Players are encouraged to join or form groups, although not compulsory.
Groups normally consist of both player characters and non-player survivors. While it is entirely up to players to recruit other players into their groups, non-player survivors are recorded by the referees and are a downtime commodity; they cannot be directly played or controlled during an event.
Should new players want to form a group, the initial number of non-player survivors in the group is dictated by the number of initial players. Group leaders can then increase the size of the group during downtime, although non-player survivors can (and likely will) die or be injured in downtime. New groups should expect to start with 18-30 non-player survivors and two workgroups.
Groups are able to form permanent settlements in downtimes.
Roles and Ranks
Each group has a Leader, whose job it is to manage the group downtime and is given an overview of the groups location, resources, facilities and standing. The leader also has access to the Group skill tree, which grants some in game bonuses.
A Leader can appoint a Deputy who has the same downtime options as the Leader.
Quarter Masters can also be appointed who are given full access to the groups resources supplies. Finally, normal members may take the odd spare item from group stores, but only one or two per downtime and only if there is plenty spare.
Groups are welcome to introduce internal ranks, positions or duties, but this is up to the players themselves to develop and maintain.
Group Details and Downtime
WIthin the game world, each group at its most basic is a list of players in that group, a base location, a non-player population, the facilities and a morale count. Each group also gains workgroups and stores depending on it's size.
New groups start with very little, they have very limited working facilities (if any) but a few resources. The groups background could involve working labs or extensive farms, but these will have ceased to work for whatever reason, likely causing the group to make contact with the outside world.
However, if a group has a unique focus then there are opportunities for the group to start with an unusual facility, however, this would be limited in use to start with.
Group bases have facilities that can be built or constructed. Players can use in game resources to build various things depending on their skills, such as Workshops for research, Gardens to provide more food for groups and Forges to help craft metal items, to name but a few.
Group Leaders (and Deputies) can also order Workgroups to use group stores to construct group facilities, such as docks for fishing and transport, Hospitals for healthcare, large Fields for food, as well as many other things like Walls, Barricades, Armouries etc.
Groups also have an export. These are naturally replenishing resources that having excess of does not benefit the group directly, such as food that while edible might also be unhealthy in large quantities (such as shell fish, sugar beet or hops for beer). These excess resources can be exported to other groups as a Workgroup action to share the benefits.
A group base has various effects on players in downtime, buildings can improve the survival chances of players during downtime, grant bonuses or unlock skill abilities; for instance, the Academic skills needs a Workshop or Chem Lab to research new ideas.
The groups base also grants defense to the non-player survivors against both Shamblers and Raiders in downtime, as well as health bonuses to avoid deaths from disease. Food is required by the group population and Workgroups can be used to gather sustenance else the population will drop. Finally, morale is affected by deaths, the surrounding settlements in the Truce Lands and Partnership, and various other effects. A high morale will grant Workgroups combat bonuses, population boost and additional group Stores, while very low morale will do the opposite.
Preachers (Players with the Preach skill) may start and lead religious congregations. These are occasional gatherings that can span different groups which can grant both the Preacher and congregations various bonuses, and supply opportunities for roleplaying.
Each Preacher gets the ability to lead a congregation once in the morning and once in the afternoon.
The aim of game religion is to add to the roleplaying experience and give more consequences to moral choices. Although elements can be borrowed from existing real-life dogma, Players should not use specific real-world religions, while deities should be generally left unnamed.
A religion must have tenants which define it. For example, groups following the Rule of Order usually have tenants based on control and fear. These tenants help give structure to religions, as well as give moral choices to players.