View Full Version : Faction Rivalry/Aggressions

Tim Proctor
2013-09-09, 10:15 PM
So in a Campaign that I'm starting I'm working out a faction system based on the core classes from D&D 3.5, obviously there are 11 of them. I assigned each faction an 'animal' as their sigil so that it is less obvious and less obnoxious.

Anyways the 11 factions control a massive urban area. Obviously the Druids, Rangers, and Barbarians are in a more wilderness section of it, while the Sorcerers, Wizards, and Clerics are in the most dense and metropolitan areas. So what I did is I put them in a diagram by factions they would most likely be allied with (due to common interest), and the below is what I came up with.


I would like an analysis on what people think about the placements, some of them were harder than others like where monks, rangers, etc. should have fit in. The lines in the center lead to the 'enemy' factions or the ones with the highest tensions, and some of them are easy to figure out why they wouldn't like each other, some are not so.

Anyways thoughts, comments, concerns, etc. would be much appreciated.

2013-09-09, 11:38 PM
I like it. Honestly I don't believe there is a wrong way to do it. Just some ways easier to justify than others. And of course while the way you have it set out shows how certain factions most often dislike one another it would be easy for subtler rivalries to form.

Fighters, Paladins might look at the barbarian and while respecting that they get things done like they would might find their simplicity and lack of discipline abrasive. Meanwhile the barbarian finding the pair to be too uptight and lacking adaptability to changing circumstances.

Sorcerers and wizards also while sharing a similar field of study have completely different approaches and philosophies towards magic. One spends a lifetime studying tomes while other manifests power locked within themselves.

2013-09-09, 11:48 PM
i would swap monk and wizard, then wizard and cleric. tbh i don't really see monks and paladins (or wizards and sorcerers) being best buddies. not being enemies, sure. but not exactly friends, either.

incidentally, you need story to make this work, factions don't just "always ahve a single idealogical standpoint and never change sides". events occur, and this fuels change in doctrine and policy that affect who your friends are. granted, there may be certain groups which would be nigh-impossible to separate/get to fight each other (like rangers and druids), that see things from such a similar viewpoint that they could basically be the same faction (bards and sorcerers).in addition, it's pretty silly to say "these people are always enemies" and "everyone has friends and enemies". i mean, for all we know, everybody likes the bards! (except those with attractive wives). or, maybe the druids/rangers don't even have control in the city, just a small post with a few people manning it for recruitment. maybe almost everyone sees the barbarians are crazy savages, except the sorcerers/wizards, who both see them as a strategic resource, so they are in conflict, because they both want to use them to further their plans.

are there evil clerics? that certainly changes some things about the cleric/paladin friendship. what about necromancers? you can be certain that'd change things. is there a government trying to tie all of this together? what about merchants, how do they come into the whole arrangement? (and don't tell me that the rogues control the economy, unless they do so VERY carefully, because no rogue worth his salt wants to attract that much attention. maybe a new rogue is leader and he IS trying to attract the attentions, and he literally making enemies with everybody?)

yea, we need more info than "this is the feel i got from the class and that's all that is important right now", it's a city, stuff happens. what has happened?

2013-09-10, 12:26 AM
While having 11 factions all laid out and arranged nicely like this might be aesthetically pleasing and give everything a sense of equilibrium, I wonder if it wouldn't make the setting feel more natural if you simply sat down and considered how each faction feels about the others on an individual basis.

For instance, take the Fighter faction's point of view, and independently look at each of the other factions and note down what you think their relationship would be like.

Tim Proctor
2013-09-10, 12:40 AM
First off, thank you for the input. I do appreciate it.

The way that I was setting it up was that 'enemy factions' would be fighting each other but not in full-blown warfare (everyone else except the closest allies would be more on neutral ground, by no means friendly), they are still reputable factions within the city.

I guess I need to explain what I am imagining the factions being, also even though they are noted as a class they are related mostly with that class not that every member of the class if part of that faction nor that every member of that faction is part of that class. Also not everyone in the city is a member of a faction, the factions are just the controlling groups.

The Wolves (Rangers), these guys live in the surrounding countryside or the outskirts of the city (like the actual outskirts which extends for hundreds of miles) and are the first line of defense against rogue raiding parties of whatever is out there, as well as hunters, trackers, etc. Since it is a city they aren't completely anti-civilization but prefer a more rural lifestyle. They dislike the Scarabs and the Monkeys because their charitable actions create a welfare states and the massive slums and such in the city are a result. These guys live and breathe survival of the fittest.

The Stags (Druids), these guys also live on the outskirts of the city however there are massive wilderness areas within the city that do contain some Staggs. They are natures defenders and keep people out of the kings woods, keep poachers at bay, and help keep the food supply of the city functioning. They don't like the Owls and the Scarabs because they are the two proponents of metropolitan life. These guys live and breathe the tend the garden philosophy.

The Badgers (Barbarians), these guys live on the outskirts of the city because it offers them more freedom than city life. They like fighting, they like rough and tumble play, but the love freedom. They will venture into town to sell goods or buy them, but other than trade and barter the city isn't their style. They don't like the Owls of Ravens because they feel magic is a pollutant to freedom and think that the magic used to heal people, feed them, etc. is actually a form of slavery and created the massive slums and economic slavery within the city. These guys live and breathe the live free or die philosophy.

The Bears (Fighters), they live in the city and make up the main stock of the military of the city. They don't fight for god, gold (although they do expect to be paid), or government they fight because they like fighting and the gold and government is just a stepping stone to that. These guys don't like the Lynxes or the Ravens because they are too unpredictable, dabble in dark arts, and study things besides tactics, armor, and weapons. These guys live by the strength in arms philosophy.

The Hounds (Paladins), they live in the city and represent that religious conduct enforcement segment and believe that salvation is found through the end of a sword and rigorous personal sacrifice. They are bent on the 'judgement' portion of religion. They do not like the Lynxes or the Foxes because they are liars, cheats, swindlers, and they are most likely the ones that committed a crime. These guys live by the vengeance is mine philosophy.

The Monkeys (Monks), they live in the city and share the monasteries with the Hounds but while the Hounds are focused on punishment, the Monkeys are focused on forgiveness. They can certainly handle themselves in a fight however they don't seek it out. They do not like the Foxes and Wolves because they are both the long ranged killers and assassins and that is a great form of cowardice. They live by the walk softly and carry an iron fist philosophy.

The Scarabs (Clerics), they live in the heart of the city with the very tall buildings, and lots and lots of people. They are focused on ritual and ceremony not punishment or forgiveness, but on the rules and regulations of religion that allow society to function. They do not like the Wolves or Stags because they are savages that reject the word of salvation and believe in crazy things like nature. They live by the rituals or tradition philosophy.

The Owls (Wizards), they live in the heart of the city surrounding one of the many Wizard colleges and halls where hours of tedious study and ritualistic practice can bring greatness. They are the scientists of the civilization. They do not like the Stags nor Badgers because they are rebellious, they do not conform to a standard science but an art. They live by the scientific pursuit of perfection philosophy.

The Ravens (Sorcerers), they live in the heart of the city also in the hustle and bustle. They are there so they can be seen, gain crowds of adoring fans and be the showmanship power brokers of the city. They are the politicians of the city and the bigger fireworks, the bigger the castle they can create the more powerful they are. They do not like the Badgers nor the Bears because their continual tendency for close combat violence. They live by the I am power philosophy.

The Lynxes (Bard), yes I know I need to find a better picture that is probably a bobcat or something but it is a cat. Also fans of showmanship and charismatic swaying of adoring fans for power, they focus less on fireballs and grandiose acts of magic but on knowledge and history. They do not like the Bears nor the Hounds because they are seen as strong armed thugs that will run people through for little to no reason. They live by the Knowledge is power philosophy.

The Foxes (Rogues), in line with knowledge is power and the survival of the fittest they adhere to the survival of the smartest. Not the ones to control the churches or the throngs of the populous but they are the ones that control the banks and the postal services. They do not like the Hounds and the Monkeys because they are quick to attack because someone didn't donate enough to the poor, or when taxes are collected. They live by the money is power philosophy.

So that is the premise that I was trying to design and that I think is fairly stereotypical of those classes. Obviously it isn't full-proof as some Monks and Clerics would live with the Stags, Wolves, and Badgers to preach out there and they wouldn't be as keen on the rituals of religion.

Also yes, I would have to determine about how each one feels about the others, but I want to get the main rivalries done first. Some of it I already know like the Badgers see the Bears as little wimpy fighters that hide behind armor and have seen bears run away from house cats, while badgers don't give a damn. The Hounds see the Monkeys are nursemaids to the populous while they are the men of the house, etc. But I wanted to get the big portion done so that there wouldn't be any major changes.

2013-09-10, 12:51 AM
As an expansion of Vitruviansquid's post above, allow me to post an excerpt from the setting guide I gave my players when we started our campaign.

Spoiled for length, though it isn't super long.

Men of the West

Uneasy truce with Elves
Due to their shared border and mutual enemies, the West struggles to maintain good relations with the Wood Elves, however their ideals often clash, and tensions remain high.

Uneasy truce with Eladrin
As with the Wood Elves, mutual enemies keep them civil, but relations can be tense due to ideological differences.

Open War with Southern Men
Since the outbreak of war, men of the West have been denied access to many of the Erathis Standing Stones. Due to this, the West is staging sea-borne attacks on the Southern Island to gain control of the region.

Open War with Halfling Tribe
The Western Men desire Tribal Land on their eastern border for strategic value and resources. Currently they are staging a campaign to capture these lands.

Cold War with Eastern Men
The East and West dispute ownership of the central bay and of Isla Ravencroft. Little combat has occurred as of yet, though war through political deception and espionage is heavy.

Cold War with Dwarves
As a condition of peace with the Elven Nations, the West are officially at war with the Dwarves. Despite this, little battle has occurred either through politics or on the battlefield.

Armistice with Goblin Races
After months of regular combat, the Goblin Races recently sued for peace. For the time being the two nations are at peace, though the occasional rogue band of Orcs or Kobold horde may attack travelers near their borders.

No Dealings with Drow
Little contact has been made with the Drow since the outbreak of war, primarily due to geographical separation.

Eladrin Nation

Unyielding Alliance with Elves
For the entirety of their history the Elves and Eladrin have maintained a strong friendship, built on mutual respect and shared ideals. The relationship shows no sign of strain in any way.

Uneasy Truce With Western Men
Due to their mutual enemies, the Eladrin struggle to maintain good relations with the West, however their ideals often clash, and tensions remain high.

Open War with Dwarves
The Dwarves and Eladrin have a centuries long history of sustained war. The Current struggles on the Emerald Islands have only heightened their distaste for the Dwarves.

Open War with Goblin Races
Though they share no borders and currently have no active battlefields, the Eladrin and Goblins have a deep hatred for one another. When individuals of the two races encounter each other, battle is all but inevitable.

Open War with Drow
For most of history, the Eladrin and Drow have been almost entirely separated, neither desiring contact with the other for good or ill. However, since the outbreak of War, the Eladrin and Wood Elves feel they can no longer stand for the Drow's evil deeds, and are actively pursuing covert strikes on important Drow leaders and locations.

Cold War with Eastern Men
Due to Eladrin unwillingness to form an alliance with the East, tensions have grown tense between the two nations, and the are now political enemies.

Cold War with Southern Men
Due to ideological differences, most notably the South's alliance with Dwarves and strong support of Tiefling freedom, the Eladrin are actively waging political and espionage warfare upon the East.

No Dealings with Halfling Tribes
The Eladrin take no interest in the Halfling tribes, finding them to be too primitive and unrefined for even mild consideration.

... and so on and so fourth.

Granted, I have less factions than you, but this would perhaps lend a note of realism, and give a better understanding of the 'hows' and 'whys' than a simple graph, aesthetically pleasing as it may be.