We have had several posts in relation to factions so far - they have been over in an active game forum, so it seems like it is reasonable to move the conversation out of the game and into the world.
Let's make this thread a jumping off point for overall faction discussion, but I think their own forum may be in order. Sub-topics could include the list of factions (I know there is a post out there that can be seached for, but that is the only way I know how to find it) and the concepts behind how they work overall.
When I think of making factions different from what is commonly seen in Pathfinder, I would like to think of it in relation to how I see factions function in reality.
1) A group of typically like-minded people with a shared goal or purpose (e.g. law enforcement, banking, hockey league/association, military, political)
2) There are benefits and detriments to being in a faction, but the detriments only typically arise in relation to people that are not in the same faction, or in opposing factions (e.g. If you are in a conservative faction, typically it is liberals that don't like you - not people who could care less). The benefits need not be exclusive, but they may only apply to a select group of factions (e.g. if you are in a retail faction, you would likely get a general discount when shopping retail at your associated place, but others may have access to the same deal through a different avenue - say a trade organization club).
3) You typically have access to specialized resources(equipment or otherwise) and knowledge in relation to your faction. A law-enforcement faction typically provides some knowledge to either the law, or people who know it - this doesn't preclude others from having some amount of access to it, but may restrict the application of that knowledge (you may know how to be a smith, but without being in the faction, you may not have access to the right materials to perform the job).
4) You typically have special access to something - be it a club house or an ability to perform some task in a recognized fashion (e.g. police can arrest people more easily than just general citizens, and they get to go places others are not allowed without special permission).
5) People can be affiliated or support a faction without being a direct member, and there are typically some benefits associated with this, and the penalties, if any, are usually very slight. (e.e A card-carrying member of the NRA will be more or less well liked than someone who just owns a gun).