Faction Skills: Notoriety

Last time on our Faction System walkthrough, we introduced you to the five main Faction Skills and showed you what the Reputation Skill can do.

This time we’re showing off Reputation’s evil brother: the Notoriety Skill

Notoriety

If Reputation is “fame”, then Notoriety is “infamy”. Notoriety doesn’t show off to the world how good your faction is at what it does, or how powerful it is, or the mighty deeds it has accomplished (that’s all Reputation). Instead, Notoriety says distrusted/loathed/disliked/hated your faction is by populace at large, and how much the authorities want to bring your faction down. There is very little positive about this for either the faction or the players, but it doesn’t mean you can’t make the best out of a bad situation.

Gameplay-wise, Notoriety acts in a similar fashion to Reputation. Both the faction and the players (as representatives of the faction) can use Notoriety as a Social Skill to intimidate and bully others into doing what they want. It’s much easier to threaten someone when you can show that you already don’t care about the authorities. You can even use Notoriety to look for jobs/missions in a new area you are in. Of course, if you succeed in that Skill Check, the jobs you get will be far more dangerous and criminal-oriented than one you get from Reputation, but a job’s a job.

However, all of this is just making the best out of a bad situation. Notoriety has a far more important role, and that’s to generate Notoriety Events.

Notoriety events

At the start of each session, the GM will roll a Notoriety Skill Check for the faction. If it fails, nothing happens. If it passes, though, then the faction’s Notoriety has caught the attention of someone. So the GM consults the table below and see just what sort of calamity has befallen the Faction. So the higher your Notoriety Skill Level, the higher the chance that something happens. A Notoriety Event can, of course, span more than one gaming session, so if there is a Notoriety Event already going on, no need to roll again.

01-05: Treachery Event +5.
06-10: Vigilantes come sniffing around the faction.
11-15: Anti-faction propangda/misinformation is spread around.
16-20: Police come to investigate faction.
21-25: Wanted criminal(s) seeks refuge with faction.
26-30: Attempt to blackmail faction leader(s).
31-35: Gain 1d10 members, and push up Treachery by same amount.
36-40: A burglary/robbery attempt is made against the faction.
41-45: Lose 1d10 members, and push up Treachery by same amount.
46-50: Allied faction is attacked and asks for aid.
51-55: Kidnapping attempt on faction leader(s).
56-60: Allied faction severs ties with faction.
61-65: Police come to arrest faction leader(s).
66-70: Violent mob comes to take justice on the faction
71-75: Police comes to arrest faction.
76-80: Vigilantes come to attack the faction.
81-85: Assassination attempt on faction leader(s).
86-90: Rival faction comes after faction.
91-95: Military comes after faction.
96-100: Roll twice and use both events.

Other than causing grief for the faction, a Notoriety Event is like a snowball that just keeps getting worse. Each session that the Event is not handled and closed off means that the Faction’s Notoriety Skill Level will increase. This means that the next Event Roll could be far worse for the faction.

The Righteous Prophets.

With a roll of 82 to Prophets’ Notoriety Skill Level is 50. Not as bad as it could be, but it does mean that the faction starts off having a 50/50 chance of a Notoriety Event happening. What is good, however, is that the Prophets’ now have a Social Skill they can use. Last time we found that their Reputation Skill is only at Level 10, so being able to use their Notoriety Skill in game is quite useful for them. Since they are a criminals, I doubt they would lose much sleep over threatening and intimidating others to do their work.

Let’s see, though, what would happen on their first session: with a roll of 7 it means they start their campaign off with a Notoriety Event. At least this one isn’t too bad, only some vigilantes coming to sniff around and see what’s been going on. Nothing the Prophets can’t handle, but the question now is how to handle it? Lay low for a while, let the heat cool down, or take out the Vigilantes quickly and (hopefully) quietly to make sure they don’t find out something they shouldn’t?

And that’s it for the Notoriety Skill. Tell us what you think about it, what your faction Notoriety Skill Level is and how you plan on handling the Notoriety Events.

Next time we’ll see what can happen if your faction’s Treachery gets too high.

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Remember that you get to choose what we work on after the Faction System has been made, so CLICK HERE to vote!

Faction Skills

Last time on our Faction System walkthrough, we gave your faction a home by showing you how to build your base.

This time we’re going to start delving into the gameplay of factions by looking at their Skills.

The Five Faction Skills

As the heading says, each faction has five main Skills that it, the players, and the GM can use during gaming sessions.

Reputation: This is the main social skill for the faction. Think of it as the Diplomacy Skill sized up.
Notoriety: If Reputation is Diplomacy, then Notoriety is Intimidate. High Notoriety can also trigger events.
Treachery: This is mainly used for Treachery events, but players can use this to stir up mutinies and the like inside the faction.
Wealth: Other than the base building we’ve covered, this works much like a player’s Wealth Skill.
Might: How offensively powerful your faction is. How well it would fare in a conflict.

One thing to keep in mind with these Skills, is that the players will be able to use all of them for their own PCs, not just for the faction. Need a bit of extra cash to buy something, dip into the faction’s Wealth Skill. Need some extra muscle on a mission, that’s why the Might skill is there. Not the greatest talker, but your faction’s notoriety is high? Then use the Notoriety Skill. In this way, the better the faction becomes the more useful it will be to the players. Keep your faction strong and you will get stronger.

Skill Levels

During faction generation, you will roll for each of the faction’s five Skills. Then your faction’s history, and the base building will increase and decrease those skills. Just as with the sneak-peek at the Wealth Skill last time, the roll table for the Skills are as follows:

1-19: 1
20-36: 10
37-51: 20
52-64: 30
65-75: 40
76-84: 50
85-91: 60
92-96: 70
97-99: 80
100: 90

Reputation

The most straightforward of the five Skills and the one we are going to cover in a bit more detail in this post.

At its most basic, Reputation is the faction’s Diplomacy Skill. If the faction (as a whole) wants to negotiate and deal with other factions and organisations, it uses its Reputation Skill. The higher its Reputation, the more easily it will deal with other factions.

For the majority of gameplay, however, Reputation will become an added Social Skill for the player characters. Whenever a PC wants to deal with a character, or group of characters, in a non-aggressive and non-threatening manner, they can use their faction’s Reputation Skill instead. This simulates that even if a person’s social skills aren’t up to scratch, the very fact that they represent a larger faction with a good reputation, they can still get away with quite a lot.

But just because you can get away with a lot doesn’t mean you can get away with everything. The key phrase above was “non-aggressive and non-threatening”. If a PC want to threaten another character with the might and power of their faction, then you can Notoriety. The other key thing to note is that using Reputation as a PC automatically makes that PC become a type of ambassador for their faction. They are representing their faction each time they use Reputation. This means that if you aren’t in control of your faction, the head boss might not be too keen on you using the faction’s name each time you want a discount at a store, or bribe a guard. In the same vein, overusing Reputation for trivial things will eventually do your faction’s name some real harm, causing its reputation to sour and the Reputation Skill to decrease. It’s a powerful tool, so use it wisely.

Another way to use Reputation is to get jobs/missions for the PCs. Rather than canvassing a city, asking every innkeep and tavern bartender for their latest gossip, the PCs can roll a Reputation Skill Check to drop their faction’s name here and there and see if someone will come running after hearing that these mighty heroes have stepped into town.

The Righteous Prophets.

With a roll of 36, the Prophet’s Reputation Skill Level is only 10. Their name is mud, but this suits this group of scumbags. What it does mean, is that they can’t rely on their faction’s reputation to get them by. They have to do the real haggling and negotiation themselves. It does give them a fairly immediate goal, though: they need to get their reputation up higher so that they can get better contacts, better deals and better jobs.

And that’s it for the quick intro to Skills and the Reputation Skill. Tell us what you think about it, what your faction Reputation Skill Level is and how you plan on using it.

Next time we’ll see what can happen if your faction’s Notoriety gets too high.

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Remember that you get to choose what we work on after the Faction System has been made, so CLICK HERE to vote!

Z-LAND S2 Chapter 5 “Silent Night” Part 4

With the helicopter fading from sight is it a harbinger of death herald of life?

Missed out on the previous episodes? CLICK HERE to catch up on all the apocalyptic action.

And get your hands on the Z-LAND corebook now by CLICKING HERE.

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If you want to chat about Z-LAND with other players and the developers, then come join our Discord server!

Z-LAND hit Copper level!

It’s been less than a week and Z-LAND is doing better than we had ever hoped for!

A couple of days ago Z-LAND took it’s first step on the ladder to Platinum level on DriveThruRPG by hitting Copper rank. It got there blindingly fast, and it will only get better from here on out. The next rank to hit is Silver level and isn’t as easy as getting Copper, so spread the word about Z-LAND and let’s get it up there to the next level!

But hitting Copper level hasn’t been Z-LAND’s only achievement. Since its release it has been sitting comfortably in DriveThruRPG’s top 20 best selling list which is a dream come true.

But it still gets better! Z-LAND is in the top 5 of all of DriveThruRPG’s horror games and supplements. It’s sitting up there with the likes of Cthulhu and vampires, and that’s as it should be, because our zombies are absolutely terrifying.

But still, that is not the achievement we are most proud of. What has been our dream come true is that Z-LAND is currently the number one best selling zombie game on all of DriveThruRPG! How awesome is that!? It has beaten all the heavy-weights of zombie RPGs to get that number one spot! We are proper chuffed to see that.

And while we may gloat and brag about this, because who wouldn’t, it really is all thanks to you. If it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t have gotten this far. So here is a massive thank you to everyone who has backed our kickstarter, bought a copy of the beta and corebook, watched the YouTube series, or played a game of Z-LAND. You guys are awesome, and this really is your copper medal.

You guys rock.

Z-LAND: The Survival Horror RPG is released!

It’s been a long road, but we’ve finally reached the end of it, and we can now officially say:

The Z-LAND corebook is now available!

Click on the fancy cover up above or CLICK HERE to head on over to DriveThruRPG to get your hands on Z-LAND: The Survival Horror RPG.

You can get Z-LAND in three different formats: PDF, Premium Softcover, and Premium Hardcover. If you get either of the physical copies, you can grab the PDF for free. We don’t want to charge you twice for the same thing.

We really could not have done it without you. Your help with the Kickstarter campaign, and the long beta journey have helped us make a product we absolutely love and that we know you will love as well. So give yourself a pat on the back, and then go on DriveThruRPG and get your hands on the shiny new Z-LAND corebook!

Faction Base Building

Last time on our Faction System walkthrough, we finished up the faction generation with some final touch ups and turned a bunch of random roll tables into a believable faction.

This time we’re going to give your faction a home by building it a base.

The Wealth Skill

We’ll be going over faction skills and specialisations next time, but for now all we need to worry about is the Wealth Skill. It has some important in-game mechanics that the PCs will be able to use, but for base building the Wealth Skill also acts as a cap to how much you can “purchase” for your base. As with everything else in the Sigil System, the Wealth Skill runs from 1 – 100 and you roll on the table below to determine your starting Skill Level.

1-19: 1
20-36: 10
37-51: 20
52-64: 30
65-75: 40
76-84: 50
85-91: 60
92-96: 70
97-99: 80
100: 90

The number you roll will act as the upper limit to how much you can buy. Each of the items below will have a cost associated with it. When you add up all the costs of the things you want to buy, it can’t be higher than your Wealth Skill. Any points left unspent is wasted, so spend as much as you can.

Luxuriousness

Now that you know how much you have in the bank to spend, the first thing to decide is how fancy, luxurious, and opulent you want your faction’s base to be. The fancier you want it, the more you will have to spend, which means you will have less over for buying the parts of your base. However, the more luxurious your base, the higher you reputation will be and the happier your members will be. This has huge implications for gameplay as unhappy members can lead to “Treachery Events” (which we’ll cover in a later blog-post).

So choose carefully on the list below how much you want to spend:

0: Wretched
10: Poor
20: Average
30: Rich
40: Lavish
50: Palatial

Acquisitions

The final part of base building is actually building the base. You start off with a basic “base structure” for free, but this is little better than a large, empty room. Everything else you will need to buy. You will see on the list below that you can buy additional “base structures” as well as “safehouses”. If you do get these, you can spend some of your Wealth Skill points to buy acquisitions for these as well.

3: Armory
10: Base structure
3: Camouflage
3: Crew quarters
5: Dock/Garage
3: Entertainment space
3: Hygiene/bathing
3: Jail
3: Kitchen/dining
3: Office space
3: Safehouse
5: Specialist quarters
1: Misc (eg storage)
3: Training grounds
3: Secret passageway
3: Vehicles
3: Defensive structures

You’ll notice a few bolded names here. The Misc section is there not because we ran out of ideas, but because each of the non-bolded names has a mechanical impact on your Faction’s Skills and Specialisations. By acquiring these parts, your faction will become better at doing certain things. Thus, if you want anything else for your base, it can go under the Misc section. The Dock/Garage allows you to park your vehicles in your base, and the Specialist quarters allow you to recruit (wait for it) Specialists. Specialists are powerful NPC members that will help your faction grow and become powerful. We’ll cover them more in a future blog-post

Exemplar

Last time we finished off our Righteous Prophets, the gang of corrupt cops turned smugglers. Now let’s see where they call home:

With a roll of 30 we find out they have a Wealth Skill of 10. They are as poor as they are corrupt. This means we will have to stick with the Wretched level of luxuriousness so that we can buy acquisitions, but it makes sense that their base will be as poor as their souls.

With 10 points we can’t buy a lot, so we have to prioritise. As smugglers inside a police force (and one that’s been busted before) they need to stay hidden and have a way of getting in and out unseen, so we’ll spend 6 on Camouflage and Secret passageway. To make sure they don’t get overrun by the cops again or by rival gangs, we’ll give them Defensive structures on their base, and with the last point we’ll spend it in Misc so we can get some storage for all their smuggled goods.

It has none of the comforts of home, but it’s a practical place for practical people.

And that’s it for base building! Tell us what you think about it, what your bases ended up looking like, and if you have more suggestions for acquisitions!

Next time we’ll start going into gameplay with the Skills and Specialisations of your faction.

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Remember that you get to choose what we work on after the Faction System has been made, so CLICK HERE to vote!

Faction Creation: Final Touches

Last time on our Faction System walkthrough, we showed you how to give your faction a history and a past, and fill that with significant events that really give your faction character

This time we’re going close off the faction generation by doing a few touch ups and then seeing the final result.

Allies and Rivals

No faction exists in isolation. It will always have have ties with the outside world in some form or fashion. This also means that it will start making friends and enemies. In game-terms, this means that every faction will start off with at least one Allied Faction, and one Rival Faction. How far you want to go in detailing these factions is up to you. You can do this entire process for your Ally and Rival, and in turn do it for their Ally and Rival, and so on and so forth until your whole world is interconnected. Alternatively, if you want to leave it vague for the mean time, you can simply roll on the Faction Type table below to just get a general sense of who they are, so your faction’s relationship to them at least is clearer.

So roll once for an Allied Faction, and once for a Rival Faction.

01-10: Academics/Scholars
11-20: Adventurers/Mercenaries
21-30: Assassins/Contractors
31-40: Bureaucrats/Officials
41-50: Entertainers/Bards
51-60: Socialites/Bourgeois
61-70: Thieves/Smugglers
71-80: Traders/Craftsmen
81-90: Vigilantes/Lawmen
91- 100: Warriors/Soldiers

Faction Goals

The very last roll to make is to determine what your faction’s current goal is. This isn’t an overarching mission statement. This isn’t what the faction is all about. Instead this is very clear cut goal with a definite end point. It is something that the faction is trying to accomplish right now, and afterwards it will move on to something else.

01-10: Acquire more assets (eg land, property, goods).
11-20: Become better at what they specialise in.
21-30: Build up and expand their offensive power.
31-40: Defend themselves or something else from a faction.
41-50: Engage in a philanthropic endeavour.
51-60: Extend/increase their influence over an area/faction.
61-70: Gain more usable, spendable money.
71-80: Grow their number of members, contacts, specialists.
81-90: Increase their fame/infamy.
91-100: Take vengeance upon another faction.

Touch Ups

Now is the time for you to put it all together, and connect all the dots. Each roll you made provides you with a point, but it is up to you to join those points together to create a cohesive story that is your faction. Many of the options you’ve rolled will naturally tie in together, and will seem to seamlessly fit, but for others, it will take some imagination.

Exemplar

Before we see what our exemplar faction looks as a whole, let’s quickly see what their goal is and who their ally/rival is. Rolls were 95, 72, and 33. So the Righteous Prophets’ Ally is a group of Warriors/Soldiers, its rival is a bunch of Traders/Craftsmen and its current goal is to defend themselves or something else from a faction.

Now let’s put it all together and see what sort of faction we’ve discovered with this generator:

The Righteous Prophets are a smuggling ring operating inside a police force. They are deeply entrenched within this police force, having been created not long after the force itself was commissioned. It’s original creator was a villain of the highest order, a corrupt and degenerate policeman who wanted a little extra in his paycheck every month, and he set the tone for what the Righteous Prophets would become. Their racial supremacy is the nicest thing you can say about them.

Everything wasn’t moonshine and roses, however, and when the Prophets were at their peak, a catastrophe happened that nearly destroyed them. The police force in which they were hiding discovered them, and arrested nearly all of them. Only a small handful Prophets remained undetected, and they had to stay in hiding for years, waiting for the heat to die down. Eventually, they could start operating again, but the Prophets were a shadow of their former selves, and it was only the loyalty of the members (loyalty to each other, to the Prophets, and to the money they were making) that pulled the Prophets back from the brink of extinction.

Changes had to be made, though. Trust was in short supply, and they could not gamble on the loyalty of new members. A strict hierarchy was enforced, and a new means of acquiring members was developed. They wouldn’t bribe and cajole people to join them anymore. Instead, they would entrap them and blackmail them. They would force a bond of trust between every member and the Prophets, because if the Prophets goes down, so does every member inside. Everyone lives, or everyone dies.

The plans worked, and the Prophets have again become a force to be reckoned with. Recovering their strength and reputation hasn’t been easy, however, and many enemies have been made along the way. A trade union has become a particularly sharp thorn in their side, as the Prophets’ smuggling business has been undercutting the union’s. Even now, the Prophets are expecting an attack from the union, but they won’t stand alone. The police force isn’t the only organisation corrupt enough to house a smuggling ring. The Prophets have made contact with a group inside the army, and relations are going well. The Prophets hope that with the army’s smugglers’ help, they can survive this latest assault.

And that’s where the Righteous Prophets enter the story…

And that’s it for faction generation!

Next time we’ll start looking at giving your faction a home and a base to operate out of.

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Remember that you get to choose what we work on after the Faction System has been made, so CLICK HERE to vote!

Faction Histories

Last time on our Faction System walkthrough, we showed you how to give your faction a unique quirk and discovered what your faction offers new recruits

This time we’re going to delve deep into your faction’s past and give it a history to give it past that feels believable and makes your faction relatable.

Reconstructing the Past

There are two sections into discovering your faction’s history. The first is to roll for how old your faction is, which will say how many significant events have occurred in your faction’s history; and the second is to roll for what those significant events were. If you have a lot of significant events, that can lead to a lot of rolling, but the events have a far greater impact than just lore. Each event will modify your faction’s skills and stats so that those stats look like they’ve organically grown over the course of your faction’s history. We won’t go into the stats in this update, so sit back and enjoy the lore.

Faction Age

An easy roll to make, but with huge ramifications. The age of your faction is given as keywords rather than specific timeframes, and this allows your GM to adapt it to whatever genre of campaign they are running. For example, an urban-gang centred campaign can mean an “Ancient” faction is only 100 years old, while a campaign set in a world perpetually stuck in the middle ages could mean an “Old” faction is 1000s of years old.

With regard to the number of events next to each age, you can never have less than 1 event. Since the number of events is pseudo-random, it can mean that a Recent faction has more significant events than an Ancient faction, but remember that these are significant events, not just any old event.

01-10: Ancient (1d10 events)
11-25: Old (1d10-1 events)
26-40: Vintage (1d10-2 events)
41-55: Established (1d10-3 events)
56-70: Young (1d10-4 events)
71-85: Recent (1d10-5 events)
86-100: New (just 1 event)

Significant Events

Fairly straightforward rolls here. Roll on the table for each significant event in your faction’s history. The first event you roll is also the reason or impetus behind your faction’s creation; while the last event is also the most recent thing to have happened to your faction, just before it enters into your story.

In the full mod, each option here will have a nice paragraph detailing all the sorts of things the event can mean, but for now, we’ll just give you the Reader’s Digest version.

01-05: Rise
06-10: Fall
11-15: Champion
16-20: Fiend
21-25: Battle Won
26-30: Battle Lost
31-35: Creation
36-40: Destruction
41-45: Ally
46-50: Rival
51-55: Wisdom
56-60: Lunacy
61-65: Miracle
66-70: Cataclysm
71-75: Loyalty
76-80: Betrayal
81-85: Bribery
86-90: Blackmail
91-95: Sprout
95-100: Shrivel

Rise: your faction rose the ranks of society, or found a way to increase its diplomatic influence and reputation
Fall: your faction lost face, lost influence and lost reputation
Champion: the leader(s) of your faction were great and noble heroes to the world at large, to only a few people, or just to your faction
Fiend: your faction’s leader(s) were villains of the highest order, and your faction is still notorious for their actions
Battle Won: as the name says, your faction won a great battle (physically, socially, diplomatically, magically, spiritually?)
Battle Lost: or your faction lost a battle and still bear the scars
Creation: your faction was involved in a significant endeavour that resulted in the creation of something spectacular
Destruction: your faction destroyed something valuable and important to a lot of people
Ally: your faction found a friend in another group or organisation
Rival: your faction made a lasting enemy out of another organisation
Wisdom: it was a golden age of philosophy, strategy, poetry, science or anything else scholarly for your faction
Lunacy: your faction descended into lunacy and degeneracy that would make Nero proud
Miracle: your faction was at rock bottom when something spectacular and explainable brought them back from the brink.
Cataclysm: like a meteor from outer space (maybe literally), something came along and ruined everything for everyone in your faction
Loyalty: it was a trying time for your faction, but the loyalty of the members are still remembered to this day
Betrayal: it was high time for mutiny and your faction was turned on its head
Bribery: wheels needed to be greased and money had to be spent. Was your faction bribed or did they do the bribing?
Blackmail: as with bribing, was your faction involved in a scandal or did they exploit someone else’s to bring fortune to themselves?
Sprout: your faction had an influx of new members
Shrivel: there was an exodus of members fleeing your faction

Exemplar

As of the last post, we found that our Righteous Prophets, the smuggling ring inside a police force was a racial supremacist group that entrapped new recruits into joining. Let’s see what has happened to them over the years.

With a roll of 11 we know our Prophets are Old, so we can say that while they weren’t around from the very beginning of the police force’s creation, it didn’t take long for them to set up shop. That means we get 1d10-1 events and we rolled a 5, so 4 events it is. A 20, a 68, a 74, and a 94 tell us that we have Fiend, Cataclysm, Loyalty and Sprout. Now let’s put them together to see what the history of the Righteous prophets were.

The first event tells us how the faction was founded, and ours was founded by a Fiend, which makes total sense with what we’ve seen of the Prophets. An utterly corrupt and degenerate policeman decided police-life didn’t offer enough, and so started his own criminal enterprise. Then, however, we get to Cataclysm and it all nearly fell apart. Since they are inside a police force, we can say that this was when the police discovered there was a criminal syndicate operating right under their noses and arrested nearly all of them. The faction looked like it was on its last legs. Eventually, however, the police would have moved onto other matters and decided they had gotten all the Prophets. With time to rebuild, it would have taken great Loyalty from its members to stand together and recreate the smuggling ring… but here we run into a problem, why would there be loyalty if they all were recruited by entrapment? The key thing to remember here is that the options we have been rolling for in past posts is what the faction looks like when they enter the story, not how they started. So we can say that the Prophets didn’t always start by recruiting its members by entrapment, that could have come later… which neatly segues into the final event that happens just before the Righteous Prophets enter the campaign: Sprout. They suddenly gained a lot of new recruits when the old guard rebuilt the faction. This is where we can say they decided to use entrapment in an effort to quickly build themselves back up again to a point where they could be a force to be reckoned with.

And that’s it for this update. Have a go at discovering the secret or not-so-secret histories of your faction and tell us what interesting options you discovered. In the next update, we’ll touch up the faction and tie everything together.

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Remember that you get to choose what we work on after the Faction System has been made, so CLICK HERE to vote!

Faction Oddities and Recruitment

Last time on our Faction System walkthrough, we showed you how to start off making your own unique faction.

This time we’re showing you two tables to roll on that will make your faction even more unique, but is also chiefly geared to how your faction will present itself to the world.

Oddities

We’re all a little bit strange in our own way, and your faction won’t be any different. The table below will give your faction its own distinct quirk or oddity that will shape how your faction interacts with its own members, but also with the world outside. A faction whose members are only of a single sex or race will look and act quite different than one who is extremely iconophilic or has distinctive clothing.

Bear in mind that just because you are rolling for one oddity doesn’t mean that your faction can’t have as many oddities as you want. Just because your faction didn’t get the Tattoos/Scarification/Piercings option doesn’t mean that they can’t enjoy a good tattoo now and again. If you want more than oddity for your faction, just make sure one oddity is its main quirk, the one that truly characterises it.

01-05: Anonymity among members.
06-10: Arduous joining/initiation rituals.
11-15: Communicates chiefly in code.
16-20: Cut off prior friend/family contact
21-25: Distinctive clothing.
26-30: Distinctive methodology.
31-35: Distinctive weapon/tool.
36-40: Enforced code of conduct/honour.
41-45: Extensive ritualistic practices.
46-50: Has a high level of bureaucracy.
51-55: Has a specific colour theme/style
56-60: Hatred for specific group.
61-65: Iconophiles.
66-70: Is stigmatised by society.
71-75: Secret society to the world.
76-80: Single race faction.
81-85: Single sex faction.
86-90: Specific age restriction.
91-95: Specific social class restriction.
95-100: Tattoos/Scarification/Piercings.

Recruitment Offers

Every faction needs to get its members one way or the other. Whether your faction actively goes out to recruit new members, or people hear of your faction’s reputation and come wanting to join, there will always be something that your faction offers potential recruits as an incentive. If your faction goes out recruiting, this offer is what they will use to entice people to join; or if people come of their own volition, then they will hear about this offer and that can be what brings them on board.

01-10: Brotherhood
11-20: Entrapment
21-30: Faith
31-40: Goal/Cause
41-50: Knowledge
51-60: Might
61-70: Mysticism
71-80: Safety
81-90: Vengeance
91-100: Wealth

Exemplar

Last time we rolled what sort of faction our Righteous Prophets were, and we discovered they were a smuggling ring inside a police force. Now let’s see what quirk they have, and what they offer new recruits. With a 78 and a 20 we have a single race faction that entraps new members into its ranks. Well we knew the Prophets were a bunch of corrupt cops to begin with, organising a smuggling ring and all, but they really have gone all out on the villain checklist this time.

And that’s it for this update. Have a go at seeing what makes your faction odd and quirky and tell us what interesting options you discovered. In the next update, we’ll dive into the history of your faction to see all the things that have shaped them up to this point.

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Remember that you get to choose what we work on after the Faction System has been made, so CLICK HERE to vote!

Gates Character Creation Example

Stormforge West is hard at work on Gates (see the introduction here), and today we can show you an example of how character creation works in Gates. So take it away James!

One of the key aspects of Gates is its character customization. Nearly any type of character can be made in Gates. To showcase this property, I will show you the process for making two very different characters. The first is one of the Gate Striders that has a quote in the book, Gregor Rokan. The second will be a character that is a bit more… unique. We will get to that soon. But first, lets go through the making of Gregor.

Gregor Rokan


So, we need to know who Gregor Is. I know I want him to be an archer of sorts, perhaps a fantasy sniper/ranger type.

Step 1: Talk to party

Before creating any character, you will need to talk to the GM and the party as a whole. Discuss the game with them, and use this to build the character. However, we do not have a party to speak too. So, this will be skipped.

Step 2: Background

This step is where we consider the background of the character. We will need to consider who Gregor was and what his past was like. Gregor is a Gate Strider. This means that he is an impressive individual. So who was Gregor Rokan? Gregor was raised in a fantasy world with danger at every corner. He lived in a small town, one situated in a woods. This character is a sniper, so lets tie that in to his background. One day, His town was attacked by hordes of Orcs, which he played a key part in defending the town. Using his sniping skills with a bow, he slaid thirty two orcs before they even arrived.

Now, lets build his background mechanically. We have five background points to spend on different traits. These traits are split into four categories: Lifestyle, Challenge, Journey, and world. It is not necessary to choose a background trait from each section, but we will for demonstration.

Lifestyle represents who the character was and how they lived their life. There are many background traits to choose from, but lets select “Survivor”. Survivor is a trait that means the character was adept at surviving in the wild. Because Gregor spent much of his time hunting, he has learned the ins and outs of this trait fairly well. Mechanically, this means Gregor gains the Survival skill set. More on that latter.

The Challenge is a the trait which makes the Gate Strider a Gate Strider. This is why they were chosen to explore the worlds. Gregor was chosen because he was fearless in the face of danger. Thus, we will give him “Fearless” which means Gregor is immune to fear.

Journey traits are gained on the road. Between becoming a Gate Strider and the start of the adventure, a character will have traveled through a few worlds. In this journey, they will have picked up equipment, made friends, and learned some valuable information. These are represented by Journey traits. For Gregor, lets give him “Travelers Lore”. This mean he has traveled to many worlds and has learned many bits and pieces of lore. He may spend a hero die in order to gain insight on any unique artifact or Gate Strider.

The final Background Trait is the world trait. This is a trait gained from the world the character comes from. Since Gregor comes from a fantasy world, then lets select “Trinkets” which means the character begins the game with several magical trinkets.

So, to summarize, we have decided to select Trinkets, Survivor, Travelers Lore, and Fearless as the background traits. This means that we have 1 background point left. This transfers into a Hero Die. Hero Dice represent a characters luck and are equal to 1+ the remaining Hero Dice. Thus, two Hero Dice.

Step 3: Abilities

There are 6 abilities in Gates. Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence, Focus, and Spirit. When determining their starting points, set each one equal to 2 and spread 10 points throughout them. Because we know Gregor is an archer/ranger type. We will give him a higher Dexterity and Focus. This is how we will spread the abilities:

Strength 3
Dexterity 5
Constitution 4
Intelligence 3
Focus 5
Spirit 2

He has low spirit, but the high dexterity and focus will help him stay alert and ready for any situation.

Step 4: Classes

This is a very important decision for us to make. Here, we will decide on two classes that will make up the character. We know that a part of Gregor’s character is being an expert archer. Archer is a school within the Warrior class, so let’s choose that as the first class. The second class is a bit tricky. We could go down a more sniper route and select Rogue. Alternatively, we can select Naturalist and give him a more mystical nature connection. Gregor is not a mystical character, so let’s go with a Warrior/Rogue.

Step 5: Cores

A Core is a core ability of a character. A character selects three Cores for their character. These are selected from the classes chosen as well as two universal Cores. The Cores for warrior are “Attack Training” and “Defence Training”. The Cores for Rogue are “Sneak Attack” and “Hide”. The Universal Cores are “Enhanced Ability” and “Ability Mastery”.
Let’s choose “Attack Training”, “Sneak Attack”, and “Hide.” This will give the character accuracy with attacks, the ability to hide quickly and easily, and the ability to perform deadly sneak attacks. I will not go over these Cores right now, as I will cover them in a future blog post.

Step 6: Skills

Similar to Cores, we select three skill sets from the classes we have chosen. The skills available are Acrobatics, Thieving, Athletics, and Tactics. Now, because he has the Survivor trait, then Gregor gains the Survival skill set already. Because Gregor is not a thief, we will select Acrobatics, Athletics, and Tactics. This means he is very physically adept and has a keen eye for tactics.

Step 7: Health

Next, we calculate health and Threshold. Health is calculated from a combination of the classes, plus double constitution. In Gregor’s case, this is 21 HP. Threshold is the same, except instead of double Constitution It is equal to Constitution + Spirit. Threshold of 19.

Step 8: Statistics

Now, we need to calculate the statistics. I will glosse over this section because the character statistics will be explored in detail latter. For now, know that you select either attack or defence to increase by 1. Lets increase attack. Next, let’s calculate initiative (Dex+Foc), healing factor (Con+Str), Proficiency (begins at 2), Load (Half Strength +1), Attunement (Half Spirit). Gregors stats are:

Initiative 8
Healing Factor 8
Load 2
Attunement 1

Step 9: Equipment

This is the final step to creating a character, starting equipment. A character gains one Advanced item, two basic items, and three simple items. The specifics of what these mean are not important right now, but Gregor will start with a Longbow, a Sturdy horse, Leather armor, an adventurer’s kit, a dagger, and a cloak to use along with the dagger.

So, that is Gregor! His character is a bit basic. To be honest, it is a tad boring. Gregor was just a warmup. A sample. So, lets make something a bit more wild to really show off the character creation. This next character will test the limits of what Gates can do. Lets build Jalik..

Jalik


© Anderson Maia

There is a world that has been destroyed by a magical war long ago. Now, it is a wasteland full of mutant animals, cobbled technology, and magical contamination. Jalik was a wild child, he ran with the mutated animals through the fields during the day, and tinkered on stray bits of electronics at night. During a hunt, he fell into a pool of water. This water was filled to the brim with ancient magic left over from the war. When he came out, he was changed. Jalik was stronger, lion-like, and his form was slightly mutable. With focus, he could change the length of his claws. Returning home, his mother, Leena, did not believe this monster was his son. So, he was forced to roam. Eventually, Jalik stopped and stayed at a junk town. Using his knowledge of engineering, he furthered his mechanical mind. To make a living, he battled in an arena to make money, winning most fights. Eventually, he constructed his first mechanised suit designed to further increase his power. He became the champion of the town. Became rich, but lost all challenge. So he set out to find more excitement. This was when he found his first Gate, and his new found hobby as a Gate Strider.

This is a doozy of a character, but it is surprisingly standard for a Gates character! Let’s get to building!

Step 1: Talk to party

SKIP.

Step 2: Background

Jaliks background has a lot going for it, but I have decided that three background traits will fill him out nicely. We will give him “Well Equipped” because he was a wealthy gladiator which used his wealth to purchase weaponry. This gives him an extra advanced item, two more basic items, and three more simple items. The next trait will be “Feat of Strength”. Jalik’s incredible lion-like body allows him great feats of strength. Mechanically, this gives him a bonus when attempting to lift or move huge objects. The last trait will be “Predator”. This should be self explanatory, and allows him to automatically find one person he is tracking, but only once per session.
Because he only selected three traits, Jalik has three hero dice.

Step 3: Abilities

This is going to be more in depth than Gregors. But, for reasons that will become apparent soon, let’s hold off on the abilities for now.

Step 4: Classes

What classes would cover a shape-changing monster walking around in mechanised armor? Easy, Artificer and Naturalist. Artificers are all about the equipment and crafting while Naturalist would be perfect for emulated the “wild” side of Jalik.

Step 5: Cores

The Cores available to Jalik are “Craft Equipment” and “Jury Rig” from artificer, “Nature Aspect” and “Animal Friend” from naturalist, and “Ability Master“ and “Enhanced Abilities”. For Jalik, Craft Equipment will be good. It will give him more starting equipment, as well as allow him to recraft his starting equipment. Specifically, three more simple items, two more basic items, and one more advanced item.

Let’s also give Jalik Nature Aspect. This will give him a choice of different aspects of nature which can give him animal like qualities. Let’s choose Natural attack and Fur. This gives him powerful claws to use, as well as allowing him to resist the cold.

Finally, He will get Enhanced abilities. This simply gives him three more ability points to spend on his ability scores. This is why we waited for abilities.

Step 3: Abilities

Alright, Jilak now has 13 points to work with. But first, let’s take a look at innate perks. Innate perks are traits that can be purchased with ability points. We will pick “Scent” and “Intimidating” for his perks. Scent gives him a particularly strong sense of smell. Intimidating grants a bonus to intimidating, a no brainer choice for Jalik. These both cost one ability point, so that leaves us with 11 left. Here is his ability points after spreading them out.

Strength 6
Dexterity 3
Constitution 4
Intelligence 4
Focus 3
Spirit 3

Step 6: Skills

The skills available to Jalik are “Craft” and “Science” from artificer, and “Survival” and “Magic” from naturalist. Jalik does not know much about magic, so let’s go with Craft, Science, and Survival.

Step 7: Health

Using the same formula for HP and TH as Gregor, Jalik has 20 HP and 19 TH. Not as tough as Gregor, but that is ok.

Step 8: Statistics

Calculating Jalik’s Statistics, we get:

Initiative 6
Healing Factor 10
Load 4
Attunement 1

Step 9: Equipment

Now, we get to have fun with equipment. Jalik, from a combination of his background and Cores, has three advanced items, six basic Items, and nine simple items. These three types of equipment act as a sort of currency, which can be spent to upgrade equipment. Most of this will go into his mechanised suit.

All three advanced items will go into the armor. It is heavy armor, which requires 2 load, and mechanised. Mechanised means he is treated as having the large innate perk while wearing it and weapons may be installed. We are going to install one weapon. Perhaps a shotgun installed in the knuckles of the mech. The hands are left free, to make use of his claws.

For his basic items, lets convert three of them into two advanced items and use these to buy him a truck. A large mount which is sturdy. This will allow him to carry around his armor with ease. The last three will go to installing a shield onto the mech, and to purchase a climbing kit.

Simple items are a doozy. With nine of them, we have a lot of room to play. Let’s convert three of them into a basic item. WIth this, we will use it to give Jalik five grenades. Two of them simple items will go into packs. An adventurers pack and a mechanics pack. These are bundles of equipment that will be handy for Jalik. A dagger is always handy, so let’s give him one. This leaves three simple items remaining. One of them will go to a set of hide armor, for when Jalik cannot wear the mech, and the other two will be spent to give him two one-use traps.

Alright, so that is Jalik. All-in-all, he is not so complicated a character. Except, maybe his equipment. But the character creation in Gates does not stop here. Almost any character can be made. Pistol wielding dragon? A flying sprite with deadly magic? What about a dracotaur with the power to shape earth? All of these are perfectly viable Gates characters.

Making a faction your own

Last time on our Faction System walkthrough, we showed you a name generator to give your soon-to-be faction a unique name.

This time we are showing you three tables to roll on to find out what who your faction is and what they do. Between these three tables, your faction will be unique and yours alone.

Type

The type of faction you are is clearly the most important roll to make. It is the “what” in “what are you?” and everything else follows on from this. It is also the easiest way to compare and contrast your faction with others. A group of thieves are clearly different to a group of entertainers or socialites.

Each choice or roll on the table also gives you two thematic options. You can either choose between them (eg: if you want either thieves or smugglers, but not both) or you can use them both to make your faction a bit broader in scope (eg: not only are you a bunch of thieves, but you are smuggle goods to and from clients/fences).

01 – 10: Academics/Scholars
11 – 20: Adventurers/Mercenaries
21 – 30: Assassins/Contractors
31 – 40: Bureaucrats/Officials
41 – 50: Entertainers/Bards
51 – 60: Socialites/Bourgeois
61 – 70: Thieves/Smugglers
71 – 80: Traders/Craftsmen
81 – 90: Vigilantes/Lawmen
91 – 100: Warriors/Soldiers

Theme

This is where we start to drill down into what sort of area your faction does what it does best. You might have a group of Academics/Scholars, but what sort of thing are they studying? Are they philosophers of politics or law professors? Are your Warriors/Soldiers fanatical warriors of a cult or religion, or do they fight the good fight for nature and the environment?

The theme allows you to differentiate factions of the same type into different areas of interest. More importantly, however, it gives you the nuance of having a group of devout, god-fearing lawmen and craftsmen dealing in weapons, armour and all sorts of materiel for war.

01 – 10: Criminal/Underworld
11 – 20: Espionage/Subterfuge
21 – 30: Law/Justice
31 – 40: Money/Trade
41 – 50: Nature/Environmentalism
51 – 60: Politics/Influence
61 – 70: Religion/Cult
71 – 80: Supernatural/Occultism
81 – 90: Technology/Science
91 – 100: War/Combat

Rulership

How a faction is ruled, governed and led will shape its entire outlook on the world outside, and on its members inside the faction. A faction ruled by an autocrat will act and feel far quite different to a faction governed by direct democracy. The twenty options below will further serve to make your faction unique as well as start crafting the mood and feel of the members.

01 – 05: Appointed Merito/Geniocrats
06 – 10: Caste System
11 – 15: Democratic Council
16 – 20: Democratic Single Ruler
21 – 25: Direct Democracy
26 – 30: Divinely Ordained King
31 – 35: Elected For Life Autocrat
36 – 40: Elected Oligarchy
41 – 45: Inherited Oligarchy
46 – 50: Master-Apprentice Diumvirate
51 – 55: Might Makes Right Autocrat
56 – 60: Military Rank Hierarchy
61 – 65: Monarchical Heir
66 – 70: Priest Ruler By Divine Right
71 – 75: Priestly Conclave
76 – 80: Seniority of Service
81 – 85: Sortition (Council)
86 – 90: Sortition (Single Ruler)
91 – 95: Spokesman For The Masses
95 – 100: Tetrarchy/Triumvirate

Exemplar

Last time we rolled for a name and got the Righteous Prophets, so let’s see what sort of faction these prophets are.
We rolled a 61, a 26, and a 57. This means that the Prophets are a group of Thieves/Smugglers, with a theme of Law/Justice, and their rulership is a Military Rank Hierarchy. It’s an interesting combination, being thieves but with a theme of law/justice. What this could be is that the Righteous Prophets are a smuggling ring inside a police force. Their rank and hierarchy are carried over from their work in the police force, and the name Righteous Prophets is a bit dramatically ironic. We’ll see in the next update how this group of corrupt cops develop further.

And that’s it for this update. Have a go at starting off your faction now that you have your faction’s name from last time. In the next update, we’ll show off some faction quirks and what the faction offers to new recruits.

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And remember that you get to choose what we work on after the Faction System has been made, so CLICK HERE to vote!