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Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Ultimate Factions (PFRPG)

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Treason or Triumph?

The sultan’s grand vizier is secretly plotting against him with other members of the court. The guilds are trying to bully small businesses. The neighboring country have spies in the palace. The city guard in the capital are under the pay of the thieves’ guild. The local druid circle aren’t happy about all the farms being built, or the woodcutting in the forest, and want the kingdom’s Councilor to help them persuade the king to put a stop to it.

All of these are themes from fantasy stories, but the core kingdom building rules introduced in Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Ultimate Campaign and expanded in Ultimate Rulership from Legendary Games focus primarily on your heroes and the decisions they make as the ruling council of their own kingdom. With Ultimate Factions, we provide you with detailed rules for different political factions, religious sects, and any number of influential power brokers and wealthy elites devoted to rising up and seizing whatever they can hold. Your heroes may play off their rivals against one another and use their wits to consolidate their own power and secure their throne from threats that can't be defeated by sword or spell. In the great game of houses and thrones, your heroes must triumph! Grab this 26-page kingdom-building supplement today and Make Your Kingdom Legendary!

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Product Discussion (59)
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1 person marked this as a favorite.

2) There's a new edict on page 18 which is for kingdoms supporting or suppressing factions, but it appears I missed how much effect it has. Each BP spent should apply a +/-3 modifier to the target faction's checks until the start of the next Edict phase.

Something else to send to Jason, it seems.

Factions trumping kingdom was also intentional, since the aim was to make factions work against each other to influence the kingdom (one reason for a "rulers" faction) overall.

That said, your solutions are fine, I like them.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Thank you for the swift reply, I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions.

I'll see if I can write a review once I have a bit more experience with the rules, but it might take a while (we play 1 kingdom turn per session).

Absolutely my pleasure to answer any questions (though I would be very interested in seeing how other people would deal with these things).

Reviews are always welcome (please consider copying any review written here to DriveThruRPG and Amazon, and if you didn't buy through DTRPG and hit their "only if you bought from us" policy, please PM Jason Nelson or email him at, and I'm sure he'll arrange something), and I'm really just stunned that so many people like this product.

So, please keep asking, and help make this book even more useful, and help me avoid pitfalls for Ultimate Strongholds!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Our first session with the faction rules went fine. However, my players struggled a bit with defining their factions' goals. The way I understand it, goals can be abstract, but each goal is represented by a single operation (triggered with the [Advance Goal] operation). However, the example of the Mage's Guild on page 22 seems to indicate that [Advance Major Goal] can be used to achieve more than one effect. Assuming the operations are all related to the same goal, is it possible for the [Advance Goal] operation to manifest in different ways, each time with a different aim, scale, or subject? It would make sense to allow the same operation at a lower scale (settlement instead of kingdom, for example). But if that were the case, the DCs for major goals wouldn't be fixed.

Could a faction use [Advance Goal] to increase its own attributes? And if so, would it still be an 'active' operation?

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

To answer my own question, it seems that advancing the same goal can have variable DCs (as the example of the Secret Society indicates). Therefore, I assume that [Advance Goal] can be used with different aims, scales, or subjects, as long as they are all related to the same goal.

Another observation from our first few faction turns:
My players felt that the starting size of their factions severely limited their options. Everybody used the [Recruitment] operation to increase faction size (to at least 11, when they will be able to use two operations per turn), and at the same time hoarding WP. Assuming a 40-50% chance to succeed on a [Recruitment] check, it is going to take a while until they will begin to operate effectively. Permanently increasing the resource stat (in order to improve the success chance for recruitment checks) seemed like an alternative option, but other than that, there were only little choices to be made.
Also, in this first phase, the income checks felt really volatile.

Oh, and we also found a nice opportunity to introduce a Judicial faction (representing the rulers) and a Civil faction (representing the citizens).

Amanuensis, not ignoring you, I promise! I'll give you my full "official" response a bit later today, but your ideas and observations are very welcome feedback.

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Sorry for the delay, I forgot the golden rule to never promise something you're not 100% sure of delivering on that promise.

Goals are and have always been a tricky thing. They are purposefully left very abstract - the mechanics of them are designed to handle "does it work?" in response to the faction controller asking "can I do X to advance my goal?", where X can be pretty much anything you can think of. It's for that reason the Mage's Guild and Secret Society example factions have complex examples of Advance Goal operations - I didn't design those factions or their goals, I borrowed shamelessly from Ultimate Intrigue and the Villain Codex for the flavour and some of the mechanical details. The Mage's Guild was quite literally run through the "converting Organizations" rules, and the Secret Society was probably the hardest bit of the whole book because the Villain Codex doesn't really say anything about how big the Secret Society is, it just describes members and the group as a whole, and I had to create something which fits as a possible example of that villain group.

You are absolutely correct that it is possible for a goal (not likely for the Major Goal, though) to have variable DC dependent on the effect the faction tries to achieve through advancing that goal. So, yes, if a faction decides to use the Advance Goal operation to (borrowing the Secret Society example) place members in positions of power within a single settlement, that's a lower DC than doing so in the entire Kingdom, and it's even easier to do it in a single faction.

Regarding using an Operation to increase a faction's attributes - there was one in there for THE longest time. I removed it because the cost balance became either irrelevant or too high (a fixed cost quickly becomes pointless, but having it scale with the bonus just makes acquiring wealth more important than it should be). I ultimately wanted to avoid the kingdom "problem" of +146 bonus to Stability, +184 Economy, +138 Loyalty, Control DC 52. The DCs are very purposefully on the hard side, but the penalties for failing a check are almost nonexistent - while you might not be able to ramp up your faction's size hugely quickly, you're not completely screwed by failing that or any other check, and there's always next turn.

If you really want a goal to increase attributes, something like 4-6 WP per existing point of bonus as a scaling cost might be appropriate for an active Operation - it'll be there or thereabouts, anyway.

Thank you for that observation on the start being recruitment focused - that's really useful, matches my own experience, and it's a feature rather than a bug - brand new factions will be trying to recruit (unless they can secure large quantities of wealth), and things will be volatile for them to start with. The rules of creating factions for existing kingdoms are purposefully generous with size to allow them to avoid that initial wobbly period, but even if a faction splinters early on, allowing either a child faction or a completely new faction to fill the gap isn't a bad thing.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thanks for the clarification, that helps to put things into perspective.

Re: faction attributes, the Advance Goal table includes a line for exactly that purpose (which is why we assumed that it was possible).

I think we struggled a bit with the idea that the only way to increase a faction's impact is by increasing its Size (one of my players wanted to have an artists' guild, a small yet influential group, and we wondered how to implement this concept). But I guess faction Size does not have to represent the actual number of members--it can also be interpreted as friends, supporters, patrons, and other benefectors that act as multipliers for the faction's goals.

So far, I'm really happy that we introduced factions. We are still experimenting with the rules and figuring out how to run things, but it has already fundamentally changed my players' outlook and how they approach problems:

"The lumber consortium [trade faction] has attacked us for our weak position against the local fey. Maybe if we put up a show of force and clear the hex with that evil fairy queen, we can gain some favor with them.
Alternatively, we could continue to explore the clockwork dungeon in order to appease the Natural Philosophers [academic faction], who have been pushing us to build that super-expensive automated clock-tech sawmill (which would undoubtedly estrange the lumberjacks). Maybe we should introduce a robot-tax?
We also have to deal with the curse that befell our capital after we humiliated the Gyronna-cultists. Maybe we chould enlist the Church of Erastil [religious faction] to help with that problem.
We shouldn't neglect the Artists' Guild [social faction]--after all, they control the kingdom's lyre of building."

As a GM, I now have three different ways to create challenges for the PCs (on a personal, faction, and kingdom level), and my players can approach these challenges in a way they feel most comfortable. I'm still a bit unsure how lenient I should be with allowing them to 'switch' from one level to another, but at the moment, I'm inclined to let them have their way.

Did that sneak through? Curses! Another revision to send to Jason to see if we can update it at some point.

Anyway, you have no idea how happy the above post makes me: that's exactly the sort of interaction and detail Ultimate Factions is meant to be generating.

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