I was inspired by reading Hack & Slash, “On a Light and Dark Age.”

I’ve been turning over how factions “gain experience.”

One possibility is population growth. As factions gain membership, they advance in level. This would be cool because it means adaptive, egalitarian, socially-inclusive, and fast-breeding factions should win the day, right?

Well uh, maybe.

I mean, one of the problems with using population growth to measure faction growth is that plenty of demihuman tribes like goblins and kobolds don’t necessarily “advance” merely by breeding, do they?

I don’t know. Maybe they do.

Orcs too, y’know? It’ll be hard to say until I have more of the mechanics on paper — despite my progress, a lot of the mechanics are based on supposition.

My thinking here, is that you ought to be able to socially-engineer your faction so that it’s more inclusive and admitting of outsiders so it can expand its power base, right? Utilizing ‘Ages’ to alternately grow or stabilize a faction.

Moving past population growth, there’s technological development.

I mean, even if “teching your way to victory” isn’t the main thrust of the game, I think it should at least be a viable path to supremacy.

But not everyone who has the knowledge is responsible for discovering it — just look at modern academia. We talk all the time about “standing on the shoulders/heads/mouldering corpses of giants.”

Nowhere is this more apparent than in school.

Knowledge may be equally discovered and stolen. Making use of it is a different matter. I think any time a faction acquires technology from another faction (or from a dungeon), they ought to gain progress toward the next level.

You know, when I think about it, that in-game leader board from Alpha Centauri might be a good place to look to for ideas about how factions gain experience.

Technology, Military, Population, Wealth, and Territory

So, steal a bit of technology for XP?
Expand to (or conquer) a new hex for XP?
Enfranchise some new people for XP?
Raid enemy treasuries for XP?

I think those are surefire ways to advance a faction’s level. Naturally, you don’t get XP from a faction’s natural growth or technological development.

Those are freebies.

In fact, maybe that’s why fast-breeding demihumans like orcs and kobolds don’t advance more, or more quickly, than other races.

If you have to bring in population from outside your faction, as opposed to well, reproducing, that’s a sufficient limiter on faction growth?

Then again, if the XP gained from population growth only occurs at specific milestones (like, per 1,000 new population), it’s also sufficient?

Obviously, it’ll become more apparent whether these things work once the mechanics are in place and can be vigorously tested. When it comes to populations, there’s immigration to consider as well. I mean, look at Dwarf Fortress.

And again, that’s where Dark and Light Ages come in — when you have a faction that’s welcoming, it experiences all this lovely growth. But like, ideological dissension and biological disease become more prominent issues.

Lots to think about. Lots to do.