Sunday, October 7, 2012

Order of the Infinite Way, pt. 2: The Factions of Valis

In preparing for this part of my campaign, I took a cue from the faction rules in Stars Without Number by Sine Nomine Publishing. Essentially, I wanted the PCs to find themselves in an environment where there was already something going on, something that would impact them (and which they could impact). I did this by taking each of the factions, whether a noble house, a crime family, or a division of the Imperium of Mankind, and giving it some connections to other factions (positive, negative, or neutral), distinct motivations and interests, and a listing of some major NPCs from that faction. These would become my stable of NPCs, would provide some plot hooks as the investigation of the incident on Valis unfolded. I ended up with about 16 different factions, including:
  • The PCs and their Puritan Inquisitrix, Dorothea Senjak
  • The Radical Inquisitrix, Steffi Krueger
  • The Adeptus Arbites of Valis
  • Two crime lords with different spheres of influence, and withtrouble brewing between them
  • Eight feuding noble houses
  • The Imperial Navy refueling station
  • A Ministorum Witchfinder and the Ecclesiarchy of Valis
  • The Order of The Infinite Way, a secret cabal of arcane sorcerers
And a partridge in a pear tree, pretty much. 

This could have been a lot harder to manage than it ended up being, because I actually did something right this time, through the development of the notion of faction motivations: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Basically, what are the main objectives of the faction, in order of immediate importance? I think this gave me a lot better understanding of how the factions and their adherents would act, but without needing to sketch out every situation in advance. 

Here are a couple of examples of how these factions were formatted:

Ordo Hereticus Puritan Faction (Dorothea Senjak)

Base of Operations: Greystone Hive (upper hive, near Arbites Adeptus Spire #2)

Motivation(s):

Primary: Find and terminate the witches of Valis.

Secondary: Discredit Steffi Krueger as a heretic and a witch.

Tertiary: Increase power and influence in Ordo Hereticus

Potential Allies: 
  • Ministorum Witchfinder Aracadius Kapperman 
  • Adeptus Arbites Commandant Khrysdam Haslinger 
  • House Dekkarta, especially if it becomes clear that they are against House Mythrux (and/or if they expose and remove Miklas Freeny without embarrassing House Dekkarta) 

Enemies and Potential Enemies:
  • Steffi Krueger 
  • House Mythrux 
  • Willian Bellhouse 

This Faction Consists Of:
  • Inquisitrix Dorothea Senjak 
  • Rey Ajoku (psyker) 
  • Marina Constanz (adept) 
  • Emmie and Cammie (Assassins, Her understudies) 
  • Her Personal Guard (10 total guardsmen: Two lieutenants, a scout, and assault veteran, and six veterans. They are not pushovers.). 
  • The Acolytes (PCs)

House Dekkarta 

Base of Operations: Dekkarta Spire, Greystone Hive

Motivation(s):

Primary: Stability of noble houses. All of this infighting has only served to diminish the power of the noble houses.

Secondary: Gather intelligence about everything and everyone.

Tertiary: Extend power of House Dekkarta, subtly and through cats’ paws of various sorts.

Potential Allies: 
  • Various—Dekkarta is known for its neutrality in most things. This can tend to color relationships with the house in various ways, depending on the circumstances. 
Enemies and Potential Enemies: 
  • Various—Dekkarta is known for its neutrality in most things. This can tend to color relationships with the house in various ways, depending on the circumstances. There are those, however, who resent House Dekkarta’s ability to use intelligence as a Damocles Sword. 
This Faction Consists Of: 
  • Lorien Dekkarta, aka The Spider, Matriarch. Largely independent of other families. Has an extensive spy network, without peer among the other noble houses. She has dirt on just about everyone, and uses it to subtly leverage a status quo, one in which her house is always positioned to its own advantage, but not aggressively so. She has been known to function as an information broker, and as a "neutral" party in settling disputes among the noble houses. 
  • Miklas Freeny, a third cousin by marriage of Lorien Dekkarta. She does not know of his arcane dabblings, though she believes him somewhat creepy and peculiar. She would kill him if she knew the risk he poses to the reputation of House Dekkarta. He is a noted scholar of medicae. He comes across as, essentially, a kindly old doctor. Of course, much of his considerable skill is not natural; rather, it is supplemented by his magical abilities. His real goal is not to serve the people of the Empire, and thus the Emperor himself, but instead to achieve immortality via arcane magic. He leads the Order of the Infinite Way, and his chief rivals for leadership are members of House Mythrux. His protégé is Paxxu Gloriana, but Davilia Mythrux (before the betrayal), had been encroaching on her influence.