One of the things that I really liked in Living Greyhawk was the system of Meta-Organization (Meta-orgs for short). These meant that a character could, by fulfilling the needed requirements become part of an in-game organization, such as the King's Knights, a spy network, the army or the retinue of a specific individual.
Every campaign since has tried something like it, to both add to a players feeling of belonging to the setting or to tell different stories. They are one of the things that I personally enjoy about organized play. It makes me delve into the campaign's lore and often gives my characters added motivations to get involved in all these strange and wacky adventures.
Looking briefly at other campaigns, here is a brief description (and massive simplification) of how there are (were) implemented.
Living Greyhawk Metaorgs
- Regional-based, so each would impact play at a local level.
- Not equally implemented some region spent a lot of time integrating and expanding their orgs while others did not
- Rules constantly in flux: I remember every year or so, we had to overhaul all the orgs to conform to new imperatives
- Some were secret, some were public
Living Forgotten Realms Adventuring Company
- Fit well into the Realm's cannon/background
- Was administered by players, with slightly clunky rules. Hard to have clear oversight.
- Provided a direct and simple in-game benefit when a number of the company were at the table.
Arcanis Secret Societies
- Completely optional
- Joining one meant a choice on a character's part
- Each Society had its own goals that did not always go hand in hand with the task at hand (I remember being asked NOT to bring back an item).
- Meant to be kept secret
- Secret societies do not appear in every adventure.
Pathfinder Society Factions
- Every player must belong to a Faction
- Factions used to be secret and wage a war between them.
- Factions are the way one gets access to gear and items (no one ever buys the potion of cure moderate wounds)
- Factions require the PCs to perform tasks that do not impact or change the adventure (no one ever asks you to fail)
NeoExodus Legacies' Patrons
What we sought to do with NeoExodus is take the best from all models into something we wanted to use. Here are some of the points we agreed upon after much discussion.
- You can play Legacies without a patron.
- Joining a patron should not be automatic, you have to work at it.
- Not every patron appears every adventure.
- Patrons are not buddy-buddy with each other, but are not always inimical to each other. Each has goals and motivation.
- In-game, patrons are there to promote role play and intra party discussion. Following a patron is a choice and one that should not be made lightly.
- Patrons do not always want what's best for the current mission. (remember the "goals and motivation...")
- Although patrons may be adversarial with each other, their goal is to make the game more dynamic and generate Player-on-Player roleplay instead of "just" Player-GM.
- Patrons may come and go, depending on their in-game fortune. These NPCs are not static, and they will evolve with the campaign.
Although we are still talking about patrons and how to integrate them into an adventure, we have started to name and define them a little more. Some of them are pretty much locked and done while others require some work still. Most of them are nation-based, but one is not. I think they will add a new twist to some of the tropes we can find in organized play.
Do you have any favorite things about the meta-organizations that you like? Which element would you like to see in NeoExodus Legacies?