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12 Factions & Organizations for your Campaign, Part 3

Could it be the ruins of old Togsancor Institute? Feature image from: Old Book Illustrations.

Following last week’s post, this is the third and final part on our series of posts presenting twelve factions for player characters to join and develop new abilities, skills, techniques, etcetera, that can be included in your campaign setting, or inspire you to develop your own organizations for they to meddle with.

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12 Factions & Organizations for your Campaign, Part 2

Entrance to the Silverspoon Dojo? Or a secret pathway to the Junkyard? Feature image from: Wikimedia Commons.

Following the previous article, this is the second post on our series bringing twelve factions and organizations for player characters to join and get new benefits, in a diegetic manner – tied to the campaign setting and dissociated of abstract settings such as level and XP.

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12 Factions & Organizations for your Campaign, Part 1

Study, collection or hoard? Feature image from: Wikimedia Commons.

As the old adage goes, “the answer isn’t on the character sheet”. Well, not always. Getting cool new stuff to do is nice, even more so if they’re truly new ways to interact with the game fiction, rather than simply improving your numbers for slightly increased odds. It’s the same in electronic games: for example, acquiring the Ice Beam in Metroid and using frozen enemies as platforms is cool, while finding a new Health Tank, while useful, isn’t as cool.

However, tying these new abilities to abstract concepts such as level and XP makes them feel artificial; better to make them a relevant part of your setting, so that their discovery and development feel natural to the players. In the Metroid example above, the Ice Beam isn’t tied to a “level up”, since the franchise is one of the few metroidvanias where level isn’t a concept; instead, the beam upgrade is discovered, a reward for exploring the dangerous environments Samus tends to find herself at.

In this vein, I’d like to show you, in a small series of three posts, twelve options of organizations that you may include in your campaign, or use them as inspiration for your own games; the first four here on this article, and the others on the two next posts. The presented factions follow the template explained below.

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Lair of the Putrid Warrior – Addendum

Here I present additional content for the small dungeon made in Gridmapper, the Lair of the Putrid Warrior. They’re as optional as the expanded room descriptions in the original post, but they’re also offered to help run the dungeon and enhance the experience. Enjoy!

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OSR

Lair of the Putrid Warrior

Feature image by Neil Theasby, on geography.org.uk, from Wikimedia Commons.

I’ve discovered Gridmapper. While I do like Dungeon Scrawl a lot, sometimes it runs really slow on my old notebook, even more so when I’m trying to draw large dungeon maps; Gridmapper runs smoother, compensating for its comparatively limited selection of features, though I’d say it has just enough tools to make great maps. Also, as I was used to the mouse-based UI of Dungeon Scrawl, Gridmapper’s keyboard-based UI was a surprise, but the learning curve wasn’t as steep as I first thought. And it’s fun to use! So, after this informal comparison based on personal use, and without further ado, I present you a little dungeon I’ve made in Gridmapper – the Lair of the Putrid Warrior.

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OSR Português

O Rufião (PT-BR)

Imagem destacada: A Brawl Outside an Ale House, por Alexander Carse; fonte: Wikimedia Commons (obra de domínio público nos EUA).

Nota: este artigo é uma tradução e adaptação, para o português, do artigo original (em inglês) The Ruffian, de minha autoria.

O rufião é um tipo incomum de aventureiro, que sabe se virar por conta própria numa peleja, mas prefere contar vantagem pra intimidar e amedrontar seus oponentes, o que para seu desgosto pode voltar-se contra ele mesmo. Rufiões abundam nas cidades, brigando nas ruas, bebendo nas tavernas e dormindo na sarjeta. Rufiões tornam-se aventureiros com facilidade, em geral pelo ouro, mas também para provar seu valor ou cumprir uma aposta.

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The Ruffian

Feature image by Manuel Cabral y Aguado Bejarano, from: Wikimedia Commons. (Public domain in the USA.)

A ruffian is an unusual kind of adventurer, good enough to turn on their own in a fight, but choosing to scare away any potential opponents by boasting on their own abilities, which can sometimes makes them be hoisted by their own petard, much to their chagrin. Ruffians can be found with ease in towns and cities, brawling away at the streets, drinking away at the taverns, and sleeping away in the gutters. Ruffians are quick to turn to a life of dungeon crawling, usually for the promised gold, but just as often to prove their worth and to shut the mouths of those who dared them into it.

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OSR

The Horned Folk

Feature image from: Wikimedia Commons.

“A man without horns is a helpless beast.”
— Popular saying.

At a distance, the horned folk look like people with heads of animals with horns and antlers, of a great variety. Goat heads are the most common, but ram, bull, deer, moose, elk, gnu heads can also be found. They rarely form groups, most often wandering alone, hunting and foraging in the wildernesses. The horned folk are very elusive, usually fleeing rather than fighting; unless they’re cornered, when then they attack ferociously. They’re very good at hiding in the wilderlands, covering their tracks skillfully. They’re nocturnal, and most active at moonless nights, although they can sometimes be watched during dawn and dusk. While catching sight of one isn’t a rare ocurrence, getting close to one is, given their behavior, really difficult; naturally, stories abound about them.

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OSR

Whispers of Power

Feature image by Utagawa Kuniyoshi, from: Wikimedia Commons. (Public domain in the US.)

Magic always has a price. For some, it’s becoming a follower of a higher being, calling forth miracles to enforce their Will; for others, it’s spending the better part of a lifetime to learn the complex patterns of mystic power, and the instructions needed to recreate effects. For those without the patience to neither follow orders nor try to understand almost indecipherable symbols, there is an alternative: power that comes quickly, and with relative freedom, as long as you’re a good negotiator.

Fancy lighting optional. Image by GGCannon, from: Wikimedia Commons.
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OSR

Maxwell’s Demon and Schrödinger’s Zombie

Feature image from: Bryce S. DeWitt (1970). “Quantum mechanics and reality”. Physics Today. 23 (9): 30–35.

Inspiration can come from many sources; here, two interesting thought experiments from physics are reinterpreted as monsters for fantasy games, with stats for Old-School Essentials (and, therefore, B/X).