Factions rather than Characters

One of the more unique things about Adventures Great and Glorious will be that each player assumes the role of a powerful faction within a kingdom, rather than a single character. Certainly, each faction will have its powerful figures, and leaders as well, but the idea is that the player controls not only that leader but the various other characters, minions, etc. that make up the faction.

This is, admittedly, a risk on one level. Will players used to RPGs, who are used to focusing on a single character, find it enjoyable to broaden their horizon and focus on an entire group of characters? Will they be satisfied with issuing orders that affect dozens or hundreds of men, rather than acting out the actions of a single heroic (or in some cases villainous) character? It’s bread and butter to those of us who enjoy wargames, but I can’t help but wonder how those who know little but RPGs will react. Feedback from the playtests, once they begin, will be of immense help, I’m sure.

That’s not to say that there won’t be the chance to combine the two styles, of course. Nothing says that a game that uses both Adventures Great and Glorious and Adventures Dark and Deep can’t mix the two styles. One’s primary character from the ADD game can certainly be high in the councils of, or even the leader of, an AGG faction. As events in the campaign dictate, and the player decides what is most appropriate, that single character could go on quests and have adventures while at the same time the same player is issuing orders to his armies and courtiers.

Which in and of itself brings up a question; what happens to factions with such “absentee masters”? If the leader of the Shadow Tongue crime family is always off grubbing away in some dungeon or other, it would make sense that his absence would have a detrimental effect on the faction. Or, perhaps, it would have an effect on his leadership of said family…

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Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

1 thought on “Factions rather than Characters

  1. I think your biggest risk is that factions won't have character, in much the same way that a given color in Risk doesn't have much character. Players seem to have an easier time projecting character onto characters than they do onto larger abstractions. If you're going for an international Realism vibe of maximalist institutional self-interest, that's a good thing. But if you want the factions to differentiate themselves, you may need some subtle rules to drive their behavior in different ways.

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