Social Group Template


I have been playing with organizations, making templates for my campaign, based in the Dark Eye RPG (Well, as I don't know German, I based on Arkania computer games). One on the templates is about communities and social groups. Its very open and I hope can be useful too other people.

I writed on Spanish, but I think that I could make a quick translation of the template. Forgive me for any errors that may exist.

Social Groups
Human beings (and elves, dwarfs and orks too) are, like ants and wolfs, social creatures, which depend of a community. The individual, usually, as more advanced the culture, less depending of his personal community (family, clan, etc.) and more specialized in his skills to stand up the competition. His own culture has been a crucial factor during character creation but his personal community (family, village, clan, ottojasko, etc.) continues to have an important role during his adventures, and this template helps him to breathe life.

As a rule, only nomad and primitive cultures use this template as personal organization. Barbarian and civilized cultures, if they are urban in nature, usually build cities too much bigger for the family grows larger than nuclear families and its members tend to join in guilds and trade brotherhoods. Any community larger than small village is out of this template. If the DM wishes, a Noble civilized house or the household of a thorwalian or borlander chieftain could mimic the template to create it.

The more used sub templates are:
Clans An extended family whose members live toghether sharing tasks and obligations. Usually they area around 20 people, that it makes a Small organization. It's appropiate for moha, nivesian and novadi, gjaskerlanders, fjaring and the elves.
Tribe A collection of clans form a tribe, but it can have other names too. Usually they don't live all together, but they occupy a nearby area where they can communicate easily. If they are not nomad, each tribe will be settled around an especific area. A tribe can be up to 200 individuals, and this is a Large organization. This template is appropiate for orks, goblins, and dwarven "clans". A gjaskerlander Heared have this size too, as the alliances of nivesian, moha and novadi clans. Some tribes, as the mohaha that gives its name to the forest men of Meridian are huge tribal confederations and can exceed each number easily, but they will be form by tribal gruups of this size.
Rural communities The more advanced rural cultures organices themselves in settlements. Rarely its inhabitants are all related, buy they work similar to a clan. In a village, for example, faced with the thread of a disease, the members will pool its resources to hire a sorcerer or healer. The larger the settlement will be less likely to act in this way. Settlements appropiated for this template: Hamlet (10-30 people, Small), Village (30-200 people, Large), Small Town (200-500 people, Very Large). This kind of settlements is appropiated for Thorwall, Bornland, Middenrealm, Fairfield, the Caliphate and Arania. The Amazon's castles also fall in this category. The city-states of Mhanadistan and Meridian usualy are larger and more urban.
Thorwalian Ottojaskos An Ottojaski is a ship-community. The place where the crew lives during winter months and where their kinfolk (wifes, husbands and children) rest while they are embarked. Although they are not family, they live together in long houses, as other thorwalians, sharing their tasks and necessities. Depending of the ship's size they are groups of 30-70 individuals (or bigger counting people which stay on land), forming a Larga organization.
Norbarden clans: Norbardian clans form nomad caravans which roams the Norhlands of Arkania use a similar structure to ottojaskos, but the degree of kinship is closer. Is not neccesary to be family to belong a norbardian caravan, but its structure orbits an extended family that forms the core of the band. Norbardian are agroup around the caravan for safety by the number in the dangerous and wild lands of the north. A Norbarden caravan is made up of between 30 and 50 people, and for that, ia a medium size organization.

Number of members: See above for subtemplate.
Influence: The community has a huge influence on the daily lives of its members.
Wealth: Its depends of the clan, but usualy between Normal and Poor.
Military Strenght: Usualy each social group has a repressive mechanism formed by its members, and placed under the autority of its leader (chieftain, tribal leader, jarl, etc.). That troops are formed by the members and rarely exceed 1/20 of the total membership at full time.
Popularity: It's not possible to know each community existing in Arkania, but usually they are known at local level by members of other neighbouring communities (+20% Regional Lore). The further you live, more difficult to have heard of it, until Formidable (-80%) or Automatic failure in the most extremes cases.
Affinities: By subtemplate. Clan (2d6), Tribe (2d8), Hamlet (2d6), Village (2d8), Small Town (2d8+1), Ottojasko (2d8), Gypsy caravan (2d6) Affinity points. If you've already created a PJ from this community, the organization must purchase with these point anything that the character choose (for example, if the character knows Healing common magic spell as part of his initial equipment, its comminity must have someone who can teach it).
=> Passions: Each social group has an appropiate passion which represents its membership. Each extra passion that its members must know costs 1 Affinity Point.
=> Base of Power: Depending of the cohesion and size of the group it's necessary pay between 1 and 3 Affinity Points according to their relative importance to other communities.
=> Alliances: If the community have alliances or pacts with other group, it may be offer discounts on its services. 10% discount in skill training of other organization associated (1 point). 20% discount in training and 10% in goods and services (2 points). 30% discount in training and 20% in goods and services (3 points).
=> Advantages. A community can use its Affinity Points to acquire the following advantages:
Agent (3/Organization): Supporters in other organization that manage it according to the interests of this community.
Informant (1/organization): Supporters in other organization wich supply the community with information about it from inside.
Reputation (1): The community is well know and its members add 1/10 of its membership passion to Influence and other social skills at local and regional scales.
Secret and Lies (2/fact): The community knows any secret or event of another organization, that even if its false, can be damaging for them.
Combat Style (2): The community has developed its own unique combat style.
Religious doctrine (2): The community has developed its own religious believes and all members are part of them. Usually is only appropiate for monasteries and other religius communities. All members will be, automatically, common members of the cult, sect o spirit tradicion choosed.
Troops (2/Level of quality, max 3 levels): This advantage assumes that the community is more militaristic than usual and the porcentage of adult members able to use weapons is superior to normal. The quantity, quality and type of the "troops" depends only of the DM, but more levels, usually more mumber of quality.
Relic (3): The community have a potent magic item or other objetc of power that can use in its own benefict and lend to its members in cases of necessity.
Common Magic Each Affinity point spent gives 2 spells known.
Legendary Abilities: 1 ability per Affinity (or 1 per 2 Affinity spent if the skill used as prerrequisites is a cult skill). Usually a community don't teach legendary abilities except one of its members be a retired adventurer. Even so, the key skill for the Ability don't should be a cult skill. The DM has the final word of the matter.
Obligations: Usually the membership have beneficts and obligations to the character. The individual wins some advantages but he must respect its hierarchy and puting forward the needs of the community to own. The membership is for live (sometimes more). An exile change its membership passion to one that reflects its hostility or rejecton. If the community have any requirement that all members must respect (or it offers some special bonus) it will be put in this place. Each obligation add 1 Affinity point of the community (maximum 3 points).
Cult skills: Each community can teach its cult skills above 75%, as guild rules. Each community teaches 5 skills. One of them must be its own language and other its Regional Lore.The third skill must be an specific one deppending of the member and its assignment on the community. A hunter can learn Track, for example, and a fisherman will learn Survival or Boats. Each member selects its own skill. The last two skills must be useful o learned by all members of the community. In a noble house could be Courtesy, and in a Nivesian Clan Skiing or Driving Sleds. A quick view to the cultural background is a good source of this other two skills. It's possible teach more skills; per each Affinity point spent, the community will teach 3 additional cult skills. If you choose a Combat Style, it must be appropiate for its cultural background.

Membership and ranks
N1 - Common member
Description: The common members of the community. They are members of the community but they have no authority or prestige inside it. They are more than simple supporters, because they are full right members.
Requisites: Acept the hierarchy of the community and its obligations, adding the membership passion to the character sheet. The community must acept them to form part of it.
Benefits: The character will automatically find tutors for any cult skill. Enjoy access to Common Magic that the community teach; support and help from the other members.
N2 - Prestige Member
Description: They are people that play an specific duty, usually at the request of the decision makers. A teacher in a little village or a healer in a norbarden caravan. Their obligations are the same that for common members plus perform their specialized tasks.
Requisites: Membership passion at 50% and other four skills at 50% useful to the community and specializated duty.
Benefits: As above. You gain a +10% reputation bonus at skills with common members of the community. You can learn any Legendary ability that the community teach. Half normal price for being training on cult skills.
N3 - Decision Maker
Description: Those time and again have shown its value to the community and the people that the community query when it's necessary to make a decision. Depending of the community they can be the elders, chieftain's counsiliers, etc.
Requisites: Be a member of the community in good standing. 5 skills at 70% useful to the community, including membership passion, and the good will of the Authority Figure.
Benefits: The reputation bonus increases to 20% with Common members and 10% with Prestige Members. Faction skills are trained for free. In some communities they choose the Authority Figure.
N4 - Authority Figure
Description: Every social group has just choosing a leader or chieftain - someone who rules the community and govern it. It can be choose by the decision makers, or govern by birthright or force of weapons. He rules the contacts and conexions of the community, decides its strategies and objetives, controls its economy and assigns specializated tasks to its members. His role is coordinate everyone to move all in the same direction.
Requisites: Membership in the community. 3 skills useful at 90% including membership passion or enough contacts to influence the community.
Benefits: The reputation bonus increases to 30% with Common members, 20% with Prestige Members and 10% with Decision Makers. He rules the community and control its resources.

If you want use my template with Guilds, Faction and Cults, I use these values to assign its characteristics (Influence, Wealth, Military Strength & Popularity):
Very Good/Influential/important: 20
Good/Influent/Important: 16
Normal: 12
Poor/Bad: 8
Very Poor/Bad: 4

The Size characteristic depend of the number of members. I use SIZE 2/4/5/7/11/16 for Very Small/Small/Medium/Large/Very Large/Huge organizations.
Some examples of organizations built with this template:

The village of Kaldenberg is a middenrealmian settlement situated on the banks of the river Galebra, one of the many tributaries of Great River. Its right on the border between County of Grafenfels and Albenhus. Sited about 30 middenmiles north of Kosh Mountains and Ingra Peak. Kaldenberg is part of Duchy of Northmarchen and forms a small barony of own, name the same. It's a little pastoral community, which renaming, could be move to elsewhere in the civilized Arkania.
Requirements: Be member of the community.
Members: Kaldenberg has about 150 inhabitants, not counting the Graff of Kaldenberg, who has is own fortified tower at couple of middenmiles.
Influence, wealth and military troops: Standard. Graff's sheriff handles security of the village along a few men to his services.
Popularity: Kaldenberg's settlement is the sort of place where almost nothing ever happens. Its situation, in Kaldenberg is the only bridge over Calabra in many miles, attracts many travellers, but they not usually stay except for the night. Its name is barely known (-20%) outside the inmediate region. Beside the bridge, the only other notable feature is an ancient statue of a weeping man, sitted in the main square.
Affinities (8 points) and requirements:
=> Community Passion: Citizen of Kaldenberg
=> Base of Power: 1
=> Cult Skills: Drive (Carts), Language (Garethi), Regional Lore (Duchy of Nordmarken), Persistence & one skill related to citizen's profession.
=> Common Magic: Golden Tongue, Spirit Block.
=> Alliances: For a very small settlement, Kaldenberg has attracted many men consecrated to religion and inside it there are 4 temples (shrine rank each one) consecrated to Travia (goddess of home), Praios (Chief God of the sun), Rondra (Goddess of War) and Efferd (God of the sea and rivers). The townfolk of Kaldenberg have 1 point alliance wich each one of this shrines, receving the appropiate discounts for the Initiate's services.
=> Secrets and Lies: Rumors say that the village's statue is haunted. Some people say that the spirit of the founder (the man depicted in the statue) crying for his missing daughter, and that he walks the village by night searching for her; other people say that the statue was found in the nearby forests and shown a rich merchant petrified into stone by a faery, whose treasure, even today, would still hiding in the forest. So far, no attempt to confirm or deny any of these stories has been successful.
Community Ranks: Standard by template. (N1-N2) Free Men; (N3) Major/Sheriff; (N4) Graff.
Most interesting and useful work - will be looking to include this (or a variant) in some things I am working on

thank you :)
The Navaluki
The Navalauki is a nivesian tribe who lives in the steppes near of the city of Riva. They are famous hunters and herders, living in nomad clans of about 100 members, following its Karen herds. Each tribe is ruled by a high chieftain, named juttu in their tongue, while each clan is led by is own chieftain (the lathis in its Nujuka language). This lathis is counseled by a circle formed by the eldest men and the eldest women of the community, the shaman and other selected members appropiated for the issue to be addressed. The Navalauki is the name of the bigger clan, and the tribe, but surprisingly, the current leader of the tribe, Tautu Likainen, is not member of the Navalauki clan.
Requirements: Be Nivesian (or be taken as such) and not be a slave.
Members: The Navalauki clan has a few people over one handred, many of them are elk herders and hunters.
Influence, wealth and military troops: Standard.
Popularity: The Navalauki clan is probably one of the most famous clan outside the Nivesian Steppes. This is due in part to its proximity to Riva and the Elf's Country, and by the fact of the most of the guides for the fools Southerners who want to explore the Far North are members of this tribe.
Affinities (9 points) and requirements
=> Community Passion: Navalauki clanner.
=> Base of Power: 2
=> Cult Skills: Language (Nujuka), Regional Lore (Northen Steppes), Resilience, Survival & one skill related to citizen's profession.
=> Common Magic: Hunter's Blessing (as Entertainer's Smile but it gives the bonus to rolls associated with obtaining small game), Speedart, Detect (Karen), Resistance.
=> Informant: The Navalauki people always seems to know what happens in Riva, certainly receiving information from one of the many Nivesian settled inside its walls.
=> Reputation: They are very famous in the North and gain this bonus.
=> Religious Doctrine: All Nivesian people are member of the Star Wolves spirit tradition and automatically are N0 members of that magic cult.
=> Secrets and Lies: The Navaluki are the keepers of the N¡vilaukaju Stones, where other Nivesian clans and tribes come regularly to make offerings to the Sky Wolves. This is no so much a magic item as a important source of information and trade with the other Nivesian tribes.
=> Obligations: All Nivesian people consider wolves as brothers and they punish any crime againt wolves with amazing alacrity.
Community Ranks: Standard by template. (N1-N2) Clan member; (N3) Elder; (N4) Juttu/Lathis.
Da Boss said:
Most interesting and useful work - will be looking to include this (or a variant) in some things I am working on

thank you :)

Glad you like it.
I will add other organizations which we have created in my game as translating go.

If you have any question about the setting (who are the nivesian, for example, or the thorwalian) I'll try to describe them. What matters is that they are fairly generic and easy to use elsewhere.
It's surprising how universal group sizes are in both civilized and 'other' societies. Partly to do with the ability to bond and communicate. Certain patterns are repeated in military groups and schools.

Half a dozen is a basic family unit, ideal tutorial group, military half section/tent party (or group of immediate friends/playmates).
Up to a dozen is a large family unit, large tuttial group, infantry section. (Primitive cultures often worked in tens as basic military unit if they had a level of organisation)
Thirty to forty is an extended family, class room group, infantry platoon
A hundred to a hundred and twenty is a clan type grouping, Infantry company/century.
Around six hundred to a thousand is a larger clan grouping or an infantry battalion.

I gather these numbers also have significance in workforces, and I have noticed how various groups in hobbies often have subsections or groupings that reflect these numbers..often splitting into independant groups when numbers reach certain thresholds.
havercake lad said:
It's surprising how universal group sizes are in both civilized and 'other' societies. Partly to do with the ability to bond and communicate. Certain patterns are repeated in military groups and schools.

Half a dozen is a basic family unit, ideal tutorial group, military half section/tent party (or group of immediate friends/playmates).
Up to a dozen is a large family unit, large tuttial group, infantry section. (Primitive cultures often worked in tens as basic military unit if they had a level of organisation)
Thirty to forty is an extended family, class room group, infantry platoon
A hundred to a hundred and twenty is a clan type grouping, Infantry company/century.
Around six hundred to a thousand is a larger clan grouping or an infantry battalion.

I gather these numbers also have significance in workforces, and I have noticed how various groups in hobbies often have subsections or groupings that reflect these numbers..often splitting into independant groups when numbers reach certain thresholds.

I'm not sure about it.
Playing with numbers you can get almost anything you want in advance.
Almost always we, western people, are heirs of classical antiquity and its choosings.

In ancient cultures, their specific social organizations (priesthoods, military units, etc.) usually take into account the cultural magical significance specific numbers.
The Storm Child Ottojasko
The Storm Child Ottojasko is the younger existing in the city of Thorwal. They sail in a skeidh, a small otta (dragon ship akin as a viking longship) of 40 rowers and a serpent's figurehead named Stormpiercer. Its hetman (captain) is Cern Ragnarsson, a bold merchant who has sailed to Cyclops's Islands; Cern prefers pacific trade but is not above raiding if the opportunity presents itself. He prefers to attack from the sea during a storm, protecting his ship with magic, when no defender expects an attack; from this is named the community.
Requirements: Be Thorwalian (or be taken as such), not an slave or be of noble birth.
Members: Now the community is growing; its members are young Thorwalians, eager to make a name for themselves and few relatives to left on port; in summer months, less of a dozen people remain in the ottojasko's long house. As in all ottojaskos, the owner or master of the vessel is the community's leader, and receives the tittle of hetman (or hetfrau if is a woman). Sometimes several ottojaskos come together under the authority of a single hetman, a jarl. Prestige members and decision maker usually are ship's officers and trustworthy people of the hetman.
Influence, wealth and military troops: The Storm Child are growing but they aren't famous or rich yet. Being young and bold, however, they are a force to take account when weapons are unsheated.
Popularity: They are hardly known in Thorwall (-0%) and as you move away of Prem's Gulf its fame is even smaller.
Affinities (7 points) and requirements
=> Community Passion: Storm Child's Thorwalian.
=> Base of Power: 1
=> Cult Skills: Language (Thorwalian), Regional Lore (Thorwall), Boating, Atletics & Combat Style (Thorwalian raider*).
=> Common Magic: Sailor's Blessing (as Entertainer's Smile but it gives the bonus to boating and sailing rolls), Golden Tongue, Skybolt, Vigour.
=> Troops (Lv2): Ottojasko's members are usually well armed and fight savagely.
=> Obligations: As in all ottojaskos, membership lasts what the member wants. Once the expedition is ended, any member can withdraw from it without any breaking bad. However during an expedition leaving the ship (or disobey the captain) is a terrible crime that inevitable taints the deserter's reputation.
Community Ranks: Standard by template. (N1-N3) Thorwalian; (N4) Hetman.

* We use S&P77 and AoT's rules of combat styles. The Thorwalian Raider style is a brutally offensive style with axes able to force opponent's defense with its attacks.
Basic Weapons (Battle axe, great axe, hand axe, viking's shield); extra weapons (Javelin, halberd). Maneouvers: Bypass parry (O), Damage Weapon (O,D), Sunder (O), Maximize Damage (O), Riposte (D), Overextend Opponent (D), Slip Free (D), Trip Opponet (O,D).