Expanding the idea of faction powers…
…And continued from Part Two.

To a certain extent, the factions are less about significant organizations in the world, and more about different ways in which people congregate. If you remember your high school economics and government / social studies classes, this is kind of what that’s about. How do people support themselves, and what’s their leadership like?

Factions represent social classes to a certain extent, in a world where there are no stable political bodies. When we talk about the United States as a “free country” (an expression I honestly haven’t heard since I was in a school with a playground), and we talk about certain nations having descended into anarchy…

Well, there aren’t any countries, and “nationality” hasn’t developed much as a concept. When I was researching for alternatives to the word “slave,” I realized it’s derived from “Slave,” as in the ethnic group. During the Middle Ages, they were apparently a tribal people who were repeatedly conquered and enslaved.

Our word “barbarian” comes from barbar, which if you’re following the example from above, you might think was an ethnic group, but was a Greek onomatopoeia used to describe the sound of foreign languages, similar to our expression “blah blah.” From sounds of foreign languages, you get “uncultured” people. Awesome.

…Anyway. Expert factions occupy a special niche of people dedicated to their art, sometimes to the extent of literal helplessness. I think historically, these were the introverted people who honed a particular task that would make them useful to a group, but meant they could spend time away from people as a group.

Perhaps unique to this group is their power to give gifts to other groups, as a wholly “positive” power. It isn’t that other groups don’t make use of gifts as bargaining chips and such, it’s just that gifts from experts are always “useful” things, like resources and stuff. Pottery, oils and exotic spices, scrolls of learning, philosophy, et cetera.

While any faction type can perform a simple exchange of one resource for another, the expert factions are once again unique in their ability to trade and enable both sides to profit. A combination of impeccable bookkeeping, shrewd bargaining, and careful oversight on all deals makes for highly efficient trades.

Now, to try and put some of the above explanation of social classes into a usable context, is the concept of outlaw factions. Pirates, bandits, raiders, slavers, barbarian hordes, and roving bands of marauders don’t tend to organize well (except when they do, see “adventurers”), which is why I thought it was important to explain them.

Outlaws have two key powers, which are used primarily for destruction. The first is raiding. Unlike the knights’ plunder power, raiding is about causing destruction. Knights want a sustainable economy where they’re permitted to destroy things by the society they serve and protect. Outlaws don’t care about sustainability.

The other thing outlaws tend to be good for, rather than destroying things, is destroying peoples’ sense of security. They use fearsome imagery and ferocious displays to strike terror in the hearts of their targets. This is often really, really effective. Scare campaigns do fear pretty well.