The Factions of Endless - A History and Overview
by Matthew Hall on July 21st, 2016

​Over the next few weeks I’ll be doing an explanation of the factions of Endless, in which I choose a faction and then outline its flavor, its strengths, its weaknesses, and the heroes that pull it all together.

Today, I’ll start by explaining how I came up with the different factions for Endless.

It really all started with colors. When I first invented Endless five years ago, I was using a box of pieces that I had originally created for a Lord of the Rings homebrew strategy game. I had at that time four shapes in ten colors. My goal was to come up with a faction for each color that felt like something that color might represent. The colors in the original game were black (faeries), white (paladins), red (wizards), green (wood elves), royal blue (human empire), light blue (half-elves), gold (high elves), silver (halflings), orange (human empire), and purple (dwarves).

Below are some screenshots of the first draft of a few capitol tiles in the very first edition of Endless, when it was just a hobby. The art on the cards is from WOW.
​The Dwarves were the first to go, followed by the Halflings. Both of these factions were Tolkien filler material which I had very little interest in including. The purple faction had to be special somehow, different from everyone else since it was purple, so after a brief stint as a council of good wizards, they became the City of Athens, an Earthling city lost in a fantasy world.

The Halflings became Atlantis mer-people devoted to research with an almost Bio-Shock flavor. They will not be in the game, but I’d like to one day release them in an expansion pack.

From the very beginning I didn’t want the black faction to be outright evil, so I made them Faeries, amoral rather than immoral. Later, this faction became the Cult of Keys, a group of scholars dedicated to fixing the ills of the universe with magic. They’re the classic “ends justify the means” group, not outright evil, but definitely grey.

By contrast I wanted to make the white faction feel somewhat sinister, so after several variations they eventually became a group of religious zealots ruled directly by angels, the Awakeners. These have always been the turtle faction, centered around holding off their enemies until they can unleash judgement.

The red faction was from the very beginning called Vadiimar; they were a group of steampunk wizards riding around on airships. In early playtests they won most games. Later. I made them orange instead of red, ironed out a few of the kinks, and gave them a somewhat Lovecraftian flavor. The red faction on the other hand became an aggressive hoard of human shapeshifters trying to overthrow the gold faction.

Gold has always been my high elves, excelling at both magic and military muscle. With time they have become the Mondrien Empire, an elvish faction with a strong imperialist flavor. Central to my mythos is my desire for elves that aren’t suffering, sad, or fading, but rather mighty and in their prime. In its completed form Mondria may be the strongest faction in the current game.

The dark blue faction and orange factions were originally a divided human empire. The blue excelled in naval combat and ship building, while the orange faction could turn magic into gold. Eventually I united the two into one powerful faction called Unitas, which excels at making lots of gold and spending it on vast armies at both land and sea. This is pretty vanilla for a fantasy game, but I recognize that some players want this kind of option.

The green faction were the wood elves. They were both unflavorful and unpopular, since they were only good while fighting in certain tiles and not as interesting as the Mondriens.

Light blue were the half-elves, a magic-navy combo faction, which was equally unplayed due to the greater popularity of the Mondriens and Unitas. These two factions may see the light of day at some point in an expansion pack after significant revision.

After years of playtesting, players have overwhelmingly confirmed that the most interesting factions are the Cult of Keys, the Mondrien Empire, the City of Athens, the Unitas Empire, the Awakeners, and Vadiimar. For this reason we have decided to release these in the base game, and then hopefully follow the game up with more factions later in expansion packs.

Join me next week as I dive into the specifics of the individual factions, starting with the Cult of Keys!

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