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FactionsThe primary social grouping of the Planescape setting of Dungeons & Dragons, the factions are distinctive philosophical views about the purpose of the multiverse who have managed to acquire positions of strong political power in the city of Sigil. Originally, there were over 49 recognized factions, but in an event called The Winnowing, the Lady of Pain demanded that they condense down into 15 distinct groups. After the events of the Faction War, covered in adventure form, the factions lost their political power and became indistinguishable from the sects.
Athar (The Lost, The Defiers)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.
- Banishing Ritual: The most powerful Athar-specific ability is a ritual they have developed that allows four of them acting in concert to banish any servant of a deity from Sigil to their patron deity's realm. The more zealous Athar hope for the day their faction grows in power enough to cleanse Sigil of the gods' minions completely this way.
- Fire-Forged Friends: They and the Godsmen were once enemies, until they figured out their ideas were Not So Different; they became close allies as a result.
- Hollywood Atheist: There is a strong vibe of this to the Athar.
- 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.
- Justified on some grounds:
- Rather than questioning the existence of gods (as such things demonstrably exist in the setting), the Athar object to people worshipping what they consider to be simply powerful natural beings.
- Since the factions are by definition based on philosophical beliefs, those with a more common real-world atheist outlook — those who simply regard atheism as a lack of belief, rather than a belief system in itself — would not be members of this faction.
- Honor Before Reason: A disadvantage of being a member is that an Athar is not allowed to accept aid from clerics of specific deities; this includes healing magic, should the Athar be injured.
- Illegal Religion: They have a certain degree of protection thanks to being recognized by the Lady as one of Sigil's fifteen factions, but the Harmonium, Sigil's City Guards, considers them an enemy and their actions are subject to constant harassment, including discriminatory policing for their sermons and pamphleteering as "disturbing the peace".
- The Jinx: The gods cannot do anything directly to cause "bad luck" to the Athar from outside Sigil, and the power of their unbelief even immunizes them against most divine magic that would do this (see No-Sell). Even so, most non-Athar in Sigil are generally uneasy about being around them, especially since they've set up shop in the Shattered Temple of Aoskar, a location that's bad luck for a whole other set of reasons.
- 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.
- No-Sell: The strength of their unbelief (a negative version of Clap Your Hands If You Believe) makes them immune to certain forms of divine magic used by the gods' servants to observe or control others (abjure, bestow curse, divination, enthrall, etc.) as well as a general +2 bonus to saving throws vs. divine magic used against them, at least as long as they're safe from the gods' direct attention in Sigil.
- Psychic Block Defense: Higher-level members of the Athar can focus the power of their unbelief even more strongly and cast an obscurement ability that prevents the gods or their servants from observing their actions at all.
- Rage Against the Heavens: The whole point of their faction, although most of them claim to just want the gods to leave mortals alone and only hope to defeat them long-term by robbing them of their worshipers. Only a tiny minority of the Athar join the extremist splinter group the Godslayers, who have the futile if not outright suicidal goal of taking up arms against the gods directly. (Most Athar, as much as they may dislike the gods, try to avoid any connection to the Godslayers out of basic self-preservation.)
- Soapbox Sadie: There's a lot of soapboxes to go around in Sigil, but ironically the Athar are among the most aggressive, persistent proselytizers of any faction or sect, certainly moreso than followers of any particular deity. This is the logical outcome of their philosophy — the gods of the multiverse rely on Clap Your Hands If You Believe for their power, and it's only by weakening the power of the gods by peeling believers away from them that they have any hope of ever defeating them or even just holding off the seemingly inevitable divine retribution they face if they leave Sigil.
Believers of the Source (Godsmen)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 they 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.
- All-Loving Hero: They're the most generally well-liked faction, whose agenda is seen as benign by most other denizens of Sigil — all they want is to help all mortals achieve their full potential, whatever that might be. (The only factions outright hostile to them are the Bleak Cabal and the Dustmen, both of whose own philosophies are, to say the least, highly alienating to most ordinary people.) Mechanically, this translates to a circumstance bonus to all social rolls made with planar characters.
- 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.)
- Blasphemous Boast: They believe that every one of them is a god-in-waiting, although they believe this of everyone else too. Popular as they are, this belief system can rub zealous worshipers of the powers the wrong way, and translates to priest characters devoted to a specific deity getting a penalty to their saving throws symbolizing their watered-down faith.
- Eternal Engine: The Great Foundry is like this, although unusually for this trope it does have a very necessary, specific use. It makes all metal goods for Sigil, except weapons and armor; the Doomguard handle those.
- A God Am I: Only one Godsman has ever actually ascended to become a Power, the previous Factol Curran, who grants divine magic to Godsman priests.
- Godhood Seeker: As the name "Godsmen" implies, this is their raison d'etre, although most of them don't seriously hope to achieve it in this life but hope that by perfecting themselves as much as possible they bring their next reincarnation closer to the goal of divinity. Their previous factol, Curran, managed it, although some would argue this was because of the beliefs of his followers in the Godsmen and not a natural law of the universe.
- Magic Music: The current fad among the Godsmen is bardic music, after the initial framework of the forge (achieving godhood by passing moral and spiritual tests) and the next one of listening to one's Past-Life Memories both failed to achieve much progress. Godsmen believe that by listening for the "Harmony of the Spheres" they can find the key to becoming better people and stronger souls.
- Past-Life Memories: The Believers of the Source get their name from one of their past members' teachings; Augy of Faunel believed she could remember her own past reincarnations, and believed that before all of them she could remember the faintest hints of an existence of pure peace and joy and light. This is the "Source" the Godsmen believe all souls come from and they believe the purpose of ascension is to eventually return to it.
- Reincarnation: Their original mechanical weakness is that they refuse normal resurrection magic, believing that death is a sign they've learned what they needed to in their original life and need to move on to the next one. (They can come back with their original personality and memories with the use of the druid reincarnation spell, which puts them in a different body.)
- Secret Test of Character: They believe every being in existence is being tested. They aren't quite sure what the tests are (like whether they have to be Good, Evil, Lawful, Chaotic, or whether it's something else) but they try to figure that out.
Bleak Cabal (Bleakers)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 Chaotic Neutral 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. At the time of the Faction War, Lahr had already consigned himself to the Madhouse, having been replaced by Sruce, who is sent to the mazes. The Bleakers are unaffected by the events of that plot; they simply shrug their shoulders, stop calling themselves a faction, and keep on as they were before.
- The Anti-Nihilist: The good-aligned members, anyway. It should be noted that being some kind of anti-nihilist and embracing the existentialist idea of "making your own meaning" is the only way a Bleak Cabal character could ever join an adventuring party at all.
- Beatnik: The Bleak Cabal share a lot of the aesthetic and philosophical proclivities of the American counterculture of the 1950s — so much so that Bleak Cabal poets are even called "Bleakniks".
- Bedlam House: The Gatehouse has been known to end up like this at times, depending on who is currently in charge of the Bleakers.
- Berserk Button: Bleakers really don't like the "all your pain and suffering is a test" aspect of the Godsmen's philosophy. It can be one of the few things that makes them actually get angry. The same is true of the Sign of One's Your Mind Makes It Real attitude to suffering and their Think Happy Thoughts advice for dealing with it.
- 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.
- Drama Queen: In terms of their actions they would seem to be one of the least offensive factions, but their nihilistic attitude and their insistence on loudly broadcasting it and proselytizing to troubled outsiders with offers to check into their asylum and give up on life makes them controversial, especially among the Lawful factions (Mercykillers, Fraternity of Order, Harmonium) who see them as a threat to public order. (Although not nearly as bad of one as the Xaositects.)
- Heroic BSoD: The Bleak Cabal's mechanical weakness is a particularly crippling one — every day they have a 5% chance of waking up so overwhelmed by feelings of despair they lie motionless in bed, incapable of taking any actions. The only way to get them moving is to RP out a philosophical debate over why any action they take wouldn't be futile (which, depending on how you feel about Planescape's "philosophers with clubs" setting conceit, may be a highlight of the game or a Scrappy Mechanic). Note that neither a direct threat to their own life nor someone else's automatically succeeds in winning this debate.
- The Factol's Manifesto adds a variant rule to simulate Bipolar Disorder rather than simple depression, making the Bleaker a Mood-Swinger who becomes depressed and apathetic if they roll a 20 but, if they roll a 1, enters an Ax-Crazy manic episode. (In keeping with what rolling a 20 vs. rolling a 1 typically means in D&D, this latter result is far, far more dangerous to the Bleaker and their party members.) This book also makes the weakness even more crippling — failing this roll too many times in a row requires the Bleaker to return to the Gatehouse for intensive treatment or else risk being permanently Driven to Madness (a Scrappy Mechanic that, in a long-running campaign, makes a Bleaker character borderline unplayable).
- Infectious Insanity: The idea that their depressing view of reality is contagious is why many people avoid the Bleakers, despite the no-strings-attached charity they provide. High-level members of the faction get this as an actual ability they can use to induce madness and despair in others as self-defense.
- Insanity Immunity: A Bleaker's mind is already broken to the degree that mind-affecting spells based on the concept of causing madness in a healthy mind — confusion, feeblemind, Tasha's hideous laughter — simply fail against them, and they get a bonus to saving throws against ESP because of the Psychic Static their illness generates. Of course, just because their own existing madness is strong enough to keep out the madness others impose doesn't make that madness harmless — see Heroic BSoD.
- Pet the Dog: They embody this trope, which is why they're one of the most well-liked factions out-of-universe — their official faction philosophy isn't good-aligned and says nothing in particular about there being any reason to do acts of kindness, but in practice the Bleakers seem to be the faction most likely to commit acts of basic human decency like feeding the poor and caring for the mad and the sick, precisely because when you have no overarching purpose in life you might as well be kind just because Good Feels Good.
- The Spook: The insignia of the Bleakers is a horned helmet made of violet metal surrounded by a black starburst. Whatever or whoever this represents is unknown. It was painted on the floor of the Gatehouse's courtyard when they moved in centuries ago, and nobody alive in Sigil remembers its meaning. Still, a forgotten, meaningless symbol fits their philosophy well.
Doomguard (Sinkers)A faction that 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.
- Arms Dealer: Their job in Sigil, selling weapons and armor (the one thing the Godsmen don't make at the Foundry) to help spread conflict and destruction throughout the planes. This makes them about as unpopular — and yet indispensable to the city's functioning — as you'd expect.
- Black Magic: Most of the Doomguard are still living creatures and find negative energy just as inimical as everyone else, but they are philosophically devoted to what negative energy represents and favor spells that draw on it, and have built four great planar citadels on the four Quasielemental Planes that border the Negative Energy Plane (Dust, Ash, Salt and Vacuum) as close as they can get to the border of the NEP without being killed. By contrast, they hate positive energy, so much so that they must fail a saving throw vs. magic in order to even receive healing, and no priest who draws on the Creation/Healing domains can join.
- 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 members (although none can be priests with the Healing or Creation domains). Many of them will explain to you they aren't actively opposed to those who build rather than destroy, because creation always leads to destruction (the 2nd law of thermodynamics) and they only seek to spread awareness of this fact.
- The End Is Nigh: "Nigh" is a relative term, but the Doomguard believe that the end of the world is inevitable thanks to the iron law of entropy, and consider this to be a good thing. Not all of them take this as far as wanting to actively accelerate the end in any major way, but they are all implacably opposed to those who would try to delay or prevent it.
- Entropy and Chaos Magic: Any Doomguard of sufficient level, whatever their class and alignment, has the ability to call on a powerful magical attack in combat against an opposite-aligned enemy known as an entropic blow that, if it hits, automatically reduces the target's HP by half.
- Malevolent Masked Men: Those who are promoted to the rank of Doomlord put on a scary mask and red robe that they never again remove, surrendering their original identity.
- 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.
- Psychometry: Doomguard enjoy meditating in ruins and other sites of destruction, and as they grow in level gain an increasing ability to psychically sense the cause and nature of a destructive act from the marks it leaves behind. High-level Doomguards are able to fully mentally Flashback to a battle or disaster this way, and it's rumored that at its maximum level this power can be used to actually Time Travel to the event.
- Straw Nihilist: A rare variant where they believe the active pursuit of universal annihilation is a worthy pursuit in its own right.
- Weapon of Choice: Ironically, while Heroes Prefer Swords in most D&D settings, in Sigil swords are strongly associated with the Doomguard and all Doomguard characters have both proficiency in their use and a +1 attack bonus when wielding them. This may be because Heroes Prefer Swords on the Prime Material, as an arch commentary on how most D&D "heroes" are furthering the cause of entropy with their exploits (especially ones focused on "clearing out" dungeons and collapsing them after killing a Load-Bearing Boss).
Dustmen (The Dead)A faction that believes 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.
- The Coroner: When in charge of the Mortuary, they were in charge of collecting, processing, and disposing of Sigil's dead, along with everything else that entailed. Given the high population density of Sigil, there's no space for cemeteries, the Mortuary having portals to every known Prime world. The Dustmen would typically send a corpse to wherever the next of kin desired; unclaimed ones would be cremated via portals to the Elemental Plane of Fire.
- 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.
- Dead All Along: The central dogma of their philosophy; they think everyone is dead. Some are just more so than others.
- Deader Than Dead: The concept of "True Death" is their overwhelming obsession, given that D&D is a Death Is Cheap setting — and even though there are plenty of ways to kill someone without hope of resurrection, there's no way to prove that they're completely gone.
- Death Seeker: Their eventual goal is to achieve True Death, although what exactly this means and how it can be achieved is a matter of some debate. Most of them think simple physical death is insufficient (and just throws you back into the wheel of reincarnation or sends you to the afterlife as a petitioner), hence their living members not just killing themselves and getting it over with. Even so, Dustmen souls are resistant to coming back from mundane death, with all resurrection magic having a 50% chance of failure on them.
- Nature Hero: Oddly enough, a lot of Druids are members. Dustmen Druids see death as a necessity in the Circle of Life analogy.
- 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 Fetishist: They like death — both the abstract concept of death and actual dead things. Their comfort and familiarity with the undead even lets them do what the Doomguard could not and build a citadel directly on the Negative Energy Plane (mostly staffed by undead with a few heavily-protected living necromancers among them).
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Some Dustmen are good, some are evil, but almost all of them are creepy. To give one of many examples, In the Cage: A Guide to Sigil mentions a member named Mhasha Zakk, who runs a taxidermy shop in the Merchant's Ward, who acts like a sweet old granny save for the fact she really loves her work, and if a customer is an attractive type, she might ask 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.
- Omnicidal Maniac: "The Factol's Manifesto" reveals Skall is actually building an immense army of the undead with plans to wipe out all life in the multiverse in order to "help" them achieve True Death. It's unclear if he really thinks this will do them a favor, or he just wants the ultimate power that would come from reducing all life in the multiverse to his undead slave.
- Pretend We're Dead: This cheesy trope from a zombie movie is Played Straight as a major setting element in Planescape — in times immemorial, the Dustmen faction somehow signed an agreement with all undead creatures as a whole (possibly with the gods of death as their representatives), where undead predators treat living Dustmen as though they were one of them and will not attack them unless attacked first. This is a major mechanical benefit to being a Dustman and allows Dustmen to pursue necromancy and safely work with hordes of mindless or feral undead that few prime necromancers would be powerful enough to safely control.
- 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.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Amazingly, the Dustmen try to avoid killing people through violence if they can. They believe that only via natural death can mortals find true enlightenment. This does not mean, however, that all of them are pacifists that will not fight and will automatically grant mercy to enemies.
- Time Abyss: The origin story of the Dustmen is unknown, and Shrouded in Myth; it apparently took place so long ago that the Dead Truce between them and the powers of undeath was written into the very nature of the various undead species.
- Unwitting Pawn: It's possible that the Dustmen may, in fact, be mere suckers who have bought into the lies of a malevolent lich and made an actually positive (or at least not-evil) philosophy out of them.
Fated (Takers, The Heartless)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 Chaotic 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.
- Badass Bookworm: The Fated seized a position of power in Sigil through the surprisingly practical means of taking over Sigil's Hall of Records, and then using their ability to charge money for access to the paperwork that makes the city run to also become tax collectors. One of the faction's greatest projects is the Secret History of Sigil, a series of books maintained by the factols that serves as, among other things, a trove of blackmail material.
- Bold Explorer: This faction has this attitude toward the planes, crossing over with Great White Hunter; one of the most common ways a non-faction member interacts with them is by hiring one of them as a guide on a planar expedition. It's in their faction manifesto to be willing to cross all borders and venture anywhere in the planes without fear to increase their wealth and power; one of their faction abilities is gaining proficiencies geared toward extraplanar survival.
- Good Is Not Nice: Whilst Lawful Good characters cannot join the Takers, but there are more than a few Neutral Good and Chaotic Good Takers.
- 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.
- I Own This Town: The Fated were in charge of collecting taxes, potentially making Darkwood the most powerful individual in Sigil other than the Lady. His downfall was not settling for second-best.
- Jack-of-All-Trades: The Fated encourage being one of these as part of their doctrine of self-sufficiency in all things and avoiding ever being dependent on others; in mechanical terms this manifests as having twice the number of proficiency (skill) slots and being able to fill proficiencies cross-class with no penalty (i.e. Fighters being able to learn Wizard skills).
- Knowledge Broker: One of the Fated's hats, particular Factol Darkwood, is being obsessed with secrets — a huge point of pride for them based on their philosophy is their opposition to ever giving away knowledge for free.
- Might Makes Right: The fundamental core of their philosophy; take what you can, and to the hells with everybody else.
- Money Fetish: The stereotype of their faction, although the higher-level members try to evolve beyond measuring success and status via something as petty as the jink in your pocket. Still, all Fated do automatically get a bonus when haggling for lower prices in the marketplace, and get a bonus to pickpocketing and stealing even if they aren't of the Rogue class.
- Not So Different: Many Planescape players find the Fated to be a Love to Hate faction, but The Factol's Manifesto archly notes that their outlook on life isn't that different at all from the stereotypical Dungeon Crawling adventure party from a D&D prime world.
- The Scapegoat: As one might expect, the members who survived the Faction War are not well-liked, and pretty much everyone else blames them for what happened, seeing as Darkwood started the whole thing.
- Self-Made Man: The whole ideal of the Fated is to be one of these.
- Smug Snake: Rowan Darkwood; he thought he could take Sigil itself and boy, was he ridiculously wrong.
- 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.
Fraternity of Order (Guvners)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 to The Lady. According to the story Hashkar was once a planar dwarf who came to revere the Lady of Pain as the law at the center of the multiverse. He has never left Sigil, even for the faction HQ on Mechanus. And his single-minded dedication to law makes him have a personality just like that of a petitioner. It is possible that the Lady allows him to worship her in secret, but if that were to come out she'd have to kill him as an example. 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.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: What they hope to achieve.
- Badass Bookworm: More than any other faction, they embrace the idea that knowledge is power.
- Corrupt Bureaucrat/Obstructive Bureaucrat: Common negative stereotypes of Guvners, and one that evil-aligned Guvners tend to easily fit into.
- 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.
- Lawful Stupid: They spend their whole lives trying not to be stupid, but they are very much beholden to the concept of "the law" in a way that most primes would find absurd — the price of the superpowers they get from learning to exploit loopholes in various laws is that they can never intentionally break the law, no matter how silly or evil the written laws of whatever polity they find themselves in may be.
- 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.)
- Motor Mouth: Their former leader, the now-deceased Factol Haskar, was notorious for this. It was unwise to ask him a question (even one as simple as "Which way to the exit?") unless you planned on listening to him for a long time. Haskar tended to lecture at the drop of a hat, and would always answer questions in the most complete and thorough ways possible.
- Omniglot: All languages are just systems of rules, and Guvners are so attuned to rules that they can figure out how to speak any language with a little effort. (Mechanically, this is the ability to use speak any language as a spell-like ability once per day.)
- Order vs. Chaos: Firmly on the "Order" side of things; all members of the Fraternity of Order must be Lawful, though whether they are Lawful Good, Lawful Neutral or Lawful Evil is unimportant.
- 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.
Free League (Indeps)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.
- Anarchy Is Chaos: Averted. They get along just fine without a Factol.
- Bazaar of the Bizarre: The Free League's "faction headquarters", such as it is, is Sigil's Bazaar, and the border town of Tradegate in the Outlands. The typical Indep is a small businessman with no ambition other than exchanging goods and services freely and fairly with other planar travelers without getting into any conflicts based on ideology. The Free League's roots run so deeply in the Bazaar that a member gets an automatic discount when shopping at the Bazaar, has a doubled chance of success when gathering information in the Bazaar and has a doubled chance of successfully calling for help if a fight breaks out there.
- 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.
- Hufflepuff House: The Indeps are specifically a "non-faction" faction — they consist of all the residents of Sigil who didn't want to join any of the other factions and gave themselves the barest semblance of factional organization and identity as protection from the others.
- Properly Paranoid: They're the faction for people who hate the idea of factions, and don't fully trust anyone who belongs to one of the other factions because the very nature of a faction is ultimately to put ideology before humanity and common sense. One of their faction abilities is the ability to detect members of the other 14 factions the way Paladins can detect evil. (This explicitly detects factional loyalty, not just formal membership, and as a result can turn up false positives — a visitor from a Prime world who's highly devoted to a god of death and has never heard of the Dustmen can still turn up as a Dustman on an Indep's radar.)
- We ARE Struggling Together: The Free League only exists because of the Lady's edict during the Great Upheaval making their members fear being forced into the ideology of one of the other factions. And what organization and resources they have as a faction only exists because of their ongoing persecution by the Harmonium. Indeps are so generally resistant to being told what to do that membership in the faction grants a +2 save bonus against all charm spells (and other mind-affecting abilities).
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: This more or less sums up the relationship between the Harmonium and the Free League.
Harmonium (Hardheads)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.
- Chaos Is Evil: The cornerstone of their factional doctrine; harmony is the only worthy goal, and opposing that, even by just having a different opinion of what harmony means, is evil.
- Charm Person: Despite the well-earned negative reputation the Harmonium has among many Sigil denizens, the sheer strength of their convictions can still impress people — enough to manifest as a charm person ability all Harmonium members get to use once per day, which plays a major role in them keeping their status as Sigil's official policemen. Higher-level Harmonium members get to impose their will over others directly, with a dominate person-like ability known as dictate.
- City Guards: Of Sigil, before the Faction War.
- Dirty Cop: Because of how willing the Hardheads can be to exploit their power as Sigil's City Guards, and how they close ranks in the face of external interference, this is the (rather justified!) stereotype the Sigilites have of them.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: According to legend, they started as nothing more than a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, like the typical adventuring party. They grew into an Army of Thieves and Whores, then a well-disciplined army, and eventually, an army of such great size that they brought order and peace (or their perception of it) to Orthos. (But then they figured, why stop there?)
- Good Is Not Nice: The Harmonium's intentions and overall goal are benevolent, but their actions in pursuit of it... well, see below.
- 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 includes Chaotic 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.
- Once Done, Never Forgotten: 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 Is Not Good: Despite their view that Chaos Is Evil, the Harmonium are practically Sigil's poster-boys for how being too devoted to Law above all else can make you a monster as bad as any fiend.
- 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.
- 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. Needless to say, Lawful alignment is essential to joining the Hardheads... of course, maybe if they were willing to cut out the Lawful Evil members as well, they might not be as bad at doing what they say they want to do.
- Patron Deity: Most of them regard the Oeridian god of justice St. Cuthbert as their patron; he is worshipped by most spiritual leaders within the faction.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Despite the awful reputation the Hardheads have developed from letting Dirty Cops into their ranks to abuse their authority, the main reason they've managed to keep their position as long as they have is that their Factol Sarin, a Paladin, is a genuinely charismatic and likable man with truly incorruptible Lawful Good ideals, who's about as much of a Nice Guy as you could reasonably expect a Hardhead to be. Unfortunately, for all his best efforts, the current corrupt state of the Harmonium is also all you could reasonably expect a police organization overseeing a city like Sigil to be.
- Resignations Not Accepted: Disobeying an order from a superior in the Harmonium instantly results in very harsh magically-enforced penalties that can only be lifted with an atonement spells; betraying or trying to leave the Harmonium merits summary execution.
- Take Over the World: As easy it is to mock them for their hubris and their many failures once they tried going extraplanar, they have in fact already succeeded at this goal on their Prime world of Ortho and eliminating all challenges to their rule there, something almost no Big Bad (or Big Good) of any D&D setting has come close to doing. They are extremely open about their goal to eventually do this to The Multiverse as a whole, after taking over Sigil as a staging point, and having already established themselves as the city's police force they're arguably better positioned to do this than any other faction.
- 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.
Mercykillers (The Red Death)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.
- All Crimes Are Equal: Mercykillers don't execute every criminal they catch, but death is by far their preferred penalty and it's everything Arwyl Swan's Son and other Lawful Good members can do to keep punishments within reasonable limits. And a criminal who resists punishment or seeks to escape will be cut down without hesitation — the one unshakable premise of the Mercykiller philosophy is that if there's any threat at all to an innocent person's life (their own or a bystander's) a guilty person's life is completely worthless in comparison.
- Became Their Own Antithesis: The Mercykillers are the unlikely fusion of two previous sects with wildly different beliefs than the Knight Templar faction they currently are. The Sons of Mercy were a pacifistic All-Loving Hero sect that believed in Save the Villain to Honor Before Reason levels; the Sodkillers were Lawful Evil thugs who would take anybody's money to take out someone who "wronged" them without caring much what the "criminal" actually did. When the two sects were forced to combine during the Great Upheaval to avoid being wiped out by the Lady, they forged a great compromise between their two philosophies; after the Faction War seemingly proves their philosophy to be a failure, the Mercykillers break up into the Sons of Mercy and Sodkillers again.
- Black-and-White Morality: The basis of the Mercykiller philosophy — their whole purpose in life is separating the innocent from the guilty and ensuring the guilty are punished. They will not hear any talk of gray areas in between innocence and guilt — their worldview requires that everyone be one or the other.
- The Determinator: If you break the law, they will find you.
- Fluffy Tamer: Their mascot is a wyvern called the Wyrm, which was kept in a tower near the Prison. Mostly it's a pet, but it did have uses; first of all, the worst criminals that received the death penalty (usually for betraying the city) were fed to the Wyrm. Second, its venom could be made into Truth Serums, making interrogations incredibly easy.
- 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. Of course, one reason the crime rate around the Prison is almost zero was due to too many rumors of them breaking that rule.
- The Jailer: Being in charge of the Prison pretty much means they control Sigil's correction system.
- Knight Templar: Only MUCH more so than the Harmonium; the Lawful Evil side of the Mercykillers holds far more sway over the faction than it does in the Harmonium.
- Lawful Neutral: 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.
- Living Lie Detector: All Mercykillers can magically detect lies once per day, as a result of their tireless devotion to justice and separating the innocent from the guilty.
- Mercy Kill: Subverted — despite the name, they do not kill out of mercy, but rather without any mercy at all, killing the concept of mercy itself.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: "Mercykiller" is an Ironic Name; the reason wrongdoers are killed isn't really concern for their welfare but for their victims', and what the name really means is that their members kill their own sense of mercy in their hearts to do what must be done. Their faction nickname, the "Red Death", is even scarier.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: The nature of the Mercykillers' Black-and-White Morality is that nothing done to an evil person, in redress of the evil they committed, can itself be evil — which is why so many of them have an All Crimes Are Equal Kill 'Em All! attitude and several of them are fine with Jumping Off the Slippery Slope to torture and other atrocities. They not only completely reject the logic of He Who Fights Monsters, they embrace the reverse — showing mercy to a criminal compounds the original crime and implicates you in it. Letting a murderer go free amounts to condoning the murder and the victim's blood is now on your hands as well.
- Psycho Supporter: Factol Alisohn Nilesia was essentially this for Fated Factol Rowan Darkwood before his betrayal; she had agreed to his We Can Rule Sigil Together offer not only because she was madly in love with him, but also because she was insane enough to believe that current ruler The Lady of Pain wished to be executed by her as punishment for her countless crimes.
- Token Good Teammate: Arwyl Swan's Son is the highest-ranking Mercykiller with a Lawful Good alignment (a Paladin and former Purple Dragon Knight from the land of Cormyr in the world of Toril) and serves as Factol Nilesia's second-in-command, doing his best to try to restrain the faction's Knight Templar qualities and make sure that only the truly guilty face Nilesia's harsh brand of justice. After the Faction War, he decides the Mercykillers' philosophy is unsalvageable and breaks away to reform the Sons of Mercy.
Revolutionary League (Anarchists)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.
- In a sense, they got exactly what they wanted at the end of the Faction War: all the factions, even theirs, were gone as the major players in Sigil. What they should do next is a matter of hot debate between the various cells of the faction.
- As Long as There Is One Man: A pretty big part of the League's philosophy, and how the League seems to justify so many of its cells wiping themselves out in petty Suicide Missions to serve as Inspirational Martyrs (a dark take on the real-life anarchist concept of "propaganda of the deed").
- Bomb Throwing Anarchist: A stereotype of the Revolutionary League, and not entirely inaccurate; the League is willing to do just about anything to bring down the factions.
- Conspiracy Theorist: The League generally believes that all power structures and authorities in The Multiverse are in some sense "in on it together", from the pettiest local fiefdoms on the Prime all the way up to the gods and the Lady herself, although they don't tend to have a clear consensus on what form exactly this conspiracy takes — they just agree that this means any act to strike against any authority figure ultimately helps the cause of freedom.
- Order Versus Chaos: The League is firmly on the side of "Chaos", which prevents them from taking in members of the Lawful alignments, and thus their relationship with the Factions is colored by this lens; they bear the greatest enmity for those factions that strongly promote a Lawful viewpoint, namely the trinity of Guvners, Hardheads and Mercykillers. Those factions with more Chaotic leanings are less important to the average Anarchist.
- The Mole: Their faction superpower is the ability to insert themselves into another faction and remain undetected, even by magic (although they don't get access to a faction member's special abilities). All members of the League can learn rogue non-weapon proficiencies without penalty (and rogues get a +2 to rolls on these proficiencies) to represent their training as secret operatives.
- Perpetual Poverty: Anarchists make it an actual personal vow that they can never hold a position of power, own a business, or even accumulate more wealth than they need to live on (represented in-game as having to give away 90% of any GP earned adventuring to the faction or to charity). They can break this rule for the sake of carrying out a mission while infiltrating another organization under a false identity, but cannot do so "as themselves".
- Properly Paranoid: The extremely loose-knit "cell" structure of the Revolutionary League, whilst it does sometimes hinder its ability to work together, has kept it safe from the Harmonium for centuries.
- Refuge in Audacity: Their infiltration skills — see The Mole — are so advanced that one of them actually made it all the way to the rank of factol of the Harmonium, only to get a little too eager and try to immediately order the entire Harmonium to dissolve, which the rest of the Harmonium, obviously, did not blindly obey and ended up getting his secret uncovered and the Harmonium claiming it was a double-bluff to expose the Anarchists all along.
- We ARE Struggling Together: The League is so loosely-knit, communication between cells so poor, and distrust so rampant, that it frequently works against its own interests. "The Factol's Manifesto" explicitly states that the Revolutionary League has ultimately achieved nothing because it's too disorganized to bring its strength to bear, and often acts at cross-purpose to itself.
Sign of One (Signers)A faction who believe that a person's willpower defines reality around them.
- All Just a Dream: Higher-ranked Signers call themselves "dreamers" and believe that all of observable reality is literally just the dream of a single entity known as the One, and each of them believes/hopes to discover the One is themselves.
- Be Yourself: One of the tenets of this faction is that everyone should be free to express their true self and true desires as freely as possible, allowing the world to see whose desires are powerful enough to come true. This is how the Sign of One's faction HQ became the Hall of Speakers, the civic meeting place where the law of freedom of speech — no matter how vile or offensive that speech may be — is strongly enforced. (See Stupid Neutral.)
- Beyond the Impossible: The Will of the One splinter sect hopes to prove their candidate for the One is truly the capital-G God of the planes by having him Imagine something thought to be impossible — defying the consensus belief of the planes by singlehandedly bringing a dead god back to life. Not just any god, either, but the dead god Aoskar, thus defying not only the consensus belief of all other beings in The Multiverse but the will of the Lady of Pain herself. Factol Darius of the Sign of One proper is extremely wary of this project, for obvious reasons, but the Will is gaining increasing support from rank-and-file Signers who are impatient for their belief system to finally achieve tangible results.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: A solipsistic variant.
- Cult of Personality: A splinter sect of the Signers, the Will of the One, claims to have successfully found the One and that it's the bauriar Mad Oracle Terwolfe. Even though finding the One is supposed to be the goal of the faction, most Signers are obviously very reluctant to believe that it could be someone other than themselves, even though Terwolfe has had more predictions come true than anyone else in the faction. It doesn't help that there's some fairly obvious signs he's a Puppet King being manipulated by his "interpreter", Prisine.
- Deader Than Dead: A Signer that accidentally believes themselves out of existence could only be restored by a Wish spell or another Signer managing to believe them back into existence.
- Foil: Their belief system is an exact inversion of that of the Transcendent Order, which believes in suppressing the ego and letting your actions be driven by intuition born by emptying your mind and being highly attuned to external reality. The Ciphers have been low-key at war with the Signers since they were founded.
- It's All About Me: This is literally the central belief of all members, but funnily enough not all of them are jerks.
- Narcissist: This is a group that claims one person is the center of the universe, and while they are at a loss to reveal who, they are certain this person is a Signer. As a result, they come across as this, and as much as some of them try to compensate for this other people find them very difficult to like. (This manifests as a -2 penalty to reaction rolls and loyalty checks from NPCs.)
- Morton's Fork: When the Sign of One found themselves at war with the Bleak Cabal they responded by publicly announcing they were all collectively imagining the death of the Bleakers' current Factol Nobey. When Nobey died peacefully in his bed shortly afterwards, the Bleakers were unable to hold the Signers accountable for his death without admitting that their belief system was valid, and were forced to let the feud go — although this only stoked the hatred the Bleakers privately hold for the Signers.
- Photographic Memory: Memory is a skill almost as prized among Signers as the ability to make true predictions of the future, since in their belief system the past and future only even exist insomuch as someone in the present is thinking about them. Factor Sarazh has a genuinely photographic memory of everything that's happened to her in her lifetime, and this ability makes her highly prized by the faction.
- Power at a Price: Imagining, the power to reshape reality through sheer force of will, is not risk-free; if the Signer's mind wavers at the wrong moment, it can be disastrous. Factotums who roll a "1" on their Imagining check suffer a backlash, as they inadvertently convince themselves that they are figments of imagination; this reduces them to a phantasmal version of themselves, until they can manage to convince themselves that they are real and thus Imagine themselves back to reality. Factors, whose Imagining power is proportionally greater, suffer proportionally greater risks; on a roll of a "1", their conviction in their nonexistence causes their powers to erase them from existence.
- Reality Warper: The key claim the Signers make is that someone who fully mastered their belief system and turned out to be the One would be capable of this — changing reality by will alone, without the need for the rules and systems that characterize D&D Functional Magic. In theory, the One would be completely omnipotent by definition — since the world doesn't even exist except as something they're imagining — but the Signers believe that whoever the One is, they're currently "asleep" and unaware of their nature and the Sign of One is their mind's way of trying to "wake them up". (This is what makes Terwolfe, a Mad Oracle and/or Mad God who's barely capable of taking care of himself between his brief moments of lucidity in which he makes predictions, a good candidate for the Will of the One splinter sect.)
- Ret-Gone: It has not been proven, but many detractors claim they can (and have) made some of their opposition disappear from existence simply by willing it. Of course, if it is true, it seems unusual for a detractor to say this and thus confirm their claims.
- This can actually befall Signers themselves if they fumble their Imagination power!
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: In the literal sense. Many unscrupulous Signers force their predictions of the future to come true, not through pure will and imagination like they're supposed to, but through mundane manipulation, bribes and violent force. It's pretty obvious to anyone not in the Sign of One that this is how Prisine is making Terwolfe's predictions come true to fuel her Will of the One splinter sect.
- Stupid Neutral: The Sign of One is seen as extreme even by other neutral factions — even the most libertarian-minded Indeps would be shocked at how little alignment or background matters to Signers, with fiends cordially rubbing elbows with celestials in the Hall of Speakers. In order to accept the faction's philosophy, you pretty much have to decide that because the world is All Just a Dream, traditional morality doesn't matter very much — either you're only a figment of the One's imagination, in which case nothing you do matters, or you are the One, in which case crude violence against your own figments is a waste of energy and the best way to uphold your values is to work on unlocking your true nature and imagining a better world.
- Think Happy Thoughts: The Sign of One proselytizes by offering this advice as a way to make your troubles go away. Since this amounts to blaming those who are chronically depressed and suffering for their own pain, the Bleak Cabal in particular finds this attitude hugely offensive and has fiercely opposed the Sign of One since their founding. This led to the incident mentioned above in Morton's Fork.
- True Sight: Their signature power, although they see it as their visions creating reality rather than accurately reflecting it. All Signers by default have a +2 to saves against illusion magic, and it's only possible to join the faction and to advance in it by making predictions about the future that come true (with increasing specificity as you rise in the ranks).
- Wowing Cthulhu: The Sign of One has a pretty big Dark Secret that might make them less popular if it were more widely known — Bel, the pit field who ascended to become one of the Lords of the Nine in Baator, was an adherent to the Sign of One's philosophy, and believes he only became Lord of Avernus by "imagining" his ascension into being. As a result, he believes he owes the faction a favor, and some of their success can be attributed to quietly having his protection and support.
- Your Mind Makes It Real: This is both the core of the faction's belief and the benefit bestowed by faction membership; higher members of the faction can literally create things out of thin air, or destroy them, just by willing it to happen. However, this isn't entirely risk-free...
Society of Sensation (Sensates)A faction who believe that the multiverse only exists insofar as you can experience; thus, by experiencing all the multiverse has to offer, you will understand the true purpose behind existence.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The Factol has a secret plan few others know about, to find a way for the Society — and eventually all mortals — to transcend their physical bodies while keeping their personalities intact, allowing them to live eternally and accumulate new experiences without mortal limitations.
- Bigger on the Inside: The Festhall has been dimensionally expanded beyond what its exterior walls can hold.
- Coolest Club Ever: The Civic Festhall, complete with the trope about members of every other faction desperately trying to get into it, and only being allowed if they bring to the table something that makes them cool enough to share sensation with.
- The Sensates own several other clubs, pubs, inns and meeting houses in Sigil — Factol Montgomery believes their dominance of Sigil's hospitality and entertainment industry makes them the true Man Behind the Man of the city.
- Data Crystal: They create the Sensory Stones, a magitek equivalent to this.
- Drama Queen: Sensates are known for having this personality trait both on and off the stage, with reenacting the experiences they've collected as performances at Ren Hall one of their favorite pastimes.
- Everyone Has Standards: For the sake of keeping the peace with other factions the Sensates officially have a moral code of not involving others in their experience-collecting without their consent, and avoiding experiences that cause permanent harm to themselves or others. They aren't always terribly scrupulous about this, though, especially when traveling on other planes.
- The Hedonist: Some Sensates are this, but they are looked down upon by most true Sensates and quietly pushed out of the way.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: The Gilded Hall of Arborea, a secondary home of the Sensates, is privately seen by the Factol as a holding pen for failed Sensates who couldn't make it all the way in the faction — it's an eternal paradise of only positive sensations, food and wine and sex, for those who couldn't handle the true mission of the Society to collect all possible experiences in The Multiverse. "True" Sensates deliberately avoid this fate for themselves and push themselves to constantly be seeking out new and different experiences (hence putting a strict limit on usage of the Sensory Stones).
- Sense Freak: This is the aspiration of the Sensates as a whole; because the multiverse only exists in so far as you have experienced it, you need to get out there and experience more things. This is treated as a mechanical weakness, where they cannot resist an open offer of a novel experience of some kind unless the negative consequences are obvious and extreme.
- Shrouded in Myth: Even more ominous than the seemingly meaningless emblem of the helmet-and-starburst in Sigil's Gatehouse used by the Bleak Cabal as their symbol is the seemingly meaningful mosaic embedded in the floor of the Civic Festhall's Sanctum Sanctorum, which appears to be of the Lady of Pain. The origins of the Society are lost to the mists of time, and there are many disturbing implications that the Society, unlike all the other factions, has some direct connection to the Lady herself.
- Super Senses: All Sensates have these due to long practice, manifesting as all having 60-ft infravision (regardless of whether that's normally available to their race) and a +1 bonus to saves vs. poison and surprise.
- Transferable Memory: The Sensates use their Sensory Stones to duplicate memories and hold them in storage, so anyone can use that Stone to experience all facets of that memory as if they were actually there. This makes being a Sensate more achievable, as it allows a member to experience things that they are either physically incapable of doing (for example, flying under their own power), or unwilling to do (cheat on a loved one, have a limb cut off, etc). They also make a very profitable income by allowing non-Sensates to use the Sensory Stones themselves, for a fee.
- World's Most Beautiful Woman: Factol Erin Montgomery is considered a candidate for this title.
Transcendent Order (Ciphers)A faction believing that instinct is superior to thought and so the body must be trained to act without conscious thought in order to achieve true transcendence.
- Balance Between Good and Evil: Most higher-ups in the Order believe in this, and the Order seems to naturally tend toward this in its own membership — a Good character who joins is usually balanced shortly after by an Evil character, or vice versa, and the same applies to the Law/Chaos axis. Their actions as a faction tend to follow this pattern, intervening only to stop any other faction from becoming too powerful.
- Don't Think, Feel: All members of the faction must act on their first impulse, as per Factional doctrine. (On a metagame level the DM is encouraged not to let a character advance in the Transcendent Order unless their player really is making an effort to act on their immediate impulses without lengthy decision-making at the gaming table.)
- Enlightenment Superpowers: The Ciphers have a version of this that's more true to the Buddhist philosophy it comes from than any other faction — they believe the best way to gain excellence at any skill is to eliminate internal conflict by suppressing ego and consciousness, simply allowing yourself to freely react without judgment.
- Fantasy Counterpart Religion: Of Zen Buddhists
- Finishing Each Other's Sentences: One of the less-physical exercises Ciphers do with each other to practice being in tune with each other and not speaking or acting until the Cadence moves them. Faction "council meetings" in the Transcendent Order often pass in long periods of silence before everyone suddenly agrees on the same decision, the exact opposite of the loud, lengthy debates held in the Sign of One's Hall of Speakers.
- Karma Houdini: While very little of the responsibility for the Faction War falls on them, they were virtually untouched and unpunished for it. While no longer an organization with an official charter, former members still run the Great Gymnasium, unofficially spreading their ideals through the Cage and the Planes, while Rhys was the only Factol not killed or sent to the Mazes during the War, and is now a member of Sigil's city council.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Well, not exactly, but their philosophy gives a Player Character who joins a rather unique penalty: once he has decided on an action, he is not allowed to change his mind. (In other words, this is where a "no takebacks" rule is mandatory for a player). This does not mean the Player will always become a Leeroy Jenkins, but it might increase the risk or it happening.
- Magic Music: The metaphor the Order uses for letting your actions be guided by intuitive understanding of external reality is "the Cadence of the Planes", a sort of heartbeat or rhythm they train themselves to be attuned to, and which they're trained to "listen" for rather than "looking" (which for most humanoid races serves as a reminder to Don't Think, Feel).
- Our Ancestors Are Superheroes: There are no identifiable Powers who were once mortal Ciphers, but the Order believes all of their former factols are with them in a more subtle sense, having merged with the Cadence of the Planes, and continue to guide them from beyond without the need for individual identity or worship. Most outsiders scoff at this belief, but it is possible for Ciphers of the priest class to receive divine spells based on this belief.
- Psychic Block Defense: Higher-level Ciphers are able to channel the "empty mind" meditation taught by this faction into a bonus to saving throws against mind-affecting spells.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Factol Rhys is one of the most popular of the faction leaders — with her True Neutral alignment, she has a reputation for not taking sides, and her mastery of the Transcendent Order's philosophy means she gives the impression of constantly being attentive to other people's needs and desires rather than her own.
- Shrouded in Myth: In some ways the most mysterious of the factions — their philosophy specifically prohibits them from writing down much about their beliefs or their history, hence their nickname the "Ciphers".
- Super Reflexes: Ciphers are trained to react instinctively and without unnecessary hesitation or thought, which manifests mechanically as a +1 to initiative rolls.
- True Neutral: The official alignment of the faction. Members must be neutral on at least one of the two axes to join, and tend to evolve toward True Neutrality as they gain a greater understanding of the Order's teachings.
Xaositects (Chaosmen)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.
- Achievements in Ignorance: For all the Harmonium's precautions and training, one Harmonium factol was successfully assassinated by a Xaositect just randomly throwing an hourglass at him on the street and landing a lucky "critical hit".
- Acting Unnatural: The Chaosmen have their own brand of the Transcendent Order's "Cadence" — a true Xaositect knows another by sight, because a Xaositect always does whatever the hell they feel like without any room for scruples or rational thought. Anyone who puts any conscious effort into trying to "pretend" to be a Chaosman sticks out like a sore thumb.
- Ax-Crazy: One of the epithets for Xaositects is "barmy". They may not all literally be insane but they like giving outsiders this impression. They are outright barred from engaging in long-term organization or planning if they want to stay in the faction.
- Beware the Silly Ones: The Xaositects' reputation as goofball pranksters, and the tendency of their nemeses the Harmonium to look like right berks trying to put a stop to their antics, distracts a lot of people from realizing just how high the body count of one of their "pranks" usually ends up being.
- Black Speech: All Xaositects get the use of babble as a spell-like ability once a week.
- 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.
- Driven to Madness: Not all Chaosmen actually are insane, but a small subfaction of the Evil side of the faction have taken to outright torturing innocent people into madness in order to "recruit" them to Xaos.
- Entropy and Chaos Magic: A Xaositect who rises in power in the faction gains access to an increasing number of chaos-themed spells and abilities, at DM discretion.
- Gang of Hats: The closest thing the Xaositects have to "organization" is all wearing the Xaos symbol somewhere on them so they can recognize each other on the street when it's time to start something.
- Generic Graffiti: The Xaositects are responsible for most of the graffiti in Sigil, much of which is just ugly, unsightly tags of the Xaos symbol, some of which is bizarre (like painting the Hall of Speakers pink) and a few examples of which are stunningly beautiful artistic masterpieces.
- I Have Many Names: The Xaositects as they are now seem to be a very young faction, but historians of Sigil point out that the basic idea behind them is one that recurs constantly with different names throughout the city's history (as the Xaosophiles, the Discordant Opposition, the Ochlocrats, etc.)
- It Amused Me: The only reason a Chaosman will admit to having for doing anything, taking the idea behind the Transcendent Order or the Society of Sensation to antisocial extremes.
- Mad Artist: Many of the not-as-stupid members qualify. The Painter is a tiefling member who has become a celebrity of sorts for her large and vivid murals, while the Gate Town of Xaos and Limbo itself (where they have a strong presence) is home to many artists, some of which specialize in Chaos Shaping.
- The Navigator: A paradoxical feature of the Chaosmen is that they're so attuned to the chaos of daily life in Sigil that they have an uncanny ability to navigate the city's mazelike structure and to know where lost objects and people in the city can be found (by rolling a simple Wisdom check).
- Out-of-Character Moment: There was an incident a while back where the Harmonium was deeply disturbed by the Xaositects all suddenly reverting to acting like normal, decent citizens for about a week. This wasn't so much a conscious attempt to troll the Hardheads as it was a result of the fact that chaos has to be contrasted with order sometimes in order to truly be chaos.
- Painting the Medium: Xaositect text tends to be represented by wacky fonts, capitalization and text color to depict their bizarre way of talking and writing.
- Powder Keg Crowd: The Xaositects are very proud of an incident some years ago where they took advantage of a period of growing tension among the other factions to start a completely random, senseless riot that ignited a civil war among all the other factions as they tried to either take advantage of it or get it under control, almost burning the entire city to the ground.
- Player Headquarters: A rare case of an organization who averts this. They call the Hive their headquarters, but don't have a specific building to meet in. Members usually light special torches that burn with violet fire for when they want to organize and event, and members are told to look for those.
- Spell My Name with an "S": They prefer to treat the word "chaos" as a Greek word spelling it "xaos" (with the Latin X standing in for the Greek chi), although they aren't particularly insistent about it and many sources call them simply "Chaosmen".
- Wrong Side of the Tracks: The Xaositects haunt the Hive Ward, the impoverished slums of Sigil, and embody the ugly stereotype of a bored street gang made up of idle youths speaking bizarre cant who will violently assault any outsider who comes into their territory just because they can (in an homage to A Clockwork Orange and the like).
These factions were created out of the ashes of those of the Fifteen Factions destroyed after the Faction War, although whether the term "faction" is still meaningful at that point is debatable.
The Mind's Eye (Seekers, Visionaries)
After the Faction War, the Believers of the Source and the Sign of One both disband as factions, with the Godsmen having grown impatient with their lack of progress at finding a reliable ladder of ascension to godhood and the Signers having had their reputation badly tarnished by the fiasco involving the Will of the One splinter sect. The survivors combine to form a new faction based on inward-looking self-exploration without either the Godsmen's or the Signers' insistence on a specific goal at the end of this journey, and take to wandering the multiverse via the Outlands seeking new experiences rather than staying in Sigil.
- It's All About Me: The new faction isn't quite as intent on directly encouraging a narcissist worldview as the old Sign of One, but the Mind's Eye's detractors still joke that it should be called the Mind's "I". Seekers tend to see their travels through the planes as a story centered on themselves and see other beings as only relevant as "secondary characters" who teach them more about themselves in their interactions.
- The Godsmen originally had the mechanical benefit of being well-liked by most planars by default; the Seekers are now automatically disliked the same way the Signers were, with many planars angry that the Godsmen gave up their goal of helping people become morally and spiritually better in favor of masturbatory "self-discovery" that the Signers preached.
- Journey to Find Oneself: The new purpose of the Mind's Eye. They no longer profess to know what the secret power hidden within every soul is — whether it's to ascend to the ranks of the existing Powers by proving one's moral worth through reincarnation, or to "awaken" as the true God dreaming all reality via the power of imagination. They just believe there is one, and that all beings can benefit by seeking out experiences designed to test them and reveal their inner character.
- Walking the Earth: The Seeker MO is to walk The Multiverse seeking whatever new and different experiences might fulfill the vague goal of "learning who they really are". They differ from the Sensates in that they don't seek out all possible experiences for the sake of experiencing them, but believe every soul's journey is unique to themselves.
The Second Wave
After the Faction War officially dissolved the Fifteen Factions as a power structure within Sigil, the Revolutionary League was left at a loss for a purpose, with their immediate goal having just been fulfilled. The majority of the Anarchists decided their faction's "victory" in the Faction War was a sign it was time to switch from breaking to building, and that it was time to figure out a way to rule Sigil under new, more enlightened government (whose form they still haven't agreed on).
A minority of dissidents, calling themselves the Second Wave, refused to accept this, believing that the goal of tearing down power structures and authorities must never end and the new, peaceful Anarchists have betrayed their beliefs. The Second Wave believes in spreading throughout the planes and the Prime Material worlds, overthrowing governments on the scale of empires and of villages, until true freedom is somehow achieved.
- Anarchy Is Chaos: They fully embrace this negative stereotype of the original Anarchists — they refuse to believe that any governing system could ever be worthy to rule over others, even one they come up with themselves. Vaguely based on a strawman understanding of the Trotskyist concept of "permanent revolution".
- Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: The big distinction between them and the mainstream Anarchists is their refusal to ever stop throwing bombs.
- Full-Circle Revolution: They accuse the original Anarchists who are willing to take power and form a new government to rebuild Sigil of being this, or else being The Revolutionaries Who Don't Do Anything.
- The Mole: They've evolved this ability beyond the level of the original Anarchists, now able to use Entropy and Chaos Magic to become actual Shapeshifting Tricksters who can create whole new identities to infiltrate various organizations.
- Terrorists Without a Cause: What the Second Wave has been reduced to, in the eyes of their critics. They'll join up with any revolutionary movement anywhere, regardless of how reprehensible or pointless it is, as long as it fits their vague ethos of undermining existing power structures.
The Minder's Guild (Sodkillers)
One of the two factions the Mercykillers split into after the death of Factol Nilesia during the Faction War. Composed of all the evil-aligned or evil-leaning Mercykillers who revolted after Arwyl Swan's Son took over the faction and began releasing prisoners. In response to Arwyl resurrecting the ancient beliefs of the Sons of Mercy, they name themselves the returning Sodkillers, and establish the Minder's Guild as mercenaries and guards-for-hire for Sigil's wealthy.
- Blood Knight: As their name implies, they really like killing people and will take any excuse to do it.
- Day of the Jackboot: What it usually looks like when they arrive on the scene.
- Despotism Justifies the Means: Their primary motivation. They enjoy the exercise of authority through violent force for its own sake.
- The Empire: Their goal is essentially to become this.
- Enemy Mine: Ironically, many of the new recruits who joined the Sodkillers after the Faction War were among the criminals Arwyl let out of the Prison in the first place, the event that sparked the Mercykillers' split. Since most of the former Red Death who became Sodkillers were in the faction for the chance to hurt people more than they really cared about justice, this doesn't pose that much of a problem.
- Legacy Character: The Sons of Mercy and Sodkillers were two very different factions that originally combined to form the Mercykillers during the Great Upheaval, and following the Faction War split up again.
- Might Makes Right: Their philosophy, insofar as they can be said to really have one.
- Psycho for Hire: The Sodkillers hire themselves out to anyone with the jink who needs other people put in their place. They'd like to be the iron-fisted rulers themselves someday, but that will have to wait until the heat dies down from after the Lady's edict abolishing the factions.
- The Unfettered: They believe all problems can be solved through the use of physical force and holding back on killing troublemakers only prolongs societal chaos. The willingness to kill is what sets them apart as superior to the masses.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Their reaction to most moral dilemmas faced by most governments in the rest of the planes.
The Sons of Mercy
One of the two factions the Mercykillers split into after the death of Factol Nilesia during the Faction War. Led by Arwyl Swan's Son, Nilesia's former second-in-command, who decides the Mercykillers' philosophy of harsh punishment for all crimes has failed, symbolically cuts the noose down from the gallows at the Sigil Prison, and begins releasing the inmates, preaching a new doctrine of kindness and forbearance.
- The Atoner: Arwyl's driving motivation is to try to atone for the corruption and abuse he enabled as a Token Good Teammate for Nilesia while he served in the Mercykillers.
- By-the-Book Cop: With the Harmonium abandoning Sigil in the wake of the Faction War, the Sons of Mercy have set themselves up as both police and jailers, and are attempting to enforce law and order without any of the corruption or chicanery the Hardheads used. Unfortunately, they're learning that being Highly Conspicuous law enforcers who scrupulously respect the rights of the accused makes it easy for criminals to run rings around them.
- Cardboard Prison: A recurring criticism of the way the Sons of Mercy now run the Prison, trying to believe the best of any criminal who claims to have been rehabilitated.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Very much this compared to their parent faction or to any of the original fifteen factions. Time will tell if they can keep it up.
- Legacy Character: The Sons of Mercy and Sodkillers were two very different factions that originally combined to form the Mercykillers during the Great Upheaval, and following the Faction War split up again.
- The Paladin: Arwyl Swan's Son is a Paladin from the prime world of Toril, and runs the new Sons of Mercy faction according to the tenets of his original Paladin order.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: The Sons of Mercy's new philosophy is to tirelessly work toward eliminating crime, but to only punish criminals proportionately to their offense and to do so in a way that maximizes the chance for rehabilitation (generally in the form of making them Work Off the Debt to their victim).
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: The biggest change between them and the Mercykillers is that they have stopped practicing execution as a punishment at all, even for murderers, who are instead given life imprisonment, and will only use lethal force in immediate self-defense or defense of others.
- To Be Lawful or Good: The Sons of Mercy believe the old Mercykillers swung way too far on the Lawful side of this pendulum and are now pushing back to the side of Good, to a degree that many feel approaches Honor Before Reason.
SectsIntroduced in assorted Planescape sourcebooks, perhaps at their earliest in the sourcebook In The Cage: A Guide to Sigil, sects are essentially the "little brothers" of the factions. Like factions, sects are strong philosophy-motivated organisations and groups, but unlike factions, sects do not necessarily evangelize for membership. They also lack the strong political influence of the factions, and have no inherent ties to the running of Sigil — in fact, they're typically focused on specific regions of the planes, although individuals may show up in Sigil. Some argue that the factions are basically sects that grew big enough to seize political power in Sigil, especially since there's little mechanical difference between the two, both before and after the Faction War. This is only emphasized by the fact that many sects are actually all that's left of now-fallen factions or even represent splinter-beliefs within the governance of a faction. It's possible to belong to both a sect and a faction simultaneously, although it's considered gauche to make a show of it.
The Anarchs' Guild (Anarchs)The Anarchs' Guild is a sect of githzerai who have devoted themselves to the signature art of "shaping", using the highly-morphic nature of the Plane of Limbo where the githzerai live to create tools, objects or even whole structures and environments out of the stuff of pure chaos.
Specifically a cultural tradition of the githzerai nation, and are only regarded as a "sect" in the Planescape sense because their existence is so tied to the Outer Planes and their special skills are so widely prized. They have little to no interest in the politics of Sigil and no non-githzerai may ever join their ranks.
- Evil Plan: According to the writeup on mimir.net, the current chant about the Guild is that its leader, Creator Xarnig Yur-Thasrole, is growing restless and feeling underappreciated by the rest of zerth society. He is putting together a plan to seize power over the warriors and priests and establish the Guild as unambiguously the highest caste among the zerth, and may be willing to defy the Zaerth himself to do it.
- A God Am I: The ability to create objects from pure will tends to lead Shapers to this over time, which may be part of why their current leader developed their Evil Plan.
- Name's the Same: The Guild of Anarchs and the Revolutionary League, who are nicknamed "Anarchists", have almost nothing in common. The Anarchs are named for the plane they live on but are defined by their ability to maintain order against chaos, and in terms of politics they're highly supportive of the government of the god-king Zaerth Menyar-Ag-Gith (but see Evil Plan).
- Reality Warper: All githzerai have some natural ability to do this while on Limbo, but only the most talented and skilled are admitted to the ranks of the Anarchs. It is said the Anarchs' Guild was responsible for raising the Floating City of Shra'kt'lor from nothing.
- Resignations Not Accepted: Any githzerai who joins the Guild is expected to stay in it for life; each Shaper from the Guild is assigned to a specific city or fortress for the rest of their life, with them expected to know every inch of it and held responsible for literally maintaining its structural integrity against Chaos.
- The Smart Guy: The githzerai, like their githyanki cousins, are known for stereotypically being the Magic Knight. The Anarchs are an exception, and generally eschew physical combat completely to focus entirely on intellectual pursuits and the Shaping Art (their leader is a level 12 Wizard). This has fueled their self-perception as different from and secretly superior to the rest of zerth society — see below.
- The Smart One Turns Traitor: The Anarchs see themselves as the "smart ones" relative to the rest of zerth society — the only ones who truly understand the Plane of Limbo where they live — and are preparing to do this.
ArchonitesThe Archonites are essentially a religion based on Mt. Celestia that venerates the archons. Only truly notable as a sect because of being based in the Outer Planes, and because unlike a true religion (in the D&D sense) the archons are not gods and do not actively seek worship.
- Actual Pacifist: The Archonites are not required to be pacifistic, but militant members of the sect are rare; people who primarily admire the archons' martial prowess are more typically drawn to the Order of the Planes-Militant or the Harmonium. A small minority of Militant Archonite churches exist, but the vast majority are either focused on preaching and conversion (the Sapient branch of the church) or on personal self-improvement (the Penitent branch).
- Apocalypse Cult: A benign version. By working hard at improving themselves and making the planes a better place, the Archonites hope for a positive apocalypse where God (Sophia) returns to The Multiverse and fixes all the chaos and evil in it.
- Celestial Paragons and Archangels: The Archonites are a religion based on the Crown Archons, the ruling celestials of the seven layers of the plane of Mt. Celestia. (The Crown Archons only exist in the online writeup formerly hosted at mimir.net, and are a layer of authority above the Tome Archons that move freely through the planes rather than being restricted to a single layer.)
- Church of Saint Genericus: To the extent they have any presence in Sigil, it's because their houses of worship conveniently serve as this — members of faiths somewhere in the Lawful Good quadrant are generally okay with meeting up at Archonite churches for services that don't favor any particular deity over another. An Archonite church near the Mortuary is the preferred venue for the more wholesome citizens of Sigil to hold funerals and memorials for the dead, as an alternative to the somewhat creepy rituals of the Dustmen.
- A God, I Am Not: Much like angels in Christian mythology, the archons as a race do not see themselves as deities but as servants of the ineffable Lawful Good "Presence" at the peak of Mt. Celestia, which the Archonites call Wisdom or Sophia. They don't actually stop the Archonites from worshiping them, though, since the Archonites are just using them as a proxy for Wisdom.
- Hollywood Apocrypha: The Archonites' scriptures are clearly directly based on the Christian Book of Revelation.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: As close to this as any sect of mortals can get, which is also why they're unfortunately fairly small in number. All members follow a fairly strict code of conduct as a sign of their devotion, which for some reason includes a ban on eating insects or shellfish (following the taboos of the Real Life Abrahamic faiths).
- Lawful Good: Extremely devoted to this alignment, living as they do on the plane for Lawful Good petitioners and worshiping the embodiments of Law and Good mixed in equal measure. The only Sigil faction they have any real overlap with is, for obvious reasons, the Harmonium, but Archonites are an extremely marginal subset of the Hardheads' ranks, since they're generally too head-in-the-clouds to do what needs to be done to serve as a multiversal police force.
- Patron God: Each of the Archonites typically chooses one of the Crown Archons they favor most and patterns their philosophy after them.
- Top God: The Archonites believe that someday the mysterious being that embodies Law and Good they call Wisdom will come down from Mt. Celestia to enlighten The Multiverse, and that by devoting themselves to the archons' example they can hasten this process.
The Society of Pain (Bleeders)The Society of Pain, a.k.a. the Bleeders, are a sect of sadomasochists who believe the secret of existence can be learned by enduring and inflicting pain.
- Combat Sadomasochist: Their philosophy and their powers revolve around this.
- Full-Frontal Assault: They don't have to be literally naked, but their faction philosophy demands they avoid wearing any kind of protective clothing or gear as much as possible, in order to allow themselves to be wounded by combat or the elements and learn to endure the pain.
- A God, I Am Not: It's whispered that the Bleeder sect was originally inspired by the Lady of Pain, or at least her epithet, but they're quick to downplay this because actually worshiping the Lady in Sigil is an instant death sentence.
- Hated by All: For obvious reasons, they're one of the least popular sects by far.
- Too Kinky to Torture: A goal they cultivate in themselves. Their founder and sectol, Jalar, had his dark epiphany after being trapped on the Plane of Gehenna with other members of the Bleak Cabal and finding that the endless torture from the fiends there broke his mind in a way that fixed him.
- Sadist: They're sadists and masochists, but it's their insistence on finding ways to inflict pain on others that makes them particularly unpopular with the more normal residents of the planes.
- Sense Freak: But only for negative sensations, which is why the Sensates see them as a degenerate version of their own philosophy.
- Spikes of Villainy: They like weapons and accessories that feature these; one of their nicknames is "the Barbed".
- Torture Technician: Advanced members of the sect become these; a few of them have been employed by the Mercykillers at the Sigil Prison in this capacity.
The Children of the Vine (Carpet Knights, Revellers)The Children of the Vine are an offshoot of the Sensates who officially reject the Sensates' philosophy of seeking diversity of experience and instead are shamelessly devoted to nothing but pure pleasure.
- 24-Hour Party People: Their whole shtick.
- The Alcoholic: The founder of the Carpet Knights, Moreus, is a worshiper of Bacchus, and of all the Revellers' vices they have a particular predilection for the fruit of the vine (which gives them all a mechanical +2 bonus to saves against poison, because of the tolerance they've built up).
- Addled Addict: In order to join the Revellers a character must have some genuinely debilitating addiction they are unable/unwilling to resist whenever the opportunity to indulge arises.
- Cool Loser: The Revellers embody this trope. They're former members of the Society of Sensation who realized that Factol Montgomery sending them to the Gilded Hall in Arborea to party all the time was meant as an exile for Sensates she saw as failures because they were unable to control their appetites, and responded by happily founding their own breakaway sect to revel in this failure. (An attitude that endears them to the Bleak Cabal and makes them see them as an ally.)
- The Hedonist: They're the shallow version of this archetype that the Sensates seek to transcend.
- Psychopathic Manchild: All Revellers are Chaotic in alignment, but Evil ones are in the minority. There are a fair number of Chaotic Evil members, though, who take the sect's shameless focus on self-indulgent pleasure to the point of not caring at all about harming others.
The Dispossessed (Chippers, Exiles)The Dispossessed are a society of people who've been banished to the Lower Planes as a punishment — usually to the plane of Pandemonium or Carceri — and successfully escaped, forming a loose-knit society of survivors based on shared trauma and distrust of anyone who hasn't had their experiences.
- Challenging the Chief: Part of the vaguely Social Darwinist beliefs of the Chippers is the fact that sect leadership only changes when someone challenges the current sectol to a duel, mimicking the prison fights for dominance most of them were used to during their banishment.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Exiles from the plane of Carceri in particular spent years of their lives in a plane set up so survival depended on your ability to deceive and betray others, and old habits die hard. The reason the Dispossessed hang out together is because the only people they're willing to trust is each other, and even that is often dicey.
- Driven to Madness: Most Dispossessed suffer from some degree of mental illness due to their experiences; at the very least, the motivation for a survivor to join the sect is usually that they're some degree of The Paranoiac and therefore no longer comfortable in normal society.
- Freudian Excuse: They're all pretty unpleasant people, and they all have a more than understandable reason for it. (Pandemonium, in particular, isn't just a plane of torture but torture specifically designed to make you doubt your perceptions and drive you insane.)
- A God Am I: The Dark Secret of the Chippers is that the first of the Dispossessed, the fallen paladin Marinthaxus, successfully ascended to minor godhood after his death thanks to the belief of his fellow Exiles, and the ethos of the Dispossessed is on its way to becoming a full-fledged religion.
- Loophole Abuse: The original rules when founding the sect were that it was open to anyone who's ever been "banished" in any sense, although in practice all its members are those who were magically banished to the Lower Planes (almost all of whom were specifically sent to Carceri or Pandemonium). The sect's current leader Gher is putting together a shockingly audacious plan to abuse this rule to invite Shemeska the Marauder, one of the most powerful beings in Sigil, to join, on the grounds that rumors say Shemeska was banished to Sigil as a prison by her fellow yugoloths.
- Made of Iron: All Exiles are renowned for their incredible toughness — it's pretty much impossible to make it out of one of the Lower Planes as a living person otherwise. Mechanically this translates to a boost to their level-up HP.
- The Paranoiac: Magical banishment is a shocking and traumatizing enough experience that most of an Exile's personality upon escaping revolves around making sure it can never happen again. This instinctive distrust is powerful enough that it manifests as a bonus to saving throws against mental magic. It's said that the reason for the original founding of the Dispossessed isn't really because they like each other or want to help each other, so much as one's fellow prisoners were the only people one could even kind of trust not to be laying a trap to reimprison you.
- The Resenter: The defining trait of a member of the Dispossessed — they refuse to move on with their lives after their banishment, feeling like any possibility of resuming their previous life has been stolen from them by their trauma, and basing their current life around their bitterness over this fact.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Several members of the sect went on one upon their escape, including sect founder and fallen paladin Marinthaxus and current sectol Gher the Axe. The desire to make everyone responsible for one's imprisonment pay is fairly universal among Chippers, although for many of them this isn't a practical goal.
- Sink-or-Swim Mentor: Even though part of the point of the sect is supposed to be helping each other out, a lot of them take this attitude toward newbies.
- The Social Darwinist: The sect's goals as a whole are fairly vague, but members tend to be driven by a need to prove they've been made stronger by their experiences and have become strong enough to never need fear imprisonment again.
- Trauma Button: It is extremely taboo to ever ask a Chipper about the original circumstances of their banishment, or more generally to pry into their life before their Exile if they don't choose to share.
- Trauma Conga Line: Surviving Pandemonium or Carceri involves surviving a long one of these.
- With Friends Like These...: There are actual friendships — and romances, and marriages — within the ranks of the Dispossessed, but the sect as a whole does not get along. It's very much a Dysfunction Junction of damaged, bitter people who tolerate each other because they feel they don't have any choice.
- You Can't Go Home Again: The Dispossessed are formed of escapees from Carceri and Pandemonium who were too damaged by their experiences to go home afterwards, instead lingering in the Outlands at the gate-towns of Curst and Bedlam and forming a loose society with other survivors.
Communals (Comrades, The Brotherhood)A former faction of Sigil that believed all possessions and power should be shared equally among all beings.
- Commune: The whole idea of the sect. The main mechanical benefit and also penalty of joining is this — you must agree to give over all your property to the rest of the sect to be held in common, but as a result you can also have full use of any of the other possessions other members donated to the sect as long as it's agreed no one else needs them more.
- Dirty Communists: Pretty much all there is to the former faction. They represent actual communist philosophy Played Straight, as opposed to the Revolutionary League being a take on the Bomb Throwing Anarchist stereotype of leftist politics without any details about what exactly the revolution was intended to achieve. The "dirty" part comes with how they became pariahs after they unwisely directly challenged the Lady's authority and drew the full force of her ire, making any association with them now politically radioactive.
- Foil: The polar opposite of the Fated faction.
- Just the First Citizen: Technically speaking, the Communals have no sectol, since their whole philosophy is based on total equality for all people. However, just as with real-life communists, there's always one or more charismatic members who provide leadership and direction for the group (and lead to factional infighting when they disagree with each other). Currently the sect is split between Wide-Eyed Idealist Sister Imesand, who truly believes in a peaceful communistic utopia, and Prince Naltos, a deposed aristocrat from a prime world who openly appeals to the uglier The Resenter-based side of Communal philosophy in hopes of a Full-Circle Revolution.
- Schmuck Bait: The big debate among the present-day Communals is whether enough time has passed since their predecessors were wiped off the face of Sigil by the Lady for them to safely enter the Cage to take their place. Their philosophy demands they try to do this eventually — as a necessary step to establishing a communist utopia across The Multiverse — but when the Lady is involved caution seems the better part of valor.
- What an Idiot!: The original Communals gained enough popularity among the people of Sigil that they had the bright idea to directly challenge the Lady of Pain's authority, demanding that she share her authority with all the citizens of the Cage and turn the city into a popular democracy or else face an uprising. The sudden, mysterious Cessation of Existence of all of the faction's members at once was an object lesson in why you don't do that. As a result, the Communals' successors in Sigil, the Revolutionary League, are far more Properly Paranoid about their actions, and the current sect calling themselves the "Communals" are all planars from outside Sigil (currently headquartered in Bytopia) who find the original faction's beliefs appealing and aren't too afraid of the Lady to bear the name.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Joining this sect pretty much demands this attitude, especially after what happened the last time, but there's a few cynical manipulators among the bunch.
- Workaholic: One of the character traits they see as a virtue and that's demanded from most members of the sect (and arguably one that needs to be fairly common in the population for a commune to work at all). Their current base is on Bytopia because it's the afterlife for people who actually enjoy going to work and look forward to an afterlife of doing so for eternity.
Converts (Chameleons, Turncoats)A mysterious sect, said to have originated from the denizens of Limbo, the plane of pure Chaos, consisting of people who refuse to commit to any one belief but instead constantly move between factions and sects, appearing to be a fully committed adherent of a philosophy before dropping it to move on to a new one.
- Commitment Issues: If you built a whole life philosophy around having them.
- The Mole: They share this hat with the Revolutionary League.
- Turncoat: One of their sect nicknames. They're famous for dropping their current allegiance suddenly and unpredictably — as soon as they feel they've fully explored a given philosophy or found the fatal contradiction in it, they immediately move on to the next one. (A Convert's true alignment must be non-Lawful, and Lawful factions and sects are particularly angry about discovering having been infiltrated by one.)
The Brothers of Belief (Eaters, The Faithless, The Hollow)Introduced on the Mimir website, the Eaters complete the Rule of Three with the Incantifiers and the Prolongers. The former eat magic, the latter eat life, and this Sect? It eats belief. Originally an elite group within the Athar, the Eaters became anathema even to their former members when they deduced that they could consume faith in general, and not just religious faith. The Eaters began attacking the other Factions as they saw fit, and were expelled from the Athar, who feared being annihilated by the combined wrath of the other Factions — and this was before the Winnowing. Now loose cannons, the Eaters began feeding on everyone they saw fit, until the Incantifiers stumbled across a key weakness; the Eaters could be turned by priests, just like undead creatures. This saw the Sect scattered across the multiverse, although it still clings to life, yearning to devour all things that it can.
- Ambiguously Human: Eaters are not truly undead but are no longer truly living either; the true seeing spell reveals them for what they are.
- The Dreaded: The entire rest of The Multiverse sees them as an apocalyptic-level threat.
- Driven to Suicide: Those who are drained completely of faith by an Eater have a 45% chance of becoming too depressed to live, seeking only to kill themselves.
- Empty Shell: The Eaters have become something... hollow, and inhuman. Their endless hunger for the faith of others stems from this desperate attempt to fill the void inside of themselves.
- Immortality Immorality: Draining faith actually keeps the Eaters from aging or needing any other sort of sustenance. Of course, as the best-case scenario for such unfortunates is that they turn into Bleakers, that's not exactly a moral way to sustain themselves.
- Revive Kills Zombie: The Achilles' Heel of the Brothers of Belief was that by becoming something totally anathema to the concept of faith, the channeled faith of a priest could be weaponized against them (via the turn undead ability).
- Vampiric Draining: In a truly scary format; Eaters can sap the faith from someone just by luring them into talking about something even tangentially related to the source of their faith!
Expansionists (Growers)Another one of the former factions of Sigil, whose leadership was mazed by the Lady for their overweening ambition and whose remaining members scattered to the Godsmen and the Takers.
- Ambition Is Evil: Along with the Believers of the Source and the Fated they formed a triad of "ambition"-themed factions in Sigil, and were actually the most successful of the three because rather than focusing only on personal growth or on competing with each other they channeled that ambition into the growth of the faction as a whole... which is what made the Lady decide they were a threat.
- Experience Booster: Their mechanical power, as a result of their monomaniacal focus on growing their power as quickly as possible. To balance this out they have a permanent penalty on all proficiency checks due to their philosophy on learning as quickly as possible without taking the time to achieve true mastery.
- Foil: In their philosophical mindset they're the inverse of the Doomguard — rather than venerating the ultimate decay of all things, they venerate the concept of expansion and growth and believe that any entity or organization that is truly worthy need never stop growing. They even built a fortress on the Positive Energy Plane (which is just as inimical to unprotected life as its negative counterpart) to celebrate this idea.
Guardians (Caretakers, Protectors)Originating from the Neutral Good plane of Elysium, these are mortals who venerate the guardinal spirits native to that plane, but unlike their Archonite counterparts rather than founding a formal religion seek only to mimic their ethos of protecting the vulnerable.
- Animal Motifs: Guardians typically pick one of the guardinal species they identify with most to serve as their "spirit animal".
- Just the First Citizen: The only position of authority in the Guardians is the sectol themselves, known by the lofty title "Prince" — but the Prince is chosen by popular acclaim when the previous Prince dies, and has no defined powers other than to hear requests for aid on behalf of the sect as their official figurehead and call the Guardians together should the request be worthy.
- Martial Pacifist: The Guardians firmly believe in only using force to defend, never attack. They only venture out of their home plane of Elysium when invited by other Good-aligned communities, and only intervene to stop a conflict that's already in progress, never to strike the first blow. This is the biggest point of contention between them and the Harmonium and other Lawful-Good-leaning groups.
- Mellow Fellow: The atmosphere of Elysium tends to enforce this on everyone who stays in it too long, and the Guardians are notorious for their extremely laid-back demeanor compared to other Good-aligned sects as a result.
- Neutral Good: The required alignment to join the Guardians (and, indeed, to even be comfortable long-term on their home plane).
- Small Steps Hero: The Guardians fervently reject the mindset of organizations like the Harmonium or the Order of the Planes-Militant, and do their best to avoid getting caught up in their schemes. The most they've ever interacted was when Prince Azlan once deigned to participate in a debate with Indigo the Stutterer of the Planes-Militant over their clashing philosophies, giving him a gentle warning about what happens to He Who Fights Monsters. The ethos of Neutral Good is to focus simply on being good in your interactions with the people directly next door to you, and getting caught up in grand plans and long-term thinking is just a way to be led astray (as the Harmonium obviously has).
IlluminatedThe villains of the first published Planescape adventure, The Eternal Boundary. A mercenary band recruited from the Prime and based in Plague-Mort, the Chaotic Evil gate-town to the Abyss, led by the mysterious sorcerer Green Marvent. The plot of the module revolves around the players foiling Marvent's plot to seize ultimate power in Sigil by planting infiltrators in the factions to goad them into open war.
- Big Bad Wannabe: They get surprisingly far in their Evil Plan before they're stopped, but the fact that the players of The Eternal Boundary — who are supposed to be low-level adventurers — manage to not just stop them but blow up their base and kill most of them off means that Marvent was always punching above his weight. The much higher-level adventure Faction War has Factol Darkwood of the Fated succeed at sparking a grand war among the factions where Green Marvent failed, albeit under very different circumstances.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Or, in this case, taking people who are already crazy as candidates to be brainwashed. The Bleak Cabal once more serves as the Butt-Monkey of this scenario, with the Illuminated murdering Bleakers whose minds have already been so lost to madness they barely know who they are, then using the shock of death and resurrection combined with a faked angelic visitation to brainwash them into accepting new cover identities to be used as sleeper agents.
- Collapsing Lair: Building their secret base in the Inner Plane of Fire was a great idea for making it nearly impossible for anyone to stumble on them by accident. It also meant that all it took was the players disrupting the magic crystal powering the field keeping the flames at bay to Kill 'Em All!.
- Evil Plan: They're first introduced in the the Planescape campaign setting box set and The Well of Worlds as a sinister mercenary band gaining power in Plague-Mort. It turns out Marvent was putting them together in order to go after the big prize of Sigil itself from the beginning.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: The fact that their Evil Plan got as far as it did is yet another lesson for seasoned cutters from the Cage not to dismiss primes as "clueless".
- God Guise: A key part of their plan was to engage in some serious blasphemy, disguising themselves as angels of the Powers and faking a stereotypical Near-Death Experience to brainwash the resurrected barmies into their new cover identities.
- The Illuminati: Their name is, of course, a Shout-Out to this trope, and being The Conspiracy is their whole MO, although once they're defeated it seems like delusions of grandeur.
- Let's You and Him Fight: The mission statement of the Illuminated — their goal is to make all the existing Factions of Sigil destroy each other, allowing them to waltz in and take power without anyone ever having known they had anything to do with it, or even that they exist as a sect.
- Master of Disguise: Operatives of the Illuminated are required to be this by one means or another, and spend their career under one or more false identities.
- The Mole: Their plan depends on this, but they themselves aren't that good at it — their attempts to infiltrate most of the factions directly failed, since they lack the supernatural ability to evade detection given to the Anarchists and the Converts, leaving them with operatives in just the Doomguard and the Dustmen. Their Plan B is to carry out a grotesque campaign of murder, resurrection and gaslighting to create perfect sleeper agents who aren't faking it and therefore won't be detected — see Brainwashed and Crazy.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: If the PCs of The Eternal Boundary succeed in their goals then pretty much all of the Illuminated's personnel and resources are destroyed by the end — but Green Marvent himself wisely never directly appeared onstage and is still alive at the end of the story, in theory able to rebuild his sect and start his evil schemes again. In the published Planescape setting timeline, of course, this never happened.
The Incanterium (Incantifers)Originally one of the Factions, well before the Great Upheaval that saw the Factions exterminated or compressed into the 15 Factions of the "present", the Incanterium was a major power-broker in the city of Sigil. Driven by a belief that arcane magic was the key to ultimate power, the Incantifiers hoarded and dispensed magical items and lore of all sorts from their Tower Sorcerous. They were well on their way to effectively controlling Sigil... and then they simply disappeared. Their Tower vanished one night, and most of the Incantifiers went with it. Those Incantifiers who remained found themselves altered, changed into beings both more, and less, than they once were. Most Incantifiers met today are those originals, still alive after centuries of wandering the planes, but a small minority have joined their ranks over the years.
- The Ageless: One of the big benefits of becoming an Incantifier is that they become effectively immortal, in the sense that they will live forever unless starved to death or slain by violence. Most Incantifiers allow themselves to become visibly aged, not caring enough to sustain a youthful appearance even with all of their magical powers, but they won't ever die of aging.
- Evil Sorcerer: In 2nd edition, the typical Incantifier alignment was given as True Neutral or Neutral Evil. Not only because of their pronounced Fantastic Racism but because centuries of looking out to preserve themselves mixed with fear of the Lady of Pain had made them arrogant, paranoid, selfish and prone to striking first.
- Fantastic Racism: The whole defining trait of the Incanterium is exulting the supremacy of magi users. By their very ideology, those who can't use magic are inferiors who deserve to be ruled over by those who can.
- Immortal Procreation Clause: Well, we don't know if Incantifiers can procreate in the old-fashioned way anymore or not. But, the spirit is still upheld in that they very rarely transform would-be supplicants into new Incantifiers, recognizing that this increases the number of competitors for magical power.
- Magic Eater: The defining trait of an Incantifier; they no longer eat, sleep, drink or even breathe, but they need to regularly absorb magical energy — spell levels equal to their character level per month, in 2nd edition — in order to survive. If they go too long, they starve to death; in 2e, this was handled as them losing a level each time they failed to complete their monthly feeding quota.
- The Magocracy: It goes without saying that, as an ideology based on the supremacy of arcane magic, Incantifiers believe wizards should be running everything.
- Muscles Are Meaningless: In 2nd edition, as part of their transformation, Incantifiers gained near-peak human strength (18/51), a power level normally only available to Warriors.
- No Campaign for the Wicked: A zigzagged case. Played straight in that, when they first appeared in 2nd edition, the Incanterium only appeared as a monsternote and dungeon masters were even warned not to let players make the transformation. Subverted in that they were made playable as a Prestige Class in 3rd edition.
- Properly Paranoid: Because they rely on magic to do... well, anything, Incantifiers constantly bristle with spell-components and arsenals of magical items, from disposables like scrolls and potions to triggered items like rods, wands, amulets and rings.
- Spell My Name with an "S": In 2nd edition, the Incanterium's members are identified as Incantifers. When the faction was made playable in Dragon #339, their name was changed to Incantifiers.
- When All You Have is a Hammer : The biggest flaw of the Incantifiers is that, as they believe magic is the supreme power over reality, their default reaction to any problem is always to use magic first, either as a spell or via a magic item.
- Wound That Will Not Heal: A downside to the transformation into an Incantifier is that they can't heal injuries on their own. Only by consuming magic can they repair their damaged flesh.
The LegislateA breakaway sect from the Fraternity of Order, they also believe that the concept of law is central to the multiverse, but as something people create and bend to their will, not something objective that people must conform to.
- Corrupt Politician: From the point of view of the Guvners, who are disgusted by the Legislate openly denying there's any objectively correct code of universal law to discover and law is only a tool to make reality bend to your will. The Legislate venerate the ugly, mucky "means by which the sausage gets made" of politics, rather than hoping as the Guvners do for a world where the law ultimately takes care of itself without any human element.
- Fantastic Caste System: The cog of Mechanus known as Right to Rule is a classic example of one — the more power you have in the city's hierarchical politics, the less ordered and regimented your sector of the city becomes. The majority of citizens, nicknamed the Swarm, live in a perfectly geometrical "slum" that's the same conformist dystopia as the rest of Mechanus, but as you move to "nicer" neighborhoods the diversity and individuality of the streets and buildings increases, until you reach the palace of the Lawmaker himself, which is a paradise a human from a prime world would feel comfortable in.
- Foil: The Legislate's interaction with Right to Rule is a foil for the cities created by the Anarchs in Limbo — ultimately they're also Reality Warpers reshaping the plane to their will, but through a collaborative, consensus process of politicking and debate rather than the solitary art of pure imagination.
- Oxymoronic Being: Not to the extent of the Xaoticians, but they're another breakaway sect of the Fraternity of Order who see Law as a paradox that can be turned against itself — law may be the basis of existence but law is ultimately a creation of conscious free will. As a result, the Legislate, though they may not be Chaotic, also need not be Lawful and can be Neutral on the Law/Chaos axis — which makes Right to Rule an outpost of Chaos in Mechanus whose position in the clockworks vacillates erratically.
MathematiciansAnother sect born out of the Fraternity of Order, these Guvners are obsessed with mathematics and their possible use in exploring and explaining the multiverse.
- Incomprehensible Entrance Exam: Joining the Mathematicians requires taking a week-long one of these, which is impossible to pass unless you have a natural Intelligence score of at least 17 (i.e. a once-in-a-generation genius on the level of Einstein, by the standards of most prime worlds). To even find the Mathematicians' outpost of Radian in order to take the exam proper, you have to solve a math problem most planars wouldn't know where to begin to start on (which requires calculating the mathematical center of the infinite plane of Mechanus).
- Insufferable Genius: They've taken the Fraternity of Order's philosophy to such extremes that they've withdrawn from petty human concerns entirely, withdrawing from the City of Sigil and all Faction business to the Plane of Mechanus to spend all of their time on concerns that are utterly incomprehensible to anyone outside their sect.
- Meaningful Name: They believe maths can be used to explain the purpose of the multiverse and to define everything that is. They call themselves the Mathematicians. What more do you need?
- Super OCD: Mathematicians are so sensitive to order and symmetry that somehow they instinctively make sure there are always exactly 15,000 people inside the city of Radian at any time without consciously thinking about it.
- Theme Naming: Mathematicians call the ranks of their sect "Digits", and are ranked Thousandth Digits, Hundredth Digits, Tenth Digits and the one Prime Digit.
Merkhants (Misers, Gold-Hounds, the Hidden Hand)A sect composed of several of the wealthiest individuals in the Planes, whose entire focus in life is increasing their material wealth through investment and trade.
- The Cartel: The practical reason for the sect to exist is for its members to pool their resources when necessary to do things like fix prices and crush upstart competitors.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: They make it very clear that, like the Fated, being in the same sect with each other in no way means they can expect loyalty from each other. Most of the time you'll never find two Merkhants doing business in the same market, because if they did one would immediately try to drive the other out of business.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Dungeon Punk version of this archetype.
- Idle Rich: They certainly aren't idle in the big-picture sense, but they're all capitalist investors and financial manipulators whose profession is using money to make more money. Earning money through actual work of any kind is beneath them.
- Intrepid Merchant: One does have to give them credit for the fact that to become moguls of extraplanar trade in the first place a lot of them had to survive dealing with some very dangerous customers — the incident that led to the founding of the sect involved trying to rip off the baatezu on a deal in armaments for the Blood War.
- Money Fetish: They actually have the Money Fetish that the Fated are shallowly stereotyped as having; their special faction power is the ability to instantly estimate the market price of any valuable item just by looking at it.
- Rich Bitch: They're all generally very unpleasant people — their founder, a woman named Rhivena, most of all, having originally assembled the Merkhants as a hit-list of competitors she initially planned to take out. Good alignment outright disqualifies you from membership in the sect, although they take advantage of the Lawful Good government of the gate-town of Tradegate to provide them a safe base of operations. But see A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: The sect formed in the first place as a Who's Who of the wealthiest people in the multiverse seeking each other out for useful alliances. The Merkhants' money is both their only ultimate goal in life and the only tool they ever use to reach their goals, and they choose the sectol simply based on who has the highest recorded personal fortune. Their biggest weakness is their lack of interest in any kind of power that can't be expressed as physical wealth; the Fated regard their ignorance of the things money can't buy as the reason they've failed to truly understand ambition.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Much like the Xaositects' use of the word "Xaos", the Merkhants have their own archaic spelling and pronunciation of the word "merchant", based on its original Latin root.
- A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: Merkhants generally hide their membership in the Hidden Hand (and indeed hide the evidence that the sect exists at all), posing as kindly, charismatic philanthropists as much as they can get away with. (Truth in Television for rich people of this kind, of course.)
The Opposition (Opposers)A particularly one-dimensional sect based in the Inner Planes (whose dynamic is determined by the constant interaction between elemental opposites). The Opposition believe that all virtue comes from conflict, and hence go looking for members of other sects and factions so they can adopt the exactly opposing philosophy and set themselves up as their enemy.
- Blood Knight: They don't necessarily like physical violence for its own sake, but the fact that they are constantly looking for causes specifically to oppose them means they end up coming off as this.
- Combat Clairvoyance: They get a version of this — they're so attuned to the idea of making themselves into someone's utter opposite that every so often they gain the ability to perfectly anticipate their opponent's action in combat and do exactly what needs to be done to completely negate it.
- Commander Contrarian: They take this trope to the extreme level of The Complainer Is Always Right; agreeing with another person is anathema to them and their instinct is always to take the opposite side of any other person they're around so that there can be a conflict.
- Foil: They come off as a particularly ridiculous reductio ad absurdum of what the logical inverse of the Converts would be.
- Hated by All: They're not nearly as bad as a few of the other sects on here in terms of sheer monstrousness, but obviously the only impact the existence of this philosophy can have on everyone else is to just make life more difficult and dangerous. Their total inability to organize or cooperate means they're not a particularly serious threat to any other faction/sect, but people who interact with them tend to find them an obnoxious pest.
- Logic Bomb: Their writeup points out that every single one of them is deeply familiar with the attempted Logic Bomb that a member of the Opposition should be opposed to the tenets of the Opposition itself, and therefore logically the Opposition can't exist. Their response is simply to accept this chain of logic and then... to oppose it.
- Stone Wall: Their combat style makes them a lot better at blocking/negating others' attacks than making attacks of their own.
- Stupid Neutral: Opposers must be True Neutral in alignment, and completely embody the most ridiculous stereotype of the Balance Between Good and Evil interpretation of the TN ethos.
- We ARE Struggling Together: To an even more comical degree than the Revolutionary League; rather than rejecting the concept of authority completely, they reject the concept of agreement completely. Therefore they're only a sect in the technical sense of having a shared philosophy — no two members of the Opposition can ever work together on anything, by definition.
PlanaristsA rudimentary sect covered in passing in Uncaged: Faces of Sigil, this would-be faction is defined by supporting the rights of planar-natives and revulsion at the "contamination" of the planes by denizens of the Prime Material.
- Fantastic Racism: Their only real defining attribute is that they want to banish all Primes back to their own dimension and seal up all portals that lead to or from the Prime Material.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: The founder of the sect, Cirily, is a firre eladrin, a breed of celestial whose mission is supposed to be serving as The Muse for artists on the Prime. Apparently something happened during her last assignation with a mortal artist that soured her attitude and embittered her against primes as a whole.
The Order of the Planes-Militant (Children of Heaven, The Brethren)The Order of the Planes-Militant is a sect of mortals on Mt. Celestia with the backing of the archons which seeks to expand the influence of Mt. Celestia through its neighboring planes until the whole multiverse comes under the sway of Law and Good.
- Church Militant: While the Archonites outright worship the archons and believe the path to saving The Multiverse is pursuing their own personal virtue until God comes down from Chronias to fix things for them, the Brethren take a more hands-on approach to things, believing the best way to honor the archons is to expand their sphere of influence by bringing more souls under the sway of Law and Good.
- Forever War: To any outsider who doesn't consider it a self-evident truth that the perfection of the archons is destined to spread across The Multiverse, it seems obvious that they're setting themselves for a Forever War against Evil and Chaos that will last just as eternally as the Blood War — something the Prince of the Guardians pointed out to them during the great debate between the two sects — but they will not be deterred.
- Friendly Enemy: There's no friendliness to their relationship from the Brethren's side, but the chant is divided as to whether the baatezu — the first planars to take up arms against the Brethren when they began their initial expansion — continue to primarily see them as a thorn in the side, or have come to see them as useful idiots to be manipulated into helping them win the Blood War.
- The Fundamentalist: The Planes-Militant are mostly positively portrayed but are still this, defined as being more zealous and militant than the Archonites or the Guardians while also more spiritually-minded than the more pragmatic Harmonium.
- Hollywood Apocrypha: The choosing of Pitre Prefectii is clearly a Shout-Out to the New Testament's story of Jesus making Peter the "rock on which I will build my church" (the first Pope, in Roman Catholic terms).
- The Messiah: The Order literally refers to their founder, a mortal named Pitre Prefectii, as the Chosen One, and call their sectol "Prefect" in his honor. The fact that a half-celestial prophet (the son of a solar archon) chose a completely ordinary mortal to be his successor is taken by the Brethren as a lesson that even the most imperfect souls can make a difference if they care enough about Law and Good to take up arms against Chaos and Evil.
- My Greatest Second Chance: The initial swell of converts to the Order came from petitioners whose ambition in life was to prove themselves as servants of Law and Good but weren't quite virtuous enough to become lantern archons upon death.
- The Paladin: The archetypal member of the Planes-Militant literally is a paladin, and the members who aren't are still expected to follow a paladin-like code.
- Soapbox Sadie: The Brethren were initially a peaceful cult who sought to increase the size of Mt. Celestia through simple conversion, going out and convincing souls from nearby planes and the gate-towns of the Outlands to leap across the border by giving them the good news of the archons. It wasn't until Baator responded to this with a massive invasion and Curb-Stomp Battle that they realized they would have to defend any gains they made this way by force.
- To Be Lawful or Good: The Order is so stereotypically devoted to their Lawful Good alignment they refuse to acknowledge that Law and Good are separate concepts. Their manifesto just barely acknowledges that Chaotic Good beings even are "good", and at best argues that the Chaotic nature of Arborea and Ysgard is a taint that will slowly cause Limbo to absorb them and eventually drag them all the way into the Lower Planes. They regard their desire to conquer and absorb the Chaotic Upper Planes into Mt. Celestia as just a necessary counterweight to this process.
- Tom the Dark Lord: The Keeper of the Seals, the chief advisor to the Prefect, is typically a powerful mage who serves as The Smart Guy for the sect in general. The current Keeper very much lives up to that reputation and is one of the most dangerous magic-users across the planes, and goes by the self-deprecating epithet "Indigo the Stutterer" after his childhood Speech Impediment.
- White-and-Grey Morality: The Planes-Militant are clearly much more aggressive than other Good-aligned sects, hence their name, but remain focused on the Upper Planes and based in Mt. Celestia rather that getting into the inevitable grayness of conflict in Sigil and the Prime worlds the way the Harmonium has, allowing them to be a lighter shade of gray than the Hardheads while still serving as a darker foil to the Archonites and Guardians.
Plane Tenders (Priests of the Wilds)A sect that serves as a druidic order for the Outer Planes, applying the principle of ecological balance from the druidic principles practiced on prime worlds to the multiverse as a whole. Most prime druids who end up traveling the planes will eventually become Plane-Tenders, for lack of any other viable framework for their beliefs and practices in their new life.
- Arch-Enemy: There are only two planes the Plane Tenders have no presence in: Limbo, which as a plane of pure Chaos cannot be "tended" in any meaningful sense, and the Abyss, which is home to their ancestral enemies the tanar'ri, who drove their founders into the Outer Planes to begin with.
- Celtic Mythology: Going with the Celtic origin of the word "druid" in Real Life, the Arch-Hierophant of the Plane Tenders keeps his headquarters in the city of Tír na nÓg, the realm of the Celtic Pantheon in the Outlands.
- The City vs. the Country: The Plane Tenders, just like their Prime druid counterparts, are strongly biased in favor of the country, hating the selfish imbalance based on sapient beings' desires that urban environments represent. Arcadia is the Outer Plane where the Tenders have the most conflicts with the locals, and they despise Sigil and avoid the City of Doors if at all possible.
- Druid: An adaptation of the 2e concept of the Druid and Hierophant classes to the Planescape setting.
- In Harmony with Nature: Their philosophy is based on adapting the typical version of this trope developed for the ecosystem of a prime world to the much more alien and abstract "ecosystem" of belief on the Outer Planes. Like the Doomguard, they reject the idea that the Outer Planes are frozen in an immutable balance that needs no intervention, and believe that like the natural world of the Prime Material it is a dynamic system that can be damaged and driven out of balance by the actions of sapient beings. Unlike the Doomguard, they seek to ameliorate rather than accelerate this process.
- Homeworld Evacuation: Originated from a dominant nature religion on a prime world that was swallowed by the Abyss, whose adherents fled into the planes and adapted their belief system to their new situation.
- True Neutral: Plane Tenders must be of this alignment, as with all druids in D&D 2e. Their home plane where they have their annual moot is the Outlands, and they are sponsored by the rilmani.
PrimalsOne of the few sects based on the Inner Planes, and one of the most mysterious. Almost nothing is known about their beliefs, just that they're on the Inner Planes to explore and guard some kind of ancient secret, and this secret is related to their Reality Warper abilities.
- Elemental Powers: The going theory about how their powers work and why they're called "Primals" is they're studying the nature of the elements at a deeper, more "primal" level than anyone has before, allowing them to manipulate physical matter on a much finer level than the "four elements" as most mages understand them.
- The Hermit: One reason they find it so easy to keep their secrets is they live out in the open wilderness of the Inner Planes, away from any humanoid outposts — an environment that anyone without their powers would find almost impossible to survive.
- Proud Scholar Race: One obvious thing that is known about the Primals is that they're generally magic-users who spend their lives in academic study.
- Reality Warper: As Primals rise in power in the sect they seem to gain this ability, giving them various spell-like abilities they can use by the power of will alone, to transform both their own bodies and their immediate environment.
- Shrouded in Myth: One of the most secretive of the sects. Members never advertise their allegiance or discuss their beliefs and practices with outsiders. Their loremasters are incredibly ancient even by the standards of the planes, and no one actually knows how new members are approached and recruited.
Prolongers (Cheaters)One of the least organized but most hated and feared of Sects, the Prolongers — also known as the Cheaters — are a band of unscrupulous souls who have become desperate to achieve true immortality, accepting no substitutes; not for them the hollow existence of lichdom or vampirisim. In their desperate drive to live forever, they have taken to preying on the lives of others, feeding on their souls in order to sustain their own existence. Most Prolongers are mages or thieves, with a smattering of bards and warriors — clerics and paladins are never found in this Sect's ranks, as the desperate drive to live forever that categorizes a Prolonger is anathema to the faith in a higher judgment that allows one to wield divine magic.
- All There in the Manual: Details on actually playing a Prolonger weren't written in any Planescape sourcebook; instead, the authors who worked on Planescape expanded on it on a website called the Mimir.
- Creative Sterility: The downside of becoming a Prolonger is that they lose their ability to grow, which means they can't gain levels anymore.
- Dirty Coward: Prolongers are invariably cowardly beings; they may not necessarily turn and flee at the first sight of danger, but if they sincerely believe there's a genuine risk to their existence, they'll do anything to escape. For this reason, they're hugely interested in magical items that provide healing, defensive boosts and escape options, in roughly that order.
- Evil Old Folks: No Prolonger can manage the transformation into "proper" Sect membership until they have managed to live at least 50 years past their normal life expectancy. And then they need to live another 50 years as a Prolonger before their fellows will recognize them as such.
- Eyes Are Mental: Per their first appearance in the second Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix, you can always tell a Prolonger by looking into their eyes: no matter how youthful their bodies appear, a Prolonger's eyes are always cold and dead, a side-effect of their age and their innate driving terror.
- Immortality Immorality: Prolongers sustain their own lives by consuming the lives of others with their Vampiric Draining ability.
- Mortality Phobia: The other major requirement to become a Prolonger; a fear of death so intense that they know they want to do anything to avoid it. Once they fill both this requirement and the age requirement, they spontaneously transform into a Prolonger.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Most Prolongers focus their efforts on finding ways to make themselves eternal and unkillable without needing to constantly drain the lives of others to feed themselves, for the simple reason that it's far less hassle and makes people far less upset.
- Rapid Aging: The biggest downside of the Prolonger transformation? Their aging rate kicks into overdrive, causing them to age ten times faster and thus needing to drain a constant supply of victims.
- Vampiric Draining: The unique ability of the Prolongers; by touching someone, they can sap their life away in the form of stealing levels, which reduces the Prolonger's own age.
Brotherhood of Glory (Ragers)
A sect based on the glory of violence as the highest good, obsessed with proving their honor in combat and honing their raw strength and berserker rage.
- The Berserker: The ability to use berserker rage is something all members of the faction are taught upon completing their training.
- Does Not Like Magic: The Ragers venerate physical prowess in combat above all else, and generally regard the use of magic as cheating. All of them are from combat classes rather than casters, and they avoid the use of enchanted equipment or magic items unless it's necessary to even up a match that's blatantly stacked against them.
- Gladiator Games: They used to run the Great Arena in Sigil before they were thrown out. A lot of them live in Ysgard, where this is the pastime of choice among the residents, and they view life as an unending series of these.
- Hated by All: Played with. You'd think they'd be as universally hated as sects like the Bleeders and the Opposers, and they are, among the common people, but there are major factions who find the Ragers' ethos suits their philosophies, as do the various gods of war and combat — and on their favored plane of Ysgard, where Death Is a Slap on the Wrist, they're actually fairly popular in some circles.
- Honor Is Fair Play: They don't have much in the way of moral scruples otherwise, but since their whole ethos is about proving themselves in battle, they're averse to unfair fights — they'll rarely gang up on an outnumbered target, nor will they ambush an opponent unawares without giving them the chance to arm themselves and fight back.
- Proud Warrior Race: Pretty much this stereotype, except that Ragers are recruited based on worthiness rather than being born into the sect.
- Tar and Feathers: They were once on the way to becoming a faction until they were driven out of Sigil. Unusually, for once this had nothing to do with the Lady — their violent ways made them enough of a threat that for once the citizens of the city themselves were able to cross faction lines and unite to drive them out.
Revivalists (Historians, Backwards, Good-Old-Daydreamers)
A sect founded on the belief that the multiverse is in a state of decline, and seeks to find a way to restore or return to the ancient past.
- Badass Bookworm: The Revivalists' favorite hobby is acquiring and studying ancient texts, which they believe hold the keys to the past wisdom they so hunger for. Their headquarters is the Musée Arcane in Sigil, whose curator, a medusa named Magnum Opus, is not a Revivalist herself (she's a member of the Sign of One) but is the lover of their founder and sectol Jordan. They have an extensive library of magical tomes, gain access to the ancient languages and ancient history proficiencies for free, can use identify on magic items for half-price due to their expertise, and most members are either wizards or priests of gods of knowledge.
- Experience Penalty: As a downside to their devotion to Good Old Ways, Revivalists have an explicit bias against integrating new knowledge into their skillset, and take a mechanical penalty to XP when advancing their character level.
- Good Old Ways: Revivalists tend to have this as their shtick; most Revivalists deliberately dress in old-fashioned clothes and affect the behaviors and lifestyle of an obsolete culture. Their founder, Jordan, is a brajeti (one of the subraces of the ruvoka, an elemental race associated with the Dark Sun campaign setting) who declared himself the last true brajeti after his people abandoned their ancestral home on the Quasielemental Plane of Dust for the Elemental Plane of Earth, and is obsessed with reviving his people's original culture.
- Precursors: The Revivalists have noticed how common this trope is on various Prime worlds and have decided that all civilizations were more advanced the further back you go in time, and believe that if you go back far enough you will find a Golden Age populated by a perfectly enlightened unified civilization they call "the Ancestors".
- Time Travel: Of all the sects on the planes, the Revivalists are the most obsessed with the forbidden knowledge of time travel magic (known as chronomancy in D&D). There's no evidence they've ever discovered it — canonically, chronomancy is the rarest magical knowledge in all D&D settings and ever since Chronomancer was published in 2nd edition official material has barely ever touched it — but rumors persist that the highest-level Revivalists have found a way to access Temporal Prime (the mythical Transitive Demiplane of Time from which one can access any point in time by traveling spatially).
- Ye Goode Olde Days: The whole sect is based on this perspective; they believe (as the Doomguard do) that the planes are constantly trending toward decline and destruction, and unlike them desperately resist this process. They're biased against any social or cultural changes as being negative until proven otherwise.
Ring-Givers (Bargainers, Beggars)
A sect based in Ysgard and a rival mirror image to the Fated, who believe that the accumulation of material possessions is the trap that destroys people's freedom and leads them to ruin, and believe that the only purpose of wealth is to give it away and hope to be paid back later by karma.
- Genius Bonus: "Ring-giver" is an Old English kenning for a king.
- Perpetual Poverty: Ring-Givers take a deliberate vow of poverty when they join the sect, and are disallowed from permanently owning any physical possessions or engaging in any commerce. Anything they get they give away as soon as possible, and rather than owning money of any kind they survive on informal favors and gifts they receive from others. This lifestyle, though idealized by many primes in legend, is notoriously difficult to pull off on the Prime Material Plane, but most Ring-Givers make their home on Ysgard, which is a plane of plenty where starving to death or being killed by the elements is nigh-physically impossible.
- Promoted to Playable: The semi-official D&D 3rd edition Planescape setting made on mimir.net promotes the Ring-Givers to a playable sect that's growing in popularity and power in Sigil as a reaction to the void left by the fall of the Fated, their foils.
- Refuge in Audacity: The sheer Chaotic chutzpah it takes to engage in the game of trading vague favors with demons seems to impress the tanar'ri enough that Ring-Givers are surprisingly good at surviving the Abyss, including when guiding others through it.
- Walking the Earth: In order to make their lifestyle work, Ring-Givers tend to wander around a lot (since they can't personally own a home and must rely on others' kindness for shelter). The most powerful of them are highly in demand as Native Guides to the Planes of Chaos, especially the ones brave enough to make their home in the Abyss.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Ring-Givers can be of any alignment, but the most common is Chaotic Good. The ones who aren't still tend toward Chaos, living a lifestyle that most primes think is crazy and trusts in karma and informal relationships over making any kind of long-term plans. (The Chaotic Evil ones who think they can get by being selfish jerks as long as enough people out there feel like they owe them something tend toward Magnificent Bastard.)
- You Owe Me: Ring-Givers will never explicitly sell or trade for anything, but after giving someone something will let them know that they're vaguely owed a favor from them in the future. Surprisingly, even though they have no real way of enforcing this, this usually works — even with characters as evil as demon lords — indicating that at least in the Planes of Chaos there's truth in how their philosophy says karma functions. (Mechanically, this is represented with a power allowing Ring-Givers to call on a past favor from their backstory once per level, and on an adjustment to reaction rolls made to deal with characters they've done favors for in-game.)
The Guild of Shadows
A sect formed by a former Incantifier, a shadow mage named Penumbra, who was embittered by his former faction being driven out of Sigil and sought to embrace the power of Shadow to find a way to seize power in secret and never be vulnerable to such an attack again. They now serve as an elaborate conspiracy infiltrating all of Sigil's factions, hoping to keep the factional cold war going so no faction becomes powerful enough to catch onto them influencing Sigil's politics from behind their various thrones.
- Blinded by the Light: The Shadows are so attuned to their namesake condition that they all gain this as an Achilles' Heel, taking the same penalty in full sunlight or the equivalent that nocturnal races like orcs do.
- Casting a Shadow: Penumbra, the Guild's founder, is a former Incantifier who was one of the greatest shadow mages in the planes, and has built up the Guild into the greatest collection of shadow magic lore and relics in the multiverse. Even members who aren't arcane casters gain the natural ability to Hide in Shadow (or, if they're already a rogue, get this ability boosted).
- Cerebus Retcon: One of the goofier Refuge in Audacity moments in Planescape history, the Anarchist Omar somehow infiltrating the Harmonium long enough to rise up to factol and then try to dissolve it by decree, was retconned by the Guild of Shadow writeup on mimir.net to be the result of a major Shadow op, designed to humiliate and weaken the Harmonium while massively raising the profile of the Revolutionary League and distracting all the other factions into trying to hunt them down.
- The Conspiracy: All of Sigil's factions are being manipulated to some degree by the Guild. Officially, no faction has yet gotten any wind of the Guild's existence, and they spend most of their effort keeping it that way by keeping them distracted vying with each other.
- Foil: To the Illuminated. As the two sects' opposite names indicate, the Shadows have been succeeding for centuries at the exact task the Illuminated failed at, partly because the Illuminated were impatient and wanted to push the factions into open war so they could take over in the aftermath, rather than being content with staying hidden indefinitely.
- Hidden in Plain Sight: Penumbra's original hideout and the current location of the Shadows' library and guildhall is in Gehenna, right in the shadow of the Blood War. Ironically, it's a plane so filled with intrigues and betrayals that Penumbra was able to fly under the yugoloths' and baatezu's radar.
- Lawful Evil: The Guild tends toward this; it isn't required, but a prospective member may neither be Chaotic nor Good, since both get in the way of being devoted to maintaining the power of the Guild for its own sake.
- The Man Behind the Man: The sect's core philosophy relies on being this. Power must always be wielded in secret and maintaining secrecy comes before all other goals.
- Meaningful Name: "Penumbra", for the founder and sectol of the Guild of Shadows.
- The Mole: Shadows don't get the automatic ability to do this that Anarchists and Converts do, and have to make do instead with their native intelligence (14 or higher to join), and their skills in shadow magic. It's implied that rather than actually having members living full-time as undercover members of the factions, the Guild uses more intricate plans involving being The Man Behind the Man — or the man two or three men behind that, if necessary.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: It's not super clear what the Guild actually wants to do long-term, other than just maintain the status quo and stay undetected. The real purpose of the sect in the long run may simply be to hold the reins of power for the sake of doing so while letting Penumbra and his inner circle live in luxury and study shadow magic in peace.
- Shadow Walker: As masters of shadow magic the Guild has mastered the ability to do this and uses the Demiplane of Shadow as a primary means of travel and meeting place, which few other mages are able to even access. This is one of their greatest assets in keeping their schemes undetected.
- Un-person: A Shadow gives up their identity and all relationships in the outside world permanently upon joining, with the rest of the Guild being their only family.
A particularly controversial sect who felt that interplanar travel was damaging the structure of the multiverse and demanded that all portals be shut down and the city of Sigil abandoned. Originated from the plane of Carceri and was influenced by that plane's emphasis on prisons and control, with an oxymoronically-named headquarters, the Palace of Closed Freedom. Built an HQ known as the Unbalanced Temple to begin to spread the word, and had some success before a skirmish with the Expansionists led to the Lady killing several of their leaders and their flight from the city. Since then they've been a dead sect.
- Arch-Enemy: The Expansionists, whose mission of spreading their faction's influence through all the planes as rapidly as possible using Sigil as a staging point was directly counter to theirs. (Although several of the other factions' goals would've made them right next in line to be the Symmetrists' nemeses if they'd lasted long enough, such as the Harmonium.) Ironically, both former factions are now dead, thanks to both of them threatening the status quo in Sigil too much for the Lady's liking.
- Eco-Terrorist: Pleading for voluntary cessation of interplanar commerce has proven almost completely futile, driving some members of the sect to active sabotage of planar conduits and portals.
- Evil Luddite: Most of the rest of the multiverse sees them as this, particularly anyone whose livelihood depends on interplanar travel (which includes all of the living residents of Sigil, who would begin to starve within days if the portals were closed).
- Green Aesop: The Symmetrists take a typical Green Aesop and turn it into a Space Whale Aesop, believing that interplanar travel and trade is causing the equivalent of pollution/erosion/depletion of the natural resources of each plane. They've never proven this idea to anyone else's satisfaction, but members of the sect are dogmatically convinced it must be true.
- Honor Before Reason: They hate portals so much that even though their mission to eventually halt their use logically requires using them sometimes, they get a mechanical penalty to any checks required when doing so.
- Kill 'Em All!: The Lady cut enough of a swathe through the former faction before they disbanded that the Symmetrist cause has been abandoned for centuries, but the current chant is that they may be making a resurgence, possibly hidden as a subfaction within the Revolutionary League (the Society of Closed Doors).
- Mysterious Benefactor: Their cause is so generally unpopular among planar travelers, for obvious reasons, that people question how they ever got big enough to make it into Sigil at all, with some whispering it was a plot by the rilmani in their relentless pursuit of "balance".
- Single-Issue Wonk: It's a very important issue for planars, but to someone from the prime worlds the Symmetrists definitely come off as this. They recruit regardless of alignment from anyone who might have any reason, however petty, to agree with the idea of closing portals, and they're so focused on the study of how to disrupt or dispel portals that they get a mechanical bonus to learning arcane spells for it.
The Vile Hunt
A sect based in the Beastlands founded by a planar human named D'Kess, serving mostly as a foil to the Wylders, most prominently in the published adventure Something Wild. They're recruited only from members of the typical humanoid races of the Prime, who find the relatively commonplace "talking animals" of the Outer Planes — be they completely in the shape of Prime animals or humanoid "beast-men" — to be deeply offensive to their idea of the natural order, and murder them whenever possible. (Since animal-shaped petitioners on the Beastlands cannot die permanently on that plane, this typically involves abuse of planar travel.)
- Arch-Enemy: They never got their own sect writeup in canon, existing only as a perpetual antagonist for the Verdant Guild (and for PCs who fall in with the Wylders during travels to the Beastlands).
- Card-Carrying Villain: They don't seem to mind being called the "Vile Hunt".
- Deader Than Dead: Their horrifying goal to kill the animal petitioners of the Beastlands is to inflict this on people who've already died once and gone to what they thought would be their eternal reward, only to be killed again and having their soul-essence absorbed and damned by the Lower Planes — all because their free-spirited Chaotic Good nature meant they'd be happiest in the afterlife as an animal, and some people find that offensive.
- Evil Poacher: A translation of this stereotype to D&D's high fantasy setting.
- Fantastic Racism: Their whole philosophy is rooted in their absolute refusal to accept that outside their own Prime worlds, the distinction between "animals" and "people" isn't as clear-cut as they thought. The idea that what looks like a "dumb animal" could be just as sapient as them is their Berserk Button, and they seek to prove their superiority by wiping out the biggest concentration of them in The Multiverse, the Beastlands.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Planescape came out in the mid-90s, before the concept of "fursecution" became a hot topic in the geek community.
- The Mole: Mimir.net reveals that after their defeat in Something Wild the Vile Hunt is in dire enough straits they've resorted to planting spies within the Verdant Guild itself to encourage their sectarian infighting as their last desperate hope for survival.
- Unwitting Pawn: Their single-minded bigotry and the fact that their goal depends on the ability to create portals to other planes means they tend to get used as this when they show up. The baatezu were happy to let them send animal petitioners to Baator to use as cannon fodder against the tanar'ri, but had no particular interest in their goal of only killing sapient animals and directed them to the Forbidden Plateau to start sending them (non-sapient) dinosaurs that they found more useful. In their big appearance in Something Wild, they're only a Starter Villain being used as pawns to corrupt the Beastlands by Malar the Beastlord, an evil god of the hunt, who is directly opposed to their goals. (Malar himself is a talking animal in his physical form — a humanoid cat — and is the patron of evil lycanthropes, and had his plan succeeded his endgame to dispose of the Vile Hunt was to turn them into beasts of prey and hunt them himself.}
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Their Fantastic Racism revolves around the standard D&D races, not just humans, but their whole belief system is based on this kneejerk impulse.
- You Are What You Hate: Ironically, the amount of time they spend in the Beastlands hunting down talking animals makes the Vile Hunters vulnerable to the "beastpox", where they slowly gain animal-like features if they stay on the plane for too much time at once. Malar's plan to corrupt the Dream Land within the Beastlands had the side effect of greatly accelerating this phenomenon, which he promised his Vile Hunter minions was only temporary (about which he was lying through his teeth).
The Verdant Guild (Wylders)
A sect based in the Beastlands that venerates the beauty of unspoiled nature and opposes the depredations of humanoid civilization.
- Animal Lover: The initial purpose of the sect. They were originally just an organization of various living humanoids who loved animals enough to seek out the Beastlands as a home without actually having died and become an animal petitioner themselves, and who care enough about the Beastlands to fight to defend them even if their alignment makes it unlikely for it to become their afterlife.
- Arch-Enemy: Their outlook is of course the exact opposite of that of the Vile Hunt, which was invented to be their Foil. It was the Vile Hunt's initial invasion of the Beastlands that turned them from peaceful nature lovers into a Church Militant.
- Beast Man: Long-term members of the Wylders start to look like this as a side-effect of living in the Beastlands, your body gaining minor features of the "animal within" your soul resembles. Unfortunately, the process is never completed unless you die and reincarnate onto the Beastlands as a result of having a Chaotic Good "wild spirit", which many Wylders do not.
- Cool Mask: Once admitted to the Verdant Guild, you're given an animal mask representing your "spirit animal" (although it doesn't always turn out to be accurate) that allows you communicate with animals of that species.
- Country Mouse: Members of the Verdant Guild gain a strong aversion to cities and the trappings of civilization. They receive a penalty to rolls whenever in any humanoid community more populous than a small village, to the point of experiencing severe claustrophobia if kept indoors too long, and lose access to all proficiencies associated with "civilization".
- Foil: Obviously to the Vile Hunt, but also to the Plane Tenders. None of them are actual druids (which, in D&D 2e, was a much rarer class) and they haven't adapted their idea of what "nature" means much from the imagery of the Prime. They haven't achieved the serenity demanded of a true druid and, as of the mimir.net writeup, are about to be driven apart by their petty human infighting.
- Nature Hero: To a tee. To join the Wylders you must pass a wilderness survival test on your own in the Beastlands as a Rite of Passage, and once you pass you gain an innate ability to navigate them.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: The Wylders very quickly lost their reputation as a hippie Granola Girl sect as their methods for opposing the Vile Hunt became increasingly brutal.
- We ARE Struggling Together: As of the writeup on mimir.net the fallout from the damage the Vile Hunt did in Something Wild has the sect on the brink of splitting up, between the forces of upstart leader Karleona the ranger and recently deposed Aaronatok the priest. Karleona blames Aaronatok's inaction for the Vile Hunt's past victories and demands that the Wylders break with tradition and travel to other planes to pre-emptively hunt the Vile Hunt down wherever they hide; Aaronatok refuses to admit his failures and insists on keeping the Guild within their ancestral home. Both sides are close to Jumping Off the Slippery Slope and declaring war on each other, and the two sub-sects are already being referred to by new names (the Crusaders of Nature and the Defenders of the Wild).
A splinter sect of the Mathematicians, who believe that the concepts of Law and Chaos each contain the other and a detailed enough study of one will eventually take you all the way around to the other. Primarily composed of former Guvners who've gone rogue as a result of being convinced by Anacoluthon's math, although they also recruit from Xaositects attracted to this paradox from the other side.
- Became Their Own Antithesis: Their founder, sectol Anacoluthon, was once one of the greatest Mathematicians, whose discovery of "Xaos Theory" proved — according to him — that the Mathematicians' goal of building a mathematical model of the multiverse was fundamentally flawed and futile, because any system of Law inevitably contained the seeds of Chaos and could not in the end be controlled or predicted. This led to him to abandon Mechanus, moving to Sigil to stay at the studio of Zaromex the Artist, a former Xaositect who'd come to similar beliefs about his exploration of pure Chaos always finding hints of underlying Order. This resulted in a sect that admits members of any alignment and seeks to bridge the rift between Law and Chaos by finding the real truth underlying both.
- Name's the Same: They are not to be confused with the Xaositects. They, too, are devoted to the idea of "Xaos", but in a much more paradoxical way.
- Oxymoronic Being: Their philosophy is focused on the idea that the division between Law and Chaos is ultimately false, and that all seemingly orderly systems contain the seed of chaos and vice versa. Surprisingly, this hasn't pissed off either the Fraternity of Order or Xaositects nearly as much as you'd think, possibly because both of their founders are adept at discussing their ideas in their original factions' language, possibly because the idea of Xaos Theory seems too esoteric to be a practical threat to anybody. The only factions that really oppose them — the Mercykillers and the Revolutionary League — are ones that find the possibility of an actual lasting truce between the Guvners and Xaositects threatening in and of itself.
- Screw Destiny: The biggest practical consequence of Xaos Theory is the idea that actual prediction of the future is impossible, and the fact that divination magic seems to work is due to Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. Xaoticians therefore refuse to make use of divination spells on principle, and their founder Anacoluthon's knowledge of Xaos is enough to cause any divination he's aware of to fail by spotting the points of weakness where it can be disrupted.
- Shout-Out: The Xaoticians are an obvious reference to the Real Life concept of chaos theory. They're obsessed with the concept of fractals (which is linked to the real-life medieval concept of the microcosm in the macrocosm) as the basis of their philosophy, and the closest thing they have to a symbol is Zaromex's Mural, a representation of the Mandelbrot Set.