Basic factions design
(Edit: I've slowly wrote and rewrote this section in my ling hiatus, due to the many life changes, the main one being the my son being born. At the end I've decided to make it simpler, and focus on the core aspects, instead on the structure of "Faction templates", which was the initial idea).
So now that most of the general outline is there, it is time to start getting to the details. The first part of it is the powers that affect the game- The factions. I'll start by explaining my general design philosophy, and then I'll detail the factions themselves.
SpoilerI'm taking inspiration from many sources, though I don't remember them all. I will note though The Giant's own Villain Workshop & Dust's guide to villain building- the 5 Ls. While these deal mostly with antagonist building, a lot can be applied to factions as well, with a few changes.
What does a faction gives the game?
A faction's goal is to be an active force in the world, with an agenda of it's own, and the resources to pull it off. Though many are led by powerful NPCs, they aren't based solely on those leading NPCs (Usually). few thoughts about faction design, especially in a sandbox campaign:
A faction needs to be active. It cannot just be reactionary. As such it needs goals and motives.
In order to pursue this goals, the faction needs a plan. It needs to have both resources, and limitations, which together set the faction's capabilities, strengths, weaknesses, and impact.
3. Capable of change:
Due to the nature of sandbox games, a faction needs to be somewhat flexible. This is reflected in multiple paths to accomplish it's goals, varied resources, (Not necesserily powerful) and ability to suffer setbacks, and find a way of response.
4. Not just about the leaders:
Ideally, this also means they need not rely on the leading NPCs to exist. If the PCs manage to dispose major adversaries, the faction may suffer a major setback, but new leaders may arise. The faction may go through major changes, but it's major influence and roll will continue.
Part of the faction's makeup is it's sub- factions, which may have a power play between them, which leaves place for various interactions with the factions.
6. Not "just" antagonists:
Similarily, a faction's goal need not directly oppose that of the PCs, in a zero-sum type of conflict. Ideally, the party might be able to negotiate/ deal, find a suitable solution to their conflict with the faction.
7. Part of the world:
The factions also have complex interactions, of various kinds with each other.
Core concepts for factions
Spoiler(Edit: I've messed around with a "faction sheet", but realized it was too complex for no good reason).
While thinking of factions, and keeping the above in mind, I try to think of the following main concepts per faction:
1. Faction's main aspects:
What are the main themes of the faction? What matters about it? As in the initial design post ,I'll be taking this from the Fate Core concept of Aspects- short saying about the most meaningful things about the factions. These are all affected (And affect) the following.
Why does it seek to do what it does? What's the driving force?
What does it seek to accomplish? While motives are the reasons, the goals are the "Victory conditions" that the factions seek to achieve.
What major capabilities can the faction utilize to reach it's goals?
What stops it? What hampers it? These can be just as strong driving forces!
6. Inner struggles/ sub factions:
Do all in the faction agree and work in perfect unison, or are there... disagreements, differentiating goals and more? (Hint: The latter nearly always! Makes it more interesting.
7. Relations with other factions: No one exists in a vacuum, and the relations between factions can be interesting in their own right.
8. Main plans:
Currently these are plans in broad strokes. Think strategy, not tactics. May also include major responses or contingencies, if appropriate.
9. Major leaders/ focal points:
An idea of the major NPCs, and peopel of interest. (Will be detailed as the game progresses).
10. Main roster:
Currently a general idea of the types of main "regular nameless" the factions has.
Scale of factions
SpoilerIt helps me try and "tier" the factions, mostly to keep in mind the focus and level of impact.
1. Major factions:[/B]
A major faction has the following characteristics:
- It's goals and impact has the potential to transform the region, or even beyond it.
- It cannot be ignored or circumvented, as it's influence will affect nearly every other faction in the campaign.
- Dealing with them will most likely take place through out most of the campaign.
2. Moderate factions:
These factions are significant, yet their impact is more contained:
- The goals are often major, and require considerable effort and planning, yet contained to the region, and usually but a part of it (If a big one).
- Most likely they will engage the PCs, but usually in a more focused way than the major factions (usually a sub region, or interest)
- Dealing with them will usually feature main parts in the campaign, but not through it's entire length (More like an arc).
3. Minor factions:
Sort of "optional factions" which may grow significant, or disregarded entirely (or nearly so). Most of them serve the purpose of side quests/ bonus interaction/ exploration. They are a bit of a distraction, and a bit of a wild card...
- The goals are often quite local, and far simpler.
- They will most likely engage the PCs in very set circumstances (Certain events, locals, adventures).
- Dealing with them will either be happenstance (Say... traveling through it's region), or the focus of 1-3 adventures.
- They may become bigger, or vanish entirely, depending on the game.
These factions usually have quite limited scope of goals and plans, and may either be interacted with occasionally, or even not at all. Most of all, these are good for side quests/ bonus accomplishments, and a sort of a wild card... The PC might get quite creative with them.
Before starting with the actual factions, I'd like to give an overview of the approach for the 4 major factions. The factions basically represent sort of 4 origins of culture. (Not alignments!):
SpoilerFirst of all, the factions could be very roughly divided into forces of civilization vs. the wild as one conflict, and change vs. stability as another. I say "roughly", because each is complex in it's own right.
Home Town, stability seeking civilized faction:
These the original inhabitants of Home Town. Hardy folks, who came to understand the region is dangerous, and mostly wish to make a living and progress slowly, but have a deep fear/ respect for the wild. They are led by Falcon's team, legends in their own time, who brokered a peace with the gnoll tribes, and wish to keep it so. The original tight knit team also has a deep secret to protect...
The faction's stands out, as it is the one the PCs start in, and are most connected to (In Session 0 and most likely quite a lot in the game itself). It is also the major hub for merchandise and services.
The gnoll tribes, stability seeking (More or less) wild faction:
These mostly comprise the gnoll tribes, who consider themselves as the ruler of the region. Easily the most numerous, and the most spread out. They are an old race, and are somewhat set in their ways, and traditions. That doesn't make them any less dangerous though. They are weary of the newcomers, but also see some benefit from them (trade of better manufactured goods). As long as these new comers know their place, right?
These form the main antagonists (Most likely) early on. Yet they are more complex, and more of a challenge than the "humanoids mooks horde", that many campaigns offer.
The dragonmarked expeditions- Change provoking civilized faction:
The newest faction in the field, but far from the weakest. Comprised mostly from Hosue Tharashk (Explorers and surveyors), House Khundarak (Wealth and security) and house Deneith (Mercenaries and armed forces), they comprise a strong alliance. Motivated by the new discovery of (Insert precious and rare commodity, most likely some sort of dragon shard fields?) who are deep in the wild territory. Driven mostly by the combined efforts of a few dragonmarked entrepreneurs, and the rush of other opportunists, fortune and thrill seekers, this faction drives into the wild, upsetting the tense peace, which sets off the initial major conflict.
This faction is the most versatile, and probably the best equipped and funded. It can prove a great patron, and great adversary. Yet they are also the newest, and lack a lot of the intricate understandings of the region...
The Lycan blessing- Change seeking wild faction:
The Lycanthropes start quite hidden, with but a few influences that reach up to Home Town. They start relatively few, but their numbers grow fast. Led by Shere- Khan, a man with a vision, who sees himself as a liberator and true king of the region (The White King), this hidden menace will infiltrate and become more and more dangerous, till the major conflict will occur. And they have a settle to score, with whom? Falcon's team, whose secret is tied greatly with them.
The faction is the most secretive and most elusive one, and the one that can grow what fastest, and is the least expected. Though there may be hints of it at the beginning, it is supposed to come to real play only in the mid- late sections of the campaign.
Home Town faction (Again, for a lack of a better name)
Spoiler1. Faction's main aspects:
- "It's a tough land, it breeds tough people!"
The people of Home Town are not strangers to hard work and adversity. The land was hard to settle before for a good reason! I imagine them as sort of gritty, hard working, grumpy, wild west bastards!
- "It's pig country!"
A lot of the farming revolves around raising pigs, hogs, and similar animals. Cows and most other cattle doesn't seem to sustain here. A common saying is that the farmers got some of the characteristics of the pigs themselves.
- "I gotta hand it to Falcon- he keeps the place running, and the gnolls out!"
Falcon's team are living legends. While some may not agree with some harsh rules they put, they do respect them, and their capabilities.
- "Trust no savage, especially a gnoll grinning!"
While they may trade with the savage races, they still see them as savages. There is a great mistrusts of the wilds, and their inhabitants.
- Keeping the status quo:
The main driving force. The people of Home Town, under the leadership of The Falcon, mostly seeks to slowly grow, and avoid getting into conflict with the savages. Now, this may seem like a not very "pro-active" motivation, but the status quo is kept by severe means, some open, some more secret. And with the other destabilizing forces in the region, and especially with Falcon's "preemptive" fore-planning, some of this can be VERY proactive.
- Keeping the past secret:
Falcon's team, which is a very small, yet very influential subfaction, seeks to keep it's secret. (Mainly the event that led to the current lycanthrope faction) a secret. Some members of the team also have other, more personal desires.
- Control the pig undustry:
The Pig Barons, who are forces inside of Home Town, who wield considerable economic influence, and who seek to gain even more. Their influence however is contained mostly to Home Town and it's near surroundings, and not as grandiose as the Dragonmarked expeditions.
The goals are kept mainly by Falcon and it's team. The most important ones are:
- Maintain Home Town as safe.
- Maintain the trade and the truces.
- Keep Falcon Team's secrets.
- Keep gathering info on all other factions and points of interests. (Falcon greatly believes in "knowledge is power", and will go to great lengths for that.
- Disrupt/ disrepute the dragonmarked houses, yet without it backfiring on the settlement. (The dragonmakred houses are supported by Galifar in their efforts).
- Disrupt any attempts to unify the Gnolls clans. Keep them disorganized and infighting.
- The Pig Barons also seek to gain an upper hand on each other, and on Falcon's Team.
- Falcon's Team abilities:
Most of it' members are considered epic (By P6 rules), and so wield considerable powers and resources each (Will be detailed a bit later).
- Military and militia:
Home town has a garrison and militia (And even some specialized forces).
- Knowledge of the region, the town, and the wilds:
To a lesser extent than the wild factions, but considerably more than the dragonmark faction).
- Moderate wealth:
The faction has more wealth and specialized goods than most of the savages factions, but not close to those of the dragonmarked faction.
- Code of Galifar:
Falcon's team and Home Town mostly try to adhere to the code. As such, they are also under it's scrutiny, and don't seek to upset the great empire too much.
- Keeping the secret:
Falcon's team's secret, drew considerable resources, and forced various actions.
- Keeping the truces:
Both with the gnoll tribes, and the secret truce with the Lycanthropes.
- Inner turmoils:
Both disagreements inside Falcon's team members itself, and with the Pig Barons.
- Keeping the peace:
While the other factions can more freely devote freely to their agendas, Home Town needs to run, which is... time and effort consuming. The significant struggle to make a living, outside dangers, from the wild and from the ruins of the city, keep people busy...
6. Inner struggles/ sub factions:
2 major inner struggles:
- Between Falcon's team members themselves. While they do keep the place working, they differ on some crucial matters, and tensions are present.
- The Pig Barons, each one ambitious and seeking to become "top hog", are constantly scheming.
7. Relations with other factions:
The gnoll tribes:
A tense "peace"/ "Status quo". The gnolls think of the land their own, yet respect the achievements of Falcon's team. They also appreciate the goods made by the civilized "foreigner outpost", but watch them warily. Falcon's team, knowing the vast numbers and threats of the gnolls, continuously try to prevent an alliance/ rising leader between the tribes, though they do so cautiously, and without trying to attract attention. Though there is some animosity and distrust, there is also a great measure of respect. Falcon learned the gnoll culture, and proven a worthy opponent, yet also one that respects the land and it's dangers. As such, he earned a mediocum of respect.
The dragonmarked expeditions:
While home town inhabitants welcome the influx of wealth and prosperity, the agents and ambitions of the dragonmarked houses threaten the delicate status quo in the region. Falcon team watches them wearily, and seeks to slow them down/ sabotage them. This is complicated since the crown of Galifar stands behind the expeditions...
The relationship here ties to the big secret Falcon team's tries to keep secret... Not yet sure what it is, but it should be very, very personal, and a big shame. Think "order of the scribble" mess... I'm thinking there is also a kind of truce here, yet with some inner factions/ NPCs who do not necesserily see "Eye to eye" with Falcon. Another possibility is that while Falcon's team is aware of the potential threat of lycanthropacy arising, they do not know the extent of it, and so may be caught at least partially unaware. I need to think this through.
Shere- Khan and his siblings, and their secretive base and expanding force, act secretly and covertly. Shere- Khan sees Home base as a font of civilization, of "shackled ones", and seeks to "free" (turn) as many worthwhile NPCs as possible, yet without drawing too much attention... (Not n easy feat!). He seeks to become powerful enough, before showing all of his cards, for he fears facing the might of Galifar in it's entirety.
The other races of the land
Home town promotes limited trade with these races and factions (such as the centauri, the ogre lords, the Byeshk giants and so on). it holds a special market, just outside town (I'm currently calling it "The howling market/ laughing market") which takes place about once a week or 3 days a month (undecided yet), where all of the savage races may come and trade. This is done for trade, but also to give the settlement a place in the region, and a source for info. None are allowed inside Home town itself though. (I'll expand on the market later).
While the team keeps an eye on the other races, they consider them far less of a threat than the gnolls, and a potential tool to use in the region.
8. Main plans:
- Keep calm and expand slowly: Falcon's teams is slowly building it's defenses, training it's small military, and expanding it's information network. Falcon worries over a possible gnoll (Or other monster faction) uprising, and seeks to prepare.
- Embarass/ sabotage the Dragonmarked expedition: Falcon sees them as an intrusie and oblivious force to the workings of the region. As such, he seeks to undermine them. Yet he cannot do this openly, due to the support of the crown. So, they will seek ways to make them look bad, ineffective, and the entire venture as costly and unprofitable. He hopes forces from the Empire will decide to shut them down.
- Keep the gnolls destabilized: Falcon fears a gnoll uprising, and knows they have little chance of withstanding it if the gnolls tribes unite. So he seeks to prevent that. Either by secretly supporting some leader, supplying various tribes, seeding discord and more. This too, must be done with caution.
- Expand infromation sources: Falcon believes in good intelligence as the source of all strategy. As such he seeks to expand his intelligence network as much as possible. Be wit by magical means, alliances, informants, and more.
- Keep an eye on the lycan threat: The team knows the hidden danger, from the secret event long ago. They try to keep an eye to see if it rises. Yet the different members of the team think differently of how to deal with the threat, which is a major source of friction.
9. Major leaders/ focal points:
I see him as both a military genius, schemer, and leader. I see him mostly as a martial character (Fighter? Cavalier?) Hailing from Rekkenmark (A highly prized military academy in Karrnath), who sought to make a name for himself. He did, yet as the years went by, he becomes dissatisfied with his "reward"- lordship over Home base. I see him as a patriot, believing in Galifar, yet at the same time somewhat disappointed by it. A man who took time to learn the region, it's inhabitants, and who respects them even if he doesn't necessarily likes them. I see him as a man carrying a deep burden- for the safety of Home base, for the secret shaming event, and for the many secrets and compromises he must make. I see him as a devoted man, yet also highly practical, and capable of hard and even cruel decisions, if need be.
I also see him focusing on air forces and intelligence (be it trained falcons, or an elite force of Griffon riders). He must also have the ability to buff/ influence/ boost masses.
Falcon's friend, and a dragonmarked heir of the houses of Handling. He got a reward for a "Research facility and breeding grounds", which he uses to explore, breed and train various animals and beasts. Lord d'Vadalis is intriguing, because he is, in a way, involved in two more other factions- He knows the way dragonmarked houses work, and as such is in the mot contact with them (And at times work against Falcon's wishes, in order to promote his own agendas), and the Pig Barons, which he competes against, in a way (Since he also breeds highly prized pigs and hogs).
He is also intriguing since he holds an almost opposing view to Falcon's, in terms of dealing with the Lycan's threat. d' Vadalis does not seek to "keep them at bay/ keep it on the low", but would rather learn to control the lycans, master them. As part-beasts, this lord of beasts see them as part curiosity, part demeaning, part a threat. He is secretly developing various measures to capture, experiment, and control Lycans.
As to personality, I see him as a combination of a few themes: A lord, but one accustomed to harsh living, and which isn't afraid to get his hands dirty. yet he is educated, well mannered, and worldly. He is also a scientist, which seeks to understand, and to exploit the world around him. Yet his strongest characteristic may be that he is masterful. Meaning, he is used to command, to control, to subjugation and hierarchy, and sees the world as such. He is also a friend to Falcon, and the rest of the team, even if he disagrees with him.
He would make an interesting opponent to Shere- Khan, a potential employer and service giver to the group, and a very involved individual, if mainly behind the scenes. (To start with at least).
Mechanically... I'm not sure. I see his grounds as having highly professional crew and staff, and various animals and beasts. I would like to emphasize the aspects above, mostly the scientist one and the masterful one. I'me not quite sure how to do this though.
A goblin or hobgoblin (Not decided yet. And not the Golarion version, but rather the Eberron one). She is the team's enforcer and wilderness expert. Fiercely loyal to Falcon, (Due to a past event), this highly lethal stalker and killer is feared both by the gnolls (Of whom she killed many) and home base population (Who calls her "Falcon's b*tch/ guard dog). She is a hunter/ stalker/ assassin, very stealthy, very lethal. Not much of a conversationalist though...
She also heads the small elite force of wilderness ranger, called "The Worgen" (Named after worgs, vicious intelligent wolves), which are the only ones allowed by the falcon a free reign through the wilderness, and act as both his messengers and "problem dealers" (Be it a dangerous monster, scouting or more). It may be a sort of prestige class (more on that in the rules section).
Mechanically, I'm not sure how to make her. I'm thinking of several options- ranger, slayer, hunter, assassin... Not sure. It may actually involve her teaming up with a worg/ wolf, or maybe not. Not sure...
I may make her a changeling, yet in home base mostly keep her goblinoid appearance. She can thus change appearance when another image may be needed for... "delicate work". (If so, her true nature will be a very well guarded secret).
The team's mage. Not fully sure of specialty, but quite likely divination or illusion, to cover up the team's secrets and info gathering. I also see him/ her as deeply interested in exploring the remains of the goblinoid- Daelkyr struggle in the region (There are quite a few ruins/ affects to the struggle). I see the mage as also not agreeing with Falcon about the lycans, but also cooperating out of friendship, and trust. While not going to the lengths of House Vadalis differences, I do see the mage as looking for alternate solutions to the problem, if just to prepare to when Falcon's plans may fail.
I see the mage as both a source of info, a benefactor, but also one who once he befriended the party, may use this connection to keep an eye on them, and may thwart/ divert them if they get to close to the secrets.
Other Falcon Team members?
I'm not sure, but I think I'd like to have 1-2 more. Not yet sure who, but I'm thinking perhaps a child of someone who ws lost from the original team, who may not be "in the know" about the secret. I'll need to think of this more.
The pig Barons:
I'm thinking there should be four, one of them Lord d'Vadalis. Each one seeks to control the main economic power of home base- the export of pigs/ hogs and so on. Each one has lands, farms, and other holdings, and seeks to get bigger. I've got some vague ideas here, not sure how to fully expand on them:
- The gnome baroness: I sort of want to represent Zilargo in here. A highly social and amiable gnome, who is in fact a total b*tch, who controls her operation with a velvet fist. A sort of very tight mafia here. She mostly seeks to take control by blackmail, extortions, and gaining social influence.
- The Kingpig! A half orc (In a land where most orcs are slaves, mind you!), who is a new comer, and acts all flashy and expensive. Not fully sure of his plans yet, but he is VERY active, and is a bit of a local celebrity, fashioning himself as "A fair employer for the common folk", and so on...
- I have no idea as to the fourth one...
Other home town NPCs?
There will be more (As this will be the most detailed settlement probably). Yet for now I have but a few ideas... I'll get to that later.
10. Main roster:
Not fully certain, but some basic examples:
- Commoners, level 1-3
- Warriors, levels 1-3.
- Worgen: Rangers/ similar classes, levels 3-4.
- Some others to round up the small military garrison.
I may develop this further later...
The gnoll tribes
Spoiler1. Faction's main aspects:
- "This land is ours! No one is stronger than us!"
The gnolls are a very significant power, and consider the region their own. While they do not "control" everything and every place, in the way civilized people do, they consider the entire region their hunting grounds, their ancestral homes, and their right. Yes, there are others beasts and races, but they cannot fully comete with the gnolls. While most other savage powers have their own territories, and can range from them to some degree, the gnolls are strong enough that their bands reach nearly everywhere, and feel everyplace is theirs for the taking.
- "Strength comes from the pack, and the clan!"
The gnolls, while they may look savage and uncivilized from outside, do have a working society, in which the loyalty to the hunting pack and clan are paramount. The gnoll packs main strength come from working together, not as lone hunters... In most packs or clans, each member has a role (or more) to fill, somewhat similar to an adventuring party. Gnolls work well and are emboldened by their packs, and rarely act alone.
This is also one of the gnolls main weakness, as gnolls find it very hard to commit or identify with larger concepts, such as "nation", "kingdom" or "empire". For them the loyalty comes to those they know, have bonds with, and can be distrustful/ competitive with other hunting packs and clans. At times various forward thinking leaders have tried to unite man of the clans, yet have failed, due to this.
Yet... till now, no one really threatened or challenged the entire gnoll population... Things my change...
- "It's all in the flesh!"
One of the main reasons the gnolls are so feared and deemed as utterly barbaric and reprehensible (Whether that is actually the case, depends on interpretation), is their culture and beliefs focus on flesh. Be it consuming fallen foes for power, scarrification and tattooing, bodily modifications, and even their priests, whose "medicine" takes a very pointed view on surgeries... The flesh, meat, and all that comes with it has a big significance in the way they think (Highly practical), worship, hunt, and more. The civilized races of Home Town find many of these practices rather... gory and disturbing...
- "All of life is a hunt. You're a hunter, a prey, or a slave."
The land is very dangerous, and the gnolls mostly subside on meat. This has led to them becoming considerable hunters. A lot of their mentality is based upon this concept, and they see most people as either prey to slay, slaves to capture and use, or as dangers to avoid/ circumvent.
This flavors nearly all interactions they have with non gnolls. They have become skilled and efficient hunters, and nearly all gnolls have some survival and martial skills. They have become slavers, capturing many beasts and other races for various purposes, and they have learned to seek out dangers, and refrain from them as possible.
- Cursed origins:
The gnoll culture is a result of one of the surges of lycanthtopry, and have actually been a different race, who was converted by the affliction to their current situation. I plan to play it that though there will be clues to such origins, these can either be understood by deduction, or by fairly rare situations/ locations. It's worthy of note that the gnolls (Or the vast majority of them) are unaware of this. It's also worthy to note that like the other "lycanthropic heritage" factions in the region, they cannot be further affected by the affliction, which makes them... problematic for the lycans.
The gnoll tribe is an oddity of a faction, due to it being a collection of tribes, where the clannish motives are usually stronger than the entire faction motives. Yet there are a few motives that matter to nearly all groups, on which they may collaborate, and may unite at times. These are usually more on the line of "joined interests":
- Survival and prosperity:
While the gnolls "own the land", the land is quite hard to live by. Survival is no easy feat, and relative power even less so. Yet the gnolls are ambitious, and seek out any new opportunity to advance their lot.
Whether due to the motive above, or due to a lingering drive from the people they used to be, the gnolls seek to expand their influence, power and control. They may collaborate between clans and hunt groups to achieve more.
- Fear of the supernatural:
The gnolls's religion focuses on their own versions of some of The Dark Six (Mainly The Devourer, The Mockery & The Fury). They see the divine as savage, capacious and dangerous.
Again, various sub- factious may have more individualized goals, but the following is accurate for most:
- Eliminate/ subjugate/ control the territories:
resources and population of the other main factions of the wild (Mostly Centauri, Ogre lords, and possibly a few others).
- Gauge and utilize the newcomers: The gnolls gained respect for Falcon and his group, and the truce held fine for now. The coming of new ideas and new items is viewed both with interest and suspicion amongst the gnolls. They have not yet decided who these new comers are, what is their place in the region. (Various clans have different ideas). Now, with the coming of the dragonmarked expedition, and their push into the land, this... quandary... just gained new importance.
- Gain more slaves, more power:
The gnolls are actively seeking ways to acquire more wealth, power and slaves. They are somewhat like adventuring groups in that fashion, and very ambitious, if cunning and careful...
- Gnoll power:
The gnolls are many... their numbers far surpass that of the civilized folks in the region (About 8-15 to one). More than that, they are physically more powerful, more adept at surviving and hunting the land, and most of them have some warrior training.
- Slaves & beasts:
The gnolls have many slaves and beasts- from orcs, captured ogres or centauri, to animals and magical beasts. They have a lot of "tools" to use.
- Considerable cooperation:
Gnolls think in hunting group and clan mentality, and as such have learned to function well as groups. This often creates a synergistic effect. A hunting group is often composed of variously skilled individuals, similar to a professional fighting team.
- Knowledge of the land:
The gnolls have lived here long, and know many places, many dangers, many tales and secrets.
- Extreme living:
With their focus on the flesh and The Dark Six, gnolls have witnessed/ been pushed/ experienced/ accepted many quite disturbing and hard practices and mentality. They are very hard to shake, and their customs and habits can easily instill the fear in others, which they use widely.
- Gnoll lake (For a lack of a better name):
The lake and it's surrounding offer a stable source of water, some food and relative secure place for their young.
- Divided loyalty:
The gnolls population have failed time and again to form into a unified whole/ nation. Falon suspects that if that was to happen, then their combined forces would sweep across the region, and perhaps beyond. It is unclear whether this is due to their culture, or part of their "origins curse"... There are some who still try to unify them, be them gnoll matriarchs, or even outside forces...
- Not making friends:
Part of their mentality makes it very hard to form alliances/ working arrangements with non-gnolls (Thought there have been instances). As mentioned, the gnolls mostly have 3 categories for non-gnolls: Prey, Slave or Danger.
- Primitive equipment:
A culture mostly focusing on using others, or nomadic hunting, the gnolls craft and create fairly simple and specific tools. Their level of equipment is sub-par to those of the civilized folks, which makes trade possible and appealing.
- Struggle for survival:
A lot of their lives are spent on survival efforts. This leaves little time for grander and more elaborate projects (Mostly, there are... exceptions).
The gnoll learned to respect many forces of the land, be them fey, Spirits of The Land, Aberrations and more. While many customs are well grounded, the gnolls have developed quite a few other superstitions, which may not hold any real relevance.
- Few casters:
While they do have some divine casters (Who are feared" Not to be messed with" dark priests), the gnolls greatly fear arcane magic, which only a selected few are allowed to practice. (It is believed to be cursed "Shadow" magic).
6. Inner struggles/ sub factions:
This is quite big for this faction, and due to the population's size, each such "Sub faction" is as big as many other full factions. I wll need to give this additional thought, but currently the idea is to create 5-8 major clans, with a few more minor ones. Thinking of a few ideas:
- A few Matriarchs who seeks to unify the clans, but each under her own clan, an for different goals. One sees the newcomers as danger, and seeks to wipe them out. Another see them as useful, and may seek to ally/ use the Dragonmarked equipment and training to gain the advantage over the others, while another may be a religious leader... Not fully certain...
- A faction or two who are influenced/ directed (secretly) by Shere- Khan, who uses them to both sow conflict in the clans, and bring them into conflict with the civilized factions.
- A religious faction, who seeks to promote adherence an following of the Dark Ones, mainly of the Mockery (In a reverence of flaying and working "the flesh").
- Factions who specialize in fighting/ capturing members of other factions.
- A faction who's "job" is to keep gnoll lake and the nearby region safe for gnoll, (including from inner fighting!). They do not roam the land much, and are given a tithe/ sacrifice from others. Amongst the most powerful clans.
7. Relations with other factions:
Home base town:
The gnolls are respectful, and for now do not consider them a threat, but an intriguing curiosity. The place belonged to the gnolls in the past, and some seek to reclaim it/ avenge those who Falcon's Team killed in the process.
The gnolls try to gauge their intentions, danger level, and role. They DO NOT like them breaching the standing truce. It is important to note that most gnolls do not differ between the factions, and may well hold Home Base responsible for any... "transgressions". Yet their high level of gear, and new supply of potential slaves make many gnolls think how to use this new development.
Many don't know of their existence, as Shere- Khan seeks to avoid a direct confrontation. They cannot be turned, and he sees them as "a mistake/ a dark spot" on The Blessing. He seeks to use them/ manipulate them/ eliminate them. From the gnoll perspective, he is powerful individually, yet his small faction is no threat yet... And they hide well, within the protection of The Great Crag.
The Gnolls major competition so far. The two races fight/ compete/ struggle often. The centauri's protected lands, their high mobility and endurance, and their druidic magic make them formidable opponents.
The domain of the ogres have long tempted the gnolls, yet capturing them is tricky... first, the ogres are no push overs, and have their own slaves, defenses, and are strong warriors. Secondly, some of the artifacts/ instruments/ contraptions the ogres use, cannot be used by any other race (more on that later), which means that it's better to trade for their benefits. (The currency of trade is often slaves/ beasts). The two races of weary of each other...
Other wild inhabitants?
Either prey, slave or danger...
8. Main plans:
Again, will need to be developed per sub faction. But on the whole:
- War with the centauri.
- "Test" the new comers, mainly in "The Outpost", and other small expeditions.
9. Major leaders/ focal points:
- To be developed later... with the subfactions.
- Gnoll lake.
- Places that give clues to their origins?
10. Main roster:
First of all, I'll be changing the basic gnoll a bit, adding things like a bite attack, and a few other features to make them look more ferocious and savage.
The gnoll roster isn't about individuals, but rather compositions of hunt groups (A bit similar to a large low level adventuring group), and clans. Some major points:
- I imagine most gnolls to have 1-2 levels. About 70% will have NPC classes, the others will have PC classes.
- Of the classes: Warrior, Expert, Adept. Most "wild" classes, such as ranger, barbarians, slayer and so...
- Most "civilized" classes will be excluded, such as wizard, alchemist, fighter and so... Though "wilder" archetypes may apply.
- Two major exclusions: NO druids (This is Centauri domain). They mostly use witches, spirit shamans, oracles and possibly a few clerics. FEW sorcerers and similar. (Great distrust or "regular" arcane magic).
- Heavy use of slaves/ beasts. From Krenshar, Ankhegs, captured orcs/ ogres, up to possibly (Rare) Manticores, displacer beasts, Wyverns and such...
- Focus on team synergy. Possibly with classes granting tactical team feats such as Cavalier?
- Some potential "PRCs" (With a conversion to P6) of flesh cutting monk/ priests.
The dragonmarked Expedition
The lycan blessing
(Ogre lords )
(Silver flame )