An Age-and-a-Half ago, I discussed different “faction types” for the game system I’ve been developing — alternatively Norvendae and War of the Seven States of Magic, depending on the day of the week — and the other day I read a thing and another thing that gave me an idea.

The system I was using to model groups like a village, could also be used to model adventuring parties and entire planes of existence. Why? Because it’s easier to have one system for that kind of thing?

How? I developed a system determining cosmic scope?

When? Like forever ago. It’s in my archives.

So. A quick refresher — it’s been two and a half months — the settlement scores are, Populace, Industry, Location, Science, Politics, and History. I should tack those up on my wall so I don’t have to keep referencing my own blog.

A settlement, which may eventually become factions,” uses its own people as hit points. Referencing the Scope system, a Settlement or Faction can be found in one of six categories — Personal, Local, Regional, Global, Planar, or Cosmic.

A “Personal” Faction is synonymous with a family or an adventuring party. It’s a small circle of friends or followers, with the upper limit probably being 10-20 before it starts getting unruly. You’d need to gather them all in one place and start organizing a hierarchy before they get out of hand.

Here are the numbers:
3-5 Personal
300-500 Local
30k-50k Regional
3m-5m Global
300m-500m Planar
30b-50b Cosmic

There is a weirdness that should be reiterated — I discussed it once or twice in blog posts — that yes, I would call our “earth” multiple planes of existence. Major cities like New York or Los Angeles would be “worlds.”

China and India (pop. 1 billion+) would each constitute several coterminous and/or coexistent planes. Kind of like how we already imagine the Prime Material Plane, the Plane of Shadow, and the Ethereal Plane interact. Pretty cool, huh?

You figure that each has dozens or even hundreds of different languages, dialects, cultures, ecosystems — and it gets easier to take something as large and complex as a place and break it down into your elves and dwarves and tieflings.

I think the United States (pop. 300 million) is the minimum size for a plane of existence. I think a lot of American roleplayers can relate to that — and that ability to create parallels and expectations, I think facilitates roleplaying.

I can’t speak for gamers in other countries though, I don’t know many. I have no idea what their expectations are like, or how they look at scale.


If we use the “invest GP to earn XP” mechanic to advance PCs, it makes sense to extend the same rules to factions. People need the same things no matter how many you have. Infrastructure becomes more important the larger you go, and resource distribution becomes more difficult as people spread out.

I recall that the 3e Affiliation system use something like 1,000 gp per level per month to advance an Affiliation, then 10,000 per level per month starting with 11th level — that seems to me like a hard-and-fast rule more than anything.

Instead I think costs need to escalate faster. There’s a reason why new gods don’t pop into existence all the time — it takes generations to accumulate the raw resources for godhood, and their worshipers are extremely vulnerable.

I still need to crunch some numbers, but I might have something soon.

We’ll see where this goes.