Creating Factions: Large or Small? - Page 2
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  1. #11

    Greater Elemental (Lvl 23)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shiroiken View Post
    TL;DR: do factions really need to be huge organizations, or is it better to have a mix of large and small factions that will have an impact on the PCs?
    The major factions the PCs are dealing with should probably be of about equal power in the current arena. So it's fine if one is a local thieves' guild and the other is a multiplanar network of powerful wizards - as long as the latter has only a small presence nearby.

    Another thing you could consider is nested factions - at low level the PCs deal with the local thieves guild, but as they gain level they learn that that guild is part of a national crime syndicate, then they discover it is tied to a worldwide organisation... and then find that the ultimate masters are actually extraplanar...
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  2. #12

    Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)



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    Quote Originally Posted by Shiroiken View Post
    Well, it's a Grey Marches type game....
    What is this, please?

  3. #13

    Spellbinder (Lvl 16)



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    Two real life stories about factions.

    1.) Back when we lived somewhere else. There was a pretty gnarly pothole right by our place. I called city hall and some other city government folks about it. Repeatedly, they told me to get in touch with (local party official) who was in charge of that. Whats a pothole got to do with (party)? I asked. And I kept getting referred to (local party official). Eventually I blurted out, but Im not a (party member) and they got-dang hung up on me! I wasnt part of the faction so could not access benefits that ought to have been available for the good of anyone driving that street.

    2.) I am a member of (faction). They keep us all in touch with other faction-members, particularly catering to our shared interest in a particular type of thing. Because Im a member and know other members, I also have access to trade with those members. So Im not restricted to the officially available market for this type of thing I like. From time to time, the faction notifies us of legislation or developments related to that type of thing and asks us to be aware and to sometimes take some action in support of that thing. So theres some give and take here.

    In either case, membership in a faction gates access to particular benefits. It either prevents non-faction members from those benefits or facilitates the spread of those benefits among members.

    So I would not have factions just for the sake of having them. And I would not use factions without first asking what benefit does this faction confer on members and what thing do they normally take advantage of that would be restricted to them if they arent members?

    Say I had a Smiths Guild. Membership there would grant you access to purchasing martial weapons, and any armors other than the base-level versions of light, medium, and heavy armor. Lack of membership would restrict you to simple weapons and entry-level armor for the weight class its in. Membership might also involve the trading of special materials for custom armors like dragon scales, mythril, etc.

    What Id strive to avoid is just a group of NPCs whose rear ends need kissing for no apparent benefit. Or who have some overall aim that doesnt interest or benefit my players. A historical society that wants artifacts but doesnt pay for them, wouldnt work. Even for a good cause. Theres not enough give and take there. The players would need special access to adventure sites with shiny bits at the bottom that only members of the historical society know about, etc.
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  4. #14

    Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)



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    Quote Originally Posted by SubDude View Post
    What is this, please?
    A true Grey Marches game, as I understand it, is a drop in game where the players rotate out weekly. Every session ends back in town (which is always perfectly safe), so there is no carry over between sessions. The biggest advantage of this is when you have a huge player base, most of which are irregular. The biggest disadvantage of this is when you have characters of vastly different levels.

    My game is a bit different. in that I have the same regular players, but they each have multiple PCs. At the start of each adventure, I give an introduction, after which the players decide which characters to use. The characters will remain until the end of the adventure, but if the player misses a session of a longer adventure, they go on auto-pilot, defeating enemies off screen in combat, avoiding all traps, etc. (they gain no xp, but they're not in any danger either). Additionally, if the player count is short, they can bulk up the party by using extra PCs as "henchmen" (who take a full share of XP, but gain only half of it). Loot division is up the players, but I generally forbid sharing magic items without just cause (otherwise every adventure would have the party with every magic item).

    I have 6 players, averaging 3-4 PCs each, so I have a lot to keep track of. I need to make sure that my game has enough information available to allow everyone to make characters that fit into the world. Factions are one of the ways I'm trying to do this, and religions are another.

  5. #15

    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)



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    Hiya!

    Ahhh...Greyhawk! Been DM'ing in it since '82? I think that's when I got the Folio. Anyway...

    One thing to keep in mind about Greyhawk is that there is a LOT of "open wildlands". Another important thing is that Countries tend to be fiercely independent and fairly nationalistic ("out country is the best, obviously, but we'll still trade with our neighbours...because, well, we like to help folk less advanced as us"... that kind of thing). Because of this, any successful organization that spans more than the home country (or even city!) needs to be quite secretive (e.g., Scarlet Brotherhood, for example).

    What I have done in the past is start with a "home base". This is the core city that the 'faction' (guild, cult, society, whatever) originated in or has it's main leadership. Then, I simply start moving outward along the road and water ways to nearby towns. I add a little blurb in that town's write up about the 'faction' and it's goals for the area. Then move to the next settlement, and make another note. Eventually I arrive at a settlement or border or some other barrier that seems it would be hard for the 'faction' to traverse with any regularity and that's that.

    The reason I build it this way is that it feels "Greyhawk'ish" to me; nobody really has any Flanaess-wide reach other than an EXTREMELY limited selection (Scarlet Brotherhood, Circle of Eight [still Circle of Eight in my game], perhaps the Iron League to some degree). It also allows me to utilize one of the major features of Greyhawk; to be able to add a whole "Evil Society of Evil-Doers Doing Evil" in some town/city/area and not have it conflict with anything canon. As I said, there is a LOT of space between towns in Greyhawk, and the generally 'contained' countries, a DM has a HUGE range of freedom to do what he/she wants without stepping on any previously detailed "creative toes". The same can not be said of other, shall we say, more contemporary worlds nowadays.

    So, my suggestion: DO NOT think "world spanning". Think small. At most think "country wide". Then you just play your game and keep doing all that behind the scenes DM stuff. Eventually the players will have their PC's either FUBAR said 'faction', or said 'faction' starts to get attention from other factions that are in the countries that they are now trying to influence....enter gang-wars. If you create a more "world spanning" or "huge" faction that is known all over the place, you will be doing your players and yourself a disservice in potential PC-world-shaping.

    ^_^

    Paul L. Ming
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  6. #16

    Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)



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    Quote Originally Posted by Shiroiken View Post
    A true Grey Marches game, as I understand it....
    Ok, like a "West Marches" game, but with fewer players and less driven by the players / more driven by the DM. Pretty similar, overall. Thanks!

  7. #17

    Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)



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    Quote Originally Posted by SubDude View Post
    Ok, like a "West Marches" game, but with fewer players and less driven by the players / more driven by the DM. Pretty similar, overall. Thanks!
    Oh, yea it's called West Marches. I changed it to Grey Marches when describing it to my players because it's based in Greyhawk. My bad!

  8. #18

    Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)



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    Cool. I may do likewise in my own Greyhawk game!

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