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I’d like to consider experimenting with the basic factional designs to improve them and see what might be able to be done.  To that end, I’d like to have some open discussions about what you all think and see if we might come up with some sort of consensus.  But to be most effective, this needs to have wide input from a dozen or more players rather than just the opinions of a few.  Do you think we might be able to get some good participation on this subject?

My main concerns on this subject as a GM are:
  1. I’d like to preserve game balance across the factions as a priority.  Every faction should be desirable in some way and no faction should overpower the others or be significantly under-powered by comparison.

  2. Since we’ll have relatively few players to begin with, we should start with as few factions as we can manage.  I’d like to see 20+ clans in every faction, and if we have only a few apiece then we’re spreading them too thinly.  We can add new factions as the player base increases enough to support them.

  3. The factions should be quite distinct from one another.  Each faction should have its own reasons for existence and desirability that are not shared with the other factions.  They should have interesting personalities each in their own right, so that playing in a different faction is somewhat like playing in a different game.

  4. These discussions should be from the point of view of an arbitrary player who is really interested in the faction, rather than oriented toward your own personal favorite faction.

  5. Please exclude from consideration:
    • Let’s consider the factional designs independent of “skills”.  If we end up with skills, they should be flavorful enhancements to play rather than part of the basic factional designs.
    • Likewise, let’s not yet plan for factions that make use of other game facilities that I’m not expecting to have in play to begin with – let’s save those for later.  I’m thinking primarily of things like naval activities here.  I expect to add support for ships and such, but I think we need to add such things later once the “land” game is more established.
    • I’d also like to avoid having factions in the “chaotic” arenas for the moment.  Bandits, Barbarians/Pirates, Heretics, etc. will be fun player choices in the future when we have room to expand into them, but for the time being let’s leave them as NPC opponents.  That’s not to say that (especially as Independents) you can’t go out and set up an anonymous roadblock or preach about some new religion, but let’s not try to formalize them as groups yet.

  6. Very importantly, each faction should be fun to play.  If a faction is not interesting or isn’t fun, then nobody will want to declare for them and it becomes dead weight to the game system.
To define factions with those qualities, I’d like to come up with the following kinds of information for each of them:
  • Factional name (obviously).

  • The primary purpose for the faction to exist – what overall goal do they want to accomplish in the world?  For instance, their purpose might be trade, agriculture, military specialists, domination/control of Midgard, religious supremacy, brokering peace between factions, etc.

  • What distinguishing feature does this faction have, such as well-known defensive works, horse-based warriors, archery skills, construction expertise, etc.?

  • Possibly related to that, what specific in-game benefit can this faction have that no other faction has?  This might be the ability to influence markets, limited divination, perform military training, etc.  Remember that different faction’s abilities should be relatively balanced in power.

  • What makes this faction interesting and fun to play, beyond the specific benefits it provides?

  • And finally, what (usually mutual) factional enemies do they have and which others do they tend to cooperate with?
To begin with, I guess we should start by looking at the Imperials, the three base families, and the three base religions.  I’m expecting that if we have to eliminate any of those then players won’t consider it “Midgard” any more, will they?  But then again, I see no reason why we can’t make adjustments to the traditional definitions to make them more fun or more specialized in some area (as has been discussed elsewhere). If you describe any other factions, please tell me why they should be involved before the "base" factions are filled out with clans.

To keep these discussions focused, I recommend that you start a new thread here for each proposed factional definition and discuss only that faction in that thread.  We can keep this thread for cross-factional design comments, such as “what do we need to know for each faction” or “how do we maintain game balance between very different factions” or “which faction would best benefit from including fun option ‘X’ in it?”

Has anyone any thoughts on this process?
OK so we need (7) new threads that are like this:

Thread Title: Factional Redesigns <faction name><faction number>

Topics within the thread are as follows:

• Factional Name:

•The primary purpose for the faction to exist:

•What distinguishing feature does this faction have:

• What specific in-game benefit can this faction have:

•What makes this faction interesting and fun to play:

•What (usually mutual) factional enemies:
I also feel that the (3) One True God religious factions of Banner, Gift, and Ring need someone to fight against. Now if we also added the Blood & Fire as well as the Cult of the Dark one we would have some religions to be enemies of each other.

Banner vs Blood & Fire & Cult of the Dark One

Ring vs Cult of the Dark One & Blood & Fire
Gift vs Cult of the Dark One & Blood & Fire
Good vs. Evil enemies are certainly good to have, but I don't know if we'll have enough early players to flesh out extra religions.

Cannot the three religions be, if not full enemies, at least in contention with one another and disagreeing on how the One True God tells them to behave?  For instance, are not the "convert or die" and "preservation of life" philosophies strongly averse to one another?
Remember there was both the Banner and the Orthodox Banner. The Orthodox Banner were 'Convert of Die' crew, while the Banner were not as bad. At least two of the former Banner seniors are here, hopefully they will comment.
Ok, let's settle on a design for one flavor of Banner then, and we'll see if we need an alternate form sometime in the future.

But I think my point was "do the Religions actually need special enemies", or will inter-religion contention suffice to produce some level of conflict?
The Gift and Ring never really fought amongst themselves, nor with the Banner. They all sat around the campfire and sang "Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral"  or even better they sing "Kumbaya" with each other and just seem to go against the Blood & Fire and Serkenar (Moorlock factions).

The One True Goders Sing along

or the other Sing along
Perhaps then they should have more of a competitive spirit, so they're not so much alike?  Even competitors can work together given a good reason (including the appearance of a "bad" religion), but otherwise competition can provide assorted stressors to overcome.
Have you looked at the factional descriptions for the Gift, Ring and Banner? They really are sects of the same religion. It is like getting a Minister from the; Lutheran, Methodis, and Quakers all in the same room and "talking" about what is the proper way to worship "god". Now adding a Blood & Fire is like adding a Muslim to the group and asking the same question again...LMAO!!! Then you end up with a argument.
I've read those descriptions (at least the version I've got) and they seem like they're more different than your examples, to me.  Lesse... would it sound more like a Jewish Rabbi, a Catholic Bishop, and a Baptist Minister?  Perhaps that's a little closer to my impression.  You think these guys could agree on much of anything beyond who "the One" was?

Anybody that doesn't worship the way you do is automatically a heretic, right?  And must be converted to "the right way"?  Even in the friendliest of discussions you're going to have loud arguments and conversion attempts, won't you?

Also, I don't see anywhere that it states that each religion's God is considered to be the exact same one.  We might logically assume that, but who says it has to be?

Even if they're the same God, if God tells us to do things that he wants done, and if he's telling each group to do a different thing, then he must be wanting something different somehow, and may in fact BE different, do you suppose?

(Well, you kinda asked for a philosophical argument, didn't you?)
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