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Impartial Purpose-Driven Faction

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An organization whose non-political purpose takes complete precedence over power-plays and diplomacy. Where most factions are interested in increasing their power by building alliances, the Code of Honour of these people mandates to either avoid contact with others completely or accept any help unconditionally without taking any obligations. Their neutrality is often safe-guarded by their purpose being beneficial to everyone in long-term.


Said neutrality often doesn't sit well with other factions' leaders, who will try to put "nobody's" resources to their own use (especially if its members are trained in some Secret Art). The conflict commonly arises when members of the organization are manipulated or forced into breaking their neutrality, which ultimately leads to its downfall. Such conflict may be a sign that their purpose is no longer taken seriously.

In Dark Fantasy, this organization often takes form of The Order whose superhumanly enhanced members defend Puny Humans from monsters. Although "Thou Shalt Not Kill (Humans)" may be included in the Code to enforce Pro Human Transhumanism or at least stave off Transhuman Treachery, Fantastic Racism often plays a role in the interaction between regular humans and their Not Quite Human defenders, especially if the transformation makes them half-monster/Half-Human Hybrids, gives them a Superpowered Evil Side, or infects them with The Corruption. Attempts to exploit them as a sub-human shock troops and outright Superhuman Trafficking may be common dangers.


Odd Job Gods and their followers occasionally fall under this, as well. As does the Time Police that is more concerned with dealing with Clock Roaches or preserving the time stream than good and bad. The Ancient Order of Protectors may also fall into as they will attempt to ward off anyone who gets too close to what they're protecting, regardless of which side they're on.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The eponymous warriors in Claymore have been created to fight the demonic yoma and are actually hybrids with human and yoma DNA. They are forbidden to get involved in human affairs and even wield their blades against baseline humans. Clare's Origins Arc is rooted in this prohibition, since her mother-figure Theresa killed a bandit to protect Clare and was, in turn, slain by fellow Claymores for breaking the rule, motivating Clare to become a Claymore herself.

  • The Jedi Order from Star Wars wants to be this, and sometimes manages it. Most ages of peace and prosperity occur when the Jedi are completely neutral, refusing to take political sides (usually acting as mediators in conflicts) except against any enemy using the Dark Side of the Force. However, they are often drawn into conflicts in both the movies and the EU. The movies present the worst case scenario so far; functional destruction of the Jedi Order. The EU, however, tends to do three things to them when they get involved in politics; massively knock down their numbers to a mere fraction of what they were, push them back to their positions of neutrality and semi-religious protection against the Dark Side, and then proceed to become very conservative, controlling as much of the order as possible. The last one is usually because their political meddling is a result of them giving a lot of freedom to their members; as opposed to the highly oppressed Jedi appearing in the movies, certain periods of republic history had active Jedi be land owners and even reigning monarchs, sometimes with families (usually justified as a political duty). There was, in fact, a 400 year period in which the leaders of the Republic (Supreme Chancellors) were all Jedi without exception.
    • In the Expanded Universe, the Alderaanian Order of Extermination exists primarily to wage war against the Killiks when they periodically emerge from hibernation. To this end, the organization's recruits forsake any title or position in the planet's nobility, training solely for combat against the Killiks, and they are sustained primarily by donations organized by the noble houses acting in concert.

  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • The sworn brothers of the Night's Watch exist solely to defend the realms of men against the Others (and wildlings beyond the Wall, but they are secondary). This means that they— officially at least— leave all political ambition and allegiance behind and will take help from anyone they can. In practice, of course, this is more easily said than done, and stories and legends would indicate that this has been true for pretty much the Watch's entire history.
    • The Maesters of Oldtown, similarly, are an order of monk-like scholars who officially serve only as advisers and are meant to be neutral in the politics of the realm. Opinions differ on how sincere their protestations of neutrality are, however, and there are several hints that the leadership of the order may be pursuing its own agenda.
    • The Iron Bank of Braavos, the most powerful banking institute of the known world. It will lend its money to anyone as long as they pay it back, if a noble house doesn't pay their due, the bank will stop all transactions with said house, and pay another house to eliminate them. The Banks has a much more dreaded reputation, as Tywin Lannister dares not cross them. Cersei Lannister however was foolish enough to not pay the kingdoms dues, as such the Bank cancels all its deals with Westeros plunging the realm in debt.
  • The eponymous witchers in The Witcher series were invented to kill the monsters that invaded the world after the Conjunction of the Spheres. Although they have no universal code of conduct, taking sides is bad for their business, so most avoid it. The entire Blood of the Elves saga spans from the fact that the witchers (Geralt in particular) get involved in the power-play around Cirilla.
  • The History Monks of Discworld are mostly concerned with fixing/protecting time and space, as well as patching up Continuity Snarls and do not interfere with business that doesn't concern time travel. In Night Watch, Lu-Tze is even called out by another monk for helping Vimes (though he got away with it), and in the only other book where they feature prominently, they avoid contact with any factions they aren't already fighting.
  • The Silent Brothers and The Iron Sisters from The Mortal Instruments. They don't take part in the disputes of the Clave and Downworlders, instead the former devoting their time to writing all of it down, with the latter residing in Idris and forging weapons.
  • The Knights Radiant from The Stormlight Archive were an order of knights and heroes whose only goal was defending the world against the Voidbringers that threaten the world during Desolations. They were neutral politically and quite good at staying neutral, until one day they inexplicably betrayed humanity, corrupting their spren and indirectly creating more Voidbringers. Though it's eventually revealed to have been less "betrayal" and more giving up their oaths after learning a terrible secret, with disastrous and unforeseen consequences.
  • The title organisation from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series started out as this, being a strictly neutral organisation of archivists and historians whose sole purpose was to maintain the Encyclopedia Galactica, a compendium of all human knowledge... or so their founder Hari Seldon claims. When his pre-recorded posthumous holographic message informs the Foundation Council that said Encyclopedia was nothing but a convenient cover story and ultimately irrelevant to his long-term plans, the members who hadn't seen this coming are (not unreasonably) quite upset.

     Live Action Television 
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The Night's Watch exists solely to defend the realms of men from its enemies beyond the Wall and all members are required to leave behind old debts, feuds, loves, and allegiances. In practice, of course, this is easier said than done.
    • The Maesters of the Citadel are assigned to a particular location after taking their vows and are bound to serve and advise whoever controls that location, regardless of which faction controls it.
    • The Iron Bank of Braavos doesn't care who occupies the Iron Throne or any other position. Their only concern is who owes them, how much they owe, and whether they make their payments on time. Failure to do so may result in a sudden increase in rival claimants who take their debts more seriously.
  • The Federation of Star Trek are supposed to be this, but are such a large organization that they are forced to be active participants in galactic politics. The Prime Directive states that the Federation may not interfere with the internal affairs of non-Federation cultures, and that they may not make any form of contact with, or interfere with the development of, pre-Warp civilizations. However, individual Starfleet officers have broken, bent or re-interpreted this rule when they see fit.
    • This policy of neutrality goes so far that the Federation refuse to interfere with the politics of other cultures even if not interfering would likely result in all-out war in the Alpha Quadrant.
    • Starfleet are pretty inconsistent on this policy, as there is an undercurrent of pragmatism in its upper echelons, as well as highly compassionate and capable members being the norm.
  • The British Civil Service is supposed to be this in Yes, Minister (and in Real Life, in fact): A politically neutral, professional body that advises Parliament and the Cabinet with no agenda except keeping the day-to-day business of government ticking over. Unfortunately, this leads to many civil servants like Sir Humphrey Appleby coming to believe that a Minister's job is to sign on the dotted line where he's told to and leave actually running the country to the professionals, a point of view that his Minister understandably takes a dim view of.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the third to fifth edition of Warhammer 40,000, the Necrons exist only to kill all organic life in the universe and never interact with them in any other way. One of the more hilarious moments in 40K canon happened when a Tau world was under attack by a Tyranid fleet. A Necron armada appeared and slaughtered the Tyranids, then made planetfall. The Tau sent a delegation to their saviors, ready to embrace them into the Greater Good. The Necrons slaughtered the delegation and the rest of the planet.

    Video Games 
  • The Keepers in the Thief series are hell-bent on recording history without interfering with it. Enter Garrett, a failed Keeper trainee with a knack for getting involved with history-changing events.
  • Dragon Age:
    • The Grey Wardens were created to fight the Darkspawn and don't take sides otherwise, e.g. in Dragon Age II, a group of Wardens refuses to get involved even as Kirkwall is being torched by the Qunari. The reason for that can be seen in the Soldier's Peak storyline, which reveals that the Wardens were banished from Ferelden for involving themselves in dynastic struggles and left the country unprotected in the face of a Darkspawn invasion. This also forms part of the conflict in Dragon Age: Origins, where Teyrn Loghain refuses to let the Orlesian chapter of Grey Wardens into Ferelden to aid against the Blight because he has grown paranoid over the years, constantly expecting Orlais to try to re-conquer Ferelden (which plenty of them happily would, just not the Wardens).
    • The eponymous organization of Dragon Age: Inquisition is supposed to be this as well. The newly-reformed Inquisition has no allegiances and is beholden to no authority except its own. Its only purpose is to restore order to Thedas in the wake of numerous different conflicts and disasters, repair an enormous breach in the Veil, and hunt down those responsible, by any means necessary.
  • In the world of StarCraft, there's the Kel-Morian Combine. They remain neutral of the three major powers that war for the sector over the series, the Confederacy, the Dominion, and the United Earth Directorate, and occupy themselves only with living and expanding their mining operations. They went to war with the Confederates years ago, but signed a peace treaty and now operate independently of everyone. The reason is two-fold. On the one hand it'd just take too much time and resources to take over the Combine, and on the other hand, and more importantly, the Combine is very rich. They occupy some of the most valuable planets in the sector in terms of natural resources, so they stay out of wars by paying off the combatants to leave them alone.
  • The Greybeards in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim are an Ancient Tradition of monks who believe in enlightenment through mastering the dragon magic (thu'um). Because of that, they are above any and all power plays, despite every one of them being a Person of Mass Destruction. This puts them in opposition to the Blades, the former Praetorian Guard of the Empire and an ancient order of dragon slayers, who believe that the Greybeards are wasting their abilities and strongly dislike the fact that their leader is a dragon. The Greybeards aren't happy that one of their former students, Ulfric Stormcloak, used the Thu'um to kill the High King of Skyrim as the prelude to his rebellion.
    • There are or have been plenty of other organisations in the setting who nominally were this (such as the chartered Guilds), though in practice few come as close as the Greybeards — mostly because the Greybeards have a purpose that requires focusing on that purpose solely (whereas many other organisations allowed being involved with other organisations who weren't so impartial, meaning even if the organisation itself was impartial you couldn't rely on a member to be) and allows them to stay on a mountaintop rather than go out and interact with other groups.
  • The Falenan Dragon Cavalry from Suikoden V "only swears allegiance to rivers of Falena". They only ride out when when a foreign power invades and do not involve themselves with any internal conflicts. They stick to this policy when Civil War that breaks out between the Godwins and Loyalist Army (lead by Prince of Falena) but this goes out the window when the Godwins make an alliance with an enemy nation, and take the Cavalry's Hatchery hostage. They side with the Prince for the rest of the war.
  • In Tyranny, the School of Ink and Quill describes itself one of these, claiming to seek only the preservation and spread knowledge. In actuality, they've been playing politics for a long while, manipulating the realms of the area into fighting each other.
  • World of Warcraft has several factions that will gladly accept help from either the Alliance or the Horde, such as the Argent Crusade, paladins who fight against evil forces such as the Scourge or the Burning Legion; the Cenarion Circle, druids who work to protect and nurture life; or The Earthen Ring, shaman who work to maintain the balance of the four elements.


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