It has been a difficult few weeks with lots of things going on and health issues to boot – but recently I have had more time to think about my games. In quiet or difficult periods, I always end up thinking about new games environments and rules tweaks that might help encourage role playing. Recently, I have been considering Game Factions, not as a really competitive tool, but as a way of encouraging players to choose a Role Playing theme for their characters.
First up is The Far Flung Trading Company, or FFTC as it is generally known. The FFTC has been around in (many of) my games for years, and first came into being in a tabletop game, back in the 1990s. Of the four ‘sub-factions’ described below, three have their roots in player run trading companies, while the fourth is a long-running NPC family – that goes back to games I ran in the 80s.
I suspect the traits might need reviewing, after I decide on the game to use it in 🙂
FFTC is a well-established, if somewhat erratic, Trading House. It has never been a single ‘house’ in the traditional sense, but it is composed of a number of smaller interests working together.
The FFTC concentrate on local trade routes. They understand that they can’t compete with the major trade houses on major or long-distance routes, instead they provide the end services. Be it coastal trading ships, barges on rivers or even mule trains – they are interested.
Members of this faction are expected to help develop trade links for the FFTC. They don’t become merchants (yet), but they facilitate, smooth and secure trade for the FFTC. They gain kudos (faction points) for every Shop, Trading Post, Market, Serai, Jetty, trade agreement, shipping contract or similar opportunity that they secure for the FFTC. In the long term, Faction Points turn into a pension for the character when they retire from adventuring (actually shares in their sub-factions shipping business). If the adventurer is killed, the pension is used to provide a small income for their dependents. At the end of their adventuring career, many adventurers defer their pension and take a ‘retirement’ job, running a trade station or serai, captaining a ship, as a warehouse manager or even as a merchant. Of course, they have their own money, made while adventuring, to build their own personal estates and income – outside the ‘factions’ framework (if they so choose).
Of most value to the FFTC are vessels – ships, fishing boats, river boats that can be refurbished and put to use – and FFTC will always buy vessels from their members for a good price, and they are always worth bonus Faction Points.
FFTC will also buy goods (loot) from their members at slightly above market price, although this excludes trade goods, coins, gems, jewellery etc, that are always traded at full price. Note that this is only offered to faction members share of the treasure.
While there are many small groups involved, there are four influential families behind FFTC, all with different backgrounds and philosophies. They work together to find new markets and new ways for the FFTC to grow. These four families are :-
The Nightsky Family traces its origin to the union of a human Monk (Flower Nightsky) with an elven adventurer called Belle. Many of their scions are sent to train as monks, before returning to the work for the family. They believe in bettering themselves by experience and personal learning. Their members are generally Human or half elven. Their family motto is ‘Know Thyself’.
Campaign Trait: Gain +1 trait Bonus in all profession skills (trained only).
House deKassen traces its origin back to a half-orc adventurer made good. They own land and minor titles, but the shipping line is seen as a good proving ground for family members with wanderlust. Family members are all half-orcs (Gagak’s blood runs deep) with an aptitude for music – many of whom train as bards. Their family motto is ‘From Whence We Came’.
Campaign Trait: Gain +2 trait Bonus in one instrument type or singing.
Clan Marisi are an old family, who once controlled swathes of land on the Far Coast, but were driven off by barbarian humanoids. Now the rump of the family are spread far and wide, with their shipping business as the glue that binds them together. Members of the family are mainly human (or half-human) and are bound together by family loyalty and an adherence to The Old Ways. Their family motto (loosely translated from an old Celtic language) is ‘In time we trust’.
Campaign Trait: Gain +2 trait Bonus on all D20 rolls associated with ancient cultures.
The Al-Tajir are a trading brotherhood. Descended from Moorish forebears that have an air of the old ways, although they are comfortable with the ways of the world. They can be of any race or class, although all are skilled merchants. Their motto is ‘We come in trade’.
Campaign Trait: Gain +2 trait Bonus in Profession Merchant.