I was inspired by a conversation with one of my players to do a Weird & Wonderful Table of d20 Factions for Maximum Recursion Depth. I was also inspired by a conversation I had on the NSR Discord server about whether or not there is such a thing as a "best" idea or whether or not one might have a finite number of ideas in their career. I remembered how back when I used to do these big d20 W&W Tables, I would get into a creative flow state and ideas would come to me on overdrive, but I just haven't had the discipline for them in a looong time. I've added the Weird & Wonderful Table label to some more recent posts, but the last true d20 W&W table post was just over a year ago! Weird & Wonderful Loot, it was a pretty good one too.
Some of these will be factions I've already discussed on the blog before, but the big twist here is that each faction will receive a writeup of no more than four sentences. Considering how overwritten my old tables were anyway, this is probably for the best. Maybe even four sentences is too much, especially given how prone I am to run-on sentences.
Most of these will not show up in the Kickstarter book, and definitely not this explicitly, so they may change over time, especially those I created on the spot for this blog post, which actually is very few of them, to my surprise.
- Seneca Village Collective: Social justice movement inspired by the historical Seneca Village in NYC, advocating for minority groups throughout the world. A collaboration including an African American native New Yorker who performs jazz renditions of K-Pop music, a Korean Japanese K-Pop star, a vigilante with a Minwha motif known as the Seneca Tiger, and an African American Drag Queen with a Ganguro Girl + Japanese Horror-inspired set.
- Deseret Avengers: Several loosely affiliated groups whose most prominent members deny their involvement. Started as an internet alt-right hate group of young gamer incels that co-opted conservative Mormonism, but also consists of Uruguayan and Ruritanian Mormons who are largely oblivious to the group's hateful origins. Prominent members include the TikTok Teen Magical Girl Superhero Moon Marine, the poltergeist of a young Ruritanian American immigrant in Queens who started the online social movement before his death, and a prominent Uruguayan American immigrant and wealthy Manhattan businessman with strongly conservative leanings.
- Ado and The Court of the Rose-Tinted Looking Glass: Multi-layered kaleidoscopic island, its landscape folds in on itself like pages of a pop-up art book, on a daily schedule, between a massive polluted industrial complex, and glamorous high rise buildings. Due to Bureaucratic Error, it partially bleeds into the material world somewhere in the East River between Long Island City and the southern tip of Roosevelt State Park. Hipsters and yuppies have begun to gentrify the Court, interfering with the sentences of the Poltergeists, leading to an increase in hauntings in nearby communities by displaced Poltergeists, abusive handling of Poltergeists by Devils not equipped for these circumstances, and inappropriate reincarnations. The Arch-Devil Ado has worked admirably to make the best of the situation for everyone but has thus far received salty criticism from those outside her community.
- Anti-Sphinx: International "crime syndicate" and anti-fascist group started after World War 2 by Myer Lansky and The National Crime Syndicate, along with Alan Turing, Hedy Lamarr, the Lakota Code Talkers, and others involved in organized crime or crypto-analysis throughout the world. They have gained power through the creation of the dark web QlippothNet, and its metaphysical crypto-currency modeled on the Hell Money of the Numberless Courts of Hell. Their organization is secret, but serves as a front for myriad businesses legal and illegal, especially in the world of gambling. In recent years, they have incorporated more members from African nations such as Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Nigeria, and also Chinese business elites.
- Pepper Pan & The Recess Rascals: Poltergeist Children playing a deadly game of Pirates & Privateers. They are being manipulated by the Arch-Devil Joffrey the Giraffe, self-styled after the toy store chain mascot, who preys on their innocence, grief, and fears. Their base of operations is The Court of Those Who Break Their Toys.
- Barsabbas of The Court of Those Who Bet on the Wrong Horse: Styled after Wrongside Racetrax, the tacky sports-bar chain. Once popular for its Karmamare Racetrack and thriving gambling scene, it has slowly withered away to virtually nothing. Unbeknownst to the Arch-Devil Barsabbas, the Court was decommissioned long ago, but due to Bureaucratic Error, he was never informed. Although at a disadvantage, Barsabbas is still a force to be reckoned with.
- Court of Gyro Hell: Contrary to the name, it is actually a Numberless Court of Hell-themed fast-food chain, identified by its mascot Poly the Elephant, an indigo elephant with a massive third eye who is the fictional Arch-Devil of this fictional Court. It started as a conspiracy theory / religious extremist group in Crete based on the theory of geocentrism and a nefarious secret world order. After being forced out of Greece for committing numerous humanitarian crimes, the Geocentrists emigrated to China and opened their fast food restaurant, which became a phenomenal success. They use the restaurant chain to propagate their beliefs under false legitimacy, while inconspicuously influencing global geopolitics.
- Polterzeitgeist and the Council of Jacks: Rogue Poltergeists advocating for the right to persist in the material world, at least for a time, as opposed to being sentenced to one of the Numberless Courts of Hell to be reincarnated. An eccentric group, whose members struggle to manage their ever-accruing Karma. The Council of Jacks informally lead the Polterzeitgeist movement.
- Doppler Potential: Super-organism distributed intelligence that evolved as an epiphenomenon of the formation of the United States Government, to which it is inextricably linked. It is part of the Karmic Cycle and legally human according to the Celestial Bureaucracy, but seeks to attain godhood. It does not hide its existence, as there is no need to do so. Its existence marginalizes humans as merely nodes of a larger consciousness, which most humans find existentially untenable and so deny it in the face of all evidence or grant it uncritical token acknowledgment.
- Doctor Loves-Me-Not and the Hectic Eclectic Erect-ic Freak Show: Wealthy renaissance non-binary person and drag "jack" like rugged attractiveness meets eccentric 27 club. The "freak show" is a place for outsiders to reclaim their identity and dignity, and to express themselves, create art, and advocate for worthwhile causes. Doctor Loves-Me-Not was raised as part of the Doppler Potential but died under mysterious circumstances. They persisted in two forms, as the Rogue Poltergeist Goblin Jack of the Council of Jacks, and as Doctor Loves-Me-Not themself, a living idea, self-propagating like a meme.
- The Worcestershire and The Thespian Guild: The Worcestershire is a colorful Nature Spirit with the body of a lemur and the face of an anchovy, and a dedicated thespian "AC-TOR!", showing up randomly and mysteriously with the intent to be helpful. Although useful in some ways, they are often more a hindrance than help. They follow a kind of cartoon-logic, seemingly detached from the circumstances of the Karmic Cycle. The Worcestershire frequently speaks of the Thespian Guild, but no other members have shown themselves as yet.
- Aquarian Collective: Anarcho-Socialist utopian coral-humanoid alien species with hyper-advanced science fantasy knowledge and technologies. They study humanity openly, leveraging cognitive biases and other gaps in human cognition to do so largely unnoticed, not unlike humans observing the behaviors of animals in their natural habitats. On occasions where they communicate directly with humans, they may seem cogent, but there is an asymmetry of understanding, like a human talking to their dog.
- Deva Underworld: Heterogeneous and metaphysically-attuned species somewhere between proto-human and Nature Spirit. The basis for many mythical proto-humans and proto-gods such as Nephilim, Djinn, Sidhe, Fairies, Vanir, Titans, etc. (any of which are equally valid alternative names for this faction). Most ascended to Heaven long ago by divesting their Karma or using the magitech body modifications of Dharmatics, while a minority remained in the material world as Bodhisattva to guide humans, only to be feared, hated, slaughtered, and forced into hiding.
- Metro Daddy and The Court of Those Who Succumb Prematurely to Crippling Expectation: NYC metro-inspired Court of Hell. Amidst the bustling Stations and Cyborg Snake Trains, it has become a hub of underworlds of all kinds. Myriad abandoned stations and train lines litter the Court, where hidden communities of Polterzeitgeist, Deva, and outcasted humans reside, among other secrets. The Arch-Devil of the Court, Metro Daddy, puts on a tough exterior, but has a rather benevolent nature, and tries his best to maintain the functionality of the Court, the metro, and protect the underworld communities that have made it their home.
- Fuck Club: The third rule about Fuck Club is you don't talk about Fuck Club. A once-secret and still secretive club of successful and influential "liberal elitists", made up primarily but not exclusively of immigrants, leveraging their skills and knowledge for the greater good. Started by the vigilantes Rock Dove & Wild Turkey to defend immigrants forced into sex work, from which stems the pejorative origin of their name, which they have since gone on to reclaim. While they take some on-the-ground, reactive vigilante action, most of their work is through structural and proactive efforts.
- The Hunstman and His Pack: A man of the first generation of humans, the first recurser, and the first Ashura. He is a warlord who has benefited from every act of human colonialism and every advancement of human knowledge and technology while lacking any understanding of its potential. Although He and His Pack have influenced many of humanity's greatest atrocities against itself and nature, He merely leverages, instinctively and unknowingly, the most primitive human impulses, to be exploited just as easily by any other lucky warlord. Today, He operates in public as the Police Chief of NYC.
- WORD: World Order of Recursers against Dysfunction, an international organization and the only human organization that reports directly to Diyu, the capital of The Numberless Courts of Hell. Agents of WORD are partnered with Devil or Nature Spirit familiars and are trained in various metaphysical and theological disciplines. They work to facilitate the order of the Karmic Cycle as determined by The Numberless Courts of Hell in the absence of a functional Celestial Bureaucracy.
- Einherjar: Secret rebel faction of Gods, Nature Spirits, and ascended humans within the Celestial Bureaucracy working to undermine and overthrow The Monkey King. They have had limited success in the material world and Numberless Courts of Hell infiltrating various organizations. Some agents succumb to the temptation of Karma and lose their metaphysical status, defect or become double agents, or descend to Maximum Recursion Depth and become Ashura.
- Diyu and The Numberless Courts of Hell: Diyu is the capital of The Numberless Courts of Hell, the metaphysical bureaucracy tasked with sentencing Poltergeists to a Court and determining their reincarnation based on their Karma. For the last 500 years, they have worked openly in the material world, in order to deal with the consequences of The Monkey King's actions, but as a rigid bureaucracy, they have largely failed in this regard.
- The Celestial Bureaucracy: The metaphysical realm of the Gods, and heaven for those who divest their Karma and ascend to Buddhahood. 1000 Years ago The Monkey King fought a war against The Buddha and won. Under his selfish, impulsive, and violent leadership, the dysfunctions of the Celestial Bureaucracy threaten the Karmic Cycle.