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Der Rote Baron

Factions - why bother?

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The idea of PCs (and NPCs for that matter) belonging to different factions with different ideologies, outlooks on life and moral standards is rather appealing (and quite interesting) to me, but rulesides I wonder: Why bother? It is much more of a problem than it is useful for the game itself, especially becaus ethe problems are caused not by character interaction ("What did you say about praying to the Virgin Mary, Protestant heretic!?!") but becaus eof the game-mechanics.

Sure, you get a tiny little bonus if you are Catholic and fight a Protestant, a Roundhead squaring off with a Monarchist - but, firstly, it is in the low 1-10 percentage-points and, secondly: What do you do if you just think that you fight a dastardly Papist, but actually that wa s just a misunderstanding and he did not enter the cathedral in the middle of the night to confess secretly but to see where to place the gunpowder to blast the thing to kingdam come?

Do I have to tell the player that his "rightous rage" is actually strangely cool?

I am not someone to cast aside a rule lightly - so, how do you put the Factions in action and use the rules (preferable as written)?

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To me they're like the cults in Mythras... they're your contacts, your job board, your resource for various things. They'll maybe pull your fat out of the fire... depending on how big/hot that fire is. You probably share the faction with some of your family, your wife.
Seems like a big deal, and very useful, to me.

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+1 for Simlasa.

It's not so much the game-mechanical effects that matter, as the setting effects.

Thieves' Guild?  Faction.

Portmaster running the Longshoremen?  Faction.

Noble House?  Faction.

Niten Ryu Dojo?  Faction.

etc...

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Well, I get that. But it IS a game-mechanical effect. If it were not why have different percentages?

Sure, with certain fractions like "Thieves Guild" it could also mean how much or how often you get support from that organization but generally it is more a conviction of the character. If that were not the case how could you convert someone to a different fraction?

It is, as written, a felt loyalty or conviction or strong character trait (to community, religion, political ideology, organization or self-interest), it does NOT say anything about how other people of that same conviction supports you or how high they hold you in standing - would be also kind of hard with "Self-interest: Sloth" ...

So, it seems to me that this rule was well-meant, but not well written. Even "Righteous Action" with the minuscle added percentiles is open to abuse or interpretation if you don't subscribe to the view that people supernaturally "know" when they fight a member of an enemy fraction:

"You are ambush in the dark by two shadowy figures - but you feel it in your bones, stalwart puritan, that they are papist scum!" 

"No, it does not feel right - he only pretends to be a member of the House of York. No bonus, Lancaster!"

Don't misunderstand me - I like the idea of having Fractions in my game, but I want them to have a gamist effect so that "Fraction: Clan of McDonald 87%" means something and is more or less useful than having "Fraction: Clan of McDonald 11%" or not having that Fraction at all.

And if that effect had a meaningful effect (and not just "add 4% to your Skill") that would be even more up my alley.

Edited by Der Rote Baron

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In Mythras any skill can augment any other skill if it's thematically relevant (i.e. up to GM approval).

For example Faction skill can be used to augment anything that has to do with the faction. I.e. fight clan enemy, resist clan enemy influence, etc...

To augment a skill simply add 1/5th of its value to the other skill.

Just a suggestion, since you were looking for a gamification of the faction percentage! ;) 

Edited by Lloyd Dupont
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Factions, like alignments, is useful for the Game Master to run NPC's. Matter of fact, all behavioral mechanics in a game I consider strictly to guide the GM in running the NPC's.  This has been a great perspective for myself in re-looking at how I play a rpg.

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Interesting, hadn't looked at it that way but makes good sense. Thinking about it some more I probably do that generally anyway as Players develop their characters best if left to their own devices and the GM only has to intervene or apply rules if something comes up which looks or feels like it is completely outside the characters history or development in game.

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