The team can improve their town in three main ways. All of them rely on their relationships with the community.
Each town Contact has a special ability related to their town role. The players can see these abilities from the beginning, so they can focus on gaining bonds based on the abilities they want. During the town phase, the group has a chance to make a contact roll to discover a Contact’s trait. If they discover a Contact’s second trait, they permanently gain access to that person’s special ability. Unlike player special abilities, Contact special abilities always work and don’t require a roll to use.
See the Contacts chapter for more details about making contact rolls.
Each town can be improved in three domains. These domains depend on the town the group plays. The Hollowed Industry, for example, can improve its kinship, opportunity, and health domains. Each domain includes four improvements, each with a bigger benefit than the one before.
Town improvements are built during the community stage of the town phase. When the town completes the progress clock connected to an improvement, the team gains permanent access to that benefit. Each improvement in a domain has a longer progress clock than the one before it. Getting a local doctor is easier for the town (the first health improvement) than establishing a research hospital (the third health improvement).
Town improvements require a coalition of Contacts and cohorts. Any Contact with 3 bonds and any cohort can join the coalition. Each one that joins add a dice to the player’s dice pool, increasing their chances of making progress on a town improvement. See the Town chapter for details on building these improvements.
In special circumstances, the players can add a new cohort to the town. This is a small group with a common interest or profession. They are almost like a zero-tier faction: not quite a faction, more than a single Contact.
When the group creates a cohort, they name a fire that unites them and a shadow they fear. A cohort has two primary uses. First, they can always join a coalition. This means the group doesn’t need to use as many Contacts for coalition rolls.
Second, a cohort can become a faction. They PCs will need to help them gain a faction trait to become a faction. Once the cohort becomes a faction, they will set faction goals like any other faction. The PCs don’t have control over the cohort’s faction goals (the GM will set them), but they will still be willing to join coalition rolls. When a cohort-faction joins a coalition, they add 2d6 to the dice pool instead of the usual 1d6.
Every town type includes the kinship domain, and the final improvement will always create a town faction. The town will begin as a tier-I faction. The players will set the town’s faction goals according to the same guidelines the GM uses for factions. If they gain a faction trait, they will increase the town’s tier like any other faction.
The players can advance the town’s faction goal in two ways: a venture can fill one segment on the faction clock; and a coalition roll can fill segments as if they are working on a town improvement.
Uniting the town into a faction is the only way the PCs can directly take down other factions. But that comes with a risk: higher tier factions may target the town like they would any other faction. If the town faction is reduced to zero-tier, the group can rebuild it by filling the final kinship improvement clock again.
Realistically, the GM should not focus every faction goal on undercutting the players’ town faction. Goals should progress as initially set and in line with the rules listed in the Contacts & Factions chapter. Until the town reaches tier-II or tier-III, most of the factions have more dangerous enemies to disable.