my idea is simple:
1)allow players to switch control to an npc that has a high enough trust
2)in the event the player dies and you have an npc that trusts you enough you automatically switch to them
I think this is balanced from the perspective that you control your faction through the faction leader.
some more details:
-you can only switch voluntarily in talking range
-on death you switch to the closest valid npc
the second point means you switch to someone else in your party if your player dies and if your party gets killed off you then can then switch to someone back at base
I have no idea how this would be implemented but it seems interesting enough to be worth sharing.