I'm going to start this thread to explain the Free People concept in Roma Surrectum, the implementation and the theory behind the concept.

1. First of all, it's pretty well known that in RTW, the 'Slave' faction is basically a randomized nuisance that can build no logical units or buildings, has no workable economy, diplomacy or government, and is basically a faction intended to roll over and die before the forces of the other factions in RTW. The result is fast expansion by most factions (on a random basis), and little challenge from the so-called Rebels, except to pop up in your territory in a senseless fashion to disrupt your economy.
2. In an attempt to change this detrimental behavior, Roma Surrectum includes several 'innovations' that create a much harder and challenging Strat campaign, as well as a real battle for regions that belong to its Free People.

First, the 'Slave' faction in RS can recruit units, diplomats and spies (theoretically). So they build armies, spy on you, and send out diplomats who mostly insult you and tell you to get lost! Well, it's an improvement. But it wasn't enough.

Secondly, the old 'briton' faction, which was of no real value historically for the time period, has been converted to a Free People faction called 'Kingdoms & Tribes'. Many changes have been made to their banners, the Slave banners, battle banners, unit composition, and the regional layout. The result has been a much livelier Free Peoples 'experience' during a player's efforts to expand his/her faction's holdings.

This is accomplished by giving the briton/Free People faction various regions on the map that are strategically placed to block expansion and/or make it more difficult to just run over regions until you've built a super power for yourself.

This faction now recruits many different types of units, all controlled by an Area of Recruitment scheme that restricts them and other factions to a cultural sphere of influence. So if they own a region in the Mideast, they can only recruit eastern or greek cultural units. If the region is in Italy, they'll have Italian or Greek cultural units. If the region is in Africa, Numidan/Carthaginian units, and so on. They can even have specifically named units that would represent a specific Kingdom or Tribe, restricted by an AOR to a certain region or regions.....thereby creating dozens of little 'pseudo-factions' to fight and deal with. This is a work in progress, and hopefully will get better and better.

The key to making this work properly, without creating a monster than wipes out all the other factions on the map, is distance. This pseudo-faction has power, tons of units, a huge economic base and more regions in its control than any faction on the map. But it does not have a unified purpose because of the distance between the regions it controls. Thus, the AI's 'line of sight' is somewhat stumped by what to do with holdings that are all over and distant from each other, and it's forced to make decisions it wouldn't normally make as an RTW faction.

If all these regions were together, or even several grouped together, the AI could choose to expand into a more promising area, and focus it's military building on a particular region or faction it doesn't like. But with dozens of lonely regions that may not even 'see' each other (as far as the AI is concerned) the AI is forced to perhaps randomly or haphazardly try to expand blindly against a neighboring region in dozens of places....or try to make peace with you because it doesn't yet know what to do or where to focus. So I believe the only way to make this work well is to make sure the regions are spread out so they can't work together.

The overall result and 'feel' of this new combination 'real faction/dumb faction Free People' has been quite impressive. Slave armies build up and more effectively guard the territories they own. The Free People send diplomats to negotiate...make peace, demands, plead with you not to attack. They spy on you all over the map and even seemingly attack each other! So now RTW is really 'Total War'.

An added benefit to this, as I mentioned above, is to literally create dozens of little 'pseudo-kingdoms' with specific kinds of units in certain areas. You could name cities a faction name and fill it with units specific to that historical tribe or kingdom. You can have a variety of skins available in the game that probably has never been possible before....since you can give the 'britons' literally every single unit in the game if you want to....and then limit where they can build them.

The in-battle look and feel is also much different than fighting 'the rebels'. You'll find greek units, banners, and officers in Greek cultural areas. Barbarian in barbarian, etc. In fact, the more varied the banners of the culture are, and the skins, the more varied you can make this 'Free People' be. The only limitation is how many different kinds of banners you can get. Unfortunately, the 'Main' faction banner and the strat banners and symbols are limited to just the one. But with several different rebel cultural symbols being different on the strat map, the effect is still pretty good.

So Roma Surrectum will have 43 Factions, and you could play 23 of them all at once......how's that? Just kidding....but almost.