Insider 6-9-2011

The launch of Mk II has brought many new players into the games. From certain forum questions it is obvious that not everyone has a clear picture of how the factions get along. It can sometimes be confusing to keep track of who’s fighting whom, and where the most hatred and bile are directed at any given moment. I created a nice little color-coded chart that should make determining faction relations simple!

It is easy to make the mistake that all our factions are equally embroiled in warfare with one another. Fortunately, while there is enough hostility for everyone, not everyone gets an equal share.

To some degree, the factions serve as checks and balances against one another. The political climate of the region has many subtle shades of murderous violence. Every faction’s leaders must prioritize. Factions also have different agendas and objectives. While some factions are focused on seizing territory, other groups have more esoteric aims. It is entirely possible for several factions to wage war and each of them to come out of the situation thinking they won.

There’s also the matter of scale. A large battle by the standards of the Circle Orboros might only be a skirmish by Khadoran Army standards. Unfortunately, the wilderness locations preferred by the Retribution of Scyrah for hidden safe houses are also prime real estate for the Trollbloods and the Circle Orboros. It can be difficult for an armed contingent in western Immoren to go anywhere without stumbling over an enemy, with violence usually as the result.

This chart is by no means definitive and I expect our fans to argue and debate its merits and the colors assigned. It is intended to reflect a snapshot of the intensity of the conflicts between the setting’s main factions at a single point in time. These hostility levels are in constant flux. This chart does not reflect the aftermath of the events in Wrath, for example.

The hostility scale goes from “friendly green” to “furious red.” Green represents an alliance or tremendous goodwill between two factions—you will notice the chart has no green lines in use! Red is an indicator of the highest hostility and levels of engagement, with substantial investments in ongoing military operations. Between these extremes are “agitated yellow,” “simmering gold,” and “angry orange.”

Many of our factions have strong hatreds but sadly lack ample opportunities for regular clashes. (While Cryx would love to devour Everblight, that pesky dragon and his warlocks have largely avoided direct confrontations, for example.) Sometimes two rivals take a breather to rest up for the next clash. This applies to the Protectorate of Menoth and Cygnar after the Caspia-Sul War. Some factions like the Retribution of Scyrah are relative newcomers to the battles abroad and may take a little time to get up to speed. I have no doubt they will build up momentum in time, particularly once they settle their dispute with Khador over the theft of one of their gods.

A quick apology to Mercenary and Minions fans: I could have included Mercenary contracts and Minion pacts into the chart but decided not to. Not only because I’m lazy, but I worried the added complexity might overwhelm an already silly chart. There are complications with several of the contracts/pacts that limits hostility levels with the primary factions. The Four Star Syndicate is mostly interested in money, and doesn’t have a personal grudge against any other faction. The same goes for the Searforge Commission. I’m sure Lord Carver aspires to draw angry red lines between himself and every other faction in time, but right now he’s a bit on the fringe.

If you’re feeling ambitious, try adding these groups yourself. For extra credit, add flavorful comments to each line describing the relationships between each faction. I was going to do that myself until I was reminded of pressing deadlines. I’ll have to leave that to you while I write the next bit of narrative to amp up the hostility between our factions.