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Wavinator

Should class limits define factions?

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Say that you run an operation or faction by interacting with characters and hiring NPCs. It could be being a cult leader with a protected hideout, a scavenger commune, or a group of drug-dealing mercenary rebels. If the nature of your operation/faction is defined by its members and equipment, do YOU as a player need a specific class to help define your faction? Or is it potentially more intriguing to have the faction more of a hodgepodge of personalities who, as long as they work together, make the faction what it is?
Specifically, what I'm asking is whether or not the faction should be formalized. If you have formal limits, it suggests a system where there are characters of a certain class that will join and modify a certain group. It's potentially easier to understand because it's structured. For example: Only thieves join thieves guilds, and you wouldn't find a thief guild which had as its member a fallen paladin or disgraced corporate spy. OTOH, the other system would be based on personality limits (who can work together). You could have a rag-tag band of "chaotic good" smugglers made up of a couple of gunners, a harlot, a priest, and a fugitive doctor and his psychic sister (*ahem* apologies to Firefly fans[smile]) The power of the latter faction would be based on whoever's in the faction, and how well they work together (i.e., not well if they're too busy backstabbing each other). But the latter form of faction building is also more freeform, which may be harder for some grapple with because few of us can relate (I think...) Thoughts?

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Thieves are more likely to gravitate towards thievery, and thus a thieves' guild, but why shouldn't a fallen paladin fall in with them to make a little cash and crack a few heads?

Specialisation is a good thing. A Jack of all trades can be a useful ally — especially if your number is small — but when your group expands, specialisation is better.

It may be a more complicated system to deal with, but the freedom is worth it.

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It partly depends on what the group is planning on doing. If its a thieves guild which only plans on stealing then they can gather to gether and work on their strength. If instead the group plans on conquering a city then a group of specializers is going to have some weakness that can be defeated. In the case of a fighting group you need different specialities to complement each other.

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Doesn't come down to 'who you are defines what you can do' verses 'what you do defines who you are'?

If you join theives guild and start picking pockets then your a thief, whether your good at it or not. OTOH I see no reason why a character cannot be associated with the guild, but not adopt it docterine. For instance a merchant who deals exclusivly on behalf of the theives guild.

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I would have to say it depends on the type of game you are making.

If your building a game where you hire NPC's from a faction (it appears you are) then it makes sense to have that faction have a limited amount of classes available. (A thieves guild doesn't necisarrily need only thieves, it can have other characters that are "shady" as well) If every guild has every class then why have seperate guilds?

However, if you are building an MMO or other multi-player game then you will most often see general guilds that anyone can join. No guild wants to limit its members by just allowing certain players into it.

I have some thoughts on how to make Thieve's guilds actally work in an MMO but thats a seperate thread that I'll talk about later.

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I'd have to say that faction is more about mentality. I'll just use a fairly easy example

Let’s define two self explanatory classes we'll use for this example:

Warrior
Rogue

Now let’s define two factions on *opposite* ends of the moral spectrum:

Thieves Guild
Law Enforcers

Now each of these guilds will need the above 4 classes to viably work:

A Warrior in the Thieves Guild might take on more of a brutish mentality which goes along with being a hired goon. While, a Warrior in the Law Enforcers might take on more of a *SWAT* like personality, etc.

A Rogue in the Thieves Guild might take on more of an assassin role or purse snatcher role. While, a Rogue in the Law Enforcers might take on more of a *special agent* or surveillance role.

Again this is just a basic example.

--Ter'Lenth

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Mmmm, i'd have to say no, a persons class (or previous occupation or skills) shouldn't define their factions.

Lets take the Theif to start off, if he's in the Theives guild, then he's there to steal like a theif (because he is a theif afterall). So he'll go around and bump into people and pick their pockets, he'll hide in shadows and clean out a persons house while avoiding any kind of bloodshed, or even contact with anyone else.

Now lets take a disgraced paladin, if he's in the theives guild, obviously he's there to steal. But being mostly a brute he'll work like a thug, he'll go into an alley and shove his sword in someones face and say "Gimmie yer valuables or i'll carve my initials in yer backside!". Obviously, this has far less finese than a traditional theif, but its what he's good at.

An archer by contrast, might just stay in the shadows and yell at people to throw their valuables at him, lest he give them a few new holes to breath out of.

The point being, that the guild would effect the players expected behaviour as opposed to previous skills/tactics and occupations, if he steals, who cares how he does it? A person who joins the guild should do something useful, a blacksmith can make daggers and lockpicks, an alchemist can create poisons and smokebombs, an Ex-spy can provide detailed information and layouts of potential marks houses. So if a person is in the thieves guild, and he doesn't steal or provide anything to the guild to help them steal there would be no point in them being there.

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Anyone should be able to join a faction who has the skills that would be of use to that faction. Take a look at any organization or company they have many different "classes" of people working for them. After all they need many different kinds of people to be succesful even a thieves guild needs a few accountants to manage to books, and and distribute pay packets. Although depend on your point of view Accountants might just be another form of theif [wink].

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Thanks for the great replies, but some of the responses make me think I didn't ask the original question quite right.

If you were assembling a thieves guild of NPCs, what level of complexity would you want:

1) Only thieves will join (hence when searching you only look in thief haunts).

2) Anyone can join if YOU decide you want their skills (hence the search space is wide open, you could meet a potential member anywhere)


Under option 1, NPC thieves simply increase the effectiveness of your faction and possibly add specializations (an opportunity to raid a secure warehouse, or knowledge which aids swifter movement through sewers, for example).

Under option 2, you build the faction to your personal needs, meaning it's only a thieves guild if you hire only thieves. You could hire thugs, chemists, hackers, whatever, in your "thieves guild," using them as support, or in a primary role (this is more the "rag tag band" kind of guild)

The former option is much more structured and you theoretically know where to look. The latter is more creative, and you can build the NPC guild to fit the role you want to take on in the game world.

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I think you have to as yoursel what the purpose of these factions is and how the player will use them. What makes something a thieves guild? Is it a faction with people who specilize in the use of thieving skills or is it an organization that perform acts of theft, and robbery. In the case of the the former a faction could perform any task that its members have the skills to perform, while in the latter then it can only perform certain task and the npc depend your success at those tasks. It comes down to whether you want a faction to be defined by it's members or if the faction defines the members.

Recruiting character for your faction would not be any harder either way since if you want a thief you go where you find thieves you want peddler you go where you find peddlers.

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