Factions and Societies

Factions and Societies

Salt, a World History

I don't like being served "factions" in settings books.

Factions feel like a snapshot of the power dynamics in a city or region. Of what are they vying for control?

There is a forest with big oak trees, the nuts are fed to the local porks, the ham is salted with the salt from the mines in the south, that ham is delicious, renowned, and sold all around. Thousand years ago, the thigh of the pork was considered the choice piece by the tribes of the north, their techniques met the ideal forested site and the local pig race. Finest ham in the land.

The southern lords granted ownership of the salt mine to a community of friars. Selling the salt allows them to support a growing team of scholars for whom salt is merely a condiment. The extraction was at first done by the founding friars themselves but they now have serfs that do the job.

The salt is sold not only to the ham producers but also to the cheese makers in the north. There, the noble families controlling the cheese makers have an arrangement with the armor making guild. Bespoke armors sold to the west are shipped packed with cheese (and ham sometimes).

The armour guild has offices in the big cities north and west where wealthy lords have their measures taken and order beautiful white armours or go "gansta" and order armours that mimic the black, cheap, look of the armours of the petty warlords of the east, raiding here and there atop their horses. Fashion.

Once a warring tribe has taken control of a resource, sparing the initial operators and their know-how, what of their now noble scions raised in opulence? Debts accumulate, resources have to be resold, he is not as strong as his grand-father was.

I want to be served resources, productions, trade routes, technical exchanges, cross-pollination. Food for imagination (and for factions).

A book like Salt, a World History is worth seven setting books.