Mercenary factions are groups of mercenaries that have banded together (however temporarily) for a common goal (usually increased profit). Fictional mercenary groups are common factions in fictional worlds, and can be used to explore themes of greed, honor, loyalty, and betrayal. These groups may be organized like a guild, like a fictional company, or like a military force. They may be employed by other factions to help tip the scales of power or to maintain deniability during sensitive matters. Mercenary groups may be home to ex-military members, people who need the money, psychopaths, and thrill-seekers.
Designing Fictional Mercenary Factions
Symbols & Iconography
Fictional mercenary factions often have unique and easily identifiable heraldry, symbols, colors, or flags. These emblems frequently feature skulls, weapons, fists, or other aggressive charges. Members may have these identifiers tattooed on their body. These groups may also have mottos specific to their faction.
Members & Hierarchy
The command structure of a mercenary faction can provide interesting worldbuilding and narrative opportunities. Most fictional mercenary groups are organized in a rigid fashion with a single commander in charge. This mimics military organization (which members of the mercenary faction may have come from) and also allows for the exploration of betrayal and mutiny within the group.
There is no reason mercenary factions could not be lead by a ruling council of veterans or organized into a direct and simple democracy.
If multiple mercenary factions exist within the same world, there may be a code of honor among them or simply ruthless competition. Consider the relationship between different mercenary factions as well as the relationships between individual members of different factions.