The Face Of Angels: Act 1: The Discovery

About the act

In this act, the protagonists will be first discovering their powers, and the world will be first discovering them. The story will likely be about their reaction to their powers, as well as their family and friends' reaction, and how they fit into their immediate community. Their enemies will begin to emerge.

New rules

The World's hand size

From now on, the World's hand size is equal to five plus the act number. So, in Act 1, her hand size is six cards.

Trump cards

Trumping is simple. Each protagonist character has a trump suit representing the area of his or her superhuman powers. If anyone in the contest lays down a card in their trump suit and then describes themselves using that power, the card counts as a trump card. (It is entirely possible to play a card in your trump suit as a regular card.) A trump card beats anything except another trump card, which it would be compared numerically against.

You cannot play a trump card if you are not playing your protagonist character.

One way to think about a trump suit is as a fifth suit which always wins.

When you help someone with one of your character's trump cards, it counts as a trump.


Super-trumping only happens when someone plays their super-trump card when playing their protagonist character. He or she must describe the character using its powers in an amazing and transformative manner. In fact, the player must immediately choose one of the transformations from the current act to apply to his character. The entire contest ends immediately with that character winning.

If you have another character's super-trump card, you can use this to affect that character. If that character is in a contest, you can play this card to either help or harm them. You decide which way this decides the contest. If you do this, it counts as the character's super-trump. You get to describe the character using its powers in an amazing and transformative manner if it wins or in a terrible and unexpected way if it loses, and you get to choose the transformation for that character.

The World and trumps

The World, starting in this act, will have the chance to assign trumps to people and organizations. The organization can be no higher than the current level of stakes: therefore, in Act 1, it can only be small groups of people; in Act 2, it can be up to a city; in Act 3, it can be up to a country; in Act 4, it can be as large as you like. The World has to justify this, and it must be done before a conflict starts. The justification can be anything sensible – maybe a person has a tremendous emotional pull on someone else, or maybe a paramilitary group has a suitcase bomb.

There are limitations to this. Only one trump can be assigned per act. In addition, each suit can only be assigned once. The World can use a maximum of one character or organization's trump in a contest.

Revealing secrets

When a player plays a card either against someone else's PC or in order to help that PC, he can reveal the secret of that character that his PC thinks he knows. He must do this in character narration. If that character's player says the secret is true, the card is a trump card. If that character's player says the secret is false, then he must hand his cards to the other player. That player will sort out what he wants and hand back the same number of cards to the character's player.


In this act, one cannot set stakes that involve any other protagonist character's death or loss of their identity or powers, or the loss of any character in anyone else's part of the pie. You can do whatever you want with the characters in your part of the pie. At maximum, stakes can be about the fate of small groups of people.


If you get bonus cards for a relationship and fail in the contest, that relationship cannot grant you bonus cards for the rest of the act.

Protagonists can take relationships with people or organizations up to the size of a small group of people.


If you play your super-trump in Act 1, you must choose one of the following to happen to your character:

  • Your physical appearance changes to reflect your powers in some way.
  • There are gross physical manifestations of your power, so that you are exposed to everyone present.
  • Your power works differently than you originally thought. Re-write the power, but keep the same trump card.
  • Henceforth, there is a distinct side-effect of your power that you must narrate whenever you use it.
  • Bystanders are changed or harmed.

Ending the act

In Act 1, and in all acts afterward, the entire draw pile must have been used up to end the act. If used up, the World should shuffle the discard pile and make this the new draw pile. In addition, there will be story conditions to end the act. If these conditions have been met and the deck has been used up, anyone can suggest the act be ended after a scene is over. If this is seconded, the act is over.

In Act 1, the story conditions are: At least one of the player characters' identity must be exposed to outsiders. Everyone must have used their powers in a contest.

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