The answer to my problem may have been staring me in the face all along — I know I say that but I have a zillion problems and I’m looking at the Internet, so it’s like trying to direct individual drops of water to go through a colander.

There are only so many times a person can shout “eureka” before it starts to get tiresome, but here it is again: I have been working to integrate player affiliations into campaign settings — not settings like Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms or Eberron — but individual settings, … for longer than I’ve been blogging.

Questions as to where affiliations operate, who maintains them, what they can do — can all be addressed individually after the question as to how they form has been answered. And that has probably the simplest question all along.

Level advancement. Huh, duh?

You’ll have to forgive me for being away from my books but as I recall, player characters in earlier editions of Dungeons & Dragons accumulated followers automatically once they reached a certain level (8-10 as I recall).

I started thinking about it after flipping through the Labyrinth Lord rulebook the other day, but it occurred to me that many of the problems I’ve been facing with regard to introducing player affiliations into the game can be solved by making them an integral part of the game — you establish one through advancement.

Applying the same rules to NPCs is a hard-and-fast way of determining where enemy factions come into being — villains and antagonists acquire followers through level advancement as well. Should it be so obvious? Maybe.

The proliferation of petty warlords can almost be described in “Tower Defense,” “Hero Defense,” “Troop Management,” and/or “Raid Boss” terms.

I’ve been looking into alternatives to the relative restrictions of exclusively class-dependent character advancement presented in the last couple editions of D&D, and this might be the answer — automatically initiating affiliations.

End of Class Advancement (Sep 27, 2013)

It’s important to keep character advancement going through Heroic tier, and into the Paragon and Epic tiers, and it has to start somewhere. Where is it better than directly through level advancement? Now to start working on the numbers.