scrap was talking about the idea of friends-and-foes, inspired by the MtG colour pie. It’s not something I’d heard of before, and not actually something I’ve done a tonne of research on. (I had a pretty good green-blue Cagebreakers deck back in the day, and I’m not sure how that fits with the colour pie theme.)
What I did like was the idea of using two-friends and two-foes as a framework for factions. Unrestrained creativity can sometimes be exhausting, but wrap a constraint around a thing and suddenly some sort of internal logic starts to appear.
I’m still hoping to make The Rest a fun writing project that people do. Maybe it’ll be fun to take five cards at random and fit them into this structure (which scrap called “five point star faction system”).
Five randomly drawn cards:
- The Chariot.
- The World.
- The Magician.
- The Tower.
(Strength; endurance.) Ilwater was better known as The City of Water less than a generation ago, but the siege against it has all but dried up its last wells. News stopped travelling out of their a year or so again. Their numbers have fallen into the hundreds much down from the flurishing streets of yesteryear. The Waterfolk inside still man the walls. They still watch the gates. They still tend to the animals they have left. Whilst some think it’s just a matter of time before the walls crumble against the invader’s machines, there’s no doubt that the Waterfolk will fight til their last.
(The Chariot; aid to warriors.) Ilwater is not alone. The Petty Prince, though expeled from their own country, still has his spies. His might is not as it once was, but what he lacks in an army he more than makes up for it in poisons – curses of drink and of ear – which can cripple an enemy just as well. So long as Illwater stands there’s a chance he can regain his seat and his mistakes forgotten. But, when all is said and done, and the war for the small but holy town is won, he needs it to fall at his feet, and not his sisters’.
(World; as old as time.) The Merchants of Ultima see Ilwater as their last uncollected waypoint to the east. Going around it takes weeks and going through it was impossible whilst its inhabitants worshipped at their ridiculous, puritanical church of Ilmater. The war so far had cost them greatly, but the Merchants could endure for much longer, certainly longer than those pestilant fools inside.
(Magician; unnatural power over something.) Since Ilmater had turned on the Sighted Elders, and refused to offer any help to their cause, the Elders were more than happy to join the Merchants in their crusade. If they should win, Ilmater would be crippled by the loss of his major temple, or else be forced to crawl back to the other gods and beg to rejoin. No one would go to war without the knowledge that the Elders could provide – gossip and thoughts directly from the gods – and so the Merchants entered into this unlikely coalition.
(Tower; bringer of doom.) There are four royal sisters, who in their mother’s illness have wrestled control of the country and ousted their brother. The Queen would never have stood against the Merchants, but the sisters are not quite a like their mother, yet even they are smart enough to not openly fight the Merchants. Instead, they aim to move Ilmater’s holy site, in secret. Then the Merchants can do what they like with the town. Their good allies, the Elders, will be more than happy with a slightly less powerful Ilmater rocking the boat.
It’s difficult to find ways for allies to be friends with their friends’ enemies.
Highlights of some of the relationships:
Royal Sisters and Petty Prince: The Prince was the intended heir but his politics of giving his friends more power didn’t sit well with them. They’re unsure if he’s dead or not, to be quite honest.
Petty Prince and the Merchants: Supposed allies. The Merchants stand to gain a lot by the Prince being in power. They both overestimate they can manipulate the other. However, if Ilwater was to fall it would be the last nail in his political coffin. If the Merchants insist it falls, it must happen in exactly the way the Prince intends it to.
Ilwater and the Sighted Elders: The Elders have the gods by the balls – literally in some cases. They’ve successfully tracked down and captured many relics of the gods which act as their physical anchor to the Material Plane. The Elders, whose only desire is control, became enraged when Ilmater’s relic was stolen. If he’s not with them, then he is against them, and his temples must fall.