Use the existing NPC framework. The less new system that is invented the less work it will be to generate content and to ensure game balance.
Flexibility. Players should be able to use their imagination to put their factions to work. Apply skill challenge techniques to create open ended heavily narrative encounter at the faction level.
Tactical pressure is good, but players should be better served thinking about the game world in their imagination not the position of the faction tokens on the grid.
This is the ability of a faction to impose its will by force. This can mean thugs armed with cudgels, well trained mercenary companies, or a fleet of warships, depending on the level and type of faction.
Land is key and this ability represents the relative size and value of a faction’s territory. It also represents the faction’s level of control over the territory it occupies. Sometimes the physical area is shared or even contested by many factions.
This is the raw wealth accessible by a faction. This can be in terms of gold coins, trade goods, magic items, even trading companies that have implicit value.
Connections, favors, spies, and reputation are all things represented by Influence. A faction with influence is well informed and knows how to apply political pressure to accomplish its goals.
This is the most intangible ability score but perhaps the most important. The member of any faction have a sense of belonging and loyalty. This feeling is based how the goals of the faction align to their personal goals. It’s also a measure of the pride a faction’s member feel about being one of its members. Sovereignty is the essence of what holds a faction together and keep it from being just a collection of individuals.
This is the ability of a faction to derive its current path and goals to a common history. It is the foundation upon which communities are built. A common set of values or stories can lead factions and help them to accomplish their goal.
When being attacked by force or infiltrated by spies this is the defense upon which a faction must rely. It might represent castles, holdfasts, rigorous patrol, cleverly positioned scrying portals or anything else that can repel invasions, be it by armies or by malcontents.
This is the defense any faction must employ to resist economic and political attack. Being known as either very wealthy or very well connected help to bolster this defense.
A faction can also be attacked mentally. Posting the dead bodies of loved ones on spikes, prolonged siege, and public ridicule are all examples of attacks on a faction’s morale.
These values correlate to the normal NPC combat roles (soldier, brute, etc..).
Loosely organized group of civilians usually aligned to a craft or trade.
Skills: Commerce, Law, Education, Research, Lore, Legerdemain
A faction based on religious faith.
Skills: Policing, Largess, Command, Education, Lore, Fellowship
Hit Points: +2
A body of authority in civil matters.
Espionage, Law, Command, Logistics, Politics, Largess
A group of trained or untrained soldiers.
Skills: Conquest, Tactics, Command, Policing, Logistics, Espionage
Hit Points: +2
Noble families and the elite.
Skills: Espionage, Politics, Command, Legerdemain, Law, Conquest
Hit Points: +2
A faction begins with hit points equal to 5 + Territory plus any modifier for faction type. Each level a faction gains 5 hit points plus any modifier for faction type again.
The initiative bonus is equal to its Fortune bonus.
Rounds and turns correspond to more arbitrary units of time during faction encounters. Even the concept of the “encounter” is somewhat more abstract. For factions an adventure is one year of time. Each location within that adventure is one season within the year. The season has a unique map based on the current location of the faction and the specific season. Each month within the season is one encounter or “room” within individual features. Each month can be expected to last four or five weeks or rounds. Within each round each faction in the encounter may take actions in initiative order.
Depending on the encounter, movement by factions might represent something other changing physical location. Most of the time faction movement represents expenditure of time and resources to align with other factions as well as with features within the encounter.
The base speed for a faction is 6. Some faction types apply a speed modifier.
Size is more a function of the reach and relative imposition rather than physical size. Larger faction can more easily block the movement of smaller factions within encounters. Conversely larger factions are less agile in encounter spaces. In general, use medium size factions. For large and imposing organizations that should occupy more space and reach use large or huge.