To Chance with Hell (Planescape)
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The Doomguard: Giving Life a Gentle Push (Off a Cliff)
The Doomguard pay homage to entropy, believing it to be the only constant in the universe. Some guard against the doom, while others guard the doom against those that would stop it. But they are together in their belief of a constant descent, that the universe reached its peak with creation and is now purely a downhill trip. Many Sinkers are mercenaries and warriors, finding roles that engage in destruction on a daily basis, but some take a less obvious approach using magic, piety, or other means.
Philosophy: Entropy is the only truth. Everything falls apart.
Nickname: Sinkers (Ashers, Dusters, Salties, Voids)
Prominent Members: Devland, Nagaul, Pereid, Rothm and Spragg
Home location: Negative Quasielemental Planes.
Symbol: A horned, spined animal skull on a blue field surrounded by a yellow ring.
Related skills: Athletics, Nature. A player may start the game with skill focus with either skill if they choose not to pick a skill related to being a Primer, or Planar.
Faction bonuses with the Doomguard will confer abilities such as:
- Ongoing damage, and those that trigger at 0 hit point
- Defense penalties to enemies
- Powers that take from the Doomguard, and give to someone else (enemy or ally)
The Philosophies (?) of the Doomguard
A single belief fuels the Doomguard: everything is falling apart. The only truth of the multiverse is that it will end. In fact, it‘s ending every minute of every day, with every flake of rust, every aging body, and every waning power. It‘s happening on a mass scale. Nobody could stop it, even if everybody tried together. For every finger you stick in the dam to halt a leak, another leak will spring from the pressure. Most people rage against entropy, or at least try to. The Doomguard takes the opposite tack – why wait? Why not help it along?
It‘s their take on entropy that has led most folks to think the Sinkers are insane or worse. Truth is the reasons one might hasten the end are varied and not always malevolent. Some think the multiverse is less than perfect, and the slate has to be cleared for a better order. Others think the powers and mortals alike have a tendency to lengthen the lifespan of the planes beyond their natural age, and that the Sinkers have to work to undo the harm this ―preservation‖ does. Some just want to see the multiverse end in their lifetime, and play a part in the biggest and final event in the history of the planes. Others are simply inspired by the despair and chaos entropy brings, and let it take permanent root in their souls. Whatever their reasons, they are united in the belief that eventually the multiverse is going to crumble, and defying this end is denying its purpose.
The Doomguard, however, in keeping with their tendency to break and disperse other things, have broken and dispersed themselves. Currently four major sects call themselves Doomguard, each representing a particular interpretation of their philosophy. Before the Faction War, there had only been three subfactions, supposedly in keeping with the Rule of Threes. But any Sinker can tell you that it‘s easy enough for three pieces to become four, and tradition be damned.
The fastest growing splinter group is the Doomguard of Ash. A number of Doomguard led by Spragg have embraced the belief that things are falling apart too fast, pointing to the Faction War as a wake-up call to those Sinkers that think otherwise. Perhaps shaken by the destruction unleashed during the war, the Ashers don‘t view rapid decay with as much love as they used to. Believing wholeheartedly that the multiverse has its own path to destruction, they think it is wrong to accelerate its end, and perhaps cause unnecessary harm to the planes. One of their older members, Devland, would simply gesture to the ash that surrounds their citadel, and point out that there‘s more than enough entropy already. Furthermore, if their faction falls apart, who‘s going to help entropy along when it does need help? While most of their efforts right now are being put towards healing their own wounds and unifying their faction, they seek to curb the more excessive members of their faction, as well as slow the hemorrhaging of the planes they believe the Faction War has begun.
While they were once the largest group, entropy has taken hold on the group now known as the Doomguard of Salt, and their numbers dwindle due to their own destructive actions. These folks believe that entropy has to be accelerated as fast as feasibly possible. They follow the vision of their missing leader, Pentar, who previously led them, and Roth, the inheritor of her legacy. While partial to accelerating natural cycles of decay, they have taken a more active role by feeding weapons and information to both sides of the Blood War in an attempt to intensify it. They also seem to believe that any Sinker that doesn‘t subscribe to their view is a pale mockery of the Doomguard as it once existed. Right now, this makes their main opponent the Ashers, and they’ve come quite close to wiping Spragg‘s faction out. Though they‘re seen as dangerous maniacs by many of the other faction members, few can fault their dedication… as well as the fact that they seem to have the largest stockpile of weapons, most of which were liberated from the Armory of Sigil.
The more moderate view is taken by the Doomguard of Vacuum, who think that entropy is right on schedule, and that Doomguard should act to speed or slow it on a case-by-case basis… if at all. Led by Nagaul, and the second-largest group of Doomguard, they have been allying themselves with the Ashers in the interest of restoring the faction‘s strength. Indeed, were it not for their efforts, the faction might have fallen apart entirely by now. Of course, in a decade, they might be working to halt the growth of the faction… if it survives that long.
Doomguard of Dust seem to be a more eclectic lot, not seeming to partake in one view on entropy. Rather, they are unified by the fact that entropy has taken root in their souls. Led by Pereid, and the largest current faction of Doomguard, many come across as chaotic as a Xaositect, and some are undeniably mad. Others have been wounded during the Faction War and other conflicts, and sport disfigured or scarred bodies. A growing belief in this citadel is that entropy should be internalized – that only those that bear its mark, in one way or another, can have a perspective on it. They are split between those that think entropy is moving too fast, those that think it‘s moving at a sufficient pace, and those that think that it isn‘t moving fast enough, but their belief in internal entropy is what has brought them together.
Few know the history of the Doomguard as it predates the Great Upheaval. Pereid, the Doomlord of Dust, has been heard to hint that the Doomguard actually predate the multiverse, and that they were instrumental in putting the last one to its rest… for its own good, Pereid might add. Of course, popular belief holds that she‘s a lunatic among lunatics, but the idea seems to have spread amongst the Doomguard to some extent. They believe that the belief of their predecessors was somehow preserved and continues on through them, that they are simply the purveyor of a multiversal law.
More accurate records point, instead, to a seemingly spontaneous formation of the group during the Great Upheaval itself. It seems, from Guvner records of the time, that the Doomguard originated from a half-dozen apocalyptic cults that saw the Great Upheaval as a sign that the universe was due for destruction quite soon. United by their belief in impending doom, they survived to become one of the fifteen factions that would control Sigil. Becoming more organized in the aftermath, they took up the role of city guard, patrolling the city against doom.
Centuries later, a charismatic body by the name of Molluus within the faction would spark a change within the faction. He claimed that it was doom that needed protection, that entropy was falling by the wayside in the light of the Lady‘s new order. He attracted a number of smaller sects and those few long-lived individuals who had been alienated by the Great Upheaval, some of whom were deeply embittered over the loss of their own factions. A common thread in their goals was revenge against the factions and the destruction of Sigil as a whole. The Doomguard split, and it became clear to groups such as the Harmonium and the Fraternity of Order that the Doomguard were no longer suited to be the guardians of Sigil. Certainly, the actions of Molluus‘ sect supported this, as his followers engaged on rampages and strikes against what they called the Lapdogs of the Lady. The Lady, surprisingly, took no apparent action against the folk that railed against her.
War broke out between the Doomguard and the Harmonium, with other groups throwing support either way. Still, the Harmonium had numbers, and were able to force the Doomguard into the Armory, where the Doomguard holed up for months. Even those who had previously guarded against the doom were marked as members of Molluus‘ faction by the Harmonium, and were forced to side with Molluus or perish at the hands of the Hardheads. For months the Doomguard struck against the institutions of Sigil, until a vote of the other factols in the House of Speakers threatened to revoke the Doomguard‘s status as a faction. While Molluus threatened to continue the battle without his faction status, he and many of his followers suddenly vanished. With this threat hanging over them and cooler heads coming to lead them, the Doomguard was forced to sign a blood pact that they would never instigate a war within Sigil again.
Afterwards, the Doomguard took up the duty of creating and distributing weapons in Sigil, a task their developing philosophy was suited to. The faction was still divided, however, and would never truly find a unified base again. The older members believed that entropy was something to be slowed, prevented, for it was moving too fast, while the newer members instead believed that Molluus was on to something… even if he might have gone about it the wrong way. They took up the role of speeding doom and hastening its end a bit more subtly than Molluus had. Lastly, a few believed that both sides were wrong, and that the multiverse was falling apart just fine, and that it would be better to study it, and prune where entropy was lacking and preserve where entropy had grown too rampant. They came to serve a balance within the faction in accordance with the rule of threes, one that went undisrupted until relatively recently.
The Doomguard’s last factol, Pentar, fell into much the same camp Molluus had. Voted by the Doomlords into leadership due to her fanaticism and talent for destruction, she supported the speed of entropy by any means. To this end, she supported those that agreed with her ends solely, recruited the half-tanar‘ri Ely Cromlich, supported the creation of the Ships of Chaos (a tanar‘ri/Doomguard invention of mass destruction), and made war upon the Great Modron March. Her stoking of her sect within the faction made it the majority within a surprisingly brief time. Many were inspired by her devotion, and she made sure any opposition met a bad end. Most of her grander plans were cut short when she was Mazed by the Lady of Pain just before the Faction War, however.
The Doomguard blamed the Harmonium and Sensates for Pentar‘s disappearance, and the threat of brewing conflict would make the Harmonium demand the Doomguard turn over the Armory and all of its weapons. The Doomguard refused, and a battle broke out between the Sinkers and Anarchists against the Hardheads and Martyrs. The Armory was destroyed, Ely Cromlich – then leading the Doomguard – would be crippled by the escape of the Armory‘s spheres of annihilation… and the following war saw them suffering the largest losses of any faction.
Most of the Doomguard, after the Faction War, planned to flee back to the faction’s citadels. They weren‘t much liked in Sigil, and they lacked a cohesive leadership outside of the Doomlords themselves. Of course, without their portals in the Armory, they would have to go back to the citadels the long way… and not all agreed on which Doomlord deserved to be informed first. Still, where there’s a will, there’s a way, and many found themselves painfully cashing in their beloved weapons and armor in order to buy passage on a genie exploratory vessel… or dying trying to make it there the hard way.
The Doomlords were expected to make decisions about the faction‘s future, and make decisions they did – just not the same ones. Roth, Doomlord of Salt, who had already been making deals with fiends for quite some time, had no interest in a new direction for the Doomguard. Most of the old guard fell in with him, including the now-crippled Ely Cromlich. Nagaul, Doomlord of Vacuum, ended up hosting Spragg and those who followed him. Spragg offered his direction – one of counter-entropy – to the Doomlord, and was rejected after a long deliberation. Making their way to Pereid’s citadel, Spragg and his followers discussed their proposal with her at great length. Just when they thought they had won her over, another group of Doomguard arrived and spoke with her privately, after which Spragg and his group were forced out at sword point. It wasn’t until they spoke with Devland, Doomlord of Ash, that they found an ally.
This split the Doomguard along two lines: those that fell in with Spragg and those that fell in with Ely. Conflict was inevitable (and quick), with Roth and Ely – and a horde of tanar’ri manning their Ship of Chaos – showing up on the doorstep of Citadel Exhalus in the interest of wiping out their traitorous brethren. The assault on the Crumbling Citadel was fierce, and the Ashers had little choice but to flee. As the Ship of Chaos tore apart the Citadel, the secret of the Crumbling Citadel‘s entropic qualities was revealed – it was home to a sphere of annihilation far larger than any that’s been recorded. For reasons known only to himself, Ely Cromlich leaped from the ship and into the sphere. Furthermore, the sphere brushed against the Ship, crippling it and killing the majority of the invading Salties. With both the Ashers and Salties crippled, it seems the Doomguard has once again reached a stable condition … though an uneasy one at best. The Doomguard of Ash have since retreated to Citadel Cavitius, where they seem to have found a new home despite the undead spirits that reside there.
Though the Doomguard have not emerged with a clear leader, Spragg has grown from the conflict and responsibility he’s shouldered over the past few years. Far from what he once was – Ely’s quivering assistant – he’s grown into the closest thing the Doomguard have to a new factol. Though he doesn’t have control of the entire faction – far from it – he has strong allies in Devland and Nagaul, and it seems more often than not Pereid is throwing in her lot with him (though she’s fickle at best). However, Roth remains firmly and violently opposed to him.
The Doomguard have finally started to gain influence on the Outer Planes once again, as the four sects seek out new members, alliances, and things that need breaking. Talks have begun with what’s left of their former allies, and several strikes on the Harmonium by the Salties have solidified Hardhead-Sinker hatreds once again, much to the dismay of the more liberal and moderate Doomguard members. Still, it’s clear that the Doomguard are making noise across the planes – and even Sigil – once more.
Largely, the Ashers have been consumed with ensuring their own survival, but it‘s said that they‘re finally getting the chance to look outward at the planes and ponder their more long-term plans. Many have wondered as to how they have managed to settle into Citadel Cavitius – a place tainted with dark spirits and necromantic magic – with relative ease. However, the secret of it seems closed to all but Spragg, Devland, and their closest supporters.
The Salties have thrown their weight into making sure the damage from the Faction War never heals. Whether they‘re working to support the Blood War in faction-held locales or striking against groups like the Harmonium directly, they seem dedicated to making sure the other factions remain destabilized and dispersed.
The Voids are focused on preserving the Doomguard, divided views and all. Serving as the conservators of the Doomguard cause, they have worked to offer support and insight to the other groups, seeing themselves as enlightened in regards to perceiving entropy.
Finally, the Dusters seem to lack any real unified goal other than spreading the word of their new path. They have begun to filter into places like Sigil, spreading their philosophy of enlightenment through self-destruction. Some more fanatical members are said to be going around scarring people – physically or mentally – to spread their word in a more direct fashion, but if such is the case, reputable reports have substantiated it. Certainly, it would go against the entire point of the idea of self-destruction.
Separated as they are from much of planar politics now, the Doomguard have had difficulty maintaining contact with their former allies. Since few of them save Pereid‘s group are numerous enough to see their goals furthered alone, many have looked to others they can influence or gather support from.
A close alliance with the Dustmen may not seem unusual initially, but is stranger when you note that they’ve sided exclusively with the Doomguard of Ash. Some say the secret of it is that some timely assistance on the part of the Dustmen is the only reason the Ashers have been able to squat in Cavitius, and that Spragg or Devland is now beholden to an undead of one sort of another. Others say that some dark of the place allowed them to settle there, and that their alliance with the Dustmen is due to something they had to offer the Dead.
As for the Salties, rumor has it they‘ve been working with fiends to take up a presence and secondary headquarters somewhere on the Lower Planes, a position that they can then use to more comfortably spread entropy across the multiverse. Some say they‘ve been indirectly supporting the splinter cells of the Revolutionary League, hoping that the Anarchists will strike the decisive blow against groups like the Hardheads once and for all.
The Voids seem to have sought few allies outside the faction, instead just working to find key allies within the Doomguard itself. It is said, though, that they are closely allied with, or possibly even the originators of, this newly formed Cult of Sferus. The cult worships the giant sphere of annihilation that erupted from the Crumbling Citadel, believing it to be a power of its own. Granted, there‘s no way to communicate with it, and it doesn‘t have any proxies, but the members seem to be getting spells from their worship regardless.
The Xaositects have come into close alliance with the Dusters, though this seems to be a purely informal affair. The line between chaos and entropy is a thin one, and a number of Chaosmen have gone over the Duster cause and vice versa. Furthermore, they have cooperated several times on goals either one faction or the other might normally seem to have no interest in. The exact nature of this symbiotic relationship is unclear, however, and most expect it to end any time now, with Chaosmen turning on Pereid‘s Doomguard.
The Harmonium is largely unaware of the Doomguard’s ideological split, and recent events have caused them to consider most members of the Doomguard enemies by association if nothing else. In turn, many Doomguard blame the Harmonium for the sorry state of their faction. The anger between the two groups is one of the fiercest on the planes, despite the desire of the more level-headed Doomguard to avoid reviving old hostilities during this fragile time.
Still, the enmity between the Doomguard and the Fraternity of Order has yet to be revived. The Dusters haven‘t struck against them yet, feeling that the Guvners are relatively inoffensive and can be dealt with when they turn their attention to Mechanus. Thankfully for the Dusters, the Guvners consider the Doomguard sufficiently broken as to not prove a true threat to their studies and power.