• Justin Handlin

5 Tips for Worldbuilding Factions



5 Worldbuilding Factions Tips from World Anvil


Crit Academy discusses 5 Worldbuilding Faction Tips from Roc Humet over at World Anvil! Organizations are extremely important in any setting. Governments, companies, religions… they’re the ones who rule over your world. They set things in motion. They DO things! And more importantly, they’re utterly memorable for your players and readers and give character to your worldbuilding. Join us as we give our cover these tips and top it off with our own thoughts and ideas!


However, creating a whole organization can feel a bit daunting, right? Well, in this post, I’ll make worldbuilding factions much easier for you! We’ll talk about how your organization works, but also how it looks from the outside and how it relates to other factions. Let’s unpack that!


ALL ORGANIZATIONS HAVE GOALS AND IDEALS

An organization is a group of people that come together to do something —that’s the faction’s goal.


WORLDBUILDING FACTIONS WITH RITUALS

Rituals and traditions are an obvious element of organizations like religions and cults. However, you can find them in any other kind of organization too.


RIVALS AND ALLIES

Relations between organizations are an essential part of worldbuilding factions. Make a list of all known organizations in your world and decide what kind of relationship they’ve got with the faction you’re creating. These decisions will have an important impact on the world.


GIVE YOUR FACTIONS A PERSONALITY

Personality isn’t just for characters. Guess how you can make your faction feel more alive? Give it personality! For a faction, this is mostly how their members might look or sound like. Think about how they dress, which social class they come from, what kind of training they have (if any), and their general outlook on life. Lost for ideas? Make sure to use goals, rituals, and traditions as inspiration!


…BUT AVOID CHARACTER STEREOTYPES!

Now, it’s critical to avoid character stereotypes. If you’ve watched Avatar, you’ll know that there are several characters from a single nation but they all have distinct personalities —and they still don’t feel disconnected from their home nation!


This means that the personality of a faction should be generic enough that it could be developed in many different directions.


USE SYMBOLS FOR WORLDBUILDING FACTIONS

All factions want to be known in a certain way, that’s where symbology comes in. Symbols have two goals: to create a sense of unity within the organization, but also to influence how other people see them. Think of the feeling you want other people to have when they see the faction’s symbol, and then pick an element related to the faction that carries this feeling.


Of course, symbology is not just the logo of the faction! Other elements such as mottos and anthems are equally important. After all, one of the most iconic lines of Game of Thrones is “Winter is coming”. Want even more symbols? Think about guild tools, holy relics, and royal regalia.


LET’S WORLDBUILD!

All in all, worldbuilding factions is a crucial part of any story —both for writers and GMs! But once you have these 5 tips in mind, you’ll have a faction that not only is well integrated with the world, but also has a memorable personality. Remember to connect your faction with the rest of your world; this will automatically make the world feel more alive! And if you use the Organisation template on World Anvil, you’ll have a myriad of prompts and questions to inspire even deeper factions.


Get the Full Article from World Anvil Here


This episode is brought to you by our generous sponsor, Kobold Press!


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Character Concept:

The Dark Sealed One

Once a loyal servant of a black wizard, you were placed in a sealed sarcophagus in stasis for safekeeping. While your master is now long dead, you live on. You’re a terrifying nightmarish creature from an ancient past. Powerful, cunning and ruthless enough to slay even the strongest monsters. After emerging from your long slumber, you are the very embodiment of death and destruction; a reminder that there are things even monsters fear. Once pledged to a life of service, with your original master gone, it is up to you where your loyalties now lie.


Monster Variant:

Hellgore

Monstrous, fiends with a form similar to that of drake without its scales. Upon its head are attached menacingly large horns, perfect for goring a foe.


Origin: Brown Bear

New Features:

Trampling Charge. If the hellgore moves at least 20 feet straight toward a creature and then hits it with a gore attack on the same turn, that target must succeed on a DC 13 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. If the target is prone, the hellgore can make one bite attack against it as a bonus action.


Gore. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 +4) piercing damage.


Horn Toss. When a creature hits the hellgore with a melee attack, it can use its reaction to attempt to shove its attacker.


Encounter:

Ghoulish Idols

Ghouls attacks against local villagers and merchants are a growing concern to the village elder. Anban Seio (noble), an older greying man with a long face believes the ghouls’ strange idols may shed light on the creature's aggressive behavior. A few sent back notice that they discovered one that was glowing. She hasn’t been heard from or seen since. The characters must first locate the idols and then investigate ghouls’ idols and record their findings, but doing so won’t be an easy task. The idols can only be found deep in the ghoulish swamp nearby.


The characters must succeed on a DC 12 Survival or Nature check to locate each idol individually. A failed check means an encounter with ghouls, followed by locating the idol. Upon discovering the idols, a successful Arcana Investigation check or use of detect magic spell reveals that some sort of necrotic power is emanating from the stones. During each investigation the characters are attacked by a ghast.


Magic Item:

Vision Dust

Wondrous item, Rare

Blessed by the power of fate, this sparkling crystalline sand grants glimpses into the future. The dust stored inside a flask or jar when found contains 1d4 +1 ounces of vision dust.

The dust can be poured out onto a liquid surface as an action. You can pour 1 or more ounces to cast one of the following spells from it. Augury (1 ounce), Divination (3 ounces) or Foresight (5 ounces). The spell consumes the dust during the casting.


Dungeon Master Tip:

Delayed Traps: The Beverage Tea

Consider building traps into your dungeons and lairs that have a delay. When the PCs pass by, touch, or manipulate various objects in the room, they trigger a trap, but the effect is delayed a number of minutes, hours or even days.

This is a great way to catch the characters by surprise as they won’t be expecting a trap in a location that they’ve already passed through safely. Or maybe illusions are created that are used to confuse, divert or otherwise disorient the characters into another direction. Whatever the case, a delayed trap will catch them completely unaware.


Player Tip: Don’t be a Dick

Roleplaying a Half-Orc

Half-orcs combine the best qualities of humans and orcs, though some would argue that the good qualities of orcs are few and hard to find. From their orc blood, half-orcs inherit great physical strength and endurance. They are fierce warriors, fleet of foot as they charge into battle.


Their human blood makes half-orcs decisive and adaptable. For all their good qualities, many half-orcs exhibit characteristics that polite society finds rude or undesirable. Half-orcs have little patience for complicated rules of etiquette or procedure and find little value in hiding their true opinions in order to spare someone’s feelings. They enjoy the simple pleasures of food and drink, boasting, singing, wrestling, drumming, and dancing, and they don’t find much satisfaction in more refined or sophisticated arts. They’re prone to act without much deliberation, preferring to overcome obstacles as they arise rather than consider every possible outcome and make contingency plans. These qualities lead some members of other races to consider them rude or crass, but others find their brashness refreshing.


Although possessed of many strengths, half-orcs frequently encounter prejudice in human communities. Thus, most half-orcs gravitate to careers involving physical labor or violence. For some, the life of an adventurer is either a natural extension of that trend or a way to throw off the weight of prejudice. The adventuring life also means finding a place in a group of allies and equals—a simple pleasure that is

all too hard for many half-orcs to find in the world.

-D&D 4e Players Handbook-


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