Kookoo's Basic Guide to Factions and Hostile Cows
Factions tend to get the better of most module builders. There are tutorials and references that mention them. However, it all seems so complicated. This guide will take you through the basics of factions without getting into extreme details or long drawn out lectures.
So, what are factions? Oh, wait sorry, you're supposed to ask me that, not the other way around. Okay, go ahead, ask me. . . Right, whether you asked me or not, I'll tell you. Factions are how much everyone likes each other, who is going to kill who and who is just going to stand around and watch.
THE FOUR PARENT FACTIONS
You start out with four factions: hostile, commoner, merchant, and defender. These are called the "Parent" factions. You can call them mommy and daddy if you want to, but you need more help than this tutorial can give you if you do.
Hostile means the people, monsters and creatures that are red in game and get all violent and stuff; trying to attack everyone who's not red. Hostiles will attack anyone not of the hostile faction. Commoner, Merchant, and Defender Factions will all attack a Hostile on sight.
Commoners are the average peasants, they walk around and annoy the adventurer and are basically there to populate your world. They will defend each other only.
Merchants are not necessarily the shopkeepers or anything like that. They are the NPCs (Non-Player-Charaters) who do not run away from a fight, but do not look for one either. You would put city officials, shopkeepers, NPC adventurers, henchpeople (before they join your party) and anyone else that you do not want to be a Commoner or Defender. Merchants will defend each other and those of the defender faction, but not the commoner faction.
Defenders are the city guard or the militia, or anybody that looks to the welfare of the commoners and merchants. If you attack a Commoner, Merchant or Defender, this faction will attack you on sight.
Now, take a look at any of the factions. If you'll notice, there is a little box with the word "Global" next to it down near the bottom right. If this box is checked, then the first time you attack someone from that faction, everyone in that faction goes hostile. If it is not checked and you kill someone from that faction, only the faction members that saw or heard you kill that faction member will go hostile. Say you kill someone from the assassins' guild in his own house. If the faction is global, you will now be attacked on sight by any member of that guild regardless of whether any of them could know it's you that did it. If it's not global, everyone in that guild will still be friendly or neutral toward you because they do not know that you were the one that killed them. Global factions also slow your module down as the game will check any global factions every time you enter a new area which makes it take more time to load. I only check the global button if I feel it important to the story line for a faction to be global. It is noted that the four parent factions are all set to global as default.
Hopefully that clears that up if you weren't sure about it, but what about adding more? And how do you keep everybody's business to themselves without the guards showing up? After all, the guards wouldn't defend an Assassins' Guild. That is where you make your own faction.
It is very important to know that whenever you adjust your factions; regardless of whether you add, subtract, or change things, it takes a long time for the toolset to process the changes, and the larger the module, the longer it takes. Make sure you have plenty of time to work before making any faction modifications.
If you are able, it would be wise to have the toolset and the faction editor open while you are trying this out.
Now it's a good idea to decide what factions you want to have. The truth is; I do not actually use the Commoner, Merchant or Defender factions if I can avoid it. I make a new faction for important groups in my modules. However, that is just me. Feel free to use them if you wish. The main reasons that I do not use them are as follows: Firstly, they are all global factions and if you accidentally kill one commoner with a misplaced fireball, the entire world becomes hostile toward you. Also, every other faction is based off of them, and I'm not willing to remove the global effect or really do anything else with them. The only exception is the hostile faction. I use that for any and all bad guys as long as I do not want to have a conversation with them before killing them.
Let us make a number of factions. We will start out with an area called "Happytown". In Happytown, we have a City Guard, Happytown Commoners, a Thieves' Guild, a Vegetarian's Guild, Cows, and Hostile Cows.
When you make a new faction, it will ask you what you want the parent faction to be. If the faction is simple individuals that do not want to fight if they can avoid it, make the parent faction "Commoner". Happytown Commoners and Cows will go under this parent faction. If you want them to be brave and defend everyone, we will make them "Defenders". The City Guard will go under this parent faction. If you want them to have their own agenda and be neither simple nor brave, make them "Merchants". The Thieves' Guild and Vegetarian's Guild will be under this heading. And if you want them to be hostile, make the parent faction, "Hostile". This will be the Hostile Cows.
The storyline goes like this: The Vegetarian's Guild wants everyone to stop eating cows and is powerful enough to make it happen. As a result, the Commoners do not eat cows and the city guard arrests anyone that hurts a cow. However, the leader of the Thieves' Guild desperately wants a hamburger. He comes up with a plot to make the cows hostile so that people will kill them and start eating meat again. The Thieve's Guild accomplishes this by poisoning the water supply and giving the cows super-mad cow disease or something. If you really want to make the cows mad, give them leather armor as well.
GRAPHY BAR THINGY
The graph chart in the faction editor shows how each faction feels towards the others. If you click on "Full Detail" at the bottom right, it will show two bars for each faction that shows how the current faction feels toward all the other selected factions and how they feel toward the current faction as well. You can check up to 10 factions to compare.
We have the factions now. So how do we get all of this to work properly? Why am I asking you? Hmm. . . Anyway, there are three things to remember: Friendly, Neutral, and Hostile. All those graphy bars can get confusing and stuff. Do not worry about that. Just remember that "Friendly" is 100% and the factions that are friendly to each other will all defend each other, holding hands and stuff. "Hostile" is 0% and factions that are hostile to each other will always attack each other and call each other names. "Neutral" is 50% and factions that are neutral toward each other will completely ignore each other and will not engage in battle if one or the other is attacked. You can go to any other percentage, but do not do so unless you really know what you're doing and have a specific reason for doing so. These are the three percentages that really matter.
How do you decide what percentage to make each faction feel towards each other? That is where most people get lost. Here's the thing. Any faction that you make 0% "Hostile" toward another faction is going to attack that faction on sight. So if you have a member of the Vegetarian Guild and the Thieves' Guild in town and their factions are set to hostile towards each other, members will kill each other before you even get to them to talk to them. For the most part, you want to make factions neutral toward each other.
As a side note: a lot of times, builders will make faction 1 neutral to faction 2, but completely forget to make faction 2 neutral to faction 1. It is important to set both factions.
MAKING THE FACTIONS WORK
Let us work with the "Happytown Commoners" faction. Click on them in the faction editor and you will see a whole bunch of bars that show how they feel towards everyone. It is important to remember that this is how much they like everyone else and not how much everyone else likes them, unless you have the full detail box checked. If you look, you will see that they are at 0% towards hostile and 100% towards themselves and 50% towards the player. That is fine. You want it that way. Next, look at their relations toward Hostile Cows. You want the Happytown Commoners to be 0% towards them so that they attack the cows. If you made the Hostile Cows have "hostile" as a parent faction, they should already be at 0%. Now, go to all of the other bars. They will be 50% towards everyone else except regular cows. Slide that bar to 50%. This is the best way to make sure that they do not interfere with anything else that happens. You do not want them taking sides.
Let us look at the City Guard faction now. They will be neutral to the player, 100% towards themselves, 0% towards Hostile and Hostile Cows. This is all as it should be. However, the City Guard faction is protective of most people so you want them to be protective of the Happytown Commoners. Now, here's where it gets tricky. If they are protective of the Vegetarian's Guild, then they will attack you if work against that guild. Make them neutral towards the Vegetarian's Guild so that you do not have to deal with the guard if you take the Thieves' Guild's side. Normally you would think that they would be hostile to the Thieves' Guild, but if you do that, then they will attack every Thieves' Guild member and you will not be able to do business. Remember that they are supposed to have proof that someone is a thief and that thieves do not normally advertise, so make the Guard at 50% towards the thieves. Make the Guard 50% towards normal cows as well. Guards do tend to get hungry after all. As far as how everyone feels toward them, just make everyone but the Hostile Cows neutral toward them. We do not want people defending guards, that is not how it works.
What about the Cow faction? What will they do? Cows normally fall under the commoner faction, however that means that when you attack a commoner, cows become hostile toward you... yeah, that is why they get their own faction. Just make them neutral to everyone, including the hostile cows 'cause we all know cows do not really care. You can even make cows neutral to themselves, after all, cows are not generally very noble.
The Thieves' Guild actually likes everyone to be well because if they are well, they make yet more money. However they will not be brave enough to risk their own neck to save someone, so we make them neutral towards everyone but hostile cows who are good to eat in their estimation. Plus have you ever noticed that thieves always wear leather armor?
Now the Hostile Cows. Why didn't we just make them part of the "hostile" parent faction instead of giving them their own faction? Well, we want them to attack people, but cows do not really attack cows do they? That would be barbaric after all. So make them hostile towards everyone but other cows.
What about the Vegetarian's Guild? How would they feel about the Thieves' Guild? Well they wouldn't like the plot, but you do not want fighting in the streets, so make the guilds neutral to each other. But how do they feel about Cows? Well, obviously they love cows. So let us put them at 100% towards normal cow, but what about the Hostile Cows? Well, Let us say they love them too. Now, that means that when anyone attacks a Hostile Cow, the Vegetarian's Guild will come to the defense of the Hostile Cow. The minute they do this, whoever they attack, whether it be a commoner, guard, player or anyone else will instantly fight back and they will go to 0% towards the Vegetarian's Guild at which point the Thieves' Guild ends up winning the battle. One thing to remember is that the Hostile Cows do not know that the Vegetarian's Guild is friendly towards them, so they will be hostile towards the guild even though the guild is defending them.
All in all it can get confusing, but you can accomplish a lot with factions if you really get into it. Just remember if all else fails, that it's okay for everyone to be neutral toward everyone else and just let them go about their own business. This is a fantasy world you're building after all.
author: Kookoo, editor: Kookoo, Mistress, contributor: phann