What Is A Faction
A faction, put simply, is an IC organization or institution that:
- wields power,
- affects the world, and
- has a specific goal,
- that is not the same as another faction's specific goal,
- that is not compatible with the goals of at least some other factions.
While factions are not the only arbiter of a character's RP, they should play a fairly significant role in how a character engages the world, and they should have a good reason for being there. (Sometimes the 'good reason' is some type of IC pressure, rather than enthusiastic agreement with the faction's geopolitical goals; the mecha genre is full of stories where someone is swept up into a situation by happenstance rather than ideology.)
Factions usually have some type of leadership structure, whether tight or loose, though the nature of that leadership structure varies pretty wildly from faction to faction. Some are loose affiliations of many mostly equal commanders and their subordinates, while others are military units with strict hierarchies that go directly up and down. Many factions are somewhere in the middle. Note that IC and OOC leadership of a faction, while often correlated, don't have to be; if someone who ought to be ICly the leader would rather delegate OOC leadership and coordination responsibilities to someone else, this is fine. For more information on such arrangements, see Chain of Command.
The Life Cycle of Factions
Factions are not generally intended to last forever on SRTMOO. A story about the changing geopolitical era -- and eventually about humanity's journey into the stars -- isn't going to be especially interesting if the geopolitical era isn't... actively changing. Even factions that seem like they might be more durable to this type of change are likely to join hands with others of like mind, gaining new names and new nuances. (For instance, the national bloc militaries that exist at the start of the game are very likely to undergo substantial change, or even cease to exist.)
We consider this a good thing! Having to figure out a new path through the world as it changes keeps players -- and characters -- engaged. It can be challenging, though, to find a new angle when a faction is dissolving.
We will provide ample warning to players when a major factional shakeup is about to happen; we will also help those players find new homes for their characters that fit their tone, if a shift prices them out of their current faction's trajectory.
Leaving factions, from an OOC perspective, is -- for the most part -- intended to be simple and straightforward. Sometimes, a faction just isn't a good fit for a character's story anymore (or may never have been). Our policy is fairly simple:
If it sucks -- hit da bricks!!
The calculus does change somewhat here for FCs in particular. FCs often were designed with their factions (or a reasonably close facsimile thereof, given our adjustments) in mind, so if the change is something that might lead a casual observer to confusion, we'd at least like to hear about what you have in mind before green-lighting it. If there is already a plan for major upheaval in the faction structure in the near future (probably 1-2 months), we may ask you to wait a little bit and tie your personal shakeup to the broader one.
If you know your current faction isn't working out but are unsure what would work out, please contact staff! We might have some advice on where to go next.