I was wondering how people handled non-player factions changing in Tier/Hold. It seems like the rules are definitely pointing towards factions gaining and losing power in the grand scheme of things. Do you all mess with these values much?
My follow-up question here is how you would track these changes. The faction sheet very helpfully provides the starting hold & tier for each faction, but not a lot of room for changing values. How do you handle this?
Personally, I’ve been using the faction sheet in Roll20, as (unlike the PDF) it lets you change those values easily. I’ve had some factions lose hold, but haven’t changed a tier yet. That may happen soon, but my campaign is pretty new.
I change Tier/Hold for factions, all the time. A good example is the starting situation; both the red sashes and the lamp blacks have “destroy the opposing faction” clocks against each other. Per the rulebook, I’ll roll faction tier during downtime and apply clock-ticks as appropriate (with bonus ticks depending on player actions).
It isn’t explicitly in the rulebook, but the way I handle it is that when the clock is filled the target faction gets taken down 1 hold or 1 tier as appropriate. So when the Lampblacks fill their “destroy the red sashes” clock, the red sashes get dropped to tier 1. And, as often in happens in war, they’ll probably take the lamp blacks down a tier before long too. You might win a war but still take attrition, right?
Like Kyle, I also play in Roll20 so it’s very easy to update the faction values there.
Oh yeah, factions change tier and hold all the time in our current season. One thing I’ve not seen a lot of mention on is what to do when gangs get eliminated (dropped below tier zero); I tend to bring in new factions to fill the power vacuum, but these all start at tier 1 or 0, so sometimes it takes a while for them to show up on the crew’s radar.
And I try to make them different crew types to whatever gang was destroyed by the crew, to stop gaining control of the city becoming a Sisyphean task.
Oh, and on part 2 of the question, after the insanity of the first season I had to remake the faction sheet anyway, so I just edited out the solidly written in values and wrote them in in pencil instead.
I’ve actually given this a lot of thought, too, since my clocks are filling up.
What I am going to try is to use those clocks for factions to achieve goals, fuel the drama and alter the world, but I’ll keep those tiers reasonably stagnant. Once the PC crew starts to climb in faction, it’ll be less rewarding for them to mess with those old factions, but the PCs’ effect on the drama and the world will gather the attention of much higher-tier factions.
A strange reference, but one of my favorites: I’ve always wanted to model my campaign villains after Farscape, which did a great job introducing a bigger, nastier villain right when the current villain lost their scariness and mystique.