Factions

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Factions in Bloodshadows

Factions are the key to any intrigue in any RPG. Bloodshadows is somewhat vague about factions but they do divide most city societies in specific social classes.

  • The Big Rich
  • The Mob
  • The Middle Class
  • The Street People or Poor
  • The Cults
  • The Law

What separates the Big Rich and the Mob is the Laws the Big Rich make up through the Council of Elders. Many Mob families are simply extensions of the Big Rich. Laws apparently have no norla guide in Bloodshadows, it is simply public opinion and what the Big Rich want to be illegal so they can create a black market for it (A simple liberal perspective to real life).

Laws are based on some moral code and expanded to cover contracts (basic English Common Law). It is assumed that the vast majority of the Big Rich have some moral guidelines to keep the peace and profitability of the people. Something has to be the basis of their law, in order to have criminals.

In the past it was a power church entity that lead the nobles to create law according to something outside of their own whims and thoughts. There was a balance of power between the nobles, the guilds and the church. Although the rulebook does not state it outright, it does imply that there are established religions with the walls of the cities on Marl.

Established religions create the moral guidelines that create the laws the criminals break. So there has to be another part of the society that is not explored too much and that is of the established religious types. Most would be of the Order alignment, but I am sure a few are Chaotic. So I am going to assume that the established church and its clerics play a certain role in Marl society. However, no single cult or creed dominates Marl, so one would have to assume that each city has their own form of the same moral religion that guides the people and their lawmakers.

Each class and subclass in each city would have a set of factions representing it. IN the WEG books, they are usually represented by their leader as an NPC but as we all know, a faction group is more than just its leader.

Here are some notes on how I would break down the factions. I find it easier when creating an adventure for this type of world to put things in terms of groups and factions.

The Big Rich

As I said, the Big Rich should be divided out like Noble Houses. The more powerful houses would be represented in the Ender Council. IN the case of Galitia, the Major Noble or Big Rich Houses would be:

  • House Brighton – Railrunner and banking giant; most influential. Rivals: Sturn and Bunnington
  • House Bennington – Flesh mills, Bookbinding and illegal brothels Rivals: Brighton
  • House Albrecht – Farming
  • House Sturn – Oldest family in Galitia. Farmland,stockyards, logging. Rivals: Brighton
  • House Cassely – Mining

These families or houses control the primary political power of Galitia. Their nature and alignment leanings are up to the GM.

The Mob

The Mob are broken down by syndicates, gangs or families, usually each too busy fighting amongst each other to worry about the Big Rich. Some are poor folks who found their niche with in the underground and exploited it whiles others are minor Big Rich Houses that have fallen from grace.

In Galitia, there are two big gangs – the Arle Gang and the Flowers Gang. (pg 25 in the d6 rulebook).

Crime Syndicates can be as varied as Noble Houses in their politics, their methods of interaction and their motivations. Many are simply extensions of Noble Houses, allowing them access to the dark shadows of the underground. Others battle the powers that be simply because they don’t have the power.

The Middle Class

These are those that are caught in the middle. They do their everyday thing in an effort to pay their bills, and usually are oblivious to the dark machinations of the Godwar’s participants, the intrigues of the Big Rich and the Crime Syndicates, or the dangers of the Wilderness. They are usually the victims of all of the above and more. They are usually where the adventurer come from.

This is also where the Law comes from, usually called Sentinels but other cities have different names from them. But usually, the Law are simply tools for the Big Rich or the Syndicates in some way or another, even if the most best-intended officer truly believes in their mantra of “To serve and protect.” There truly is no such thing as a simple public servant in Bloodshadows.

The middle class are also Guild members, workers for the Big Rich and shadowy personnel of the syndicates. They are one of the pawns in a greater game of cosmic chess.

Most middle class, I would imagine are human or pass themselves off as human in some way or another. Most of the monstrous breed are either in the slums barely making it buy or employed by the syndicates for their special talents.

Based in the era the fantasy noir genre is modeled after, the Middle class in Bloodshadows is not a highly populated sector of society.

The Street People/The Poor/ the Lower class

The battle fronts of the Godwar as well as any intrigue between factions are usually the back alleys and underground sewer lines of the cities. This is also the homes and neighborhoods of the less fortunate, probably the highest population of the cities of Marl. They are the victims of the renegade vampire, or the meat for the beast in the shadows. They are the alcoholics, whores and drug addicts that do anything for a Ven.

These folk tend to break down into protective communities or predatory gangs. Some ally with certain syndicates while others ally with whatever they can to survive. Some are nomadic tribes surviving in the tunnels of the underground. They are the most varied and diverse because most would do anything to survive.

The Cults

The cults are not really a class or a separate group, but just as influential as anyone else. Most any member of the above groups could be member of a cult. Some cults have grown so powerful as to be accepted and established religions while others are rising from the shadows, stoking the embers of the Godwar.

An example of an established religion is the Cult of Ison in Selastos – a strong cult of Order that has grown to be accepted as a strong influential entity in the young mining city in the desert. Otherwise known as the Church of Ison, it is a strong Order aligned religion with many high profile members in its congregation. The High Clerics have a strong influence in the politics of Selastos.

More on established religions on my religion notes.

Cults are essentially factions within factions. Some of secret orders like the Free Masons or the Silver Twilight from Call of Cthulhu. Other are sinister blood cults who hide in the ruins of abandoned buildings or in the catacombs of dark caverns, sacrificing victims to their gods.

The Law

The Law is another special group. They are definitely a faction in of themselves, but many other factions may have legal or illegal influence over them. They supposedly answer to the Council and objectively enforce the laws handed down by them. They look out for each other first and for most and some even take pride in their job and believe in their motto “To Serve and Protect.” Members vary in social class, from middle class as general officers to almost-Big Rich in the commissioners and directors.

In many ways, the Law are like the City Watch or the knights of a city of fantasy. So many may have connections or claim allegiance to the Big Rich houses in some way In order to balance things out, an equal amount of allied lawman join law enforcement. These act as mid-level commanders and sergeants in the force.

Corruptions often infests the Law, usually through the Big Rich or the Crime Syndicates. Other factions that want to prevent that try to put in checks and balances in the system, but more often than not, corruptions slips in.

Other Notes: Other Neutral Species
Dwarves, Elves, and all those other Fantasy-based races.

My thoughts of other factions brought me to thoughts of other races like elves, dwarves, and halflings available through packages in d6 Fantasy. Do these have a place in Bloodshadows? It depends, I suppose. Personally, I do not believe they have a place. I just started reading Thieves World. That is a fantasy world that has no other species than human. The plot and intrigue in those books comes from human and faction interaction. I see Bloodshadows like Thieves World.

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