining, Swapping, and Re-learning Powers
There is a finite number of powers that a Faith Class have available to them in combat, as there is no time to read lengthy scriptures in the heat of battle. As such it is essential that Faith Classes commit their powers to memory, but there are limits to how many powers can be memorized at any given time.
The maximum number of Powers (not including Tier 0) that can be retained in memory is equal to: 2 +1 per level
This does not necessarily mean that once a power is learned and retained in memory that it is not possible to swap out or re-learn powers.
Due to the limit on the number of powers that most Faith classes can actively retain, any time they learn a new power when the casters memory is full it forces an existing power out of your memory. In a sense, the power is over-written. The over-written power can be any power the caster chooses, other than a Tier 0. This over-writing applies regardless if at one point in time the caster already knew the power; if they do not currently retain knowledge in their memory of the power they must essentially re-learn it.
Methods of Casting
All Faith classes cast their powers using a combination of some form of verbal command, prayer or chant paired with a casting gesture of some kind. This means in order for a faith power to be successfully cast both components must be performed. Therefore in order to prevent a Faith class from casting you must interfere with one or both of these functions. As such Faith classes will be prevented from using their Primary Skills (aka Faith Powers) if they are Silenced, Winded, Stunned, Immobilized, Incapacitated or Unconscious. in combat this means they are susceptible to skills or abilities that inflict these types of Crowd Control (CC) effects.
Outside of combat, in a roleplaying sense, these types of effects can be induced upon a Faith class to prevent them from casting. Examples would be tying a gag around their mouth, binding their hands and feet, dosing them with potions, or even just getting them extremely drunk. However, care should be taken when using methods such as this to prevent or restrict a Faith class from casting. A well experienced Monk can chant under their breath and a bound Zealot could who can still reach their Holy relic can still be a threat. As always GM discretion plays a role in deciding how well a method performs in preventing a Faith class from casting, and a good GM allows players to fail and learn from their mistakes rather than spoon feed them the foolproof method to delivering that Heretic, Witch or Apostate up for judgement by a religious order.
All Faith classes are generically required to use both a verbal/vocalized component and a physical component in order to use their Primary Skills (aka use Faith Powers). However, from a roleplaying perspective there are significant differences in the methods that different Faith classes use to fulfill these requirements, based on their particular beliefs, philosophies and Faith paths. The methods listed below are typical of each class, but exceptions may exist within them.
|Class||Verbal/Vocalized Component||Physical Component|
|Priest||Chanting/calling out words of power, invoking the names of powers they serve, and/or reciting scriptures||Symbolic gestures made with one or both arms/hands, often involving symbols,relics, idols, or other devices of their faith|
|Monk||Chanting, often under their breath if wishing to avoid notice||Symbolic gestures made with one or both arms/hands, often involving symbols,relics, idols, or other devices of their faith|
|Shaolin||Chanting punctuated with short yells, shouts, or sharp exhaling of breath||Symbolic gestures incorporated into martial poses|
|Druid||Chanting or singing to invoke the powers they serve||Casting gestures that rhythmically match their chanting or singing and evoke a sense of the power they serve|
|Cleric||Calling out words of power, invoking the names of powers they serve, reciting scriptures and battle hymns||Simple but forceful casting gestures, often made with a symbol, relic, idol, or other device of their faith that can be incorporated into weapons or armor|
|Zealot||Calling out words of power, invoking the names of powers they serve, reciting scriptures and battle hymns||Simple but forceful casting gestures, often made with a symbol, relic, idol, or other device of their faith that can be incorporated into weapons or armor|
|Paladin||Calling out words of power, invoking the names of powers they serve, reciting scriptures and battle hymns||Simple but forceful casting gestures, often made with a symbol, relic, idol, or other device of their faith that can be incorporated into weapons or armor|