Factions in RPGs

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Havard
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Factions in RPGs

Post by Havard » Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:48 pm

Do you use factions in your RPGs? What are the main factions in your campaign?

What do you use factions for?

What benefits do PCs gain from joining a faction?

Do you include ranks within the faction that the players can gain? What benefits would such ranks grant?

Special uniforms/equipment for each faction, or even by rank?

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Re: Factions in RPGs

Post by shesheyan » Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:20 am

I like factions in my sci-fi games. Not so much in fantasy games. Coriolis The Third Horizon, has factions and patrons. Characters must choose sides. They get a «group» faction talent. Also, having a faction and a patron is helpful when trying to make connections in unfamiliar territory or planets. For the GM factions are fun because they create obvious plot hooks and hindrances for the characters on top of the current mission.
Last edited by shesheyan on Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:57 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Factions in RPGs

Post by zontoxira » Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:27 am

In the early stages of my Planescape campaign, when the characters were in Hillsfar, I tried to introduce the factions presented in AL (Harpers, Zhentarim, Emerald Enclave etc.) but no player showed interest in them. Later in Sigil, three decided to join some of the 15 factions; I now have a Guvner, an Anarchist, and an Indep in my group.
Apart from the usual advantages a faction offers (a safe haven, access to items and magic, connections in the city and around the planes), I also use a homebrewed belief system, where the characters can benefit from a small boost in their abilities due to their strong beliefs and convictions. And, like what shesheyan says, factions from a GM perspective are excellent, creating plot hooks and making complications in an adventure.
Have a look at my Dark Sun 5e Reconstruction or Planescape 5e Belief System
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Re: Factions in RPGs

Post by Coronoides » Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:47 am

I populate even my home brew worlds with various groups. These mostly occur organically emerging out off the imagined society rather than the ‘forced’ feeling world spanning factions of the Forgotten Realms. Guilds, aristocratic families, mercenary companies, ship crews, churches, and knightly orders are around all with their own agendas. If the players join in play great! If not the faction keep striving for their goals breathing life into the world and providing plenty of adventure books.
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Re: Factions in RPGs

Post by Tim Baker » Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:26 am

Ever since I was introduced to 13th Age, my games have had factions. 13th Age places the icons (the heads of powerful factions throughout the setting) front and center. Where most core books would start with character creation or an overview of the setting and its history in the first chapter, 13th Age dedicates its first chapter to the description of the icons. PCs receive mechanical benefits from the icons in the form of magic items, NPC contacts, and "narrative currency" that allows the player to explain how the PC's relationship with the icon's faction provided some benefit. On the other hand, the GM uses the icons that oppose the PCs to introduce new complications and to theme encounters (e.g., using draconic enemies if the PCs have a negative relationship with the chromatic dragon icons, or using undead if they have a negative relationship with a powerful lich).
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Re: Factions in RPGs

Post by zontoxira » Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:22 pm

Coronoides wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:47 am
rather than the ‘forced’ feeling world spanning factions of the Forgotten Realms.
That's one reason I never fancied the 'international' organisations as introduced in FR, because they felt like their modern counterparts (Unicef, WWF, UN etc). To me it looks as if they were shoehorned into AL and official adventures (and whoa, how come ALL factions have a thing to say in every adventure, like today's international politics), though to be fair, I don't know what's the D&D community's opinion.
Have a look at my Dark Sun 5e Reconstruction or Planescape 5e Belief System
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Re: Factions in RPGs

Post by Sturm » Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:04 pm

I think factions make sense in High-Magic settings, considering a better communication given by magic makes them more similar to the modern world than a classic medieval world. However in Mystara mostly I used churches as factions, and nothing more. In the FR the classic ones, Harpers and Zhentarim mostly. I think it depends on the setting mostly, so I would not adapt the FR factions to Mystara, unless I change them extensively to properly fit them in the setting. In Mystara there are no Harpers so they shoud be substituted with an appropriate church, for example.

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Re: Factions in RPGs

Post by willpell » Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:49 pm

I think the Affiliation rules in 3E make a decent starting point. But 5E's "faction system" is an utter joke.

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Re: Factions in RPGs

Post by agathokles » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:44 pm

I think factions make sense. Maybe FR factions in the organize play are a bit overdone, bit in your game nothing prevents you from having local factions.
Besides churches and cults, Thieves' Guilds, political parties, merchant houses, and clans can all serve this purpose.
Birthright has built-in local factions, and many gazetteers for Mystara have a wide range of factions (Glantri in particular has many, ranging from crime syndicate's to elven terrorists to underground cults).

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Re: Factions in RPGs

Post by Dalillama » Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:43 am

In any game that's not straight up murderhoboing, PCs will generally have ongoing interactions with at least one community of NPCs, and factions of some sort are going to be present in any group above ~50-100 people. I don't see any particular need to have specific rules for them separate from any other social interation rules that might be present; if PCs join a faction, they get the benefit that they can get help from fellow members, and the cost that they're expected to help other members in turn, and that they get the faction's enemies. My last game was a weird western set in a Colorado mining boomtown; the factions present included the corrupt Sheriff and his bandit allies, the demon-possessed deputy and his cultists, a group of vigilantes organized by a con man who wants to supplant the Sheriff (and run the Irish and Chinese out of town), the Fenians (a group of Irishmen (and a few women), who came to town with the railroads and want to a) not be run out of town and b) link up with other Fenian bands to invade Canada), the Hop Sing Benevolent Association (to which virtually all of the Chinese population belong, and which arranged and paid for their immigration in the first place. They don't want to be run out of town either), Granny's girls (a loose association of sex workers who want to be left the hell alone to practice their trade and are sick of demands for protection money from the other factions, and also want something done about the serial killer), and the PCs who would just as soon not get involved because there's a slight monster problem that they're trying to deal with, but various of whom wound up working for/with all the factions except the cultists and vigilantes.

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Re: Factions in RPGs

Post by Coronoides » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:23 am

Dalillama wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:43 am
In any game that's not straight up murderhoboing, PCs will generally have ongoing interactions with at least one community of NPCs, and factions of some sort are going to be present in any group above ~50-100 people.
...and the PCs who would just as soon not get involved because there's a slight monster problem that they're trying to deal with, but various of whom wound up working for/with all the factions except the cultists and vigilantes.
I enjoyed that
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Conversion & Review of Council of Wryms with dragon PCs compatible with other 5e settings (at level 5+). DRAFT: Book 1 https://www.dropbox.com/s/fz4zql2yhlyut ... 8.pdf?dl=0 and Book 2 https://www.dropbox.com/s/0n3i5bki6svae ... 0.pdf?dl=0

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Re: Factions in RPGs

Post by shesheyan » Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:29 pm

Dalillama wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:43 am
In any game that's not straight up murderhoboing, PCs will generally have ongoing interactions with at least one community of NPCs, and factions of some sort are going to be present in any group above ~50-100 people. I don't see any particular need to have specific rules for them separate from any other social interation rules that might be present; if PCs join a faction, they get the benefit that they can get help from fellow members, and the cost that they're expected to help other members in turn, and that they get the faction's enemies. My last game was a weird western set in a Colorado mining boomtown; the factions present included the corrupt Sheriff and his bandit allies, the demon-possessed deputy and his cultists, a group of vigilantes organized by a con man who wants to supplant the Sheriff (and run the Irish and Chinese out of town), the Fenians (a group of Irishmen (and a few women), who came to town with the railroads and want to a) not be run out of town and b) link up with other Fenian bands to invade Canada), the Hop Sing Benevolent Association (to which virtually all of the Chinese population belong, and which arranged and paid for their immigration in the first place. They don't want to be run out of town either), Granny's girls (a loose association of sex workers who want to be left the hell alone to practice their trade and are sick of demands for protection money from the other factions, and also want something done about the serial killer), and the PCs who would just as soon not get involved because there's a slight monster problem that they're trying to deal with, but various of whom wound up working for/with all the factions except the cultists and vigilantes.
Sounds amazing! Very organic and plausible within that setting. Which rules did you use?

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Re: Factions in RPGs

Post by Dalillama » Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:54 pm

shesheyan wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:29 pm
Sounds amazing! Very organic and plausible within that setting. Which rules did you use?
GURPS 4e
Coronoides wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:23 am

I enjoyed that
Thank you.

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Re: Factions in RPGs

Post by shesheyan » Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:29 pm

Dalillama wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:54 pm
shesheyan wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:29 pm
Sounds amazing! Very organic and plausible within that setting. Which rules did you use?
GURPS 4e
The game I almost played. Bought the 4e books. Did one super detailed character with cool features but it took 2 hours because none of us had played before. Lots of flipping pages to find the right skills to fit the concept. We never did do the three other characters. I guess its best to start with someone who knows the system intimately. Or maybe we should have tried the system with pre-gen characters. I didn't think of that at the time... :(

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