Piotr Piasecki
▶ Godbound

We recently had a discussion about Factions, Features and Dominion changes.

So, Factions have Features. Those determine what the given Faction can do. The Factions also have a Power rating, determining how big the Faction is.

Dominion changes require the PCs to figure out the Scope of the Change (and its Probability and Resistance, but that's not important). The Scope determines how large the change is. Dominion can also be used to create new Features for the Factions.

Now, here is a problem we've ran into today - should Faction's Features have an independent Scope from Faction's Power? Say, establishing a Theotech guild (Scope 1) in Yizhao (Power 2) would probably create a new Feature for Yizhao. However, it might be important to distinguish between someone making a small guild in Yizhao being Theotechs, and making everyone in Yizhao a Theotech (Scope 1 vs Scope 2 change).

So it seems like Features should have Scopes. This seems to be implied on page 135 "Add +1 if it's a vastly larger Feature than the opposing one, involving far more troops or personnel, or a far bigger institution.". If all Features of a Faction would be the same Scope, then you would never have D8 vs D6 conflict, you would always have D8+1 vs D6.

Now, logically Factions can have Features with Scope smaller or equal to their Power - Yizhao with its 100k people can have many 1k guilds without overlapping anyone. However, should the Factions be able to have Features with Scope bigger than their Power?

Say a Godbound of Fertility builds a massive farm in Yizhao that produces enough food to feed 1M people (Scale 3). This means Yizhao has a large surplus of food it can use. However, population and area-wise, it's still a Power 2 Faction. Would that change upgrade it to a Power 3 Faction, or should it still be a Power 2 Faction with a Scale 3 Feature?

I'm probably reading too much into this - I know Godbound is supposed to be a simple game, but these are the sort of questions we begin running into when we start bookkeeping things diligently in our game ;).

So what's your take on the matter +Kevin Crawford ?

Dave Sherohman

I think the approach you're describing is the simplest way to address it, and I would call Yizhao a Power 2 Faction with a Scale 3 Feature, although I can also see the argument for capping Scale to the Faction's Power.

How I would really prefer to do it, though, would be to make the Theotech Guild a separate Power 1 sub-Faction of Yizhao, while Yizhao itself is a sub-Faction of whatever region it belongs to, and the region is a sub-Faction of a nation. Unfortunately, the Faction system in Godbound (and most Sine Nomine publications, really) isn't set up to handle nested Factions like that, which leaves me constantly wrestling with the question of how to handle Factions which are part of other Factions. I have yet to find a satisfactory answer.

Piotr Piasecki

+Dave Sherohman I was thinking about the approach you proposed awhile back.

Generally, every Faction would contain sub-factions. Each Faction is a Feature on another Faction's sheet. The Features on a Faction would always be 1 Scale below its Scale - anything smaller would be too small to make an impact. Each Faction would have its one defining Feature - what it means for something one level higher.

The problem I found with this approach was scaling Faction Turns - a province using its military might could wipe out multiple villages easily. Determining how a province might defend its sub-Factions was also an issue.

Putting that issue aside, you could have a nice, cascading system - destroying a small Faction could cause problems for a bigger Faction that could also collapse and harm something even bigger.

Here is my very rough draft of the idea - docs.google.com - Faction System Revamped

Dave Sherohman

Thanks! I'll take a look at your draft.

Regarding the problem you bring up with Faction turns, my gut feeling is that it shouldn't generally be a problem if each Faction takes independent turns, even if it's a sub-Faction. So the province only takes one turn, with each of its cities taking their own turns, using their own Scope and making their own decisions about what to do. This still has the potential to be devastating by sheer number of actions, but that same potential is already present in the RAW version if all of the cities were to work together. The province only adds one more action to the pool and, either way, you need to convince the cities to all fall in line and attack rather than dealing with their own local concerns.

Defending your sub-Factions seems like exactly the sort of thing the Interest rules are for. The parent Faction would generally succeed automatically in its attempts to Extend Interest in the sub-Faction (per the "if the target wants it to succeed" clause), then that Interest could be spent to aid the sub-Faction in any of its rolls, including to defend against attacks.