Thinking about factions in the Rumors of War ‘verse proved to be a helpful exercise in defining a few things for me. It also helped me fill a couple of pages in my notebook, which is usually a good sign. (Now, to keep them on my mind…) After contemplation, I have these factions (or categories of factions, since these are generic concepts, rather than specific factions within the world):

Princes (tyrants, kings, rulers) Strong or charismatic individuals claiming the loyalty of retainers and men-at-arms carve out sections of the wilderness to call their own; these places become the palaces and eventually kingdoms if they survive internal strife and external forces.

Pilgrims (workers, migrants, proles) Much of the population is made up of a people that is constantly on the move from one location to another, whether displaced by war or simply seeking a better life; the workers and commoners in Rumors of War are not idle for long.

Pirates (bandits, raiders, slavers) When displaced for long periods of time without work, many turn to prey on one another, whether by raiding or slaving; not an organization so much as one of those “forces” at work to tear down existing societies to pick at the bones.

Knights (nobles, heroes, lords, chiefs) Often claiming to be descended from the gods, these are among the most powerful and respected individuals; while the princes often create their realms through force and create order, knights form the nucleus of chaotic cults of personality.

Tribes (clans, hordes, others) These are the people who survive on the fringes of society, often through oral traditions and familial connections; they differ from pilgrims in that they are generally more stationary, claiming ancestral territories which they defend from encroaching princes.

Guilds (cults, orders, traders) Usually operating within the temporary order established by princes and sometimes knights, the guilds are local craftsmen who’ve organized; differ from pirates in that they typically produce goods and services, rather than prey on others.