In a recent conversation on google+, Jason Pitre asked how many non-player factions we thought should be present in an RPG campaign. There were several different suggestions that included small numbers (say, 4) and larger numbers (0-4 to start, then at least one per dungeon or adventure after that). My first suggestion was “perhaps 1-3 per PC, but they may be shared”.
Jason thought the larger number and my suggestion were higher than he was expecting, so I thought I would explain myself. I then realized my response might make a good blog post, so here we are.