View Full Version : Need help fleshing out an idea - 11 faction city

Tim Proctor
09-10-2013, 03:20 PM
So I'm working on a city which has 11 factions governing it, they are based on the core classes from 3.5 but they are only based on them and there is a number of mixing and such. I put them close to factions that share common interests and should be closer to allies, with the most different farther away from them. So the premise is that the factions with the lines connecting would be 'enemy' factions and operating a cold-war-esque battle within the city.

The City of Perth:
The City is a large city with nearly two million people in the city itself and a surrounding countryside that stretches for nearly a week’s ride. The countryside is semi-dense woodlands with a hamlet or village a day’s ride separate, they are the main source of food for the city. The inner core of the city is a walled area with sky scrapping towers and buildings, it is immaculately clean and relatively crime free. Outside the inner core spreading for many miles are a massive slums where nearly all of the two million people live in abject poverty, with shanty houses built on top of each other (the slums only survive because the magic of hundreds of users that create, food, water, etc.). Outside the countryside lays vast plains and wastelands and untold dangers, only heavily armed caravans leave to trade with other city/states and the closest one is two months away. 11 factions govern the city itself that all vie for power in a bitter cold-war-esque manner.

Below is the chart and the basics of each faction:


The Wolves (Rangers), these guys live in the surrounding countryside or the outskirts of the city (like the actual outskirts which extends for hundreds of miles) and are the first line of defense against rogue raiding parties of whatever is out there, as well as hunters, trackers, etc. Since it is a city they aren't completely anti-civilization but prefer a more rural lifestyle. They dislike the Scarabs and the Monkeys because their charitable actions create a welfare state and the massive slums and such in the city are a result. These guys live and breathe survival of the fittest.

The Stags (Druids), these guys also live on the outskirts of the city however there are massive wilderness areas within the city that separate areas of the slums that do contain some Staggs. They are natures defenders and keep people out of the kings woods, keep poachers at bay, and help keep the food supply of the city functioning. They don't like the Owls and the Scarabs because they are the two proponents of metropolitan life. These guys live and breathe the tend the garden philosophy.

The Badgers (Barbarians), these guys live on the outskirts of the city because it offers them more freedom than city life. They like fighting, they like rough and tumble play, but the love freedom. They will venture into town to sell goods or buy them, but other than trade and barter the city isn't their style. They don't like the Owls of Ravens because they feel magic is a pollutant to freedom and think that the magic used to heal people, feed them, etc. is actually a form of slavery and created the massive slums and economic slavery within the city. These guys live and breathe the live free or die philosophy.

The Bears (Fighters), they live in the city and make up the main stock of the military of the city (like 95%). They don't fight for god, gold (although they do expect to be paid), or government they fight because they like fighting and the gold and government is just a stepping stone to that. These guys don't like the Lynxes or the Ravens because they are too unpredictable, dabble in dark arts, and study things besides tactics, armor, and weapons. These guys live by the strength in arms philosophy.

The Hounds (Paladins), they live in the city and represent that religious conduct enforcement segment and believe that salvation is found through the end of a sword and rigorous personal sacrifice. They are bent on the 'judgement' portion of religion. They do not like the Lynxes or the Foxes because they are liars, cheats, swindlers, and they are most likely the ones that swiped their stuff. These guys live by the vengeance is mine philosophy.

The Monkeys (Monks), they live in the city and share the monasteries with the Hounds but while the Hounds are focused on punishment, the Monkeys are focused on forgiveness. They can certainly handle themselves in a fight however, they don't seek it out. They do not like the Foxes and Wolves because they are both the long ranged killers and assassins and that is a great form of cowardice. They live by the walk softly and carry an iron fist philosophy.

The Scarabs (Clerics), they live in the heart of the city with the very tall buildings, and lots and lots of people. They are focused on ritual and ceremony not punishment or forgiveness, but on the rules and regulations of religion that allow society to function. They do not like the Wolves or Stags because they are savages that reject the word of salvation and believe in crazy things like nature. They live by the rituals or tradition philosophy.

The Owls (Wizards), they live in the heart of the city surrounding one of the many Wizard colleges and halls where hours of tedious study and ritualistic practice can bring greatness. They are the scientists of the civilization. They do not like the Stags nor Badgers because they are rebellious, they do not conform to a standard science but an art. They live by the scientific pursuit of perfection philosophy.

The Ravens (Sorcerers), they live in the heart of the city also in the hustle and bustle. They are there so they can be seen, gain crowds of adoring fans and be the showmanship power brokers of the city. They are the politicians of the city and the bigger fireworks, the bigger the castle they can create the more powerful they are. They do not like the Badgers nor the Bears because their continual tendency for close combat violence. They live by the I am power philosophy.

The Lynxes (Bard), yes I know I need to find a better picture that is probably a bobcat or something but it is a cat. Also fans of showmanship and charismatic swaying of adoring fans for power, they focus less on fireballs and grandiose acts of magic but on knowledge and history. They do not like the Bears nor the Hounds because they are seen as strong-armed thugs that will run people through for little to no reason. They live by the Knowledge is power philosophy.

The Foxes (Rogues), in line with knowledge is power and the survival of the fittest they adhere to the survival of the smartest. Not the ones to control the churches or the throngs of the populous but they are the ones that control the banks and the postal services. They do not like the Hounds and the Monkeys because they are quick to attack because someone didn't donate enough to the poor, or when taxes are collected. They live by the money is power philosophy.


What I'd like is some more ideas to flesh them out, unlikely alliances for plot twists, and such. An example of a plot twist I have is the Foxes and the Scarabs are allying to harm the Lynxs, Ravens, and Owls so that they can exact a larger portion of control over the city.

09-11-2013, 12:41 PM
this is a trick i use to get past roadblocks and generate some ideas. i wonder if it will help.

i present to you "Nijineko's Custom Plot Generator Trick"!!!

make or assign some cards to each faction. perhaps three to five cards for each faction. then shuffle your deck and deal out one random card for each of the following - primary, ally, enemy, detractor, supporter, target; like this:


the primary is the instigator of the plot, they have an ally who takes part in the activities, and a supporter who passively assists (may slide some resources their way under the table but seeks to not get involved otherwise.

the target is who is being taken advantage of, the enemy opposes the primary and detractors are either allied with the enemy or the target and provide passive support to either the enemy or the target much in the way the supporter does for the primary.

if a card is up side down, then they either are performing the action unwittingly, or are planning a betrayal or reversal of their role.

the purpose of having multiple cards is to allow for internal divisions within a given fraction being on opposing sides for added interest. more unified factions should be given fewer cards, while more chaotic and disorganized factions should have a larger number of cards.

now that you have this, you go through a few deals, recording the roles of each faction and maybe jotting down a few notes and ideas that the arrangement generates each time. once you have a number of these plots think about how they would fit together in chronological order, begin assigning npc figures and or groups inside the faction to each of the roles indicated, assign goals and motivations based on the relationships, assign specific events as appropriate, and discard (or save) any that just don't fit the growing pattern.

oh, and let me know if this helps and what kinds of plots you come up with.

09-16-2013, 02:36 AM
When in doubt, steal from the greats! You could probably run an entire campign just focusing on a couple of these factions and doing Romeo and Juilet, with the PC's on the side of Capulet (the son of the Lynx's guild leader is the party's main quest giver) against Montague (he's wooing daughter of the Hounds guildleader). You could also run a full story arc on the first Season of Game of Throne's city shenaegans.

2E D&D had a book that will give alot of good ideas called Faction War http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/17299/Faction-War-%282e%29 if you can get access to it. The factions of Plaenescape in general should allow a bunch of good story ideas.

I'm curious as to what you are building this city for- is it for a D&D game? If so, are the PC's only going to be allowed the same class as party meembers (all monk party, go!) or if not, how do they get to be the only mixed group?

Also, are there rulers of Perth? What is their power (Greater than the factions/ slves of the factions/ a council of the faction heads?) level?

Good luck on such a campign!


09-21-2013, 05:14 AM
How's the campaign going? If you need more stuff to look through, The 3.5 D&D Forgotten Realms Waterdeep book has alot of big city stuff too!