I stumbled across a new trope the other day, one I hadn’t read before anyway, called “Faction Calculus.” It amounts to a larger-scale version of Cast Calculus or Character Calculus. (I wonder if there’s an index for all these math-inspired tropes? It should be called “Index Calculus,” jeez.)

The Faction Calculus trope tends to look at video games, mostly, but there were a few non-video game examples (unless there was a Drowtales video game at some point when I wasn’t looking). That got me thinking about how I handle factions in the stories I tell, obviously the ones I mention most often — but also, I was thinking about how I intended to handle factions on a grander scale within the Seven States Cosmology.

I thought a bit about the balance factors described for systems that use four factions … in a lot of ways, it reminds me of how The Drifter will tend to split into Brains/Brawn or Beauty/Brains when you move from a cast of one to a cast of two, and how those pairings will tend to split into Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. I’ll bet there are tons of things you can do with characters that can be scaled to work on an organizational level.

So, what does it mean at the moment? Well, I’m looking at where the fundamental boundaries exist for the factions I’ve already created lie — what gives them their individual advantages and disadvantages? I should probably point out that I’m not actually referring to the tyrants/pilgrims/pirates/nobles/orders/tribes factions, those were never designed with competitive balance in mind. Now that I think about it…