A faction dedicated to proving that the powers that rule the Outer Planes are not "gods" as they claim to be, but frauds who must be overthrown for the good of the multiverse. Their headquarters is the Shattered Temple in the Lower Ward. Their Factol prior to the Faction War is Terrance, a male planar human of Lawful Good alignment, who is a 19th level Priest of the Great Unknown. The Faction War sees Terrance Mazed by the Lady of Pain, and the Athar are forced to mostly quit the City of Doors to instead set up a new city for themselves at the base of the Spire, where the powers can't reach them. A few remain behind, hiding in the Undercity of Sigil.
Their founders were Dunn (a man who wanted Poseidon to die because Poseidon and his church had taken all his possessions, his wife had been seduced into being a Poseidon priest's concubine, and his daughter had been stolen to Arborea by a proxy of Poseidon), and Ciro (a dispossessed Loki priest who wondered why gods, who should be beyond such things, would be dependent upon the faith of others for their power).
Meanwhile, their current factol became who he is when he realised that it was his own intellect and intuition that had helped him through every problem in his life, rather than the aid of his goddess, Mishkal.
Athar tactics include a lot of stereotypical atheist tactics, like trying to Logic Bomb priests or induce crises of faith.
Nay-Theist: With the minor twist that a portion of the faction are theists, believing in a (non-personified) Great Unknown. They just don't believe the 'gods' running around on the planes are real gods.
Believers of the Source
A faction who believe that life is a series of tests and challenges that must be overcome; as a person incarnates, their actions cause them to move further up or down the ladder of being, until eventually they achieve godhood. Their main base of operations is the Great Foundry in the Lower Ward, from which the produce all of the metal goods of Sigil. Their Factol is Ambar Vergrove, a Neutral Good male planar half-elf, also a 19th level ranger. The Faction War results in Factol Vergrove being Mazed by the Lady, though many of his followers believe he Ascended instead. Forced to leave by the Lady's decrees, many Godsmen end up merging with the also-leaving Signers faction to form a new philosophy, known as the Mind's Eye, based on core elements of both the original faction philosophies.
Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Their goal, kind of. Technically you can just walk to a higher plane of existence in Sigil, but they want to belong there as gods. (They also claim that the gods themselves are supposed to ascend as well eventually; it's kind of like Nirvana.)
Eternal Engine: The Great Foundry is like this, although it is unique among the Trope in that it does have a very necessary use. (It makes all metal goods for Sigil except weapons and armor.)
An ancient faction, defined primarily by their belief in the utter lack of any great meaning or hidden purpose to The Multiverse. Their role in the Cage is predominantly one of charity and compassion; they operate free soup kitchens, run orphanages, and take care of the mentally ill from their headquarters in the Gatehouse, an ominous structure at the edge of the Hive Ward. Their Factol is the Neutral Evil male planar half-orc Lhar, an 8th level fighter whose parents (a blind male human and a female orc) moved to Sigil in hopes that their Interspecies Romance would be tolerated better there; unfortunately, they found it difficult to get jobs and eventually had no choice but to give Lhar to the Bleaker orphanage. Although Lhar gets Mazed like many other Factols during the Faction War, the Bleakers are unaffected; they simply shrug their shoulders, stop calling themselves a faction, and keep on as they were before.
Dark Is Not Evil: They officially believe the multiverse is meaningless and pointless, with there being no great purpose to anything, but they are mostly not of evil alignments and, indeed, dedicate themselves to charity and good works — if there is no point, then there is no reason not to try and alleviate the suffering of others, is there?
Determined Defeatist: What keeps Bleakers going as individuals instead of succumbing to apathy and dying; there is no point to anything they do, but they have to keep trying.
A faction who worships entropy, believing that all things will inevitably end and it is only proper to celebrate the destruction that awaits all. They control the Armory, the great storehouse of all weapons in Sigil located at the edge between the Lady's War and the Lower Ward, and thusly serve as a restraint on the war capabilities of the Harmonium. Their Factol is Pentar, a Chaotic Neutral female planar human, 20th level ranger, who actively encourages the Doomguard to be active in furthering entropy, driving the majority who violently lash out against the multiverse to drive them to destruction. Wielder of the Blade of Modron Death, she has less interest in her faction and more in planning for her own upcoming attempt to destroy the next Great Modron March. Factol Pentar was one of the first Factols to be Mazed during the Faction War, and the subsequent battles see the Doomguard rendered virtually extinct; those who survive are hated by the populace of Sigil with almost as much intensity as the members of the Mercykillers and Fated. The survivors flee to their fortresses on the Negative Quasielemental Planes, but because of their ethos they seem likely to fade away into oblivion.
Dark Is Not Evil: The Doomguard may not have the nicest sounding goal, but there are members of all ethical alignments and even some Good aligned member.
Dark Is Evil: However, the faction of the Doomguard advocating direct violence and destruction is in the majority of the faction, and their leader is part of this faction.
Omnicidal Maniac: As mentioned, there are Doomguards who actively believe entropy needs a helping hand in the total consumption of everything, and so try to speed it along.
Straw Nihilist: A rare variant where they believe the active pursuit of universal annihilation is a worthy pursuit in its own right.
A faction that believe all life and afterlife as seen in the Great Wheel is a falsehood; instead, all who think they are alive are instead dead souls, trapped in a false perception of life. Only by letting go of this misconception and becoming detached from the lie can they fall into True Death, and whatever passes beyond. As a consequence, they operate the Mortuary in the Hive Ward and make themselves useful by collecting and disposing of all the many corpses that Sigil generates every day. Their Factol is Skall, a Neutral Evil male planar lich of unknown origin, and a 19th level wizard. The Faction War sees the Dustmen dissolved as an official faction, but they retain their role as the gravekeepers of Sigil, even if their philosophy starts to wither out with the Mazing of Skall, whom is believed by the Dustmen to have officially ascended to True Death at last.
Dark Is Not Evil: Officially, the Dusties lean towards the neutral and lawful scale of the alignment axis, and they do contribute a vital role to the running of Sigil. Still, as is lampshaded in "The Factol's Manifesto" sourcebook, for all that it's well-meant, most people tend to view somebody who hopes for the demise of everyone else to be evil.
The Necromancer: A lot of necromancers are part of the Dustmen. The Dusties also use large numbers of walking dead (animated skeletons and zombies) as manual labourers, and, two of the five "Circles" (ranks in the Dustmen hierarchy) are actually comprised solely of free-willed undead.
Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Some Dustmen are good, some are evil, but almost all of them are creepy. To give one of many examples, Uncaged Faces of Sigil mentions a member who runs a taxidermy shop in the Lower Ward, who really loves her work, and if a customer is an attractive type, she might as for his or her corpse after his death. (And she is deadly serious about it. What makes this especially creepy is the fact that at least three customers apparently accepted this offer - they are displayed in her shop.)
Secret Circle of Secrets: The higher ranks of the Dustmen are similar to this. Even amongst the Dusties themselves, few people know that the Third and Second Circles are comprised exclusively of Dustmen killed and reanimated as undead by Skall himself.
The Stoic: Encouraged as a way to avoid attachment.
A faction dedicated to the idea of taking what you want from those you can take it from. They serve Sigil in the role of its tax collectors, operating out of the Hall of Records. Their Factol is a male prime human from Oerth (though he claims to have been born on Toril) named Rowan Darkwood, a Chaotic Good epically powerful individual (he's a dual-classed ranger/priest of Heimdall, with 19 levels in the former class and 20 in the latter class). The Fated earn great hatred because it is Factol Darkwood who sparks the Faction War. They are forced to flee the Cage and settle on Ysgard, eventually evolving into an arguably purer incarnation of their philosophy that focuses on taking what they need and not what they want.
Ambition Is Evil: Beyond the fact that the Takers can basically be seen as this themselves, Rowan Darkwood's ambition leads this officially Neutral Good man to commit atrocities that include seducing a mentally ill girl young enough to be his daughter, marrying her for power, selling her into slavery to the Fiends, and then sparking the infamous Faction War.
Honor Before Reason: A Taker cannot accept anything that he did not take for himself. This includes genuinely offered aid from others; a member of the Fated cannot even allow another person to heal him if he's injured.
Might Makes Right: The fundamental core of their philosophy; take what you can, and to the hells with everybody else.
Social Darwinist: They may believe in Might Makes Right, but they aren't hypocrites about it; if you're strong enough to take what you want from a Fated, and proceed to do so, then it belongs to you and they just have to get stronger. Life is about the struggle to get stronger, and the weak deserve no pity or aid.
Stable Time Loop: The eventual fate of Factol Darkwood. In short, he starts the Faction War with the intent of using it to cover his efforts to obtain the Labyrinth Stone and use it to cast the Sigil spell and claim control of Sigil. He promptly gets Mazed by the Lady on day 19. Eventually, he escapes, only to find the Maze has released him into Sigil some 500 years into the past. This version of Darkwood is imprisoned by the Bleakers as a barmy and renamed Gifad. Towards the end of the Faction War, Gifad is released or escapes and is used to try and end the Faction War by casting the Sigil spell with the aide of the Labyrinth Stone. He fails and is cast into the past, over 10000 years ago. Having lost his memory, he studies magic and eventually becomes the wizard who created the Labyrinth Stone and the Sigil spell in the first place — only to be sealed inside the Stone when he attempts to cast it. And then, millennia later, Rowan Darkwood will be born, learn of the Stone and the spell, and begin the Faction War all over again.
Fraternity of Order
A faction dedicated to the belief that all things in the multiverse are governed by laws and if these laws are uncovered, one can control reality itself. They form the trinity of justice in Sigil with the aid of the Harmonium and the Mercykillers; the Guvners create and define the laws, as well as try criminals, while the Hardheads catch the crooks and the Red Death punish them. As a result, their faction headquarters is the City Court, at the heart of the Lady's Ward. Their Factol is Hashkar, a male planar dwarf Sage of Lawful Neutral alignment. Unbeknownst to almost anyone outside the highest Guvners (except the Revolutionary League — and even they don't really know (or much care) that it's true), Hashkar is actually a petitioner. He is murdered by a Xaositect assassin during the Faction War; this leads the Fraternity to declare war on the Xaositects as a whole. After the Lady of Pain makes her decree, they retreat en-mass from Sigil to their headquarters on Mechanus, to begin the laborous process of electing a new Factol and restructuring themselves to return to Sigil.
Insufferable Genius: A common trait amongst the Guvners. For example, they almost never allow for appeals against their sentences — after all, they know all the rules, so if a Guvner made a ruling, then it must obviously be the right one.
Loophole Abuse: Some of them can actually manifest powers by exploiting loopholes in the laws of the universe itself. (In game terms, learning how to do this is a benefit of being a member; however, you can only use a power like this a limited number of times before the loophole closes.)
Refuge in Audacity: The Guvners openly admit that they seek to know the rules so they can bend them in their favor, with the eventual goal of doing this to the rules that hold reality itself together. People let them do it anyway, simply because they're the only guys who really know how everything works now.
Rules Lawyer: The Fraternity of Order is basically what happens when these kinds of people unite to try and take over the universe.
Vast Bureaucracy: What the Fraternity is like, and what any place controlled by them or where they are drawn to tends to be.
Aka "the Faction that isn't", the Indeps are the loosely aligned coalition of independent Sigil natives who, for whatever reason, refuse to join one of the other factions. They are defined, as far as that term can be applies to them, by their belief in and promotion of acceptance, balance and individuality. This means the majority of Indeps are Neutral in some way — True Neutral, Neutral Good or Neutral Evil, typically, with True Neutrals and Neutral Goods being most common. The Free League is regarded with disdain but usually indifference by most "Order-focused" Factions; the Harmonium are a hostile exception. Because of their loose nature, they have no official Factol, though there are three individuals respected enough to be "unofficial leaders"; Bria Tomay (planar female human, 14th level Chaotic Neutral bard) and the twins Lethea & Lesander (female and male, respectively, prime wemics, 6th level Lawful Neutral fighters). All three of them are Mazed during the Faction War, though the Free League, understandably, accuses the Harmonium of having them murdered. The ending of the Factions is no sweat for the Free League, who simply repeat that they are not a faction and get down to enjoying life without the Harmonium oppressing them.
Blessed with Suck: Of all the Factions, they are the only one that can be said to have the actual attention of the Lady of Pain upon them. This is not a good thing.
To put it in proper perspective; right after the Great Upheaval, when the Factions were reorganised into the 15 seen here, the Free League swelled to over one million members. The Lady, annoyed by the fact that one of the least tractable/manipulatable Factions was now so strong, promptly took action; over the span of 50 years, she personally winnowed the membership down to under 20000 souls by means of Mazing or eviscerating whoever caught her attention.
At the time that "The Factol's Manifesto" was written, her amusement at the fact that Indep historians were attributing the mass culling to a mysterious plague led her to create that plague to infect the Indeps at random.
A faction originating out of a Prime world called Ortho, founded around the ideal of bringing about the greatest good for the greatest number. No matter what it takes or if others like that. A fairly young faction, only 500 years old at the time of Planescape's initial release, they began when a group of adventurers set out to "rid the country of chaos and bring peace to the land". Somehow, they went from succeeding at their goal to leading a righteous crusade to extend the same peace and harmony over the rest of Ortho, until all non-Lawfuls had been eradicated. Disturbed by the fact that chaos and disorder would still plague their lawful, regimented society, the Harmonium turned its attention to what it believed was the source; the Outer Planes. After an initial crusade to the Lower Planes failed, they resettled in Sigil as a "beachhead" in their conquest, and have since made themselves useful. Allies to the Fraternity of Order (who form the court system) and the Mercykillers (who punish the guilty), the Harmonium have become the police officers of the Cage, operating out of the City Barracks in the Lady's Ward. Their Factol is Sarin, a male human Paladin (16th level) from Ortho, who is married to Faith, a Lawful Good 12th level cleric and a female planar human. During the Faction War, Sarin is assassinated by the Revolutionary League, who publicly take responsibility, and his widow takes over; it is her benevolent commands that persuades them to leave peacefully and retreat to Arcadia, where there are signs that the group will become less militaristic. Few hold any belief that the change will be permanent, though.
Good Is Not Nice: The Harmonium's intentions and overall goal are benevolent, but their actions in pursuit of it... well, see below.
To put this into perspective; if the Factol finds out about the Lawful Evil Hardheads who have been murdering Indeps, they will be chastised... but only for doing so without proper orders; the Harmonium expects to one day officially crack down upon the Free League, so their actions would have been fine if they hadn't been acting independently.
Knight Templar: A big part of why the Harmonium is so disliked by everyone, despite their good intentions. The Harmonium will bring peace and order to the universe — by force, if need be.
Their homeworld of Ortho has had all Chaotic and even Neutral races completely wiped out in pursuit of the Harmonium's "perfection". This includesChaotic Good and Neutral Good races like elves and pixies.
They're so bad about this that their former headquarters on Nemausus generated so much evil in the name of good that it turned the plane's Character Alignment into Lawful Neutral, dumping it from Arcadia into Mechanus.
Never Live It Down: In-Universe. The Harmonium's accidental planar slip of Nemausus, the third layer of Arcadia, is a big thumb in the eye to the faction's goals, abilities and beliefs.
People often aren't too impressed with the Harmonium when they find out about the whole "genocide of Chaotic Good and Neutral Good races on Ortho" thing.
In "The Factol's Manifesto", it's mentioned that those who are familiar with Rajaat and his Champions from Athas have been known to directly compare the Hardheads to them — something the Harmonium vigorously protests against.
Order Vs Chaos: The Harmonium stands on the "Order" side and is allied with the similarly Order-focused Fraternity of Order and Mercykillers, whilst it remains bitter enemies with the Chaos-focused Free League, Revolutionary League, Xaositects, Fated and Doomguard. They also don't like the Bleakers much.
Lawful alignment is essential to joining the Hardheads.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Despite the bad reputation they have achieved, the Harmonium keeps attracting Lawful Good types, who believe that their cause is worthy even despite how they attempt to bring it about.
A faction dedicated to the pursuit of justice above all else, born from the union of two similar factions at the end of the Great Upheaval; the Lawful Good Sons of Mercy and the Lawful Evil Sodkillers. The Faction War sees them split back into these two factions again, for the most part.
The Fettered: Mercykillers officially cannot act to punish injustice until and unless the criminal is properly defined as such. In the triad of lawmaker factions, the Harmonium catches the criminals, the Fraternity of Order convict them, and the Mercykillers punish them. Mercykiller players are forbidden from catching or judging enemies of their own initiative, as a result; the best they can usually do is note down injustices in order to present them to their faction and get them avenged as soon as possible.
Knight Templar: Only MUCH more so then the Harmonium; the Lawful Evil side of the Mercykillers holds far more sway over the faction than it does in the Harmonium.
Lawful Neutralinvoked: This is the ideal alignment that the Mercykillers aspire towards, to the extent that Lawful Good and Lawful Evil Mercykillers are prone to suffering penalties to their faction abilities due to the conflict between their viewpoint and the ideals of the faction.
An extremely loose faction based pretty much entirely on the idea of opposing the other factions.
And Then What?: All of them want to bring down "The System". Exactly what they intend to build in its place is a matter of debate.
A faction that exists on the idea that the multiverse is nothing but chaotic whimsy and chance, so the true way to experience life is to give yourself over to whim and chaos.
Chaotic Stupid: Not technically necessary, but there is a tendency for people to play the faction this way. Probably because the descriptions of the faction tend to make them sound like they are this way.
The outsiders native to Mechanus, the Lawful Neutral plane, who originate from their segment of the gear-world known as Regulus. The Modrons are a bizarre hierarchy of construct-like beings, starting at the barely-sentient Monodrone and ascending all the way to the godlike Primus, the One and the Prime.
Lawful Stupid: As elemental incarnations of the Lawful NeutralCharacter Alignment, Modrons are lawful to the extent that it makes them seem quite insane to human perspectives. To put this in perspective; during the second adventure of "The Great Modron March", the players have to deal with the fact that the Modrons refuse to accept that a city in their way has changed in the three centuries since the last march and so will blithely march their way through the city, smashing buildings that are in their path and trampling any living creature that fails to get out of the way.
Extreme Omnivore: As "chaos elementals", Slaadi will eat just about anything that catches their eyes.
The third branch of the fiend family, the daemons to the tanar'ri (demons) and baatezu (devils). Lords of Gehenna, the Neutral Evil with a hint of Lawful plane, although they originated in the Grey Waste, the pure Neutral Evil plane.
Authority Equals Asskicking: Subverted. The lowest ranking Yugoloth is actually stronger than the next rank. Those who realize this get singled out as potential candidates for promotion.
No Mouth: The highest ranking Yugoloths, the Ultroloths, don't have mouths.
The Plaguemaster: The Oinoloth (the powerful Yugoloth that currently rules the tower of Khin-Oin) can control the plagues of the Grey Waste.
A mysterious "fallen Dabus", supposedly disowned by the Lady of Pain for becoming a priest of the dead god Aoskar — indeed, it's commonly whispered that it was his conversion to Aoskar that prompted the Lady to move against him and destroy him. He now runs a tattoo business and is a member of the Sign of One faction.
Broken Angel: He's a fallen Dabus, disowned by the Lady of Pain, unable to float.
Shemeshka the Marauder
A female (or is she?) arcanoloth/ravaasta (in 4e) who is infamous throughout Sigil for being a fabulously wealthy business owner and the master of the biggest and best guild of spies, thieves and assassins in all the Cage, a position that has earned her the title "King of the Crosstrade".
Ambiguous Gender: Dresses, acts like, calls "herself" and is referred to as a female... but her profile writeup in the "Uncaged: Faces of Sigil" sourcebook officially lists her gender with a male symbol. Later works, however, use a female symbol. Not helped by the fact that all yugoloths are hermaphrodites, according to the "Faces of Evil: The Fiends" sourcebook.
Berserk Button: Her temper is infamously volatile, but the surest ways to tick her off? Ask why she doesn't call herself "Queen of the Crosstrade", or mention A'kin the Friendly Fiend.
Ensemble Darkhorse: Of the NPCs of Planescape, she may easily be one of the best known, besides the Lady of Pain herself. When the 4th edition "Manual of the Planes" sourcebook was released, Shemeshka was one of the very few Planescape NPCs to make the edition jump. Indeed, one could argue that the Arcanoloths survived the transition and became the Ravaastas mainly due to her impact on Planescape.
Flip Flop of God: Whether or not Shemeshka is a trans-woman or an actual woman; as mentioned, "Uncaged" says she is male, while other sourcebooks say she is female. "Faces of Evil", meanwhile, pretty much makes it canon that it's all up to what she considers herself to be.
Hair-Trigger Temper: Shemeshka's temper, and the spontaneity with which she'll fly into a berserk rage, is infamous throughout Sigil.
Interspecies Romance: It's a common rumor that the reason Shemeshka hasn't moved against her would-be rival, the tiefling Kylie, is because she gave birth to her after a liason with a human man.
Mama Bear: If Kyle truly is her daughter, the Trope applies; hurting her is off limits if Shemeshka has anything to say about it. As Autochron the Bellringer discovered, Kyle seems be under Shemeshka's protection.
She Is the King: Shemeshka is always referred to as the King of the Crosstrade — and don't you forget it!
Sissy Villain: Whether or not you believe she's male, Shemeshka is still very flamboyant and effeminate. She iconically favors wearing a dress made of thousands of small blue/green/violet beads, and she adorns herself with beads, jewellery, bracelets and rings to the point of garishness, as others have noted (but rarely commented on). She's also incredibly vain and fussy about her grooming; she always has to be meticulously beautiful and she surrounds herself with "groomer-guards", one of whom carries a full-length mirror and the rest of whom have the main responsibility of keeping her immaculately clean and beautiful, at all times.
Of course, the groomer-guards are also her most deadly assassins and serve as bodyguards, whilst the mirror is a powerful magical item (a "Mirror of Mental Prowess") that enables her to scry people even across the boundary of planes, teleport to any place she is scrying, read thoughts and perform divinations.
Transsexual: It's obscured by time, and canonically dubious (see Flipflop Of God) but, a fan willing to track down the 2nd edition "Uncaged: Faces of Sigil" sourcebook will discover that Shemeshka the Marauder is actually male. She just looks like a woman, dresses like a woman, and insists on being referred to by feminine pronouns.
Whip It Good: When angry or actually attacked, Shemeshka's preferred weapon is to break off a vine from her razorvine headdress and use it as a lethally barbed whip.