Monday, April 4, 2011

Factions Part 4

Let's finish up our overview of the Factions, and then take a closer look at the first faction, the Canonists.

The Thief-Binders work for the Thief-Binder Clan, follow the Iversdotter Revelation, and pursue justice. This name is one I haven't been sitting on, but was one that dangled just out of reach for quite some time. "Something to do with handcuffs, and criminals -- the Criminal-Cuffer Clan! The Cuff-Thief Clan!" etc. Finally, I found "thief-binder" in my head, and it fit the concept and the Iversdotter "noun-noun" naming scheme. So this is a simple one, just about the Iversdotters' sense of justice that defines a large part of them as a people. The Iversdotter Revelation is another Church of the Blinding Light splinter group, that follows the Light but also holds the original Iver as a demigod (it's referred to as the Iversdotter Heresy by strict Church-goers).

Last but not least, the Triocheans are associated with the Free Association of Merchants and Businesspeoples, follow the Code of Business, and aim for a laissez-faire utopia. The Free Association, a powerful trade union, has been around since I worked on the City Districts, and the Code of Business is a sort of philosophical system, rather than a true religion, invented by the Pariah bloodline. I'm inspired by, but trying not to imitate, the Ferengi "Rules of Acquisition" in the Code -- the main difference I'm working with is the idea that the Code values family above even profit, which is definitely not something the Ferengi do. The name "Triochean" came from the word "troche," the meaning of which I didn't even remember until I just looked it up ("a small pill or lozenge." huh), and the notion that these people follow the "Trio." I liked the sound of the combination, so there you go. My secrets revealed.

Well, let's move on to ARTTing out one of these factions, eh? I figure we can squeeze a post out of each faction -- which will hold us for the next month and a half or so!

The Canonists

Archetype: The archetype for the Canonists is that of the kindly priests -- Priests of Good abound in fantasy fiction, there to heal or advise the heroes. While not all Canonists are priests, this is their model: peaceful, kindly, and devoted to their deity. On the other hand, the Light does not espouse removing oneself from society as most of these temples and monasteries do; ambition is virtue in the Church, and the priests are intimately intertwined with local politics.

Real-Life Inspiration: The real-life inspiration for the Canonists is pretty obvious -- it's those staunch believers in any religion (mainly Protestant Christianity here in the US, but it varies from country to country) who go into politics to push their beliefs' agenda. That sounds harsh, but I don't necessarily mean it to be --every government has a central philosophy held by the majority of its founders and governors -- and most often, it is a religion. Even if this religion is not officially associated with the government, it is implicit in the nature of the laws and organization of the government. In the US, it is Protestant Christianity. In the City, it is the Church of the Blinding Light. While not all of the government believes in the Light, a sizable potion does, and a significant minority of those are Canonists, holding their religious beliefs as the most important foundation for their politics.

Theme: The theme of the Canonists has to do with the good and bad sides of peace. Canonists believe in complete peace, utter nonviolence and nonconfrontation. On the good side -- well, being at peace is much more pleasant than being at war; avoiding violence leads to more enjoyable and productive lives. On the other hand, confrontation can sometimes be necessary. The classic example is, of course, Britain and much of Europe paying off Nazi Germany prior to World War II -- it's generally accepted that had they not eventually turned to war, Gemany would have taken them over bit by bit -- only through war could they truly pacify the beast. The Canonists are incapable of this kind of confrontation, which leads to their downfall in many situations.

Twist: I need the Canonists, and the Church, to be three-dimensional in their morality: neither fully good nor evil. Hidden secrets are good to vilify churches -- the snake cult of Chrono Trigger, the dragon cult of the mysterious village Haven in Dragon Age: Origins, Richelieu's secret control over France in The Three Musketeers. What kind of secret can we find that makes the Church of the Blinding Light shades-of-gray but not purely evil? One claassic that comes to mind is manipulating politics behind the scenes -- but the Church's political influence is right out in the open in the City. Hmm.