Grab a snack or something. Just an idea I have for some sort of active interaction throughout the game between possible future randomized factions. A random shape selection(L-shaped, + shaped, whatever) of a maximum of 9 overmap tiles would be dedicated to a generated faction base that is given a random neutral, friendly, or hostile relationship to the player that is also better or worse depending on what the player is with 3-X(what would be a nice max?) npc members dedicated to them.
You’d be able to increase or decrease your relation to them with your actions. A hostile camp won’t stay hostile forever if you aren’t what they hate, because if you leave them alone for long enough they’ll cradually creep towards disliking you but tolerating your presence(will take a couple of seasons or even years). A relationship lower than being disliked will prompt hostile engagement, which will worsen if you fight instead of run away. Any level of relationship at or higher than being disliked would allow you to talk to their members and do quests for them or trade. Trade and doing quests for them would increase your relationship while stealing from and attacking them would lower it. Your level of relationship with them would also determine the price tag of the items they have available with their merchants.
Once you’re chummy enough with them you’ll be able to join them and be allowed to sleep inside their base with access to daily rations. You’d also be able to take a follower or two with you to go do something. Once joined you can also help with its progression by helping the leader, a sort of a camp building path available for those who don’t want the responsibility of physically managing a camp but do want to have a hand in building and living in one. They’d take care of themselves for the most part but if you want them to progress faster than the default rate(I’m thinking 1 level a year, with appropriate member increases) you’ll have to help them tip the scales into their favor. A player that joins a faction will be subject to their politics and your relationship with other factions will be shifted due to this.
Depending on the amount of members they spawn with their level could be anywhere between a tent camp and a fortified metal fortress, and they could have teams of NPCs wondering about the map like wander spawns do. If other camps are close enough then their wandering teams could interact in a multitude of ways from trade to open faction warfare. These wandering teams would also interact with wandering hordes if they’re turned on, and if the team’s estimated threat level is higher than that of the horde they’ll wipe it out, or be wiped out if they’re lower or lose a few members of the faction if they’re equal.
I’m also thinking that there could be eight types of factions. Four would be base humans but their difference is their tolerance to cyborgs or mutants. Two would be mutants and cyborgs. The relationships between mutant and cyborg factios would have tendencies to disliking each other but their relationship between the first four will be heavily dependant on their type. The seventh a truly random and mixed camp. The last would be mycus-based. Personally I’d burn them down every time but there has to be something for the heretics.
- Borg-Haters: Base humans who despise cyborgs and will attack any enhanced person and robot on sight. They do not like borg-lovers and will not trade with them, with a high chance of conflict. They like pure humans and usually dislike mutants.
- Borg-Lovers: Lightly enhanced humans who like cyborgs and aspire to enhance themselves further. They will help any enhanced person that is not hostile and will attempt to repair friendly robots. They do not like borg-haters and will not trade with them, with a high chance of conflict. They are neutral to pure humans and usually mutants too.
- Mutant-Haters: Base humans who hate mutants and will attack any living thing that is too mutated on sight. They do not like mutant-lovers and will not trade with them, with a high chance of conflict. They like pure humans and are neutral to cyborgs.
- Mutant-lovers: Lightly mutated humans who like mutants and aspire to mutate themselves further. They will help mutated people who aren’t hostile. They do not like mutant-haters and will not trade with them, with a high chance of conflict. They are neutral to pure humans and usually cyborgs too.
- Mutants: A camp of highly mutated humans, often post-threshold. They tend to dislike cyborgs but enjoy the company of other mutants and those who don’t mind others having mutations.
- Cyborgs: A camp of highly enhanced humans, little of them is still organic. They tend to dislike mutants but enjoy the company of other cyborgs and those who don’t mind enhanced humans.
- Neutrals: A mixed bag of individuals just trying to survive by sticking together. Randomized relationships with other factions.
- Mushroom village: A heretical place of the unholy mycus. These perverted priests of propagation wish to spread their spores across the land, corrupting it to their evil purposes and swaying good people to their side. Interact with them if you must, but wear protection and keep it brief lest you wish to join them. Those mutant lovers seem to tolerate and sometimes even trade with them. I trust you know better than to listen to their heresy, soldier.