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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.


Faction Concept

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).



It's great that there are factions

But why do they matter?

That is the question I am asking myself. Do the Bandit Kings hate the Wild Ones? Do they work together? Some goals align more closely than others...

I think a new faction approach is in order - differentiate this from the core and make it a more relevant part of the world. In a place that is falling apart, friends are more important than ever. In some ways, the death of magic could be viewed as a mini apocalypse...

I will see if I can sit down at some point in the coming months and provide a concrete example of what I am trying to describe.

Really, when you're talking

Really, when you're talking about factions that have enough clout to get things done and to reward their members, you're going to be talking about factions that really speak to something elemental to the people. While in the real world groups like the NRA gun club can have quite a lot of clout, in the Dark Golden Age pretty much everything is going through a great upheaval. Many of these smaller groups who would amass power over time just haven't had the time to do so. Also, there's a limit to the number of factions we can reasonably introduce and expect people to keep track of. So we *distill* those ideas, such as the gun club's issue of bearing arms, to the more general concepts like freedom.

So the concepts that seem to jump out at me are those revolving around slavery, magic, religion *divine magic*, freedom, power, trade, and control.

The Wild Ones embody the freedom concept in their struggle to free Tesaya.
The Bandit Kings of Halag (so far) seem to embody the search for power. Rokinu is constantly plotting, scheming, and on the lookout for powerful items.
The Red Currant Society would be the pursuers of magic.

So the issues still missing a group would be slavery, religion, trade, and control.

I would imagine that the gladiators, having been raised in slavery to compete in bloody combat at the whims of another, could easily become an anti-slavery faction within their own right. With combat experience greater than most, these trained combatants could have easily spring-boarded the rebellions. And with such a powerful shared background, it would be easy for them to fall into a cohesive group with just a few far-thinking individuals working to that end within the group.

For the trade group, I picture an underground, almost mob-like shadowy group who arranges for both legal and not-so-legal items to be acquired and transferred. They would need to have working contacts in pretty much every area, and the accumulation of wealth would be a driving force.

Now, the religious faction also has a LOT of potential for being the control faction as well. I mean, you've got these established religious groups who've effectively been looked down on by arcanists for ages. Now, the arcanists are collapsing. Within this vacuum, these religious groups would be stepping forward attempting to bridge the gap with both their divine magic and the rigid hierarchy to impose order on the people and the world around them. I could easily see Thur as a hotbed of this kind of activity, and a centerpoint for religious authority to spread from.

As an alternative for control, we could consider Sascria. Even through the collapse, they have managed to keep control of their people. They control and convert the young gifted they kidnap, creating willing allies and supporters. And while some would look at them poorly for these actions, many would feel that regardless of the means, preservation of knowledge and culture is a worthy goal. And if it means that there are fewer and fewer mages to go around in the rest of the world, so much the better.

Now, here is a question. It seems like, at least for the time being that Mike is using the basic pathfinder system for accumulation of pa, and how it's spent, and for what. Are we working on a different system for the factions, or are we just plugging that in?

Over on the factions post

Over on the factions post that MikeB put up, I've proposed an alternate system for faction relationships that is based on the simplified system D20 Modern uses for wealth. I'm a fan of simple, all things being equal.

I really like your line of thinking here - that each faction should be iconic. People won't remember all the factions, and we shouldn't expect them to. We can always invent incidental factions that don't have broad clout, who are competing or resisting the larger ones, and so on, but I like linking each faction to a few basic ideas. Again, simple.

My thoughts are that Sascria, and the Arcane Schools, are all about control. I think that Thur as a hotbed of religions and religious magic is a fine choice. There will definitely be an overlap for these as well, but I like sticking with a core idea drawn from the setting's themes (and I basically agree with your list as a place to start). We might re-imagine the Bandit Kings to be interested in trade - this is something of a post-apocalyptic setting, only a few years after the collapse of the arcane economy and political structures. Trade would no longer be what it used to be, and people like bandits and grey/black market types would flourish. Smugglers between suddenly-arising factions could make a killing, etc. I see this as more the purview of organized crime.

I think a militia organization of some kind would make sense, made up of ex-gladiators who train locals to defend themselves from future incursions or attempts to enslave or control them. I actually think the NRA is a good image to have (I try to have modern or historical things in mind when I develop various parts of any setting to help me imagine them). This would put these militia groups in conflict with any group claiming sovereignty or control in a region, and would easily put PCs into tight spots (support local freedoms, or support our new patron?).

For the factions overall, I would want to stick to a system where they can and do conflict on some things, but not on others. In a given adventure, you might gain a little reputation, or you might gain with one faction and lose with another, based on the nature of the adventure.

Here's the post MikeB put up where I have my other comments on the faction system itself:


I could see the bandit kings

I could see the bandit kings delving into trading, but the faction'll need a bit of tweaking to fit it in. I agree that the trading system should be prevalently run by organized crime. I'll be dropping a few comments into the factions thread as well.

Did you have any thoughts to add to the list of themes? I keep making mental marks about adding a certain faction, and then marking it off as too sideline.

I think you have a good list,

I think you have a good list, but I'll give it some thought. If we didn't add anything to the list, for now, I think we'd still be fine, with one or two factions representing each setting theme.

Another possible option for a

Another possible option for a religious faction: the Southern/Ferronian Pantheon


My thought is to have both, since they are pretty distinct geographically and in terms of what they are like, and I like two big groups competing for the majority of the 'share' of divine magic.

Speaking of religion/divine

Speaking of religion/divine magic being focused in Thuria - worshippers of the Northern Pantheon could be a Faction: