I'm a bit confused by Tier and Status for factions.

The magnitude table on p. 280 shows that Tier ranges from 0 to 6, but doesn't mention Status. p. 263 mentions improving status with a faction 'past 1' but doesn't clearly say whether the status starts at 0 or 1. There's nothing to say that Status can drop below 0, but I assume it can. Lastly, all the factions listed are at least Tier 1. Since a player crew can start with a quality of 0, can a Faction start at Tier 0?

So to summarise:

  • What is the range of a Faction's tier? 1-6 or 0-6?
  • What is starting status with a faction (if unadjusted by other choices like ship modules): 0 or 1?
  • What is the range of Status? -6 to 6?

What is the range of a Faction's tier? 1-6 or 0-6?

Mechanically, you could have a Faction of any Tier, if it made fictional sense. A Faction stronger than the Guild of Engineers, for example, would be Tier 6. The game comes with a Faction "board" that ranges from 1-5, so the GM would need to create Factions that go below 1 or higher than 6. A Tier 0 Faction would probably be a single ship of scoundrels, like the crew.

What is the range of Status?

The core book is oddly vague on this--it suggests +3 is the maximum for positive status, as that's where the crew can be offered their "endgame" mission. It's safe to assume that the Status range for S&V is meant to be the same as it was for Blades in the Dark: +3 to -3, where +3 is "Allies" and -3 is "At War."

What is starting status with a faction (if unadjusted by other choices like ship modules), 0 or 1?

Again, I'd assume S&V treats Faction Status identically to BitD. In Blades, "Neutral" Status is 0, so you can assume that's the starting point for all Factions in S&V.

The Blades SRD is useful for clarifications on the above.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you. There seem to be some omissions/assumptions in the S&V book that can only be answered by reference to BiTD. \$\endgroup\$ – Simon K Oct 9 '19 at 13:29

I am one of the designers of Scum and Villainy. I'm traveling to a convention right now so this post from my phone will be a bit thin. I wanted to chime in and say most of KidDublin's answer here is on point.

Regarding the magnitude chart, you probably never need to consider status when you're thinking about magnitude.

We do talk about negative statuses in the book, but perhaps we don't make the range as clear as we could. It was intended that you read -3 as "At War" and +3 as "Allies". I think the sheets help make that more obvious.

You could have a tier zero faction, but understand that players are unlikely to engage with those factions unless you make them. This is equivalent to a small crew of an independent ship - maybe five people. It's rare that you need to engage faction mechanics for factions of this size: if you make them mad, maybe they all show up on your next mission, but since your next mission is likely to be off-world, they might not even have that option. A crew quality of zero is equivalent to a tier zero faction's gear (though it's worth saying that crews are not factions and that's only for discussion with respect to position.

Hope that clarifies! Thanks to @yorkist for reaching out to me on Twitter. If you have more questions, I'll check back in this thread, or you can hit me up on Twitter: @worldnamer.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I've edited the answer to explicitly clarify that you're one of the designers of Scum and Villainy. (Also, judging by Twitter display name, @yorkist - the person who asked you on Twitter - is the author of this question, Simon K!) \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Oct 11 '19 at 3:41
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you John, your help is much appreciated. \$\endgroup\$ – Simon K Oct 13 '19 at 15:42

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