Factions in a modern horror setting

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Jan Paparazzi

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I had two topics before about this subject (Sandbox campaign in a horror setting)(Exploration in a modern horror setting) and that lead me to the conclusion that my exploration shouldn't be geographical, but it should be more focused on exploring the Wainscott Society and on exploring all the myths and legends in the setting. Now I think the factions in the setting should provide a framework for play and since being a merchant or a mercenary in a setting like this would be odd, I think it's best if those factions all would focus on exploring different things in the setting.

I think it's best to give all the factions in a setting like this it's own niche. Organisations could be focused on for example psychic phenomenon, prophecies, hauntings, spirit summonings, witchcraft, weird creatures, secret societies, alchemy etc. What do you think?
 
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Nobby-W

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Certainly occultist groups would be good candidates for factions, but there are other mundane parties that could be factions as well. For example if the party is investigating an old mansion belonging to a rich old-money family, the dowager aunt with the money could be a faction, and the younger generation who want to bulldoze the property and develop the land might be another faction. The local law (sheriff's department or whatever), freemasons, mayor or local politicians, other powerful or rich parties, local newspaper, a local biker gang that makes crystal meth, a local church and so on and so forth.

You could also have other interested parties from out of town - some FBI agents analagous to Mulder and Scully or perhaps Rust Cohle or Agent Cooper, an investigative reporter and the paper the work for, an environmentalist group, scientologists or some other religious nut types from out of town, or other parties that might also be nosing around the area and stirring things up. Perhaps you could have out-of-town cultists looking for something they suspect is concealed somewhere on the property or in the area.

Some of these groups could also have some occult angle, although it's not strictly necessary.
 

Jan Paparazzi

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Yes, I understand. There are other non-occult groups like the media, universities, government, corporations etc.

But what I like about faction splats in other genres is that it comes with immediate campaign goals. For example if you join the Cartographers Guild in a fantasy setting you could get as a mission to map out the Northern Woodlands just over the Silverpeak Mountains. Mapping out the Northern Woodlands is the campaign. And while exploring the Woodlands you do multiple other things and come across other quests all within that campaign.
 

Jan Paparazzi

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So what kind of playable organisations have people used in these type of setings? And I am looking for playable organisations that give the players some sort of goal. Or at least something to do with some appeal. I mean you could join a transport company and deliver cargo to retail shops, but that just seems boring. :hehe:
 

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Yes, I understand. There are other non-occult groups like the media, universities, government, corporations etc.

But what I like about faction splats in other genres is that it comes with immediate campaign goals. For example if you join the Cartographers Guild in a fantasy setting you could get as a mission to map out the Northern Woodlands just over the Silverpeak Mountains. Mapping out the Northern Woodlands is the campaign. And while exploring the Woodlands you do multiple other things and come across other quests all within that campaign.

Some random thoughts:
  • A group associated with a medium has been contacted by the dead to right some historic wrong; this might involve a relic or something haunted.
  • A group of occultists wants to get an artefact or artefacts of some sort.
  • Mulder and Scully (or alternatively an investigative reporter) are investigating some sort of arcane conspiracy and recruit the players as informants to do something they can't be seen doing.
  • The younger generation of an old money family want something from the haunted house that their dowager aunt won't let them demolish. Perhaps there is something in a crypt under the house best left undisturbed.
  • A faction might be led by a being such as a fallen angel, vampire or some other entity. Its motives could be benign (prevent something from happening) malign or merely self-interested. It is in the habit of recruiting outside parties in order to conceal its activities.
  • The RC church wants to recover an artifact, or artifacts, or exorcise some demonic entity or entities. Perhaps one of the party is a priest or associated with some such.
  • A faction could be a lone or small group of gnostic types who know something about the other side (think John Constantine or similar) and may need the help of the party to accomplish something.
  • I see dead people ... and they won't leave me alone until I've sorted their shit out for them.
  • One or more of the players is associated with the freemasons, or some secret society that occasionally asks them to do missions of an arcane nature.
  • Delta Green or a similar body that is fighting the fight against the monsters.
  • Great uncle Wilburforce just died and leaves his grimoire to you in his will with specific instructions about something that needs doing. It turns out that the executor of his will is a partner in a firm of solicitors that deals with legal matters involving the dead and the arcane, and they have some outstanding things that need resolving.
 

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Someone knows the supernatural exists, and for reasons wants to to keep the mundanes from ever finding out.

Someone wants the truth about the supernatural exposed to the world, damn the consequences.

Someone wants to destroy any and all supernatural, for religious or personal reasons.

Someone wants to encounter the supernatural to expand their knowledge, or to find a truth that brings solace.

Someone wants to profit from, or find a way to use as a weapon, the supernatural.


Pretty much any faction is going to fall into one (or possibly more than one) of these categories. Of course, that two separate factions might have similar motivations doesn't mean that they would necessarily agree with each other. If you have at least one faction of each type (and preferably more than one of at least most of the types) and can work out how the different factions might work with or against each other, you're probably good to go.
 

Jan Paparazzi

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Someone knows the supernatural exists, and for reasons wants to to keep the mundanes from ever finding out.

Someone wants the truth about the supernatural exposed to the world, damn the consequences.

Someone wants to destroy any and all supernatural, for religious or personal reasons.

Someone wants to encounter the supernatural to expand their knowledge, or to find a truth that brings solace.

Someone wants to profit from, or find a way to use as a weapon, the supernatural.


Pretty much any faction is going to fall into one (or possibly more than one) of these categories. Of course, that two separate factions might have similar motivations doesn't mean that they would necessarily agree with each other. If you have at least one faction of each type (and preferably more than one of at least most of the types) and can work out how the different factions might work with or against each other, you're probably good to go.
Yeah, I figured this out. They could have similar motivations, but be different in flavor. Like a church and a government agency both wanting to kill all demons for example. I already saw a similar divide in this in the Arkham Horror Card Game, where the investigator classes are split in six: guardians, seekers, rogue, mystic, survivor and neutral. Guardians seem te be mostly like hunters to fight all supernatural, seekers seem to be about expanding their knowledge like true investigators , mystics want to use the supernatural like weapons so they are into witchcraft and rogues want to profit from the supernatural. Survivors are just unlucky that is happened to them and everything else is neutral.

So this seems to mostly cover the last three options. The first two options you came with are more pro or anti "Masquerade" options. There are some ideas that start forming now.
 

Jan Paparazzi

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Let me try to classify this like the Arkham Horror Card game and probably ask some questions as well:

Some random thoughts:
  • A group associated with a medium has been contacted by the dead to right some historic wrong; this might involve a relic or something haunted.
Mediums and the dead is interesting. I think this might be a seeker thing. It is a bit vague. What to do with the relic? And what to do with something haunted? If it needs to be destoyed it could turn into a guardian thing.

  • A group of occultists wants to get an artefact or artefacts of some sort.
Yep, get it. This is probaly a group of seekers or mystics depending on if they want to study this or use it themselves.

  • Mulder and Scully (or alternatively an investigative reporter) are investigating some sort of arcane conspiracy and recruit the players as informants to do something they can't be seen doing.
Seekers focused on uncovering a conspiracy. Flavor is government/media. I like the idea of using journalists as player characters.

  • The younger generation of an old money family want something from the haunted house that their dowager aunt won't let them demolish. Perhaps there is something in a crypt under the house best left undisturbed.
I thought about using old money myself. Seems like rogues. They are probably in it for the money, those greedy bastards!

  • A faction might be led by a being such as a fallen angel, vampire or some other entity. Its motives could be benign (prevent something from happening) malign or merely self-interested. It is in the habit of recruiting outside parties in order to conceal its activities.
Guardian faction I think. Seems to be fighting something. Pro Masquerade.

  • The RC church wants to recover an artifact, or artifacts, or exorcise some demonic entity or entities. Perhaps one of the party is a priest or associated with some such.
Could be guardian, could be seeker. Exorcising demons is definitely a hunter/guardian thing. The artifacts depens on what they want to do with it. Destroy, study, use or lock it up?

  • A faction could be a lone or small group of gnostic types who know something about the other side (think John Constantine or similar) and may need the help of the party to accomplish something.
Explorers. Definitely seekers. Exploring the shadow realm or spirit world or something like that. Been toying with this idea myself.

  • I see dead people ... and they won't leave me alone until I've sorted their shit out for them.
Seekers. Knowing more about ghosts is the goal. Understanding them.

  • One or more of the players is associated with the freemasons, or some secret society that occasionally asks them to do missions of an arcane nature.
Seekers or mystics. Arcane nature? Do they use magic themselves?

  • Delta Green or a similar body that is fighting the fight against the monsters.
Guardians. Government hunters fighting the supernatural. Big pro Masquerade as well.

  • Great uncle Wilburforce just died and leaves his grimoire to you in his will with specific instructions about something that needs doing. It turns out that the executor of his will is a partner in a firm of solicitors that deals with legal matters involving the dead and the arcane, and they have some outstanding things that need resolving.
Hey, this is a weird one. Probably seeker, but could be mystic. The corrupt corporation is something that was already on my mind (again) and I find a groupd studying the dead or death or life after death also very fascinating.

Conclusion: I think doing this actually helped me finding some structure in this and I have some ideas myself that need some brainstorming and fleshing out to make it work. I will sleep on it and I think I could come up with something interesting and drop that in a setting.
 

chuckdee

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I'm currently in a Silent Legions game, and we have the Organizations that we have to study and figure out how to navigate, and the world(s). We negotiated a truce with the major players, mostly due to the fact that we helped stop an entity from coming into the world that they'd not been able to, and those that they sent saw us do it, and some of us know some people in the organization that is apparently Switzerland to them (still haven't totally figured out how that works). That still doesn't stop them from setting us up in different ways (one organization set us up to have to kill one of their operatives that had outlived his usefulness so they could hold it over us. We barely navigated our way out of that).

But the game has also involved exploration of the world (and now, after interrupting another ritual, a pocket dimension it appears).
 

Jan Paparazzi

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Yes, the other realms or where reality breaks up is very interesting as well. As a matter of fact I made a group dedicated to that goal now. As well as a few other groups. This far I have a secret occult society who want to explore the shadow realm, a doomsday church who are fighting demons to stop the end of days, a criminal syndicate who collect and sell artifacts, grimoires and other magical items for profit, a neighbourhood watch who are trying to keep their run down old industrial area safe from monsters, a detective agency which specialized in missing person cases with a weird smell, a contact group of ex-psychiatric patients with former experiences with the supernatural and a group of psychics solving occult murders and ritual killings. And more are coming.
 
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