Alliance(?) Generator An RPG Planning Aid by Eric Sheldahl Make a list of all the major factions (or NPCs) in a given city, nation, continent, etc. It doesn’t have to be huge; maybe a dozen or fewer. Then, roll a d20 once for each faction. Write the result next to each name. Compare the numbers for every faction with the numbers for every other faction. For a given pair of factions, if the difference between their scores is... 3 or less: They are allies. 4-8: They are neutral to one another. 9+, They are enemies. I would recommend a table or spreadsheet to track the information. Here’s a basic cookie-cutter example: a Fantasy nation’s capitol city. Paladins- 5 Thieves- 16 Merchants- 2 Watch- 12 Mages- 18 Temple- 16 Royalty- 7 The Baron- 15 Foreigners- 9 Just based on this, one can easily see a conspiracy between the Thieves, the Mages, the Temple(!), and the Baron, as well as an ugly side to the Merchants’ guild and some corruption within the Paladin Order. Then, you have some some shocking passivity from the Royal Family, and an intriguing (but unsurprising) neutrality from the Foreigners. From there, the plot practically writes itself!
This little trick was actually originally intended to shake things up in an established campaign setting, Eberron or the Forgotten Realms. Think “Flashpoint Paradox” or “Eureka,” seasons 4-5. But then I realized that it was broad enough in scope to also help create your own setting and campaign plots. That’s what you see here.